Cat litter is one of the most important components of your feline’s everyday life. Using a good cat litter promotes healthy eliminating habits and perpetuates your cat’s overall health condition. It’s important to use a dependable cat litter which has been specifically formulated for your furry friend’s age and specific needs.
No matter what type of budget you have, there is a quality cat litter option available. We break down our favorites for you, including our top budget-friendly pick, so you can choose a litter that will work best for your cat based on a wide range of factors.
Let’s begin by exploring different types of litter and features.
What is the Best Cat Litter in 2021?
- Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Clumping Cat Litter
- PrettyLitter – 20% off w/ code BESTLITTER
- Okocat Natural Wood Clumping Litter
- Frisco Multi-Cat Clumping Litter – Best Value Pick
- Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Senior Litter
- Zero Mess by World’s Best Advanced Pine Scented Cat Litter
- Fresh Step Extreme Odor Control Hawaiian Aloha Scent Cat Litter
- Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Quick-Clumping Cat Litter
- Okocat Natural Wood Long Hair Breeds Cat Litter
Different Types of Litters for Cats
Luckily for cat parents there are several different types of kitty litters on the market. Having a wide variety of options is helpful for multi-cat households, or cats who may have allergies or sensitive skin. The different types of litter include:
- Clay: traditional and inexpensive
- Silica gel: good for senior cats and cats with sensitive paws
- Wood: soft and lightweight
- Corn: eco-friendly and flushable
- Pine: fresh scent and biodegradable
- Walnut: excellent choice for neutralizing odors
- Paper: dust-free and won’t track like other litters
- Attractant: helps train kittens to use the litter box
- Wheat: great for kittens or post-surgery cats
- Cedar: lightweight with a natural scent
- Grass: soft and earth-friendly
Clay, crystal and wood litters continue to be the most common and popular choices among cat parents. However, eco-friendly cat litters made from such materials as corn, pine and walnut are becoming more mainstream. Biodegradable kitty litters that won’t harm the environment have gained traction in recent years, and they also tend to be better for your cat’s respiratory health.
Different Types of Litter Features
If you’re having a hard time choosing a litter based on the material, you may consider the features that each litter offers. These special features include:
- Odor Control: a good choice for multi-cat households
- Clumping: for easy cleanup
- Unscented: for cats with allergies, asthma or respiratory concerns
- Scented: to cover up and/or eliminate odors
- Dust Free: perfect for pets and people who have allergies
- Multi-Cat: generally absorbent and scented
- Biodegradable: safe for the environment
- Flushable: for sewer disposal
- Lightweight: weight less than traditional clay litter
- Washable: for specific mechanical litter box systems
Eco-friendly cat litters have become increasingly popular in recent years. Kitty litters which are safe for the environment are typically deemed biodegradable and/or flushable. But what does this mean? We break it down below to differentiate these two types of litter features.
What is the different between flushable and biodegradable litter?
Just because a litter is biodegradable doesn’t mean that it’s flushable. Although each option tends to be eco-friendly, these cat litters have different characteristics. Let’s dive into what the differences are between biodegradable and flushable cat litter.
Biodegradable litters are made from 100% natural resources. They don’t contain any chemicals or fragrances that will cause harm to the environment. Biodegradable Kitty litter materials include corn, pine shavings, wheat, walnut, grass and wood. Unlike most clay litters that will remain in a landfill for a seemingly endless amount of time, biodegradable litters will eventually become a part of the environment once again, sometimes in as little as one month.
For a cat litter to be deemed “flushable,” it has to be safe to discard via sewer systems, and sometimes septic systems. Flushable litters are environmentally friendly, otherwise they wouldn’t be safe to flush. Flushable cat litter is typically made from fine and lightweight materials that won’t clog pipes.
Some kitty litters are biodegradable and flushable while others offer one benefit or the other. Always check the packaging and brand information for further details before disposing of the litter.
