Best Cat Litter
Litter is to cats what toilet paper is to us. You can sit on the most posh throne it there, but if you have nothing to wipe with, you will hate it. We all have your toilet paper preferences too. Some people love scented, some people hate it. Some people like little designs and colors, some don’t. There are so many choices you can make about toilet paper and most are made subconsciously. Cats are the same. When choosing litter for your cat, remember that it is something that your cat will use several times a day and will have an impact on your furry friend’s wellbeing. We searched the market to find the best litter for any type of cat or multiple cat household.But remember that no litter will do the manual labor for you – you need to clean out your cat’s litter box twice a day and replace the litter every week(depending on the amount of cats and type of litter) or even the most premium litter will make your cat’s life unpleasant.
In this guide, we have compiled a set of criteria for you to judge cat litter by. They are listed in no particular order, as each cat is an individual with different needs. Scientists and cats agree that clumping litters are the best, so we will focus on how to choose the best products in the category of clumping litters. Most cats love clumping litters, especially the clay ones, and the clumps are easy to scoop up for us humans. Unlike non-clumping litters where you need to take out all the litter, you can removed just the clumped litter and feces from clumping litter types.This makes clumping litters better for your wallet, since you don’t need to replace the contents of the entire litter box as often.
That being said, animals, especially cats, are creatures of habit. If your cat looks displeased with the current state of your litter box set up, by all means change it, but do so gradually. Don’t switch from one litter to another in one go. You should mix the new litter in with the old one, just like when you switch cat foods. If the change seems acceptable, slowly up the percentage of the new litter and add less of the old litter.Basically, you don’t want your cat to notice the change, since change is negative for our furry friends. Did you find any other important criteria that help you choose the best litter for your cat? Let us know!
Top Picks Comparison
Watch out for Dust
The first thing you should look out for is dust. All cat litter has some dust and even if you have been buying the same brand for years, you will notice that one package is dustier than another.There are, however, materials that are dustier than others are. Clumping litter that are made of clay are dustier than wheat or corn clumping litter, for example. This is one of the only downsides to clay clumping litter though, as most cats love clay-based litter! A downside of natural, less dusty clumping litters is that they are more expensive. There is no easy and complete solution to eliminating that puff of dust when you pour litter into the pan, but if your litter is significantly dusty and makes your or your cat uncomfortable, it’s time to switch. This is especially important for households with humans or animals with breathing issues such as asthma or lots of sneezing and coughing.If any of these health problems sound familiar, do not use silica crystal litter or clay litter, try paper or corn litter.
No Litter Tracking
The best cat litters are simply those that your cat doesn’t track outside of the litter box. Of course clumping litters are a classic choice for tracking resistant litter, but you can also buy litter pellets, which are larger than other litter materials so they don’t get stuck in cat paws as easily. Another low-tracking option are silica crystals. Of course, if your feline overlord is a vigorous digger, you will get tracking no matter what you do, but a litter mat and a non-tracking litter will help reduce the tracking significantly.
You might prefer scented litter, but studies have proven that cats prefer unscented. Maybe your cat gets mildly unhappy when you try to mix some scented litter into the litter box, but watch out! If your cat begins to hate the litter box, you will face a much bigger problem than non-scented litter. If your cat accepts scented litter, don’t worry too much.This part is mostly for kitties that are hesitant or apprehensive about strong smells.
Natural Cat Litters
Are you passionate about reducing waste and fighting pollution? Recycled litters are not only eco-friendly, but they are also easier to clean up – you can just flush them down the toilet, they won’t clog it. One popular option in this category is recycled paper litter, which is completely biodegradable, very absorbent and dust-free. The paper is shaped into pellets or granules, so you can choose between clumping and non-clumping with this material. Pine litter is another great option if you want to go green. It is made using old lumber scraps and comes in three forms: crushed, pellets or granules. Unfortunately, these natural litters are more expensive than other litter options. If you are worried about your cat or any other pets swallowing some litter, these litters are much safer to ingest than any other type.
This one is a biggie for us humans. We love our cat, but not the litter box smell. The litters that are the best at absorbing odors are actually grass litters and non-clumping litters. They contain charcoal or baking soda to help contain the smell. Unfortunately, they are dustier that way. If your cat is happy with a non-clumping litter, then that is the litter you should buy. There are many odor concealing cat litters out there, but watch out, this just means they are scented! Ideally, we want to minimize the odor, not try to cover it up. Cats have very sensitive noses and they will thank you for knowing the difference.
