When it comes to cat litter, many of us don’t give it much thought. However, selecting the right cat litter can actually benefit both you and your furry friend’s health, as well as the environment. While clay-based cat litter may be the most commonly used and affordable option, it’s not environmentally friendly, and can cause respiratory problems due to the dust it generates. This dust can be particularly harmful for those with asthma. Biodegradable cat litter is a better choice for your cat, the environment, and your lungs. These alternative litters are made from a variety of materials such as paper, corn, walnuts, wheat, wood, pine, and grass. According to Treehugger’s testers, here are the top eco-friendly cat litters available.
World’s Best’s Eco-Friendly Clumping Cat Litter
The price range for World’s Best cat litter is $10 to $70. This brand is dedicated to activism and supports cat shelters and new pet parents. Their litter is made from corn and is free of chemical additives, making it eco-friendly and more absorbent than traditional clay clumping litter. However, there is a lack of information on how the corn is sourced, which is important considering the potential environmental impact of corn crops.
World’s Best Cat Litter provides a wealth of resources for cat owners, including advice on choosing the right shelter and adopting senior special needs cats. The brand also has a #GIVEACRAP initiative, pledging to donate up to 3 million pounds of litter to animal shelters annually. By posting a photo with a custom frame, customers can help donate up to 5 pounds of litter to a shelter.
Ökocat Super Soft Clumping Litter
Advantages: Made from responsibly sourced wood, effectively absorbs odors and emits a pleasant pine scent, clumps well, and has a soft texture similar to clay litter.
Disadvantages: It is expensive and can be easily tracked out of the litter box.
Ökocat Super Soft Clumping Litter is a top-performing wood litter that outshines its competitors with its exceptional odor control and superior clumping ability. The sustainably sourced wood granules are lightweight and soft, making them similar to standard clay litter.
During our two-week testing period, our cats preferred their clay litter but did use the wood litter occasionally. The litter quickly absorbed liquids and formed clumps that were easy to scoop, although they broke apart more than corn/grain, grass, and walnut litter varieties. The litter produces minimal dust and is free of toxic inks, dyes, and synthetic chemical additives.
While the litter prevented odors during our testing period, we cannot guarantee that odors won’t become more intense over time if consistently used. However, we can confirm that the lightweight litter is easily tracked outside of the litter box.
Although it is the most expensive wood litter we tested, Ökocat Super Soft Clumping Litter lasts at least as long as its competitors. The company recommends only changing the litter every two to four months for a single cat.
SmartCat All Natural Clumping Litter
Advantages: Excellent at controlling odors, creates tight clumps with little dust
Disadvantages: Can easily track outside of litter box, more expensive than other options
SmartCat All Natural Clumping Litter is crafted from non-GMO sorghum grass seed that is rich in starch, making it highly effective at forming solid clumps upon contact with liquids. This fragrance-free and chemical-free litter is also biodegradable and emits a light wheat scent that helps to naturally reduce any unpleasant smells.
It produces minimal dust, making it an ideal option for cats and humans with respiratory issues. However, the small and lightweight granules can easily be tracked outside of the litter box. Additionally, it is more expensive compared to other litter options.
Related: Discover the Top Pet-Safe Organic Weed Killer for Naturally Maintaining Your Lawn.
Kitty Poo Club – Best Overall
Our top recommendation for environmentally-friendly cat litter is Kitty Poo Club, which offers a diverse range of clumping and non-clumping options. You can choose from corn & wheat, diatomite, clay, organic soy, fine-grain silica, and regular silica litters, all shipped to you for free using FedEx Ground Economy. These exceptional litters are guaranteed to remain odor-free for a full month and do not contain any harmful chemicals, scents, or dyes. You can also sign up for a subscription and receive a fully recyclable, leakproof cardboard litterbox every month. With a 100% satisfaction guarantee, you can confidently try this eco-friendly cat litter. However, it’s important to note that some materials may not be equally sustainable, and some types may not be compatible with automatic litter boxes. Overall, we believe that Kitty Poo Club offers the best eco-friendly cat litter available this year.
