Cats are truly some of the most unique domesticated animals out there. It’s as if they already know how to act and behave in a closed environment. Although, knowing how to do so and choosing to do so are completely different.
And cats are exceptionally clean creatures. They’re always grooming themselves, avoiding dirty situations as much as possible, and even taking great measures to keep their excrement out of sight’s eye and smell’s reach.
However, cat feces and urine stink. And despite their best efforts, your kitten’s waste will permeate throughout the house if you don’t provide proper litter for them. Unfortunately, there are tons of different cat litters on the market today, each with its redeeming qualities. So which is best?
We’ve put together a list of the best cat litter reviews and a buyer’s guide to help you make that decision once and for all.
A Quick Comparison of Our Top Picks – 2021
|Best Overall||Frisco Multi-Cat Clumping Clay Cat Litter||
|Best Value||Feline Pine Original Non-Clumping Wood Cat Litter||
|Premium Choice||Purina Tidy Cats Breeze Cat Litter Pellets||
|Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Ultra Clay Cat Litter||
|Purina Tidy Cats Instant Action Clay Cat Litter||
The 10 Best Cat Litters
1. Frisco Multi-Cat Clumping Clay Cat Litter – Best Overall
When it comes to kitty litter, we believe that Frisco Multi-Cat Clumping Clay Cat Litter is the gold standard. It has so many redeeming qualities at an affordable price point most everyone can afford. It’s made out of an all-natural clay formula that promotes hard clumping for ease of scooping. The clay also does an amazing job of absorbing liquids and odors alike. And since this litter is formulated for multiple cats, there’ll be very little stink—especially if it’s used for just a single cat.
We particularly enjoy the unscented variety as well. It’s hypoallergenic and doesn’t contain any dyes, plant proteins, perfumes, or added fragrances that can contribute to an uneasy breathing environment for you and your cat. It’s also relatively low-tracking, so you won’t find remnants all over your house.
Frisco Multi-Cat works great in both manual sifting and mechanical litter boxes, so you won’t need to find anything special for those of you with automatic boxes. The biggest downside we’ve found to this litter is the packaging it comes in. It comes in a plastic bag that isn’t resealable. So, you’ll either need to have a jumbo clip nearby or transfer it into another easy-to-transport container once opened.
All in all, we think this is the best cat litter on the market today.
2. Feline Pine Original Non-Clumping Wood Cat Litter – Best Value
If you’re running on a budget, finding quality cat litter can be tough. However, if your cat enjoys wooden cat litter, Feline PineOriginal Non-Clumping is the best cat litter for the money. It’s sold in large bags at a very affordable price to make sure that you get your money’s worth.
This litter is made out of pine fibers that work like absorbent super sponges to trap liquids and strong odors. Unlike our top choice, this litter is completely clay-free. This means that it’s not going to clump up, but there’ll be no dust in the air when you pour. And there’ll be no dusty paw prints around the house when kitty finishes.
Some cats can have bad reactions to clay litter as well. But with the Feline Pinewood litter, your kitty won’t have to worry when they use the box. However, we have found that this litter isn’t ideal for multiple cats and must be cleaned out very regularly. While it does a good job of soaking up the smells of one cat, the formula just isn’t strong enough to handle more.
3. Purina Tidy Cats Breeze Cat Litter Pellets – Premium Choice
If you’re looking for one of the best litter systems out there, don’t skip over Purina Tidy Cats Breeze pellets. They’re extremely unique in terms of litter and how they work. Breeze pellets work like desiccants—being that they are super absorbent dehydration pellets.
These pellets don’t clump up around solids or liquids. For solid waste, the pellets will dehydrate and soak up all the moisture within. This eliminates the smell associated with cat feces. And as far as urine goes, there’s nothing to scoop. That’s because liquid passes through the pellets and gets absorbed by a specialty mat resting below.
This system isn’t just clump-free desiccant, however. It’s completely dust-free as well, making this the ideal litter for small living spaces and apartments. But while this is one of the best functional litters on the market, it’s way too expensive for most people to use. Not only do you have to buy expensive pellets, but you need to get the Breeze system absorbent pads and specialty litter box as well. Also, training your cat to make the transition from a standard litter to this one can be a chore.
4. Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Clay Cat Litter
If you’re looking for a new clay litter, Dr. Elsey’s is another great option. Sold in three different sizes, you can stock up as need be. It’s made completely out of all-natural ingredients and boasts superior odor control.
But what sets this clay litter apart from others is its hard clumping ability. While some litters will clump up into softer chunks, Dr. Elsey’s clumps up very hard to completely trap odors and prevent sweating. It’s also 99.9% dust-free and hypoallergenic.
However, its major benefit of hard clumping is also its biggest weakness. This cat litter clumps up very hard, and it can almost be like cement at times. This isn’t a problem if your cat uses the center of the litter box and properly buries their waste.
