The Best Cat Litters Reviewed 2020

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As a cat owner, you’re certainly not keen on cleaning up the messes left by your adorable feline. Nonetheless, it’s an unavoidable task if you own an indoor cat. Fortunately, cat litters can make life a lot easier for you and your cat.

But what type of cat litter is best for your cat? What should you consider before getting a cat litter? What are the best cat litter products available today on the market? 

At the end of this guide, you’ll have the answers to these questions and be well equipped to make a sound buying decision. Let’s jump right in.

Different Types of Cat Litter

Understanding the differences between the various types of cat litter on the market is very important. These cat litter products aren’t created equal and not every litter type will be suitable for your needs.

Clumping Litter

Clumping cat litter is the most popular type of cat litter on the market. It is made from the highly absorbent clay bentonite, which clumps together when wet. 

Clumping litter makes it easy to get rid of cat feces and urine. Since the waste clumps together into balls, you can easily scoop the used up parts of the litter. They also greatly reduce odors thanks to their absorbing properties.

On the minus side, clumping litter can easily be tracked by cats around the house. They also tend to be more expensive than non-clumping litter and are not ideal for young kittens.

Non-clumping Litter

Non-clumping litter, just as the name suggests, doesn’t form clumps when wet. They’re often made from clay and absorb cat waste just as well as their clumping counterparts. 

Non-clumping litter is generally cheaper and more readily available than clumping litter. They’re also more suitable for kittens.

However, they can get smelly before you change the litter. And unlike clumping options, you can’t easily scoop the box without leaving behind bits of moist litter. Cats can also track non-clumping litter around the home.  You could try cat litter that doesn't track.

Scented vs. Unscented Litter

Scented litter or deodorant litter comes with pleasing scents meant to mask the unpleasant smells of cat feces or urine. Manufacturers utilize different scent agents including perfumes deodorizers and even substances like baking-soda and carbon to minimize litter box odors. Scented litter isn’t generally more expensive than unscented litter.

While the fragrances may smell nice to you, your cats may not be able to get used to the unpleasant odors. This may lead to their abandoning the box entirely in time. Your cat may also find the scent overbearing and some cats simply prefer unscented litter.

best cat litter

Biodegradable Litter

If you care a lot about the environment, then you should certainly consider getting biodegradable cat litter. This is because most clay-based cat litter is not eco-friendly.

There are different types of biodegradable litter including corn and wheat-based litter, wood pellets, recycled paper, walnut-based litter, grass litter, and coconut, among others.

Most kinds of biodegradable litter are quite affordable. However, they also come with some downsides. Some can trigger allergies, while others absorb urine poorly. Some biodegradable options even attract insects into the home.

Nonetheless, if you are keen on keeping the environment clean, biodegradable litter is for you. 

Flushable cat litter

Most of the all natural cat litters (ex: made from wood pallets, whole-kernel corn, etc.), are septic safe and can be flushed in the toilet. They mention that you scoop each clump and flush one at a time. This makes cleaning very easy, because you don't have to trow your cat's waste in a garbage bag and your trash anymore. Just make sure you read the label carefully. 

Low dust cat litter

A lot of pet owners know that litter can spread dust when it's being poured onto the litter box, or when you're removing the old dirty litter. This causes an unpleasant smell and airborne dust which is not healthy and should not be breathed by humans or pets. That's why it's important to pick a litter which is 99% or 100% dust free. 

Crystal cat litter

The most common one is "silica gel crystal litter", which consists of translucent white granules that have really good moisture absorption properties. This kind of cat litter is often more expensive than other kinds. However, they excel at odor absorption and tend to last a bit longer.

Some products come with colored granules that change color to indicate when it’s time for a litter change. On the negative side, you can’t scoop used up portions of the litter like with clumping litter. Silica crystal litters can also be dangerous to cats if ingested in large amounts.

