Summary: Cat litter choices are quite abundant today. Although the rule of thumb is if its not broke, leave it alone. However trying different litter is not always a bad thing. When running the experiment of different litters, be vigilant, you may have need to clean it out and return to "old reliable" pretty quickly. In the end, let your cat make the choice.
I know from first hand knowledge the daunting task of choosing a cat litter box and the use of cat litter. The task of a litter box: open or closed, big or small, automatic or manual, not to mention the number of boxes needed. For my household, having four cats: we have two cement mixing boxes on our enclosed porch. There is also one open rectangular litter box in the dining room, and a private box in a cage. The cement boxes are used by Zippy and Wolverine. The open box is used by all, but mainly it is for our senior (16 years old) Biskers, and the private box is for Snoopy.
The choice of litter to put into each box is a challenge. Clay, clumping, or natural with pine, newspaper, wheat or corn scratch. All these choices have strengths and weaknesses. For my household I want: No tracking through the house, easy cleaning, little dust, cat use choice, but also monetarily feasible as well.
I have tried and used all of the above suggested cat litters. When experimenting, I used the one box located in the dining room. In keeping to my list of what I wanted the litter to be, I wanted to make sure the litter box was used by Biskers and Snoopy mainly. Because Biskers is our senior cat, she is prone to more accidents and wanted to make sure the dining room box is to her liking. Also Snoopy is a concern because she has so many allergies (26 to be precise) that Joe and I have to make sure the litter doesn't affect her.
After months of testing, the following litter choices are used in the following boxes:
For the cement litter boxes on the enclosed porch we use Stall Dry. Stall dry is used mainly for horse stalls. It is a powdery fine litter, which means it tracks and kicks up some dust when pouring. Although this is two strikes against my list of expectations, the Stall dry handles the smell of ammonia very, very well. It also clumps in the cement boxes so it easy to clean out and Zippy and Wolverine use the boxes. The cost is about $15.00-$25.00 per 40lb bag.
For the litter box located in the private cage (5ftx7ft) for Snoopy, as well as the box located in the dining room, mainly used by Biskers, I use either clumping or newspaper litter. Clumping litter falls short on the tracking and dust pouring areas, however, it is easy to clean, and Snoopy doesn't react to it. Also monetarily, I can get clumping litter at any store including Family Dollar and Dollar General for less than $10.00 per 20lb box. I can buy multiple boxes throughout the month and have some boxes for emergencies. The newspaper litter I use are in pellets. This limits tracking, limits dust, Snoopy doesn't react to it, Biskers enjoys pawing it and the litter is easy to see where to clean. The downside to this litter involves it being more difficult for her to bury the feces, and the litter will smell after one day of not cleaning it. I can only buy this litter online, or at pet stores. The cost can range from $15-$25 for a 30lb bag.
I don't use just one type of litter. I have been experimenting for months with different litters and keeping mental notes on cost, who uses what, what reactions Snoopy may have, tracking and smell. This was the result of the experiments. Also cost wise, I try to get two bags of stall day and newspaper pellets when I drive by the pet store each month. I also try to get three boxes of clumping litter once a month. As a result, I have enough litter so when I wash out all the litter boxes every fourth to sixth month, I have plenty to refill with and still have some put aside in case I don't go to the store and pick any up or emergencies that should arise.