- What is the Best Cat Litter?
- What Are the Different Types of Cat Litter?
- The Overall Best Cat Litter
- 11 More Really Good Cat Litters
- World’s Best Multiple Cat Clumping Cat Litter
- Fresh Step Multiple Cat Scoopable Clumping Cat Litter
- Blue Buffalo Naturally Fresh Walnut Multi-Cat Clumping Litter
- Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Odor Control Cat Litter
- Feline Pine Original Non-Clumping Cat Litter
- Okocat Natural Wood Clumping Cat Litter
- Cat’s Pride Fresh & Light Multi-Cat Scoopable Litter
- sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat Natural Wheat Cat Litter
- Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Multi-Cat Litter
- Yesterday’s News Original Unscented Cat Litter
- FAQs Regarding Cat Litter:
Not only do they spend hours out of everyday grooming themselves, but they learn to do their business in a neat little box.
You still have to scoop and clean the box, of course, but that’s a small price to pay for such a low-maintenance pet.
To make your job easier, take the time to choose the best cat litter. Keep in mind that all cats have their own preferences and different types of cat litter offer different benefits. So, how do you choose?
We’ve compiled a list of the top 8 different types of cat litter as well as the features they offer to help you make your choice. To take things one step further, we’ve also compiled reviews of what we think is the overall best cat litter as well as 12 other great options.
So, if you’re ready to everything you’ve ever wanted to know about cat litter (and more), keep reading!
What is the Best Cat Litter?
- Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Clumping Litter
- PrettyLitter – 20 % off w/ code BESTLITTER
- World’s Best Multiple Cat Clumping Cat Litter
- Fresh Step Multiple Cat Scoopable Clumping Cat Litter
- Blue Buffalo Naturally Fresh Walnut Multi-Cat Clumping Litter
- Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Odor Control Cat Litter
What Are the Different Types of Cat Litter?
When you walk into the pet store and head down the cat aisle, you’ll see that cat litter comes in all kinds. There are boxes, bags, and tubs, not to mention giant bins of cat litter with refillable containers.
How do you possibly choose when there are so many options?
The only way to choose the best cat litter for your cat is to learn about the different options and then make an educated decision. Here are the top 8 different types of cat litter:
The most common type of cat litter is made from clay – typically bentonite. Clay cat litter is highly absorbent and, depending on the brand, it has the potential to form tight clumps that are easy to scoop. Cat litter made from materials other than bentonite may not clump as well, but it is cheaper than clumping litter and some cats seem to prefer it. Though its clumping action is hard to beat and it is by far one of the most affordable and readily available options, clay cat litter can also be heavy and dusty – it is also non-biodegradable and generally not flushable.
Silica – This type of cat litter consists of crystals, or silica gel beads like those you find in the little white packets that come with products that can be damaged by moisture. Silica cat litter is highly absorbent and it controls odor fairly well, plus it is almost entirely dust-free. Many users say that crystal cat litter tracks less than clay, though some cats dislike the texture and the crystals can be dangerous if ingested in large amounts. Overall, however, silica cat litter tends to last longer than most varieties.
Corn – One of the most commonly used materials for natural cat litter, corn is a biodegradable material. Corn cat litter usually comes in fairly large pellets which makes it a safe choice for kittens, though it may not be as comfortable for very large or heavy cats. This type of litter has the potential to form hard clumps, and it doesn’t tend to stick to the litter box as much as some litters. There are some challenges with odor control for corn cat litter, though it does tend to be dust-free and low-tracking. Some brands of corn cat litter are flushable as well.
Wheat – This type of cat litter is usually made from secondary wheat – wheat that isn’t high enough in quality for human consumption. Wheat cat litter often looks and feels like scoopable clay litter and some brands clump just as well. This type of cat litter does tend to stick to the sides of the litter box when wet, however, and it may not control odors as well if it doesn’t form hard clumps. Some brands of wheat cat litter are very low in dust, though most brands seem to have trouble with tracking. Wheat cat litter is often flushable, though you may need to break up the clumps before doing so.
