Choosing the Best Cat Litter for Your Kitty

Choosing the Best Cat Litter for Your Kitty

Today’s kitty litter options are seemingly endless. There’s lightweight, scoopable, absorbent, eco-friendly, dust-free (well, almost), flushable, scented, unscented, health-alert and odor-free and they can be made from a variety of different materials. So, how do you find the best cat litter for your needs?

While the name Kitty Litter, first registered in 1947 by its inventor, Edward Lowe, may still be universal, the product has been reinvented with lots of options. Some products contain clay and other minerals, some wheat, others corn husks, coconut husks, cassava plants, newspaper, silica gel, wood chips, peanut shells and orange peels. So, how you choose the best cat litter for your kitty?

Decisions, decisions — where does a cat parent begin when finding the best cat litter?

A cat staring down into a litter box.

You can find eco-friendly litter, lightweight litter, odor-control litter and even litter that will alert you to a health issue like urinary tract infections or kidney disease. You need to find a litter with the features you want and the features your cat wants so he’ll use it. Photography ©w-ings | Getty Images.

Adjectives that advertising agencies have used to describe the various litters is an excellent guideline to help narrow down the selection: lightweight, scoopable, absorbent, eco-friendly, dust-free (well, almost), flushable, scented, unscented, health-alert and odor-free. Simply pick the adjectives that best describe your needs and the main ingredient from the list of primary ingredients (clay, gel, corn husks, etc.), and you will know exactly what you have bought!

Of course, for it to be considered a successful purchase will still depend on feline approval. Cats are, after all, the end users …

Eco-friendly litters

The biggest trend is undoubtedly eco-friendly litters that help reduce the feline carbon pawprint because they are biodegradable, compostable, flushable (some of them) and don’t clog up landfills.

Natural litters are considered virtually dust-free and don’t contain any chemical odor-masking agents and fragrances believed to cause or aggravate asthma and other respiratory issues in both cats and humans.

Odor-control litters

Odor control is listed as the No. 1 priority for cat parents, and it has come a long way, too. When it comes to clay-based litters in particular, new nontoxic and unscented odor-absorbing ingredients are being patented. New litter additives and filters for litter boxes also help to obliterate odors altogether.

Lightweight litters

Further change focuses on the weight of clay-based litters that some regard as too heavy and cumbersome to work with on a daily basis. New lightweight clay litters on the market claim to be as much as 50 percent lighter and comparative in weight to other choices out there.

Litter containers are also changing from heavy plastic to lightweight bags with “spouts,” making it easier to carry and pour.

And the way we purchase litter is changing. Online purchases are growing in their appeal simply because with the click of a mouse, the product arrives on the doorstep. No heavy lifting required!

Diagnostic litters

Perhaps the biggest game changer has been the advent of diagnostic litters that alert cat parents to potential health issues, such as kidney disease, urinary tract infections and diabetes. The litters allow them to effectively monitor the situation and ultimately refer relevant information on to the cat’s veterinarian.

Such litters can have a positive impact on a cat’s general health and well-being and save thousands of cats from losing their homes and landing in shelters as a result of undiagnosed medical issues, which are often incorrectly labeled as deviant litter box behavior.

Monitoring litters use assorted pH indicators that react to the introduction of urine and change color to alert to a potential problem. They can be used permanently for cats who have already been diagnosed with an issue to monitor the severity or on an ad hoc basis as a home wellness check.

Bring on the litter box

There’s a style and shape of today’s litter box to suit every household from corners to hoods in a variety of fun colors to match home décor.

Litter boxes have come out of the closet to become more acceptable on display. First, due to the improvement in odor control; second, due to advice from behaviorists, who unilaterally believe that (especially in multi-cat households) open litter boxes are better. They offer the feline user a 360-degree view of the surroundings so he can see if another cat is approaching and plotting a box ambush and allow the cat to monitor general household traffic.

Along with this trend comes an increase in fabulous litter mats in a variety of colors and designs that effectively work to trap litter and prevent your cat from creating an indoor beach.

So what’s next in this category? There are already automated litter boxes that scoop and even ones that flush. With the huge selection of litter currently available, perhaps the next big thing will be a small cat-shaped robot that tops up litter as the contents of the box depletes. And, it would be great if it could shake out litter mats, too!

Litter check

Adjectives are a quick and easy guideline to the type of litter and its best features. Words that tell all include:

  • Lightweight
  • Scoopable
  • Absorbent
  • Eco-friendly
  • Dust-free
  • Flushable
  • Scented
  • Unscented
  • Health-alert
  • Odor-free

What might litter be made from?

Litter can be made from:

TOP LEFT TO RIGHT: Wood chips. Silica Gel. Recycled Newspaper. Clay. Wood Pellets.

TOP LEFT TO RIGHT: Wood chips. Silica Gel. Recycled Newspaper. Clay. Wood Pellets.

