2020 Buyer’s Guide & Reviews for the 10 Best Clumping Cat Litters
Let's face it, cat owners:
Anything that can make cat litter box duty a little easier would be a welcome addition to your regular routine! But is there one type of litter that's best for your cat to buy?
And how do you know which brand to choose?
In this review, we're going to introduce you to clumping cat litters. This special type of litter can make clean-up a breeze and help make your home smell like anything but a litter box.
By the way, we know:
There are lots of brands to choose from. Fortunately, we've “sifted” through the best brands (no pun intended) to help you find the best scoopable cat litters for your cat—whether you're brand new to the feline life or if you've been a fur-parent for years.
- Quick Comparison of Our Favorite Litters on the List
- Top 10 Best Clumping Cat Litters Review
- 1. Dr. Elsey's Cat Ultra Premium Clumping Cat Litter
- 2. World's Best Cat Litter Clumping Formula
- 3. Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Clumping Litter
- 4. Boxiecat Extra Strength Clumping Clay Cat Litter
- 5. Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Ultra Clumping Cat Litter
- 6. Precious Cat Dr. Elsey's Kitten Attract Cat Litter
- 7. ÖKOCAT Super Soft Natural Wood Clumping Litter
- 8. sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat All-Natural Clumping Cat Litter
- 9. All-Natural Clumping Cat Litter
- 10. Purina Tidy Cats 4-in-1 Strength Clumping Cat Litter
- What is Clumping Cat Litter?
- How Does Clumping Cat Litter Work?
- Things to Consider When Looking to Buy the Best Clumping Cat Litter
- Do You Need to Switch Litter?
- Is Clumping Litter Safe for Kittens?
- Is clumping litter bad for cats?
- Can you mix clumping and non clumping litter?
- How do you dispose of clumping cat litter?
- What kind of litter is best for cats?
Quick Comparison of Our Favorite Litters on the List
This is the comparison of our favorites on the list but you can read each individual review of the best 10 we selected as the best for this review below. Choosing any one of these could make a good option for your cat.
Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Ultra
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World's Best Cat Litter Clumping Formula
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Arm & Hammer Multi Cat Clump & Seal
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Boxiecat Extra Strength Clumping Clay Cat Litter
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Naturally Strong Fresh Clumping Walnut Cat Litter
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Precious Cat Dr. Elsey's Kitten Attract Cat Litter
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Okocat Super Soft Clumping Wood Cat Litter
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sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat Clumping Wheat Cat Litter
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All-Natural Clay Clumping Litter
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Tidy Cats 4-in-1 Clumping Clay Cat Litter
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Top 10 Best Clumping Cat Litters Review
The difference in ease and convenience that the best clumping litters makes is HUGE. Most cat owners never go back to non-clumping after they've experienced it for themselves.
If you're convinced it's time to try clumping litters (or try a different one), then start with these 10 best brands. They're the cat's meow when it comes to price, effectiveness, and customer reviews.
- Dr. Elsey's Cat Ultra Premium Clumping Cat Litter
- World's Best Cat Litter Clumping Formula
- Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Platinum Clumping Litter
- Boxiecat Extra Strength Premium Clumping Clay Cat Litter
- Naturally Fresh Multi-Cat Quick-Clumping Cat Litter
- Dr. Elsey's Precious CatKitten Attract Scoopable Cat Litter
- ÖKOCAT Super Soft Natural Wood Clumping Litter
- sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat All-Natural Clumping Cat Litter
- Litter Box All-Natural Clumping Cat Litter
- Purina Tidy Cats 4-in-1 Strength Clumping Cat Litter
Let's take a closer look at each one:
1. Dr. Elsey's Cat Ultra Premium Clumping Cat Litter
This Dr. Elsey's all-natural clumping litter is free of perfumes, deodorants, and plant proteins (all of which may irritate sensitive kitties). It promises superior odor control and a 99.9% dust-free rating. It also features heavy litter granules to avoid tracking and mess.
In addition to mechanical litter boxes, this heavy duty litter can also be used in homes with multiple cats. The large hard clumps are super easy to remove, minimizing clean up time and improving odor control.
- Pros: hypo-allergenic, can be used in mechanical/automatic litter boxes
- Cons: some reviewers have left concerns about the quality of the litter changing recently; other reviewers caution that if your cat uses the litter box with wet paws then the litter can harden to their paw pads and fur
2. World's Best Cat Litter Clumping Formula
Number two on our list is not called “World's Best” for no reason! This one has minimal dusting and has a fast-acting clumping ability to make clean-ups faster than ever.
