Cat litter may seem like a product that simply collects a cat's urine and feces and one brand is indistinguishable from another. However there's actually much variation between brands and different types can work better with your cat and your home.
Best Cat Litter for Odor Control
Fresh Step Simply Unscented Litter is the first choice from the Wirecutter for odor control. Target reviewers give it a 4.7 out of 5 star rating with 96% stating they would recommend it to other cat owners. The litter contains activated charcoal to eliminate odors and doesn't contain any artificial scents which can bother some people. The manufacturer guarantees it will control odor for 10 days after a cat eliminates in the litter box (although litter should be scooped at least once a day). It's also a low-dust litter to keep your home cleaner. It sells for about $13 for a 25 pound box. It also comes in a "lightweight" version that's easier to lift which is perfect if you have difficulty lifting heavy items or need to carry your purchases up stairs.
Best Cat Litter for Dust Control
Arm & Hammer Litter Clump and Seal Platinum Litter is a great choice for dust control. Dust-free litter is perfect for humans, and cats, who suffer from allergies. The manufacturer claims it's 100% dust free and also gives a seven-day guarantee for odor control. It also is made with a unique "sealing technology" that blocks the odor from cat feces and urine with the clumping action. It's an Amazon's Choice product with around 4.5 out of 5 star rating from over 3,000 users. A 27 pound box is about $23.
Best Cat Litter for a Multiple Cat Households
Homes with more than one cat should have multiple boxes at a rate of one for each cat plus one (in other words, a home with three cats should have at least four boxes). Pet Life Today recommends Tidy Cats Purina Breeze Cat Litter. Target reviewers give the brand a 4.7 out of 5 star rating with a 100% "will recommend" rating. This litter is made from pellets and is made for the Tidy Cat Breeze Litter Box, although you can use it with any litter box. It's 99.9% dust free and the unique design is made for efficient odor control compared to clay and gravel-type litters. Unlike other litters, it also requires you to purchase pads to lay underneath the litter to soak up urine. A 3.5-pound bag of the litter is about $8 and a 10 count pouch of pads is about $12.
Best Eco Friendly Cat Litter
If you're concerned that cat litter is bad for the environment, there are better options. Scientific American's review of eco friendly litter notes that sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat Natural Wheat Cat Litter is a great choice. Chewy.com users give it 4.2 out of 5 stars with over 600 reviews. The litter is made from 100% biodegradable wheat and its odor control action is from natural enzymes. It can actually be composted unlike traditional litters. A 25 pound bag retails for a little under $20.
Best Cat Litter for Cats Who Avoid the Litter Box
Dealing with a cat that has litter box issues can be a real challenge. There are a few brands of litter that are particularly helpful in retraining a cat to use the litter box. Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Cat Attract Litter gets an average review of 4.5 out of 5 stars with over 1,000 reviews on Chewy.com. The formula for Cat Attract was developed by veterinarians and has been tested in shelters and feline veterinary clinics for cats with litter box avoidance. Every bag and box includes a booklet with tips for owners on working with cats with litter box issues.
Best Flushable Cat Litter
Most pet owners would prefer not to dispose of cat litter by bagging it up and taking it to the trash. For this reason some cat owners prefer a litter they can flush down the toilet. One of the best flushable litters is the delightfully named It's a Tea Potty! Hinoki Wood & Green Tea Natural Cat Litter. This Amazon's Choice product has an average rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars. It's made from hinoki wood from the Japanese cypress tree and green tea which both have natural properties to contain bacteria and odor. It's also hypoallergenic and low dust for sensitive cats and people. An 11.7 pound bag sells for around $25.
Best Low Tracking Cat Litter
Petco's highest rated non-tracking cat litter is So Phresh Odor Control Paper Cat Litter. The litter is made with paper pellets which is less likely track than the usual clay or gravel litters. It's also 99% dust free and since it's made primarily from recycled paper, it's eco friendly. The litter also contains baking soda and zeolite to help with odor control. Petco users give the litter a 4.8 out of 5 star rating with over 200 reviews.
Best Clumping Litter
World's Best Cat Litter Scoopable Multiple Cat Clumping Formula gets an A+ rating for best clumping cat litter. Chewy.com users give it a 4.4 out of 5 star rating with over 2,000 reviews. Unlike other types of clumping litter made from clay, World's Best is made from corn. This makes it a more eco friendly alternative, and it's flushable as well. The litter is excellent at forming tight clumps that do not break apart, making it easy to scoop and clean the litter box. It's also 99% dust free because of its made from corn. A 28 pound bag sells for about $28.
Best Non-Clumping Cat Litter
If you prefer to have regular clay litter that does not clump, Purina Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Non-Clumping Litter is an excellent choice recommended by We're All About Cats. It's also a very economical one with a set of four 10-pound bags retailing for about $24. The litter is 99.6% dust free with a low tracking formula making it a good choice for multi-cat households as well. The litter has extended-release deodorizing crystals that help to block odor until you have a chance to clean the box. A 25 pound bag sells for about $16.
Best Cat Litter for Declawed Cats
Choosing a litter for declawed cats may be necessary as many declawed cats experience lifetime pain from the procedure. Depending on the type of litter you use, using the box can be painful for them and they may begin to avoid using it altogether. Veterinarians and behaviorists recommend using the softest litter possible to reduce the pain on their feet. PetMD recommends soft litter made from all-natural ingredients, such as Ökocat Super Soft Clumping Wood Cat Litter. The litter is an Amazon's Choice product with over 1,900 reviews with an average of 4.1 out of 5 stars. It's soft texture is not only great for declawed cats but also kittens and seniors and it's also all natural with no irritating scents or chemicals. It's made from wood fibers and is flushable, as well as dust free with an advertised seven-day odor control. A 16.7 pound box is about $18.
Best Cat Litter Overall
Business Insider along with several review sites such as the Wirecutter pick Dr. Elsey's Ultra Premium Clumping Cat Litter as the best litter choice overall. Users on Amazon agree, giving this brand a 4.1 out of 5 star rating with over 20,000 reviews and it's an Amazon's Choice product. Target users give it a 5 out of 5 star rating and Petco users a 4.7 out of 5 rating. The litter is 99.9% dust free and hypoallergenic, making it an excellent option for sensitive cats and humans. Its clumping action is so good that it's perfect for multi-cat homes and makes scooping an easy task. It retails for a little under $20 for a 40 pound bag which also makes it an affordable choice compared to some more expensive boutique cat litters.
Choosing Your Cat's Litter
The best kind of cat litter is the one that works best for your household and cat's needs. There are many available options for controlling odor, dust, and tracking to keep your house clean and smelling fresh. If you or your cat have allergies and environmental sensitivities, consider a hypoallergenic choice made from natural ingredients. Make a list of all the qualities you desire in a cat litter and review your choices for the one that will make you and your feline enjoy the litter box!