Last week I answered a letter from Birgit Hahn of Fremont who said her cat's favorite kitty litter brand, Fresh Step, had changed its formula and was now so heavily perfumed and dusty that it was unpleasant. She also worried about breathing in all that dust.

My inbox overflowed with email from people experiencing the same issues with Fresh Step, and recommending a variety of other brands. I appreciate everyone writing in, and here's what you had to say.

DEAR JOAN: Ms. Hahn and I have something in common, and it's not what my spouse calls "hypersensitive nose." For the last four cycles of purchasing Unscented Fresh Step litter I have noticed that it is perfumed and dusty, so much so that yesterday as I was cleaning the box a plume of perfumed dust flew up into my face, eyes and nose.

As I raced to the bathroom basin to wash my face I was reminded of my cat's paws, which were smelling more like perfumed litter than not. Once again, I checked the front of the box that clearly notes "Unscented."

I purchased surgical masks to protect me from the overly scented dust. However, now that another cat owner has sent out the question of the "New Scented Unscented Fresh Step," I too will have to find another clumping unscented non-dusting litter product.

Please do thank Ms. Hahn for writing. This morning my nose has been vindicated and my spouse is rightly contrite.

Katherine Coviello

Bay Area

DEAR KATHERINE: I'm waiting for a reply from Fresh Scent to see if they have an explanation and if they are planning to make changes, because your letter wasn't the only one I got. My apologies to Birgit for thinking she was just buying the wrong kind.

DEAR JOAN: My cat is about 12 years old. I have used Fresh Step clumping litter for many years, and then the fragrance-free litter became worse no matter which version I got.

I started mixing it with Arm & Hammer Super Scoop, fragrance-free, but none of the products was really unscented and also produced lots of dust.

I did some research and now I am using Dr. Elsey's Ultra Precious Cat. I buy it at Petco.

Now, as far as litter is concerned, my cat and I are both happy. No fragrance, no dust. I should point out that when making a change, it's best to do it gradually, adding the new into the old.

Dora Werner

Walnut Creek

DEAR JOAN: I have used unscented Fresh Step for years, but a few months ago my husband and I noticed all the dust from cleaning the cat box. It was terrible. We had that dust practically all over the house.

We switched to a brand that we buy at Walmart called Cats Pride. It is only about $5 for the container. Our cats had no problem with the switch.

Ginney Juarez

Pittsburg

The suggestions

In addition to Dr. Elsey's and Cat's Pride, readers also recommended Special Kitty; Blue Buffalo, made from crushed walnut shells; World's Best Cat Litter, made of corn; Smart Litter; Litter Purrfect; and Precious Cat.

All of these brands are available at pet food stores and other retailers.

Contact Joan Morris at jmorris@bayareanewsgroup.com or 1700 Cavallo Road, Antioch, CA 94509. Follow her at Twitter.com/AskJoanMorris.