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Cat owners may be off the hook when it comes to the early morning calls of nature that require taking your four-legged friend out in the cold, but a litter box comes with its own set of problems. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not always as easy as pouring some litter into a holder and calling it a day. In fact, ask any cat owner what they currently use for litter, and you’re most likely in for a lengthy response describing the trial and error process that finally led to bathroom harmony.
Ultimately, the best cat litter for your home will depend on your cat, as there are a lot of different factors to consider. With hundreds, if not thousands, of options on the market, finding the right one can be overwhelming, to say the least. Luckily, we’re here to guide you through with plenty of top picks your cat is sure to love.
How to Choose Cat Litter
When shopping for cat litter, you’ll need to take several things into account. Questions like, “How much dust are you willing to deal with?” or “Do you need an unscented litter for cats or family members with allergies?” are ones to consider.
Other things to note include whether you prefer a litter that’s eco-friendly, so as to help reduce your household’s environmental footprint, or if your cat is particular about the litter he or she uses.
Then there are the ingredients used to make your cat’s litter. This is important not only for your cat, but for any humans living in the house. Depending on allergies, odors, and your cat’s preferences, ingredients can make a huge difference in comfort levels when it comes to litter. Below, find several of the most common types and read up on their differences.
Crystal Litters: Litters made with “crystals” are often made with tiny silica gel beads. Cat owners who need low to no-dust litters may prefer crystal litters, since they’re almost completely dust-free. They’re also highly absorbent, making them a good pick for odor control. Though they’re usually priced higher than other varieties, they tend to last longer.
Clay Litters: Clay is another common ingredient in cat litter. Bentonite is a highly-absorbent clay that’s most commonly found in “clumping” litters and forms into a solid clump whenever your cat urinates. This makes scooping and cleaning easier, but is typically dusty and can be heavy to maneuver. On the plus side, cats tend to prefer the feel of its fine, sand-like particles over that of crystals or pellets. Clay is also used in some non-clumping varieties.
Eco-Friendly Litters: Biodegradable and eco-friendly litters are growing in popularity. These litters are typically made from natural materials, such as wheat, corn, grass, and even walnut shells, or recycled materials, like newspapers and wood. In addition to a low environmental impact, another major benefit of these litters is they can be flushed down your toilet (assuming you have a well-maintained septic system), meaning they won’t take up any stinky space in your trashcan.
Whether you’re looking for a specific ingredient-based litter, a budget-friendly option, or simply one that your cat will actually use, we’ve tracked down the nine best litters for all cats of all kinds. As always, remember to consult your veterinarian when you’re making changes in your pets’ lives. Keep scrolling to see Woman’s World’s picks for the best cat litter.
See more of our best product recommendations
Best Dust-Free Cat Litter
Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal
Where to Buy: From $34.63, Amazon
Is your cat sensitive to dust? Are you or your family members? This is a common concern among cat owners, since cats dig around in their litter boxes multiple times a day. To reduce dust, many brands now offer low or dust-free litter options. Arm & Hammer’s Litter Clump & Seal, which happens to be our commerce editor's litter of choice, is a 100 percent dust-free litter that. It’s also known to effectively seal and destroy odor with “moisture-activated micro-granules" that form a tight seal around cat waste, destroying it upon contact.
One five-star reviewer raved: “My pet peeve is dust and this has none ... not a particle flying through the air, no clouds erupting as you pour it, nothing. Zero.”
Best Self-Cleaning Cat Litter
BoxiePro Probiotic Clumping Litter
Where to Buy: From $26.99, Walmart
If you’ve ever cringed at the thought of what types of germs your cat is tracking out of the litter box and through your house, BoxiePro's probiotic clumping cat litter is for you. It eliminates germs inside the litter box to prevent unseen bacteria from being tracked around your home. It's the first litter of its kind to "keep itself clean and fresh 24/7," and its secret lies in its natural probiotics, which third party lab tests determined to effectively eliminate 100 percent of bacteria. (BoxiePro also offers a gentle “cat preferred” scented option!.)
