Friday, October 24, 2008

Review: Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural Clumping Litter

This kitty litter promises to be "so effective, you won’t believe it is natural! It harnesses the power of nature to deliver outstanding odor elimination." I am not quite sure if the writers of this ad copy were using quite the same kitty litter as me, or whether they even know the meaning of the term "odor elimination."

This stuff is awful, in my view. First, it doesn't eliminate odor at all. In fact, my house now stinks of cat pee. Which is not a very welcoming smell to come home to, I've got to say. Second, it doesn't clump well. Wait, I should rephrase that - it clumps fine enough when the cat pees on it, but when you go to actually scoop up the clump, it falls instantly apart, breaking back into a powdery mess without any hint of clumpage remaining. Except now the powdery mess stinks, which doesn't please me OR the cat, and as I can't manage to scoop all of it up, it just adds to the ammoniacal whiff that is constantly coming off the box.

Maybe I'm doing something wrong. I admit that I am not the type to completely empty the kitty litter constantly so that I can refresh with all new litter - I know I do not do this as often as I should because I usually try to get to the end of a bag or box before emptying the old stuff and scrubbing the litter box clean. So perhaps my testing is not in accordance with manufacturer's instructions. I've read a few other reviews on this, which seem to either be completely glowing, or completely awful, making me wonder if the people that love this are reviewing it for the money or somehow completely emptying and scrubbing/bleaching their litter boxes every night.

Put me in the "awful" camp. I really didn't like this, and can't muster up any stars for it, I'm afraid.

34 comments:

Sam said...

The point of clumping cat litter is to encapsulate the pee so you don't have to completely clean the box out every day-that is really wasteful. So, you're doing it right and the product just sucks. Thanks for the review!

Stephanie said...

I have to say, "Amen!" to this review. I tried it with the same results.

rosicrux said...

I wanted to like this litter so much. While I dislike shopping at Walmart, they used to carry a wonderful similar litter called Fresh Results. Half a year ago, I couldn't find it in the stores anymore, so I went back to WBCL for awhile. Then one day I saw this Arm and Hammer one and it looked so very similar to Fresh Results, I had to try it.

Unfortunately, now my house smells like an ammonia bomb went off. I slowly worked the new litter in with the WBCL, and it was doing ok, but once I went 100% with the A&H, the ammonia levels went through the roof. And I think it may have to do with the poor clumping... I figure the cats break apart the clumps when they just walk in the box.

I don't know, all I know is I have a whole bag of this stuff left and will now only use it in emergencies.

Trisha said...

I tried this product and have had a wonderful experience with it. I am terrible at cleaning the litter box as often as I should and this product still works!! There is no odor of urine and it seems to clump very well without falling apart. My cats like it because it is softer and easier to dig in. On the bag it instructs you to pour in at least 3 inches of litter. Maybe that is what everyone else is doing wrong? When I scoop out the pee there is always dry litter underneath, on the bottom. I would imagine that they put that in the instructions for a reason...

Anonymous said...

When I felt it was time to try a different litter product for my two elderly, water-loving cats, I pondered my decision there in the pet aisle for better than five minutes and finally settled on this product. I am quite disappointed...my basement smelled horrendous after only three days (a problem I never had when using the cheapest clay litter) and what's even more annoying is that the wet, dirty litter that jumps out of the boxes along with the cats leaves all kinds of staining on the PAINTED cement that doesn't dry when it is swept up; I have to scrub the stains away. Additionally, if that's Arm and Hammer's idea of clumping, in my considered opinion, they're delusional.

armywife19k said...

I am wondering where the "corn fibers" that make up this litter come from? Is it the silks inside the husks, or the cob? I haven't tried this litter yet, but I am relatively happy with Yesterday's News, which I have been using with my cat for a year or so. It doesn't clump, but I can easily get all of the soiled litter out because the wet litter swells and darkens. And I am using a product that is completely recycled, so I'm glad to get away from the strip-mined clay litters altogether!

Anonymous said...

My PetSmart stopped carrying this and I'm really disappointed. I'm back to using "World's Best" litter now, which is my second choice. I'm not sure what it's made of, but with the litter boxes in the basement, the World's Best litter that gets kicked out of the box mildews on the floor. Like, clumpy green mildew that attracts little bugs. Yuck!

Anonymous said...

This litter has a really nice fresh smell that can be overpowering on it's own, so I use it one part this litter with two parts A & H multi-cat liter and it works just great. Problem is, I can't find it anymore!

Anonymous said...

So far so good. I switched to it because i have 9 cats and they are all in the process of getting spayed/nuetered. It is DUST FREE which I LOVE LOVE LOVE. Smells great and clumps O.k. I hope it doesnt start to smell after a few days. I also was looking for fresh results but found only 1 bag. They seem to be comparable. Not getting paid for this and I will return after a week to let ya know how it holds up. For the urine smell that everyone is having....Maybe kittie doesnt like the litter change and is finding other places to go? Just a thought

Anonymous said...

