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How to Use Crystal Cat Litter

| Updated September 26, 2017

Crystal cat litter is made from silica gel, an absorbent material that helps trap moisture and odors. Unlike some other types of litter, this one doesn't clump so you'll need to change out the whole pan of litter on a regular basis to prevent odors from forming. With regular changing, stirring and removal of solid waste, crystal cat litter should keep your cat's litter box odor-free.

How Much to Use

To prevent urine from pooling at the bottom of the box, you'll need to use between 1 1/2 to 2 inches of litter in your cat's litter box, recommends the Ultra Pet website. This depth of litter will catch all of the urine and prevent odors.

If your cat likes to dig in his litter box, use a little more than 2 inches of litter to prevent his urine from reaching the litter box floor. Using too much litter may lead to it being thrown out of the box when your cat digs.

Stir It Up

Silica gel particles contain spongelike pores, which absorb your cat's urine and slowly release the moisture, but not the odors, back into the air, according to Chemical & Engineering News. Very wet crystals won't absorb your cat's urine, though, and eventually will lead to litter box odors.

To prevent some crystals from becoming more saturated urine than others, thoroughly stir the litter daily to encourage the moisture to evaporate from the crystals, recommends the Just the Crystals website. This will extend their ability to absorb more urine.


  • Keep the box in a dry area with good ventilation to encourage the crystals to stay as dry as possible between uses.

Scoop Solid Waste

While silica gel particles will dry out feces and absorb its odor, if solid waste is left to collect in the box, your cat's box quickly will become smelly. Scoop out solid waste daily to prevent odors, according to Slate magazine.


  • If your cat has diarrhea, you may end up removing more crystals than usual when you scoop it out, so add more crystal litter as needed.

Change the Crystals Regularly

Eventually, the silica crystals in your cat's litter box will become saturated with urine to the point that they will no longer absorb the liquid or its odor.

  • If you see that the majority of the crystals in the box are now yellowish or tan in color, it's likely time to change the entire pan of litter. 
  • Some brands of crystal litter contain a few blue crystals which will fade over time when exposed to moisture, indicating it's time to change the litter, according to the Pan Pacific Pet website. 
  • Crystal litter usually lasts from one week to one month, depending on how many cats are using the box, according to KittyLitterSite.com. When the litter becomes stinky, it's time to change it.


  • Note that crystal litter is not flushable.

Crystal Litter Considerations

While silica gel is nontoxic, if your cat ingests it, it could cause tummy upset and even an intestinal blockage, warns the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

When changing your kitty over to crystal litter, do so over a period of a week or two, mixing in the new litter with his old one. This will help your cat get accustomed to it.