If you’ve read any of our Strategist editor hauls this year, you’ll know that we buy a lot of stuff, and even though we think carefully about each thing that goes into our carts, there are still standouts. To close out the year, we’re asking each editor to write about the best thing they bought in the past twelve months. Today, writer Karen Iorio Adelson on the odor-eliminating kitty litter she absolutely loves.
In the seven years I’ve been a cat owner, I’ve considered the litter box a necessary evil. Sure, it’s impressive that cats instinctively know how to use a litter box and don’t require house-training or walks like dogs, but there’s a downside to all that feline independence. Unless you’re able to toilet train your cat like Robert De Niro in Meet the Parents or jazz great Charles Mingus (seriously, he wrote a step-by-step guide on how he trained his aptly-named cat Nightlife), you’re stuck with the stinky litter box.
No matter how conscientious I am about cleaning the box, or lighting pet odor candles, my apartment has always had that lingering “cat bathroom” odor. It wasn’t until last month at a Thanksgiving Eve party, when a mutual friend recommended PrettyLitter, that I learned there was a better way. Like all respectable cat ladies do, we were sharing iPhone photos of our kitties when she told me about this magical new litter that was totally odorless, health-monitoring, and only had to be replaced monthly. I ordered my first bag that night.
Made from lightweight, absorbent crystals, a 4-pound bag of PrettyLitter is designed to last an entire month for a single cat. Typical litter clumps when it’s wet and you have to remove these big, ammonia-smelling lumps, pieces of which inevitably break off and are too small to scoop out, but PrettyLitter’s crystals absorb liquids. It’s basically impossible to tell — by sight or smell — that it’s even been used. The only thing you have to scoop is solid waste, which easily flushes down the toilet. From day one, I noticed a total absence of odor. Unlike other types of litter, the crystals emit no smelly dust and don’t stick to my cat’s paws and track from room to room. Besides making my apartment smell a lot better, PrettyLitter can monitor my cat’s health, too. The crystals change colors in reaction to chemicals in cats’ urine (like markers for bladder or urinary tract infections, or kidney disease), though fortunately, my cat’s litter has been clear so far.
So even if it was a late-in-the-year purchase, PrettyLitter easily surpasses everything else I’ve bought this year in terms of how much it’s transformed my everyday life. At only $22 per bag, it’s an affordable solution, and I no longer have to apologize for “that cat smell” whenever I have guests.
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