The Best Cat Litters

Litter boxes and kitty litter may not be the most enjoyable part of cat ownership, but they are an unavoidable one. After all, kitty has to go potty somewhere. Litter box furniture can help hide your cat’s litter box so it’s not so obvious, but you’ve got to have one. And you’ve got to have the stuff to fill it with.

We reviewed dozens of cat litters to identify the best of the best. We looked at kitty litters of all types, including litters made from different materials, clumping and non-clumping litters, lightweight litters, low tracking litters, dust-free litters, and litters with different types of odor control, all to allow us to share only the best cat litters with you.

Best Cat Litter Overall
Fresh Step Ultra Unscented Cat Litter
Fresh Step Ultra Unscented Cat Litter is everything that you — and your cat — could want out of a kitty litter.

Our to pick and the clear winner is Fresh Step Ultra Unscented Cat Litter. This low dust cat litter is scoopable for easy cleanup and, despite being unscented, has powerful enough odor control to stand up to multiple cats.

The 5 Top-Rated Cat Litters

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best OverallFresh Step Ultra Unscented Cat Litter4.6
Best Cat Litter for Odor ControlEver Clean Unscented Extra Strength Cat Litter4.6
Best Budget Cat LitterPurina Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Multi Cat Litter4.5
Best Dust Free Cat LitterPurina Tidy Cats Instant Action Multi Cat Litter4.5
Best Flushable Cat LitterGarfield Cat Litter Ultimate Clump Multi-Cat4.4

*Ratings are from Amazon and may change over time.

Best Cat Litter Overall: Fresh Step Ultra Unscented Cat Litter

Fresh Step Ultra Unscented Cat Litter is virtually peerless when it comes to cat litter. Fresh Step Ultra Unscented Cat Litter is an excellent choice for multi-cat homes and it’s unscented, so it’s great for both cats and humans with sensitivities.

It’s formulated with activated carbon and antibacterial ingredients to prevent odor from bacteria for 10 days and it quickly forms tight clumps, locking in liquid — and its smell. The tight clumps also prevent the small, crumbly bits that you can get with other litter that make scooping more difficult and quite literally slip through the cracks during scooping, allowing the smell to linger even when you’re careful about cleaning. Your litter box has never been so easy to manage. Plus, this cat litter has a low dust formula to keep the mess in the litter box instead of in the area and on surfaces around your home.

Buying this bulk package also helps you save money with each pound. The package contains 42 pounds of cat litter in total, but if you open the exterior package, the litter is divided into four smaller bags that are much easier to lift, carry, and pour as you change your cat’s litter, so you get convenience as well as savings.

Fresh Step Ultra Unscented Cat Litter Key Features:

  • Unscented
  • Clumping
  • 10-day odor control
  • Low dust formula

Best Cat Litter for Odor Control: Ever Clean Unscented Extra Strength Cat Litter

Best Cat Litter for Odor Control
Ever Clean Unscented Extra Strength Cat Litter
With Ever Clean Unscented Extra Strength Cat Litter, no one will even know you have a litter box.

Thanks to Ever Clean Unscented Extra Strength Cat Litter, you can say goodbye to using litters with heavy fragrances and shelling out for pricey litter box additives. This litter contains activated carbon, which deals with odors on contact, both mixed with the litter and bonded to the individual pieces to ensure contact with all odor-causing substances. It also contains an agent that prevents bacteria growth, which is actually the source of the ammonia smell associated with cat urine. All of the ingredients of pure, natural minerals and clays.

This kitty litter clumps well and quickly, so urine never gets the opportunity to pool at the bottom of the box and it’s easy to clean up. It has a low dust formula, so you won’t get a layer of dust over everything each time you scoop the litter box or swap out the litter. Ever Clean Unscented Extra Strength Cat Litter is also fragrance-free, so it’s safe for asthma and allergies.

