If you’re looking for an efficient way to deal with the unpleasant mess that cats sometimes leave in their litter boxes, having the right cat litter can make all the difference. In our two-year study of 17 different cat litters, we’ve concluded that Dr. Elsey’s Ultra does the best job of simplifying litter box chores. It effectively covers up odors, forms clumps with ease, and minimizes dust, all while coming at a lower cost compared to other options – which is essential, given how much you’ll go through over a cat’s lifetime.
Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Multi-Cat Litter
– Effectively covers unpleasant odors
– Clumps well and doesn’t break apart when scooping
– Minimal dust
– Suitable for households with multiple cats
– Low tracking (even with cats known for tracking)
– Multiple similar products under the Clump & Seal label can be confusing
The Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Multi-Cat Litter is great at binding together upon contact with moisture and maintaining its shape while being scooped. The texture of the small granules is similar to coarse sand and it emits minimal dust. It’s also less prone to tracking than many other brands, sparing your floor from paw prints or litter fragments.
Although the Clump & Seal Multi-Cat is technically scented, it only has a mild smell of baking soda and fresh laundry, which is barely noticeable unless you’re up close. Nevertheless, it can still effectively mask odors, even when the litter box hasn’t been cleaned in a few days.
This litter formula is highly favored by multi-cat households based on its performance. However, it can be challenging to distinguish from other similarly-named Clump & Seal products, such as Clump & Seal Slide, Clump & Seal Slide Multi-Cat, Clump & Seal MicroGuard, Clump & Seal with Odor Blasters, and Platinum Clump & Seal. Out of the six Arm & Hammer litter formulas the testers tried, Clump & Seal Multi-Cat was the top choice.
To dispose of this litter, it’s recommended that it be tossed in the trash rather than flushed down the toilet. The litter comes in a cardboard box that can be recycled, and the handle makes pouring and storage convenient. It’s reasonably priced and can be found in many retail stores. The litter is available in 14, 19, 28, and 38-pound sizes, and the cost for a 28-pound box is currently $24 at the time of publication.
Litter Type: Clay | Multi-Cat: Yes | Container: Box with handle | Sizes: 14, 19, 28, 38 pounds
Purina Tidy Cats Naturally Strong Unscented Cat Litter.
Dr. Elsey’s Premium Clumping Clay Cat Litter – Best Premium Option
For those willing to splurge, Dr. Elsey’s top-tier clumping cat litter offers a non-tracking granule and clay blend for superb moisture control. Feline parents seeking a high-quality clumping formula that is easy to scoop and superior at naturally combating odors should definitely consider this option. Additionally, this litter works well with mechanical litter boxes. However, the product’s packaging can be quite fragile, and it is slightly pricier than other options on the market.
World’s Best Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Corn Cat Litter
Ideal for households with multiple cats or environmentally conscious cat owners, World’s Best cat litter is a corn-based formula that comes in 8-, 15-, and 28-pound sizes. This litter is an eco-friendly option compared to traditional clay litters and can even be flushed for easy disposal.
Designed to provide excellent odor control in multi-cat households, this unscented clumping litter creates hard, tight clumps to help contain unpleasant smells. It also contains a natural plant additive that enhances its odor control capabilities.
However, while World’s Best is effective and eco-friendly, some cats may not be fond of its corn-based texture or aroma. Some users have noticed that the natural corn scent can be more noticeable when the litter is saturated with urine.
– An all-natural alternative to traditional clay litters
– Forms hard clumps that are easy to scoop
– Provides strong odor control in households with multiple cats
– Some cats may dislike the texture of corn-based litter
– The natural corn smell may become more noticeable when litter is heavily soiled.
Boxiecat BoxiePro Deep Clean Unscented Clumping Clay Litter
– Brand: Boxiecat
– Material: Sodium bentonite clay
– Flushable: No
– Features: Infused with probiotics for odor control, forms flat-topped clumps for easy scooping
– Price: $0.87 per pound
Boxiecat’s BoxiePro Deep Clean cat litter is a top-performing litter that meets all the essential criteria for cat owners – hard clumps, good odor control, and no irritation to the cat’s nose and paws. The sodium bentonite clay litter is infused with probiotics that effectively eliminate odor-causing bacteria, keeping your litter box smelling fresh.
The litter quickly absorbs liquid, forming flat-topped clumps on the surface of the litter that are easy to scoop away. There may be some dust when first poured, but it settles quickly and does not affect scooping. The granules are fine, which appeals to cats, but may cause tracking.
Boxiecat customers rave about the litter’s outstanding odor control, and our testers were impressed with its excellent clumping ability, which reduced litter waste. Overall, the BoxiePro Deep Clean cat litter is an excellent choice for cat owners looking for a high-quality, effective litter.
– Infused with probiotics for enhanced odor control
– Forms flat-topped clumps for easy scooping
– Fine granules gentle on cat’s paws
– Clumps form on the surface of the litter
– May cause tracking due to fine granules
- – Produces some dust when first poured
PetSafe ScoopFree Sensitive Unscented Non-Clumping Crystal Cat Litter
URvet Care’s associate veterinarian, Dr. Maddie Buddendorf, used to struggle with irregular litter-box cleaning due to long work hours and her two domestic short-haired cats. To resolve this issue, she started using PetSafe litter alongside the brand’s self-cleaning litter box. Buddendorf highly praises the litter for its long-lasting, odor-controlling properties and its ability to be used in any standard litter pan for up to 30 days. Being silica-gel-based, the litter instantly absorbs liquid and odors while also drying out feces to make scooping a breeze. The non-clumping crystals are larger than most clay litters, leading to less tracking and easier vacuuming. PetSafe litter is available in fresh and light lavender scents, though the one shown is fragrance-free.