Because it's biodegradable (made from renewable corn kernels!), you can go ahead and flush this litter down the toilet, too. While some users say the clumping ability is on point, others disagree—but this might depend on how many cats are using the litter, as well.
- Pros: can be flushed down the toilet; minimal dusting
- Cons: pricey; some users note it has a strong smell; clumps can break apart
3. Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Clumping Litter
We have to say, the claims this clumping litter comes with are pretty impressive: 7-day odor free guarantee AND 100% dust-free platinum formula? Don't mind if we do!
Turns out, renowned brand Arm & Hammer may have figured it out. This is a bestselling product that seems to have a lot of positive reviews overall.
It features a “patented” formula that locks in scents, even if there are multiple kitties in your home using the cat lavatory!
- Pros: great for multi-cat homes
- Cons: expensive; heavy; not clear if it's safe for flushing
4. Boxiecat Extra Strength Clumping Clay Cat Litter
Boxiecat is a crowd favorite among our best list. This one forms hard clumps quickly, is unscented, is resistant to tracking, and is also soft on your kitty's paws. Plus, it's easy to scoop and contains a “probiotic-powered odor control” feature that makes it perfect for households with multiple four-legged furballs.
Ever think they give out awards for kitty litters? Turns out they do! This brand is the winner of the Cat Fancy Editors’ Choice Award.
- Pros: glowing reviews; vet-recommended; extra-strength odor protection; clumps well; 100% family owned, operated and funded and made in the USA
- Cons: may not be as dust-free as it claims to be
5. Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Ultra Clumping Cat Litter
Don't let the unusual look fool you! While some reviewers compared this clumping kitty litter to “coffee grounds,” most people seem less concerned with look and more concerned with effectiveness.
This is an environmentally-friendly choice is made with walnut shells—free of clay which can give off dust particles more easily. It's also apparently pretty cost-effective, with the manufacturers claiming that just one bag is equivalent to three bags of the leading clay litter.
- Pros: great odor control and no smell to the litter itself either
- Cons: can track a lot; picky cats may be thrown off by the unusual texture
6. Precious Cat Dr. Elsey's Kitten Attract Cat Litter
Cats seem to really love this stuff! The manufacturers state that it's safe to be used as training litter for kitties (though remember: this may be a case by case basis depending on your young'un). But cats of any age appear to like it, so don't worry if you have an adult cat who needs a new litter. This is made for any cats.
It's also 99.5% dust-free, all natural, and has a soft texture so it's gentle on cat paws. Just watch out if your cat is wet and goes inside…it can make the litter difficult to remove.
- Pros: safe to be used in mechanical litter boxes; seems to attract cats
- Cons: hard to remove from the box (or your cat's paws) if it gets wet; some users note inefficient packaging can cause spillage
7. ÖKOCAT Super Soft Natural Wood Clumping Litter
Lightweight and effective describes this natural wood clumping litter. It's soft on your cat's paws and allegedly can absorb up to 500% of its weight in liquid! The dust issue is minimal to none, and most users seem to agree that it is extremely economical and cost-effective, especially compared to other kitty litters. It makes it extremely appealing.
- Pros: cats seem to like the litter; great at hiding odor; is unscented and if anything has a light wood smell that many users actually find pleasant
- Cons: likely doesn't work in mechanical/rollover-style litter boxes; can be messy and track/scatter, probably because it's so lightweight and easy to stick to cats' paws and coat; fortunately, it is easy to vacuum up
8. sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat All-Natural Clumping Cat Litter
This is another clumping cat litter that comes vet-recommended. The product promises to be quick-clumping, excellent at odor control, and biodegradable as well. It's also free of added dyes and perfumes, making it an ideal choice for your skin-sensitive kitties.
The product contains wheat, which has enzymes that neutralize unpleasant smells and starches that clump quickly (great for a home with more than one cat family member). And according to the company, it's septic safe. However, some reviewers don't flush it down their toilets out of caution.
Another benefit of the wheat in this litter? Some reviewers have noticed that their cats actually made better stools, probably thanks to the inadvertent ingestion of some extra fiber that they get from cleaning their paws.
