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The dog section is full of food options and maybe has a section for toys and treats. The cat section is typically much larger because it also has to accommodate a whole separate category of product: litter box supplies.
At a Glance: The Best Clumping Cat Litters to Buy
One of the primary benefits cat owners cite for cats versus dogs is the fact that they do their business discretely in a box – they don’t mess up the yard and they don’t need to go outside every few hours.
If you were to ask for an honest response, however, most cat owners would say that it’s a good thing as well as a bad thing. As convenient as it is to have your cat doing his business hidden away indoors, there’s also the business of scooping the box. That’s a task no one likes to do. To make that task a little easier and less unpleasant, many cat owners prefer clumping to non-clumping cat litter.
We’re here to tell you everything you need to know about clumping litter and which brands are best.
How We Tested:
- We purchased the best clumping cat litters on the market today
- We spent a few weeks testing the cat litters on several cats
- We did not receive these product in exchange for a favorable review, they were purchased with our own money
Why Should You Trust Our Recommendations?
The number of cat litter reviews out there is uncountable. What you need to realize, however, is that many of those reviews aren’t based on testing. Reading what the manufacturer has to say about their product is fine, but their goal is to sell cat litter so they’re going to spend more time talking about the benefits and try not to highlight the drawbacks.
Our cat litter recommendations are based on a combination of testing and research. As cat owners ourselves, we understand the day-to-day realities of dealing cat litter, the good and the bad. We’ve also tested dozens of the top brands, including multiple formulas from each.
Every cat litter on this list has been tested and, for each brand, multiple formulas have been tested for comparison. In addition to doing our own testing, we’ve taken the time to research the companies we’re backing to learn more about the products so we can bring you an honest and accurate assessment.
The 12 Best Clumping Cat Litters Reviewed
All cat litters are not created equal and there isn’t one stand-out best – it all depends what you’re looking for. Many cat owners prioritize odor control while others are more concerned with tracking or dust. Some cat owners prefer natural materials, and some look for additional benefits like litter that is flushable or compostable.
We’ve done our best to assemble a comprehensive list of the best clumping cat litters in different categories to help you nail down the best option for you. Here are our picks!
#1 The Best Affordable Clumping Cat Litter: Frisco Fresh Scent Multi-Cat Clumping Litter
- Materials: Clay
- Price Per Pound: $0.35/pound
- Key Features: Affordable price, fresh scent for odor control, fast clumping action
Many cat owners are concerned about affordability above all things when shopping for cat litter. There are plenty of low-priced brands out there, but we think Frisco offers the right combination of affordability and quality.
This clay litter is made with odor-neutralizing technology for long-lasting odor protection. It also helps that it’s very absorbent and forms hard clumps that are easy to scoop. We also like that this litter has a fresh scent that isn’t too strong – it can be a little strong at first but after a few minutes it fades to a light, fresh scent. Overall, it’s affordable and great for even multi-cat households.
- Light fresh scent
- Fast absorbing and hard clumping
- Low in dust and tracking
- Bags are very large and can be quite heavy
#2 The Best Clumping Litter for Immediate Odor Control: Fresh Step Extreme Odor Control Scented Litter
- Materials: Clay
- Price Per Pound: $0.52/pound
- Key Features: Paw-activated fragrance, immediate odor control, tight hard clumps
One of the most familiar brands of cat litter, Fresh Step offers a wide variety of options including this extreme odor control formula.
Powered by the scent of Febreeze and Ammonia Block Technology, this formula immediately neutralizes odors but also offers long-lasting odor control. It has paw-activated fragrance to refresh the litter every time your cat uses the box and it forms hard, tight clumps to lock away odor until you get around to scooping.
This litter is a little dustier than some, but the tracking was not overly noticeable and the other features more than made up for the slight inconvenience.
- Odor control powered by Febreeze, paw-activated fragrance
- Hard tight clumps
- Scent may be too strong for some cats, a little dustier than some formulas
#3 The Best Clumping Litter for Long-Lasting Odor Control: Tidy Cats Scoop 24/7 Performance Formula
- Materials: Clay
- Price Per Pound: $0.50/pound
- Key Features: Lasting odor control, highly absorbent, dust free and low tracking
Another popular cat litter brand, Tidy Cats offers multiple formulas including this 24/7 formula designed specifically for long-lasting odor control.
This formula offers round-the-clock odor control thanks to TidyLock protection and hard clumping action. It is highly absorbent and works quickly against ammonia, urine, and feces odor to prevent odors from spreading outside the box.
