Choosing cat litter can be painful, to say the least. Cats can be exceptionally picky about their litter, so there tends to be a lot of trial and error when it comes to finding the perfect litter that works for your cat. You also want a litter that isn’t messy and doesn’t leave your house smelling like a litter box. Clay cat litter is the old faithful option for cat litter. It’s usually effective at odor control, but it can have downsides, like tracking and clumping to the side of the litter box like concrete. We reviewed the best of the best clay cat litters to help you start on your journey to finding the best litter for your cat.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites of 2022
|Best Overall||Arm & Hammer Clay Cat Litter||
|Best Value||Jonny Cat Unscented Clay Litter||
|Premium Choice||Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract Clay Litter||
|Best for Kittens||Tidy Cats Clumping Litter||
|Fresh Step Cat Litter with Febreze||
The 10 Best Clay Cat Litters
1. Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Slide Multi-Cat – Best Overall
|Package Size:||14 lb, 19 lb, 28 lb, 38 lb|
The best overall clay cat litter is Arm & Hammer’s Clump & Seal Slide Multi-Cat Litter, which is available in four package sizes from 14–38 pounds. This is a clumping litter that has a perfume-like scent and contains deodorizers to keep the box smelling clean and fresh. This litter formulation doesn’t stick to the side of the litter box when wet, making emptying the box a breeze. It’s 100% dust free and is formulated to trap odors as they start, keeping your house free of unpleasant litter box smells. Some people find the scent of this litter to be overpowering and a recent package change removed the handle from the larger box sizes, making handling them more difficult.
2. Jonny Cat Unscented Non-Clumping Clay Litter – Best Value
|Package Size:||10 lb, 20 lb|
For tight budgets, the best clay cat litter for the money is the Jonny Cat Unscented Non-Clumping Clay Litter, which is available in two package sizes. It’s free of perfumes and dyes, instead using a botanical extract to help control odors. This is a good litter option for cats with sensitivities to other types of litters and it’s a good option for homes with people who have respiratory problems or allergies to scents. This litter works well with sifting litter boxes since it is non-clumping. It is not the best option for odor control, and it does produce quite a bit of dust.
3. Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract Multi-Cat – Premium Choice
|Package Size:||20 lb, 40 lb|
The Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract Multi-Cat clay litter is available in two package sizes and has a pleasant herbal scent. The scent comes from an herbal blend that serves as a natural cat attractant, making this a good option for cats that are hesitant to use the box and training kittens. It has an ideal texture and size to encourage litter box usage, even from cats that may have sensitive paws. It’s 99% dust-free and clumps together well, making scooping easier. It does clump together hard enough that you may have to scrape it from the litter box, though. This litter is not a “magic cure” for your cat’s litter box problems, but it can be a beneficial tool to helping your cat become more consistent with the box usage.
4. Tidy Cats Lightweight Glade Scented Clumping Litter – Best for Kittens
|Package Size:||5 lb, 17 lb|
The Tidy Cats Lightweight Glade Scented Clumping Litter is available in two package sizes and is a good option for litter box training kittens due to its small particle size and soft texture. This litter contains glade scent, making the box smelling fresh and clean. It’s over 50% lighter than traditional clay litters, which means it’s easier to manage but goes just as far as heavier litter. It’s low dust and can block ammonia odors for up to 14 days. The lightweight of this litter does mean that it tends to track easily, and the scent may be overwhelming for some people. This is not a good option for cats or people with sensitivities to scents. It also doesn’t clump together as hard as many other clay litters, which can make for a goopy mess to clean out of the box.
5. Fresh Step Multi-Cat with Febreze
|Package Size:||5 lb, 14 lb, 25 lb|
Fresh Step Multi-Cat with Febreze is a scented, clumping litter that is available in three package sizes. The Febreze scent makes the litter smell fresh and helps to destroy odors as they happen. This litter is made to be low tracking, and it contains ammonia-block technology to contain smells. The fragrance is paw activated, so it shouldn’t be a constant presence in the room. It has a larger particle size than some other options, which is what makes it low tracking, but also may make it undesirable for some cats to use. This is not a good option for people and cats with respiratory problems and scent sensitivities.
6. Scoop Away Complete Performance Fresh Scented Clumping Litter
|Package Size:||5 lb x 4|
Scoop Away Complete Performance Fresh Scented Clumping Litter is a budget-friendly litter that comes in a four pack of 10.5-pound resealable bags of litter, so you can keep a bag with each litter box without having to make multiple purchases. It uses plant extracts for odor control and contains a fresh scent to keep your home smelling clean. The scent is paw activated, so the scent shouldn’t be overwhelming, and it is a low dust formula. This litter does have a tendency to get stuck to paws and may get tracked. Although it is low dust, it is not dust free, and some users report feeling the dust is excessive. This litter is not the best option for odor control.
7. Ever Clean Extra Strength Unscented Clumping Litter
|Package Size:||25 lb, 10.5 lb x 4|
The Ever Clean Extra Strength Unscented Clumping Litter is available in two package sizes, including a 42-pound pack that consists of four 10.5-pound bags. It uses activated carbon to help control odors for up to 14 days. It’s made with a blend of pure and natural minerals and clays, and it clumps strong, making box cleanup easy. This litter is heavier than some other options, so you get less use out of each bag than you would with a lighter litter. Like the previous product, this litter is labeled as low dust, but it is not dust free and some people report excessive dust. The dusty nature of this product and size of the litter granules makes it susceptible to tracking.
