Cats are notorious for their strong waste smells, which is why picking the correct cat litter is such an important decision. The wrong litter could leave your house smelling foul with pieces of litter tracked throughout the home. But if you get the right litter, you’ll never smell it or see it, except when you’re changing it out.
The 10 cat litters on this list are some of the best on the market. They’re popular picks that have proven themselves to be winners, but we wanted to go a step further and figure out which are the top performers today. You’ll be able to read about how they compared in the following reviews, which should prepare you to make a purchase you won’t regret.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Scoop Away Complete Performance Clumping Clay Cat Litter||
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|Best Value||Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Scented Non-Clumping Clay Litter||
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|Premium Choice||Arm & Hammer Litter Clump & Seal Clumping Clay Cat Litter||
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|Fresh Step Multi-Cat Scented Clumping Clay Cat Litter||
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|Feline Pine Original Non-Clumping Wood Cat Litter||
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The 10 Best Cat Litters – Reviews & Top Picks 2021
1. Scoop Away Complete Performance Clumping Clay Cat Litter – Best Overall
It’s hard to pick a best overall cat litter, but after a lot of research and careful consideration, we think that title belongs to the Scoop Away Complete Performance clumping clay cat litter. This litter has top-notch odor control that manages odors for up to 10 days. Since it’s scented, you’ll smell the fresh fragrance instead of that strong ammonia scent.
Like many clay cat litters, this is a clumping formula, and the clumps form tightly and quickly. These clumps are easy to remove and help to keep the litterbox clean for longer. When you pour the Scoop Away Complete, you won’t be enveloped by a thick cloud of dust since this formula is low in dust. It also comes in a package of four bags, ensuring that your litter stays fresh for longer.
On the downside, this litter is a little pricier than some alternatives that we also liked. The clay can also break apart from rough handling since it’s just packaged in thin bags. Still, considering the performance you get with this litter, we think it’s the best option overall.
2. Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Scented Non-Clumping Clay Litter – Best Value
For many, price is of the utmost concern when shopping for cat litter. If you’re in such a boat, budget-shopping for the cheapest cat litter, then we suggest checking out the Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance clay litter. Considering the low price you pay for such a large volume of litter, we think it’s the best cat litter for the money. Even picky cats seem to agree with us, as many felines that were averse to other litters on this list seemed drawn to this one.
You can get a large 40-pound bag of this clay cat litter for cheaper than smaller volumes of litter from other brands. It’s scented to help control waste odors from the litterbox, and even features an extended-release deodorizing system for odor control. Thankfully, it also doesn’t track much, so most of the litter remains in the litterbox where it belongs.
This is a non-clumping cat litter though, which you need to be aware of before you buy it. You won’t be able to spot clean as easily with a scoop since there won’t be any clumps of waste; only the hard waste can be easily removed.
3. Arm & Hammer Litter Clump & Seal Fresh Scented Clumping Clay Cat Litter – Premium Choice
Sometimes, price takes a backseat to performance. If you’re tired of that litterbox stinking up the house and you’re looking for a premium litter that can help you put an end to those awful odors once and for all, you might consider the Arm & Hammer Litter Clump & Seal cat litter. It’s marketed as an “odor sealing litter” that seals in the odors so you don’t smell them. In fact, it’s guaranteed to control odors for seven days.
Aside from excellent odor control, this litter has some other great features, including MicroGuard, which helps prevent bacterial growth. It’s also virtually dust-free, so you won’t have to worry about the litter exacerbating any respiratory problems or coating your furniture and floor in gray dust. Similarly, it’s a low-tracking litter that tends to stay in the litterbox, rather than sticking to your cat’s feet.
Because it’s such effective litter, this product is perfect for multi-cat households. But it is quite a bit pricier than similar alternatives. Also, you’ll have to settle for purchasing it in smaller quantities since it doesn’t come in large 40-pound packages like other litters we like.
4. Fresh Step Multi-Cat Scented Clumping Clay Cat Litter
Available in large packages up to 42 pounds, the Fresh Step Multi-Cat Scented litter is a great performer that just barely missed our top three. It features ammonia-blocking technology and Febreze fragrance to fight strong odors, activating when your cat steps into the litterbox. Furthermore, ClumpLock technology allows tight clumps to form quickly when it gets wet, making it easy to spot clean your litter and keep it fresh for longer.
Unlike some litters, this low-tracking formula won’t stick to your cats’ feet and track all over the home. But it’s a pretty pricey choice compared to some of the other options on the market, which is the main reason it didn’t earn a top-three recommendation from us. This is a great litter with excellent odor control, but there are other products with similar performance that sell for much cheaper.