Top 7 Cat Litters Reviewed

1. Dr. Elsey’s Ultra Premium Clumping Cat Litter

Dr. Elsey's Premium Clumping Cat Litter

Editor's Rating: 4.8/5 Overall Score

Dr. Elsey’s Ultra Premium Clumping cat litter is one of the best rated cat litters you can buy today. It’s one of Amazon's best selling products, and for good reason. 

What makes this cat litter so great? Dr. Elsey’s is an unscented, clumping cat litter with heavy granules that greatly reduce tracking. Cleanup is incredibly easy with this cat litter as you can easily scoop the soiled clumps whenever you want. 

Dr. Elsey’s has excellent odor control and is great for homes with multiple cats. The product is even more ideal if you have a mechanical or sifting litter box. It’s hypoallergenic, and designed to prevent liquids from getting to the bottom of the tray. Thus, you won’t have to deal with scrubbing the tray when you change out the litter.

With excellent features like these and a proven track record, it’s no wonder so many cat owners swear by this product. The product comes in the 18lb and 40lb sizes - both very affordable. If you need a great cat litter for your furry pets, you can’t go wrong with Dr. Elsey’s.

Pros

  • 99.9% dust free and low tracking
  • Very strong odor control
  • Hard clumping clay
  • Unscented, natural ingredients

Cons

  • Not eco-friendly and not flushable

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2. World’s Best Cat Litter Clumping Formula

World's Best Cat Litter, Clumping Litter Formula

Editor's Rating: 4.7/5 Overall Score

World’s Best clumping cat litter is another great option to consider if you’re looking for an unscented clumping litter. This clumping cat litter is a natural alternative to regular clay-based litter as it is made from whole-kernel corn. So if you’re really concerned about the environment, you should really consider getting this product. 

Being a natural product, World’s Best is flushable and septic safe. It’s also lightweight and offers low tracking. According to the manufacturer’s calculations, one 28 pound bag of the litter can last for over 120 days if you have just one cat. While your mileage may vary, customers who have tried the product report similar results.

Reviews from those customers are generally positive with the large majority recommending the product. It’s also quite affordable and certainly worth a trial to determine if it’ll work best for you and your cat.

Pros

  • Dust free formula 
  • Great odor control
  • Quick clumping
  • 100% natural and eco-friendly

Cons

  • Since it's 100% natural whole-kernel corn, some customers have seen bugs develop in the litter

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3. ökocat Natural Wood Clumping Cat Litter

ökocat Natural Wood Clumping Cat Litter
4.5 star

Editor's Rating: 4.6/5 Overall Score

There are no artificial fragrance, chemicals, toxic dyes or GMOs.  The wood fibers naturally block odor and provide 7 day odor control.  Clumps are formed fast, making clean-up very easy. Plus, it's flushable, so you can scoop and flush each clump at a time. There is no airborne dust, so your home stays fresh and clean.

You can get it in 3 sizes. It comes in also super soft texture, which is gentle on the paws and makes it ideal litter for declawed cats.

Pros

  • 99% dust free
  • Great odor control
  • Quick clumping, can be flushed
  • 100% natural wood cat litter

Cons

  • Might track more, compared to other litter

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4. Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Platinum Cat Litter for Multiple Cats

ARM & HAMMER Clump & Seal Platinum Cat Litter, for Mulitple Cats
4.5 star

Editor's Rating: 4.4/5 Overall Score

Got a lot of cats? Well, pay attention as the next product on our list may well be what you’ve been looking for.

Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Platinum cat litter is an excellent choice for owners of multiple cats. Why? Well, it clumps, thereby sealing and destroying odors. It’s largely dust free, and it offers really impressive odor control.

While it’s often recommended that you get a litter box for each of your cats, they often gravitate towards one litter box eventually. With Arm & Hammer’s Clump & Seal cat litter, however, you don’t have to dread the cleanup process or foul odors. The product comes with a 7-day odor-free home guarantee.

The product is available in 27.5 pound and 40 pound packages. It has numerous excellent reviews on Amazon and comes in at affordable price.

