One of the best parts of having a cat is not having to take said cat on regular walks to have them do their business. Sure, there are plenty of other reasons cats are amazing fluffballs of equal parts love and apathy. But the simple scoop and toss has to be one of them. That said, not all cat litters are created equal, and when it comes to maintaining a pleasant smell, clumping without taking half the litter with it, and cutting down on tracking, even fewer brands make the grade.
So what makes a good cat litter? When analyzing all the different types, we identified some clear standards on what cat owners consider the most important staples of a solid cat litter choice:
There's also the question of whether you want to go traditional clay or try the many new eco-friendly alternatives on the market, like tofu, corn, coconut, woodchips, or wheat. But how do these stack up against the clay? We put them all to the test to come up with the list of the best litters on the market. We came to an overall winner and then broke down the above categories for specific needs. All the litters we tried are clumping.
Best Cat Litter Overall
Dr. Elsey's Cat Ultra Premium Clumping Cat Litter$11+
Dr. Elsey's Ultra Premium Cat Litter does it all and doesn't skimp on any of the most important qualities that make a cat litter superior. The odor control is outstanding, which means it's ideal for homes with multiple cats. The medium grain clumping clay litter creates strong clumps that aren't wasteful — meaning they don't take half the litter with them. It makes the bag last a good bit longer. The formula doesn't produce a lot of dust or tracking either, making it a dream!
Best Cat Litters For Smell
Arm & Hammer Litter Slide Scented Clumping Clay Cat Litter$12+
When it comes to odor control, few brands corner the market the way Arm & Hammer does. This easy-cleanup clay cat litter slides right out of the litter box so you won't spend your time scrubbing and scraping. Its non-stop odor control will leaves your home odor-free for at least seven days — guaranteed. And, in our experience, a good bit longer than that with its moisture-activated baking soda. It's 100% dust-free and also reduces tracking.
Tidy Cats Glade Tough Odor Solutions Cat Litter$9+
Combining the power of two trusted odor control solutions companies, this Tidy Cats clay clumping litter works hard to keep your cat's litter box smelling fresh — and it works! Formulated for multiple cats, this litter forms small, tight clumps that make for easy cleanup. It's dust-free and keeps messes to a minimum. It has a light Clear Springs fragrance that has a crisp, airy scent that's not overpowering, it just keeps things smelling clean.
Best Cat Litters For Clumping
World's Best Zero Mess Cat Litter$16+
This cat litter promises less mess and less wasted litter — and it certainly delivers. The clumping on this litter is incredible; it creates tight clumps that don't pick up half of the litter box with them. Made of corn, it uses its naturally absorbent plant fibers to absorb liquids while locking in smell. Its fast-clumping action means you won't be spending any time scraping anything unpleasant off the bottom of your litter box either. It's lightweight, dust-free, and flushable. Pet, people, and planet friendly? Yes please!
Fresh Step Advanced Extreme Clumping Cat Litter With Odor Control$14+
Using the power of Febreze, this advanced extreme clumping litter not only forms easy-to-dispose-of clumps, but also locks in odor for a fresh smelling litter box. Its super clumping action prevents too much waste and also reduces the amount of crumbling from those clumps. It's dust-free, which helps keep things clean and keeps tracking to a minimum. It promises 10-day odor control, and as one of the more budget-friendly options on the list, it's easy to see why it's a favorite for cat owners.
Best Cat Litters For Tracking
Dr. Elsey's Clean Tracks Clumping Clay Cat Litter$11+
This fragrance-free clay cat litter is low tracking and hard clumping, making it a breeze for cat owners tired of sweeping up litter from all over their home every day. It's hypoallergenic and contains no plant proteins. The dust-free formula leaves the box's surroundings clean and allows your cat to breathe easy. It's made for multi-cat households so it maintains a fresh scent for longer.
ÖkoCat Less Mess Clumping Low-Tracking Wood Cat Litter$10+
This plant-based cat litter is made from soft wood mini-pellets. It's biodegradable and flushable, meaning it cuts down on messes. Its dust-free formula and clumping ability means it stays inside the litter box, and you won't find it scattered throughout your home. It has seven-day odor control so it also provides a fresh-smelling environment without the ammonia smell that sometimes builds up with non-clay litters.
Best Clay Cat Litter Alternatives
SWheat Scoop Premium+ Natural Cat Litter$16+
This non-clay cat litter made from wheat has had over 25 years to perfect its recipe, and it really has. It uses the power of plant extracts to make for solid, tight clumps and uses its smell technology to transform smelly odors into harmless, non-smelly molecules. It blocks smells for a long time, which means a smaller bag goes a long way. When it comes to clay litter alternatives, you really can't beat the power of wheat.
Cocokitty Clumping Coconut Cat Litter$17
This coconut clumping litter ensures a clean and fresh litter box. Its clumping mechanism is one of the best — there's barely any waste at all, meaning that the smaller bag lasts a very long time (a lot longer than we were expecting). It's wonderful for smell as its coconut pith and activated carbon combine to absorb moisture quickly, so it never reaches the bottom. It's soft and dust-free, although the tracking can sometimes get a bit messy. Regardless, how long the litter box smelled fresh made a little bit of sweeping in the morning completely worth it!