While it’s true that we all love our cats to the moon and back, it’s safe to say that most of us wouldn’t mind dealing with a little bit less smelly and messy cat potty habits. A good-quality litter can go a long way in minimizing the unpleasantness of a pet’s bathroom necessities. The trouble is, our beloved felines have a reputation for being picky about the things they eat, play with, and use, litter included. So finding an effective litter that your kitty actually likes to use and that is not expensive can be quite a task.
That’s why we reviewed and tested more than 20 cat litters – from clay clumping to clay non-clumping, crystals to corn, unscented to scented, we went through them all. The result? Ten good-quality, reasonably priced litters that are bound to make both your and your feline companion’s life a little tidier and nicer. To further help you in the search for the best kitty litter, we also put together a detailed buying guide, so read on!
Considered by many the absolute best budget-friendly cat litter, Dr. Elsey’s Ultra Clumping Litter is a great choice for felines with sensitive noses. Hypo-allergenic, non-scented and dust-free, this clumping litter is not only gentle on the nose and paws, it also does a great job at forming sturdy clumps. It also tracks minimally – probably the least of all other clumping clay litters we’ve ever tried. Because it’s made solely of clay, it’s completely free from all plant proteins, which is good news not only for sensitive cats, but people with allergies too.
Although it doesn’t contain any perfumes or deodorants, this litter has excellent odor control properties, making it ideal for households with multiple cats. One of the things people love about the Ultra is that it forms really hard clumps, making it super-easy for scooping. This also makes the formulation ideal for use on mechanical litter boxes or those that have automated sifters.
Read in-depth our Dr. Elsey’s Cat Litter Review.
Medium grain clay cat litter
Hypo-allergenic, non-scented, dust-free
Hard clumping clay
Excellent odor control
If you need the best possible odor control for multiple cats in your household, Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Cat Litter is the product for you. Thanks to its unique and patented formula, the litter seals and destroys any type of odor in a matter of seconds. It also forms very hard clumps that are super-easy to scoop. It’s also 100% dust-free, meaning it’s as low tracking as a litter can be. Furthermore, it does a fantastic job at forming a tight seal around waste, which, combined with Arm & Hammer’s Baking Soda, reduces odors to zero.
This cat litter is a great choice if you have multiple pets in the apartment, however, due to its strong “clean” smell, it may not be to everyone’s taste.
Related Post: Arm and Hammer Cat Litter Review
100% dust free with heavy-duty odor eliminators
Forms very hard clumps
Strong ‘clean’ smell
For pet parents who believe in the power of fine clay as a clumping litter, the Purina Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance is a great choice. The formula may not be groundbreaking, but it does the job – it absorbs moisture to keep cats more comfortable, forms tight clumps for easy cleanup, and controls odors very well. The litter also stays dust-free, which is a bonus considering it’s made of fine clay and is very much affordable.
Purina’s Tidy Cats litter comes in a convenient box or pail, depending on the size, and sports the Tidy Lock protection – a proprietary technology that locks away smells. Speaking of which, this litter is scented and has that pleasant ‘fresh and clean’ scent.
Fine clay cat litter
99% dust-free formula with 24/7 odor control
Strong clumping for easy cleanup
TidyLock Protection locks away odor
Composed of soft pellets made from recycled paper, Purina Yesterday’s News litter is not only biodegradable, but also very gentle on your pet’s paws. As a nice bonus, the company claims the product is 3x more absorbent than traditional clay litter. This also helps minimize the formation of dust, although you can still expect about 0.3% dust with the system.
The slight problem with Yesterday’s News is that it is a non-clumping form of cat litter so, while it is very absorbent, you may have to clean your cat’s litter box more frequently than usual. But then again, this is the No.1 recommended eco-friendly litter by US veterinarians!
Eco-friendly; made of recycled paper
99.7% dust-free formulation, low-tracking
3x better absorption than clay litter
If your feline companion avoids their litter box like a plague, give Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Cat Attract litter a try. This litter is formulated with natural herbs to attract cats and solve common litter box problems (in particular, the avoidance of the litter box). It’s also super efficient at clumping, with good odor control, making it ideal for litter box training. That said, the litter is not as absorbent as some of the other clay litters, although this is far from being a serious issue. The texture of the litter is quite nice (a huge plus for cats who avoid their boxes!), and equally important, 99.5% dust free.
The Precious Cat Attract is scented with natural herbal attractants, so it does a very good job trapping odors. This also makes it perfect for multi-pet households.