How to find the best cat litter for your pet
Different types of litter are made of different materials, and it may take some experimentation to find the right fit for you and your cat. When selecting cat litter, the American Veterinary Medical Association suggests identifying your most important factors, though your cat’s preference may ultimately weigh in. Common materials include bentonite clay, gel crystals, pine, wheat, tofu, corn and paper, which can be milled, sawed, ground or cut into granules or chunky particles. Eco-friendly and all-natural options are often available, and can be flushable, less dusty, and less sticky. Consider odor control, clumping ability, dust levels, and tracking to keep your home clean and the litter box comfortable for your cat.
What type of cat litter is best?
Litter preferences vary from cat to cat, according to Dr. Karen Sueda, veterinary behaviorist at VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital, but every feline wants a toileting substrate they can easily dig and cover their waste in. Cats with sensitive feet may avoid using litters with sharper granules, such as crystal or pellet formulas.
What is the difference between clumping and non-clumping litters?
Clumping cat litters, including those made from clay, corn, wood, and grass, form solid masses when they come into contact with urine, and those must be removed from the litter daily.
Non-clumping litters absorb urine, but instead of forming clumps, the granules of silica, wood, or paper become saturated and gradually break down over time. On each cleaning, the substrate must be stirred to distribute the ammonia in the box. There is no difference between how non-clumping and clumping litters interact with solids — feces must still be scooped daily.
Both clumping and non-clumping litters manage bad smells. In the case of clumping formulas, urine is removed through daily scooping. In non-clumping formulas, urine accumulates in the box over time. Clumping litters can be topped off with additional litter as needed, but boxes filled with a non-clumping litter must be completely emptied and refilled after a period of two to seven weeks, depending on the brand and type of litter.
Is there a dust-free cat litter?
Dusty natural and clay litters can be problematic for both cat and human. Dust may cause sensitive cats, particularly those with allergies or respiratory issues like asthma, to cough, sneeze, or wheeze during or after using their litter. It can produce the same effect in humans when filling or scooping the box. While no litter is completely dust-free, those that produce very little dust are less likely to have unintended respiratory effects.
Is fragrance-free cat litter better?
Because cats have an extremely strong sense of smell, the scent of a litter is a significant factor in whether they will use or avoid a litter box, according to Dr. Christine Calder, veterinary behaviorist at Midcoast Humane. Even a natural scent may deter a cat. Calder, Sueda, and Tannert all recommended sticking to an unscented variety.
Is flushable cat litter actually flushable?
One of the purported benefits of some natural cat litter varieties is that they can be flushed in the toilet. But just because you can flush natural cat litter doesn’t mean you should, and not just because low-flush toilets and pipes made for human waste often can’t handle clumps without clogging.
Cat waste can contain Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that causes flu-like symptoms at best and, at worst, fetal development disorders, brain damage, and premature birth in babies. Water waste treatment plants are unable to filter out this harmful parasite and it can end up in treated water that’s released back into the environment, harming fish, killing native plants, and making recreation areas unsafe. Scientific studies have found that T. gondii especially poses a threat to marine mammals like sea otters.
How many times a day does a cat normally use the litter box?
On average, cats urinate two to four times a day, but according to Sueda, this can vary from cat to cat. Cleaning litter boxes at least once daily can help guardians determine if there’s a change in frequency, which may indicate a health problem.
Typically, cats defecate one to two times a day, but this, too, can vary from cat to cat. Like with urination, sudden changes in frequency may indicate a health problem.
What size and how many litter boxes do I need?
A litter box should be at least 1.5 times the length of a cat, large enough for them to comfortably scratch and bury their waste. The standard rule of thumb is to have one litter box per cat plus one extra, and ideally one on each floor of a home. A home with multiple cats, however, may be able to get away with fewer extra-large litter boxes as long as they are cleaned at least twice a day, according to Sueda. See our guide to the best litter boxes for more on this.
What does it mean if a cat stops urinating?
If a cat stops urinating altogether, it is likely they are experiencing a feline urinary tract disease (FLUTD) such as bladder inflammation or urinary stones or crystals. Male cats are particularly susceptible to the latter. “Male cats have a very narrow urethra, so crystals and mucus can form a plug or a single tiny stone may become lodged anywhere along this narrow tube,” said Tannert.
If a cat is unable to urinate, deadly toxins begin building up. Death can occur if the blockage isn’t removed by a veterinarian within 24 to 48 hours. If a veterinarian rules out medical problems like FLUTD, anxiety may be the culprit, a problem a veterinary behaviorist is best equipped to handle.
What does it mean if a cat goes outside the litter box?
According to Calder, cats that eliminate outside the litter box are engaging in one of two behaviors: toileting or marking. In toileting (also called inappropriate elimination), a cat has found a place to do their business outside of the litter box. Sometimes, this behavior occurs when a cat does not like the location or size of their litter pan, the type of litter in the pan, or the cleanliness of the litter.
Other times, going outside the box is related to anxiety (for example, a cat who worries about being ambushed by another pet while using the litter box may stop using it altogether) or to a medical problem such as FLUTD. A cat may also choose to go outside of the litter box if they find a spot that satisfies their need to scratch and bury their waste, such as a pile of dirty laundry or a potted plant.
Whereas toileting typically occurs on horizontal surfaces, marking occurs on vertical surfaces. Instead of squatting, when a cat marks they back up with a raised tail to spray their pheromones. “Marking cats are trying to communicate something, and most have some kind of conflict or anxiety,” said Calder. Cats that mark are typically intact males, but fixed males and females can spray, too.