“What is the best cat litter?” is perhaps one of the most Googled questions for cat owners. Every cat lover knows that these furry little friends are incredibly picky when it comes to, well, everything: food, environment, toys, and, of course, litter.
- 99.9% dust free
- Hard clumping
- Helps prevent moisture
Finding the best cat litter isn’t that easy in a market that’s booming with options. You can find everything you can ask for, from the traditional clay litter to those created to keep smell to a minimal. You can even buy litter that can help you detect if your cat has any urinary problems. The market is booming with a wide variety of options, so it’s understandable to feel a bit overwhelming when you’re trying to decide.
So, how do you find the best litter for your cat? Well, this article will help you make the best decision. We’re going to talk about the different types of litter available (and what they are for), and then present the ten best options cat owners can buy. Yes, the reviews are in, and the best of the best cat litter brands are here, and you’ll love them. Oh yeah, and your cat will love them too!
What is the Best Cat Litter in 2021?
- Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Clumping Cat Litter
- Frisco Multi-Cat Clumping Cat Litter
- Tidy Cats Scoop Instant Action Immediate Odor Control Cat Litter
- Arm & Hammer Litter Clump & Seal Multi-Cat Litter
- Frisco Unscented Odor Defense Clumping Cat Litter
- Frisco Fresh Scent Multi-Cat Clumping Cat Litter
- Scoop Away Complete Performance Scented
- Tidy Cats LightWeight 24/7 Performance
- Frisco Crystal Summer Clean Scent
- Garfield Cat Litter Tiny Grains Flushable Cat Litter
Types of Popular Cat Litters
The search for the best cat litter can’t start without going over a small educational stepping stone. First, you’ll need to know what types of cat litter are available on the market and what perks they offer. Then, you can slowly figure out what kind you and your cat needs. Different types can account for different needs either from you or your cat, so pay attention to these when shopping for litter.
- Odor Control – If you have a busy schedule, or aren’t that keen on cleaning the litter box multiple times a day, an odor-control litter might be the best option for you. It absorbs and reduces the smell from the box, leaving your house and apartment odor-free.
- Clumping – Clumping cat litter is designed for easy cleaning. Simply put, you won’t have to empty the entire litter box every time you want to clean the kitty’s bathroom. Most of these products contain bentonite, which allows litter to clump after the cat urinates. You can then quickly remove the clumps and leave the litter box clean.
- Scented – Some litters come in a variety of smells, like lavender or pine. While it’s not strong enough for you to smell it around the house, it can effectively mask other scents in the litter.
- Unscented – Unscented cat litter is fairly straightforward: litter that doesn’t smell. Cats have a notoriously delicate scent, and it’s possible for some kitties to dislike scented litter, which is why owners can opt for the unscented version.
- Multi-Cat – Packages advertised as multi-cat generally have stronger features. For instance, if it’s an odor control litter, it will be stronger than single-cat litter regarding how much odor it can absorb. You can use it if you have multiple cats in your households, though it’s not mandatory.
- Lightweight – Lightweight litter is almost 50% lighter than regular litter, perfect for owners with multiple cats. So, if you have two or three cats, you can stock up on litter, as the lightweight version is easier to carry.
- Non-Clumping – Non-clumping litter is one of the first types of cat litter ever to make it in the household. Some packages can also come with various scents, though you should know that with a non-clumping litter you’ll have to keep a close eye on the box. Left for too long, urine can pool at the bottom of the box, giving an unpleasant smell.
- Flushable – Flushable litter is, perhaps, the most environmentally-friendly option form the list. It’s completely biodegradable, generally made from corn, wood, or wheat. And, the best part about it is that you can clean the box just by flushing everything down the toilet.
What Is Cat Litter Made of?
Before we get to the ten best cat litters on this list, it’s important also to discuss the different materials cat litter is made of. Understanding the key characteristics of each can be essential to picking a litter that won’t make your cat turn up its nose and get creative about where it does its business.
