Last Updated: January 03, 2021

Best Cat Litter

Best Cat Litter

All cat litters are not the same. From clumping capabilities to dust, scent, and what the litter is made of, cat litters can be vastly different. Let’s look at a variety of litters today. Our paws-down, tried-and-true favorite is Dr. Eisley’s Precious Cat Ultra-Clumping Cat Litter.

Choose a charity on Amazon Smile on Spots.com then purchase
via links on this page to donate a portion
of your purchase. Learn more »
Best Overall
Dr. Eisley’s Precious Cat Ultra-Clumping Cat Litter
Dr. Eisley’s Precious Cat Ultra-Clumping Cat Litter Best Overall
$29
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
8/10
  • What we Like
  • Natural
  • Hypoallergenic
  • 5 type options
  • What we Dislike
  • Can clump on paws
  • May be quality control issues
  • Not suitable for kittens
Product Details
Material Clay
Features Dust Free
Low Tracking
Odor Control
Clumping

Scented

Size 40lbs
Our Review

Dr. Eisley’s Ultra-Clumping Litter is one of the hardest clumping litters we’ve seen. It tracks so little that you won’t see it all over your house. It’s natural and hypoallergenic, so it’s great for cats that have allergies. The dust-free presentation helps keeps respiratory problems down in cats that are particularly sensitive to that. However, due to the hard clumping, it is unwise to use this litter with kittens. Also, beware of this litter getting stuck to your cat’s wet paws. Thankfully, there are options from this amazing brand that don’t clump so hard. You can buy this litter in 18lb or 40lb bags for multiple cats!

Purina Yesterday’s News Original Formula
Purina Yesterday’s News Original Formula
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
7/10
  • What we Like
  • Available in clumping varieties
  • Extremely absorbent
  • Unscented for sensitive cats
  • Environmentally friend
  • What we Dislike
  • Does not sift well
  • Reduced odor control
Product Details
Material Paper
Features Dust Free
Low Tracking
Odor Control
Clumping

Scented

Size 30lbs
Our Review

This environmentally-friendly litter is made of paper instead of silica or clay. This means that it’s extremely absorbent and made with 100% recycled materials. This also means it’s nearly entirely free of dust, so it’s perfect for kitties (and owners) who have had bad experiences with other litter. This is a non-clumping variety, but the same brand makes a clumping variety if you prefer. However, the shape of these litter particles do not sift well through your standard litter rakes, so cleaning this box can be a little more difficult. Also, this litter is unscented and has limited odor control. If you are sensitive to cat box odors, consider purchasing one of Purina Yesterday’s News scented varieties.

Best Silica
Pretty Litter
Pretty Litter Best Silica
$22
Review manufacturer prettylitter
on prettylitter
8/10
  • What we Like
  • Lightweight silica base
  • Extremely absorbent
  • Tracks your cat’s health
  • What we Dislike
  • Small bags
  • Requires monthly subscription plan
  • Expensive
Product Details
Material Silica
Features Dust Free
Odor Control
Health Indicator
Clumping

Scented

Size 6lbs
Our Review

Pretty Litter is a unique type of litter that is made of silica rather than clay, paper, or wood. This litter includes a health indicator, changing the color of the clear litter to match your cat’s health issues. Keep an eye on the litter box and track the color changes to know when it’s time to take your cat to the vet. This extremely absorbent litter helps liquid waste evaporate and solid waste dry out quickly. It’s easy to scoop and clean and helps keep odors down significantly. However, one of the issues with this litter is that you have to purchase a subscription to get the litter delivered to your home.

World’s Best Cat Litter Clumping Formula
World’s Best Cat Litter Clumping Formula
$31
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
6/10
  • What we Like
  • Flushable and septic safe
  • Natural and environmentally friendly
  • Easy to scoop
  • What we Dislike
  • Sometimes hard to purchase
  • Corn-based litter attracts bugs
  • May have quality control issues
Product Details
Material Corn
Features Odor Control
Dust Free
Flushable
Clumping

Scented

Size 28lbs
Our Review

World’s Best makes a variety of different cat litters, and all of them are made of corn rather than clay, silica, or even paper. That means that whatever form it takes, this litter is natural and great for the environment. It’s unscented by controls odor well. The biggest perk by far is that this litter is flushable! Both sewer and septic systems won’t be damaged or clogged by this corn-based litter. It’s a great litter for most cats, as it’s easy to scoop, mostly dust-free, and clumps up quickly to contain odors and waste. Be aware that some corn-based litters can attract bugs that aren’t harmful to your cats.