Best Cat Litter for Kittens
Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract
Where to Buy: $29.99, Amazon
Some cats instinctively know to use the litter box, but for others, it requires some practice — and possibly a little coaxing. If you have a kitten that’s just being potty-trained or one that’s flat out refusing to use its box, Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract litter could be the solution you seek. According to the manufacturer, it's made from a "natural herb attractant" which gives off a scent that will attract cats to the litter box. Dr. Elsey's is also formulated with an "ideal" texture and fine particle size that is sure to pique kitty's interest. Plus, it’s 99 percent dust-free and odor-controlling.
Best Cat Litter for Odor Control
Fresh Step Crystals Premium Scented Cat Litter
Where to Buy: $14.49, Target
This crystal cat litter formula locks in odor, absorbs moisture, and minimizes dust. Plus, with an average customer rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars, we’re not the only ones recommending it!
One reviewer gushed, “Hands down THE BEST cat litter. I have four cats and you do not smell pee or that deodorized litter smell. It is so easy to clean, no messy clumps. There is simply no smell! It lasts a long time, too.”
Best Flushable Cat Litter
Okocat Clumping Wood Cat Litter
Where to Buy: From $15.16, Walmart
Made with naturally-fallen wood and unused paper fibers, Okocat's litter is one of the most eco-friendly cat litters on the market. Known to be flushable, biodegradable, lightweight, and dust-free, it provides optimal clumping power, with a promise to absorb five times its weight in liquid. This makes sense, since wood and paper both are both natural moisture absorbents. Better yet, it's easy-pour packing is also compostable.
Cat owners have nothing but good things to say, with one buyer writing, “I have 10 rescue cats. Needless to say, litter is an important issue in my home. ... I absolutely love, love, love this litter. It absorbs well, clumps perfectly and has a fresh and natural smell. It does not have perfume-y smell, which can be somewhat sickening. Most of all, my cats love it.”
Best Natural Cat Litter
sWheat Scoop All-Natural Cat Litter
Where to Buy: From $26.95, Amazon
If you’re looking for a natural litter that’s also budget-friendly, check out sWheat Scoop. It’s wheat-based with no harmful ingredients, making it a 100 percent renewable, biodegradable resource. And don’t worry, it's no less effective than regular litter: In fact, sWheat Scoop promises two times the clumping power and odor elimination of the brand's regular fast-clumping litter ($20.99, Amazon). Did we mention it’s also flushable to boot?
Best Lightweight Cat Litter
Purina Tidy Cats Free & Clean
Where to Buy: $20.99, Amazon
If you have multiple litter boxes around your home or mobility issues that make carrying heavy litter difficult, Tidy Cats' lightweight Free & Clean formula is a top recommendation. It's more than 50 percent lighter than regular litter, with 17 pounds equating to roughly 35. What's more, the activated charcoal found within absorbs odors without any added fragrances or dyes.
One satisfied cat owner who left a five-star rating wrote: “My experience of this litter is that it has no fragrance whatsoever and does an excellent job of neutralizing any odor from the kitty's waste. This is the first time in my long history of caring for kitties that I have been this satisfied with a litter. I've tried lots of different brands of kitty litters and none of them has performed as well as this lightweight, unscented, charcoal-infused litter.”
Best Easy-to-Clean Cat Litter
Tidy Cats Breeze Cat Litter Pellets
Where to Buy: $26.68, Amazon
Made of mordenite zeolite, a natural mineral, this pellet cat litter is designed to work with the Tidy Cats Breeze litter box system ($44.98, Amazon), and is a favorite among cat owners. The pellets allow urine to pass through, leaving solid waste on top, which makes scooping quicker and easier than other litters on the market. The pellets are also designed to dehydrate solid waste, helping to keep your cat’s litter box clean and tidy and reducing the germs that track through your house. It also lasts significantly longer — one 7-pound bag can last up to two months!
Best Clumping Cat Litter
World's Best Cat Litter
Where to Buy: $26.95, Amazon
The name says it all! World's Best Cat Litter checks nearly all of the boxes as far as cat litter is concerned. It’s quick clumping, easy to scoop, lightweight, 99 percent dust-free, and odor-controlling. It's made with whole-kernel corn and has no harmful chemicals or artificial perfumes, making it pet, people, and planet-friendly. It's also septic-safe, so you can flush it down the toilet and save your trash can from stinking up. For those who prefer a scented litter, the brand offers a lavender scented Multiple Cat Clumping option that’s long-lasting and keeps nasty smells at bay with a gentle fragrance from all-natural lavender oil.