Pros

  • 100% dust free platinum formula
  • Seals and destroys odor for 7 days
  • Forms hard clumps quickly
  • Great choice for multiple cats

Cons

  • Is not flushable and biodegradable

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5. Purina Tidy Cats LightWeight Clumping Cat Litter

Purina Tidy Cats LightWeight 247 Performance Clumping Cat Litter

Editor's Rating: 4.3/5 Overall Score

If being scented is a major criteria for you, then the Purina Tidy Cats LightWeight Clumping cat litter is a great choice. Besides being scented, it clumps tightly for easy cleaning and is relatively free from dust. In addition, the product comes with the Ammonia Blocker feature, which prevents ammonia smells from forming in your home.

Purina Tidy Cats is also lightweight and is made from clay. The product is available in different fragrances including Glade Clean Blossoms, and Glade Clear Springs. Other formulas include instant action, and 4-in-1 strength. If your litter box has to be placed in a high-traffic location in your home, the pleasant but not excessive scents are going to be much appreciated.

Customer reviews are generally positive. The product is available in different sizes including a 8.5 pound jug, a 12 pound pail, and a 17 pound box or pail. If a clumping, scented cat litter product is what you’re looking for, Purina Tidy Cats is one of the best options to consider.

Pros

  • Has ammonia blocker formula, preventing ammonia odor for 2 weeks 
  • Lightweight formula
  • Low dust formation 
  • Tight, strong clumps formation

Cons

  • Is not flushable
  • It's scented, so some people or cats might not like the deodorizing system

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6. Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Multi-Cat Quick-Clumping Cat Litter, Unscented

Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Multi-Cat Quick-Clumping Cat Litter, Unscented

Editor's Rating: 4.1/5 Overall Score

This is another all natural and 100% biodegradable litter, which is made from walnut shells.  There are no harmful ingredients inside, and is safe for your family, cat or kitten. It absorbs odor 3 times better, than the leading clay litter, and neutralizes odor better than pine, corn and wheat litters. It doesn't stick to your cat's paws. 

It's super absorbent formula produces tight clumps, for easy clean up. It's available in different size bags, from 6lb to 26lb (4-pack). "Naturally Fresh" also makes multi-cat, single cat litter, as well as scented one.

Pros

  • 100% natural and biodegradable, safe for cats and kittens
  • Neutralizes odor effectively
  • Free from silica dust
  • Available in different size packaging

Cons

  • Cannot be flushed

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7. PetSafe ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box Tray Refills

PetSafe ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box Tray Refills - Non-Clumping Crystal Cat Litter
4.0 star

Editor's Rating: 4.0/5 Overall Score

Last on our list, but certainly not least, is the PetSafe ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box Tray Refills product. 

The PetSafe ScoopFree litter consist of silica-gel crystals, which have high absorption properties. The product is low tracking and largely dust free. PetSafe ScoopFree also has really good odor control, thanks to the high-quality crystal litter. 

This cat litter and tray is designed for use with PetSafe’s self-cleaning litter box, which is a separate purchase. While the litter box is recommended for maximum convenience, you certainly don’t need it to take advantage of the PetSafe ScoopFree Tray Refills product. You can simply use the tray and scoop the waste until you replace the tray.

There are three crystal options: premium blue, sensitive, and lavender. The product comes with three disposable trays, which are made from plastic. If you’ve got the self-cleaning litter box, all you have to do is load the tray and let the litter box do the cleaning for you for several weeks. Then, you lose the tray and replace it with a new one.

The PetSafe ScoopFree cat litter boasts a number of impressive reviews on Amazon. However, not everyone is comfortable with crystal litter and if you’re not, there are many other excellent options to consider.

If you enjoy having a lot of time to spend with your pets, a PetSafe ScoopFree self-cleaning litter box and the tray refills will really suit your needs. No more having to deal with cat litter everyday. 