I have been very happy with this litter all in all. At first, the fragrance was a little overwhelming, and I do agree that the scent of urine will come through sooner than with traditional clumping litter. I clean my litter boxes out completely once a week and that seems to do the trick. My issue might not relate to the litter, but within a very short period of changing to this Natural litter,I now seem to have what I could only describe as a disgusting cockroach infestation. I have changed nothing else in my house, so I feel like this is the culprit. I live in Florida and wonder if anyone else has experienced anything like this.

Anonymous said...

I would like to apologize to Arm & Hammer for insinuating there litter would have anything to do with my cockroach/pest problem. I would like to go on the record and say my pest control professional laughed at me and said there was no way the litter played any part in that. So, I am very happy with litter, especially the fact there is no dust!

Suz said...

Wow -- I'm stunned by all the complaints about this cat litter! I have asthma and had to find an alernative to clay litters. I tried them all, and for one reason or another, there always seemed to be a problem. Either I didn't like them or my cat didn't. I found Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural Clumping Litter almost two years ago, and I love it. No odor in my home, no problems with the clumping ... I'm really not sure why everyone hates it so much. I clean the litter box once or twice a day, completely change the litter every three weeks. I wouldn't use anything else. If there was an excess of ammonia in my house, having asthma believe me I'd know it. I guess different stroke ...

Anonymous said...

maybe to those who didn't like this litter just have very stinky cats! This stuff is great! not only is natural but it works splendidly. Will definitely purchase again.

Anonymous said...

really? i'm amazed at all of the bad reviews. i have tried lots of different litters for my previous cat (with renal failure, so he had to pee.... a lot) and for my new kitten. i LOVE this stuff. it's perfect for long haired cats as it doesn't get caught in their fur as easily as the other clumping litters. it eliminates odor pretty well, and it's dust free as far as i can tell.

i have noticed that if you go to scoop the litter immediately after the cat pees, it doesn't clump that well, but after a couple of hours, the clumps are pretty solid (sorry for the graphic description).

wrink1 said...

Tried it today for the first time, my cat seems to love the stuff. He used box with the new stuff when there is still a box with clay litter available, ran around and purred. I like that it's no-dust, light weight. Seemed to clump well enough, but it's only day one. No bad smell, in fact quite pleasant smelling I thought. So, for now at least, I am very pleased.

allyson said...

i also LOVE this litter's clumping and odor-defeating abilities! it works like a charm, using much less litter during scooping than any other brand i've tried. the one downside to this litter, however, is the fact that it gets EVERYWHERE. there are tiny, lightweight sawdust pieces all over my house. i may have to stop using it for that alone.

Anonymous said...

I've been using this product for about 6 months for our one cat -- we were using clumping clay before so I can't compare to any other types of litter.

We use a covered litter tray, and leave about 2" max (I would think 3" would mean too much tracking.) We only remove clumps & feces (at least once daily, very rarely skipping a day) and haven't done a complete dump & clean of the tray in ages.

My pros & cons are:
PROS:
- truly dust-free. 99% dust-free clay is just a lie.
- very pleasant smelling

CONS:
- tracks more than clumping clay
- wet litter takes a little while to clump hard (I guess I don't mind the wait).

I don't know how much of the variety of reviews just depends on the cat: how much ammonia is in their urine, whether they clean themselves to remove excess before exiting the tray, whether they tend to track over spots they've used ...

But I personally am a fan and I think it works great for our cat. Just noticed I'm starting to have more trouble finding it in stores so that's a shame.

Anonymous said...

My cat has an allergy problem and I had to stop using clay. I tried "yesterdays news" - what a waste of money - the urine smell was overpowering. I then tried Essentials and just love it. I do think that if you don't put at LEAST 3 inches in - you will have problems with clumping - I put five inches in each box and after 1 week - no smell, it clumps and stays together and tracks less than clay - what's not to love?

I agree with a previous post - directions are there for a reason.

Anonymous said...

poor cats after reading some reviews where owners don't clean litter boxes often. We clean ours daily or every other day at most. Do you flush your toilets daily? I have used Worlds Best(multiple cat formula is better) corn based & feline pine for 10 yrs due to my dust allergy & my cat is very sensitive to dust. I was curious about this A&H Essentials corn litter. I'm hesitant after reviews but will try. But, any box will smell if not cleaned often too. Be careful with Yesterdays News litter. Yesterday's news = yesterdays crap. We found & showed our vet a few wires& colored melted plastic in our YN litter years ago after our vet recommended post surgery for my cat's accident & emergency paw surgery w/ stitches. they admitted they dont' have a good Quality Management inspection so anything left in Recycled newspapers could get mixed in like wires, plastic & crayons. Sounds toxic to me

Anonymous said...

I wonder if A&H has changed the formulation since they first released it. I like this one, and most of my cats do, too. It does not clump as well as fresh clumping clay, but it does clump and I think there is much less ammonia smell. I'm especially fond of the weight - so much easier to carry into the house and out with the trash. I keep a variety of litters for my finicky cats, but the boxes with this litter get used a lot. I do clean them all at least every other day. My only problem is that I can only find it at my local Target, and they don't always have it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review! I am hoping to have a better experience with this product, just bought it today. Thought I'd point out that the manufacturer has a guarantee on the box, not completely satisfied, get a refund. That is what convinced my husband to try it out!

tienkitty said...

