9 Best Cat Litter Brands: Compare, Buy & Save (2018)

Have you ever noticed just how many kitty litters exist? They’re almost as numerous as the many different types of laundry detergent, and their package design is kind of similar. You’ve got your kinds that come in big plastic tubs, some that come in cardboard boxes, and then a few in plastic bags. There are a truly dizzying array of options when it comes to the substrate that catches your cat’s waste. How do you know where to start? Use our guide to the best cat litter to help make sense of the many options.

What's the best cat litter?

Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Hard clumping
  • Low dust
  • Superior odor control
Price: $24.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Works over long periods of time
  • Granules absorb liquid
  • Anti-dust coating
Price: $19.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
pet stain remover
  • Super effective
  • Non-toxic, safe around all pets
  • Works on pet stains and household messes
Price: $11.49 Shop at Chewy Shop now Sponsored
  • Natural corn product
  • Flushable
  • Compostable
Price: $27.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • No added chemicals
  • Pellet structure reduces tracking
  • Highly absorbent
Price: $29.21 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • No chemicals or scents
  • Heavy clay granules reduce tracking
  • Great for sifting litter boxes
Price: $18.49 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
littermaid cat litter Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Silica gel formula doesn't stick to fur
  • Very strong moisture absorption
  • Works well in automatic boxes
Price: $18.24 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Environmentally safe
  • Flushable
  • Biodegradable
Price: $27.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Made from recycled materials
  • More absorbent than clay
  • Soft pellets are easy on cat paws
Price: $19.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Lightweight
  • Renewable grass source
  • Biodegradable
Price: $31.94 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Arm & Hammer Multi-Cat Clump & Seal Clumping Litter

    Pros:
    • Hard clumping
    • Low dust
    • Superior odor control
    • Scent is fairly light
    Cons:
    • Not biodegradable
    • On the pricey side
    • Scent may irritate some people
    • Harmful if eaten

    Truthfully, we could have written this entire post just covering the wide variety of Arm & Hammer kitty litters. It seems like every year they come out with a new formulation to advance the kitty litter game. Their litters fall more or less into two categories, one we’ll call their basic litters and one the Clump & Seal line.

    Their basic litters include things like Double Duty (containing odor eliminators for urine and feces), Super Scoop (instant clumping), Ultra Last (stronger scent to control odors longer), and good old fashioned Multi-Cat.

    Their most advanced line, and our pick among their lineup, is Clump & Seal. The offering combines fine mineral particles with plant derivatives that make for rock-hard clumps. Reviewers compare the clumps to cement, which makes scooping or filtering that much easier. They guarantee that the litter box will remain odor free for seven days thanks to these advances. The softer feel is reportedly more inviting to some cats, as well.

    Since Arm & Hammer don’t know when to stop, there are even two variations within Clump & Seal. One is the Slide litter, which is aimed at people who prefer to dump the whole box each time rather than scoop. It isn’t nearly as highly rated as the normal version, however. There is also Clump & Seal LightWeight, which is 50 percent lighter than the original formula. Finally, there’s the MicroGuard formula, which “prevents bacterial odors,” though the difference here seems negligible. Go with the normal multi-cat version unless you need something lightweight.

    Why you would choose this one: You want highly advanced kitty litter with as much innovation as money can buy.

    Details:

    • Material: Minerals, plant derivatives, chemical odor eliminators, baking soda
    • Clumping?: Yes
    • Scented?: Yes
    • Biodegradable?: No
    • Dust free?: Low dust
    • Anti-tracking?: Yes
  2. 2. Purina Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Clumping Cat Litter

    Pros:
    • Works over long periods of time
    • Granules absorb liquid
    • Anti-dust coating
    • Claims to offer more volume than competitors in the lightweight category
    Cons:
    • Reviewers complain about dust
    • Strongly scented
    • Clumping not as tight as other options
    • Some complaints about it becoming muddy

    Like Arm & Hammer, Tidy Cats has several options for you to choose from, with a relatively high degree of overlap between them. Unlike their competitor, though, Purina has created a litter selector tool to help you navigate them. You can check out the selector here to help narrow it down.

