The best cat litter

Steph Coelho

Cats are finicky creatures. And when it comes to cat litter, they can certainly be choosey. Pick a cat litter with an odor or texture they don't like, and don't be surprised if they decide to do their business elsewhere. The right product not only encourages your feline pal to go, but it can also make cleanup a breeze. You can choose from clumping or non-clumping litter options. There are even cat-litter types that allow you to spot health problems before your cat shows symptoms.

Our buying guide has all the information you'll need to make an informed purchase and includes our top pick, World's Best Cat Litter Multiple-Cat Clumping Formula, which features a dust-proof formula to keep your home tidy.

Considerations when choosing cat litter

Types of cat litter

Clumping cat litter is typically made of bentonite clay or natural plant fibers (e.g., corn or nutshells). The litter clumps when exposed to moisture and is easy to clean. Litter made from clay is inexpensive, but it's dusty and is used up quickly. It's also a highly trackable litter type, and your cat is likely to spread it throughout your house. Natural clumping litters are longer lasting than clay options and biodegradable. Plant-fiber litters are also easily trackable.

Non-clumping natural litters are made of plant-based fibers (e.g., paper) and don't create dust like some clumping products. These all-natural litters are environmentally friendly and compostable. They're also less likely to be tracked around your home. But because this type of litter doesn't clump, it's less effective when it comes to controlling odors. Clay litter is also available in a non-clumping variety.

Silica gel is another type of cat litter. It's incredibly absorbent, and a single bag will last you a long while. The sodium silicate crystals don't create dust, and cleanup only requires you to scoop out feces. The downside is that not all cats like using this kind of litter, and the crystals can create an annoying mess.


Odor control and scent: The key to controlling litter box odors is frequent cleaning. While some products contain extra ingredients to boost absorbency, many cats dislike litter with these added odor-control elements. Cats are equally wary of scented litters that are designed to mask the smell of urine and feces.

Track-proof: If tracking is an issue, pick a cat-litter type that's less trackable. Granulated litter is more likely to become stuck on your kitty's paws and find its way around your house.

Dust: Choose a cat litter that produces minimal dust or, at the very least, a product with dust that's harmless. Litters made from natural fibers produce some dust, but it's less harmful than the dust from clay-type litters.

Cat litter prices

Watch out! Pricing cat litter is not as simple as comparing the prices of two different bags. You'll find that you may use up some types of litter much faster than others. On average, however, litter ranges from 40 cents to $2 per pound. The most expensive litter types are made of biodegradable materials and include features like illness detection and tracking-proof granules.


Q. How do I know how much cat litter to use at once?

A. It depends on your litter box dimensions and your cat's preference. About two to three inches of litter should be enough for most felines.

Q. How often should I clean out my cat's litter box?

A. Check your cat's litter box at least once per day, and scoop out any feces and urine (if using clumping litter). A full clean should be done twice per week if using a non-clumping litter and biweekly to monthly with clumping litter.

Cat litter we recommend

Best of the best: World's Best Cat Litter Multiple-Cat Clumping Formula

Our take: A top-notch cat litter option with a dust-proof formula perfect for the neat freak.

What we like: Made of a mix of wood and corn, this naturally derived litter is dust-free. Effectively controls odors and absorbs enough to be used by multiple cats.

What we dislike: Costly compared to other brands.

Best bang for your buck: Purina Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Clumping Cat Litter

Our take: An inexpensive litter option for the cat owner on a budget.

What we like: You definitely get the best bang for your buck with a bag that provides 40 pounds of litter -- enough to supply a household with multiple cats. Controls odors and clumps effectively for easy cleanup.

What we dislike: Litter is dusty and heavy.

Choice 3: Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Ultra Premium Clumping Cat Litter

Our take: A natural litter with an affordable price tag.

What we like: Clay litter clumps easily for simple removal and formula is also hypoallergenic.

What we dislike: Odor-control abilities are sub-par compared to other litters.

Steph Coelho is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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