I haven't found this litter to be that bad. I did find it to have an unusual smell on its own, but probably b/c it doesn't have the artificial and harmful perfumes that traditional litter does. The clumps do fall apart a little, but if I have to make some trade-offs to have a more healthy product for my cat then I can deal with that. I just bought my 2nd bag of this litter and I plan to continue buying it!

Rachel said...

I wish I had read reviews before buying this litter. I tried it because it was on sale and my favorite litter (Nature's Miracle) just went up in price. First, the A&H stuff stank so bad straight out of the bag, like noxious car deodorizer, that I figured regardless of performance I'd have to get rid of it. Second, my cats, who have dutifully tested every litter I ever brought home, won't touch it. Waste of $8.

puddytatsmom said...

I really like this litter. It does have a lemony? smell. My cats definitely prefer this litter.

I have a suggestion on the litter tracking. I bought a package of underpads (for placing under sheets for kids or whoever. One of my cats was peeing in a corner and I put them down until I got the problem solved.) I put one of them in front of one of the litter boxes in my bathroom as I hated the litter being tracked around. These underpad seems to catch about 99% of the litter from their feet. It worked for the clay clumping as well as this litter.

Anonymous said...

Changing products means changing techniques. just use a non slotted scooper, then scrape off the good corn fibers. You have to keep up on it daily. All clay has crystalline silicone in it (which is a carcinogen). I'd rather use corn than clay. We can go through all the political issues of using food for municipal purposes- but in the end... I'd rather not give me or my kitties cancer.

Anonymous said...

Too much perfume in this litter. I will go back to World's Best Cat litter. I have two cats and one has asthma, I don't think this one would be good for him with all the perfume.

Also, like someone mentioned above, the litter box should be cleaned (scooped out clumps) at least once or twice a day. Poor cats that have to use a dirty box!

Anonymous said...

HATE the smell.. LOVE the litter. I wish they could have let the natural smell come through instead.. and for the life of me, I can't find anywhere on the bag that says what it is scented with. I have fears that it may not be good for the cats when they lick their paws. Other than that... I don't have a problem with urine smell or bad clumping. It is working well for me, other than the strong smell.

AnnaLeez said...

I love this cat litter so far used to get grossed out at the smell of cleaning out the clay litters don't have the problem whith this one. Before I discovered A&H Essentials I was about to make my 2cats outdoor cats. Now they can stay inside.

Theresa Marquez said...

Having 13 cats (all indoors), my Mother and I have tried several clumping litters and Arm & Hammer by far is the best, according to Mom. All other litters are dusty, and when it clumps at the bottom, it is very difficult to scoop away, and we go through tons of it in a month--not literally, but you all know what I mean. I find that Arm & Hammer Essentials absorbs 2-3 time more liquid; thus, a 10 pound bag will last almost 3-4 weeks per litter box, therefore we buy less. Also, its easier to scoop and not dusty at all. Our cats like this litter as well and the granular size is much smaller granule size and gentler on the kitties paws. Good job Arm & Hammer!!

sue said...

I am using my first bag of Essentials and LOVE it - I've tried everything in my cat's long life and this is by far the best. It clumps beautifully, there is no odor in my house (although it never smells in the winter), the bag is lasting a very long time, and I love the fact that it's made from corn by-products. I am surprised at all of the negative comments, to be honest.

Anonymous said...

My Cats just love this litter even my older cat who is a very picky litter cat loves this stuff and I have no order probelms what so ever. it clumps just has well has the clay litters and the smell is heavy at first but you get used to it.

wimsey said...

I refuse to use clay litter for a number of reasons, including its environmental impact and the dust! Ugh! This is the best natural cat litter I've used. It clumps better than The World's Best or other "sand" types, and it smells better. And my cats like it much better than the "pellet" kinds like Yesterday's News and Feline Pine. Once in awhile, I'll forget and the boxes won't get scooped for 2-3 days (shame) and my house doesn't smell like ammonia at all! The deodorant smell can be a bit overwhelming, but it's pleasant to my nose, so I don't mind it that much. I wonder if they've changed their formula, or if the deodorant smell is interpreted by some noses as bad?

NikBri's Mom said...

We are facing the same health issues with both our cat and dog.
One of the things they have in common is litter (Both like to sample it when they can sneak it) So we switched To A&H Essentials. The smell of the litter is very strong. You can smell it THROUGH the bag. As someone already mentioned, it's origin is not mentioned on the bag. I wrote the company and was told 100% corn and baking soda. Something is off with that! As far as people choosing not to use it because of that scent... Way to go! If you find it strong, can you imagine what poor kitty's nose is going through? Especially in an enclosed box?! We found a 100% corn product at Zellers that doesn't seem to have an odor. Just as soft and Bri seems to like it.

Anonymous said...

I am a new cat owner and I used this litter on the advice of a friend. I love it. It could clump a little better but for the most part works well. And it seems to keep the smell down.