Now, without further ado, let’s get into our picks for the eight best cat litters.
Overall Best Cat Litter In 2021
There are a plethora of fantastic kitty litters to choose from based on material type and litter features. It’s hard to pick just one favorite, but we’ve managed to narrow down our top choices. First we bring you our selection for overall best cat litter.
|Our 2021 Picks: Best Cat Litter|
||Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Clumping Cat Litter
||Okocat Natural Wood Clumping Litter
||Frisco Multi-Cat Clumping Litter
||Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Senior Litter
||Zero Mess By World’s Best Advanced Pine Scented Cat Litter
||Fresh Step Extreme Odor Control Hawaiian Aloha Scent Litter
||Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Quick-Clumping Litter
||Okocat Natural Wood Long Hair Breeds Litter
Key benefits of our overall top rated pick:
- Natural clumping litter
- Created for ultimate odor and moisture control
- Veterinarian formulated
- Great for cats with asthma or allergies
We love Dr. Elsey’s cat litter. Each litter type was specifically formulated by Dr. Elsey himself, a veterinarian with over 35 years of experience. All of Dr. Elsey’s litters are designed to be soft and gentle on your cat’s paws, and the formulas were built to attract your cat to the litter box.
Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Clumping Litter is a clay litter comprised of medium-sized granules. What makes this litter stand out from other clay options is the fact that it’s 99.9% dust free and hypoallergenic. Say goodbye to clouds of dust when pouring and cleaning this litter!
We also like that this clumping cat litter has ultra-clumping properties to ensure that clumps won’t break down or cause a mess in the litter box. It offers premium odor control, which makes it a great choice for multi-cat households. But don’t let the deluxe clumping benefits fool you – this Dr. Elsey’s litter can be used in mechanical litter boxes for easy sifting and cleaning.
- Formulated by a trusted veterinarian
- Solid clumping for easy cleanup
- Can be used in mechanical litter boxes
- Superior odor control
- Excellent for multi-cat households
- Virtually dust-free and hypoallergenic
- Not flushable
- Not biodegradable
- 20% off with code BESTLITTER
- Changes color when a change in pH is detected
- Convenient delivery service
- Reduced dust and mess
- Traps odors and eliminates moisture
Runner-Up Best Cat Litter: PrettyLitter is unlike any litter you have tried before. Not only is it lightweight and hypoallergenic, but its most amazing benefit is that it can detect changes in pH which can indicate a change in your cat’s health. PrettyLitter can detect health issues such as urinary tract infections, bladder stones, inflammation, kidney issues, and more. Cats sometimes have underlying health issues that owners are unaware of, so PrettyLitter takes out the guess work and tells you what your cat can’t! With a once-a-month convenient delivery service, PrettyLitter costs less than some other typical cat litters and the amount they send depends on the number of cats in your home. The super absorbent silica gel traps odors and eliminates moisture and is made from natural minerals, which means less dust and allergens and less litter in the landfill.
- Made from natural minerals
- Color change indicates change in your cat’s health
- Less dust and mess
- Convenient delivery service
- Non-clumping can cause tracking
- Subscription service
Key benefits of our runner-up:
- Eco-friendly and biodegradable
- Made from reclaimed lumber materials
- No chemicals or additives
- Formulated with patented Odor Shield Technology
Best Environmentally Friendly Cat Litter: Okocat is a litter brand that offers quality and performance by way of an environmentally-friendly formula. Okocat litters are made with natural plant fibers which trap odors quickly and create little to not dust. This particular kitty litter absorbs up to 500% of its weight in moisture, meaning that cleaning the litter box will no longer be a smelly, messy process.
Okocat Natural Wood Clumping Litter was created with Odor Shield Technology. This means that the litter traps liquids and absorbs odors without the use of harsh chemicals. It’s lab-tested and proven to absorb 5x as much moisture as a typical cat litter. The wood pellets in this Okocat litter are soft on the inside but firm on the outside, which assist in the patented liquid absorbing technology.