Pine – Typically made from lumber scraps or compressed sawdust, pine cat litter is heat-treated to remove oils, allergens, and toxins from the wood. Pine cat litter comes in granules, pellets, and larger pieces of roughly crushed pine, all with a natural pine scent that helps control litter box odor. This type of cat litter absorb liquid well, but it doesn’t tend to form hard clumps and it can sometimes be tricky to scoop. Plus, once the litter gets wet, it starts to break down and that can lead to a soggy mess and a fair bit of odor. Pine litter may need to be replaced more often than other varieties.
Walnut – Made from ground walnut shells, this type of cat litter comes in different textures, some fine and some coarse. Walnut cat litter usually clumps fairly well, depending on the brand, and there is virtually no dust. Unfortunately, this type of cat litter does tend to track a fair bit and some brands control odor better than others. Walnut cat litter is generally safe to flush, though some brands seem to discolor the toilet after some time. Another challenge is that this type of litter is dark brown in color which can make it tricky to see clumps and to know when it’s time to scoop the litter box.
Paper – Most paper cat litter is made from recycled newspaper, though there are other options. Paper cat litter tends to absorb liquid well, but it typically comes in pellets which do not clump. Once the paper material gets wet, it starts to break down and that can contribute to litter box odor. It also makes the litter harder to scoop. For the most part, paper cat litter produces little if any dust, which is beneficial for kittens and for cats with respiratory infections or eye problems. It also doesn’t track due to the larger pellet size and it is one of the more affordable options in natural cat litter.
Grass – One of the newest types of natural cat litter on the market, grass litter is biodegradable and several brands are made in the USA. Grass cat litter typically comes in small granules which are soft and gentle on a cat’s paws, plus it is easier to sift and scoop than many natural cat litters. This type of litter has the potential to clump well, making it even easier to scoop, and clumping litters tend to offer better odor control than non-clumping litters. Grass gat litter is highly absorbent and biodegradable, though that doesn’t necessarily make it flushable – this depends on the brand.
Now that you have an idea what different kinds of cat litter are out there, what are the benefits they offer? Each cat litter is unique, so keep reading to learn more!
What Features Do Different Cat Litters Offer?
All cat litter is not created equal.
Having learned about the different types of cat litter and some of the benefits they offer, you’re now ready to learn about the specific features you should look for in a cat litter.
Here are some of the features to look for in the best cat litter:
- Clumping vs non-clumping
- Odor control
- Scented vs unscented
- Multi-cat friendly
- Cat Attract
The first question you need to answer when it comes to cat litter is, “to clump or not to clump?”
Clumping cat litter forms tight, hard clumps around both liquid and solid waste. Not only does this help contain odor, but it also makes it easy to scoop. With a sifting scoop, you can lift away clumps while keeping clean litter in the litter box, so it can be reused. Clumping litter also traps liquid before it seeps to the bottom of the box where it can be difficult to remove.
Though clumping cat litter seems like an obvious choice, some cats simply don’t like it. Plus, non-clumping cat litter is typically the cheaper of the two options.
When it comes to odor control, clumping cat litter traps odors inside the litter box. Non-clumping cat litter can get stuck in your cat’s paws and then be tracked all over the house. There is also the risk that he might ingest some of it during grooming. Some non-clumping cat litters use additives like baking soda or artificial fragrances to cover up odors, but these ingredients are best avoided.
Dust and tracking are two more things to think about when shopping for the best cat litter.
A dusty cat litter won’t just get all over your furniture and floor – it could also irritate your cat’s sensitive eyes, nose, and respiratory system. You also want to look for a litter that won’t stick to your cat’s paws. Look for a non-tracking litter or place an anti-tracking cat litter mat outside the litter box as an added layer of protection.
If you have more than one cat in your house, it may be tough to find a cat litter that everyone is happy with. Multi-cat litters are often made with added fragrances for odor control, but if you choose a high-quality clumping litter and scoop the box often, this shouldn’t be necessary. If you do choose a cat litter that contains additives for odor control, make sure they are natural and not synthetic.
Another practical thing to think about with cat litter is the weight. Nothing is worse than lugging a 40-pound box of cat litter up the stairs. You have two options to solve this problem:
Buy your cat litter in smaller packages.
Buy a lightweight cat litter.
Some types of cat litter are naturally lighter than others, so refer back to the previous list of the different types of cat litter to see which option might be best.
Finally, we come to the issue of biodegradability.