  • Clay
  • Wheat
  • Corn husks
  • Coconut husks
  • Cassava plant
  • Peanut husks
  • Silica gel
  • Wood chips
  • Grains
  • Recycled newspaper

Choosing the best litter for your cat

Clumping, absorbent, plant-based, silica gel… How do you know which litter to buy? Our lifestyle, how much time we can devote to cleaning the litter box or the particular characteristics of each household are all factors we should take into consideration before choosing one type of cat litter over another. But make no mistake, we know who’s really in charge at home, so the decision should be based primarily on the needs and tastes of your pet. It’s your cat who will have the final say.☺

Clumping litter

The main advantage of clumping litter is that it is easy to clean and remove waste. Maintenance is very simple: you only have to add new litter into the used area, where a ball or solid clump has formed, every time your kitty uses the litter box.

Absorbent litter
With absorbent litter you can stop worrying about your kitty’s litter box for at least a week. During this time, the litter will remain dry and clean (just remember to check it and remove the feces).

Eco-friendly litter
Ecological litter consists of small granules made of recycled wood sawdust from other activities. It helps us protect the environment without neglecting our pet’s health. Fine-grain litter

During the first few months, fine-grain litter is recommended — both absorbent and clumping — because it does not harm your kitten’s paws. As your cat grows older, you should try out different litters so that your cat can choose which one they like best: clumping, scented, etc.

Don’t take any chances
Did you know that using cat litter reduces disease transmission? With cat litter you delimit the space where your cat goes to the bathroom. This way you also narrow the area in which diseases your kitty could suffer from may spread.
Do not take any chances and always use litter for your cat’s feces. For the sake of your pet’s health and your family’s, too.


Whether you’re a new cat owner or an experienced pet parent who needs more guidance when it comes to choosing your furry friend’s cat litter, we’re here to help you by providing you with this detailed and thorough guide on choosing the right kitty litter for your feline friends. Read on to get all the tips you need for finding the best litter.

Your Cat’s Litter Preference
Your feline can be quite picky about what type of litter they want to do their business in. Some cats may have sensitive paws or other physical limitations that can make your kitty want a specific type of litter. If you adopted your cat from an adoption center, ask the adoption center if your cat has any particular litter preferences or see if you can speak with the previous owners to find out more information about your cat’s habits. If you found and adopted your cat as a stray, you will have to experiment with different types of litter if your pet happens to be fussy about their litter.

Main Factors to Consider When Choosing Cat Litter
When you’re shopping for cat litter for your pet, keep the following primary characteristics of cat litter mind so that you can make the right choice:

Non-clumping vs. Clumping
Most clumping cat litters have an ingredient called bentonite, which absorbs liquid (urine in this case) and forms into clumps, making it easier for you to scoop out from the litter box. Clumping litter tends to lasting longer compared to non-clumping litter because all you need to do is remove the solids that have formed after your pet has used the litter box; however, with non-clumping litter, it’s difficult to clean out, so you will have to dump the old litter and replace with clean litter.

Another problem that non-clumping and clumping cat litter have in common is that it’s easier for cats to kick back and fling cat litter outside the litter box after they’re finished using it. But you can solve that easily by using a cat litter box like the Petmate Stay Fresh Jumbo Hooded Cat Litter Pan and the SmartCat The Ultimate Top Box for Cats if you’re considering getting either non-clumping or clumping cat litter. You can also find low-dust or dust-free cat litter or alternative litter made from different materials, such as the Breeder’s Choice Cat Litter Pellets.

Odour Control & Allergens
Most scented cat litters don’t eliminate odour; instead, they mask it, which doesn’t solve solve the problem of odour control. Find a cat litter that actually removes or reduces odour drastically instead of masking it. Since cats have a more sensitive sense of smell, it’s safer to choose a cat litter that isn’t heavily scented in the first place.

Some cats can also be allergic to certain ingredients in the litter, including scented particles, additives, and minerals. It may require some testing before you find the right hypoallergenic cat litter for your pet, so keep an eye on your cat’s reaction to the cat litter so that you can act quickly in case they have an allergic side effect.

Multiple Cats
Some cat care brands are multi-cat friendly, but you should also consider getting separate litter boxes and cat litter for each of your pets; it’s not guaranteed that all your feline friends will comfortably use the same litter.

Cat Litter Breakdown: Clumps, Crystals, and More
To help you choose the right type of litter, we listed the various kinds you can find and the benefits of each here:

Clumping: Easy to maintain and long-lasting, clumping kitty litter is a convenient and economical choice for cat owners; most have clay-based formulas. After your cat urinates in the litter, you will instantly find the solids that have formed to scoop them out effortlessly. Thanks to this, you won’t have to replace all the litter for at least a month. Since most clumping cat litter have fantastic odour-neutralising ingredients, you don’t have to worry about your cat’s litter box stinking up your home. Check out Cat’s Best Oko Plus Natural Clumping Cat Litter for an eco-friendly, flushable clumping-type litter for your pet. This is the Lucky Pet house favourite.

Non-Clumping: Though non-clumping cat litter requires you to replace it more frequently, it can be your cat’s preferred litter so don’t rule it out just yet. Non-clumping clay litter tends to be cheaper than clumping clay, which is great for pet parents who want a more wallet-friendly cat litter.