Arm & Hammer Cloud Control Clumping Litter
Arm & Hammer Cloud Control Clumping Litter
$29
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
7/10
  • What we Like
  • Eliminates odors fast
  • Hypoallergenic fresh scent
  • Clumps hard and quickly
  • What we Dislike
  • The scent may not be for everyone
  • Flimsy box/bags
  • Very heavy
Product Details
Material Clay
Features Odor Control
Dust Free
Low Tracking
Clumping

Scented

Size 37lbs
Our Review

Arm & Hammer’s Cloud Control litter boasts two main features: dust free and odor control. Whether this litter meets either of these expectations definitely varies by user. While dust is definitely reduced a lot with this litter, the odor of the (clean) litter itself can definitely turn some people off. It’s toted as a hypoallergenic fresh scent, but it isn’t for everyone. This litter is heavy, but it clumps very quickly and very hard. It’s easy to clean this litter when compared to some silica or corn-based litters. Despite its own odor, it does help keep waste odors down considerably. We only wish there were smaller size options!

Tidy Cats Instant Action Scented Litter
Tidy Cats Instant Action Scented Litter
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
7/10
  • What we Like
  • Multiple size options
  • Strong, tight clumps
  • Great for multiple cats
  • What we Dislike
  • No small buying options
  • 2 styles
  • Tracks throughout the house
Product Details
Material Clay
Features Dust Free
Odor Control
Clumping

Scented

Size 40lbs
Our Review

Tidy Cats Instant Action Scented Litter may not be completely unscented, but the scent is not overpowering. Though this is a clay litter, the granules are small and sand-like. While this sometimes means tighter clumping, it can also lead to more dust and increased tracking. While this is a tight-clumping litter, it sometimes fails to clump around liquid waste, which can make the smell that much worse. However, it’s a solid litter that can be good for multiple cats in the right circumstances. The fresh scent is not overwhelming and covers most odors effectively. You can also purchase this litter in a variety of sizes and quantities for all of your cats’ needs.

Arm & Hammer Platinum Clump & Seal Litter
Arm & Hammer Platinum Clump & Seal Litter
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
6/10
  • What we Like
  • Seal in odors
  • Small granules
  • Baking Soda nullifies odors
  • What we Dislike
  • The scent may be too strong for some
  • No smaller options
  • Recent formula change
Product Details
Material Clay
Features Dust Free
Odor Control
Clumping

Scented

Size 28lbs
Our Review

Arm & Hammer’s Clump & Seal Litter has always been a popular litter, and that hasn’t changed much over the years. Though they have recently changed the formula, it’s still a solid litter with a ton of great benefits. You can buy it in 19-pound bags or more, and it’s great for households with multiple cats. The inclusion of baking soda (as with all Arm & Hammer litters) helps to nullify odors and prevent the spread of waste odors throughout your house. This litter clumps tightly and is easy to clean, though the small litter granules may track outside of the litter box and are difficult to sweep up.

Fresh Step Scented Litter with Febreze
Fresh Step Scented Litter with Febreze
$10
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
7/10
  • What we Like
  • Easy to scoop
  • Clumps well
  • Great odor control
  • What we Dislike
  • The smell may be too strong
  • Only available in 14lbs
  • Larger clay granules
Product Details
Material Clay
Features Odor Control
Dust Free
Clumping

Scented

Size 14lbs
Our Review

Fresh Step’s Scented Litter with Febreze contains powerful odor-controlling properties that can help freshen your home and leave waste odors locked away. It clumps hard and is extremely easy to clean. Even when wet, it doesn’t stick to the edges or the bottom of the litter pan. Included with the Febreze to suppress odors are ammonia blocking enzymes, activated charcoal, and more. It also has less dust than other fragrant litters. It’s made of larger clay granules that track fairly easily, however. The smell may also be too strong for cats and cat owners with sensitive noses. The fragrance is released when your cat digs in the litter.

