UT Guide to The Best Cat Litters
Cat Litters, Reviewed By Cat Sitters
As cat sitters, we see a lot of different cat litter options. Some we love. Some we hate. (And yes, these are the things we gossip about at the water cooler, much like you would a new Slack update.)
Because we get to essentially “test” a bunch of different litters, we thought we’d share our feedback to help anyone considering a switch.
Best Natural Cat Litters
Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Unscented (Clumping Litter, Clay)
My favorite. I have three cats at home and find this lives up to the challenge. It’s a clumping clay litter, 99% dust free, hypo-allergenic and natural, so you don’t have to worry about your cats (or you) breathing in a bunch of junk.
The clay is a medium grain and easy to scoop. Because it’s a slightly heavy grain, it’s low dust and decently low tracking. To be honest, I don’t think any litter is truly “non-tracking” (except maybe the Breeze system) but I’ve found a top-entry litter box, like this one, helps.
As far as odor control, this one does a great job in a multi-cat household, especially considering it’s unscented. However, I sometimes sprinkle some Arm & Hammer Cat Litter Deodorizer in there as an extra precaution. Can’t have anyone calling me a crazy cat lady.
World’s Best Multi-Cat Lavender (Clumping Litter, Corn)
Carine’s favorite. In general, World’s Best litter is a favorite among our cat sitting clients. We like it, but I’ve sometimes found it can take on a strong ammonia scent in multi-cat households. This lavender scented option has much better odor control and actually smells great!
It’s 99% dust free and made with with essential oils and natural compressed corn, so once again, you don’t have to worry about inhaling a bunch of junk.
People like corn litter, like World’s Best, because it’s more eco-friendly than clay litter. It’s definitely one of the best types of natural litters out there. If you’re not used to corn, it does clump a little differently than clay. The clumps are smaller, so you go through a little less litter than you would with a clumping clay option. If you’re going to switch, we recommend getting a special scoop, like this one, to go with it. Corn litter works with any litter box.
Note: this litter claims to be flushable, but such a thing does not exist. Don’t flush your litter! EVER!
The Best Non-Natural Cat Litter
Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Slide Multi-Cat Scented (Clumping Litter, Clay)
Erik’s favorite of the non-naturals. Not sure what kind of dark magic is in here, but this stuff is hands-down the easiest litter to scoop and clean. It really does slide out, so you don’t have to worry about huge clumps clinging the side of the box. It is one of the lowest dust and lowest tracking of the bunch. However, it has a VERY powerful scent, which can be irritating to kitties and people.
While this stuff is magical, we really must stress that we prefer natural cat litters. When a cat digs around in the litter box, they kick up clouds of dust that they’ll then have to inhale. And if they’re breathing in junk on a regular basis, it could affect them down the road.
The Best Pellet Systems
I love this system. I wish my cats used it, and I’m always so jealous when one of my cat sitting clients has one. It’s so much easier to clean and use than normal litter boxes. Plus, you use less litter and have less litter tracked around the house.
To get started, you need to buy the whole system, which includes a special litter box, scoop, pee pads and pellets. You cannot use the pellets in a normal litter box, so don’t try it!
How it works: cat pee is wicked down to a disposable pad that sits in a removable tray beneath the pellets. Cat poop sits on top of the pellets. So instead of scooping every day, you just toss the poop when you see it, and change the pee pad every couple weeks.
A note about transitioning your cats to this system: it’s a process. Be patient. It didn’t work for us, but if you’re thinking of switching, they recommend putting the Breeze system next to your old litter box. Put a few pellets in your old litter box so the cats can get used to them. Then, hold off on scooping your old box. When the old box gets full, your cat will **hopefully** decide to go in the pellet system, and then you’re in the clear. It was at this last phase that my cats rebelled and decided to defile my living room blankets instead of the Breeze. So, yeah. Godspeed.
This is a natural alternative to the Breeze system. However, it is important note that it only works with a sifting box, like the All Pine Litter Box. Otherwise, it’s a huge gross mess.
How it works: cat pee turns the pellets into sawdust. When you shake the top box, the dust falls through the screen into another tub, which you can dump after a few days. Cat poop sits on top of the pellets, like the Breeze system.
To be honest, we much prefer the Breeze system but felt this deserved a mention as a decent natural pellet system. A couple of our cat sitting clients use it and like it.
The Best Crystal Litter
PetSafe ScoopFree Blue Premium Scented (Non-Clumping, Silica Gel Crystal Litter)
Crystal litters aren’t as common as traditional clay clumping litters, but we have a few cat sitting clients who use and like them. One of the main draws is less scooping. The crystals absorb urine, so instead of scooping them out, you just have stir them around to ensure the pee dissolves evenly. (Otherwise, you’ll end up with a big stinky spot in whichever corner your cat prefers to go. ) Like the pellet systems, poop sits on top, so you just toss it when you see it. Because of this, you use less litter.
Two downsides to note, however: crystal litters can be pretty dusty, and not all cats like them. If you’re thinking of switching, we recommend doing a gradual transition.
ScoopFree is our favorite one of the bunch. It does a good job of odor control and even has a lavender scent (much to Carine’s excitement). You can use it in any litter box, but ScoopFree does make some self cleaning litter boxes that work well.
PrettyLitter (Non-Clumping, Silica Gel Crystal Litter)
We don’t have enough experience with this to give it a real review, but people seem to love it. In theory, it’s a great concept, particularly if you have an older cat or one with frequent urinary tract issues. The litter changes color depending on your cat’s urine’s PH level so you can identify issues before they become emergencies. As a hypochondriac who has been told by both my doctor and my vet to stop “WebMDing stuff,” I can’t help but feel this litter was made for me.
The Silica gel crystals are made with Synthetic Amorphous Silica (SAS), which according to the website is, “a form of silica that has been widely used in topical and oral medicines, food and cosmetics for decades.”
You can use PrettyLitter with any litter box.
I’ve honestly thought about trying this (I’m a sucker for any Podcast ad). But after reading some reviews about it being super dusty, I decided to stick with my tried-and-true.