We purchased Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Quick-Clumping Cat Litter so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
For an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional clay clumping cat litter, we turned to the Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Quick-Clumping Cat Litter. Our small 2-year-old cat Juno is used to a clay clumping litter when he does his business, so we wanted to see if he’d transition easily to a more sustainable litter. We tested this kitty litter made from ground walnut shells to see how he handled the change, evaluated this litter’s effectiveness, and monitored odor control. We also observed if this litter was messy, or if it helped prevent tracking or footprint marks through the house, a common problem standard clumping litter. Read on to see how this cat litter fared.
Odor Elimination: Earthy but equal
When we first opened up the bag, it smelled as we would have expected—similar to walnuts. When wet, it was definitely a bit earthy smelling, but over time, we found that it trapped odors. The litter was otherwise unscented and the initial smell faded further after a couple of days. We have a covered litter box for Juno since we live in a small apartment and don’t want to risk our home smelling bad. This litter delivered; it did a great job covering the odors.
One of the biggest benefits of this litter is that there are no added chemicals used in deodorizing the litter. The walnut shells are non-GMO, biodegradable, and annually renewable. This is great for cats and the planet. We had great peace of mind knowing that no toxic chemicals were used at any point. Since walnut shells are offcast from walnut processing plants, there will always be leftover walnut shells to make the litter. The naturally fibrous material of the walnut shell is super absorbent, which also makes the litter last longer. Though we scoop quite often to keep the box fresh both for our cat and our home, the Naturally Fresh bag states you can go at least 30 days between a full cleaning and changing.
Clumping: Just like other clumping litters
What we didn’t expect was that the walnut-based litter would act just like regular clumping litter. The natural, unclumped litter grains are small enough that they fall out of the strainer very easily. Of course, this leads to a bit of tracking, but more about that in a moment.
The litter clumped around both urine and feces with no problem and made scooping very easy. The clumps stayed together as we were shaking the scooper to strain and didn’t fall apart. This part of the process was virtually no different than standard clay clumping litter.
The biggest difference we found in this product to clumping litter was the color. Since it is made from walnut shells, the color is closer to dirt. You can run your strainer through the litter box to find the clumps but it’s harder to spot them by color since nothing changes with this litter.
Ease of Use: Longlasting but leaves a mess behind
The Naturally Fresh litter comes in several sizes: a 6-pound bag, 14-pound bag, and 26-lb bag. The 26-pound bag is the most economical but also the most cumbersome to lift. Since the litter is clumping, you don’t need to clean the full box as frequently or dump unused litter. This makes the bag last very long and with just one small cat, this bag could stretch out for a couple of months.
This litter does leave tracks of stray grains of litter throughout the house. We have a mat outside of our litter box to catch stray grains, like our regular clay clumping litter, we noticed no real difference; both leave a similar mess behind. Another thing is this litter is dark-colored and contrasts against our light gray kitchen tiles and mat, making stray grains more obvious on the floor. Our cat also has white paws and we were nervous about them getting stained by the litter, which never happened.
Overall, Juno transitioned very easily to the walnut shell litter. We didn’t even put his old litter on top as the bag recommends. Juno just got in and used it as he would normally. This is likely due to the similar texture and size of the walnut shells to standard clumping litter. Because this litter, like clay litter, imitates natural sand quite well, most cats will get used to it instinctively. We were very happy to see a quick and easy transition.
Price: Competitive with clumping litters
Naturally Fresh Quick-Clumping litter is priced at $7.50 for a 14-pound bag, which is about the same as other clumping litters. We would typically expect a slight upcharge for anything labeled eco-friendly, and the non-GMO organic walnuts certainly gave us this notion, but we were happy to see it is even cheaper than some clay alternatives. While you could get a larger competitor brand more cheaply, it is the environmental benefits of this litter that make this price point worth it.
Competition: A winner for the environment
Purina Yesterday’s News Unscented Paper Cat Litter: For another eco-alternative to cat litter, there is Purina Yesterday’s News Unscented Paper Cat Litter. This outranks Naturally Fresh in tracking due to the larger pellets, but for those that favor scooping, that is where the benefits end. Yesterday’s News is priced about the same for a non-scoopable litter, meaning that you have to change the full box anytime you want to clean. And because the pellets are much larger than clumping-style litter, it’s harder for cats to bury their business, making it difficult to eliminate odors.
Ever Clean Extra Strength Unscented Cat Litter: We compared this litter to a standard clumping litter, like Ever Clean Extra Strength Unscented Cat Litter. At a similar price point and with similar qualities, the biggest difference we noticed was ingredients. Naturally Fresh is biodegradable and made from totally natural materials. This is a big plus for the environment and great for cats with sensitive paws. The mix of clay and carbon in the Ever Clean litter, while safe for cats, is not biodegradable and creates dust that humans and cats inadvertently inhale.