Choosing The Best Cat Litter

There are varied reasons why you may want to choose a different cat litter. Some common cat litters contain respiratory irritants and smelly chemicals or they are harmful to the environment. Another reason is because some felines are finicky about their litter and will be better about regularly using the litter box if it’s filled with their favorite cat litter. Or maybe you’ve been looking at automatic litter boxes and want to find a good clumping cat litter.

But with so many choices out there how do you know which one is the best cat litter for you and your cat. Hopefully these descriptions and a little experimenting will help you choose the best cat litter for your household.

Clay Clumping Cat Litter

The fine clay clumping cat litter is probably the most common type of cat litter used. Clay-based clumping cat litter is made of bentonite which absorbs moisture and forms into easy to clean clumps, which makes it an easy to use scoopable cat litter. It also helps absorb some of the urine odor.

But some people are moving away from this type of litter for health or environmental reasons. Because these litters can create a cloud of dust when cleaning and filling the box or when your cat is scratching in the litter box many feel this type of cat litter can irritate the lungs and even cause lung problems. There have been recent studies showing that cats with respiratory problems have a much higher percentage of clay-based silica dust in their lungs than healthy cats.

These fine particles can also get stuck in the fur and can be tracked around the house or ingested by the cat when licking its paws. There is concern that ingesting this can cause health problems in some cats. They also aren’t as good for infection prone cats. Learn more about: Cat Urination Issues Related to Cat Health Problems.

The environmental drawback of clay-based clumping litter is that it’s strip mined. It also isn’t biodegradable. It’s estimated that just under 200 million tons cat litter ends up in landfills every year. That’s a lot of kitty litter!

Cat Litter Crystals

Silica cat litter is sometimes called crystal cat litter or cat litter crystals. The crystals in silica cat litter are very porous; they can absorb and trap a great deal of moisture and contain the bacteria as well. Because the cat litter crystals absorb and hold the moisture they don’t need to be changed as often and they are better for infection prone cats. A single cat household can use the same litter for up to a month. The poop will have to be scooped out regularly though.

The downside to crystal cat litter is that it is mined similar to clay-based litter, so it may not be the most environmental choice. Crystal cat litter may also contain synthetic dyes or scents which you or your cat may not like.

Natural Cat Litters

The interest in natural cat litters, many of which are scoopable, has created a wide variety of cat litter options. These litters take into account both environmental and health concerns.

Corn and Wheat

These two natural cat litters have some similar characteristics. Both corn cat litter and wheat cat litter are made from renewable materials and they are biodegradable. They are both low dust so they aren’t as likely to cause respiratory problems for cats or their humans. They’re also both scoopable cat litters so they are easy to clean. The multi-cat versions are good at controlling cat litter odor, and they are good for infection prone cats or cats who have just had surgery.

Swheat Scoop cat litter is the popular wheat cat litter and World’s Best Cat Litter is the popular corn cat litter, but there are more brands available all the time.


Pine cat litter is made from lumber yard remains that would otherwise go to waste. This natural cat litter is low dust, it controls cat litter odor, and it is safe for kittens and infection prone cats and cats who have just had surgery. Some types of pine cat litter are clumping cat litter aka scoopable cat litter and some are not.

Feline Pine cat litter and Feline Fresh pine cat litter are the popular brands of pine cat litter. Both come as either clumping cat litter or in pellet form.

Recycled Newspaper

Yesterday’s News is a popular brand of cat litter that’s made from recycled newspapers. The paper absorbs moisture and it is scoopable. This litter is low dust (probably the lowest you can find), it’s biodegradable and better for the environment since it’s made from recycled paper.

Walnut Shell

Walnut shell litter is a newer addition to this market. As the name suggests it is made from walnut shells. It’s an environmental option because it is made from the byproduct of a renewable resource and it’s biodegradable. This option is very low dust and it is scoopable.

NOTE: Although some cat litter is labeled “flushable”, flushing cat litter down the toilet is controversial. Cat feces can contain the parasite toxoplasma gondii, which isn’t destroyed in sewage systems and can eventually make it’s way into the oceans. Once here it can kill certain sea life, like sea otters.

If you’ve been reading the what removes cat urine or cat urine remover pages because your cat isn’t using her litter box you may want to experiment with a new litter. Sometimes that can make all the difference to your cat.

Whether you’re looking for the right scoopable cat litter and/or a natural cat litter there are enough choices available for you to find the best cat litter for both you and your cat. Unfortunately sometimes it takes a little trial and error to find the best one for everyone, but be patient and you’ll find one that both you and your cat like.