Clay cat litter first came into existence in the 1940s, and it’s remained the most popular cat litter since then. Clay cat litter is efficient, cost-effective and convenient to purchase, so it’s no surprise that it’s remained an exceptional choice among cat parents all of these years later.


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While there’s no definitive scientific evidence to prove that clay cat litter is detrimental to a cat’s health, some cat parents and veterinarians worry about the effects of silica dust on a cat’s respiratory system. Luckily dust-free solutions are available now, and some clay litters even go through a special process to reduce dust in the granules.

We believe there are a variety of excellent reasons to use a clay cat litter for your feline friends. There are many safe, healthy clay litters on the market today, and we have a handful of recommendations for you. Let’s start by reviewing a multitude of benefits that clay litter has to offer.

7 Benefits of Using a Clay Cat Litter

It’s no surprise that clay cat litter is the most widely used in cat owning households. It offers several tremendous benefits. We compiled a long list of benefits that you will want to think about when choosing your next cat litter.

  1. Lots of options: Clay cat litter is the most common and popular type of cat litter. It seems like cat parents have endless options when choosing a clay cat litter. You truly have your pick of brands and options!
  2. Buying convenience: Since clay cat litter is so common, you can purchase it anywhere pet products are sold. Whether you prefer shopping online or buying cat litter at the grocery store, you have several options available to you. Convenience is important for any busy cat parent.
  3. Clumping action: Clay cat litter offers some of the best clumping technology. If you want a cat litter that will easily clump for stress-free scooping, clay litter could be your best bet!
  4. Mechanical litter boxes: If you use a mechanical or sifting litter box, clay cat litter will work perfectly! Small clay granules are most appropriate for these types of kitty boxes.
  5. Budget-friendly: Any cat parent can appreciate saving money. Clay cat litters are generally cost-effective, and you can purchase a good one no matter what type of budget you have.
  6. Odor control: Clay cat litters are known for being extremely capable of controlling nasty odors. Many of the best multi-cat strength cat litters are made from clay because they trap and eliminate odor so well.
  7. Choices of scent: If you want an unscented cat litter, you can find one made from clay. If you want a tropical, pine or floral scented litter, you can find one made from clay. No matter what type of scent you prefer, there’s a clay litter waiting for you!

Is clay cat litter environmentally friendly?

Despite all of the benefits that clay litter offers, eco-friendliness is not one of them. Unfortunately clay cat litter can be harmful to the environment. Millions of pounds of clay cat litter ends up in landfills every single year, which is why some cat parents are switching to more eco-friendly options.

Even if a clay litter is made from 100% natural, premium clay, it’s still not biodegradable or flushable. In fact, we strongly suggest against ever flushing clay cat litter, as it can damage septic systems and clog sewage pipes. Many pet companies are making their cat litter more absorbent, so you don’t waste as much cat litter. This can help with how much litter ends up in the trash every year.

If the benefits outweigh the fact that clay cat litter is not safe for the environment for you personally, let’s review components to look for when choosing a litter for your kitties.

5 Components to Look for in a Clay Cat Litter

There seem to be endless amounts of clay cat litter types to choose from. Use this list of components to narrow down your options.

  1. Dust-free: Some clay litters are dust-free, while others are not. Non-clumping cat litter is more likely to be dust-free because it won’t contain sodium bentonite. Sodium bentonite is the element which creates clumps, but it also causes a dusty residue.
  2. Scent: You can pick a clay cat litter based on the scent you want. Whether you want a specific scent or prefer unscented, you have plenty of options either way.
  3. To clump or not to clump: Both clumping and non-clumping litters have their benefits. It really comes down to preference! After reading on the benefits of each type of litter, you can determine which one you will want to buy for your cats.
  4. Multi-cat strength: When choosing a clay cat litter for your feline friends, you will want to definitely consider one formulated for multiple cats. Cat litters made for multi-cat households typically have the best odor control properties.
  5. Granule size: Clay cat litters consist of grains in a variety of sizes. Some litters are medium-grain, while others are micro. The smaller the granule, the softer it will be on your cat’s paws.

Time to dig into our clay cat litter recommendations!

Overall Best Clay Cat Litter

Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Clumping Cat Litter

Key Benefits:

  • Dust-free
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Multi-cat formula
  • Veterinary formula

This medium-grain clay litter was formulated by Dr. Elsey himself. The excellent clumping litter is strong enough to handle odors of multiple cats. The litter prevents liquid and moisture from reaching the bottom of the litter box so you don’t have to worry about scraping! Easily scoop the litter daily to keep your kitties healthy and happy.

Even though this is a clay litter, it’s dust free AND hypoallergenic! If your cat has asthma or allergies, we highly recommend this clay cat litter. It’s also a wonderful option if any human in your house struggle with allergies. Superior odor control will keep unpleasant smells under control, and hard clumping action ensures that moisture and odor stays contained. We like this litter for all types of litter boxes and cats of all ages.

Pros:

  • Will work in mechanical and sifting litter boxes
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Dust-free
  • Strong odor control
  • Formulated by a veterinarian

Cons:

  • Not eco-friendly
  • We don’t recommend this litter for long hair cats

Tidy Cats Lightweight 24/7 Performance Clumping Cat Litter

Key Benefits:

  • TidyLock ammonia blocker
  • 50% lighter than traditional litter
  • Superior clumping
  • 99% dust free

Runner-Up Best Clay Cat Litter: Lightweight litters are popular among cat parents because they are incredibly easy to carry and pour. No one likes lugging massive jugs of cat litter! This Tidy Cats lightweight clay cat litter weighs a whopping 50% less than normal litter, which is a huge difference. No more weight lifting necessary to carry cat litter!

