Ahh, the litter box.
The absolute worst part of being a cat owner. The one chore we all hate to do.
The stench, the aching back, the general ickiness of sifting through sand for nuggets of someone else’s poo — don’t worry, we know your pain.
And we have great news for you!
There are two simple ways out of your smelly, messy, private hell.
The first (and we say best) option is to stop reading this article now and click here.
The Best Clumping Cat Litter WILL Make a Difference to You as a Cat Owner
We’ve spent hours making a fabulous list of the best automatic and self-cleaning litter boxes for sale (just a heads up, the highest rated product on that list is out of this world good – like seriously, it changed our life).
If you are reading this, then you’ve decided to go with the traditional route. That’s ok too.
Finding the best clumping cat litter for your pet will greatly reduce your litter cleanup pain.
A superior quality litter will result in a better smelling litter box, easier waste removal and a cleaner environment in general.
The trick is FINDING these products and not getting distracted by all the “noise” and inferior products.
We’ve done the heavy lifting for you and have compared dozens of these so-called best clumping cat litters and we’ve whittled these down to our top 5.
But before we get to that, let’s deal with a comment we see a lot…
But Cat Litter is All Pretty Much the Same Isn’t It?
Cat litters are as diverse as cats themselves, there are literally thousands of them out there.
Cat litters come in a mind-boggling variety of types and materials, here are a few of them.
Non-clumping cat litter — This is an umbrella term for many different types of cat litter that is made up of bentonite (the stuff clumping litter is primarily made up of).
Non-clumping litter absorbs a cat’s urine and feces but does not form clumps, thus, leaving some moisture on the litter box when scooping the waste.
Silica gel crystal litter — This non-clumping cat litter is highly absorbent and provides very effective odor control.
It also produces minimal dust, which makes it a good choice for cats with allergies and respiratory issues.
One disadvantage of silica gel crystal litter is that it can be toxic to cats who ingest it in large amounts or over a long period of time — it should definitely not be the litter of choice if you own a cat that is an indiscriminate glutton!
Recycled paper litter — This type of litter is made from recycled papers that are compressed into pellets or granules.
The advantages of recycled paper litter are that it is completely free of dust and is highly absorbent and biodegradable.
Pine litter — Pine litter is usually made of heat treated lumber scraps that undergo heat treatment to eliminate the toxins, oils, and allergens from the wood.
Pine litter usually comes in pellets, granules, and roughly crushed pine or cobble.
In pellet form, the litter quickly transforms into sawdust (especially if you have more than one cat) and should be replaced regularly.
In granule and cobble form, the litter should clump when urinated on by cats.
Corn and wheat-based litter — These cat litters are highly absorbent, biodegradable and provide effective odor control.
We do not recommend them for cats, however, as corn and wheat have been known to be problem ingredient for pets and your cat may eat some of the litter each day when it is grooming.
Walnut shells — This less common type of cat litter is made of crushed walnut shells.
It offers advantages such as good clumping ability, effective odor control, very good absorption capability, and high biodegradability.
The Advantages of Clumping Cat Litter
One of the most popular types of litter is clumping cat litter which is usually made up of bentonite.
Bentonite is a highly absorbent clay that forms into solid clumps when urinated on by a cat.
Some advantages of clumping cat litter are its easier scooping and cleaning as solid clumps can be easily identified and scooped.
For anybody who has stood over their kitty’s litter tray rubbing their aching back and holding their nose, you will agree that the less time spent hovering over the litter box the better.
Clumping cat litter can also save you money, as the best clumping cat litter will last you longer than non-clumping litter.
Its disadvantages include its high dust count and non-biodegradability.
The way in which bentonite is mined may also be of concern to environmentally conscious people.
Clumping cat litter can be scented or unscented.
Scented clumping cat litter is effective at reducing litter box odors but should never replace the regular cleaning of the cat litter box.
It should be noted that some cats are allergic to scented litters, so it is important to keep an eye out for this if you use this type of litter for your cat.
But How Will I Know Which is the Best Clumping Cat Litter?
There are literally thousands of different clumping cat litters out there all claiming to be the “best clumping cat litter”.
In order to rate the products we’re about to discuss as fairly and objectively as possible, we will award them points in the following categories:
- Odor control;
- Dust production (or lack of it); and
We will also list the “pros” and “cons” of each product at the end of each review.
The best clumping cat litter will score the most strongly for all of these criteria.