Clay litter scented with herbal essence attractant
Attracts cats, solving common litter box problems
Clumps well, 99.5% dust-free
Good odor control
If you and your cat are only satisfied with the best and safest litters that eliminate the odors and messes without relying on chemicals, the Clumping Formula may be exactly what you need. Made of 100% natural and renewable whole kernel corn, this litter is one of the easiest to clean as you can simply flush it down your toilet bowl and not worry about contributing to land and water pollution. The formula is 99% dust-free and with tight and quick clumping abilities so scooping is not an issue either.
Although not scented, the litter does have a gentle wood or hay type of smell, with good cat waste odor control.
100% whole kernel corn litter
Natural and non-scented
Quick clumping abilities
Good odor control
Arm & Hammer’s Super Scoop Clumping Litter has the ability to form really hard clumps, making it one of the easiest litters to scoop and manage. On top of this, while free from perfumes, it features bicarbonate soda crystals to eliminate and control odors.
Unlike the Clump & Seal, however, the Super Scoop lightweight litter is not 100% dust-free, but still manages a commendable 99% performance to go with its low-tracking properties. The formula is also super-absorbent, forming large clumps the moment your kitty’s waste touches the litter!
Moisture Lock super absorbent technology
7-day control of odors
99% dust-free and low tracking
Composed of baking soda crystals eliminate odors
Protect your home from nasty litter box odors and your kitty from inhaling litter dust with Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Litter. Made from 100% natural substrate – fibrous material of the walnut shell – this litter is not only healthy and dust-free but also biodegradable. What’s more, it’s excellent at absorbing urine; 3x better than regular clay litter according to the company!
Another thing we really like about this particular product is that it practically doesn’t track. Mind you, it’s possible you will find some ‘dust’ on your kitty’s paws from time to time, but this is nothing like the dust you get from clay litter. This ‘dust’ consists of extremely fine particles that are 100% safe to breathe in, plus they don’t stick to paws nearly as much as clay particles do. Overall, a great natural litter that’s suitable even for multi-cat families.
Biodegradable walnut-based litter
Practically zero dust, non-tracking formula
Absorbs 3x better than clay
100% natural and safe for both pets and humans
If you and your kitty are fans of crystal litter, the PetSafe’s ScoopFree Non-Clumping Crystal Litter is a good choice. These 2 pre-packaged bags of litter work with any traditional litter box, as well as the PetSafe’s ScoopFree Reusable Litter Tray. The odor control here is fantastic – the crystals absorb urine and dry solid waste almost instantly, sealing in any smells quickly and efficiently. It should be highlighted that this type of cat litter doesn’t clump – this, coupled with the fact that the crystals are very low-tracking, means there is less mess to clean up. On the flip side, even though the litter is marketed as dust-free, many customers write that the product is in fact quite dusty at times.
Not scented or dyed, this litter is a great option for sensitive cats and pet parents who don’t like strong smelling litters.
Absorbs well, easy to clean
Great odor control
Moderately low in dust and tracking
With the Febreeze Freshness technology ensuring better odor control, the Fresh Step Multi-Cat Clumping Cat Litter is a relatively new product that is making the headlines because of its many features. It is gentle on your cat’s paws and provides exceptional litter clumping capabilities, allowing for easier handling of cat wastes. It is scented, though so if your feline happens to be averse to its scent, then it would really be a waste. It is priced friendlier than other brands, too making it a highly viable option for pet parents who love mildly scented cat litter with good clumping abilities.
Related Post: Fresh Step Cat Litter Review
ClumpLock technology for more secure clumps
Febreeze Freshness technology for better odor absorption
Low-dust, pet-friendly formulation
Paw-activated fragrance release
Cat litter was invented in 1947 by Ed Lowe, who wanted to help out a neighbor who ran out of sand, which is what people used before the modern cat litters were invented (that, or the ashes – imagine the mess!). Mr. Lowe gave his neighbor some clay instead, which she found working far better than anything she ever used before. Soon, Lowe’s clay litter, which he called Kitty Litter, became the synonym for proper pet litter. Today, clay litter is just one of the many different types of litters pet parents can purchase. From clay clumping to clay non-clumping, corn, wheat and pine, there are various types of litters available, and even more litter brands out there. So which type is the best? As you can probably guess, this depends on several factors, all of which we’ll discuss in this buying guide.