    The 24/7 Performance version is the type closest to the one my family used when I was growing up and it seemed to always work for us and our multiple cats. This is a clay-based formulation with added chemical deodorizers designed to work around the clock for people who can’t be home to scoop right away.

    Tidy Cats offers a LightWeight version, though reviews note that this is very dusty. If you replace your litter weekly rather than scoop, the non-clumping 24/7 Performance litter is crazy cheap for Amazon Prime members — just $5.73 for a 20 pound bag, or $0.29 per pound.

    Why you would choose this one: You want a basic, decent clumping cat litter and don’t mind a strong scent.

    Details:

    • Material: Clay with chemical deodorizers
    • Clumping?: Yes
    • Scented?: Yes
    • Biodegradable?: No
    • Dust free?: Low dust
    • Anti-tracking?: Yes
  3. 3. World’s Best Cat Litter Multiple Cat Quick Cat Clumping Formula

    Price: $27.00
    Pros:
    • Natural corn product is environmentally safe
    • Low dust
    • Flushable (pending local regulations)
    • Compostable
    Cons:
    • Food-based option may attract bugs
    • Expensive
    • Reviews note that the multiple cat version is a bit dustier than the normal version
    • Bags occasionally contain grain mites

    How could we leave off a product so-named on a list of the best? All kidding aside, this non-mineral, non-chemical solution has many fans and according to some, does the job of the better-living-through-chemistry options in a natural formulation. World’s Best is centered around pressed granules of corn that naturally trap odors. The process by which the corn is treated turns it into a clumping litter just as you would find with any of the clay or mineral options. According to reviews and the manufacterer, you can flush this litter, but in general I’m not convinced this is a good idea. Composting it might be better, if that’s an option, lest you wind up spending money on a plumber.

    This is the basic multiple cat formula, which has its own very light scent. If you wanted something more obviously fragranced, their litter comes in Lavender and Forest scents.

    Why you would choose this one: You want a natural product and can spare the extra money.

    Details:

    • Material: Corn with plant-based deodorizer
    • Clumping?: Yes
    • Scented?: No
    • Biodegradable?: Yes
    • Dust free?: Yes
    • Anti-tracking?: No
  4. 4. Feline Pine Original Litter

    Pros:
    • No added chemicals
    • Pure compressed pine wood fibers
    • Pellet structure reduces tracking
    • Highly absorbent
    Cons:
    • Pellets disintegrate after they become saturated
    • Scooping performance is middling
    • Reviews note that the product may have been better before Arm & Hammer bought the company
    • Relatively expensive for pine pellets

    Now yet another Arm & Hammer litter option, Feline Pine has been around awhile. This is the litter I used when I had my last cat and I preferred it to every other option I tried. Though reviews find fault with the Arm & Hammer formulation, I found it to work as advertised and lasted longer than I would have expected.

    The natural pine scent wasn’t strong enough to really be noticed until you were standing right next to it. Since this product is pressed into pellets, I discovered that around the time the pellets begin to dissolve from being saturated was a good indicator that it was time to dump the pan if it wasn’t already obvious. Aside from the bag itself, it’s light, which made changes easy. If I had a cat now, I’d strongly consider this again.

    Why you would choose this one: You tend to dump your litter box more than scoop it and like the natural pine smell.

    Details:

    • Material: Compressed pine fibers
    • Clumping?: No
    • Scented?: By the natural wood smell
    • Biodegradable?: Yes
    • Dust free?: Relatively low dust
    • Anti-tracking?: Yes
  5. 5. Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Premium Clumping Cat Litter

    Pros:
    • No chemicals or scents
    • Heavy clay granules reduce tracking
    • Great for sifting litter boxes
    • Very strongly reviewed
    Cons:
    • Some reviews note a possible decline in quality
    • Lack of scents or chemical deodorizers may mean smells aren’t masked as well
    • Fairly basic compared to other clay options

    Not only is this the best selling cat litter on Amazon, it’s the best selling product in the whole Pet Supplies category. Even with over 11,000 reviews, it maintains a 4.3 rating, performance I cannot recall ever seeing on another product. Simply put: people love this stuff.