Pros

  • Removes all odors - 5 times better odor control 
  • Low tracking crystal litter
  • 99% dust free
  • Easy and convenient cleaning, no scooping required

Cons

  • Some pet owners might not want to use silica gel crystals for their cats

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What to Consider Before You Buy Cat Litter

Cat Litter Type

As we’ve discussed above, there are different types of litters that you can buy for your cat. The most common is clumping litter, which is made from bentonite clay. 

Before choosing a cat litter product, determine what kind of litter will be best for you and your cat. If you’re concerned about the environment, then limit your options to biodegradable litter types such as pine, corn, wheat, and recycled paper. Keep in mind, though, that these are generally more expensive at the moment. 

If you don’t like having to deal with cat litter often, you can get “self-cleaning” products. Some litter boxes, for example, use a conveyor belt or an automatic raking system to scoop the waste, leaving behind the unsoiled litter. You can also use disposable litter boxes, which allow you to simply toss the entire box away instead of changing the litter. If you need a more durable litter box option, try stainless steel litter boxes.

Cat and Kitten Safety

As cat litter could occasionally end up in the stomach of your cat, you should ensure that the product you get is safe for your pet. If you have young kittens, clumping litter isn’t ideal as it can cause obstructions in their stomachs. Some cats are also sensitive to dust and perfumes. So you need to consider carefully if a particular product will be good for your cat.

Price

The prices of cat litters vary widely as do the quantities, sizes, and shapes of the litter containers. Budget options may not have some of the unique features of their more expensive counterparts, but they often get the job done.

If your budget is higher, though, mid-range options usually offer the best value. You get better materials, and some unique features in these category. You’ll also find more eco-friendly products in this price segment. 

Premium cat litter is often best for cats with unique circumstances such as long-haired cats, or cats with breathing difficulties. You generally don’t have to spend so much money to get a good litter for your cat.

Cat Litter Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I scoop cat litter?

Cat litter products usually list differing expectation times for scooping. However, a good rule of thumb is that the more frequently you scoop, the less frequently you’ll have to change the litter. Thus, it’s wise to scoop daily where possible. If you don’t, you’ll have to change the litter at least every 3 days. To help you with the scooping you can use a top rated stick vacuum for cat litter

If you scoop daily, you can change the litter once a week. Some products will even allow you to push the litter change to once a month. Experiment with your scooping and changing times to find what works best for you.

How often should I clean my cat’s litter box?

It’s a good idea to clean your litter box once a week. Of course, you could stretch this depending on your needs. If you have multiple cats using one litter box, you might want to clean more frequently.

You can clean your litter box with warm water and soap, preferably an unscented soap. An enzyme spray cleaner would also work well for this purpose.

How should I dispose of cat litter?

You can dispose of most cat litters by simply throwing it away in the trash. Other kinds of litter can be put into the toilet and flushed out. You can also get rid of cat litter by using it as mulch or fertilizer in your garden.

If you have cat litter that’s meant to be thrown away and you want to change the litter, make sure to double-bag the litter, place it in your trash can, and cover it with a lid. This will prevent other animals from sniffing up the bag, tearing it open, and spreading litter all over the place.

Is cat litter safe for cats?

Cats may occasionally eat their litter or lick their feet which have been in the litter. Most cat litter products are quite safe for cats. However, silica dust, which is found in many cat litters, has been linked to respiratory issues in cats. The fragrances in some litters may also be dangerous to cats. Some litter can’t be digested and others contain carcinogens. Thus, it’s wise to look out for safe, natural options for your cat.

Is cat litter safe for the environment?

The most common substance used for cat litter is clay. Such clay is obtained from strip mining, a process that destroys the environment. 

There are alternatives that use renewable resources such as pine, grass, wheat, or corn. These options are better for the environment.

Conclusion

Obviously, there are a lot of things to consider before getting a cat litter. Hopefully, this guide has given you a better understanding of the factors involved. We’ve also looked at the best cat litter products you can buy today, and our favorite pick is Dr. Elsey’s Ultra Premium Clumping Cat Litter. In the end, the best litter for your cat is the one it prefers. So experiment with any of the recommended products in this guide until you find what works best for you and your cat.