- Clay – Some cheap options for cat litter use clay. It can come both in clumping and non-clumping formats, scented or unscented, and is generally effective in absorbing litter. However, some of them come in high concentrations of silica dust, which can be damaging to the cat’s health.
- Crystal – Crystal litter can successfully control odor and lower moisture levels within the litter box. Because of that, you can go longer without changing the cat’s litter, with some brands even advertising that you can use one pack of crystal litter for up to a month. Moreover, some are designed to change color if the kitty has a urinary infection.
- Wood – Wood litter or wood pellets are a cheap and biodegradable option for the litter box. However, if you go this route, you’ll need to make sure you don’t overfill it, as the pellets will absorb the urine and expand. If there is too much in there, it can overflow. It’s common to see wood litter in animal shelters.
- Corn – Another great flushable and biodegradable litter uses corn. You may be surprised to hear that corn is an option for your kitty’s litter, but it’s genuinely a great option particularly for small kittens. It comes in bigger pellets, which makes it safer for them.
- Pine – Pine litter is made from sawdust, so it is essentially taking waste and giving it a whole new purpose. Most brands clump and they are not that effective in controlling odor, particularly if you have multiple cats.
- Walnut – Walnut-based litter is made from the shells of the walnut. In other words, this type of litter is entirely natural. It generally clumps very well, though it may not do much in terms of odor control. However, it is flushable.
- Paper – Paper litter is made from recycled paper, taken and made into pellets, which means it doesn’t clump. And, because it is paper, don’t expect any odor control.
- Attractant – Some cats are natural when it comes to using a litter box. Others, not so much. Some kitty people can genuinely struggle with teaching their cats how to go in the litter box, particularly if it’s a rescue not used to the concept. For that purpose, some litter boxes come with extra scents that can attract the cat to the litter box. From there, nature will take its course.
- Grass – Yes, you can buy grass litter. And most of it is 100% grass, by the way. Just know that these options can be a bit more expensive than the other variety of litters, but you get the benefit of a completely natural litter.
- Wheat – At first glance, you could confuse wheat litter with regular clay litter, though the former is entirely natural. Clumping power is all over the place with this one, and it depends on the brand you pick.
Our Picks for the 10 Best Cat Litters in 2021
Now’s the time to see what are the ten best cat litters you can buy in 2021. Multiple brands have been reviewed, based on what they can offer, their price, and other characteristics, and the best of the bunch are right there on this list.
|Our 2021 Picks: Best Cat Litters on the Market|
|Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Clumping
|Frisco Multi-Cat Clumping Cat Litter
|Tidy Cats Scoop Instant Action
|Arm & Hammer Litter Clump & Seal Multi-Cat
|Frisco Unscented Odor Defense Clumping
|Frisco Fresh Scent Multi-Cat Clumping
|Scoop Away Complete Performance Scented
|Tidy Cats LightWeight 24/7 Performance
|Frisco Crystal Summer Clean Scent
|Garfield Cat Litter Tiny Grains Flushable Cat Litter
Overall Best Cat Litter: The absolute winner here is Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Clumping Cat Litter. It combines non-tracking classic granules with a medium-grain clay which prevents moisture from seeping to the bottom of the litter box. Not to mention, it does quite a lot for odor control.
This litter is also hypoallergenic and 99.99% dust-free. You don’t have to worry about your cat leaving any traces of litter around the house after a bathroom break. Plus, its hard-clumping nature makes it a lot easier to keep the litter box clean. It’s genuinely the best litter on the market, a high-quality choice that will undoubtedly make you and your kitty very happy.
- Pros: dust-free, natural, hypoallergenic, odor control, multi-cat, can be used in mechanical litter boxes.
- Cons: not biodegradable or flushable.
Runner Up: A close second to Dr. Elsey’s is the Frisco Multi-Cat Clumping Cat Litter, made from all-natural clay that forms easy-to-clean hard clumps. It’s slightly cheaper than the previous choice, and a great selection if your household has multiple cats.
The material does a pretty good job absorbing moisture so you won’t find any pools at the bottom of the litter box. Its formula is excellent at keeping odors at bay, so your house will always smell fresh and clean. Moreover, it’s hypo-allergenic to the most common allergens.