Tidy Cats lightweight litter is built with TidyLock ammonia blocker, which works around the clock to fight odors. It eliminates odors for up to two weeks. Tight clumping action contains and traps odors and moisture so cleaning the litter box will be stress-free. We suggest this clay cat litter for multi-cat households and cat parents who appreciate a box of litter that they won’t struggle to carry.

Pros:

  • 50% lighter than normal clay litter
  • Ammonia blocker for odor control
  • Quick clumping action
  • Good for cats with allergies
  • Small granules work in mechanical litter boxes

Cons:

  • Unscented

Frisco Fresh Scent Multi-Cat Clumping Cat Litter

Key Benefits:

  • Soft texture is gentle on paws
  • Odor-neutralizing technology
  • Multi-cat formula
  • Low tracking

Best Budget-Friendly Clay Cat Litter: Frisco is one of our favorite cat litter brands. This one offers constant odor control to keep your home smelling fresh despite a crew of multiple cats. Frisco multi-cat litter is made from natural clay with odor fighting technology to prevent nasty ammonia smells. We like this litter because it forms hard clumps but the litter is super soft. The dirt-like texture is great for senior cats, kittens or cats with sensitive paws.

Another benefit of the litter being so fine is that it’s less likely to track. And less tracking means less cleaning for cat parents! Along with keeping the cat litter box area clean, it will stay fresh smelling with the light scent of this litter. We recommend Frisco Fresh Scent clay cat litter for multi-cat houses, cats with sensitive paws and pet parents who prefer a budget-friendly option!

Pros:

  • Low tracking
  • Cost-effective
  • Gentle on paws
  • Appropriate for mechanical litter boxes

Cons:

  • Not best for cats with long hair

4 More Top Clay Cat Litter Picks

Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Respiratory Relief Clumping Clay Cat Litter

For cats with severe allergies or asthma, we highly suggest picking up a box of this Dr. Elsey’s clay cat litter. It’s made without plant proteins, dyes or fragrances. The litter is considered to be hypoallergenic, which can also help humans in your home that suffer from allergies. Dr. Elsey’s respiratory relief cat litter offers hard clumping action and it’s dust-free. The litter is also formulated with natural essences which help reduce stress in cats. You can’t go wrong with this clay cat litter!

Arm & Hammer Litter Double Duty Clumping Litter

Arm & Hammer clay cat litter is infused with baking soda, a trusted odor-neutralizing agent. Your feline friend will breathe easy with this 99% dust-free cat litter. Unpleasant odors are controlled via advanced clumping technology, which also means scooping the litter box daily will be an easy task. This Arm & Hammer clay cat litter is a wonderful budget-friendly option, and it’s recommended for superior odor control.

Fresh Step Lightweight Extreme Cat Litter

Another lightweight clay cat litter makes our list of recommendations! This Fresh Step litter is formulated with Febreze for ultimate odor elimination. It contains activated carbon that trap and eliminate odors immediately on contact. The Febreze assists in the effectiveness of keeping your cat’s litter box space smelling delightful. Fresh Step lightweight clay cat litter weighs 30% less than normal litter, making it easier for cat parents to handle.

Boxiecat Scent Free Premium Clumping Clay Cat Litter

This clay cat litter contains one ingredient – pure premium clay. There are no dyes, fragrances or chemicals. Boxiecat is a veterinarian recommended, award winning litter. It’s 100% natural and dust-free, perfect for kitties with allergies and asthma. This hypoallergenic clay cat litter is made in the USA, and its clumping formula effectively traps and fights odors. Although this clay litter is unscented, it offers a clean, natural smell. It’s ideal for any household.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you flush clay cat litter? – The simple answer is no. Traditional clay litters are made from bentonite clay, which will form a cement-like compound when submerged in water. When this happens, it can clog pipes and cause unfortunate plumbing issues. It can also severely damage septic systems. It’s not recommended that you flush clay cat litter.
  • How much clay cat litter should I put in my cat’s box? – You should fill your cat’s litter box with about 3 inches of cat litter. This amount gives your cat plenty of litter to dig through without wasting litter. Any less than 3 inches of litter will risk the moisture falling to the bottom of the litter box.
  • How often should you replace cat litter? – Cat litter should be scooped at least once a day. It should be completely replaced once every two weeks or so. If you use a non-clumping clay cat litter, you may need to change it out more frequently.
  • Is clay cat litter bad? – Clay cat litter has been known to be harmful to a cat’s respiratory system if it contains a large amount of silica dust. With modern technology and scientific evidence, pet brands are moving away from producing cat litter that will potentially harm a cat via dusty residue.

Conclusion

Clay cat litter continues to be a dependable choice for cats and their parents. It’s hard to beat the plethora of benefits that come along with using a clay litter. Our list of recommendations will help you choose a trustworthy clay cat litter for your beloved furry friend.

It’s important to keep your cat’s litter box in a well-ventilated area. Remember to scoop the box every day and clean it once every two weeks at minimum. Thoroughly wash your hands after cleaning your cat’s box to avoid spreading harmful bacteria.

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