Many cat parents just follow the status quo. You get a bag of clay litter, dump it in the litterbox, and remove clumps as needed. But did you know that clay litter is actually harmful to cats? It contains a key ingredient; sodium bentonite.
This chemical is what gives clay litter its clumping action, but it’s harmful for cats, especially when ingested, which will happen when your cat licks its paws after using the litter box. It can cause intestinal blockages in your cat, and it’s even a health hazard for humans. Not to mention, inhaling the dust can cause lung problems and it’s environmentally destructive as well!
We wanted to move away from clay litter, but that meant finding a viable alternative. So, we tested as many non-clay litters as we could, compiling everything we learned along the way in the following 10 reviews. Hopefully, they’ll save you the hassle of trying so many cat litters yourself!
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||World's Best Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Corn Cat Litter||
|Best Value||Naturally Fresh Unscented Clumping Walnut Cat Litter||
|Frisco All Natural Unscented Clumping Grass Cat Litter||
|Feline Pine Unscented Non-Clumping Wood Cat Litter||
|sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Wheat Cat Litter||
10 Best Non-Clay Cat Litter – Reviews 2021
1. World’s Best Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Corn Cat Litter – Best Overall
If you’re looking for an alternative to unhealthy clay litter, we think the best option is the World’s Best multi-cat litter. Instead of clay, this formula is made from corn. It’s all-natural with no harmful chemicals and no artificial perfumes. Even better, it’s completely safe for septic and sewer systems, which means that you can flush it down the drain when it’s time to dispose of the old litter.
This litter forms tight clumps when it gets wet, which makes it very easy to remove the waste from your cat’s litter box. Moreover, this multi-cat blend has enhanced odor control, helping to eliminate any foul smells that are associated with litter boxes. And best of all, this formula is 99% dust free and completely devoid of silica dust, so you won’t have to worry about you or your cat inhaling dust that’s unhealthy for your respiratory systems.
The only downside to this litter that we can see is that it tends to stick to your cat’s feet. Luckily, it’s completely safe for cats, so it won’t make them sick when they try to clean themselves off.
2. Naturally Fresh Unscented Clumping Walnut Cat Litter – Best Value
This litter from Naturally Fresh is made entirely from walnut shells. It’s 100% natural and biodegradable, making it an eco-friendly alternative to clay litter. There are no toxins or chemicals in this formula, and not corn or grains either. On top of this, it’s reasonably priced, which is why we think it’s the best non-clay cat litter for the money.
Clumps form quickly when this litter gets wet; within 15 minutes, preventing waste from sticking to the tray and making cleanup much easier. However, the dark brown color can make it more difficult to pick out the poop since it blends right in with the rest of the litter.
Unlike clay-based cat litters, this formula is dust-free, which is much healthier for you and your cat’s respiratory systems. Different from most litters we’ve tested, this blend won’t stick to your cat’s paws, which means it won’t be tracked around your house, spreading the mess and bacteria from room to room.
3. Frisco All Natural Unscented Clumping Grass Cat Litter – Premium Choice
The Frisco all-natural unscented clumping cat litter takes a different route from other litters. Instead of clay, corn, or walnuts, this blend uses 100% natural grass. It’s extremely soft and easy on your cat’s paws. Moreover, it’s very easy to sift through. It forms clumps very quickly, which prevents them from sticking to the litter box. Since it’s ultra-absorbent, it can easily take a lot of liquid at once.
Luckily, this blend is completely free from chemicals, dyes, and fragrances that can turn your cat off and make them averse to some litters. It’s entirely eco-friendly, made out of biodegradable ingredients. Better yet, it’s a very low dust litter, so you don’t have to worry about it causing or exacerbating respiratory problems.
This formula is a bit more expensive than some of the others that we tested, though it’s very effective and completely natural, so we’re fine with spending a bit more on it. However, it should be noted that this blend isn’t as good at odor control as some of the other products we’ve tested. It does neutralize odors to some extent, but we found that we were having to change this litter more often to avoid foul odors.
4. Feline Pine Unscented Non-Clumping Wood Cat Litter
Feline Pine makes a great alternative to clay cat litters with their unscented non-clumping wood cat litter. This blend is made from pure pine shavings, providing a naturally pleasant scent and excellent odor control. Compared to other formulas, this one does a great job at containing those foul odors.