It is dust-free and low tracking as well. One thing to note is that because the litter is so absorbent, high volumes of liquid may spread to the bottom of the box before clumping which can make cleaning a little more difficult.
- Round-the-clock odor control
- Tight hard clumps
- Dust free and low tracking
- Large volumes of liquid may spread to the bottom of the box
#4 The Best Unscented Clumping Cat Litter: Ever Clean Extra-Strength Unscented Premium Clumping Litter
- Materials: Clay
- Price Per Pound: $0.69/pound
- Key Features: No perfumes or artificial fragrance, hard clumping action, excellent odor control
One of the first cat litter brands to be sold in stores, Ever Clean remains one of the best options on the market for odor control. Even this unscented clumping formula offers powerful odor control without the use of perfumes or artificial fragrances.
It is highly absorbent, locking in odors on contact for both immediate and long-lasting odor control. This litter also offers antimicrobial benefits which help prevent odor-causing bacteria from accumulating in the litter box.
Though hard clumping and highly absorbent, this litter was also very fine so it was a little dustier and tracked more than some formulas.
- Maximum odor control
- No perfumes or artificial fragrances
- Hard tight clumps
- Fine granules are a little dusty and may track to some degree
#5 The Best Scented Clumping Cat Litter: Scoop Away Complete Performance Scented Cat Litter
- Materials: Clay
- Price Per Pound: $0.47/pound
- Key Features: Long-lasting odor control, paw-activated freshness, hard tight clumps
A highly affordable brand, Scoop Away sells many of their formulas in smaller bags conveniently sold in multi-packs. This Complete Performance formula is designed to keep the litter box smelling fresh for up to 10 days at a time.
It offers excellent odor control and is made with superfine granules that are paw-activated to release a fresh scent with each use. This cat litter forms hard, tight clumps with further supports odor control and makes scooping very easy.
Large volumes of liquid can sometimes soak into the bottom of the box, but normal use isn’t a problem. It also tends to be a little dusty at first, though it dissipates quickly, and the fine granules may track more than some litters.
- Keeps litter box odor-free for up to 10 days
- Forms hard tight clumps
- Paw-activated freshness
- Superfine granules are a little dusty, may track more than some litters
#6 The Best Lightweight Clumping Cat Litter: Cat’s Pride Fresh & Light Quick Action Fragrance-Free Multi-Cat Clumping Cat Litter
- Materials: Clay
- Price Per Pound: $0.66/pound
- Key Features: Lightweight formula, free from perfumes and fragrances, tight hard clumps
One of the biggest complaints people have about cat litter is that it’s heavy. This Fresh & Light Quick Action cat litter from Cat’s Pride is formulated to be lightweight and it isn’t significantly more expensive than traditional litter.
This formula is 25% lighter than the average litter but still forms tight, hard clumps that are easy to scoop. It locks away odors on contact without the use of added fragrance, so it won’t irritate your cat’s nose or lungs.
This cat litter does fairly well in terms of absorbing liquid and odor, but the lightweight formula is a little dustier than heavier litters which means a little more mess. If you’re looking specifically for a lightweight litter, however, this is a compromise you may have to make.
- 25% lighter than the average litter
- Forms tight hard clumps
- Free from perfumes and fragrances
- Lightweight formula is a little dustier than the average litter
#7 The Best Respiratory Relief Clumping Litter: Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Respiratory Relief Clumping Litter
- Materials: Clay
- Price Per Pound: $0.46/pound
- Key Features: Super absorbent, free from perfumes and deodorants, hard clumping action
This brand was developed by Dr. Elsey, a feline-only veterinarian, and there are a number of formulas to choose from. The Precious Cat Respiratory Relief Clumping Litter formula is a hypoallergenic, unscented, clumping clay litter designed to be 99.5% dust-free.
This minimizes the risk for upsetting your cat’s respiratory system and the litter also contains natural essences to reduce stress. In addition to being hypoallergenic and low dust, this formula forms hard clumps for easy scooping and odor control.
- Helps reduce the risk of respiratory disease
- Forms hard clumps
- No perfumes or deodorants
- May not control odors as long as some formulas (due to lack of scent/deodorants)
#8 The Best Clumping Litter for Multiple Cats: Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Multi-Cat Clumping Litter
- Materials: Clay
- Price Per Pound: $0.68/pound
- Key Features: Great for multiple cats, moisture-activated microgranules, hard clumps
One of the most recognizable names on the market, Arm & Hammer has been around for over 170 years. Their cat litter is very affordable and comes in a wide range of formulas, but we like their Clump & Seal Multi-Cat Clumping Litter for multi-cat households.