    This is a traditional, clay-based litter, using heavy, medium grain granules that clump well and keep tracking to a minimum. For those of you using a self-cleaning litter box, this litter specifically advertises its usefulness with both mechanical and sifting models. On top of all that, it’s one of the cheaper options on this list.

    If your cat doesn’t take to it right away, they also make a Cat Attract formulation that uses an herbal attractant to lure problem cats to the litter box.

    Why you would choose this one: You want proven, vetted performance at a relatively low price.

    Details:

    • Material: Clay granules
    • Clumping?: Yes
    • Scented?: No
    • Biodegradable?: No
    • Dust free?: Yes
    • Anti-tracking?: Yes
  6. 6. LitterMaid Large Crystal Litter

    Pros:
    • Fragrance is only released when moistened
    • Silica gel is better for long-haired cats because it doesn’t stick to fur
    • Very strong moisture absorption
    • Works well in automatic boxes
    Cons:
    • Some vets don’t recommend silica gel because of potential paw irritation
    • Not great for clumping
    • If there’s a thin layer, urine may pass through to the bottom before it can be absorbed
    • Expensive

    Another option is so-called crystal litter, which is small pieces of silica gel. Silica gel is a synthetically-refined compound that is commonly seen in small packets and used particularly in shipping to absorb local moisture. Due to its water-absorbing properties, the use of it as a kitty litter makes sense.

    This particular product releases a pleasant fragrance upon being moistened, which helps to keep the unwanted odors at bay. Households with long-haired cats may prefer crystal litters because it’s less likely to get caught in the fur. On the other hand, silica gel dries everything it touches, including kitty paws, and irritation is known to happen to some cats. Long-haired cats may have enough fur between their toes to prevent this, again signaling that as a use.

    It’s also expensive per pound, but it should be noted that you are likely to use far less of this than a conventional litter. Alternatively, PetSafe has a lavender version.

    Why you would choose this one: Your primary concern is moisture control or you have long-haired cats.

    Details:

    • Material: Silica gel
    • Clumping?: No
    • Scented?: Yes
    • Biodegradable?: No
    • Dust free?: Yes
    • Anti-tracking?: Yes
  7. 7. sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat All-Natural Clumping Cat Litter

    Pros:
    • Environmentally safe
    • Flushable (pending local regulations)
    • Biodegradable
    • No strong fragrances or chemicals
    Cons:
    • Expensive
    • Cats may eat it
    • Odor control may be somewhat limited
    • When odors are trapped, they may be unpleasantly released upon scooping

    Another food-based option, this litter uses wheat and other grains to make an absorbent, all-natural litter. The aim here is to be kinder to the environment, both before and after use. While clay and mineral litters rely on strip mining to get their raw materials, this joins the ranks of Feline Pine and World’s Best by utilizing plants to create a novel solution.

    The small grains clump quickly and absorb moisture. There are no additional chemicals at all, so this is likely to be kind to kitty paws. On the other hand, it’s made of wheat, and reviewers note that their cats sometimes eat it.

    Why you would choose this one: The environmental aspect outweighs the cost for you.

    Details:

    • Material: Wheat and other grains
    • Clumping?: Yes
    • Scented?: No
    • Biodegradable?: Yes
    • Dust free?: Yes
    • Anti-tracking?: No
  8. 8. Purina Yesterday’s News Unscented Cat Litter

    Pros:
    • Made from recycled materials
    • More absorbent than clay
    • Soft pellets are easy on cat paws
    • Lasts longer than equivalent pine pellets
    Cons:
    • Pellets dissolve into dust when saturated
    • Urine can pass by pellets and stick to pan before being absorbed
    • Odor control is limited
    • No clumping action at all

    Recycled paper makes a great cat litter for some of the same reasons as the food-based products. This product diverts trash from landfills to give it a use that would otherwise require valuable materials. Another major advantage is that these paper pellets are virtually dust free, far exceeding other types of litter on that measure.