Covered versus Uncovered Litter Boxes
Of course, the litter you choose to buy is of utmost importance, but you also have to consider what litter box you will be putting the litter in. Some cats prefer covered litter boxes to make them feel safe, others hate the enclosed space and need an uncovered litter box. If your cat likes a covered litter box, then dust will play a big role in your cat litter selection. If your feline friend digs in such a confined space, the dust will be much more concentrated in a closed litter box than in an open space.
Open top litter boxes are less worrisome with respect to dust, but they make us notice the odor more. If your cat has an uncovered litter box, consider odor control and absorption (not covering up!)your mission in finding the perfect litter.
Fine Litter or Big Chunks
Most cats seem to prefer fine litter of unscented, natural materials. As mentioned before, fine-grained litters are better at absorbing odor, but there are some risks involved. If you are a dog and cat owner, fine grains of litter that your dog inevitably ingests could cause alarming health problems. This is also the case with kittens, especially those that are younger than 3 months old. Observe your pets and their behavior around the litter box. If any of them likes to lick or swallow litter, it is best to avoid fine-grained litter as the small particles could cause illness, especially if ingested in larger amounts.
Large granules or litter pellets may not absorb smells as well as fine grains of litter, but they are far less likely to be ingested by a curious animal. They are also more difficult to track out of the litter box because the pellets will not get stuck in your cat’s paws as easily.
Litters for Multiple Cats
If you are looking for a litter suitable for multiple cats, these are the things to look out for and focus on. First, you want to get a cat litter that is marketed as extremely absorbent. With multiple kitties using one litter box, you definitely need more absorbency than a one-cat household. Your second go-to is of course odor control. All of the criteria listed above apply, but for multiple cat litters, these two are at the top of our list of priorities. Litters that specifically say they are for multiple cats are generally more absorbent and odor reducing than other litters out there, so just seeing that on the package means that this is some heavy duty litter. If any cat in your household has allergies, make sure to check the litter you choose is safe and will not cause any allergic reactions. If any of your cats is less than a year old, we would advise you to get non-clumping litter like silica crystals so your kitten doesn’t have health problems from ingesting litter. Clumping litter is dangerous in this aspect because it absorbs water, even after it is in your cat’s body. This could lead to your cat's digestive system being blocked, which requires immediate veterinary attention!
What if my cat hates any litter I tried?
If you’re desperately looking for the best litter for your furry friend and nothing you buy seems to be satisfactory, there could be a variety of other problems than litter itself. First of all, check your litter box. Did you recently switch types of litter box? Was your cat used to a specific type of litter box from a previous owner? Always check your cat’s history and don’t make changes from what your cat knows unless necessary. The second thing to look at is the litter box size. If you have your cat since it was a kitten, chances are that the cat outgrew the litter box.Does your cat have enough space to turn around in the litter box comfortably?If it is an open litter box, make sure the sides are low enough to let your cat get in and out comfortably. We don’t want to make bathroom time uncomfortable and unpleasant. If it is a closed litter box, make sure the cat door is big enough for your cat. If the door is a bit higher off the ground, check that the surface is paw and claw friendly. Your cat needs to be able to jump out without slipping. Last but not least, litter box location. Cats need peace and quiet too for their business, just like we do. If the litter box is in a noisy or crowded place, chances are that this deters your cat from using the litter box. Place the litter box away from the cat’s food and water, cats like to keep the food and bathroom separate.
Checklist for Choosing Best Cat Litter
- Clay litter is the least expensive option
- No clumping litter for kittens, they could swallow some!
- Odor control is better than odor concealing, minimize odor rather than conceal it.
- The less dust, the better. Dustman cause health problems to you and your cat.
- Most cats love unscented, natural litters
- Litter might not be the problem, check with your cat’s previous owners
Top 10 Picks
World's Best Cat Litter for Multiple Cats
Despite the ambitious name, this multiple cat litter is really the best one out there. It is made of whole kernel corn, does not contain any scent or perfume and you can even safely flush it down the drain. If you have multiple cats, this litter is the best in terms of odor control and ease of cleaning. If you are a one-cat person, this bag can last you four months! Sure, the price is higher than many other litters, but World’s Best has everything your cat ever wanted from litter. It is dust-free so you will not have to worry about the dust allergy of anyone in your household. It may be unscented, but this actually makes it better for your cat and you never have to wonder if you will like your litter perfume. It also clumps quickly and neatly, which helps fight odor and significantly helps with cleaning up. The clumps don’t become rock hard and difficult to scrape off the litter box either, so this litter is just the best choice for anyone.