However, if your cat uses the side or corner of their box, be prepared for a workout. The clump can fuse itself to the side of the litter box making you have to chip away at it. And while Dr. Elsey’s claims that it can be used for mechanical litter boxes, we recommend against it because of this reason.
5. Purina Tidy Cats Instant Action Clay Cat Litter
This is the only selection on our list that comes sold in a resealable pail. And that’s something we wish the rest would do. Purina Tidy Cats is a medium grain clay litter infused with their signature TidyLock odor protection to help eliminate odors immediately.
The litter is purposely formulated to be able to handle multiple cats and feel soft enough for them to paw around. Like other clay litters on this list, it’s 99.9% dust-free, although we have noticed that such isn’t always the case. While it’s not as dusty as other litters, it’s not the best.
Our biggest gripe about this litter is its clumping ability. This litter just doesn’t clump well enough especially for urine. Often, the clumps will simply fall apart and disintegrate when scooping them. Over time, this will make your litter itself start to smell bad and may distract your cat from actually using their box.
6. Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Multi-Cat Clay Cat Litter
When it comes to clay litters, few are as polarizing as Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Multi-Cat. You and your cat either love this litter or hate it. And that’s completely due to the texture of the litter. Instead of a medium grain clay, this has a more sandy feel to it. This is because the clay is mixed with Arm & Hammer’s moisture-activated micro-granules and baking soda. The micro-granules form a crust around the odors while the baking soda neutralizes it from within.
There’s generally no issue with clumping here because of the texture, which can form very hard clumps. It’s also great for multiple cats and keeps odor to a bare minimum. And since it’s dust-free, you breathe easy while pouring it in.
The litter comes sold in a box instead of a bag as well which we like much better. However, the largest size they have is a 28 pounder, meaning you’ll have to repurchase more often. It’s also not hypoallergenic. So, you or your cat may have issues with it.
7. World’s Best Multi-Cat Clumping Corn Cat Litter
If you’re looking for a clay-free alternative, you might want to consider World’s Best Multi-Cat Corn litter. It’s a very eco-friendly blend made completely out of corn and it’s 100% free from other synthetic or harmful chemicals found in most litters. And since there’s no silica dust in the formula, you won’t have to worry about large clouds rising to meet you when refilling it.
World’s Best is also an unscented litter, which minimizes the irritation you and your cat will have. And it’s even flushable! But some issues need to be addressed.
It’s not the best when it comes to trapping in unwanted odor. In fact, if you do have multiple cats, this can smell downright terrible. Also, it doesn’t work so well with automatic litter boxes. You should explore other options if your kitty uses one. And lastly, it’s expensive and picky cats aren’t typically very keen on it.
8. Scoop Away Complete Performance Clay Cat Litter
While we’re not the biggest fans of scented litter, you may love them. And if that’s the case, you’ll want to check out Scoop Away Complete Performance. It’s a clumping clay litter that does a great job at locking in odor and supplements that fight with a fresh scent to help brighten up the room. The formula also contains several all-natural plant extracts to even further eliminate unwanted smells.
It also creates ultra-tight clumps that won’t crumble away while scooping but don’t stick to the sides of the box either. Scoop Away isn’t dust-free; however, the dust isn’t as bad as it could be. And this litter is relatively inexpensive as well.
But beware, the scent is very strong! So instead of just lightly masking odors, this litter replaces it with one of its own.
9. Fresh Step Multi-Cat Clay Cat Litter
The other scented option on our list is the Fresh Step Multi-Cat Clay litter. Although we’re not too keen on perfumed litter, this one isn’t the worst we’ve come across. However, it’s far from the best.
This formula is specifically designed for multiple cat households and utilizes the powerful scent of Febreze and specialized ammonia-block particles to keep odors in check. This technology is supposed to seal away odors for up to 10 days. However, we feel we’d be changing litter much sooner than that.
Fresh Step claims to have a low-dust formula as well. But low-dust is still a lot of dust when compared to dust-free clay formulas or truly dustless corn, wheat, or wood litters. All that being said, we do have to give credit where credit is due. It does a very great job of clumping. It’s not cement hard but it’s firm enough to scoop out easily. Plus it’s very affordable.
10. Cat’s Pride Total Odor Control Clay Cat Litter
The main reason this litter made the list is to show you what not to get. We cannot recommend Cat’s Pride Total Odor Control Clay Cat Litter. At first glance, it shows some promise. It comes in a resealable, easy-to-pour jug and it’s very inexpensive. However, that’s about where the buck stops.
The litter claims to have 10-day odor control, make the strongest clumps, and that it’s 99% dust-free. And none of these claims can be remotely substantiated. This litter doesn’t do a good job of concealing unwanted odors at all. And if held for 10 days, the fumes can become quite noxious. Also, Cat’s Pride makes extremely soft clumps that either dissolve when scooping or those that form a slurry that sticks to the sides or bottom of the litter box.