Like our top pick, this package of Ever Clean Unscented Extra Strength Cat Litter contains 42 pounds of cat litter, but in four 10.5 pound bags contained within the outer packaging. This gives you the benefits of buying in bulk with the convenience of a smaller, lighter, and easier to manage container.

Ever Clean Unscented Extra Strength Cat Litter Key Features:

  • Unscented
  • Clumping
  • Low dust formula
  • Contains activated carbon and a bacteria inhibiting agent

Best Budget Cat Litter: Purina Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Multi Cat Litter

Best Budget Cat Litter
Purina Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Multi Cat Litter
Purina Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Multi Cat Litter proves you don’t have to spend a lot for effective cat litter.

With Purina Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Multi Cat Litter, you don’t have to shell out a ton of money to get a cat litter that effectively controls odor. This litter is strong enough for households with multiple cats and boasts an extended-release deodorizing system that offers constant protection against odors from feces, urine, and ammonia. Despite being a non-clumping litter, it’s very effective at absorbing moisture, which further helps keep odor at bay and keeps the box from getting damper than your cat would prefer.

In addition to being budget-friendly, Purina Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Multi Cat Litter is also the only litter on our top five cat litters list that’s non-clumping, so it’s a great option for people who prefer non-clumping litters. If you’d rather change the litter out more frequently than have to dig out clumps or try to scrape them off the wall or floor of the litter box, the fact that it’s non-clumping is a huge advantage.  And while you do have to change the litter out more frequently, it’s low tracking and 99.9% dust-free so you don’t have to deal with cleaning dust and tracked litter from around your cat’s litter box all the time.

Purina Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Multi Cat Litter Key Features:

  • Triple odor protection
  • Extended-release deodorizing system
  • Non-clumping
  • Low tracking and 99.9% dust free

Best Dust Free Cat Litter: Purina Tidy Cats Instant Action Multi Cat Litter

Best Dust Free Cat Litter
Purina Tidy Cats Instant Action Multi Cat Litter
Minimize the cat litter mess with Purina Tidy Cats Instant Action Multi Cat Litter.

Our favorite dust free cat litter is another product from Purina Tidy Cats. Like the last cat litter, Purina Tidy Cats Instant Action Multi Cat Litter is 99.9% dust free, is designed for multiple cat households, and has included deodorizers to offer protection against ammonia, feces, and urine odors. It also offers the same 10-day odor control. However, there are some differences.

For one, Instant Action Multi Cat Litter is a clumping litter. It absorbs moisture to help control odors and create tight clumps. This makes scooping a breeze so you can easily remove the smelliest contents of the litter box and then move on with your day and ensures that your cat’s always confident that they have a dry, low odor place to go to the bathroom. Not that you’ll even be able to smell it thanks to the litter’s TidyLock protection which locks away odors. It’s also an Instant Action formula, so it starts working to stop odors from the moment your cat uses the litter box, so there will be no more waiting for the litter to handle the odor from a particularly smelly litter box break.

Purina Tidy Cats Instant Action Multi Cat Litter Key Features:

  • Triple odor protection
  • Instant action
  • Clumping
  • 99.9% dust free

Best Flushable Cat Litter: Garfield Cat Litter Ultimate Clump Multi-Cat

Best Flushable Cat Litter
Garfield Cat Litter Ultimate Clump Multi-Cat
Garfield Cat Litter Ultimate Clump Multi-Cat means you don’t have to choose between environmental responsibility and convenience when it comes to cat litter.

Our favorite flushable cat litter is named for one of our favorite fictional cats! Rounding out our list of the top five best cat litters is Garfield Cat Litter Ultimate Clump Multi-Cat. This unique cat litter is all-natural, made from just corn and cassava, a shrub native to South America, which allows it to clump and manage odor instantly and effectively just like clay litter (or even better than clay litter!), but also gives it a few advantages that clay litters don’t have.