There is no way around it: if you live in an apartment and own a cat, you need a safe way to neatly dispose of your pet’s waste. In other words, you need an efficient cat litter. But what exactly is the best and most effective kitty litter? Crystal, clay, natural litter alternatives, scented or unscented litter? The truth is, there is no one best litter for everyone as all cats are different. Not to mention, we all live in different environments and have different budgets. That said, there certainly is a way to get the right cat litter for you and your pet. But to do that, you need to take into consideration a couple of factors first.
Many experts agree that it’s a good idea to have one litter box per one cat. This is because most cats are finicky when it comes to their bathroom habits and prefer using the cleanest litter box available. The need to clean them only grows bigger the more cats you have. In an ideal world, you’d have two boxes per two cats, but of course, not everyone has space or money to purchase several boxes for their pets. The next best thing to do is purchase a multi-cat litter. This type of litter has more scent-control than regular products, which is crucial for a multi-cat household.
If you’ve used a specific type and brand of litter for years and your pet continues to use it with no issues, there’s really no need to switch to a different product. That being said, there’s always room for improvement – the litter could clump better, smell nicer or be cheaper – so it’s natural to want to switch from time to time. If you can, it’s a good idea to test your kitty’s litter preferences. Purchase two different kinds you like, provide three boxes for a short time, one filled with the previous litter, the other two with new types, and watch your kitty’s bathroom behavior. Very soon, it should be obvious which type they prefer.
Once you’ve found a litter that suits your and your cat’s preferences, make sure it satisfies the following criteria:
Cat litter has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1947. Today, there is a huge number of litters available, which can make the selection process rather difficult for pet parents. To help you decide which type is better suited for you and your feline companion’s needs, we’ve outlined some of the most important types and their pros and cons.
Sometimes, even the best kitty litter in the world is not able to efficiently control the odor. Thankfully, there are some tips and tricks that can help you tame the unpleasant smell.
Related Post: Best Self Cleaning Litter Box
The difference between clumping and non-clumping litter is in the ability of the clumping type to solidify once it has been soaked with pet urine. This allows for easier removal of the soiled litter, giving you the chance to replace only the area of the litter that you removed the clumps from. This helps improve the longevity of the litter. On the other hand, non-clumping litter may require more frequent replacement since you cannot remove substantially less litter from the box. Basically, with the non-clumping type, you’ll typically have to replace all of the litter more frequently.
So, which is better? Well, if you’re talking about less frequent cleaning of the entire box and easier management of soiled litter, then the obvious winner is clumping litter. However, if you prefer something cheaper and don’t really mind replacing your cat litter more frequently, the non-clumping cat litter is better.
Getting the right kitty litter for your pet is only one aspect of proper feline pet care. The next crucial element is learning how to use different types of litter correctly. Here are some tips to help you do just that.
Related Post: Best Self Cleaning Litter Box
To keep your cat healthy and happy and your home neat and clean, it’s crucial to dispose of your pet’s litter regularly. By using a litter scooper, you can simply scoop out the used litter, place it in a plastic or paper bag, and put it in your trash. To make sure you’re well protected against litter dust and your cat’s waste, always wear gloves and a mask when scooping and cleaning. After you’re done, don’t forget to wash both the litter scoop and your hands with soap and water.
If you want to reduce your pet’s footprint on the environment, consider purchasing a biodegradable, eco-friendly litter that you can compost. This type of cat litter is particularly useful for folks who have a garden patch. Do bear in mind that you should only use composted litter on non-edible plants and trees!
Daily scooping is a must if you want your kitty to have a clean, tidy litter box (and if you want your house to smell nice!). But even if you scoop multiple times a day, there comes a time when you have to change your cat’s litter completely. But how often you should actually replace the litter depends on several factors: how often you scoop, how many cats you have, and which litter you use. Typically, with clay litter, you should replace it every two to three weeks. That said, if you scoop two times a day and clean the litter box frequently, you may only have to replace it on a monthly basis. If you use crystal litter, you may even be able to push it a little over a month.
While natural, clay litters, especially those containing bentonite clay, are far from being eco-friendly. To get this type of litter, mining is required. This wouldn’t be much of a problem per se if bentonite wasn’t found near the surface of the earth. With bentonite, “strip mining” is used to excavate the mineral, which has a negative impact on the environment (it leaves behind infertile waste rock). Similarly, the all-natural crystal litters (made from silica), are not very eco-friendly either as they take up space in landfills. If you’re concerned about the effects of cat litter on the environment, we suggest switching to biodegradable alternatives such as wood, corn, pine, grains, paper and similar natural alternatives.