If you’ve ever smelt an overflowing kitty litter box, it’s not a scent that is quickly forgotten.
Cat urine and faeces stinks because their urine has very highly concentrations of ammonia — the chemical responsible for the “wee” smell — and their faeces are usually made up of protein rich (and thus very smelly) animal products.
Preventing the bad smell of a litter box is also beneficial to your cat because uncontrolled odor in dirty litter boxes is one of the main reasons that cats do not want to use their litter boxes.
This criterion will also evaluate the clumping capability of the various products, as quick-clumping cat litter is beneficial to odor control and ease of cleaning.
This criterion focuses on assessing the clumping cat litter products’ dust production.
Products that emit little or no dust will score highly in this category.
Clumping cat litter that produces and emits dust is undesirable because it can be harmful to your cat’s health as it can produce allergies and respiratory problems.
Dusty clumping cat litter can also be harmful to humans with allergies or asthma and is inconvenient and dirty to handle and use.
It can also be taken out of the litter box and ‘tracked’ around your house making a mess.
While there are a ton of “dirt cheap” clumping cat litters on the market, not all of these are quality products.
The best clumping cat litter will score highly in one or more of the above criteria but will also have an attractive price point.
Because clumping cat litter comes in many different weights and sizes we will calculate the price of each product on a per pound basis in order to have an easily comparable figure.
Now without further ado, let’s take you through the following lineup of stellar products so you can find the clumping litter that is just right for you.
Arm & Hammer —Fragrance-Free Super-Scoop Clumping Litter
Made from ingredients such as baking soda and high-grade sodium bentonite, this fragrance-free Arm & Hammer Super-Scoop Clumping Litter, offers good germ-killing odor control and is perhaps the best clumping cat litter when it comes to sensitive cats and kittens.
Odor control — This product contains a highly absorbent corn fiber ingredient that allows the product to absorb urine more effectively than other products.
While it clumps quite well, the fact that it is a fragrance-free formula means that it will never be as effective as the best clumping cat litter that is scented.
Dust production — Arm & Hammer claim that his product is 99% dust free which makes this an excellent product for kittens and sensitive cats (and owners!) with allergies and respiratory issues.
While they note that this product is 50% lighter than previous versions of the product, this is not necessarily a good thing. In our experience, lighter litters are tracked around the house more easily when your cat leaves the litter box.
Value — The product is dirt cheap at USD 0.33 per pound. If total odor control isn’t a huge issue and sensitivity is your main concern then this is outstanding value for money.
This value for money increases further when the lightweight and dust free formula is considered.
Consider this product if you have cats that are sensitive to fragrances and/or you are shopping on a budget.
- Effective odor control
- Perfect for sensitive cats and kittens
- Dust free
- Very Cheap
- Odor control is not as effective as scented brands
- Cat may track this litter out of the box
Odor Control: 75/100 Dust Production: 80/100 Value: 95/100
Total Score: 83/100
This premium odorless cat litter is endorsed by leading veterinarians and was the winner of the Cat Fancy 2012 Editors’ Choice Award being voted the Best Cat Product of Year.
Odor Control — This is an unscented product and while it is effective at controlling odors coming from one cat’s feces and urine, it is not robust enough in our opinion, to handle more than one cat. It is made of all-natural materials.
It also has very good clumping capability and keeps the litter box in good condition for extended periods of time. While other litter product clumps may gradually stick to the bottom of the box, this cat litter is engineered to stay near the surface for easy collection due to Boxiecat’s patented “Instant flat-top™” formula.
Dust production — This product is 99.9% dust free due to Boxiecat’s advanced dust suppression process. Its new and improved dust control formula results in a limited amount of dust being produced. It also contains uniquely shaped granules that are large, smooth and rounded, that your cat will be sure to love.
This dust is also heavier than “lightweight” litters, so it won’t be tracked around your house as easily.
Value — This product is a more expensive than any of the other cat litters on this list coming in at USD 1.31 per pound, and it misses out on being a top 3 contender for this reason.
That being said, this is undoubtedly a quality product with several great features
Consider this product if price is not your main consideration and you want the best clumping cat litter in the unscented category.