- Eco-friendly whole kernel corn litter
- Unscented but very odor absorbing
- More expensive than other litters
Purina Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Cat Litter
This is a great clay clumping litter, also made for multiple cats. It boasts maximum odor control and comes in a scented and unscented version. If your cat is sensitive to perfumes, be sure to get the unscented version or your cat just might avoid using litter! Other than that, the clumps absorb any ammonia smell and work very well to keep your cat’s litter smelling fresh. The strong perfume in the 24/7 Performance version of this product can be a bit off-putting, which is why we are also listing the Free & Clean variant here. Free & Clean has no added perfuming or colors and has charcoal for extra odor control. All cats are bound to love this natural clay litter, and owners will appreciate the odor control and ease of clean up. Because this litter is made using clay, not corn like the World’s Best litter, it is considerably cheaper.
- Great value for the price
- Scented and unscented option
- Clay is every cat’s favorite
Purina Tidy Cats LightWeight 24/7 Performance Cat Litter
Another litter by Purina, this one is lightweight, which means that you get more material for the same great price. Lightweight litters are also great for our feline friends because they are much easier to dig in than heavy litter granules. It also means you get a more voluminous package that weighs the same as heavier litters. As with the previous Purina litter, there is a 24/7 Performance scented option for cats that do not mind heavy perfumes and a non-scented Free & Clean option for kitties with fine noses. This is the best litter to buy if you or your cat are allergic to dust as it contains significantly less dust than other commercially available litters. Given that it is specifically lightweight, the price point is higher than the aforementioned Purina product, but well worth the price. As this litter is clay, it is NOT flushable like World’s Best.
- Lightweight means easier to dig in
- Higher price point than the other Purina Tidy Cats
- More value for the price
Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Attract Cat Litter
Do you have a feral cat buddy, a senior who has decided to do his business “free range” or just a stubborn kitty that refuses the litter box? This is the best litter for all these problems. It contains a mixture of herbs that cats will love to investigate. It was made with love specifically to help cats love their litter, so it has the perfect texture, particle size and clumps that make going in the litter much easier. Furthermore, it is perfect for training kittens so they will not get litter stuck in their paws or ingest it. It prevents tracking, is much less dusty than most litters and controls odor so you will forever be rid of the infamous litter box smell. The texture and weight of the litter is made specifically to be pleasant to cats. Sadly, most litters are made more with the cat owner in mind than the cat, so Cat Attract litter is unique in its purpose and motivation.
- Made for problem cats
- Contains herbs to attract cats
- Perfect texture and material that cats love
Fresh Step Multi-Cat Scoopable Clumping Litter
This litter boasts the best odor control. Fresh Step litter has activated charcoal and a no odor for 10 days guarantee. Even if you have a sensitive nose, you will probably forget there is a litter box in your house because the smell will not remind you. The clay forms tight clumps with no crumbles or smell left in the litter box. The clay is very fine and soft to make it easy for cats to dig in. The packaging is very practical as it comes in smaller packages wrapped together. This way, you don’t have to cut open one bag and have it spill or keep you guessing for how long will you have this amount of litter. You don’t have to worry about resealable boxes or hauling heavy litter around since this is very mindfully separated into smaller portions. We would recommend this litter as the best overall choice for older cat owners or just anyone who cannot haul heavy packages around the house. The price of this litter is another thing that sets it apart from the other premium litters.
- Ideal packaging for older cat owners – 4 bags instead of one huge one
- Very wallet-friendly
- Easy to clean up, no odor
Tidy Cats Scoop Immediate Odor Control Cat Litter
Tidy Cats Scoop is a highly cost effective litter, which is formulated primarily to help with the odor of used cat litter. It stops the smell of urine, ammonia and cat feces from ever getting out of the litter box. It is specially designed to withstand being used by several cats, making it the best litter for homes with multiple cats. It is made of natural clay, which will not get stuck in your cat’s paws and be comfortable to dig in. Like all clay litters, it is not flushable. The clumps stay together and do not crumble when you try to scoop them out. It has significantly less dust than other commercially available litters, but is not completely dust-free like World’s Best, Purina and Dr. Elsey’s. This is the perfect litter for you if you already have a matt in front of your litter box to prevent tracking and carrying dust out. It is best for cat owners who keep the litter box in a bathroom or basement where they do not mind a bit of dust and the room stays odor-free.