- Pros: all-natural and biodegradable, company donates litters to charitable organizations; excellent odor-cutting smell even in small spaces; flushable; great for multi-cat homes
- Cons: may not be great for cats with sensitivity to wheat or gluten; some owners don't want to flush this product if they have septic tanks
9. All-Natural Clumping Cat Litter
The best cat litter by Litter Box has just one all-natural ingredient: sun-dried sodium bentonite clay, harvested on their family-owned-and-operated ranch in Wyoming. The texture is sand-like, giving it a realistic feel that most cats really seem to enjoy. So, if you end up transitioning your cat to this brand, the process hopefully should be relatively simple.
As soon as your cat does her duties, the clumping action begins immediately. This allows you to scoop out the waste soon and further reduce the risk of unwanted odors. At 99% dust-free, you and your cats can avoid respiratory issues.
By the way, don't let how lightweight it is fool you. Reviewers note that a 20 lb bag lasts as long as a 40 lb bag of traditional litter, even with multiple kitties.
- Pros: made in the US; chemical-free, clay-free, fragrance-free; about half the weight of traditional clay litters; long-lasting; no smell
- Cons: some reviewers find the price quite high; some tracking was visible at home
10. Purina Tidy Cats 4-in-1 Strength Clumping Cat Litter
Any cat owners probably are aware of the three main smells coming from cat litter boxes: urine, feces, and ammonia. This scoopable litter from Purina can eliminate all three and trap the waste into small tight clumps for easy removal.
It's designed specifically for households with multiple cats and has a 99.6% dust-free promise, making pouring and clean up a lot easier on your lungs. It's made out of natural clay and comes in an easy-to-pour container. Unfortunately, some users have found that the clumping ability of this litter isn't up to par compared to other brands, doesn't wick up moisture quite as well.
- Pros: appealing to many picky cats; well-known brand; low dust
- Cons: not great for large cats who expel a lot of urine; expensive; may not clump as well as other products
What is Clumping Cat Litter?
It's all in the name!
Clumping cat litter is a special type of litter that helps your kitty's waste clump together. Both feces and urine will solidify into various sized chunks or clumps. These clumps can then be easily removed with a scooper or small shovel.
Wondering what happens to the rest of the litter in the box? Great news:
It stays clean! This means you don't have to fully empty and change your kitty's litter box as often (though you're not completely off the hook, even with the best clumping litters). Instead, you can simply add a little bit of extra fresh litter as needed in between full cleans.
Compare this to non-clumping litter, which is what virtually all types of cat litters were back in the day. While it may be less expensive, non-clumping litters usually has to be emptied out more often, since the bottom of the box becomes saturated with urine over time. This is because the urine will spread out and settle rather than clump together in convenient little clumps.
Essentially, non-clumping cat litters can be a huge hairy hassle to clean…you pretty much have to change the entire box at least once a week to keep hygiene up and smells down! So, for people who are willing to spend a little more to save a lot more on time and convenience, clumping cat litters is often the obvious choice.
How Does Clumping Cat Litter Work?
In order for clumping litters to work properly, it needs to be super absorbent. If you take a look at the labels, almost all of the best clumping litters will contain a substance called bentonite clay. Bentonite clay is super absorbent—whenever it comes in contact with liquid, it'll bind together and form a hard solid mass. All you need to do then is a little excavating with your little shovel and you're good to go!
Things to Consider When Looking to Buy the Best Clumping Cat Litter
When you're deciding to buy the best clumping cat litter for your cat, you need to consider several different factors. These factors can help you narrow down the huge selection available on pet store shelves (or online for that matter):
How well does the clumping action actually work? Does the urine stay together in a large hard mass, or does it fall apart easily?
Clumps should be large and not fall apart too easily when you go to pick it up with your scooper or small shovel. Ideally, the clumps will form quickly, as well, and stay toward the top of the litter for easier clean-up.
We all know cat owners have litter boxes…but that doesn't mean we want to know it with our noses! The best clumping litters should still be able to contain and eliminate the bad smell (thanks to ingredients like baking soda). This is especially important if you keep your litter box in a high traffic area such as a bathroom or mudroom. No one likes bad odors.
Some clumping cat litters come with a scent in addition to an odor-blocking ability. This may be fine for you and your kitty. But if your cat has skin sensitivities, this may not be the best choice—in which case, an unscented clumping kitty litters would probably be best.
Plus, some cat owners may not like the smell of scented cat litters. Sure, it may say “lavender” or some other pleasant odors, but if it disagrees with your nose you certainly won't want to be smelling it in your home.
