Dogs may be the most “lovable” species when it comes to pets, but everyone knows that cat owners are some of the most dedicated pet parents out there. Cat owners will do anything to give their feline friends the best of everything — the best cat litter, toys, and entertainment that money can buy.
It’s no secret that our pets take top priority in our lives. In fact, a study shows that two in three pet owners take better care of their pets than themselves. With that being true for our furry friends, finding the best products for them is part of ensuring they receive the best care.
How many of us actually own cats? A survey conducted by The Discerning Cat discovered that 60.6 million U.S. adults own a cat in 2022, equivalent to 29% of the adult population, and a little over half of that portion of Americans own multiple cats. Owning a pet can be time-consuming and wallet-draining.
The average American spends $25,304 on their friendly fur ball during their life, according to a poll of 2,000 cat owners, but many of us would spend more without a second thought. Most pet owners consider their furry companions an established part of their family. In fact, one study shows that cats adore their human parents in the same way that dogs and even infants do!
If you’ve just adopted or are new to feline care, the main difference between dogs and cats is that cats require a litter box. With so many brands and options, StudyFinds has sorted through the best cat litter options for you so you don’t have to. We’ve examined 10 of the leading websites to determine which five options were recommended the most often. If we missed one, let us know in the comments below!
The List: Best Cat Litter, According to Experts
Dr. Elsey’s has been hailed as the best overall pick in scoopable clumping litters for many households, ringing in at 40 pounds per bag and outperforming many other more expensive brands. “No brand of cat litter outperforms Dr. Elsey’s Ultra’s combination of solid odor control, scoopability, and low dust profile—all at an affordable price,” writes NY Times. “It’s the only cat litter we found that completely traps simulated cat-waste odors.”
This litter clumps and scoops easily, without releasing a significant amount of dust, making it easy to maintain a clean box and non-irritating ford cats sensitive to dust or fragrances. “The unscented medium-grain clay litter satisfies a cat’s need to scratch, dig, and bury their waste. It produces very little dust, making it a good choice for cats with respiratory issues,” says Insider. “In testing, it absorbed liquid almost instantly and clumped tightly. With a bit of heft to its grains, less litter was tracked out of the box than with our top pick.”
World’s Best is a non-clay litter option made from corn that still clumps easily and controls odors well. “World’s Best Cat Litter is made from corn instead of clay, which makes it so much lighter than other litter. Your trash bag won’t sink from the weight of your daily cleaning!” writes Good Housekeeping. “… it clumps so well there’s very little litter waste as you clean. Our home tester found that the 28-pound bag can last two months, even if you have two cats.”
Besides being lighter than clay, it is the most budget-friendly biodegradable litter for the eco-conscious cat owner. “There’s a lot to admire about this cat litter: Since it’s made from corn, it’s an environmentally-friendly option and biodegrades. It’s scent-free, which is appealing to some cats. It does an excellent job keeping odors under control, while also being lightweight and easy to scoop,” adds The Spruce Pets.
For cats with sensitive noses or respiratory issues, it’s important to use a litter that is both unscented and dust-free. “Cats have moderately sensitive noses. While the research is mixed as to what cats prefer, my recommendation for unscented is also based on hygiene. A person may not clean a litter box as often as needed if there is perfume covering up the smell,” says CNN.
Fresh Step Litter beats other brands of unscented clumping litter in the price and performance departments, with very little floating dust when poured and easy-to-scoop clumps. “Better yet, the litter clumps nicely, though those clumps were in fairly flat layers,” writes Reviewed. Fresh Step claims that the product is 99.9% dust-free, and that rang true. We didn’t experience any dust when pouring the litter, which was fairly easy with the thick strap on top of the box.”
According to Cats.com, “This formula is designed with larger granules that are less likely to get stuck in your cat’s paws. Few cat litters are completely non-tracking, but our tester found this litter to be a little less messy than the average clumping clay formula.”
If you’re looking for a natural litter free of chemicals and synthetic ingredients that might be harmful to your kitty, Okocat is the best. “Okocat litter is sustainably created from natural wood and paper fiber that is 99% dust free. This litter is a natural alternative free from synthetic chemicals, scents, and dyes. Six different formulas lend themselves to cats with delicate paws or long coats,” writes Modern Cat.
Okocat doesn’t sacrifice any of the qualities that regular litter has, with lightweight odor control and great clumping abilities. “Wood fiber can be a good cat litter alternative to clay, with a fresh natural scent and lightweight texture. Its absorption and clumping abilities are just as powerful as clay, yet it’s also biodegradable and flushable. Pet parents agree: This is one of the safest cat litters for your pet and the environment,” adds Petco.
Insider says this is the best paper-based product: “Ökocat’s Non-Clumping Paper Pellet Litter is the most absorbent of all paper litters we tested and produces virtually no dust.”
Senior cat owners or those who just want to keep an eye on their feline friend’s health might try Pretty Litter. Pretty Litter changes color according to the pH levels of urine, which could be helpful in detecting health issues.
“PrettyLitter takes it up a notch with the addition of pH-detecting particles. When exposed to urine, these particles change color to indicate the approximate pH of your cat’s urine,” writes All About Cats. Changes in the acidity of your cat’s urine can be an early indicator for a number of health problems including struvite crystals, urinary tract infection, and kidney tubular acidosis.”
Pretty Litter also makes maintenance easier than standard clumping litter. Scoop only solid wastes out of the crystals. Liquid gets absorbed.“Because it’s made from gel crystals, PrettyLitter actually absorbs liquids instead of clumping around it. This means you only have to scoop solid waste, which you can easily flush away,” adds NY Mag.
You might also be interested in:
- NY Times
- NY Mag
- Good Housekeeping
- The Spruce Pets
- All About Cats
- Modern Cat
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.