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Multi-Cat Litter vs Regular: How Do They Compare? Our 2023 Comparison

Having multiple cats means nailing down a strict litter box routine. Your cats want to feel fresh and clean after their morning business, and that job becomes more challenging when you have more than one cat. But here’s something many cat owners don’t know: the type of litter you use could make your job harder.

You’ve probably noticed several cat litters when you go shopping to pick up a container, one of those being multi-cat litter. Truthfully, there isn’t much difference between multi-cat and regular litter. But there is a difference between litter brands, and that’s what matters the most.

Overall, what you want to look for in cat litter is:
  • Material
  • Price
  • Dust
  • Odor control
  • Waste disposal

In this post, we’re reviewing the difference between multi-cat litter and regular litter and where they fall in these categories. By the end, you should know if you need to make a litter switch.

Let’s get started.

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Overview of Multi-Cat Litter:

two cats on litter box
Image Credit: Guajillo studio, Shutterstock

How It Works

Although multi-cat litter and regular litter seem to perform the same, multi-cat litter has characteristics that may be more beneficial for multi-cat homes. The biggest difference between multi-cat litters and regular litters is the material. Usually, multi-cat litter is clumping cat litter. This allows for better odor control and possibly waste disposal.

Clumping cat litter can come from natural sources, the most common being clay. But most of the time they’re made with porous synthetic materials that allow them to stick to your cat’s waste and absorb moisture.

You can probably guess why this is a big deal for a multi-cat home. Since multiple cats use the same box, the litter can become saturated with urine quickly, causing horrible odors and dirty paws. So, multi-cat litters tend to be clumping litters to avoid this.

Regarding dust, multi-cat litter can be dusty or dust-free depending on the brand you get.

What It’s Not Good For

Obviously, multi-cat litter is for a multi-cat household, but you can also use it with a single cat. You just have to watch out for the price and quantity. Cats go through litter quickly, so multi-cat litters may come in larger quantities with a larger price tag.

You also may be limited in your choice of litter material. Since some cat litters don’t clump, this eliminates a lot of possible brands to try in the future. Of course, you know your cats best. Maybe your cats won’t mind mixing it up a bit.

Another thing to consider is other pets, particularly dogs. Dogs are notorious for reaching inside the litter box for some kitty candy. This can cause serious health problems with clumping litter, so be cautious if you have a dog. Try to keep the litter box somewhere where the dog can’t reach.

When to Use It

You can go back and forth with regular and multi-cat litter if you have only one cat. But once you have three or more cats, switching to multi-cat litter is best to keep up with litter box use.

Pros
  • Better clumping control
  • Better odor control
Cons
  • Sometimes more expensive
  • Limited on choice

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Overview of Regular Cat Litter:

cat litter box with scoop on wooden floor
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

How It Works

Regular cat litter generally works the same way as multi-cat litter, but you have a bit more freedom with the choice of material.

Several cat litter materials include silica gel, wheat, pine, recycled paper, corn, and even tofu to name a few. All of these materials hold moisture differently. Some materials hold moisture but don’t clump. Some materials are scented. And some materials are easier for burying feces.

With only one cat, you don’t have to buy different kinds of litter to please two other cats. With fewer cats, you have the freedom of choosing a different litter that won’t affect your and your cat’s routine. If you don’t like clumping litter, no problem. Go with a silica gel litter instead.

This can also be a downside to cat litter. There are so many options on the market that many cat owners become overwhelmed by the options. Especially when you pair this with shopping through hundreds of pet food brands.

Ultimately, regular cat litter can be cheaper because you’re purchasing smaller quantities. You can stretch the dollar even further by purchasing a lower-quality litter.

When to Choose Regular Litter

The choice is yours as to what kind of litter you want to use. You can select a regular litter if you only have one to two cats. If you have breathing issues, we recommend choosing a dust-free litter, so you don’t agitate your lungs.

Pros
  • Usually cheaper
  • Better variety
Cons
  •  Overwhelming options

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Which Cat Litter Is Best Overall?

The best cat litter on the market is the one that works for you and your cat. That will look different for every cat household, so let’s go over the kitty litter criteria so you can decide what you and your kitty prefer.

Material

Most of what we’ve covered in today’s comparison revolves around the material. That’s because it matters. The litter material you use affects all other components of the litter.

The most popular litter materials include:
  • Clay (clumping)
  • Clay (non-clumping)
  • Silica gel
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Pine pellets
  • Recycled paper

Price

Some litters are more expensive than others. Clay litter is the cheapest option, but it’s also the messiest. Try to ignore the price tag and go with a litter you and your cat like. Then, you can decide if the price is worth it. Remember, being more expensive doesn’t always mean better.

Two cats using a self cleaning litter box
Image Credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock

Dust Control

Dust is a big con for many cat owners dealing with litter regularly. This is especially true for people and animals with breathing difficulties. Unfortunately, much of the litter that’s marketed as dust-free still contains a small amount of dust. But it’s better than regular dusty cat litter.

Dusty cat litter also means more tracking. You’ll have to do a lot of sweeping with cat litter anyway, but dusty cat litter amplifies it.

Odor Control

Odor control is a big issue in multi-cat households, but not as much with a single cat. Still, the odor can get out of hand if the litter box is in a communal area or if you don’t clean the box enough.

You also have to consider scented versus unscented cat litter. Unscented is usually better because the smell can be offensive to your cat. Plus, scented cat litter makes the odor worse a lot of the time.

Waste Disposal

How you dispose of your cat’s waste makes a big difference in your choice of litter.

Clumping litters may help with waste disposal, but that depends on your idea of “easy.” Some owners don’t want to mess with clumping litter since it sticks to the box. Non-clumping litters often become oversaturated, meaning you have to clean cat urine from the bottom of the box.

Some cat litters can be flushed, but these are few and far between. Most cat litters have to be tossed in the trash.

Cat near litter box_New Africa_Shutterstock
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutteerstock

Can You Mix Multi-Cat and Regular Litter? 

You can mix cat litters as long as they’re the same type of litter. It doesn’t matter if it’s multi-cat non-clumping clay litter mixed with regular non-clumping clay litter. Both are the same, so it’s okay to combine these two.

However, you wouldn’t want to mix two different types of litter, like corn litter with silica gel litter. This might inhibit the two different litters from working effectively and make things worse in the long run.

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Conclusion

The good news is that you can get away with multi-cat cat litter or regular cat litter. A multi-cat litter usually has a better clumping ability, but this also depends on the litter brand. The best thing you can do for your cats is to consider the components we mentioned above first. Then, make your decision.

Don’t feel like you have to stick with one litter, either. You never know when you’ll need to switch to another litter. Unless your cat is picky, try different cat litters to see what works for you and your cat.

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Image Credit: Zoran Photographer, Shutterstock (L)

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