– Offers six different types of litter
– Free shipping
– Option to order with recyclable, disposable litterboxes
– 100% satisfaction guarantee
– No harmful chemicals, scents, or dyes
– Guaranteed odor-free for 30 days
– Some materials may not be sustainable or biodegradable
- – Some types may not work with automatic litter boxes
Feline Pine Original Cat Litter
- Despite being a natural cat litter with neutral properties, it is not recommended to flush Feline Pine down the toilet. Although flushability is often touted as a benefit of natural cat litter, not all natural ingredients are suitable for flushing. Despite being one of the more expensive options for natural kitty litter, Feline Pine offers a range of benefits. It effectively eliminates odors upon contact, minimizing the risk of unpleasant smells in your home. Additionally, it is highly absorbent, although it does not clump together as cats use it. As such, it may be necessary to replace the entire litter box when it comes time to dispose of old litter. Some of the pros of Feline Pine include its ability to quickly neutralize bad smells, its safety for cats, even those who may ingest the litter, and its dust-free composition. However, its cons include its non-flushability and relatively high cost.
Our Criteria for Finding the Best Natural Cat Litter
: The following standards were established in collaboration with veterinarian Megan Teiber and cat behaviorist Nicole Van Andel.
Health and safety – All of the litters on this list are made using safe, non-toxic materials. The fewer additives included (such as scents and preservatives), the better.
Eco-friendliness – Each litter on this list is crafted from biodegradable and sustainably harvested materials.
Tracking – The amount of litter that ends up outside of the litter box and how far it can scatter from the box are both considered.
Dust – The level of dust present in the litter is a crucial factor, especially for cats and people with allergies or respiratory issues.
Scent – Unscented litter is always the preferred option. Cats rely heavily on their sense of smell to navigate their environment, so strongly scented litter can be overwhelming.
Ease of cleaning – The litter’s ability to clump and absorb, coat solid waste, and whether or not it is flushable are all taken into account, as well as how much it sticks to the litter box.
Odor control – The litter’s effectiveness in neutralizing smells is critical. Urine smell is the main concern, as no litter can eliminate the odor of solid waste entirely. Keep in mind that odor control is partly dependent on individual cats and the strength of their urine odor.
Ease of handling – How easy the litter is to transport, pour, and handle.
Price point – The cost of the litter is also considered.
- How often should cat litter be changed?
- At a minimum, you should fully empty and replenish cat litter once a month, but every two to three weeks works for many. This can easily increase to weekly if your cat relives themself often and/or if you have more than one cat sharing the litter box. Daily scooping to remove pee and poop is always recommended.
- What is cat litter made of?
- Cat litter is primarily made with one of the following as the base: clay, silica gel, pine, wheat, grass, corn, walnut shell, or paper. You can click here for more in-depth descriptions of each by The Spruce Pets.
- Clumping litter is often made of bentonite clay. Silica gel, often referred to as litter crystals, is absorbent and can provide odor control. For those who would like more of an environmentally-friendly option, natural litter is made of things like recycled paper products or plant-derived materials such as wood shavings or corn.
- How do you clean a litter box?
- Proper litter box maintenance starts with the right box and tools to suit your cat’s habits and needs. Most cat owners prefer clumping litter since it makes spotting waste easier and allows for faster clean up. Clumps of waste should be scooped out daily if using clumping litter, but the full litter box should be deep cleaned once a week or every four to five weeks, depending on the type of litter you use.
- Used litter should always be emptied into an air-tight trash bag. Some litter is flushable and smaller clumps can be disposed of there, but you should never flush the entire contents of the box. Eventually, you’ll need to empty and thoroughly clean the entire box using unscented dish soap and paper towels. Non-clumping litter will need to be cleaned more often due to the build-up it can cause at the bottom of the box while clumping litter can be removed in small quantities daily and replaced less often.
- How do you litter train a cat?
- When bringing home a new kitten, litter training them is one of the first things you should do. It’s recommended to start your new cat in a “transition room” that’s safe, comfortable, and isolated from other areas of your home. You should place the cat’s food and water at one end of the room and the litter box at the other. Right after it eats or drinks, immediately take it to the litter box to establish good habits.
- If your cat does use the litter box properly, reward it with a toy or treat to help seal in place its new routine. They should be allowed to explore the area—avoid scooping out waste right away, let it remain to remind them where to properly go to the bathroom.
- How do you dispose of kitty litter?
- Most litter should then just be disposed of in the trash. Some brands, like Garfield Cat Litter, can be flushed directly down the toilet in small amounts since it’s biodegradable, but keep in mind that many municipal waste system and septic systems are not suited to handle cat waste. Non-biodegradable litter should never be flushed.
- Litter boxes should be scooped at least once a day, placing clumps in a trash bag. To avoid odors, you might want to invest in a Litter Genie that seals waste at the bottom and keeps any smell contained throughout the week. On trash day, simply take out your secured plastic bag of litter and waste and dispose of it with the rest of your trash.