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Best cat litter: Dust-free, flushable and odor control options

Cat sitting in litter box on top of cat litter looking up
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We know it's hard to get excited about researching the best cat litter to buy, but fortunately you don't need to, as we've done it for you! Finding a good cat litter can make a big difference to your cat's health and happiness, not to mention your home's hygiene levels, so it's worth searching out the right one. Cats can be fussy about where they do their business, so getting one your kitty is likely to like from the start means both you and your furry friend will be more content.

There are a surprising amount of different litters out there offering different levels of absorbency, dust, odor control, tracking (how much it sticks to your cat's feet) and clumping ability (to prevent moisture getting to the bottom of the pan to make it easier to clean). Your choice depends on how much you want to spend, the amount of cleaning up you are prepared to do, and, let's face it, which one your finickity feline will actually like.

Let's tackle clumping first. Clumping litters are popular as they are designed to clump urine and feces together so they can be easily scooped out of the litter tray. This extends the life of the litter and reduces how often you need to change it completely, or clean out a wet tray. On the other hand, non-clumping cat litters, while they create more mess, are considerably cheaper - so if you are on a budget it can offer you a considerable saving.

The amount of dust in your cat litter is also an important factor. Many cats – and pet parents – have allergies, so we recommend considering low-dust or dust-free options. Many cat litter formulas contain bentonite clay to help with clumping, but can also contain silica dust which isn't pleasant to inhale for those sensitive to small particles.

If allergies are a big concern then there are hypoallergenic cat litter formulas available that use corn or paper. These are both very absorbent materials and offer you the ability to compost or flush away your cat litter. The nice thing here is that as well as the convenience you'll be doing your bit for the environment too.

The final cat litter option is crystal litter. This is very low tracking and is often used in the best self-cleaning cat litter boxes. It has a very low dust content and helps to mask the more unpleasant odors that can otherwise originate from your litter tray.

Whichever you think will work for you and your kitty, we've rounded up a selection of the best cat litters we can find to make your furry friend happy and healthy.

PetsRadar's pick of the best cat litter

  • Best overall cat litter: World’s Best Cat Litter Clumping Formula
  • Best budget cat litter: Dr Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Clumping Clay Cat Litter
  • Best cat litter for odor control: Ever Clean Extra Strong Unscented Cat Litter
  • Best flushable cat litter: ökocat Natural Wood Clumping Cat Litter
  • Best cat litter for asthmatic felines: PURINA Yesterday's News Odor Control, Lightweight, Unscented Paper Cat Litter
  • Best crystal cat litter: PetSafe ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box Tray Refill
  • Best cat litter for multi-cat households: Arm & Hammer Platinum Slide

Best cat litter: A pack shot of World’s Best Cat Litter Clumping Formula

(Image credit: Getty Images)

World’s Best Cat Litter Clumping Formula

Best overall cat litter

Available online: Yes | Amazon star rating: 4.3 | Chewy rating: 88% | Biodegradable: Yes

Excellent odor control
Environmentally-friendly
Easy clean-up and disposal
Clumps may dry out and crumble over time

Let’s face it, branding yourself as the World’s Best Cat Litter pretty much made the gold medal win a fait accompli for this powerhouse of a product. And while the name may seem like the brand was being a teeny-tiny bit over confident, thousands of reviewers agree that cat litter doesn’t come any better than this.

The biodegradable formula made from all-natural, renewable corn granules works by turning waste into small clumps that can be easily scooped out without sticking to the sides or bottom of your cat’s litter tray. 

It also contains natural odor absorbing additives, which is great if you have an indoor cat and are worried about filling your home with your least favorite eau de parfum scent.

We love that this product is lightweight, so no more back-breaking trips lugging litter from the trunk of your car into the house, dust-free and water-soluble, which is great if you’re wanting to kiss plastic bags goodbye and go for a more environmentally friendly method of disposal.

It’s also a fantastic option if you have a curious cat or kitten on your hands who likes to taste-test anything they can get their paws on, the chemical and perfume-free formula is non-toxic and completely harmless if swallowed. Plus, it’s super-soft, so we don’t think you’ll have any issues getting your feline fur baby to use it.

We struggled to find any drawbacks with this amazing product, although it’s worth pointing out that the clumps can dry out over time so to make sure you don’t end up with a crumbly mess on your hands, remove them every few days. But, with that being the only thing you need to worry about, this cat litter is a no-brainer addition to your shopping cart.

Best cat litter

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Dr Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Clumping Clay Cat Litter

Best budget cat litter

Available online: Yes | Amazon star rating: 4.2 | Chewy rating: 85% | Non-tracking: Yes | Biodegradable: No

Unscented, dust-free, hypoallergenic formula
Hard-clumping formula traps liquids and odor
Great for multi-cat families
Only available in heavy and cumbersome 18 and 40 pound bags

There’s a reason why this is one of the top-rated cat litters on Amazon. Not only is it super-affordable, but its fragrance-free and low-dust profile coupled with its solid odor control and easy to scoop heavy granules, makes this product a hit with both cats and pet parents.  