This litter combines the odor-fighting power of Arm & Hammer baking soda with moisture-activated microgranules to seal in odor.
It forms hard, easy-to-scoop clumps, and controls odor well in multi-cat households. This litter also comes with very little dust and is extremely low tracking. Plus, it is very affordably priced.
- Excellent at neutralizing and locking in odors
- Great for multiple cats,
- Hard clumping action
- Very fine granules are slightly sandy in texture
#9 The Best All-Natural Clumping Cat Litter: sWheat Scoop Natural Fast-Clumping Wheat Cat Litter
- Materials: Wheat
- Price Per Pound: $0.82/pound
- Key Features: All natural materials, fast clumping action, biodegradable and flushable
Technically speaking, the clay from which most clay litters is made is natural but the processes to extract it and turn it into cat litter are not completely natural and can be harmful to the environment.
Many natural cat litters are made from things like corn, walnut shells, or wood. sWheat Scoop is made from wheat and it was the first all-natural cat litter on the market.
This fast-clumping formula is our preference because it lives up to its promise of clumping quickly and it also offers decent odor control thanks to Noble Ion Technology. It does track a little but is very low in dust.
- All-natural wheat materials
- No added chemicals or perfumes
- Clumps quickly
- Tracks a little, may smell unpleasant when wheat and urine odors combine
#10 The Best Chemical-Free Clumping Cat Litter: Okocat Natural Wood Clumping Cat Litter
- Materials: Wood
- Price Per Pound: $0.71/pound
- Key Features: Reclaimed wood materials, free from chemicals and dyes, lightweight
Even if cat litter is made from natural materials, it can still contain chemical ingredients like perfumes and deodorants. Okocat Natural Wood Clumping Cat Litter is made from reclaimed wood, so it’s very environmentally friendly, and it is also free from chemicals, dyes, scents, and GMO ingredients.
Being made from wood, this litter is very lightweight and highly absorbent – it’s also biodegradable. This litter has a slight natural scent and does fairly well for odor control. The clumps don’t harden as much as they do for clay litters, but they still make it easier to separate clean and dirty litter.
- Made from reclaimed wood materials
- Lightweight and absorbent
- Clumps aren’t as hard as some litters, some tracking was observed
#11 The Best Flushable Clumping Cat Litter: World’s Best Cat Litter Clumping Formula
- Materials: Corn
- Price Per Pound: $1.14/pound
- Key Features: Natural corn materials, forms hard clumps, biodegradable and flushable
Made from natural compressed corn, this cat litter is completely free from silica dust which helps your cat breathe easy. It absorbs liquid well to form hard, tight clumps that are easy to scoop. Best of all, the materials are biodegradable and flushable for easy cleanup.
This clumping cat litter is unscented but still offers decent odor control, making it a good choice for multi-cat households. It’s a great option if you’re looking for something eco-friendly and good for cats with sensitive respiratory systems.
- Made from natural unscented materials
- Biodegradable and flushable
- Hard clumping formula
- May have an unpleasant odor with large volumes of urine
#12 The Best Crystal Clumping Cat Litter: SoPhresh Scoopable Odor-Lock Clumping Micro Crystal Litter
- Materials: Silica crystals
- Price Per Pound: $1.31/pound
- Key Features: Fast absorbing and clumping, excellent odor control, soft on sensitive paws
Because there are environmental concerns with clay cat litters, many cat owners prefer alternative options like crystal cat litter. This SoPhresh scoopable cat litter is made from ultra-fine silica gel crystals which absorb odor as well as liquids. Because it isn’t made from clay, there is virtually no dust.
What makes this crystal litter ideal is that the granule sizes are much smaller than the average crystal litter, making them much gentler on sensitive paws. We also liked that this litter was lightweight.
- Ultra-fine silica gel crystals
- Absorbs odors and liquids
- Forms scoopable clumps
- Crystals expand significantly as they absorb liquid (may need to scoop more often)
Clumping vs. Non-Clumping Cat Litter
Cat litter is divided into two main categories: clumping and non-clumping. If you don’t know already, clumping cat litter is litter formulated to “clump” when exposed to liquid. When your cat urinates in the box, the materials absorb the liquid and form a hard mass that can easily be scooped out. Solid waste doesn’t clump, necessarily, but the litter may stick to the liquid in it to separate it from the clean litter.