    While the pellets are extremely absorbent and can soak up urine for longer, the downside is that they don’t work quite as instantly, so it’s possible for your cat to pee right through it. Nevertheless, the advantages of this litter all have to do with alleviating the common complains of traditional litters at a reasonable cost. A reviewer notes that the 30 pound bag lasts four to five weeks with two cats.

    For a little more odor control, they also make Yesterday’s News Fresh Scent. Purina offers another natural alternative in their Pure Nature line made of cedar, pine, and corn, which is considerably more expensive.

    Why you would choose this one: You hate the dust, smells, and inconvenience of traditional litters and want recycled goods to be put to smart use.

    Details:

    • Material: Recycled paper
    • Clumping?: No
    • Scented?: No
    • Biodegradable?: Yes
    • Dust free?: Yes
    • Anti-tracking?: Yes
  9. 9. Pioneer Pet SmartCat All Natural Clumping Litter

    Pros:
    • Lightweight
    • Renewable grass source
    • Biodegradable
    • Sand-like texture cats like
    Cons:
    • Expensive
    • Some tracking
    • Shipments my occasionally have bugs
    • Doesn’t clump very hard

    If you haven’t had success with some of the other natural products on this list, there is yet another option. This SmartCat litter is made from U.S.-grown grasses with no added chemicals whatsoever. The result is a very lightweight litter that does a surprisingly good job absorbing urine and odors. It doesn’t stick to the side of the litter box, either, so scooping is easy.

    Due to the light granules, this product tracks like an old-fashioned clay litter. If you like everything else about this product, you could consider picking up a litter mat like this extra large Pawkin Phthalate Free Cat Mat, which is popular and highly rated. This is a very low dust litter, so the benefits may outweigh the tracking issue.

    Why you would choose this one: The combination of the natural grass source and light weight appeal outweigh tracking concerns.

    Details:

    • Material: Grass
    • Clumping?: Yes
    • Scented?: No
    • Biodegradable?: Yes
    • Dust free?: Yes
    • Anti-tracking?: No

When shopping for cat litter, most people usually start with the price, which makes sense. Like diapers for babies, you're going to be buying a lot of it through the course of your cat's life. Choosing one that works first and foremost for your budget ensures you won't go broke in the process.

As with all things, price isn't the only determining factor. The cheapest kitty litter may leave your house smelling as though the whole place is the litter box. The high-potency formulas with their heavy chemical scents can be murder on people sensitive to them. Maybe you're concerned about the environment and want something you know will biodegrade. There are lots of considerations, which partly explains why there are so many kinds.

There are a number of materials manufacturers use to make kitty litter. The most common ones are made of clay enhanced with deodorizing chemicals. Clay or mineral litters are often combined with silica or baking soda to improve performance. There are also a number of natural cat litters which are made of materials like corn, recycled paper, pine, and wheat. These tend to be better for the environment and are often biodegradable. There are even "crystal" litters that are just granules of the silica gel by itself. They all have their advantages, so we've made sure to highlight which material a given litter is made of in the Details section of each item description.

We've also given a price per pound of the selected size, of which we've tried to keep it between 20 to 40 pounds when possible. The size of the package for each type varies quite a bit. If you opt for a recycled paper or pine litter, you'll go through it more quickly since it doesn't clump. Clumping allows you to remove only the mess and leave the undisturbed litter behind. You can still scoop these litters, but they're really made to be completely tossed more often. Additionally, with the crystal litters and lightweight formulations, the price-per-pound will be higher than their normal counterparts. You may want to experiment with a few kinds to decide what works best for you.

When available, we've chosen the multi-cat versions of all litters. You might be able to save a tiny bit going for the standard formula, but a little overkill in the realm of kitty litter isn't such a bad thing. Most people we know have more than one cat, anyway, and everyone can benefit from the advantages of the deodorizers made to neutralize quickly. We've included a mix of clumping cat litter, non-clumping cat litter, and flushable litter so you can make a choice depending on how you typically address the chore of cleaning.

If you already use or are considering using a self cleaning litter box, you'll want to consult your particular model before choosing your litter. Virtually all of them work with any sort of litter, but better to be safe than sorry.

See also:

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