For one, the raw materials for this litter are sustainable and the litter is biodegradable, so you can feel good about the fact that using this litter doesn’t hurt the planet. Furthermore, Garfield Cat Litter Ultimate Clump Multi-Cat is made without fragrances and chemicals and using a proprietary manufacturing process that makes it virtually free of dust. This makes it a great litter for homes with people, cats, or other pets with respiratory sensitivities. The litter is also soft and comfortable to stand on so it’s also a good option for cats with injuries to their paws. At the same time, the light color allows you to monitor changes in the color of your cats’ urine, allowing you to spot signs of serious issues like dehydration or blood in the urine as soon as they appear.

The one downside: you shouldn’t flush clumps older than 12 hours or more than one or two clumps at a time, so it’s best to scoop this litter twice a day. Then again, that means each time you scoop is easier, so you might want to do that anyway.

Garfield Cat Litter Ultimate Clump Multi-Cat Key Features:

  • Flushable and environmentally-friendly
  • No fragrances or chemicals
  • Virtually dust free
  • Light color and soft texture

Who Should Buy Cat Litter

If you have a cat in your home, there’s no avoiding the fact that you simply need cat litter. Cats have to eliminate waste and they have to have somewhere to do it. Even if you have an indoor/outdoor cat that prefers to go outside to use the bathroom, you still need a place inside for when the weather is bad or when you’re not around to let them out.

Sure, toilet training for cats has been getting an increasing amount of attention lately, but it’s difficult to do and many many cat owners who’ve tried it, as well as vets and feline behaviorists, recommend against it. It goes against cats’ natural instincts and can be very stressful for cats, especially if they slip or fall into the toilet while perched on the sink. This can lead your cat to associate going to the bathroom with stress and fear or make them confused about where they’re supposed to be eliminating waste. This, in turn, leads cats to choose other places to use as their bathroom and unfortunately in some cases even reintroducing their regular litter box won’t resolve the issue.

Another advantage of a standard litter box, as opposed to toilet training or even allowing your cat to go outside all the time, is that your cats’ waste is a big clue about their overall health. Feces that’s more or less frequent than usual or has an unusual color or texture can indicate that there’s something wrong with your kitty, as can a change in the frequency, smell, or volume of their urine. Litter boxes make it easy to keep an eye on this key indicator of your cat’s health.

Best Cat Litter Overall
Fresh Step Ultra Unscented Cat Litter
Fresh Step Ultra Unscented Cat Litter is everything that you — and your cat — could want out of a kitty litter.

Important Features to Consider

Cat litter should do several things well. Here’s what to consider when selecting litter for your cat:

  • Material. These days, cat litters are made from all kinds of things. Bentonite clay is the most common as is the primary ingredient in most clumping litters.  It naturally fights odors, is affordable, is preferred by most cats, and since it clumps, it’s easy to clean up. On the other hand, it’s not great for the environment. Other common litter materials include non-clumping clay, paper, wood (especially pine), silica gel crystals, walnut shell, and corn. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages and each is safe for you to try for your cat, but there’s a reason that bentonite clay is the go-to choice.
  • Clumping vs non-clumping. Clumping cat litter is easy to clean, requires less frequent changing, and traps odor well. However, some cats don’t light clumps in their litter and non-clumping clay cat litter can still effectively absorb odors and is frequently lower in cost. Some types of non-clumping litter, like wood, walnut shell, corn, and recycled paper, are also more environmentally friendly than either clumping or non-clumping clay litter.
  • Scent and odor control. A litter box is an unavoidable part of cat ownership, but you don’t want to smell it. On top of regular cleaning, using a litter that helps to manage odor with added ingredients like baking soda can minimize litter box smell. Some kitty litters are scented, which can help mask litter box smell but in some cases just adds to them. Some cats may also not like certain scents, causing the kitty to decide they don’t want to use the litter box. In addition, people with asthma or sensitivities to fragrance may want to skip the scented litters. The same goes for owners of cats with urinary issues, as scented litters may aggravate these.
  • Dust. Dust can also be an irritant for both cats and humans with respiratory issues. For everyone else, though, dust isn’t something you need to worry about, so feel free to ignore any boasts about low-dust or dust-free formulas.
  • Low tracking. Kitty litter sticks to cats’ feet and gets tracked out of the litterbox, especially clumping litter since it naturally sticks to things, like your cats’ skin and fur. This is unavoidable, but low tracking litters are made from larger particles which makes them weightier and less likely to stick. Ultimately, this is mostly just an advantage for you since cats don’t typically care about or even notice the difference, but it can definitely be nice if to have if the litter also meets your other needs.
  • Weight. This is another feature that’s mostly for you. Clay litter can be heavy, so these litters mix in other materials to cut down on the weight. For petite, weak, or disabled cat owners, a lightweight cat litter can make a huge difference in the ease of switching out the litter and even just moving the container of litter around in your home. On the other hand, the fact that it’s lightweight makes it more prone to tracking, so if you don’t really benefit from a lighter weight litter, you may not think it’s worth it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is cat litter toxic to humans?