- Biodegradable and flushable
- Lightweight and comes in a compostable package
- High absorbency
- Ultimate clumping for easy cleanup
- Good for households with allergies
- Not recommended for senior cats or kittens
- Only available in one size container
We understand that kitty litter can be expensive, especially if you have multiple cats. Luckily we have an excellent budget-friendly kitty litter recommendation for you.
Key benefits of our favorite budget-friendly kitty litter:
- Low-tracking for easier cleanup
- Ideal for mechanical litter boxes
- Preliminary de-dusting process to reduce dust
Best Budget-Friendly Litter: Frisco offers several different budget-friendly litter options. Much like our other two top picks, this multi-cat litter is hypoallergenic and is designed to lock in liquid before it gets to the bottom of the litter box. It quickly neutralizes odors, an important benefit for households with multiple feline friends. Frisco Multi-Cat Clumping Litter is an all-natural clay litter that forms hard clumps for cleaner scooping. You can even use this litter in your mechanical litter box.
Frisco cat litter goes through a de-dusting process to help reduce dusty residue. The clay granules are low-tracking, and it contains no chemicals, dyes or additives. If your cats like to track litter and make messes, you’ll love this Frisco cat litter, as it reduces litter trails from your cat’s paws and fur.
- Goes through a de-dusting system to help reduce dust
- Great for mechanical litter boxes
- Low-tracking formula
- Good for multi-cat households
- Not flushable
- Not the most eco-friendly choice
We couldn’t keep our cat litter recommendations to just three choices, so here are some more of our favorite kitty litters.
Key benefits of this senior litter:
- Made of small, crystal granules
- Created to help prevent urinary tract infections and kidney failure
Best Litter for Senior Cats: Cats have different needs during the three main stages of their life. As senior cats are more prone to health issues, it’s important that they receive extra special care. For senior cats we recommend Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Senior Litter. This litter is comprised of hydrolyzed herb crystals rather than traditional clay or pellets. This design helps keep a senior cat’s genital area especially clean to avoid common issues like urinary tract infections.
Precious Cat Senior litter does not contain any sort of organic materials and it is hypoallergenic. The crystal particles are small and they dehydrate feces to reduce odor. Urine is trapped inside the crystals for a cleaner litter box experience. Your senior cat deserves to live out their golden years in a healthy, happy way, and we are confident that this Dr. Elsey’s litter can help.
- Non-toxic and free of organic materials
- Helps prevent urinary health problems
- Crystal granules created to trap and reduce odor
- Will not work with mechanical cat litter boxes
- The crystals won’t create hard clumps like other materials will
4 More Top Rated Cat Litters
World’s Best is known for offering eco-friendly, high-performance cat litters. The Zero Mess Pine Scented option makes our list for several reasons. It is made from whole kernel corn and plant fibers, which make it 100% natural and super absorbent. It contains real pine ingredients to give the litter a natural, clean scent.
Zero Mess cat litter creates tight clumps to make for tidy scooping and cleaning. It is septic-safe, so you can easily dispose of the litter by flushing it. The litter granules are concentrated so you use less litter, making a bag last longer. We recommend this 100% natural litter for cat parents who have multiple cats and prefer an environmentally-friendly choice.
This odor-controlling cat litter is highly rated among cat parents. It is formulated with Febreze to not mask odors, but eliminate them. The tropical scent works seamlessly with Fresh Step’s ClumpLock technology to create tight, absorbent clumps so your cat’s litter box will no longer be a smelly mess. The litter granules form tight clumps, which means you will waste less litter. It is also easier to scoop for stress-free cleaning and maintenance.
Fresh Step cat litters are made with signature crystals, made to absorb moisture and liquids on contact. They are also gentle on your kitty’s paws. Customers like this particular kitty litter because the scent is delightful and not overpowering. Cat parents also site that it’s a low-dust litter with a soft texture. Sounds like you can’t go wrong with the Fresh Step Extreme Odor Control Hawaiian Aloha Scent cat litter!