Best Corn
World’s Best Lavender Scented Litter for Multiple Cats
World’s Best Lavender Scented Litter for Multiple Cats Best Corn
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
8/10
  • What we Like
  • Naturally scented
  • Easy to scoop
  • Flushable
  • What we Dislike
  • May attract bugs
  • Not hypoallergenic
  • High spread
Product Details
Material Corn
Features Odor Control
Dust Free
Flushable
Clumping

Scented

Size 28lbs
Our Review

World’s Best famous corn-based litter is back with a new scent that lasts longer and smells better. World’s Best Lavender is scented with natural lavender oils rather than synthetic ingredients or perfumes. It’s great for multiple cats because it does more to prevent odors than similar clay litters. It’s also extremely lightweight and easy to clean. Since World’s Best is corn-based, it’s safe for sewers and septic tanks. This means you can flush it if you prefer! It’s also extremely lightweight and mostly free of dust. The small, sand-like granules may spread around your house very easily, and the corn-based formula may attract bugs, so beware of these drawbacks.

Okocat Natural Wood Cat Litter
Okocat Natural Wood Cat Litter
$20
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
1/10
  • What we Like
  • No artificial or synthetic ingredients
  • Solid clumps
  • Great natural wood scent
  • What we Dislike
  • Large particles mean lots of tracking
  • Not scoopable with standard scoops
  • Strange texture
Product Details
Material Wood
Features Odor Control
Dust Free
Clumping

Scented

Size 19.8lbs
Our Review

Okocat’s Natural Wood litter is made of wood fibers, which means it naturally has less dust. It isn’t 100% dust free, but there is a noticeable reduction when compared to standard clay litters. The wood fibers clump solidly, making it easy to clean the litter box out. However, you won’t be able to use your standard scoop with this litter. The granules are too large to sift through like the smaller clay options. However, it’s extremely good at blocking odors with it’s natural wood scent. This litter is made without artificial fragrances, toxic dyes, GMOs, or synthetic chemicals. It’s a healthier, natural alternative to most other litters on the market.  

Tidy Cats Lightweight Free & Clean Unscented Litter
Tidy Cats Lightweight Free & Clean Unscented Litter
$21
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
6/10
  • What we Like
  • Unscented
  • Fragrance and dye free
  • Ammonia blocker for odors
  • Lightweight
  • What we Dislike
  • High tracking
  • Pretty dusty
Product Details
Material Clay
Features Dust Free
Odor Control
Clumping

Scented

Size 17lb
Our Review

Tidy Cats’ Lightweight Unscented Litter can be a true blessing for owners (and cats) that don’t appreciate heavy perfumes in their cat litter. The lightweight nature of the litter also means that you get more litter per pound than other brands. However, lightweight litter leads to more tracking throughout your home, and it tracks further than heavier litters. It’s a low-dust litter but it still produces plenty of dust when you’re working with it. The good thing is that this litter doesn’t contain artificial dyes or fragrances, so it’s great for cats with allergies. The Ammonia Blocking technology reduces cat urine smells for up to 2 weeks, leaving your home smelling fresh.

Fresh Step Odor Shield Scented Cat Litter
Fresh Step Odor Shield Scented Cat Litter
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
6/10
  • What we Like
  • Activated charcoal formula
  • Extreme odor control
  • Low dust
  • Easy to clean
  • What we Dislike
  • Heavy litter
  • Scent may not be for everyone
Product Details
Material Clay
Features Odor Control
Clumping

Scented

Size 25lb
Our Review

Fresh Step Odor Shield is a scented litter that is activated by your cat’s paws. This allows the scent to kick in only when your cat is in the box, which will help mask odors. The scent isn’t strong, but some cats and owners may be unable to deal with it. Still, this litter clumps tight and is easy to clean and scoop, with fewer crumbles and less dirty litter left behind. There is very little dust when you use this litter, making it perfect for cats with allergies or respiratory problems. The 10-day odor control helps keep you house smelling clean and fresh even after your cat uses the box.

ScoopAway Unscented Clay Cat Litter
ScoopAway Unscented Clay Cat Litter
$10
Review manufacturer chewy
on chewy
7/10
  • What we Like
  • Low dust
  • Free of all fragrance
  • 7-day odor control
  • What we Dislike
  • Can be difficult to find
  • Quality control issues
Product Details
Material Clay
Features Dust Free
Odor Control
Clumping

Scented

Size 25lbs
Our Review

ScoopAway has been a great litter brand for years, and their Unscented cat litter is no different. This litter is heavy enough that it won’t spread very far (if at all) and has low dust even when you’re spreading a great deal of it at once. This can lead to an easier scooping session when you need to clean it out. The granules are smaller than some heavier litters, but still not light enough to spread too far. Lately, there have been some quality control issues, but overall ScoopAway is still a solid choice for unscented, easy-clean, and odor-control litter. If you can find it, it’s a great addition to your home.

