If it moves, it dies.
TOFU is a versatile byproduct of soybeans that can be turned into a variety of dishes. But in Japan, they have pushed the “tofu envelope” by making cat litter sand out of drained tofu and white birch wood.
If you are a cat parent who is as curious as a cat, you'd be wont to try the Okara tofu cat litter simply because it's like something straight out of the kitchen lab. We tested this unique product to satisfy our curiosity and to see if it really delivers on its promise.
Chong, our resident Balinese cat, went on a solo testing adventure for this one. Chong is a fastidious cat who doesn't like to get his paws dirty. For that reason, Chong doesn't like using cat litter as much as possible and prefers his wee-wee and poo-poo pan clean and dry.
For days, we left a litter box filled with Okara tofu sand next to Chong's pan. He snubbed it, as expected. But on Day 4, he finally left a large clump inside the box—proof that curiosity got the better of him and he experimented by doing “No. 1” when nobody was looking.
Here's Chong sniffing around the box of Okara cat litter.
You'll know Okara is made from real tofu because it smells like one. In fact, the smell is quite strong when you open the bag for the first time. But that and the birch wood's scent, effectively counter the smell of ammonia in cat's urine. To make sure no foul odor develops, Okara also added apple scent in the mix.
We like the size of the pellets; not too chunky and not too tiny either. The pellets are highly-absorbent and easy to scoop for disposal.
Here's a short video clip to show how the clumping looks like.
Used Okara cat litter can be flushed in the toilet, discarded along with other trash or burned. But why burn it when you can just flush it?
The makers of Okara said the used tofu litter can also be recycled as fertilizer.
One issue we have with ordinary cat litter is it makes cats track dirt around the house and their paws become smelly especially after stepping on litter that is already days old. These didn't happen with Chong at all, although he did leave some dirt on the floor because of his tendency to vigorously dig around his litter box.
We noticed a film of dust that settled and clung at the bottom and the sides of the litter box, respectively. It becomes pronounced when we give the litter box a shake to evenly spread out the tofu litter pellets and when topping up the old batch. Printed on the back of the Okara plastic bag was an explanation that there's actually powder in the mix which helps the clumping process.
You get 7 liters worth of Okara tofu-based cat litter in every bag. We poured all of it inside Chong's litter box and it reached about 9 inches deep. For Chong's personal use, we reckon 2 inches of it would be enough and, based on our test, that quantity lasted for about five days before we felt the need to completely change it. At that rate, it will take one cat almost a month to finish a bag of Okara.
The makers of Okara suggested mixing your cat's old litter brand with theirs to condition the cat to use the environment-friendly tofu variant. Or you can be more stubborn than your cat and let them get used to it eventually so that you can preserve the flushable character of the Okara.
Overall, we are quite pleased with this product specially how it helped change an old cat's habit. Like him, we will never look at tofu the same way again, which is not a bad thing.
Chong now switches between his plain litter box and the one with Okara pellets, which tells us that he doesn't completely abhor cat litter anymore. But he still would not let us photograph him doing his toilet business. This plastic cat model should do for now -- Alma J. Buelva
* Say "Ciao" to your cats' finicky eating habits