Clay cat litter is non-biodegradable – neither is silica or crystal cat litter. This also generally means that it is not safe to flush. Your only option is to scoop the litter box and to throw it away with the trash.
Most natural cat litters are biodegradable, though not all of them are flushable. These are two separate features, though they often overlap. If sustainability is important to you, you may want to consider buying a natural cat litter made from recycled materials. The fact that you may also be able to flush the clumps down the toilet is an added bonus.
It’s important to keep in mind that the type of litter you prefer may not be the same kind your cat prefers. But what exactly do cats like in a litter? Keep reading to find out.
What Do Cats Actually Prefer?
If you own a cat, you already know how ornery they can be.
It isn’t uncommon for a cat to turn up his nose at an expensive new toy, then spend hours playing with the box it came in. Cats are notoriously difficult when it comes to their preferences.
So, what kind of cat litter do cats actually prefer?
While each cat is an individual, most cats prefer a fine-textured litter that forms hard clumps and doesn’t contain any fragrances or additives. As much as you might like the added odor control of a scented litter, many cats have sensitive eyes and respiratory systems that can be bothered by dusty, synthetically fragranced litter.
This doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that unscented clumping clay litter is your only option.
With so many different types of cat litter to choose from, you can try out a few different kinds to see what your cat likes best. In the end, it is probably more important to keep the litter box clean by scooping it often than to spend a fortune on fancy litter every month.
But what do we recommend as the best cat litter? Keep reading to find out.
|Our 2020 Picks: Best Cat Litters – 2020|
The Overall Best Cat Litter
If you’re looking for a hard-clumping cat litter that doesn’t track and is virtually dust-free, try Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Clumping Litter. This cat litter features a unique formulation that combines heavy non-tracking granules with a medium-grain clay to form tight clumps that are easy to scoop and that offer excellent odor control. This litter is perfect for multi-cat households and, because it is 99.9% dust-free, it is hypoallergenic as well. Use this litter in a traditional litter box or try a sifting or mechanical litter box to make it even easier to keep your cat’s litter box clean.
- Pros: Forms hard clumps, excellent odor control, unscented, dust-free formula, hypoallergenic, low-tracking, designed for multi-cat households, inexpensive
- Cons: Fairly heavy, smallest size is 18 pounds, not biodegradable
11 More Really Good Cat Litters
With so many different options available, it’s a good idea to look at several before you make your choice. Here are ten more really good cat litters to think about:
- 20% off with code BESTLITTER
- Detects changes in pH that might indicate medical issues and changes color
- Silica gel traps odors and eliminates moisture
- Reduced dust and mess
PrettyLitter’s most amazing benefit is that it changes color when it detects a pH change to alert you to your cat’s possible health issues. PrettyLitter can detect health issues such as urinary tract infections, bladder stones, inflammation, kidney issues, and more. It is also lightweight and unscented. With a once-a-month convenient delivery service, PrettyLitter costs less than some other typical cat litters and the amount is tailored to suit the number of cats in your home. The super absorbent silica gel traps odors and eliminates moisture and is made from natural minerals, which means less dust and allergens and less litter in the landfill.
- Made from natural minerals
- Detects pH change that may indicate medical issues
- Less dust and mess
- Convenient delivery service
- Non-clumping can cause tracking
- Subscription service
In a multi-cat household, you need a litter that offers superior odor control. World’s Best Multiple Cat Clumping Cat Litter instantly traps odors and forms tight, easy to scoop clumps to make your job easier. This cat litter is made from natural compressed corn, so it is almost completely dust-free, not to mention environmentally friendly – it is even safe to flush. Simply put, this natural cat litter is a great option if you’re looking for a product that takes the work out of scooping the litter box and leaves your home smelling fresh and odor-free.
- Pros: Made from natural corn materials, environmentally friendly, safe to flush, forms tight clumps, instantly traps odors, 99% dust-free formula, great for multi-cat households
- Cons: May develop an earthy odor when wet, clumps may break apart if not scooped daily
If you really want to eliminate litter box odor, this Fresh Step Multiple Cat Scoopable Clumping Cat Litter might be a good choice. This cat litter combines the power of Fresh Step litter with the odor control of Febreeze in a tight-clumping, low-dust formula. With Fresh Step ClumpLock Technology, this litter destroys odors on contact and makes your job of scooping the litter box easier than ever. It offers plenty of odor-fighting protection which is great for multi-cat households and it has a fresh scent that won’t bother your cat’s nose. Plus, it is low in dust and low-tracking for minimal mess.