Made from clay, the litter quickly clumps when wet and the hypoallergenic formula with no added dyes, chemicals or scents, is great for sensitive cats and multi-cat households. 

While the lack of perfumes and deodorants may feel like a cause for concern, for a natural product we feel this formula's anti-clumping mechanism does a fantastic job of trapping and locking in odors. 

We have to admit that this product's popularity can make it hard to find at times and when you do, the heavy 18 and 40 pound bags can be a bit of a turn-off for those of us who don’t have arms built like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But, if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t mind a bit of a treasure hunt now and again and you see the weight of the bags as a great opportunity to cancel your gym membership and get in some free upper-body strength training, then this crowd-pleasing product is a sure-fire winner.

Best cat litter: A box of Ever Clean Extra Strong Unscented Cat Litter

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ever Clean Extra Strong Unscented Cat Litter

Best cat litter for odor-control

Available online: Yes | Amazon star rating: 4.4 | Chewy rating: 94% | Biodegradable: No

Plant extracts, activated carbon and ammonia shield eliminate odors immediately
10-day long-lasting freshness
Great for cats with asthma or allergies
Not eco friendly

Eliminating odors used to mean filling your cat’s litter tray with strongly-scented products containing pricey additives, but thanks to this offering from Ever Clean you can now attack odors with a product that’s kind on your cat and your wallet.

The three-step formula contains activated carbon, which grabs odor from liquid and solid waste, an antimicrobial agent to inhibit the growth of bacteria, and an ammonia shield, which eliminates airborne odors. 

Add in a quick-clumping formula that ensures urine never gets a chance to pool at the bottom of the tray and you’ve got yourself an odor-control product that’s  hard to beat.

We love that this product is made with a premium blend of pure, natural minerals and clays and the low-dust formula makes keeping the surfaces in your home clean just that little bit easier. It also makes it a great choice if you have a cat with asthma or allergies. 

While Ever Clean has come up with a litter that’s close to perfect when it comes to odor-control, the price may be a sticking point for some. 

It’s definitely not as cheap as similar products on the market and it won’t be winning any awards for being eco-friendly any time soon, but if keeping your home smelling fresh and clean is your top priority, then this formula is pretty hard to beat.

Best cat litter

(Image credit: ökocat)

ökocat Natural Wood Clumping Cat Litter

Best flushable cat litter

Available online: Yes | Amazon star rating: 4.3 | Chewy rating: 86% | Eco-Friendly: Yes

Made from all-natural, sustainable, and biodegradable materials
Chemical-free
Highly efficient absorption 
Tracking is an issue

Okay, so we understand you might not want to be flushing cat litter down the family toilet, but it’s great to know that if you don’t fancy fertilizing your flower beds or adding to landfill, that there’s another option when it comes to disposing of the contents of your cat’s litter box. 

We love this eco-friendly product that’s made from 100% natural and sustainable wood fibres, making it lightweight and highly absorbent. Free from chemicals, fragrances, and dyes, it hits odors hard while being gentle on your kitty.

While you might expect a product that contains sawdust to produce a lot of dust, this formula is 99% dust-free and being plant-based, it’s a cleaner and healthier option for your cat, your family and your home.

The clumping action isn’t always the best, but it’s good enough that you can clean it up without it breaking apart and as it’s designed to be able to break down easily when flushed, the lack of hard-clumping is understandable. 

While many flushable litters are only suitable for septic systems, this one is also completely safe for sewerage systems too, which is a real plus.

With this being a wood-based product, you may find your cat takes a bit more of this litter with them when they leave their tray as opposed to other products, but if you’re an eco-conscious pet parent who’s looking for a top-class litter made from reclaimed wood that’s been responsibly rescued then you won’t want to overlook ökocat. 

PURINA cat litter

(Image credit: PURINA)

PURINA Yesterday's News Odor Control Cat Litter

Best cat litter for asthmatic felines

Available online: Yes | Amazon star rating: 4.5 | Eco-friendly: Yes | Biodegradable: Yes | Item Type: Non-Clumping

No chemicals, fragrances or additives
Hypoallergenic
Eco-friendly
Not the best for odor control
Non-clumping so may be harder to clean

If your kitty is one of the 5% of cats that suffers from the condition of feline asthma, then the veterinarian-recommended Purina Yesterday's News cat litter may be well worth considering. It's made from paper which is naturally hypoallergenic and it's dust free and unscented so it isn't going to irritate your fur baby's airways.

Yesterday’s News is an appropriately named cat litter as it's made from paper waste from consumer sources like newspapers. Instead of going to landfill, the old paper is instead made into a safe, highly absorbent cat litter that's good for cats and the planet. Coming in a lightweight pellet form that is three times more absorbable than clay, it helps to trap urine odors and is kind to your kitty's paws.