- Pros: all natural, odor-control, hypo-allergenic, perfect for multiple-cat households;
- Cons: not biodegradable, some dust may be present.
Best Odor Control: Those are the two best of the best options of cat litter you can get your hands on, but it’s also worth pointing out that there are plenty of options out there that can excel in their league. Like the Tidy Cats Scoop Instant Action Immediate Odor Control Cat Litter, which offers some of the best odor control out of all the top choices.
So, if you are genuinely struggling with keeping the scent from the litter box at bay, this litter is truly what you need. This brand is designed to trap any unpleasant smell coming from the litter box right from the get-go so you won’t be able to smell anything even right after your cat has used the litter box. The natural clay product has its deodorizing system and forms strong clumps for easy scoops.
Moreover, the TidyCats litter is formulated for multiple cats and has an inviting appeal to kitties so you won’t have to worry about them rejecting it.
- Pros: great odor control, suitable for multiple cats, natural product
- Cons: not hypoallergenic, not biodegradable.
Best Clumping : Sometimes, an easy process of cleaning your cat’s litter box is all you need, in which case you should consider the Arm & Hammer Litter Clump & Seal Multi-Cat Litter. Its unique formula allows for strong clumping and very low dust residue, making it a lot easier for you to scoop from the litter anything you want to eliminate.
Moreover, its odor-control abilities are nothing to ignore, either. This Arm & Hammer litter is designed for seven days of odor protection in a multi-cat household, using baking soda to break down any odors that can come out of the litter box. And the litter itself is made with micro-particles, giving a soft feel that won’t bother the feline-like with other litters.
- Pros: excellent clumping, great odor-control, and moisture absorption;
- Cons: not completely dust free, and not hypoallergenic, can leave dust traces.
Best Unscented: As stated before, cats are both notoriously picky and have a heightened sense of smell. As such, it’s possible your kitty will not respond positively to scented litter, so you might need some time convincing them otherwise.
But don’t worry too much about it, because there’s always unscented litter around. Like the Frisco Unscented Odor Defense Clumping Cat Litter, one of the best selections in this category. This clay litter is completely odorless, so there’s no risk of its smell bothering your cat. It also has great odor-control qualities that are effective both for one or multiple kitties. Fast clumping means you can keep a close eye on the litter’s cleanliness without any issues. And, it’s also a great option if you’re on a tight budget.
- Pros: completely unscented, odor control, uses less litter per clump, comes in recyclable packaging.
- Cons: not hypoallergenic or biodegradable, can leave traces of dust.
Best Multi-Cat: Cat parents with multiple kitties in their household can truly struggle to find good litter for their needs. Well, that ends with the Frisco Fresh Scent Multi-Cat Clumping Cat Litter, a natural clay litter designed explicitly for multi-cat uses. That’s an important distinction to make. A lot of litter manufacturers say their products can also be used for houses with multiple cats, but any cat owner knows the results can often be disappointing.
This Frisco litter, however, has a stronger formula than regular litter, offering exceptional odor-control, hard-clumping, and low-tracking. It also features a slight fragrance, nothing too much to bother anyone. However, you should be aware of it in case you have more sensitive cats.
- Pros: designed explicitly for multi-cat households, forms solid clumps, is natural.
- Cons: not biodegradable, not hypoallergenic, can leave dust traces.
Best Low Dust: Keeping odor at bay and the litter box clean is one thing. But, there’s nothing worse than your cat leaving trails of dust all around the house every time it uses the litter box.
Thankfully, there’s an easy fix to that problem: the Scoop Away Complete Performance Scented Scoopable Cat Litter, an all-in-one litter with no harsh chemicals in its formula that can harm your kitty.
This scented clay litter uses special minerals that can effectively trap and eliminate unpleasant smells, and can go up to ten days of odor control. The minerals also help reduce dusting, so you don’t have to worry about any trails around the house anymore.
