According to VPI Pet Insurance records, the Number 1 reason for cats' veterinary appointments is Lower Urinary Tract Disease aka FLUTD. FLUTD is most often caused by urolithiasis, struvite crystals, which collect in the urethra. As they bond together they eventually can block the tube, preventing the flow of urine out of the bladder; which causes the cat to have to strain to pee. Crystals which collect in the walls of the bladder can cause infection, although that is not always present. Worse yet, if the blockage of the urethra becomes complete, the cat can die of toxins which build up in the blood.
Often caregivers do not recognize the early symptoms of FLUTD until the condition is advanced, and it becomes an emergency. Pebdirect, Inc., saw the need for some kind of an early warning system for FLUTD, a visual alert that cannot be ignored. Perfect Litter Alert was developed to successfuly do exactly that, which I can testify to, after my experience with using it for my four cats.
How Perfect Litter Alert Works
Cats' urine should be acidic, ideally within a general pH range of 6.1 and 6.5, with the lower value being more acidic. As the pH rises above this range, the warning signs of potential urinary tract health problems increases. It should be noted that a higher pH will sometimes spike as a result of other factors:
- A Sudden Change in Food
- Eating too fast
- Eating a Highly Alkaline Meal
Perfect Litter Alert is a light, fluffy litter, made of perlite and vermiculite. A natural clumping substance is added, which is, according to PEBDirect, "safe enough to be used in food products such as soups, etc." It is clumpable and flushable, although soiled cat litter should never be flushed in California. This warning is prominently displayed on the bags of Perfect Litter Alert, a fact which I appreciate. Actually, Perfect Litter Alert can be and is used at any time for any cat; not just cats suspected of having FLUTD.
However, the added bonus that appealed to me most when I decided to try out this cat litter is the way the urine clump colors change when the cat's urine pH rises. As you can see from the pH Color Change Chart (second photo above), a decidedly bright pink is a sure warning sign that a cat needs to go to the veterinarian ASAP for exam and lab tests for potential FLUTD, as I discovered during my product testing.
FLUTD can be fatal if not treated in time. I discovered that quite suddenly when our gray tabby, Bubba, developed it several years ago. At that time, Bubba was an indoor-outdoor cat, and we didn't even keep litter boxes in the house. If we had, we might have seen the early warning signs, such as difficulty urinating, evidenced by straining to pee; blood in the urine; constant licking of the genitals; or urinating outside the box. I also did not observe Bubba's lethargy, and when my husband found him late one afternoon, lethargic, with his nictating membrane, aka third eyelid showing, we rushed him to our veterinarian, where he remained in treatment for over a week, with a catheter of bloody urine dripping from his bladder.
Had Bubba been an indoor only cat, we likely would have noticed at least some of those symptoms. Perfect Litter Alert provides an additional early warning system, in that it clearly and visually indicates the possible presence of FLUTD.
Subject Test Cat #1: Jaspurr
Since our home has been on the market, with lots of strangers coming and going, I've found several instances of inappropriate urination on the floor. I attributed them to our 9 year old Jaspurr, whom I had caught in the past urinating on the throw rug next to the master bedroom shower. I also attributed it mostly to stress, since he had shown no other signs of illness. On the other hand, I was pleased at the opportunity of testing and reviewing Perfect Litter Alert.
Indeed, after the litter arrived, and I had completed the initial transition to it according to the instructions, I was relieved to see absolutely no change in the litter color, which was a relief, as to my cats' urinary health. However, for purposes of the review, I needed to see with my own eyes what would happen with a high urine pH reading; otherwise I wouldn't be able to write that "this litter works as advertised." I spoke to the CEO of Pebdirect, Inc., about these concerns, and he offered to send me a vial of a high base liquid which they use in their laboratories.
As it turned out, that was not necessary, because several days later, I found a large, very pink clump of litter in the box. As a side note, with four cats using our litter boxes, it is difficult to know which cat left which "donation." However, under the circumstances, the finger pointed to Jaspurr, so he went to the vet right away. Indeed, his IDEX lab reports showed a pH level of 7.5, but there was no evidence of bacterial infection, and all the other values were normal. After questioning me, our vet arrived with a diagnosis of idiopathic cystitis, and prescribed Buspirone (Brand name BusPar), which is also prescribed for human patients for anxiety. Certainly the recent stress of the entire household could be a cause for anxiety. As of the date of this article, I have observed no new out-of-the-box accidents.
Subject Test Cat #2: Jennifur aka Jenny
Four days after Jaspurr's veterinary appointment, I observed Jenny preparing to use the litter box containing the Perfect Litter Alert. I gave her her privacy, but about 15 minutes later, went back to the utility room housing the litter boxes and saw a very large, pink clump of litter in that box. I knew it was Jenny's because it was exactly where she had been squatting, and Jaspurr had been asleep on my bed the whole time.
I called our vet clinic and got an appointment that same afternoon. Dr. D. collected Jenny's urine by ultrasound Cystocentesis (a needle inserted into the bladder), as he had with Jaspurr. Because blood was observed in the urine, an antibiotic injection was also given. (Although the blood could be the result of the needle, it could also indicate infection.)
The following day, the IDEX report revealed no bacteria nor crystals, but significant blood at 3+ and RBC of 75-100, with a reference range of 0 - 5. The pH of Jenny's was slightly high, at 7.0.The interesting thing is that the soiled litter was almost identical to the "Mild" indicator color on the chart.
I'd rate Perfect Litter Alert by the same criteria as other litters, except that it is really a specialty litter, and it shines when used for its designed purpose. Other considerations:
Its clumpability is a fraction less than that of World's Best Cat Litter. The larger clumps adhere together well, but the smaller ones need to be chased down with the scoop. I attribute this to its light texture.
- Odor Control
About the same as other premium litters I've used. Very slight odor of urine, if any, but unless well buried, my cats' feces could clear a stadium.
Very little tracking by cats' feet. However, my cats are litter hurlers when covering their waste, so there's alway a dusting of litter around the boxes, regardless of the brand.
- Comparative Cost
Pound-for-pound, it is costly. However a pound of Perfect Litter Alert covers a much larger area and depth in a litter box than most litters.