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The Best Cat Litter

Last updated on February 6, 2023

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Our Picks For The Top Cat Litters

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

Fresh Step Febreze Scented Multi-Cat Extra Strength Clumping Cat Litter

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Fresh Step

Febreze Scented Multi-Cat Extra Strength Clumping Cat Litter

This litter hits all the marks, even for those who have more than one cat. The grains clump up nicely and are very absorbent. When it comes to smell, enough of these pellets in your litter box should cancel out any strong odors.

Overall Take

Easy to CleanThese pellets cling to waste easily when it's cleanup time.

 Runner Up

Ultrapet Odor Control Ultra Micro Crystals Cat Litter


Odor Control Ultra Micro Crystals Cat Litter

The smaller grains in this litter are helpful for a number of reasons. First and foremost, they don't get stuck easily in smaller paws, so there's less debris outside the box. Cats will love the feel, and the scent hides poop odor very effectively.

Overall Take

For Sensitive PawsHide icky smells with this fine-grain litter.

 We Also Like

Cat’s Pride Max Unscented Power Clumping Clay Multi Cat Litter

Cat’s Pride

Max Unscented Power Clumping Clay Multi Cat Litter

If you're done with cat odors, try this unscented clay litter. It hides the bad smells without leaving behind a chemical scent of its own. The clumping is quick and lasting, and the mixture won't kick up undue dust when poured.

Overall Take

No Perfume ScentPour out this heavy-duty litter and say goodbye to stinky smells.

 Strong Contender

Dr. Elsey’s Unscented Odor Control Ultra Multi Cat Litter

Dr. Elsey's

Unscented Odor Control Ultra Multi Cat Litter

Cleaning the litter box is a breeze with this brand. It holds on tight to waste and surrounds it with pellets that effectively mask any odor. There's very little if any excess to worry about outside the box thanks to its low-dust formula.

Overall Take

First Rate ClumpingUse this unscented litter and keep even the most pungent smells at bay.

Buying Guide

There are a lot of pros and cons when it comes to owning a cat, and their bathroom habits can be a little bit of both. On the one hand, you don’t need to take them for walks. On the other hand, you do need to perform some regular maintenance on their litter box. Choosing the right kitty litter for that box will minimize the hassle, both for you and your finicky four-legged friend.

Cat litter can come in many forms but it should at least vaguely resemble sand or dirt. Felines are naturally predisposed to bury their excrement, after all. Each type has its strong points, but keep in mind that you’re not really the one who gets to decide which is best. Even the most odor-eating, easy-cleaning, dust-free litter isn’t worth a dime if your cat won’t use it, so be prepared for a little trial and error.

One of the oldest forms of cat litter (and still the most popular) is clay. Clay usually comes in clumping and non-clumping varieties, and there are benefits to both.

Clumping clay absorbs urine and feces in a way that makes it very easy to clean up: It clumps up around it. When it works effectively, clumping litter will form little balls around all the smelly bits in your litter box so that you can simply scoop those out and leave the rest. Even if the sticker price per bag is a little more expensive, this makes it the budget buy. This type of clay is usually made up of finer particles, which can be a double-edged sword: Many cats prefer sandier litter, but pouring it can create dust that might irritate the respiratory systems of both you and your cat.

Non-clumping clay is less likely to create those dust clouds, and it can be very absorbent. However, you’re probably going to have to clean that litter box more often — and more thoroughly.

Crystal cat litter is a relatively new competitor to clay varieties, and it has a lot of appeal for those who hate constant upkeep. The crystals in question are usually made of silica gel, which can be extremely absorbent and are very good at masking any unpleasant odors. The particles are also a little bigger, making them a lot less likely to be dragged outside the box on your cat’s paws. The downside? Not all cats like the feel of this gritty litter, and it absolutely shouldn’t be an option for kittens who are still learning their potty routine. If cats ingest the crystals, they can expand inside the digestive tract.

If you’re looking for something more eco-friendly, there are a lot of less common varieties to choose from. Paper pellets are about as natural as they get, and while they aren’t the best at covering up odor they at least won’t track outside the box. If you’re looking for a litter than can double as compost, corn won’t kick up dust and some varieties can even be flushed down the toilet. Pine pellets and walnut shells are fairly affordable and can be surprisingly good at hiding the smell of urine.

Speaking of odor control, that’s obviously going to be a big selling point for any litter. In general, it’s best to go with varieties that mask that offensive smell in a natural way. Scented litters can be a huge turn-off for your kitty’s sensitive sniffer.

What to Look For

In most cases, once you find a litter that works, you’re going to want to stick with it. We don’t have to tell longtime cat owners how much their pet hates a change in routine. The exception here is if your cat gets a cut on their paw, or is recovering from surgery. Litter with smaller particles like clay or even some crystal varieties can clump up around open wounds the same way it does around urine, and that can lead to infection. In this case, try switching it up. Paper pellets are ideal for cats on the mend, but pine can also work well.

More to Explore

Kitty litter wasn’t ever “invented,” per se — granulated clay had been around for centuries before Edward Lowe started marketing it as such in 1947. Before that, people had been filling up their cat boxes with sand, dirt, fireplace ash or whatever their cats would use. But as soon as people discovered clay’s odor-fighting properties, Lowe’s unlikely empire took off.

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