Unless you have asthma or your cat litter contains something you’re allergic to, the litter itself is perfectly safe. However, any time you handle waste, there is a risk. When it comes to litter boxes, risks include overexposure to ammonia, bacterial infection, and parasites. However, the risk of these is low in the first place and can be further mitigated by frequent cleanings to prevent waste build-up, by wearing gloves when cleaning the litter box, placing waste and used litter into a sealable plastic bag, and washing your hands thoroughly after cleaning the litter box. In addition, pregnant women and people with suppressed immune systems should generally have someone else in their household clean the litter box if possible since these people are at particular risk, especially for toxoplasmosis. Asthmatics and those with allergies may benefit from the use of a low dust and fragrance-free cat litter.

Is it okay to flush cat poop down the toilet?

Cat poop and most cat litters should not be flushed down the toilet because they can cause blockage in public sewer systems and overtax septic systems. It can also be dangerous to marine life. Some cat litters are considered flushable, but even with these, you should avoid flushing waste if you rely on a septic tank and contact your public utilities office before flushing if you use a municipal system. In any case, flush only the waste, not the litter itself when you swap out the litter. Instead, place it in a biodegradable bag and throw it in the trash. In addition, in some places it’s illegal to flush cat feces, so make sure you know the law before you flush.

How often should you dump cat litter?

You should scoop each litter box in your home each day. A self-cleaning litter box can make this easier, but even with an automatic litter box, you should still be sure to check on the box each day to make sure it’s run. If your litter is low after scooping, you can add a little bit of fresh litter, but adding more litter than necessary doesn’t make a difference in how frequently the litter should be scooped or totally swapped out. How frequently you need to switch out the litter entirely depends on the type of litter you use. As a general rule, litter should be switched out twice a week, but you may need to do it as frequently as every other day.

On the other hand, if you’re good about scooping each day or even more frequently and also use a clumping litter, you may be able to get away with changing out the litter just once a week or even a little less frequently. Washing the box itself each time you change the litter can also extend the life of the new litter. If your litter stinks or significant amounts of litter are wet, dark or yellow-colored, or clumped, you should change it regardless of when it was last changed. Providing enough litter boxes will also prevent you from having to clean more frequently and will help prevent cats from going outside the box. You should have at least one litter box for each cat that you own, plus an additional box, so if you have one cat you should have two boxes, if you have two cats you should have three boxes, and so on.

Can you dump cat litter outside?

You should not dump cat litter outside. Most litter isn’t biodegradable and even litter that is will still carry organisms and substances that aren’t safe for the environment. Instead, place waste and litter into a biodegradable bag and place it into a trash can.

Other Cat Litters We Reviewed

Best Cat Litter Overall
Fresh Step Ultra Unscented Cat Litter
Fresh Step Ultra Unscented Cat Litter is everything that you — and your cat — could want out of a kitty litter.