Best for Training
Dr. Eisley’s Precious Cat Cat Attract Litter
Dr. Eisley’s Precious Cat Cat Attract Litter Best for Training
$30
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
8/10
  • What we Like
  • Helps with litter box training
  • Great odor control
  • Works in self-cleaning boxes
  • What we Dislike
  • Expensive
  • Lots of dust
  • May not work for all cats
Product Details
Material Clay
Features Odor Control
Training
Dust Free
Clumping

Scented

Size 40lbs
Our Review

Dr. Eisley’s Precious Cat Cat Attract Litter can help your household in so many ways. If you’ve got cats that have stopped using the litter box or kittens that need to be trained, this litter can help. This litter uses small granules with an herbal scent and the perfect texture to help attract your cat back to the litter box (or teach them how to use it for the first time). This litter is mostly natural, dust free, and helps control odors expertly. Though it is expensive, it’s a great litter (and there are even options for cats that use the box faithfully). This 40-pound box contains a lot of litter, but it can be a priceless improvement for you. 

World’s Best Cat Litter Multiple Cat Clumping Formula
World’s Best Cat Litter Multiple Cat Clumping Formula
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
6/10
  • What we Like
  • Good for allergic cats
  • Very low dust
  • Natural
  • Environmentally friendly
  • What we Dislike
  • Corn attracts bugs
  • Odor control is hit-or-miss
Product Details
Material Corn
Features Odor Control
Dust Free
Flushable
Clumping

Scented

Size 28lbs
Our Review

World’s Best Multiple Cat is a corn-based natural cat litter that is great for cats that are allergic to traditional litters. This litter doesn’t contain any synthetic ingredients, harsh chemicals, or perfumes. It’s all natural and environmentally-friendly – which means that it’s also flushable! There’s no reason to throw it in the trash, because it’s septic and sewer safe. In addition, it’s 100% dust free. The only drawback to corn-based litters is that it tracks a bit. Still, it’s a great litter for cats with respiratory problems and owners who can’t stand scented or artificial litters. This multi-cat formula is great at controlling odors and clumping up around your cat’s waste.

Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Fresh Home Litter
Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Fresh Home Litter
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
7/10
  • What we Like
  • Great odor control
  • Virtually dust free
  • Great price
  • What we Dislike
  • Scent may be too strong
  • High tracking
  • Clumps may crumble
Product Details
Material Clay
Features Dust Free
Odor Control
Clumping

Scented

Size 19lbs
Our Review

Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Fresh Home Litter is a different version of Arm & Hammer’s great odor-sealing litter. This version is a little lighter on the scent, but still contains enough odor sealing technology to keep your home fresh for 7 days. You won’t even notice the box is there! It’s also extremely dust free, so it’s great if you or your cat can’t stand the dust. It’s litter at a great price, but it also may track around your house more than you’d like. The scent may be too strong for some.

Garfield Cat Litter Ultimate Clump
Garfield Cat Litter Ultimate Clump
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
7/10
  • What we Like
  • Comes in two small-grain varieties
  • All Natural
  • No dust
  • Great odor control
  • What we Dislike
  • High tracking
  • Cannot flush large volumes
Product Details
Material Cassava/Corn
Features Dust Free
Odor Control
Flushable
Clumping

Scented

Size 10lbs
Our Review

Garfield Cat Litter is a little-known brand, but it’s a great natural corn alternative to classic clay litters. It has great clumping power and the clumps are 100% flushable. However, you can only flush the clumps. The entire litter pan cannot be flushed if that’s what you’re looking for. On the other hand, the grains are extremely small (and there is even a ‘tiny grain’ variety). The litter is lightweight, all-natural, and has no dust kick up whatsoever. You might find litter all over your house, but that’s a risk with all corn-based, small-granule litters. You won’t be able to smell anything from this naturally-odor-reducing corn litter!

