Cats need litter that they’re comfortable using, that controls the odor from their waste, and is easy to clean and switch out.
Unfortunately, not all litters are created equal. Some clump better than others. Some control odor better than others. And some are better for training your cat to use it.
In this article, we’re going to review what we believe are the best cat litters on the market for your pet. We’ll also go over what’s in litter, the types of cat litter available, and how to choose a cat litter, so you will be fully prepared to make the right decision.
Let’s dive in:
What’s In Kitty Litter? What Is It Made Of?
First off, let’s talk about what is actually in cat litter, as it isn’t always apparent just by looking at it.
Cat litter is typically made of one of three types of substances:
- Biodegradable material
Silica is an absorbent material that forms crystallized cat litters. It provides good odor control and is excellent at containing excess moisture.
Silica usually creates less dust than clay litter, however, it is potentially dangerous if consumed in large quantities.
Traditional clay litter has been around the longest and is a staple in the industry.
Its claim to fame is its absorption ability. It can usually absorb its weight in urine, and it is adept at containing odors as well.
Issues arise as the litter becomes overly used. There comes a point where it can no longer absorb more liquid, and odor becomes a bigger issue.
However, thanks to bentonite clay, this type of litter can clump when it absorbs liquid. Clumping litter is much easier to clean, as you can remove the clumps as they arise, and it’s better at odor control.
This also means complete emptying and refilling of the litter does not need to happen as often as it does with litter that does not clump. Many owners use clumping clay cat litter as their preferred choice.
If you would prefer a more environmentally-friendly option, biodegradable litters may be best for you.
Biodegradable litters can be made from a variety of eco-friendly material:
- Recycled paper products
- Beet pulp
These materials can break down once in the environment and don’t fill up landfills.
There are many types of cat litter, but if you don’t know what you’re looking for it can be tough to make the right decision.
Make sure to read this section carefully, because it will help you understand what you’re looking at when shopping for a cat litter.
Clay Clumping – This litter that is usually made from bentonite, allowing it to absorb and clump for easy removal. However, this litter can be dusty and is non-biodegradable.
Clay Non-Clumping – This is “traditional” cat litter. It works well, but can become a hassle if not emptied and refilled frequently.
Silica Gel – Silica litter is absorbent and provides excellent odor control. It’s almost completely dust-free. The drawback is since cats and kittens tend to consume a small amount of litter when they groom, owners are wary of the fact that silica can be dangerous if ingested in large quantities.
Recycled Paper Products – Recycled paper is turned into pellets or granules. It’s dust-free, absorbent, and biodegradable. Pellets don’t clump but granules do.
Walnut – Some litter is made from crushed walnut shells. This is a solid option as walnut litter is absorbent, biodegradable, and offers great odor containment.
Corn – Corn is an environmentally friendly option, but it isn’t usually recommended as it can be detrimental if consumed by pets.
Wheat – Wheat is biodegradable, provides good odor control, and produces a relatively low amount of dust compared to other litters. However, it can cause issues if consumed by cats so it isn’t usually recommended.
Pine – Some litter is made from recycled pine. It’s environmentally friendly, can clump but not as well as clay, and may turn to sawdust over time, so it must be refilled on a consistent basis.
Which Is Best?
In terms of price, availability, and ease, clay clumping litter and walnut litters (usually in the form of pellets) are the best overall types of litter to use.
However, in the end, the choice is up to you and what your cat likes. So don’t be afraid to test out different kinds to find the right litter for both of you.
How to Choose a Cat Litter
When choosing a cat litter, there are a few aspects to pay attention to:
- Odor control
- Granule or pellet size
- Dust production
Clumping litters tend to make your life a lot easier, and they’re usually preferred by your pet as well.
The lumps that evolve are easy to scoop out, and they contain the mess into confined areas rather than spreading it over the whole litter box. All you need to do is add clean litter whenever you remove some, and replace the whole box every once in a while.
Nobody like a smelly litter box. Cat urine can be quite pungent – so much so that it can fill a room.
Besides replacing litter regularly, the best way to prevent it is to buy litter with good odor control. And no, buying scented litter is not the right fix, as it can contain unhealthy byproducts and is usually rejected by cats.
Granule or Pellet Size
Most cats prefer small granules/pellets, but these also track around the house more easily. The bigger-sized litters aren’t as preferred, but they track less and are typically better for kittens because they aren’t swallowed as easily.
Dust is one of the messiest parts of dealing with cat litter. Clay litters tend to create a lot of dust when cleaning. Silica litters and some biodegradable litters are completely dust-free.
Remember that you will need to buy cat litter pretty often. Cost is an important factor, and sometimes it’s better to buy in bulk. Also, when it comes to litter (as with most things), you typically get what you pay for.
Take all of these into consideration when buying a cat litter.
The Best Cat Litters in 2019
To help make your search easier, we’ve rounded up what we feel are the best cat litters in 2019. Use the table below to get a quick overview or scroll down to read more about each litter.