I've had cats for over 40 years and have tried every cat litter and even did the whole "natural" bit using just sand. I've also spoken to veterinarians and SUPER cat enthusiasts to get their take on everything kitty litter and cat litter brands.
The result is an in-depth article that will reveal every single thing you could ever want to know about cat litters.
Our Top Pick
World's Best Cat Litter 5lb. Bag
This is the best all natural cat litter. It is also absorbent and great value for your buck!
"100% plant material"
"made from corn"
Flushable & Clumping
Introduction to Cat Litter - The Scoop!
So you got a new Kitty and it's time to buy some cat litter, but you're finding the choices overwhelming? Clumping, Scoopable, Odor Control, and on and on...
Yes, there are a lot of different kinds of cat litter on the market today. And they all do something different, sometimes better and sometimes worse than their competition.
And that's where this lengthy review comes in.
We have spoken to veterinarians and serious cat enthusiasts to get their views, while also taking our own experiences of owning cats for 40+ years to create what I feel is the ultimate cat litter guide.
Now there are a few things you need to think about when choosing a cat litter.
For Paw Prints, our numbers one and two concerns are Pet Safety and Sustainability. And I feel they are both extremely important and any litter that doesn't meet theses two requirements are just not for me or our readers.
Then there are the following additional factors in no order of importance in order to make this as complete as possible…
Materials used (natural-man made), odor control, flushability, clumping and non-clumping and dust free or not. Now this is just a short list, I'll get into even more details as I explain why I think a particular kitty litter is worth the investment or not.
Here's our top pick if you're just looking to pick one and go!
Our Top Pick
World's Best Cat Litter
100% All Natural
Non-Tracking & Easy to Clean!
Why is World's Best Cat Litter our number one pick for all categories we tested?
Simple. The company really does live up to its name. And this isn't hype.
This is what I personally use for my own cat and what I recommend to all of my family and friends to use as well.
It does everything you'd want it to do and it does it well.
Made from whole kernel corn, this earth friendly product offers the convenience of a clumping kitty litter with little odor for you, and also poses no threat to your cat’s or kitten’s health.
And for me, a HUGE plus is that this litter is 100% natural, biodegradable and is made from a renewable material source. If you're in the “green camp” then this alone is worth every penny. (yes, I am most definitely in this camp!)
Another plus is that biodegradable cat litter typically consists of larger-grained pellets, which in turn makes for acceptable kitten litter, since kittens can't ingest the particles.
Odor is controlled by protein molecules in the corn. Almost completely dust free, World’s Best contains no chemicals, perfumes or binding agents.
If your kitty does ingest the litter it should pass safely through your cat’s digestive system. After all, many cat foods include corn in their ingredients.
The clumps can be scooped and the manufacturer states that the litter outlasts traditional clumping clay litters by about 40 percent. That equates to a nice savings even though World's Best Cat Litter is a bit pricier than the clay competition. Working out the numbers, it ends up being cheaper. Something to think about when Price Comparing our best rated cat litters.
It also comes in an extra strength formula designed for households with multiple cats.
It's also flushable if that's a factor for you. (Although I don't recommend it)
It's water soluble, so it won't clog your pipes. Great if you live in a small city apartment and can't recycle your litter.
You can also compost World's Best Cat Litter rather than throwing pounds of litter into the garbage each litter box clean out!
BUT, if you do go the composting route (I do) there are two things to keep in mind. One, never compost pooh. Carnivore pooh isn't good for gardens. Second, cat pee isn't really good for garden compost either.
So instead I just my litter compost for general use such as spreading in my lawn or to simply use as fill or dump in the woods after decomposition. Way better than adding more garbage to overfilled dumps or worse, dumped into the ocean.
This top litter also holds up well and doesn't have any major tracking concerns like clay based litters. One little tip when it comes to tracking is to use a litter mat to trap anything remaining on your kitty's paws as they leave their litter box.
Using a mat I have not had a problem with tracking at all using World's Best Cat Litter.
Some manufacturers of self cleaning litter boxes also recommend this brand because it does not have a gummy texture and will not clog their machines. Voted best scoopable cat litter too.
And with all of the recent recalls from manufactures abroad, it's also comforting to know World's Best Cat Litter™ is produced by Kent Pet Group in Muscatine, Iowa, USA.
With all of the recalls from manufactures abroad, it's also comforting to know World's Best Cat Litter™ is produced by Kent Pet Group in Muscatine, Iowa.
No animals are used in testing the product. World's Best Cat Litter™ is tested using simulated urine in the labs—no animals, period!
Yes, there always seems to be a downside to even the best cat litters. But this one has the fewest.
Because this litter is made of a natural ingredient, it breaks down a little faster than a traditional clay based cat litter would. And it starts to break down into a fine powder that is easier to track around your house. The solution to this is using a mat. Since adding a mat I have had no tracking problems whatsoever.
Company Website: WorldsBestCatLitter.com
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-877-367-9225
Clay Cat Litters – Serious Health Concerns
The granddaddy of cat litters is clay litter. This litter has fine sand-like qualities. Clumping is the most popular … and can be easily scooped along with the poop.
However, there are concerns that the chemical that makes it clump, sodium bentonite, may cause serious health problems for pets and notably very young kittens. When sodium bentonite comes in contact with moisture it hardens (clumps) and can expand up to 15 times. This means particles breathed into the lungs are expanding and hardening inside.