5. Feline Pine Original Non-Clumping Wood Cat Litter
Clay is the most common material for cat litter to be made of, but it’s got a lot of inherent flaws, which is why many people are looking to move away from clay litters. Feline Pine is a unique litter made from pine pellets. It’s a non-clumping litter, which does make it harder to spot clean. However, the pine has a naturally fresh odor that defeats ammonia odors and keeps your house smelling fresh. While it’s effective at curbing these odors initially, the pine simply doesn’t contain the foul smells for long enough. You’re certainly not getting 10 days of odor control from this litter like you might with some premium clay litters.
This litter takes a natural approach. Not only is it made from natural pine wood, but it’s also devoid of harsh additives, chemicals, and synthetic perfumes. You can even get it in large volumes up to 40 pounds at a very affordable price. Plus, the dust-free pine pellets make it a great choice for cats whose respiratory systems get impacted by dusty clay litters.
6. Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter
Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat ULTRA claims to be “the litter cats love.” It could be, but we don’t think it’s the litter that cat owners love. Mostly, this is due to lackluster odor control. In our estimation, odor control is one of the most important features of any cat litter. Unfortunately, Dr. Elsey’s litter falls short in that department. Maybe it’s because this is an unscented formula, but whatever the reason, it doesn’t mask foul odors and won’t stop the litterbox scent from filling up the room in which it’s contained.
Of course, there’s still plenty here to praise. This litter does clump very well, forming hard clumps that are strong enough for easy removal. Additionally, this seems to be a very low-dust litter, so you won’t have to deal with worsening respiratory conditions or excess dust clouds to manage. And while it’s not the cheapest option, Dr. Elsey’s ULTRA litter is at least priced reasonably.
7. Frisco Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter
Great for multi-cat households, the Frisco Multi-Cat clay cat litter is one of the more affordable litters we’ve seen. It clumps well, creating hard clumps that make for easy scooping. Surprisingly, even though it’s an unscented formula, this litter manages to neutralize odors quickly, even if the smell containment isn’t as long-lasting as other litters.
You might notice that this litter is exceptionally dusty though, wreaking havoc on your cats’ respiratory systems and leaving a fine layer of dust on your floor and furniture. Along the same lines, you can expect to see pieces of litter spread around the home because this litter tends to track quite a bit, getting stuck to the bottom of your cats’ feet.
8. World’s Best Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Corn Cat Litter
It might be called World’s Best, but we definitely don’t think it’s the best litter in the world. However, based on the high price, the manufacturer may really believe that claim. It’s pretty pricey litter, but it is made from corn, rather than clay like most commercial cat litters. Since it’s corn-based, this litter contains no silica dust, though it’s still a very dusty litter overall.
We like that this corn litter is instant clumping and doesn’t track around the house. Even better, it’s environmentally friendly and sewer-safe, so you can flush it down the toilet. But it’s a poor choice for controlling odors as it hardly masks the scent of ammonia at all. This litter might be a good fit for anyone who’s trying hard to stay away from clay litters, but otherwise, it’s a litter we’d skip due to its subpar performance.
9. sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Wheat Cat Litter
Here’s another alternative to traditional clay cat litters. The sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat litter is made from wheat, which is practically dust-free; a big attraction for people who are tired of dust from cat litter covering their home. Plus, this litter contains no dyes or perfumes. Unfortunately, it’s unscented, so it’s not going to provide that fresh scent that many litterboxes are in desperate need of. Still, it’s sewer-safe, eco-friendly, and even biodegradable. You can safely flush this litter down the toilet to dispose of it, which is certainly convenient.
But there are more complaints to cover regarding this litter. For example, it doesn’t clump well, though it is a clumping formula. This makes it difficult to spot clean, so you’ll end up having to change the litter more frequently. Worse, the odor control offered by this litter is sub-standard. Altogether, this means you’ll be changing out your sWheat Scoop litter more than you would with others. Considering that this is already a very costly cat litter, we aren’t fans of its short lifespan.
10. Cat’s Pride Total Odor Control Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter
The thing that really excited us about the Cat’s Pride Total Control cat litter is the 10-day max power odor control it supposedly offers. 10 days is a long time to control odors, which would extend the life of your litter considerably. Unfortunately, this litter tends to smell horrible once it gets wet, which is a poor trait for a litter to display. Your cat’s odors were bad enough, but this litter almost seems to make it worse rather than helping.
On the bright side, this is a low-dust litter that doesn’t make a big mess. It comes in a jug rather than a box or bag, which makes it easier to store and pour. You might find that it’s difficult to scoop for spot cleaning though since this formula doesn’t clump very well. The clumps aren’t very strong and tend to fall apart when you attempt to scoop them. For such a pricey litter, this kind of poor performance is a disappointment, which is why this litter is relegated to the bottom of our list.
