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Cat Litter Reviews

By: Carl Laron on February 14, 2018

Editor's Note:
We asked our cats -- really -- and sorted through tons of expert and user reviews to find the top cat litters. Dr. Elsey's scores best for effectiveness, value, and most important, cat happiness. If a biodegradable litter meets with your cat's approval, World's Best is best.

Dr. Elsey's Ultra Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Main ingredient -- Clay Clumping -- Yes Available sizes -- 20 and 40 lbs.

Best cat litter

Clumping clay cat litters are the most popular type of cat litter, and experts and users agree that Dr. Elsey's Ultra is one of the best clumping clay cat litters you can buy. It's relatively low in dust, tracking is well controlled and it is inexpensive given its quality. Most important, Dr. Elsey's Ultra also clumps strongly, making it easier to maintain a sanitary litter box.

Buy for $17.49
Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Attract Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Main ingredient -- Clay Clumping -- Yes Available sizes -- 20 and 40 lbs.

Cat litter for problem cats

If litter-pan reluctance is a problem with your cat, Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract could be the solution. It's a favorite among veterinarians and cat experts, who say this herb-scented, clumping cat litter does a great job encouraging proper behavior with cats that tend to urinate outside the litter box. It's also safe for kittens, and perfect for training them to use the litter box.

World's Best Cat Litter Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Main ingredient -- Corn Clumping -- Yes Available sizes -- 7, 8, 14, 15 and 28 lbs.

Best biodegradable cat litter

World's Best Cat Litter offers the best of both worlds: biodegradability and clumping action. Because it clumps on contact with urine, the litter box is easier to clean. It's made out of ground corn, so it can be composted. It's a little pricey compared to economy litters, but experts and owners largely say its benefits make World's Best worth its premium cost.

Buy for Too low to display
SmartCat All Natural Clumping Litter Review
Also Consider
Specs that Matter Main ingredient -- Grass Clumping -- Yes Available sizes -- 5, 10, and 20 lbs.

Biodegradable cat litter

If some of World's Best Cat Litter's (Est. $35 for 28 lbs.) drawbacks -- such as dust -- are a concern, and you want a biodegradable litter, SmartCat All Natural Clumping Litter is worth considering. Made of grass, it's lightweight, too, though that can be both a plus and a minus. Still, it earns raves from both experts and users who report that it is largely dust free and clumps very well.

Buy for $31.94
Feline Pine Review
Also Consider
Specs that Matter Main ingredient -- Pine Clumping -- No Available sizes -- 7, 20 and 40 lbs.

Cheap biodegradable cat litter

If you're looking for an all-natural cat litter that's effective, biodegradable and affordable, experts and owners alike say Feline Pine is worth considering. Not every reviewer is sold on pellet litters like this one, and even fans say its best when paired with a special litter pan, but Feline Pine is free from hazardous chemicals, does a great job of controlling odors, and is relatively dust free.

Fresh Step Crystals Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Main ingredient -- Dried silica gel crystals Clumping -- No Available sizes -- 8 lbs.

Crystal cat litter

While feline experts are leery of crystal-based cat litter because it can be hard on a cat's feet, cat owners posting at user review sites praise Fresh Step Crystals. It does an excellent job of absorbing moisture and controlling odors. Though the upfront price seems high, owners say a small 8-pound bag can last a while, making it an economical choice in the long run.

Buy for $28.96

Cat litter comes in many different styles

Cat litter absorbs urine and covers solid wastes from when your cat uses the bathroom -- i.e., the litter box. Cat litter can be separated into two main categories: clumping and non-clumping. Clumping kitty litter hardens on contact with urine, creating solid -- and aptly named -- clumps. This makes it easy for pet owners to scoop out the wastes. Non-clumping cat litter typically absorbs the liquid wastes, which don't need to be scooped out -- but an obvious disadvantage of non-clumping litters is that they can make a litter box harder to keep clean. You should always scoop out solid wastes daily for both types of cat litter.

Choosing a cat litter might not seem like a big deal at first glance; after all, you're just filling up the litter box so a cat can do its business -- right? But most cat owners, as well as cat experts, cannot stress enough the importance of choosing the right cat litter for your pet. There are many different types of cat litter, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Also, keep in mind that a cat can be a stubborn beast; once it gets used to one type of litter, it may not want to switch.

Types of Cat Litter

Clumping Clay Litter

The most popular type of kitty litter is clumping clay litter. Cost is one reason why; clumping clay litter is drastically less expensive than many of the other types available, such as natural, biodegradable cat litter. It's also the type of litter that cats naturally prefer, studies say. Most are effective at controlling odors -- a key concern for owners when choosing a litter -- and they make cleaning out the litter box much more painless. However, most consist of fine-grained clays, which can be dusty or even tracked throughout the house by a cat. Fine-grained cat litter isn't appropriate for kittens under 3 months old, as the small particles can get into their respiratory tract.

Biodegradable Cat Litters

Over the past few years, organic, biodegradable cat litters have become increasingly popular. These types of litters are a bit more eco-friendly, as they're made from all-natural cat litter substances, which can include materials like wheat, corn, grass, walnut shells, pine or even recycled newspapers. Because of this, they can be composted. Some are claimed to be flushable as well, though that's not necessarily a good idea. Another plus is that biodegradable cat litter typically consists of larger-grained pellets, which in turn makes for acceptable kitten litter, since kittens can't ingest the particles. Many biodegradable cat litters come in clumping varieties.

Crystal Cat Litter

Cat owners praise crystal cat litters in user reviews on online retailer sites, but experts typically dislike them because they consist of jagged, crystalline particles that can be rough on cats' feet. On the other hand, many pet owners swear by crystal cat litters because they're extremely absorbent -- thanks to the sodium silicate or silica gel used -- and don't need to be changed as frequently as other types of kitty litter. One caveat: When the crystals reach their absorbency limit, you can expect a pool of urine in the bottom of the cat litter box.

Finding The Best Cat Litter
Our Sources
"The Best Cat Litter"
"The Litter Box from Your Cat's Point of View"
3. Amazon

Finding reputable, side-by-side comparisons of specific cat litters has been a challenge in recent years, but Wirecutter has stepped up to provide a helpful test of clumping clay cat litters. CatLitterHelp.com isn't as transparent as we would normally like, but its reviews appear to be balanced and testing based. Beyond that, we found plenty of experts who like to weigh in on which types of cat litters are best, and they offer a lot of helpful information.

Of course, when it comes to cats, they have the final say on which cat litters they will happily use, and which ones will have them looking for other places to do their business. That's why user reviews posted by cat owners play a large role in our determination, and we analyzed thousands of those at sites such as Amazon, Chewy Petco and elsewhere. We used this information to identify the best cat litters by type -- clumping clay, biodegradable and crystal -- as well as clumping biodegradable options and alternatives for cats with special needs.

Recently Updated
Cat Litter buying guide

What every best Cat Litter has:

  • Low dust.
  • Low tracking.
  • No scent.

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