8. Frisco Scoopable Cat Litter Unscented Multi-Cat
|Package Size:||20 lb, 40 lb|
The Frisco Scoopable Cat Litter Unscented Multi-Cat is a budget-friendly option that’s available in two package sizes and contains no plant proteins, dyes, perfumes, or added fragrances. It’s made to trap liquids and prevent them from making it to the bottom of the box, reducing the risk of litter clumping to the bottom. It’s low tracking and hypoallergenic, although it does create quite a bit of dust. It has a tendency to stick to paws and fur, but instead of tracking it may clump onto your cat. It doesn’t have the best odor control, so you may smell unpleasant litter box smells. It also may clump into more of a paste than a solid, which can make scooping messy and difficult.
9. BoxiePro Deep Clean Unscented Probiotic Clumping Litter
|Package Size:||16 lb, 28 lb|
BoxiePro Deep Clean Unscented Probiotic Clumping Litter is available in two packages sizes and is formulated to reduce bacterial growth in the litter box through a blend of natural probiotics. The addition of probiotics also helps to reduce the yucky smells in the box. It limits the bacteria your kitty may track out of the box, keeping your home cleaner. It’s 99.9% dust free, making it a good option for cats and people with respiratory problems. This litter has a tendency to track out of the box, although there will be less bacterial growth on the tracked pieces than with other litters. It also may stick to your cat’s feet, getting caught in the hair around the paw pads. This litter tends to stick to the box and form a paste texture when wet, which can make cleanup difficult.
10. Cat’s Pride Premium Lightweight Scented Flushable Litter
|Package Size:||5 lb|
The Cat’s Pride Premium Lightweight Scented Flushable Litter is another budget-friendly option, but it is only available in one package size. Since it’s lightweight, 12 pounds of litter is equivalent to 20 pounds of traditional clay litter, so it is slightly heavier than most other lightweight litter options. This litter doesn’t use sodium bentonite clay in its formulation, so it is safe to flush in one or two clumps at a time. For every jug purchased, Cat’s Pride donates a pound of litter to animal shelters. To make this litter flushable, it is a very fine grain, which may be too small and sandy for some cats and lead to tracking. It also may lead to the litter clumping to the bottom of the box, making it difficult to clean.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting The Best Clay Cat Litter
Why Choose Clay Litter?
Clay cat litter is the most common form of cat litter on the market, although there are many new types of products coming out as well. Clay litter is highly absorbent, making it a good option for urine management. This absorptive nature means that it also has some natural odor control without the addition of fragrances or products that reduce smells. Clay litter typically is a texture that cats are comfortable digging in, and they seem to generally find it to be an attractive place to do their business.
The high level of absorption that clay litter offers makes it especially good for multi-cat households. If one cat uses the box, there is a low chance that the next cat that uses the box will be walking through the first cat’s waste and tracking it out into the home, although some clay litters do track. Overall, clay cat litter tends to be less expensive than other types of litter, making it a great budget friendly option for individuals and organizations like shelters and rescues.
Choosing the Right Clay Litter for Your Cat
- Texture and Grain Size
Cats can be particular about the textures they’re willing to dig in to potty. Cats that have been declawed often have lasting paw pain, so they’re less likely to want to dig through something that is heavy and large-grained, making smaller grains and softer textures a better pick. Other cats would potty in gravel if that’s what you put in the box, so they’re going to be more accepting of a larger grain size and coarser texture.
- Cat’s Age
Older cats may have arthritis and sensitivities in their paws, like declawed cats, so they may need a softer litter that is gentler on their paws. Kittens that are learning to use the litter box may need litter that is either soft and sandy or coarse and large-grained to help them understand where they’re supposed to do their business. You want to make using the litter box a positive experience for your kitten, so choose a litter that appeals to your kitten.
- Number of Cats
Multi-cat litters tend to have more deodorizers or fragrances in them, making them more effective for odor control than other types of litter. If you have multiple cats, you want a litter that will quickly clump into hard clumps. You also want a litter that will not track, since you’ll have multiple cats going in and out of the box multiple times per day.
- Litter Box Setup
The room that your litter box lives in can help you choose the right litter. If your litter box is in your living room, you probably want something with powerful odor control and minimal tracking. If the box is in your mud room, tracking is probably less of an issue. A litter box in your garage or basement may not need the same level of odor control and low tracking that a box in a main area of your home will.
Out of the products in these reviews, the best overall cat litter is the Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Slide Multi-Cat, which offers powerful odor control and easy cleaning. For tight budgets, Jonny Cat Unscented Non-Clumping Clay Litter is a great option, and if you have a cat that needs a little extra push to potty in the correct spot, Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract Multi-Cat can be an effective tool to get your cat on the right track.
Featured Image Credit: Africa-Studio, Shutterstock
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites of 2022
- The 10 Best Clay Cat Litters
- 1. Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Slide Multi-Cat – Best Overall
- 2. Jonny Cat Unscented Non-Clumping Clay Litter – Best Value
- 3. Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract Multi-Cat – Premium Choice
- 4. Tidy Cats Lightweight Glade Scented Clumping Litter – Best for Kittens
- 5. Fresh Step Multi-Cat with Febreze
- 6. Scoop Away Complete Performance Fresh Scented Clumping Litter
- 7. Ever Clean Extra Strength Unscented Clumping Litter
- 8. Frisco Scoopable Cat Litter Unscented Multi-Cat
- 9. BoxiePro Deep Clean Unscented Probiotic Clumping Litter
- 10. Cat’s Pride Premium Lightweight Scented Flushable Litter
- Buyer’s Guide: Selecting The Best Clay Cat Litter