Swheat Scoop Multi-Cat Natural Wheat Cat Litter
Swheat Scoop Multi-Cat Natural Wheat Cat Litter
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
6/10
  • What we Like
  • Natural
  • Clumps well
  • Small granules
  • What we Dislike
  • Not entirely dust free
  • Natural scent
  • High tracking
Product Details
Material Wheat
Features Odor Control
Flushable
Clumping

Scented

Size 36lb
Our Review

If you’re looking for a great natural litter, sWheat Scoop is a viable alternative to corn-based litter. This litter is made of wheat, with extremely small granules that can help your cat feel comfortable using the litter box. Unfortunately, this means the small grains will track all over your house. However, this litter doesn’t include any dyes or perfumes, and it’s entirely biodegradable. This means that you can flush the clumps, but shouldn’t flush the litter from the pan because too much can clump in your pipes. The natural odor control helps neutralize odors without using any harsh chemicals, so you’ll smell litter box odors less often.

Weruva It’s a Tea Potty! Wood & Green Tea Litter
Weruva It’s a Tea Potty! Wood & Green Tea Litter
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
6/10
  • What we Like
  • 100% natural
  • Lasts 50 days
  • Grain and clay free
  • What we Dislike
  • Doesn’t scoop with a standard scoop
  • Odor control is moderate
  • Dusty
Product Details
Material Wood
Features Low Dust
Odor Control
Flushable
Clumping

Scented

Size 11.7lbs
Our Review

Weruva It’s a Tea Potty! Cat litter is a unique blend of wood and green tea that helps your litter box stay clean, perfectly clumped, and fragrant. It’s completely natural and has moderate odor control for this reason. However, it’s made of wood and is therefore completely biodegradable. You can flush the clumps from this litter, as the combination of wood and tea dissolves clumps. It’s lightweight and lasts for a long time – up to 50 days before you need to switch. You won’t be able to use your current scoop, but a pellet litter scoop should work fine for this wood litter. It tracks quite a bit in some cases.

Frisco Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Clay Litter
Frisco Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Clay Litter
$15
Review manufacturer chewy
on chewy
7/10
  • What we Like
  • Inexpensive
  • Unscented
  • Low tracking
  • Natural Clay
  • What we Dislike
  • Heavy and dense
  • Clumps like cement
Product Details
Material Clay
Features Odor Control
Dust Free
Low Tracking
Clumping

Scented

Size 40lbs
Our Review

Frisco’s Multi-Cat Unscented litter is a great natural clay alternative to heavily-perfumed litter. If you like the idea of a natural litter but don’t like corn, wood, or paper, this is the litter for you. This litter clumps very tightly and very heavily, making it great for low-tracking and low dust. This litter has a hypoallergenic element because it doesn’t contain any artificial dyes or perfumes. However, it does contain odor-neutralizing measures to make sure that you aren’t smelling the litter box all day. It’s also inexpensive, and you get a lot for the price! That definitely helps you keep even multi-cat households happy.

Best Products Best Cat Litter
Product Name Best for Rate
Dr. Eisley’s Precious Cat Ultra-Clumping Cat Litter Best Overall 8
Pretty Litter Best Silica 8
World’s Best Lavender Scented Litter for Multiple Cats Best Corn 8
Dr. Eisley’s Precious Cat Cat Attract Litter Best for Training 8

How to Choose

Litter is anything but simple. There are a host of features, materials, and more you should know about when you’re shopping for a new brand of cat litter. Below, we’ll take a comprehensive look at all you need to know about cat litter, from features, how to use and dispose of it, and tips to help your cat use the litter box (and keep your dogs out of it)!

Cat Litter 101 

Cat litter has multiple uses, but the most popular is obviously in litter boxes. This granulated sand or pebble-type material absorbs and clumps around cat waste so that it can be easily removed. Your cat’s natural instincts prompt them to bury their waste to hide it from predators, and that’s a pattern of behavior that persists even in domestic house cats. 