- Pros: ClumpLock Technology destroys odors, forms tight clumps, excellent odor control, great for multi-cat households, low tracking formula, lost-dust formula, fresh scent
- Cons: Some cats may not like the scent, packaging can be awkward to open
Brought to you by one of the top pet product brands in the industry, this Blue Buffalo Naturally Fresh Walnut Multi-Cat Clumping Litter is a great option for natural cat litter. Made from walnut shells, this cat litter is environmentally-friendly and completely renewable. It traps odors better then pine, clay, and wheat litters but still offers hard-clumping action for easy scooping. This litter neutralizes odors on contact and absorbs liquid quickly to prevent it from sinking to the bottom of the box. Plus, it is completely free from chemicals, toxins, and fragrances so it is safe for all cats and kittens.
- Pros: Made from renewable resources, environmentally friendly, forms hard clumps, neutralizes odors on contact, low-dust and low-tracking, great for multi-cat households, no artificial additives
- Cons: May be dusty when first pouring, dark colored granules may disguise clumps
For long-lasting odor control, try this Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Odor Control Cat Litter. This cat litter comes in a wide range of sizes from a 14-pound jug up to a 40-pound box, so you can buy as much or as little as you like. This clumping clay litter offers 24/7 performance thanks to a natural deodorizing system that forms hard clumps and neutralizes odors on contact. Perfect for multi-cat households, this litter is 99.9% dust-free and it keeps your home smelling fresh.
- Pros: Forms hard clumps, natural deodorizing system, 24/7 odor protection, comes in several sizes, great for multi-cat households, 99.9% dust-free formula
- Cons: May stick to the litter box when wet, fairly heavy, may track somewhat
If you’re looking for a natural cat litter from a trusted brand, try Feline Pine Original Non-Clumping Cat Litter. This pine-based litter is highly absorbent, soaking up liquid and locking away ammonia odors on contact. It is all-natural and clay-free which means that there isn’t any dust to irritate your cat’s eyes and respiratory system. It is not a clumping cat litter, but it offers the odor-fighting power of natural pine without the use of harsh chemicals and perfumes. Plus, it has recently been reformulated and now absorbs odors twice as fast as the original Feline Pine.
- Pros: Highly absorbent, natural pine materials, no dust, no chemicals or perfumes, absorbs liquid and odors very quickly, clay-free, natural pine scent
- Cons: Doesn’t form clumps, some cats dislike the pine scent
This cat litter is different from any cat litter you’ve ever seen. It is made from reclaimed timber and lumber materials in fine, lightweight pellets that absorb up to 500% their weight in liquid. Okocat Natural Wood Clumping Cat Litter is 100% natural and ecofriendly, plus it is biodegradable and safe to flush. This cat litter contains no fragrances or chemicals, but it features patented Odor Shield Technology to lock away odors for up to 7 days. This cat litter is lightweight and highly absorbent with superior clumping ability, making it easy to scoop with less mess and less waste.
- Pros: Made from 100% natural materials, ecofriendly and biodegradable, safe to flush, forms hard clumps, locks away odors for 7 days, highly absorbent, lasts longer than clay litters, lightweight
- Cons: Regular scoops may not work well, tracks more than other litters
If you’re looking for an affordable brand of cat litter, this Cat’s Pride Fresh & Light Multi-Cat Scoopable Litter is a great option. Not only is it affordably priced, but it is 25% lighter than the average cat litter. This cat litter works to trap urine and eliminate odor on contact, leaving your home smelling fresh and clean for longer than ever. It is great for multi-cat households and the hard-clumping formula makes it easy to scoop. This cat litter is free from perfumes and dyes, so it won’t irritate your cat’s sensitive nose, and it is endorsed by the American Humane Society, so you know it’s a great product.