Because it’s so absorbent, you can use less of this litter than you’d have to use with clay litter. Furthermore, it’s priced very affordably, so using this litter can potentially save you quite a bit of money in the long run.
One of the big advantages of this litter is the lack of dust. You can pour it into the litter box without worry and there won’t be a dust cloud to avoid breathing in. Even though there’s no dust, this cat litter does tend to track more than others we tested, so expect to see signs of it around your home.
Some of our cats seemed averse to this blend. Worse, some of our testers were too because it’s a non-clumping formula. This can make it more difficult to remove waste and spot clean the litter, which is why this blend didn’t make it into our top three.
5. sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Wheat Cat Litter
As it turns out, cat litter can be made from a wide variety of materials, including wheat, like this sWheat Scoop multi-cat unscented clumping wheat cat litter. It’s completely natural and free from added dyes, dust, perfume, and other harmful ingredients. And this blend is also very eco-friendly since wheat is both renewable and biodegradable.
The starches in the wheat do a great job of trapping odors. As soon as your cat uses the litter box, the wheat traps the smells in and ensures that your home stays smelling fresh. Because it’s so effective at eliminating odors, it’s a great option for multi-cat households.
However, there were some issues we noticed with this cat litter. First, it doesn’t clump as well as other litters. Clumps take much longer to form, which leads to the second issue we have with this litter. Because the clumps take so long to form, they often stick to the litter box, making it very difficult to remove them. It’s not a fatal flaw, but it’s enough to prevent this litter from receiving our recommendation.
6. Purina Yesterday’s News Non-Clumping Paper Cat Litter
Purina is a well-known brand in the pet community, though they’re best known for producing pet foods. Their Yesterday’s News non-clumping cat litter is made from recycled newspaper, making it eco-friendly and affordable. Plus, it’s three times more absorbent than clay, which makes it ideal for use as a cat litter.
This blend is 99.7% dust-free, so you don’t have to worry about it causing or worsening any breathing problems. It’s also made up of pretty large chunks that won’t stick to your feline’s feet or track through the house.
But this is a non-clumping formula, which means it can be more difficult to spot clean when you need to remove the waste but don’t want to replace all of the litter. Worse, the litter is the same color as feces, so you’ll have a hard time determining what’s poop and what’s just litter.
For some reason, we also found that many cats like to eat this litter, which isn’t great for their digestive systems. But hey, Purina is known for making pet food, so maybe even their litter tastes good? We didn’t try it, but our cats seemed to think so.
7. Purina Tidy Cats Clumping Wood Cat Litter
Tidy Cats is another Purina brand, and the pure nature scented clumping wood cat litter is a blend of several different materials we’ve seen used for litter so far. This formula uses cedar, pine, and corn to create a cat litter that’s excellent at odor management. These ingredients trap the foul odors your cat’s waste produces, ensuring that your home continues to smell fresh.
Obviously, these are very natural ingredients. This blend is 99.9% natural and 99.9% dust-free as well, making it a healthy choice for any cat owner. That said, it’s not recommended for kittens, likely because of their propensity to try and eat litter.
We also noticed two other issues with this blend. The biggest problem is that it tends to stick to the litter box, which makes it very difficult to remove. But we also weren’t thrilled with the small quantities it’s available in. We prefer to stock up, so we don’t have to purchase new litter all the time. Plus, it tends to be cheaper in bulk.
8. Arm & Hammer Litter Naturals Scented Clumping Corn Cat Litter
Arm & Hammer is certainly not known for producing quality cat litters. However, they are known for making odor-control baking soda that many people use to prevent foul odors in a variety of situations. So, it stands to reason that they might make a cat litter that’s effective at trapping odors if nothing else. After testing this litter, we believe that’s exactly what they achieved.
This blend is made with corn fibers, baking soda, and mineral oil, providing a blend of plant-based ingredients and baking soda that can eliminate even the strongest pet odors. Unfortunately, it’s not biodegradable and it’s also not safe for sewers or septic systems, so finding a safe way to dispose of this litter can prove to be problematic.