Even if “unscented,” certain types of kitty litters has its own smell anyway. But his may not be a problem, depending on how sensitive your nose is.
Dust-free means better cleanliness and indoor air quality—which is good not only for your kitty but for the rest of your family, too.
Take a look when you go to get the clumps of urine and feces. Is dust emitted into the air? When looking for a great scoopable cat litter, you want minimal dust so there's less to clean up…and less for your kitty to inhale or track all around your house!
This may be important to you if you've been trying to go green recently. Many affordable and high quality clumping litters are made with natural ingredients like walnut shells and wood.
But another HUGE plus to biodegradable litters is that in most cases it can be flushed down your toilet! Talk about easy.
Do You Need to Switch Litter?
Deciding when and how to switch kitty litter is a largely personal decision, you want the best for your cat. Keep in mind that your litter choice will vary depending on things like how many cats you have, how much and how often your cat urinates and defecates, and whether or not your cat has a picky temperament and avoids new brands.
Here are a few questions that may help you decide if it's time to switch your litter:
- Does your cat seem aversive to using the litter box?
- Are you frustrated with how often you have to empty out and clean the litter box?
- Are you concerned that your cat is tracking a lot of litter all over your home?
- Do you have multiple cats?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may want to buy a new type of clumping litter to trial.
Is Clumping Litter Safe for Kittens?
Kittens are young. They're learning how to clean themselves, get themselves to use the litter box, and basically become a fully functioning furball.
They're also insanely curious and love to put things in their mouths, like all babies do. For this reason, some cat parents are concerned about using clumping cat litters for their littlest felines. Some of the ingredients in clumping cat litters (or the small clumps of urine and feces themselves) may cause intestinal blockages or other problems if ingested by your kitty. And since little cats aren't the best at the whole grooming thing, they may be more likely to consume litter particles compared to their older companions.
The thing is, there's no scientific proof that clumping cat litters can be harmful to cats.
So, what to do?
Here's the ASPCA's take on it: “…while there has been no proof to claims of problems in scientific literature, caretakers may wish to delay introducing kittens to clumping litters until 3 to 4 months of age.”
Ultimately, there's no evidence to say that clumping cat litters aren't safe for kittens, but as a cat owner, you may ultimately need to make your own call about this one.
While cleaning the litter box may not be your favorite part about owning a cat, it's certainly an essential chore. But if you're going to do it, you may as well make it as easy as possible!
If you've been thinking that it's time for a change to your cat's litter box, keep this review of the best clumping litters handy. It'll be a helpful reference for the next time you shop online or head to the pet store to get a new litter to use.
No matter which brand you choose, the important thing is to select one that your cat will like. This may take a bit of trial and error, but knowing your cat's personality and needs is helpful this regard. Does your cat have skin issues, allergies, or sensitivities? Is your cat picky or a bit more easy going? Answering these questions should help you narrow down your choices.
Compared to traditional cat litters, clumping cat litters can save you a lot of time and energy. Get the best product, and your kitty, your time, your money, and your nose will likely thank you!
- Clumping Vs. Non-clumping Cat Litter at www.animalplanet.com
- Respiratory Disease: Study on Silica Dust in Cats Peter L. Borchelt, Ph.D. Animal Behavior Consultants, Inc.Brooklyn, New York
- How Kitty Litter went from happy accident to $2 billion industry by By Daniel A. Gross www.washingtonpost.com
- Eco-Friendly Cat Litter at PetMD
Is clumping litter bad for cats?
Many mass market cat litters contain significant amounts of silica dust which has been linked to upper respiratory issues in cats and even humans. Likewise, the chemical fragrances in many cat litters can also be toxic to cats. However, another issue is the sodium bentonite clay in clumping cat litters.
Can you mix clumping and non clumping litter?
Yes, if you're desperately close to being out of litter. Two things to keep in mind, though: 1) your cats may reject a new litter compound or a strange-smelling mixture, so go slowly and use as much of what they're familiar with as you possibly can.
How do you dispose of clumping cat litter?
Just don't head for the bathroom or kitchen trash can when it's time to throw the litter out. Use double-lined bags or at least two bags when disposing of cat litter. Scoop the litter into a plastic bag, then tie up the bag and place it into another.
What kind of litter is best for cats?
Corn. Wheat. Pine. Walnut. Paper.