[First published: 17 Nov 2016, last updated: 21 May 2019]
The domestication of cats dates back almost 5,300 years ago, to a small village in China. So how is it that in this day and age, we’re still finding ways and means to cope with pungent litter bins, litter tracking, and unsightly cat toilets sitting around our house?
Some readers may recall that I decried that my business with cat potty time was over in 2013, when I purchased pine cat litter for my cats. To date, pine cat litter remains our best selling litter on the Nekojam online pet store, but unfortunately, we still have a good number of cat customers with allergies who find it an unsuitable option in the home due to its non-clumping and tracking abilities. Because pine litter does not clump, and because it tracks, it can sometimes make it out of the litter box by sticking to paws or just getting onto the general floor space in their living environment, thus causing some irritation to customers with pine sensitivities.
One of the most frequently asked questions we receive from new cat owners, is what cat litter we recommend. There are so many options to choose from; clay, pine, crystal, paper litter. And yet, none of them is able to promise The American Dream of cat ownership – Superior odour control, minimal tracking, and a bin that doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb amongst your carefully curated home setting. So what if I told you today that a new age of cat parenting may well be upon us, with the combination of two things – The UniCharm cat litter bin, and zeolite cat litter?
What Makes Zeolite Special?
Zeolite is the name for a classification of microporous, naturally occurring minerals. Where normal cat litter is created to absorb, zeolite is traditionally used for adsorption, where the molecules of different states of matter stick to its surface. Nasty litter box odours are commonly caused by ammonia, and most cat litters only serve to absorb liquid waste – Which is where we see clumping and non-clumping litters. Zeolites, however, have a very important and valuable property, in that they are able to remove ammonia and ammonium. This makes zeolite an exceptionally good material for the litter bin, because it is able to eliminate odour naturally, without artificially masking it with heavy scents or sprays. Natural zeolite, however, does not clump. So how are we able to take this one step further?
UniCharm Cat Litter Bins
Enter UniCharm Deo-Toilet cat litter bins, the latest entrant to the cat litter category in Singapore! Hailing from Japan, it’s a two-tier litter tray system that uses a unique blend of Zeolite and Silica to create their proprietary cat litter, which sits suspended over the bottom tray. A fitted pet sheet sits below the litter in a pull out tray.
But wait – Now you’re confused. Why are we throwing pet sheets into the crossfire?
I know, I know. Most people wouldn’t imagine pet sheets going very well with cat litter. Not in Singapore, anyway. The UniCharm litter bin is the first of its kind here, and at first, we were extremely skeptical about the bin’s ability to effectively do what it said it could. And isn’t it additional hassle? Instead of just cat litter, now we have to buy pet sheets, too? It seemed like nothing more but additional cost in the pocket, and an extra step towards a cleaner home.
But we couldn’t be any more wrong.
Benefits of UniCharm Cat Litter
After some careful scrutiny into the process behind the UniCharm litter bin, we decided that the concept was actually simpler than we thought. And quite genius, might we add.
Image Credits: UniCharm Japan Website
Unique Odour Removing Filtration System
Remember we talked about how zeolite cat litter does a great job at removing ammonia, but isn’t able to clump? The UniCharm cat litter bin’s two tier system uses this to its advantage and turns this conventional deal-breaking feature around, by using the zeolite pellets to adsorb nasty odour before filtering odourless urine down into the lower tray, which is then absorbed by the pet sheet!
Pardon us while we geek out for a bit, because our minds are officially blown.
Flexible and Innovative Pet Sheet Usage
The pet sheet itself promises to need no changing for a whopping SEVEN DAYS.
It is also, incidentally, also able to hold up to 1.4L of liquid waste.
Did we also mention that it may just be borderline genius (or sheer coincidence) that the tray can be turned around for maximum mileage, depending on where your cat prefers to pee in the litter bin?
Increased Monitoring of Cat Urinary Health
We are currently personally testing the UniCharm cat litter box in the office, with a pair of foster kittens – Tako and Pachi. One thing we noticed was that using the pet sheet greatly improved our ability to monitor Tako and Pachi’s bowel and urinary movement.
As kittens, in the first few days of coming to us, we noticed that Tako was passing a bit of blood in his stool. This may traditionally have gone unnoticed, but the light coloured cat litter brought the condition to our attention. We also liked that we were able to check the pet sheet to see if they were passing urine of the right colour, which is very important in cats to ensure prevention against urinary tract infections or kidney stones.
Image Credits: UniCharm Japan Website
Greater Cat Litter Mileage (and Convenience)
UniCharm’s cat litter comes in a 2L and 4L size. Priced at $30 and $53, it sure isn’t the cheapest option around. But a single bag of the 2L zeolite litter promises to last a month in a single cat household, which sort of evens out, considering many of our pet parents have to purchase 2-3 bags of clay, pine or paper litter to last them 30 days on average. The pet sheets also come in a ten pack, which should be good enough to last a couple months. Both items come in small packets that are easy to store and dispose of – Cat poop just needs to be scooped off the top tier, and the pet sheet can be easily rolled up and thrown out.
Minimal Tracking and Dust
The litter bin is currently placed in the office studio. It’s a commonly used room that sees human traffic on a daily basis, and we’re very pleased that only a single pellet of cat litter has left the tray in four days. The zeolite cat litter pellets that UniCharm sells are nicely weighted. That means they’re heavy enough to not be kicked out and about, even with two kittens jumping in and out of the top tray. The pellets are also not dusty, and are suitable for use within close proximity to living areas, such as the bedroom or bathroom. Some of us in the office have very sensitive noses, and unfortunately, that means sneezing fits whenever we walk past bags of dusty, scented cat litters, so this makes for a great alternative.
Aesthetically Pleasing Smart Design
Last but not least, we can’t help but to fawn over how remarkably beautiful the UniCharm cat litter bin is. If we hadn’t known better, we’d have thought it was a Muji product. The entire ensemble is made of a very smooth and sturdy plastic, and is of exceptional quality and sturdiness. Everything locks into place seamlessly, and we give extra brownie points for the cute cat shaped fixtures on the litter scoop and sides.
Cat parents can choose from one of two designs – The UniCharm cat litter bin comes in a half-cover and fully hooded model. Both designs are available in a Mocha Brown, while the half-cover also comes in a refreshing shade of green.
Purchasing UniCharm Cat Litter Bins in Singapore
We hope that this litter review was useful, and that it inspires some of you to invest in a UniCharm cat litter bin of your own! We would enthusiastically recommend this for single cat households, and for those of you with sensitive noses.
The UniCharm cat litter bin is exclusively available to cat owners in Singapore on the Nekojam pet shop online. Starter kits begin at $80, which includes:
- A UniCharm half or full cover litter bin
- A UniCharm litter scoop
- A 2L bag of UniCharm zeolite cat litter (worth $30)
- A single UniCharm pet litter sheet