- Pros: best low-dust and low tracking litter, good odor control;
- Cons: not biodegradable or flushable, not hypoallergenic.
Best Lightweight: More cats equals more love… and more litter to carry home. That can be a genuine problem, especially for those who don’t have a shop right around the corner. So, try the Tidy Cats LightWeight 24/7 Performance Clumping Cat Litter, which is litter you can easily carry anywhere you need. Plus, it’s also very easy to store, so it’s a great option for cat owners who can struggle in these departments.
While it’s roughly 50% lighter than regular cat litter, don’t expect to be losing anything in quality. This litter is excellent at keeping unpleasant odors at bay, clumps for easy cleaning, and can prevent ammonia odor for up to two weeks.
- Pros: 50% lighter, good odor control, and clumping;
- Cons: not hypoallergenic or biodegradable.
Best Non-Clumping: You should consider switching to crystal litter if you want a non-clumping option. And if you do, then you should try the Frisco Crystal Summer Clean Scent Multi Cat Non-Clumping Cat Litter, with excellent odor control and a low dust formula.
The crystals are great at absorbing liquids and moisture so that the litter box won’t be leaving any smells, and the urine won’t sink to the bottom of the litter box. Feces will be easy to clean using the litter scoop, and this pack will last you for an entire month without any problems. Plus, it comes with a pleasant smell that can mask any residual odors.
- Pros: long lasting, non-clumping, good odor control, low-dust;
- Cons: not biodegradable, not flushable, different texture, harder at the touch that some kitties may need getting used to.
Best Flushable: For the more environmentally-conscious cat parents who also want something of high quality, there’s the Garfield Cat Litter Tiny Grains Flushable Cat Litter, made with 100% natural ingredients.
This corn-based litter offers solid and instant clumping and generally performs very well at absorbing moisture. It has no chemicals or artificial additives, so you don’t have to worry about any substances harming your cats. And since its biodegradable, you can just pick it up and flush everything down the toilet, just like that, with no extra effort.
- Pros: tiny grains pleasant at touch, completely natural, flushable and biodegradable ingredients, clumping properties.
- Cons: while it can offer some odor control, it’s not the best in this category.
5 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Cat Litter
In case you haven’t heard yet of the latest statistics regarding pet ownership in America, we are happy to let you know that 68% of the households in the country own a pet. Not only that increases the cuteness levels in those homes, but it also contributes to better overall health for the owners, both physically and mentally.
Having a pet is proven to strengthen your immune system, decrease stress levels, and lower the risk of stress-related illnesses like anxiety and depression. Owning a pet can also increase your fitness level and give you more socializing opportunities.
Even if dogs have long been considered the man’s best friends, cats are catching up fast and have gained amazing popularity in the last decade. We can thank the magic of internet memes for that. If you are excited about getting a pet kitty but don’t have experience with these fluffy, elegant yet funny companions, here is a 101 on cat litter. After all, you have to be ready for handling it every day.
We promise that a well-maintained litter box will not smell and will be highly appreciated by your feline family members.
Is Cat Litter Harmful to Humans?
It is natural to be concerned about the health risks of owning a cat. Although extremely cute, these balls of fur facilitate the access of germs and foreign agents in your home. A lot of people are asking themselves if cat litter affects humans after years and years of daily exposure.
If you have handled kitty litter before, more specifically the clay type, you have probably noticed that dust rises every time you or the cat maneuver the litter. Can this dust harm you when inhaled? While it is a valid concern, there are no medical studies that have linked cat litter dust to human health problems, so far. What could be indeed concerning is ingesting or inhaling a significant quantity of litter containing sodium bentonite, a clumping agent that helps the litter form into balls when in contact with moisture.
But, unless you swallow a lot of cat litter, which is highly unlikely to happen by accident or otherwise, it will not be hazardous for your health. If you want to be on the safe side, though, we advise wearing a simple mask or covering your mouth and nose with fabric while you handle the litter to avoid inhaling particles of clay or feces.