At this point, you’ve already read about how some of the most popular cat litters on the market compare to each other. You could take what you’ve learned, make a decision, and be done with it. But if you’re still finding it difficult to decide between products, then this buyer’s guide was written for you.
Cat Litter Considerations
If you want to make a good decision regarding your cat’s litter, then you need to be as informed as possible. To that end, we’re going to discuss the different traits you should be considering when comparing cat litters. These are going to be the traits with the most noticeable effect once you bring the litter home. Forget to consider these and you’re almost guaranteed to be displeased with something about the litter you choose. On the other hand, if you find a litter that meets your needs in all of these categories, then you’re certain to be satisfied with it.
What Is it Made of?
One of the biggest differences between different cat litters is the material that they’re made from. Traditionally, clay is the most common medium for cat litter. It’s highly absorbent and does a great job of naturally controlling odors; even better if it’s a scented cat litter. But clay has its drawbacks as well, such as tracking all over the house and creating loads of excess dust that makes a big mess and can flare up respiratory problems for you and your cat.
There are also several alternatives available to traditional clay litters. Wheat, pine pellets, and corn are all viable options that you can find on the market. Unfortunately, these alternatives are often more expensive than clay litters, which often come rather cheap today. However, these alternatives sometimes offer superior performance in some areas, such as reduced dust, lower tracking, or better odor control.
On the other hand, your cats might eat corn or wheat litter, and that’s not an outcome you want. You also might find that these litters don’t clump as well or your cat might not react to a new texture in their litterbox with satisfaction. Still, you might find that one of these alternatives suits you or your felines, so don’t be afraid to give them a try.
Cats are notoriously stinky house pets. Their urine emits a strong smell of ammonia, and if not suitably controlled, it can permeate throughout the house, making your entire home reek like a litterbox. Naturally, no one wants this outcome, so odor control should be a top priority when picking a litter.
Many of our favorite litters tell exactly how many days they control strong odors for, though this can sometimes be misleading. Even so, it’s a good place to start. Look for formulas that are specifically made to control odors, such as multi-cat litters that are strong enough to control the odors of multiple cats.
Do you know that giant cloud of dust that always forms after you dump litter into the litterbox? Well, that dust is more than just a messy nuisance, though it’s certainly that as well. It gets on the floor, the furniture, and in the air. It’s the airborne dust that’s the worst though. This dust gets breathed in by you and your cats, and it can exacerbate or even cause respiratory problems. For this reason, we recommend looking for a low-dust or dust-free litter, but be wary of advertising. Many litters that claim to be low in dust are anything but.
Once your cat goes in the litterbox, some of that litter can stick to its feet, getting tracked around the house and leaving a mess for you to clean up. Not all litters track equally though. Some litters stick to every paw, others tend to remain in the litterbox. Obviously, a low-tracking litter will make your life easier, so, if possible, opt for a litter that doesn’t stick to your cats’ paws.
Spot cleaning the litter with a scoop can help your litter last longer between changes while still keeping the smell and mess to a minimum. In order for you to really spot clean the litter, it has to form clumps when it gets wet. Non-clumping litters aren’t as easy to spot clean, and clumping litters that form weak clumps are even worse. The clumps will break apart when you attempt to remove them, leaving the waste behind and forcing you to replace the litter earlier.
There are hundreds of cat litters on the market. Hopefully, after reading our reviews, you’ve narrowed down the choices to just a few top contenders. For us, there are three main options to choose from.
The Scoop Away Complete Performance cat litter is our favorite overall, with a low-dust formula that forms tight clumps quickly, trapping odors for 10 days. Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance litter is our budget pick, offering great performance at one of the most affordable prices you’ll find. When you need a premium solution to fight litterbox odors, the Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal litter seals in odors for seven days with baking soda.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Cat Litters – Reviews & Top Picks 2021
- 1. Scoop Away Complete Performance Clumping Clay Cat Litter – Best Overall
- 2. Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Scented Non-Clumping Clay Litter – Best Value
- 3. Arm & Hammer Litter Clump & Seal Fresh Scented Clumping Clay Cat Litter – Premium Choice
- 4. Fresh Step Multi-Cat Scented Clumping Clay Cat Litter
- 5. Feline Pine Original Non-Clumping Wood Cat Litter
- 6. Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter
- 7. Frisco Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter
- 8. World’s Best Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Corn Cat Litter
- 9. sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Wheat Cat Litter
- 10. Cat’s Pride Total Odor Control Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter
- Buyer’s Guide