While biodegradable cat litters have become increasingly popular over the last few years, the fact remains that the vast majority of cats (and cat owners) are content with clumping clay cat litter. We noted some of the drawbacks to clumping cat litter in the introduction to this report. However, in the eyes of many cat owners and experts, though, these drawbacks are outweighed by two significant advantages. For one, clumping clay litters are vastly less expensive than organic kitty litters, which can add up to big savings over the course of a year. Also, studies show that cats naturally prefer the feel and texture of fine-grained clay litters and may not take to the larger pellet size of organic cat litters like Feline Pine, Yesterday's News or World's Best.
Because all fine-grained clumping clay litters are more or less identical, there's not as much difference of opinion about competing brands as, say, about organic cat litter made of corn kernels versus recycled newspapers. Still, we find that experts and owners recommend Scoop Away more than any other brand.
Scoop Away -- manufactured by Clorox -- comes in several different varieties, including Scoop Away Multi-Cat Formula (Est. $17 for 25 lbs.) , which offers the tightest clumping and strongest odor control. It also earns our Best Reviewed nod among clumping clay litters. In an article on Slate.com, writer Kelly Alexander finds that Scoop Away offers "the overall best combination of price and convenience."
As previously mentioned, you can expect many brands of clumping clay litters to perform similarly -- and while Scoop Away takes the top spot in this report, there are a handful of other options to consider -- one being Tidy Cats from Purina. It's the least expensive of the name-brand clumping litters and comes in a number of clumping varieties. Tidy Cats Scoop Instant Action (Est. $12 for 27 lbs.) is a popular choice, earning solid marks from more than 300 owners posting at PetSmart.com.
Another clumping clay litter that earns praise is Fresh Step Scoopable (Est. $11 for 25 lbs.) , which contains carbon to neutralize odors. It's particularly popular among owners posting at PetSmart.com, generating more than 5,000 user reviews. Although Scoop Away receives slightly better reviews, any of these three brands of cat litter should do a good job in your cat's litter box.
One company making a big push in the clumping cat litter category is Arm & Hammer cat litter (Est. $12 for 20 lbs.) isn't made of clay, but (as you might have guessed from the brand name) instead uses baking soda crystals with a clumping component. Available in various formulations, Arm & Hammer cat litter appears to be aimed at cat owners who are weary of dusty, smelly clay litters. Reviews of Arm & Hammer cat litter are rare, and the reviews that do exist are mixed and not as favorable as reviews of competitors.
Not all clay litters are fine-grained, and some are appropriate for kittens younger than 3 months. If you're training a new kitten, experts are particularly fond of Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Attract (Est. $25 for 40 lbs.) . Since this cat litter uses medium-grained clay, you don't need to worry about your kitten ingesting its particles. It's also a marvel when it comes to training kittens or teaching problem cats -- or ones that simply refuse -- to do their business inside the litter box. And owners say it really works, thanks to its attracting herbal scent.
Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Ultra (Est. $16 for 40 lbs.) is another medium-grained clay litter that earns lots of praise from experts and owners. It's safe for kittens and nearly dust-free, and owners say it lasts longer than many competing cat litters. It's geared toward use with multiple cats. There are mixed reviews among Amazon.com users regarding how well it controls odors, with opinions ranging from poor to great.