Of course, being non-clumping, this does make it harder to clean up after your cat, and the odors, although reduced, certainly aren't as odor-free as other brands in this list. These issues aside though, it's great for cats that need to avoid chemicals, fragrances and dust that could set their asthma off.

Also, if eco-friendly is your thing, not only are the pellets recycled, so is the box they come in. What's more, these pellets are compostable so you won't be adding to landfill. Overall this is a great product that's kind to the environment and your cat.

Three PetSafe ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box Tray Refills

(Image credit: Getty Images)

PetSafe ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box Tray Refills

Best crystal cat litter

Available online: Yes | Amazon star rating: 4.5 | Chewy rating: 93% | Biodegradable: No

Easy and convenient cleanup
Low tracking
Lasts for up to 30 days
May stick to the fur of long-haired cats once  wet

If you’re after convenience that doesn’t compromise on quality, then this is the product for you. While these trays are designed for the PetSafe litter box, you don’t need to purchase this as these work just as beautifully without it. You can also buy the crystal’s on their own if you already have a litter box and don’t need the trays. 

The silica crystal’s work by dehydrating solid waste and absorbing liquids and because the trays are plastic there’s zero leakage. 

It’s low-tracking, so you don’t need to worry about your cat dropping crystals all round the house and have them lay there in waiting to attack your bare feet, and the dust-free formula will save on cleaning too. 

And if you and your little feline fur baby often holiday together then these tray’s are well worth considering. Easy to pack and transport, you can take your cat and their routine with you wherever you go.

This is a great hands-off product for any pet parent who doesn’t like having to see, touch or smell messy waste. After three to four weeks of use simply toss the whole tray in the bin and replace it with a new one. 

There’s a whole lot to love about this kitty litter but the cost may be off putting for some cat owners. 

It’s definitely a more expensive form of litter so if price is an issue then you may want to consider another brand or buying the crystals without the trays, which makes it much more affordable. 

But if the thought of never having to clean up after your cat ever again is more than a little appealing, then we reckon this is worth every penny.

Best cat litter: Arm & Hammer Platinum SlidePets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Amazon)

Arm & Hammer Platinum Slide

Best cat litter for multi-cat households

Available online: Yes | Odor control: Yes | Clumping: Yes | Biodegradable: No

Powerful odor eliminator
Slides out of the pan for easy cleaning
100% dust-free
Strong scent

Platinum Slide is Arm & Hammer's most advanced kitty litter to date and features patented EZ clean technology that allows the litter to slide right out of the pan without sticking, saving you lots of unnecessary scraping and scrubbing!

This litter is particularly great if you have multiple cats as it's 100% dust-free making it ideal of kitties that have allergies and the clump and seal technology forms an door-controlling seal around urine and feces, so smells are caught and contained within the litter box.

While all of Arm & Hammer's litters do a standout job on the odor front, the Platinum Slide is particularly impressive as it combines their usual powerful baking soda formula with additional odor eliminators to ensure your home stays clean and fresh.

Available in 18lb or 37lb boxes, this low-tracking clay litter performs exceptionally well, but it's worth pointing out that it is quite strongly fragranced, so if your kitty has a super-sensitive nose, you might want to choose one of their unscented litters.

How to choose the best cat litter

Let’s be honest, mulling over the pros and cons of various cat litter products probably isn’t at the top of your priority list, after all, it’s just a bag of dirt right? 

As pet parents it can be easy to focus our attention on the choices we feel are most important, things like food, beds and toys, but there’s a lot more to cat litter than meets the eye and finding the best fit for your kitty is key. 

With that in mind, here’s a few features you’ll want to be looking out for when selecting the best cat litter…

If you want your home to smell more citrus fresh and less cat mess, then an odor eliminating litter is likely to be top of your list. You can choose from scented or unscented options, but keep in mind that many cats are sensitive to strong scents. In terms of ingredients, look for things like carbon, silica or naturally derived plant-extracts which do a great job of absorbing and neutralizing odors.

Consider whether you want a clumping or non-clumping formula. Clumping litter tends to be the most popular because it forms lumps when wet making it easy to scoop out your cat’s waste. If you’re environmentally conscious, though, and want a flushable or compostable litter then non-clumping litters are a better choice.

Experiment with different types and textures to see what your cat prefers. Clay-based litters are great for scooping and generally the most affordable, but they can produce a lot of dust, which isn’t great for cats with respiratory problems. 

Litters that are biodegradable and made from things such as corn or wood are great for the environment, but they usually don’t clump, so cleaning your cats box or tray can be a messier job. Finally, crystals do a fantastic job when it comes to absorption and can last up to a month before they need changing but they can be more expensive than other options.

Rest assured that whatever you decide, there’s an option out there that will suit you, your cat and your lifestyle.

Kathryn Rosenberg

Kathryn is a freelance writer with a passion for creating health and wellness, travel and wildlife content. Originally from New Zealand, her nomadic lifestyle has her currently fur baby-less. She scratches her pet parent itch by stealing frequent cuddles with any neighbourhood cat kind enough to indulge her.