- Premium product
- Best clumping cat litter for sensitive cats
- Heavy so it resists tracking
- Not suitable for confined spaces or more than one cat
- Expensive in comparison to the other products on this list
Odor Control: 83/100 Dust Production: 94/100 Value: 88/100
Total score: 88/100
Arm & Hammer — Double Duty Litter
Arm & Hammer’s Double Duty Litter product is very effective at eliminating bad odor from cat’s waste at high speed due to its powerful moisture activated baking soda crystal ingredients and it’s fresh scent.
Odor Control — This product is the best clumping cat litter when it comes to eliminating odor fast, due to a combination of its proprietary moisture-activated baking soda crystals and its scented granules.
This combination acts lightning fast, to eliminate odors within 5 minutes.
This product also creates clumps that are hard and not easily broken up, making them easy to pick up for fast and stress-free cleaning.
Dust production — Although it is claimed to be 99% dust free and low tracking, this product can produce unwanted residue when being poured.
It also has a distinctive perfume scent and may aggravate allergies or reactions in particularly sensitive cats.
If scented clumping cat litter isn’t your thing, this may not be the product for you.
Value — At USD 0.88 per pound, we think this product is very reasonably priced when its superior odor elimination qualities are taken into account.
Consider this product if the smell of your cat’s waste has become an issue and other scented cat litters have not been effective.
- Best clumping cat litter for odor control
- Fast acting
- Clumps effectively
- Strong masking scent
- Some dust residue in certain situations
- May not be suitable for sensitive cats
- Perfume may be too strong for some people or cats
Odor Control: 98/100 Dust Production: 85/100 Value: 90/100
Total score: 91/100
This product is the second best clumping cat litter we could find because it satisfies each criterion extremely well and is VERY cheap to boot.
Odor Control — This product provides excellent odor control for a “non-scented” product and can even have up to two cats using the one litter box.
This being said it may not be as effective as other products that are scented if several cats are using the box or if your cat has very smelly waste.
It is hard clumping and prevents moisture from reaching the bottom of the litter tray, making it perfect for automatic and self-cleaning litter boxes.
Dust production — This product loses points in the dust category and might have been the best clumping cat litter if not for this.
This litter can be moderately dusty under certain conditions, especially when it comes in larger bags.
The product utilizes heavy, non-tracking granules to avoid creating an untidy place or area.
Value — At USD 0.48 per pound, this product is the best clumping cat litter when it comes to overall value for money. This price point coupled with its great features make it a very strong contender.
- Good odor control
- Can handle more than one cat
- Strong clumping and suitable for automatic litter boxes
- Heavy, non-tracking granules
- Best clumping cat litter in value for money category
- Can be quite dusty
Odor Control: 90/100 Dust Production: 90/100 Value: 100/100
Total score: 93/100
Purina Tidy Cats — 24/7 Performance Cat Litter
Purina is among the most reliable pet food companies in the U.S. and its Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Cat litter is proof of this. It is a fantastic all-round product and is the best clumping cat litter we could find.
Odor control — This product is a top performer when it comes to odor control and clumping.
Its 24/7 TidyLock Protection technology locks away strong ammonia and fecal smells.
The product also has effective moisture absorption capabilities that keep the litter box dry which most cats like.
On top of this it has a light pleasant fragrance that makes it perfect for several cats using the same litter box or for cats with smelly waste.
It is also considered to be among the best clumping cat litter products on the market when it comes to clumping.
This is due to its unique bi-component system that is specifically designed to clump hard and clump tight. This results in large solid clumps that are easy to find and dispose of.
Dust production — With its patented anti-dust coating system, this product has anti-dust coating that prevents even the smallest dust particles from escaping, which makes it very low on dust and tracking.
While it’s light scent may still be an issue for super sensitive cats, it is a great compromise between sensitivity and odor control.
Value — While more expensive than most of the products on this list, we think Purina’s 24/7 Performance Cat Litter is very reasonably priced at USD 1.17 per pound, when all of its features are taken into consideration.
This product does a lot of things and does them all very well.
This product has to be awarded the “best clumping cat litter” title. While #2 has a scintillating price point, this scores extremely high in all of the criteria.
Consider this product if you want a versatile product that performs extremely strongly in all categories and you are willing to pay a little more for quality.
- Best clumping cat litter
- Excellent odor controll
- Can handle several cats at once
- Effective at absorbing moisture
- Minimal dust
- Great all-rounder
- Scented cat litter may not be suitable for very sensitive cats
Odor Control: 98/100 Dust Production: 98/100 Value: 98/100
Total score: 98/100