  • While there are many different types of litter, clay is the most popular type. This litter clumps tightly and often includes scents or perfumes to help mask litter box odors. 
  • Whatever type of litter you and your cat prefer, you’ll need to place at least 3 – 4 inches of litter in the bottom of a litter pan to get effective cover for your cat to feel comfortable, the waste to be covered, and the best odor control.
  • Cats like their privacy, so you can also try an enclosed cat box to make them feel more comfortable. 
  • After your cat uses the litter box, you’ll need to scoop it. With a standard litter scoop (or an applicable scoop for the type of litter you’re using), you can remove clumps from clumping litters. 
  • These clumps need to be disposed of, and it’s important to know-how. Cat litter should never be disposed of in your flower beds, gutters, storm drains, or other outdoor areas. Cat waste can disrupt natural environments, so it’s important to take that threat seriously. You should also never flush cat litter in the toilet, as it can clump when confronted with moisture. This means you could damage your pipes, sewer, or septic tank. Some litters are flushable, but most are not. 
  • You’ll need to dispose of your used litter in the trash. You can use a trash bag to dispose of your cat’s waste, or you can use a Litter Genie system. This allows you to scoop the clumps and cat waste into the pail and clean it out all in one go while reducing odors and saving you time. It’s extremely important to dispose of used litter and cat waste properly.

Cat Litter Materials

Cat litter can be made of many different things, though clay is, of course, the most popular. Here’s a rundown of the different types and what the difference is.

  • Clay: Clay litter is the most popular type of litter, and the most numerous to be found on the market. This type of litter can be clumping or non-clumping, but it’s always dusty as you’re using it. Clumping clay litter is not biodegradable, while non-clumping clay litter doesn’t mask odors as well. Most clumping litters will contain deodorizing crystals to help keep smells down. Clay litters can be used in just about any litter box (unless the litter box is self-cleaning), and they are generally less expensive and more cost-efficient.
  • Silica:  Silica gel crystals can last a long time due to their absorbent nature. It doesn’t clump, so urine cannot be completely removed. This type of litter is not widely used outside of self-cleaning litter box cartridges, but you can still find some loose litters available. These litters are more expensive but may contain urine odors better overall.
  • Wood: Wood litters are all-natural and made from wood fibers, shaped into pellets most of the time. These pellets, like paper pellets, are extremely absorbent. They don’t clump well around solid waste but they are great for urine. Wood litters usually come with natural deodorizers. To scoop wood and other pellet litters, you’ll need a special type of pellet scoop for cleaning out the litter box, like this one from WePet.
  • Corn: Corn is a natural alternative to some other litters on the market, and it is also biodegradable and dust-free. Corn litter can be flushed most of the time, and it is more environmentally friendly than clay litter. There are a few drawbacks, however: corn litter attracts bugs regularly since it’s food-based. Cats may also dislike the sand-like texture. Spread is an issue with these types of litters, too.
  • Paper: Paper litter is a little rarer, but it does exist. This litter is made from recycled paper formed into pellets. It’s extremely absorbent and virtually dust-free, but it does not clump.
  • Wheat: Wheat litter is one of the rarest types of litter, but it’s also one of the most natural. For cats that aren’t allergic, wheat litter can provide great clumps and a comfortable litter box. However, its odor control is lacking and it’s dustier than corn litter by far.

Cat Litter Features:

Cat litters advertise a variety of features, but what do they mean? We’ll take a look at the different litter features that you and your cat can enjoy. 

  • Dust Free Cat Litter: Cat litter kicks up a lot of dust. While you’re pouring, scooping, and moving the litter at all, dust from clay litters can choke you. When your cats are scratching around to bury their waste, the dust can affect them as well. It’s important to choose a dust-free litter if you or your cat has respiratory problems. For more information about dust free cat litters and our best picks, check out our favorites here.
  • Clumping Cat Litter: Clumping cat litter is easier to clean and often masks odors better than other types of litter. Clumps are easy to dispose of, and a good clumping litter clumps tightly around waste and doesn’t crumble as you’re scooping the litter. For our favorite clumping cat litters, check our full review and buyer’s guide.
  • Non-Tracking Cat Litter: Cat litter sticks to your cat’s paws. It gets flung around outside of the litter box while your cat digs, and it can cling to their fur. This means that you’re going to find it all over the house… most of the time. Litter mats like the WePet Cat Litter Mat can gently remove litter from your cat’s paws as they exit the box, reducing spread across your floors and other surfaces. Otherwise, you might want to choose a non-tracking cat litter. 
  • Odor Control Cat Litter: Litter boxes smell once they’re used. They can smell quite badly even if they are cleaned often. Odor Control Cat Litter uses absorbent technology, fragrances, and other measures to make sure that you can’t tell if the litter box has been used. If you don’t want to use a litter deodorizer like these Fresh Step Cat Litter Crystals, an Odor Control litter may be your best bet. To learn more about odor control cat litter, take a look at our odor control litter article.
  • Multiple Cat Cat Litter: When you have multiple cats, you need a litter that can handle more. Multiple cat litter is made to handle more odors, longer use, and larger volumes of waste. This litter is sometimes heavier and is mostly sold in larger volumes, with greater odor control.
  • Cat Litter for Kittens: When it comes to litter, kittens have different needs than adult cats. It isn’t wise to use clumping litter for kittens, and kittens may also need specialty litters such as training formulas with attractants or a smaller litter granule. To learn more about their special needs and the best cat litter specifically for kittens, take a look at our kitten litter article.


