While cleaning out the litter box probably isn’t your favorite job as a pet parent, investing in the best cat litter for your feline friend can help make the job a little easier. Just like us humans, our furkids are particular about where they do their business, so choosing the right litter for them and your home ensures everyone stays happy.
You’ve probably noticed that just like the best cat food brands that line the shelves with a mind-boggling array of options, kitty litter is a big industry too. From clumping and non-clumping to low-tracking and odor-control, the dizzying array of bags can easily lead to overwhelm. Thankfully, with a few nuggets of knowledge under your belt, you can shop for the best cat litter at record speed.
The first thing you’ll want to consider is whether you want a clumping or non-clumping litter. Clumping litters are designed so that urine and feces clump together on contact with the litter for easy removal and they usually offer excellent odor control. Non-clumping litters are messier but can be up to 50% cheaper than clumping litters, making them a good option for those on a budget.
Once you’ve decided on the type of litter you’re going to use, you’ll want to think about what they’re made from and the various pros and cons. A lot of cat litters use bentonite clay, which clumps well but it often contains silica dust, which isn’t great for furkids or humans with allergies. Corn is becoming more and more common with the compact granules being highly absorbent and it’s brilliant at trapping odors. You can also get environmentally friendly options, such as paper and walnut, that can be flushed or composted.
Let’s take a look at some of the best cat litter on the market, including one of the best self-cleaning cat litter boxes and some great dust-free and odor-eliminating formulas.
PetsRadar's pick of the best cat litter
World’s Best Cat Litter Clumping Formula
Best overall cat litter
Available online: Yes | Amazon star rating: 4.3 | Chewy rating: 88% | Biodegradable: Yes
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.
Dr Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Clumping Clay Cat Litter
Best budget buy
Available Online: Yes | Amazon Star Rating: 4.2 | Chewy Rating: 85% | Non-Tracking: Yes | Biodegradable: No
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.
Ever Clean Extra Strong Unscented Cat Litter
Best for odor-control
Available Online: Yes | Amazon Star Rating: 4.4 | Chewy Rating: 94% | Biodegradable: No
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.
ökocat Natural Wood Clumping Cat Litter
Best flushable cat litter
Available Online: Yes | Amazon Star Rating: 4.3 | Chewy Rating: 86% | Eco-Friendly: Yes
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.
Best for asthmatic cats
Available Online: Yes | Amazon Star Rating: 4.6 | Eco-Friendly: Yes | Biodegradable: Yes | Item Type: Non-Clumping
If your fur baby is part of the 5% of cats that suffer from feline asthma, then you’re going to love these pellets from Breeder Celect, made from 99% recycled paper.
Unlike clay-based litters that tend to produce a lot of dust and grain-based litters that can cause allergic reactions, these paper pellets are dust and allergen-free making them perfect for sensitive cats or those with health conditions.
They also have zero chemicals, additives or fragrances so you can be sure that what you’re lining your cat’s litter tray with isn’t going to harm them.
We love that these paper pellets are highly absorbent and unlike a lot of paper-based cat litters on the market, they won’t disintegrate when wet meaning they’re easy to clean-up and dispose of. If you’ve ever had a kitty litter mishap where the contents of the packet have ended up all over your floor then you’re going to want to try this product which comes with an easy-pour spout that gives you more flow control.
This product does a great job of neutralizing odor from urine, but it’s worth pointing out that it isn’t as effective on the poop front so this is best suited to pet parents who don’t mind emptying the contents of their cat’s litter tray on a daily basis.
That one flaw aside though, this is a great purchase if you’re wanting a product that’s kind to the health of the environment and your cat.
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
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.
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 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.
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