Given the growing concerns about the safety of our food and the alarming discovery that children’s toys contain toxic materials … I would be very inclined to play it safe … pay a little less attention to the “experts” … and use one of the many alternative litters.
After all, a kitten or a cat must stand in the litter and all cats lick their paws. (Cats and people inhale the dust.)
If the clumping and expanding properties of sodium bentonite are enough to plug up a toilet (been there - done that) what is the likelihood of it simply slipping right on through a kitten’s tiny digestive system with no adverse affects?
One wouldn’t want a curious toddler anywhere near clumping clay litter either. And pet dogs have been known to nose around in a litter box to grab a quick “snack.”
Some cat owners have marveled when symptoms of poor health disappeared, once the clay litter was replaced with an alternate litter. They are not experts, just ordinary consumers who observe and know their cats.
However, clay based clumping kitty litter remains popular and many cat owners are quite happy with it.
Clay is in its natural state and therefore does not decompose. It is a non-renewable resource.
Yesterday's News Cat Litter really does embrace the concept of recycling and is made from 100% recycled newspapers.
In pellet form, it is an almost completely dust free cat litter, tends not to get tracked all through your home, and is three times more absorbent than clay.
Yesterday’s News Cat Litter
3X more absorbent than clay
top recommendation of U.S. veterinarians
And because it’s made from recycled material, it’s very inexpensive compared to other brands of kitty litter.
It is available in two textures, original and softer. The softer texture tends to resemble sand, which is appealing to cats.
Yesterday's News Cat Litter is plant based and is basically recycled trees, which are a renewable resource.
Cat Litter Comparison Chart
Yes - Made from 100% plant matter.
Comes in both scented & non-scented
No! "moisture-activated micro-granuoles"
Comes in both scented & non-scented
100% Bentonite Clay
100% Natural Pine
Natural Pine Scent
Yes - Made from 100% Recycled Paper
Comes in both scented & non-scented
Cat Litter Buyer's Guide – What is most important for you?
Clumping: This means that when your cat uses this type of litter, it will form a clump that is easy to remove using a scoop.
These types of litter make cleanup faster and less messy.
Kitty litters that are made from clay are often made from bentonite clay.
All Natural: These cat litters are usually made from 100% organic materials that will naturally break down and not cause more waste product than is necessary.
They are often made of pellets made from things like corn, sawdust or recycled paper.
Sawdust litters are not always “sawdust”.
Rather they are made from scrap wood that has been treated to remove any toxins that could possibly endanger your cat. Most often the wood is Pine.
I personally love these kinds of litters due to them being used from scraps that would otherwise be burned or thrown away.
And the pine scent helps hide unwanted pet odors in a more “natural" way as well.
BUT…there is an Achilles’s heel. When the pellets break down, they do turn to dust. And this dust easily sticks to your cat’s paws and gets tracked all over quite easily.
Luckily there are two very easy fixes.
The first is to use a system like the Breeze Litter box system. The top of the box has pellets that never break down. You place your natural litter on the second tray. As it turns to dust, it falls through to a box underneath that you can easily clean out.
It's a solid system and can save you time and money in the end.
The second is using a Cat Litter Trapper that traps the dust as your cat leaves the box.
Scented Litter: Yes, scented litters can help you tolerate sharing your bathroom with your kitty, but it’s not something your cat is going to enjoy. Cats simply don’t like strong odors in their litter boxes!
Crystal Cat Litter: Silica Gel Beads Also known as crystals or pearls.
These types of litter are probably the most absorbent of all of the others I’ve mentioned so far. They also retain smell very well too.
BUT, this type of litter can actually harm your cat. Cat’s do digest some of their litter no matter what you do. And do you really want to be “feeding” your kitty the same little beads you find in packing to keep away moisture? I know I don’t!
The main ingredient is sodium silicate, which is an extremely absorbent material. This cat litter effectively controls odors and can last a long time.
On the downside, when the pearls cannot absorb any more moisture the next delivery of urine will become a puddle on the bottom of your litter box. The texture can be hard on your cat’s paws and should any pearls escape from the box they roll around all over the place.
Sodium silicate has many industrial uses. It is used in the little silica packs that are put into pill bottles and shoe boxes to absorb moisture.
These packs often come with warnings, such as “do not swallow.” Concern does exist that ongoing exposure to silica dust is associated with pulmonary (functioning of the lungs) difficulties.
Sodium silicate is in its natural state so it does not decompose. It is a non-renewable but plentiful resource.
Any absorbent substance can function as a cat-box filler. Cat-box filler products currently on the market include those made from newspaper, wood chips, wheat, corn, soy beans--even alfalfa sprouts. But the most commonly used litters (more than 90 percent of the market share) have an absorbent clay base.
These clay-based products come in two types: the original gravel-like litters and the finer, sandlike litters that first came onto the market in the late 1980’s (also called clumping litters).
If you change your brand of kitty litter, do so gradually!!! Cats are very much creatures of habit and don’t adjust quickly to any sudden changes. Over a period of a few weeks, add some of the new to the old type.
Start with about one part new added to four parts of the old cat litter. Continue to adjust the portions.
If your cat becomes sick, do give some thought to which type of litter you are using. It could be helpful if you let your vet know too.