- Very cost-effective
- Best odor control litter, specialized formula to absorb smells
- Slightly dustier than other litters on this list
Arm & Hammer Slide Easy Cleanup Clumping Cat Litter
The Easy Cleanup litter is the best clumping litter around. If you have bad experience with clumping litters because they stuck to the litter box or fell apart, this litter will change your mind. It is made with hygiene in mind, keeping your furniture and carpets dust and litter-free and making litter box cleaning as easy for you as possible. The litter includes baking soda to absorb odor, so there are no harmful chemicals involved. It has a mild perfume that is far from obnoxious or strong, so most cat owners do not have to worry about the scent being problematic for their feline friends. The litter is fine, almost like sand, but it does not leave dust as one would expect from a fine litter. The clumps are compact and firm, but do not form the dreaded concrete in the litter box corner that we all have experience with. If your kitty is the overlord of a clean and tidy home, this litter is the perfect cherry on top.
- Made to increase litter box hygiene
- Ideal clumping formula, no concrete clumps
- Mildly scented
Frisco Multi-Cat Clumping Litter
This Frisco litter is great for a lower income multiple cat home. It has great odor control and is made for use in sifting and mechanical litter boxes. This litter, although on the cheaper end, is non-scented and hypo-allergenic. It contains no added perfumes, plant proteins or dyes that could cause an adverse reaction in animals (and humans). Your cat or cats will love the soft texture. It is also easy to scoop thanks to the small particles. If your cat is not particularly sensitive to scented litter, Frisco offers three different scents of litter. We recommend lavender because it is a calming natural scent that is strong without any chemical enhancers. It is not completely dust-free, but should not be problematic for most cats and owners. It has been tested and verified even by households with 8 or more cats, so this litter can definitely claim the title of best economic choice for multiple cat homes.
- Best cheap litter available
- Unscented and 3 scented options
- Works very well for even 5+ cats
Frisco Crystal Summer Clean Scent Non-Clumping Litter
This crystal litter is a great option for cats and owners who do not want to use clumping clay. It has a dust-free formula that ensures minimum litter tracking and no dust around the house. The litter is soft and gentle to paws, but also absorbent so it can soak up any liquids and odors in the litter box. For homes with only one cat, one package can last up to a month. So the price may seem higher than clay litters, but you will not need to use as much litter. It has a mild perfume added for an extra clean smell in case your cat leaves an extra nasty surprise for you. The litter has good dust control so that it does not irritate yours or your cat’s airways. You can simply scoop out the solid waste as the crystals will instantly dry it out.
- Best non-clumping litter
- Dust-free formula to prevent tracking
- Highly absorbent
- Good for multiple cat homes
Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Pellet Non-Clumping Cat Litter
This non-clumping litter is made from the shells of English walnuts, providing a great new way to use walnut shells instead of throwing them away. It contains no clay or silica and therefore is not dusty or cause respiratory problems people sometimes have from clay litters. It is far more eco-friendly than other litters on this list. The pellets are an ideal size and texture to absorb liquids but not get stuck in your cat’s paws. The odor control is much better than paper pellets. Since the material is natural and biodegradable, you need to change out all the litter every couple of days, so it is unfortunately higher maintenance than clay or silica litters. When the pellets absorb moisture, they fall apart into a rough consistency similar to coffee grounds. This might be uncomfortable to the paws of some cats, so make sure you know what litter textures your cat likes before buying this.
- Affordable natural litter
- No tracking or dust
- Pellets fall apart when absorbing moisture
- Eco-friendly litter made of walnut shells
Which of these litters is best for my cat?
Each cat is an individual being with specific needs, so sadly there is no universally best litter for every cat out there. In this list, we tried to supply the best litters for various ages and life situations of cats, so you have to decide based on your experience with your cat which of these litters will suit her needs best. This is why we didn’t just select one litter as number one. Cats have individual likes and preferences, but us two-legged cat moms and dads have needs too. If you absolutely hate cleaning litter, we found just the litter for you. If you hate the smell of litter or dust on your furniture, there is a litter for you on this list.
My cat used to love this litter, but hates it now! What changed?
During a cat’s life, preferences change. As your feline overlord gets older and slower, make sure to make life easier, and especially using the litter easier. Your cat could also have a health problem that you haven’t noticed yet if she is completely changing her daily patterns.If your cat rejects a litter that used to be fine, try using a more cat-sensitive litter with no added scents and as little dust as possible. If this doesn’t work, switch litter types. Litter is made of natural products like corn or paper, there is also clumping clay and litter crystals on the market.Choose a new material and see how your cat reacts to it. Make the litter box easy to access. If your cat has problems climbing in and out of the litter box, cut the sides lower and don’t forget to sand them so no rough ends hurt you or your pets.
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