As mentioned, the cat litter itself is relatively harmless, and its possible effects can easily be avoided by handling with care when replacing it. But coming into contact with cat litter usually happens when we clean the box, and that’s when we come into contact with our pet’s feces too.
Here is where safety measures should be taken. First of all, pregnant women and people with a weak immune system should not handle the litter box. Cats can be hosts to parasites that can affect humans, such as toxoplasmosis, and other harmful agents like bacteria and viruses. Use protective gear (gloves, masks) when handling your cat’s dirty litter to avoid being exposed to these agents. And, always wash your hands thoroughly afterward. Last but not least, have your cat checked by a vet regularly and vaccinate it.
Investing a little bit more money in good cat litter will also make a big difference. Avoid clay-based products that disperse dust and other particles easily. You may opt for a hypoallergenic, scoopable litter that you can flush down the toilet like the one mentioned in our list. You also get bonus points for using biodegradable products and protecting the planet.
How Often Should You Replace Cat Litter?
A cat with a healthy digestive and urinary system will use the litter box at least once or twice a day. So, you will need to clean the clumps daily. You can easily scoop out the feces and urine clumps with a perforated scooper. Even if you clean the box daily, you still have to replace all the litter regularly.
How often should you change it? Well, it depends a lot on the type of litter you are using. Some of them will hold moisture into individual, scoopable lumps, while others will just soak it, needing more frequent changing. You need to monitor and observe your kitty’s box and replace everything with fresh litter when it starts smelling funny or being saturated.
How Can I Eliminate Cat Litter Odor?
The best way of eliminating cat litter odor is to keep it clean. If you have a smell problem, just increase the frequency of cleaning. If that doesn’t work, you should check if the box itself needs replacing. The best cat litter box is plastic, non-porous, and it can prevent any impregnation with urine and feces. You can also use box liners to make it easier to replace the litter. However, some cats will scratch through them when burying their stools.
We recommend against using perfumed litter, as it can trigger asthma and allergies in both you and your pets. That is valid even if the used perfume is a natural one, like lavender.
Will Cats Use a Dirty Cat Litter Box?
They won’t. Cats start “thinking outside of the box” when their hygiene needs are not met. There are many reasons why a cat can refuse a certain litter or box type, but unclean ones are certainly a common cause for random waste eliminating.
How Do I Keep My House from Smelling like Cat Litter?
If the smell bothers you, you should try a covered or even an automatic litter box. Place it in an area of the house with the least traffic.
Eliminating the litter is not recommended unless you have an outdoor cat who can safely wander outside. Still, you should have a litter box for it indoors, just in case the weather is unfriendly, or your cat prefers to stay inside.
The training pads used for puppies or kittens could also be an alternative to the litter box, but it is an expensive solution that your cat might refuse. Not to mention, it’s less hygienic than the litter box.
Training your cat to use the toilet is also not recommendable, because it prevents you from properly monitoring your cat’s health. Cats, especially males, can develop kidney stones or other urinary tract problems, or digestive issues that can go easily unobserved if your cat uses the toilet.
With today’s vast pet market, it should be quite easy to find the best cat litter that fits your budget, your cat’s preferences and your needs as the owner. Test different litters, until you find the one you are absolutely satisfied with. Place the litter box in the most convenient corner of the house, for both you and the cat(s) and you will have no trouble with it.
Keeping your cat happy will ultimately have benefits for your family’s health too. Cat litter should not be a problem, as long as you maintain it properly and give your cat the chance to follow its instinct of eliminating its waste discreetly.
Back to you
So, there you have it: some of the best cat litters you can buy for your furry family member in 2021. Don’t get too disappointed if you choose something and your cat doesn’t respond to. Cats really hate any change in their environment, so it’s likely they won’t like the new litter right off the bat. You can buy some extra attractants and spray it around the litter box to catch your cat’s attention and convince it to give it another go.
But sometimes, they still might not like it, so you’ll have to try again. Luckily, you have a lot of amazing products out there to choose from. And, now that you know everything there is about the types of cat litter and what they’re made of, there’s no way this story doesn’t get a happy ending.