Compared to clay cat litters, the Arm & Hammer litter weighs 50% less, so each bag stretches much further than a comparable bag of clay litter. Just like clay litters, this litter tends to stick to your cat’s paws, tracking through the house. We love how effective it is at eliminating the odors usually associated with litter boxes, but with so many other drawbacks, we can’t give this blend a recommendation.
9. Fresh News Unscented Non-Clumping Paper Cat Litter
This cat litter from Fresh News is made from 100% recycled paper formed into pellets that offer superior absorption. It’s a 100% non-allergenic formula that’s also 99% dust-free, ensuring that you and your cats should have no issues with airborne particles. We were also happy to see that unlike many litters, this blend doesn’t stick to your cat’s feet. This means there’s almost no tracking, so the mess stays in your litter box and doesn’t spread throughout the house.
That said, we had quite a few complaints regarding this cat litter. First, it’s a non-clumping formula. Some people may prefer this, but we think it makes things more difficult since it’s much harder to spot clean, and remove the waste without replacing all of the litter.
But the bigger problem is that this litter is very poor at containing odors. After just a few days, the smell had grown until it was difficult to deal with. Usually, we can get a week or two from a good litter before the scent becomes strong, but this litter had an unmanageable odor in just a few days. Many of our cats were also averse to it, which is this litter’s third strike.
10. PetSafe ScoopFree Non-Clumping Crystal Cat Litter
We weren’t sure what to expect at first with the PetSafe ScoopFree crystal cat litter. It’s a non-clumping formula, which we’re never as thrilled about. But it also looks unique and offers odor control that’s supposedly five times stronger than clay litters. And in truth, it is extremely effective at controlling odors. But that’s not all we’re judging these cat litters on.
Disappointingly, the odor control is this litter’s only positive trait. It’s supposed to last up to 30 days, but we had to change it out much quicker. Worse, it’s a very dusty formula. When you pour it in the litter box, expect a cloud of dust. When it really started bothering us though was when our cats started getting coughing fits. This made us question the safety of this litter.
Our final complaint about this litter is the high price. If it had actually lasted for 30 days like advertised, it might be worth the higher cost. As it is, it seems like an overpriced, overhyped litter that didn’t work well with our cats.
As a discerning cat owner, you always want what’s best for your feline. Once you know the downsides of clay-based cat litters, it’s difficult to continue using them. Thankfully, there are many alternatives that are made from different materials. You’ve read about some of the best options in our in-depth reviews, but we’re going to re-summarize our recommendations once more so they’re fresh in your mind.
Our favorite non-clay cat litter overall is the World’s Best Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Cat Litter. It’s made from 100% natural corn with no harmful chemicals. This blend forms tight clumps for easy removal and it’s 99% dust-free so it won’t negatively impact your cat’s respiratory system.
For the best value, we recommend the Naturally Fresh Unscented Clumping Walnut Cat Litter. This formula is made entirely from walnut shells. It’s biodegradable, free of dust, and clumps in just 15 minutes so it won’t stick to the litter box.
And for a premium product, we suggest the Frisco All Natural Unscented Clumping Grass Cat Litter. This one is made from 100% natural grass with no added chemicals, dyes, or fragrances. It’s ultra-absorbent to form clumps quickly, produces very little dust, and won’t track through your home.
Featured Image: Chewy
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- 10 Best Non-Clay Cat Litter – Reviews 2021
- 1. World’s Best Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Corn Cat Litter – Best Overall
- 2. Naturally Fresh Unscented Clumping Walnut Cat Litter – Best Value
- 3. Frisco All Natural Unscented Clumping Grass Cat Litter – Premium Choice
- 4. Feline Pine Unscented Non-Clumping Wood Cat Litter
- 5. sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Wheat Cat Litter
- 6. Purina Yesterday’s News Non-Clumping Paper Cat Litter
- 7. Purina Tidy Cats Clumping Wood Cat Litter
- 8. Arm & Hammer Litter Naturals Scented Clumping Corn Cat Litter
- 9. Fresh News Unscented Non-Clumping Paper Cat Litter
- 10. PetSafe ScoopFree Non-Clumping Crystal Cat Litter