If you’re looking for an alternative to traditional clay litter, you may want to consider trying this walnut-based cat litter. The fibrous blend of walnut shells is said to neutralize odors better than competing materials such as pine, wheat and clay. We like that this unique cat litter if free of chemicals, toxins or harmful additives that could affect your cat’s health.
The Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Quick-Clumping Cat Litter won’t stick to your cat’s paws, which means less tracking and easier cleanup. The litter is virtually dust-free, a beneficial aspect for cats who may suffer from allergies or asthma. This natural litter is unscented, good for mechanical litter boxes and creates hard, tight clumps for easy scooping.
Do you have a long-haired cat? You may be well-acquainted with litter becoming stuck and matted in your cat’s gorgeous, long fur. Luckily there is a solution for you! The Okocat Natural Wood Long Hair Breeds Cat Litter consists of pellets that won’t become stuck in your cat’s fur. The pellets are made from natural plant fibers that will trap up to 500% its weight in moisture. The pellets will clump tightly for easy scooping.
This natural pellet litter has high absorbency, so it will stay dryer longer. There are no added chemicals or toxins in this litter, which is obviously crucial for your kitty’s health. Your feline friend will breathe easily with this virtually dust-free litter. We like that Okocat litters biodegradable and lightweight. If you have a cat with long hair, this cat litter comes highly recommended.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I need to use a different litter for my kitten? – There are kitty litters specifically created for kittens. These types of litters are made from extra-small granules for tiny kitten paws. Some kitten litters even have special attractants that are beneficial when training your kitten to use the litter box. Generally kitten litter is recommended for feline friends that are eight weeks old to one year old.
- Even if a cat litter is flushable, is it really safe to flush down the toilet? – This can be a controversial topic among pet parents and environmentalists. Although we are not experts in the field of water contamination, just thinking about flushing cat feces down the toilet doesn’t sound like the safest option. While there have been studies to suggest that some wild animals have been harmed due to toxoplasmosis, which is a bacterial infection bred from cat feces, there is no sturdy scientific evidence to prove that cats caused the harm to those animals. However, it may be best to throw away used litter if it’s biodegradable, as it can be recycled into the environment. On the flip side, ultimately it comes down to preference. Flushing litter is extremely convenient and is said to dissolve in the sewer system.
- What should I do if my cat is eating the litter? – If your kitten is eating their new litter, it may simply be due to curiosity. However, there may be more of an issue if your adult cat starts eating the litter. It can mean a variety of things; stress, illness or nutritional deficiency. Eating cat litter can cause serious problems for your cat, including digestive tract blockage. If your cat begins consuming the litter, we recommend you seek immediate veterinary attention.
- What should I do if my cat stops using the litter box? – When a cat stops using their litter box or begins urinating inappropriately, it’s usually indicative of a health issue. We recommend seeking veterinary attention if your cat suddenly stops using their litter box. We also suggest scooping the cat litter daily and completely changing the litter every two weeks or so. Cats don’t like to use a smelly, icky litter box!
- How often should I clean my cat’s litter box? – You should scoop your cat’s litter box at least once a day. It’s recommended that you completely replace the litter in your cat’s box every two weeks or so.
With so many different types of litter available to cat parents today, it can be difficult to choose the perfect one. We suggest starting with your cat’s specific needs. Consider their age, hair type and any potential health concerns. Then you can sort through all of the unique litter materials and features. The kitty litters that we listed will work for a variety of cats in all sorts of household types.
It’s important to keep your cat’s litter box in a well-ventilated area. This will help reduce risk of respiratory problems for your cat and it will help you avoid inhalation when cleaning the boxes. Be sure to also thoroughly wash your hands after cleaning the litter box, as cat fecal matter can spread harmful bacteria.