We looked at 20 other cat litters. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best cat litters list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your cat. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

Cat Litter for Odor Control

Fresh Step Advanced Extreme Clumping Cat Litter with Odor Control

Fresh Step Advanced Extreme Clumping Cat Litter with Odor Control-min

Fresh Step Advanced Extreme Clumping Cat Litter with Odor Control brings Febreze freshness to your cat’s litter box for continuous odor management.

Key Features:

  • Clumping litter
  • Formulated for multiple cats
  • Mountain Spring scent

Cost: $12

Fresh Step Clean Paws Scented Multi-Cat Low Tracking Litter

Fresh Step Clean Paws Scented Multi-Cat Low Tracking Litter-min

This litter also has the power of Febreze, but in a low tracking formula that ensures that litter stays in the litter box where it belongs.

Key Features:

  • Low tracking clumping litter
  • Formulated for multiple cats
  • 99.9% dust-free

Cost: $25

Fresh Step Odor Shield Scented Litter

Fresh Step Odor Shield Scented Litter-min

This cat litter limits bacteria growth while at the same time neutralizing the enzyme that forms ammonia, stopping litter odor before it stops.

Key Features:

  • Clumping litter
  • Ammonia Block technology
  • 99.9% dust-free

Cost: $13

Purina Tidy Cats Clumping Cat Litter with Glade Tough Odor Solutions

Purina Tidy Cats Clumping Cat Litter with Glade Tough Odor Solutions-min

This cat litter combines two of the leading companies in odor management, Tidy Cats and Glade, so you know it will get the job done.

Key Features:

  • Clumping cat litter
  • TidyLock protection
  • Glade Clear Springs scent

Cost: $27

Purina Tidy Cats Free & Clean Clumping Cat Litter

Purina Tidy Cats Free & Clean Clumping Cat Litter-min

Purina Tidy Cats Free & Clean Clumping Cat Litter proves that you don’t need fragrances for effective odor control, even for multiple cats.

Key Features:

  • Clumping cat litter
  • Contains activated charcoal
  • No fragrances or dyes

Cost: $20

Purina Tidy Cats Instant Action Clumping Cat Litter

Purina Tidy Cats Instant Action Clumping Cat Litter-min

This cat litter is the same as our top dust free cat litter, but with Tidy Max Power Pieces for an extra boost of moisture and odor control power.

Key Features:

  • Clumping cat litter
  • Starts working immediately
  • Contains online-exclusive Tidy Max Power Pieces

Cost: $24

Purina Tidy Cats LightWeight Instant Action Clumping Cat Litter

Purina Tidy Cats LightWeight Instant Action Clumping Cat Litter-min

Here’s another variant on the Instant Action formula with those same Tidy Max Power Pieces, but also 50% less weight than the leading clumping litter.

Key Features:

  • Starts working immediately
  • Contains online-exclusive Tidy Max Power Pieces
  • Lightweight formula

Cost: $24

Scoop Away Complete Performance Multi-Cat Formula Clumping Cat Litter

Scoop Away Multi-Cat Formula Clumping Cat Litter-min

Scoop Away Complete Performance Multi-Cat Formula Clumping Cat Litter is a maximum strength formula for top-of-the-line odor control, even in multi-cat homes

Key Features:

  • All-in-0ne odor control
  • Clumping cat litter
  • Low dust formula

Cost: $26

Dust Free Cat Litter

Arm & Hammer Cloud Control Platinum Clumping Cat Litter

Arm & Hammer Cloud Control Platinum Clumping Cat Litter-min

Many of us sprinkle baking soda in the litter box for extra odor control, but there’s no need with Arm & Hammer cat litters since they already contain it.

Key Features:

  • Clumping cat litter
  • 100% dust free
  • Hypoallergenic scent and reduces airborne dander while scooping

Cost: $29

Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Platinum Cat Litter

Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Platinum Cat Litter-min

Key Features:

  • Clumping cat litter
  • 100% dust free
  • Designed for multi-cat homes

Cost: $29

Arm & Hammer Platinum Slide Easy Clean-Up Clumping Cat Litter

Arm & Hammer Platinum Slide Easy Clean-Up Clumping Cat Litter-min

Never deal with clumping cat litter that sticks to the sides and bottom of the litter box thanks to this litter that slides right out.