Litter Box Training Your Cat:

Getting a new kitten is a daunting task, particularly a kitten that isn’t trained to use the litter box. While getting a cat to use the litter box can be a challenging task, it is somewhat easier than training a dog; cats already have the instincts required to make using the litter box second nature. 

That said, there is still some encouragement and gentle nudging required by cat owners. If you’re unsure what you need for a new cat, here is a kit of the basics to get you started: The Van Ness Cat Starter Kit.

Here are some steps and tips for litter box training for your new kitten.

  • Introduce her to the box. Show her where it is. Gently place her inside. Once she knows where the box is, don’t move it or you may confuse her.
  • Place her in the box after meals or naps. When she finishes eating or wakes up from a nap, place her in the box as often as she can. This is because cats often use the litter box following these events, and it will encourage her to use the box at these critical times.
  • Keep an eye on her. When you notice her possibly looking for a place to go, put her in the box. This behavior is often characterized by crouching, sniffing, or digging (especially in soft spaces). Make sure to pick her up and place her gently in the box at these times so she gets the idea.
  • Give them treats when they use the box! Praise her, give her a treat, give her some extra attention, whatever you need to make sure that they feel seen and appreciated for doing what you want them to do. Cats are not as eager to please as dogs, but your cat will still appreciate some extra attention.
  • Avoid negative attention for accidents. Don’t punish your cat for having accidents or for not using the litter box. Gentle encouragement that doesn’t induce stress is the best way to go. 


Litter Box Maintenance:

  • Clean the box frequently. You might want to clean it more frequently than you usually do. Cats don’t like a dirty litter box, so keeping it clean is one of the best ways to entice your kitten to use it.
  • Treat the areas where accidents occur. You can use several odor-neutralizing agents, enzyme cleaners, and more to eliminate deep smells in the area where your cat keeps having accidents. Try and erase as much of the smell as possible so your cat doesn’t return to the same spot to eliminate. If your cat hit up the carpet, click here for our complete guide on the best products to use for removing cat urine to discourage repeat behavior. 

Training Outdoor Cats

Training outdoor cats might take a little more effort. Older cats are more set in their ways, but here are some tips for training them to use a litter box inside. 

  • Put dirt from outside in a litter box before switching to litter. If your outdoor cat is used to going outside, bring a little bit of the outside in. This can help them learn where to go, and their instincts will do the rest.
  • Don’t switch this out immediately, and instead gradually introduce litter to the pan alongside the outside dirt.
  • Patience is key. In all litter box training, patience is the best thing you can have. This goes for adult litter box training especially. Make sure that you reward for good behavior and don’t punish for undesirable behavior, as this can create confusion and negative associations.

Multiple Boxes for Multiple Cats:

One of the most important things to realize is that cats love their privacy. They are at their most vulnerable while using the litter box. This means that they require privacy when using it. If you have multiple cats, you understand how challenging this can be. 

A good rule of thumb is to have a single litter box for each cat in your household, plus an extra. If you have two cats, three litter boxes are standard. Three cats? You’ll need four litter pans. This allows each of them to choose their favorite spot and find time to get away and use it privately. You’ll need more litter and spend more time cleaning them, but your cats will be happier overall. 

This is especially important if your cats are territorial and often at odds with each other. Having multiple litter boxes makes it more difficult for an aggressive cat to keep the passive ones away. Plus, some cats don’t like to use the box when it’s the slightest bit dirty. Giving your cat plenty of options can keep them much happier and make them feel safer.


Common Litter Box Problems:

Cats can be extremely picky creatures. Sometimes, for reasons completely unknown to use, they stop using the litter box or disregard it completely. There are a few things you can try to get your cat back into the litter box, and a few reasons they may have stopped using it. 