Crystals (Silica): Have you ever seen those “Do Not Eat” packets in product packages? Inside those small pouches are silica gel crystals, and they can be found in cat litter, too. Cat litter with silica crystal beads are typically dust-free, which helps keep the area around your pet’s litter box clean. Crystal-based litter is also effective when it comes to odour neutralizing and lasts much longer compared to other cat litter.

Although they can be on the pricey side initially, you do get more use out of this type of litter. One main downside about silica crystal litter is that it can be dangerous if ingested too often. The crystals can get stick between your cat’s claws/nails, and they can swallow the crystals when grooming their paws. It’s best that you check your pet’s paws after they use the litter box to prevent common illnesses associated with swallowing silica crystals.  You can find crystal litter in our Cat Shop here.

Corn: Absorbent and perfect for odour control, corn-based litters are great if you’re looking for a biodegradable, low-dust, and eco-friendly litter. The risk with using corn litters is that cats can ingest corn, which isn’t safe for pets to eat.

Recycled Paper: Made into pellets or granules, recycled paper is another common material used for cat litter. An example of paper pellet cat litter is the Breeder’s Choice Cat Litter Pellets. Since paper is naturally absorbent, you can easily clean your cat’s litter box and keep the litter box clean. Paper granules clump when there’s moisture, which make it easier for you to scoop out the mess. Most paper-made kitty litter also provides odour control and are much more environmentally friendly compared to other litter products.

Wheat: Just like corn, wheat is a biodegradable product that can be found in certain cat litters. Wheat-based litters clump easily and have great natural odour control. However, wheat isn’t safe for pets to ingest, so your feline can get sick if they accidentally eat some of the litter when grooming themselves.

Pine: Pine cat litters are made from recycled pine wood that are lumber scraps. Before included in cat litter, the pine wood scraps are heat-treated to remove all toxins, allergens, and oils naturally found in pine trees. The pine tree scent helps control odour. Pine-based litter come in three different forms: pellet, granules, and cobble (crushed pine tree wood). The granules and cobble texture clump slightly, but the pellets are non-clumping. Kitter is one of the best pine litter on the market in Australia. It also comes in a kit with a sifting tray. Have a look at how it works.

Walnut Shells: Here’s another eco-friendly and biodegradable cat litter option for you! Kitty litter made from walnut shells has fantastic odour control, absorbency, clumping ability, and reduced dust.

How to Maintain Your Cat’s Litter Box
The most important part of cleaning your cat’s litter box is to have a routine in place so that you can prevent buildup of bacteria, odour, and other litter box hazards. Make sure you clean out solids from feces and urine from the litter box at least twice a day, especially if you use clumping cat litter. You should also include regular washing of the litter box every 1-3 weeks and replace the litter accordingly depending on what type of litter you use; for example, clumping clay cat litter can last up to a month without having to replace it with new, clean litter. Read package instructions when you buy cat litter, too, to get the best how-to-use directions.

If your cat sometimes kicks dust out of the litter box, help keep your pet’s environment clean by placing a mat like the Fresh Kitty Litter Trapper Mat underneath the litter box. Be sure to have a durable and handy scoop that will help you remove the impurities from the litter easily; some of our scoops such as the SmartCat Cat Litter Scoop and Holder Set give you the assistance you need for better and cleaner scooping.  You can also use a pet-safe powder, such as the Trouble & Trix No More Litter Odour Powder, to help reduce odour for a quick solution.

Other Helpful Cat Litter Box Information
To complete our extensive cat litter guide, we want to send you off with some extra information that you may find useful for your cat care routine:

Test out different cat litter simultaneously: If you’re looking for the right type of cat litter or want to test out different kinds because you have multiple cats, use the Nature’s Miracle Disposable Litter Box 3-Pack to test out various kinds of cat litter. Place the litter boxes in different places and observe which cat litter suits your cat(s) more. Give your feline(s) up to a week to get used to the different litters before settling on one type of litter to use.

Help keep litter inside the box with an enclosed cat litter box: As mentioned earlier in this guide, closed litter boxes like the SmartCat The Ultimate Top Box for Cats help reduce the dust that your cat kicks out of ordinary litter boxes. These litter boxes typically have a hole in the top for easy entry and exit for your cat. They’re also designed with ventilation holes to help air out the litter box and keep it fresher for longer (at least, before your next cleaning!).

Automate scooping with a high-tech cat litter box: Some cat litter box models are more advanced and help reduce the clean-up workload you have to do to maintain a clean litter box for your pet. The SmartScoop Automatic No-Scoop Kitty Litter System is the perfect example for these innovative kinds of litter boxes that allow you to keep cleaning and scooping to a minimum. This particular automatic kitty litter removes clumps 15 minutes after your pet has used it, controls odour, and even reduces the amount of litter most pet owners waste every year.

Consider getting rid of the litter box altogether with kitty toilet training: Can you train your cat to use the toilet? Yes, you can! One system for potty training your cat is the Litter Kwitter. The concept behind this unique system is to help your cat associate the toilet as a litter box by using the training tools included in the kit. It’s an effective and interesting way to get your kitty off the litter box for good and help you, the pet parent, save money long-term by using the Litter Kwitter system.

Have fun!

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