Key Features:

  • Clumping cat litter
  • 100% dust free
  • Designed for multi-cat homes

Cost: $29

Lucy Pet Cats Incredible Clumping Cat Litter

Lucy Pet Cats Incredible Clumping Cat Litter-min

Lucy Pet Cats Incredible Clumping Cat Litter is available in both lavender-scented and unscented versions, each with Smell Squasher to neutralize ammonia.

Key Features:

  • Neutralizes and prevents the formation of ammonia
  • 99.9% dust free
  • Easy pour container

Cost: $13

Purina Yesterday’s News Non Clumping Paper Cat Litter

Purina Yesterday's News Non Clumping Paper Cat Litter-min

This kitty litter is made from recycled newspaper, which makes it environmentally friendly but also allows it to absorb three times the moisture of traditional clay litter.

Key Features:

  • Low tracking and 99.9% dust free
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Effective odor control without added fragrances

Cost: $20

Flushable Cat Litter

sWheat Scoop Natural Fast-Clumping Wheat Cat Litter

sWheat Scoop Natural Fast-Clumping Wheat Cat Litter-min

This litter is wheat-based and contains no dyes or perfumes, so it’s flushable, biodegradable, pet-safe, and sustainably made, all while effectively managing odors.

Key Features:

  • Wheat-based clumping cat litter
  • Environmentally-friendly with no harmful ingredients
  • Noble ion technology for odor management without added fragrances

Cost: $26

World’s Best Cat Litter Clumping Formula

World's Best Cat Litter Clumping Formula-min

World’s Best Cat Litter has a strong reputation as one of the best cat litters for odor management, but it’s also flushable, even for septic systems.

Key Features:

  • Corn-based clumping cat litter
  • Lightweight and 99% dust free
  • Environmentally-friendly and septic system safe

Cost: $27

World’s Best Cat Litter Multiple Cat Clumping Litter Formula

World's Best Cat Litter Multiple Cat Clumping Litter Formula-min

This version of World’s Best Cat Litter has an added boost of odor control to keep up with multiple cat households.

Key Features:

  • Corn-based clumping cat litter
  • Lightweight and 99% dust free
  • Environmentally-friendly and septic system safe

Cost: $27

Wood Pellet Cat Litter

Feline Pine Original Cat Litter

Feline Pine Original Cat Litter-min

Feline Pine Original Cat Litter is made from 100% sustainably-sourced pine and 0% harsh chemicals, additives, or fragrances.

Key Features:

  • Non-clumping pine cat litter
  • No added chemicals or fragrances
  • Natural, effective odor management

Cost: $16

Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Quick-Clumping Cat Litter

Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Quick-Clumping Cat Litter-min

With three times better absorption, this natural litter lasts longer and offers better odor control than the leading clumping clay cat litter.

Key Features:

  • 100% walnut shell clumping cat litter
  • Better absorption and odor control than clumping clay litters
  • Completely biodegradable and free of toxins

Cost: $22

ökocat Natural Wood Clumping Cat Litter

ökocat Natural Wood Clumping Cat Litter-min

This cat litter is made from responsibly rescued natural wood fiber, giving it a pleasant, natural scent without adding any fragrances.

Key Features:

  • Plant-based clumping cat litter
  • 99% dust free
  • Responsibly sourced and environmentally friendly

Cost: $10

Weruva It’s A Tea Potty! Hinoki Wood & Green Tea Natural Cat Litter

Weruva It's A Tea Potty! Hinoki Wood & Green Tea Natural Cat Litter-min

This cat litter is made from hinoki wood and green tea for natural odor control and a pleasant green tea smell.

Key Features:

  • Plant-based clumping cat litter
  • Low-dust formula
  • Responsibly sourced from salvaged wood

Cost: $25

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