And forget about dust-free. You might want to wear a mask when pouring this litter into your kitty’s box. There will more than likely be a giant dust cloud to chase you away. Honestly, if you purchase this litter, we only recommend you pour it out and refill the nice jug with something nicer.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Cat Litter
When it comes to selecting the best cat litter for your feline friend, there are a ton of different criteria you should be looking for.
Scented vs Unscented
The first major decision you’ll need to make is whether you want your litter scented or not. Scented cat litter contains perfume elements to help mask the unwanted waste odors from your cat and replace them with other pleasing smells. Unscented litter does not.
We prefer unscented litters. And that’s because unscented litter has a much lower chance of becoming an irritant to you or your cat. Also, cats are very particular about smells, especially near their litter box. Adding extra smells could potentially drive your cat away from their box and cause them to use your favorite rug as a restroom.
It seems as if there are a million different materials that cat litter can be made of. The most commonly used is clay because of its super clumping ability and ability to seal in odors. However, it’s not the only litter in town.
More and more litters are being crafted out of more eco-friendly options such as corn, wheat, and wood. These can provide a healthier alternative to your cat as well. Clay litter comes in different size grains—some of which can irritate your cat’s most sensitive places. However, these more natural litters don’t tend to cause them too much issue. Also, some of these alternative materials are flushable so you can instantly dispose of your cat’s waste without having to bag it up.
This is probably the most sought after feature when shopping for cat litter. Nobody wants to live in a place that reeks of cat excrement and ammonia. However, finding a litter with maximum odor control can be quite difficult.
Ideally, you want to focus on litters that absorb and neutralize foul smells instead of just masking them. Unscented litters tend to focus on this concept a lot more than scented ones. And often you’ll find that non-clay materials provide the best odor control.
While non-clay cat litters typically win out in odor control, clay is king when it comes to clumping. The ability to clump is important when it comes to actually cleaning out your litter box and replacing your cat’s litter altogether.
If your litter doesn’t clump tightly enough, you’ll end up with disintegrating clumps that create smelly dust that’s impossible to separate from the clean litter. Or the litter will form a gross slurry that’s difficult to remove and smells terrible.
And if you litter clumps too hard, it can bond itself to the sides and bottom of the litter box forcing you to chisel away at it to remove it.
Age of Your Cat
When it comes to choosing cat litter, most people don’t think about their cat’s age as a factor. However, it’s a very important thing to consider. For example, clay litter is not safe for kittens. And that’s because of the clay’s clumping ability combined with a kitten’s exploratory mouth and smaller diameter intestines. A kitten is much more likely to accidentally ingest non-food items, and clumping cat litter will expand inside their bodies potentially causing blockages.
Also, senior cats should have a special litter themselves. They usually aren’t cleaning themselves as regularly as younger cats would. And you don’t want them stepping out of their litter box dirtier than when they got in. You should find them a litter with very little to no dust that’s lightweight enough to easily dig.
And lastly, you need to consider your budget. Purchasing cat litter is a regular expense just like their food is. And these costs can add up quickly with certain litter systems such as the Purina TidyCats Breeze system. However, that doesn’t mean go as cheap as possible—as you can see with the Cat’s Pride at the bottom of our list. Instead, find a good balance between price and practicality.
Conclusion: What is the Best Cat Litter on the Market?
Choosing the right litter for your cat is a very important task. Because if your cat doesn’t like it, they’re not going to use it. However, selecting the right one is more than just trial and error. You and your cat will have to compromise on what’s important to you both.
You should choose one that your feline is comfortable with while maintaining your home smell-free, dust-free, and hygienic. Hopefully, these cat litter reviews have given you some insight into what to look for.
Our favorite is the Frisco Multi-Cat Clumping Clay Litter for its clumping ability, odor control, and hypoallergenic qualities. And our favorite bargain buy is the Feline Pine Non-Clumping Wood Cat Litter because it provides a cheaper alternative to clay without sacrificing too much performance.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Top Picks – 2021
- The 10 Best Cat Litters
- 1. Frisco Multi-Cat Clumping Clay Cat Litter – Best Overall
- 2. Feline Pine Original Non-Clumping Wood Cat Litter – Best Value
- 3. Purina Tidy Cats Breeze Cat Litter Pellets – Premium Choice
- 4. Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Clay Cat Litter
- 5. Purina Tidy Cats Instant Action Clay Cat Litter
- 6. Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Multi-Cat Clay Cat Litter
- 7. World’s Best Multi-Cat Clumping Corn Cat Litter
- 8. Scoop Away Complete Performance Clay Cat Litter
- 9. Fresh Step Multi-Cat Clay Cat Litter
- 10. Cat’s Pride Total Odor Control Clay Cat Litter
- Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Cat Litter
- Conclusion: What is the Best Cat Litter on the Market?