  • Joint Pain: If your cat is older, they may be having trouble getting into and out of the litter box. Since cats expertly hide their pain and disabilities from humans and other cats, it might not be easy to tell that this is happening until they start going outside of the litter box. 
    If you suspect this might be happening to your elderly cat, you can try a few things. Get a litter box with a lower entry point if possible, or get a ramp that allows them to get into the box easier. If none of these methods work, you can take your cat to the vet to get their opinion on possible arthritis or other issues.
  • Spraying: If your cat is not spayed or neutered, they may be spraying outside the box. This is a compulsive, territorial behavior that they engage in to mark their territory. If there are other cats in your household, it may push ‘intact’ cats to do this. If this is what is happening in your household, you can attempt to get the offending cat spayed or neutered. This can solve the problem, but it isn’t a guarantee. Consulting with your vet on your cat’s behavior can give you a better understanding of how you can train your cat out of this behavior.
  • Health Problems: We’ve saved the worst solution for last. If your cat suddenly stops using the litter box, there is a chance that they may have an underlying health condition. Urinary tract infections, bladder infections, kidney problems, and other issues may cause a cat to eliminate outside the litter box. Watch carefully for a behavior change when it comes to this. Please consider taking your cat to the vet if you notice this change, as these health issues may become serious and even fatal if they are not addressed promptly. Even if your cat doesn’t have a physical condition, they may still be shaken up by stress or anxiety related to new cats or humans in the home, a different environment, and more. It’s always worth a vet visit to properly diagnose a sudden change in your cat’s litter box habits.

Keeping Your Dog Out of the Litter Box:

If you own a dog as well as a cat, you know how difficult it can be to keep dogs out of the litter box. No matter how difficult, you must keep your dogs out of the litter box. Here’s a look at why and what you can do about it. 

Why Is It Important? 

There are a few reasons why your litter box is bad for your dogs. First of all, the litter itself is a hazard. Clumping litters are especially bad at getting stuck in your dog’s digestive tract and causing blockages that may result in painful surgeries or fatal injury. Wood and other natural litters can cause their share of problems to your dog’s organs, and some litters may even become poisonous if consumed.

Your cat’s waste is not great for dogs, either. It may contain bacteria that can cause irreparable damage, including infections and stomach troubles. Your dog may throw up, have diarrhea, or get a terrible infection from the waste. If your cat has parasites that you may not know about, they can infect your dog through their waste as well. 

These are the most important reasons to keep your dog out of the litter box, besides the obvious hygiene factor.

How to Keep Your Dog Out of the Litter Box

While it’s difficult to train your dog out of using the litter box, it can be done. Using patience and some safeguards or deterrents, you can keep your dog out of the litter box without the use of additional aides.

However, one of the best things you can do is to try and put the litter box somewhere the dog can’t access. Up higher, in an enclosed space, or on the other side of a child gate are the best options. These places allow your cat to use the box without letting your dog get his head near it. 

Let’s take a look at some of the tools that can help you keep your dog out of the litter box if none of the above are viable options for your home. 

  • Enclosed Litter Boxes: To keep your dog out, you can use an enclosed litter box with a door. Failing that, you can use a fancy litter box enclosure that disguises your litter box to look like a piece of furniture, such as an end table. These pieces of furniture (such as the Zoovilla Kitty Litter Loo) have small enough openings that your dog can’t get through.
  • Dog Latches: There are some latches available for installation on your doors to keep dogs out. These latches extend just enough to let cats walk into the room while larger dogs are kept out. Products like TheDoorLatch work to help your cats have access to the box without letting dogs get close.
  • Child Gates: Often, parents use child gates to keep toddlers and newly-mobile infants out of spaces that may be dangerous or unmonitored. These gates can work well for pets, too. Most pet gates and child gates are the same product. However, gates like Carlson’s Extra Wide Walk Through Pet Gate include a smaller space for cats to get through without jumping over the gate. This gate also allows humans to walk through with the push of a button, leaving your dog where you want them and keeping them out of the litter box.
  • Top-Entry Boxes:  A top-entry litter box will not guarantee that your dog can’t get into the litter box, but it can slow them down and help discourage the behaviour. This is especially true if your dog is shorter or smaller. Boxes such as IRIS’s Top-Entry Cat Litter Box can help keep smaller dogs out while letting cats maintain privacy.