Cats are generally known for being tidy and fastidious, but when it comes to litter boxes, all bets are kind of off. While the type of litter box you use and how often you clean it can make a huge difference, the best litters for odor control are what really count if you want to keep your house smelling clean.
Since there are so many litters to choose from, it's not easy picking the right one. Clumping litter is the most common type and it's typically made from bentonite clay, which forms into solid clumps once your cat does their business. While clumping litters make clean-up a breeze, they aren't always so great at containing odors. Crystal litter, which is made from silica gel, is generally considered the best for eliminating unwanted smells (plus it lasts longer). However, crystal litter is also more costly and can be dangerous to cats if ingested regularly. Other varieties - made from recycled paper, corn, pine, or ground wheat - can also be highly effective if you're looking for natural alternatives.
Finding a the right cat litter for you and your cat can be tricky, but luckily, advanced formulas exist so you don't have to sacrifice easy clean-up for superior odor control. The litters included below are not only excellent for containing odor, but they can make your cat feel more comfortable in their litter box, too.
1. Best Overall: This Top-Rated Litter That's Non-Scented (But Still Makes Odors Disappear)
This litter from Dr. Elsey's has a cult-like following on Amazon and it's pretty clear why: it's absolutely amazing for controlling odors. Unscented and 99.9 percent dust-free, this litter clumps and makes for quick cleanups. Part of the secret to why this litter is so good at containing smells is that it keeps liquids from hitting the bottom of a tray, so waste is less likely to pool up and congeal against your pet's box. The formula also favors heavy granules, which can also make it more comfortable for cats to step on and less likely to cause tracking once pets leave the box. Since this litter is also hypoallergenic, it's safe to use with sensitive cats. But the best part of all? You can buy a 40-pound bag of this stuff for under $20, which makes it one of the best budget buys around.
2. Most Lightweight: This Easy-To-Scoop Litter That Really Contains Harsh Smells
Usually when you think of a clay litter, chances are you probably don't think of them as lightweight. After all, clay litters (typically made from bentonite) are heavy by default, which in turn makes them easier to scoop. Well, this lightweight formula from Purina Tidy Cats changes all of that. It's created to be 50 percent lighter than other clumping litters, and it also works to scale down ammonia-based odors for two weeks at a time when scooping regularly. Like other previously mentioned clay litters, the granules here are small, so you probably want to grab a mat to place under your litter box to catch them when cats are hopping in and out. This litter is also 99.6 percent dust-free and super affordable, two major reasons why reviewers love it. "While other 'lightweight' litters are true 'lightweights' when it comes to containing odors, this litter stands strong. A+ overall. Will buy again (and again, and again)," raved one reviewer.
3. Best Scented: This Kernel Corn Litter Made With Soothing Lavender Oil
In the market for the world's best (and sweetest-smelling) cat litter? You can't go wrong with this whole-kernel corn clumping litter. Although it's scented to smell like lavender, there's nothing artificial or synthetic about the scent, since it comes from all-natural oil. Instead, reviewers say this litter smells inviting, while at the same time effectively goes to work locking in bad odors and keeping them under your nose. The litter itself has smaller granules, which can be a downside if you're worried about tracking since small granules tend to get stuck in paws easily, but this is an otherwise good, dust-free pick with a smell worth sniffing out. "After trying this, I love it. This litter clumps just like any clumping litter for easy cleaning, but there is no dust!," wrote one reviewer. "... In addition, there is a really neat perk which is that my cat smells like lavender oil every time she uses the litter box!"
4. Eco-Friendly Litter: This Super-Absorbent Litter That's Made From Paper
Unlike most clumping litters that are made from bentonite clay, this non-clumping litter from Purina is made with 100 percent recycled paper. This means that not only is it eco-friendly, but it also absorbs three times more moisture than clay-based litters, so odors are less likely to fill up your home. Since this litter comes in pellet form, you don't have to worry about dust and cats are less likely to track it around. It's also fragrance-free, so it stays gentle on your nose. Plus, according to reviewers, if you have a cat dealing with a chronic illness or just has extra-sensitive paws, this litter is a great option. One reviewer wrote: "My cat has very sensitive paws, and so I am unable to buy clumping litter anymore," one reviewer wrote. "This type of litter works well for him, preventing injuries that coarse, sand-based litters have caused."
5. Best For Multiple Cats: This Wheat Litter That You Can Actually Flush Down The Toilet (No, Seriously)
More cats means more cuteness in your day-to-day life, but it can also mean having to work overtime in order to prevent odors from really stinking up the joint. While there are many litters that are billed as being ideal for multiple cat homes, this one from sWheat Scoop is really in a class all its own. Made from naturally renewable wheat and completely biodegradable, this all-natural litter taps into the power of natural wheat enzymes and uses them to neutralize odors on contact almost completely. Scooping (especially for more than one kitty) is easy because starches in the wheat help make wastes clump up firmly, and since these are dye- and perfume-free, they're safe to use for cats with sensitive systems. But the area where this litter stands truly unique? You can flush it down the toilet. Reviewers love this feature and say it's also part of what makes this litter perfect for smaller or apartment living spaces. One reviewer noted: "sWheat Scoop not only works well as a multi-cat litter (good clumping and odor reduction), but it's completely flushable, so the problem of lingering soiled litter smell is greatly reduced."
6. Best Silica Gel: This Innovative Litter That's A Great Alternative To Traditional Clumping Options
Silica gel is becoming one of the most popular options for cat parents who are looking to control (or just plain stop) odors from forming because they're great at absorbing liquids and reducing mold and bacteria. Since silica gel litters dehydrate waste, they also last longer and mean less daily box maintenance, which is a big plus if you hate scooping daily. This silica gel option from PrettyLitter is a must-try since it functions just like a standard silica gel litter, trapping in odors and eliminating moisture so you never have to smell anything rough again. But then it does something a little different: it also helps you keep tabs on your pet's health. This non-clumping and completely scentless litter actually changes colors (indicating alkaline, blood, or acidity in waste), which can save you time, stress, and uncertainty down the line. This litter is also available through a subscription-based model, which makes it convenient to get monthly, and reviewers say it really does make a huge difference in reducing unwanted odors.
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