- Pros: 25% lighter than regular litter, forms hard clumps, eliminates odor on contact, easy to scoop, great for multi-cat households, free from perfumes and dyes
- Cons: May be a little dusty, may track more than other litters
Easily the most popular brand of wheat cat litter, sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat Natural Wheat Cat Litter is a great option if you’re concerned about odor. Not only does this wheat cat litter eliminate odor on contact, but it clumps harder and faster than many natural cat litters. This litter is perfect for multi-cat households with its long-lasting odor protection and it contains no added dyes or perfumes. Plus, it is ecofriendly and completely biodegradable. There are several other formulas to choose from as well, including a premium and fast-clumping variety.
- Pros: Completely natural and biodegradable, eliminates odor on contact, forms hard clumps, no dyes or perfumes, long-lasting odor protection, great for multi-cat households
- Cons: May be a little dusty, tracks more than some litters, clumps may break apart
If you’re tired of clumps breaking apart and leaving a mess in your litter box, try Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Multi-Cat Litter. This cat litter is made with a proprietary blend of moisture-activated micro-granules that form hard clumps, sealing in odor on contact. It is formulated specifically for multi-cat households, locking in odors for up to 7 days. This formula is easy to scoop and low-tracking, plus it is a low-dust formula so it won’t irritate your cat’s sensitive nose. Plus, the micro-granules are very fine in texture and soft, so your cat will be perfectly comfortable using it.
- Pros: Locks away odors for 7 days, great for multi-cat households, soft micro-granules, low-dust and low-tracking, easy to scoop
- Cons: Some cats are bothered by the scent, may be dusty when first pouring
If you’re looking for a non-clumping cat litter that is environmentally-friendly and cost-effective, try this Yesterday’s News Original Unscented Cat Litter. Made from recycled newspaper, this litter comes in small pellets that absorb liquid on contact. Not only is this eco-friendly cat litter good for the environment, but it traps liquid and is almost completely dust-free so both you and your cat can breathe easy. It is three times as absorbent as clay litter, but it is low-dust and low-tracking which makes up for the fact that it doesn’t clump. It’s a great choice for kittens and senior cats.
- Pros: Made from recycled newspaper, highly absorbent, low-dust formula, low-tracking pellets, environmentally friendly, no added dyes or perfumes
- Cons: Doesn’t form clumps, may stick to the litter box when wet, may not contain odors well
FAQs Regarding Cat Litter:
Now that you have learned everything you need to know about the different types of cat litter, you’re ready to start shopping!
One more thing before you do… here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about cat litter:
- What is the Best Type of Cat Litter? – There are two ways to answer this question. On the one hand, the best type of cat litter is the type your cat prefers and will consistently use. On the other hand, some would argue that the best cat litter is made with natural, biodegradable ingredients and forms hard clumps for odor control and easy scooping. Simply put, different types of cat litter offer different benefits, so it is up to you to decide which option is best for you and for your cat.
- When Should You Change Your Cat’s Litter? – Generally speaking, you should plan to scoop your cat’s litter box once a day (or every other day) and change the litter at least twice a month. If you choose a non-clumping litter, you may find it easier to scoop daily and change out the litter entirely every week, so it doesn’t become a wet and smelly mess. The best thing to do is to scoop your litter box as often as you can and change the litter as often as necessary to keep it fresh for your cat.
- How Deep Should Your Cat Litter Be? – When it comes to filling your cat’s litter box, you need to make it deep enough that he can dig around a little bit but not so deep that he won’t use it. Most cats prefer about 2 to 3 inches of cat litter in the box, so you may need to add a little more after scooping it a couple of times. If your cat is flinging litter outside the box or if he seems to wobble while he’s in it, you might be using too much.
- Can You Flush Cat Litter? – It is generally best to assume that cat litter is not flushable unless the package clearly states that it is. Clay cat litter is generally not flushable, though some natural cat litters are. Even if the package states that the litter is flushable, however, you should check to see whether you need to take an extra step like breaking up the clumps before you flush.
By now you should know that there is no such thing as the “perfect” cat litter.
All cats have their own unique preferences, and not all cat litters are created equal. This being said, some cat litters offer more benefits than others, so it’s up to you to decide which combination of features is best for you and for your cat.
If you’re still not sure where to start when it comes to choosing the best cat litter, try our top pick for the best cat litter overall or choose another option from the list above.
Let us know in the comments below what your favorite cat litter is and what you love about it!