Non-clumping cat litter is the opposite. It is still designed to absorb liquid, but it doesn’t form those easy-to-scoop clumps. Some cats prefer non-clumping cat litter because they don’t like to dig around solid clumps. Non-clumping litter also tends to be lower in price, though not in all cases. In the end, it’s largely a matter of preference but there are definitely certain features you should look for.
What Do We Look for in Clumping Cat Litter?
As a cat owner, it’s your responsibility to provide for your cat’s needs and that includes providing him with a clean litter box. If you prefer the convenience of clumping litter, you have plenty of options to choose from. We’ve evaluated and tested many of the top brands on the market. You’ll see our recommendations below but, first, let’s talk about what we look for in a clumping cat litter.
Here are some of the features we look for in clumping cat litter:
- Strong clumping action. There’s no point in buying clumping cat litter if it doesn’t clump well. Clay materials tend to form the hardest clumps, though even natural materials can clump well enough to make it possible to separate dirty from clean litter.
- Neutralizes odors. One of the benefits of clumping litter is that it seals in odors, to a degree. Generally speaking, the faster/stronger the clumping action, the better the odor control.
- Low dust. It’s impossible to avoid a little dust when your cat starts kicking litter around, but certain materials are lower in dust than others. It’s important to look for a low-dust formula to avoid irritating your cat’s respiratory tract (and your own).
- Low mess/tracking. Not only do you want to look for a low dust formula but look for one that doesn’t make a lot of mess or track all over the house. Smaller granules tend to stick in your cat’s paws a little more, making it more prone to tracking, but that isn’t always true.
- Scented or unscented. Scented cat litter can help cover odors, but it can also irritate your cat’s respiratory system. If your cat isn’t sensitive, you may prefer it. Unscented cat litter can still neutralize odors and help lock them away with strong clumping action.
In addition to these features, we also consider additional factors like the materials from which the litter is made. Many clumping cat litters are made from clay which clumps extremely well but isn’t particularly good for the environment. Natural litters may not clump as well, but they are often biodegradable, compostable, and even flushable. You might also want to think about how heavy the litter is and, of course, think about the price.
There are so many different cat litters out there that you could spend the entire day shopping and still not make a choice. The truth is that most cat litters are pretty similar. If you don’t have specific needs or preferences, you could pick just about any litter off the shelf and be perfectly happy.
If your cat has specific preferences or you are looking for certain features, however, you’ll want to spend some time shopping around. Take a look at our top picks above – you might just find the perfect clumping cat litter that will satisfy both you and your cat!
Choosing the right cat litter is one thing but knowing how to use it properly is another thing entirely. To help you get the most out of your new litter, we’ve compiled a quick list of some of the most frequently asked questions. Take a look!
How Much Cat Litter Should You Use?
Some cat owners fill the box halfway while others pour in just enough to give their cats something to scratch in. But what’s the right amount? Generally speaking, you should use at least 2 to 3 inches of litter in the box so your cat can dig and cover the waste without too much trouble.
Keep in mind, however, that some cats have unique preferences and my like 3 to 4 inches. For cats who like to dig, err on the side of adding a little more. For cats that tend to fling litter out of the box, a little less may help reduce the mess. Whatever you choose, it’s a good idea to replace what you scoop out.
How Often Should You Scoop the Litter Box?
The fact is that you can’t scoop your litter box too often. Cats are fastidious and keeping the litter box clean will encourage them to keep using it. If the box gets too dirty, they may be tempted to do their business elsewhere – in your houseplants or, even worse, in your bed. At minimum, you should scoop clumps at least every other day but ideally once a day.
In addition to scooping clumps, you should clean the litter box and refill it with fresh litter about once a week, maybe every two weeks if you only have one cat. Again, it depends on your cat’s preferences and on how many cats (and litter boxes) you have. The benefit of clumping cat litter is that you can just remove the clumps and reserve the clean litter for a little bit longer than with non-clumping litter.
How Many Litter Boxes Do You Need?
The general rule of thumb is to provide one litter box per cat with one extra. Remember, cats have their own preferences and some like to use one litter box for liquid waste and another for solid waste. You also need to think about placement.
Also Read: Best Litter Box for Multiple Cats
You should have one litter box on each floor of your house, if possible, and place them so your cat doesn’t have to go too far no matter what room he’s in.
You don’t need to fill your house with litter boxes, but providing plenty of options is always a good thing and more litter boxes means you may not have to completely clean them out as often (though daily scooping is definitely still recommended).