All Types of Cat Litter Explained

All Types of Cat Litter Explained


What is the best type of cat litter? With so many choices, it can be difficult to know which cat litter is right for your feline friend. There are numerous key factors to consider when it comes to choosing the best cat litter. Here’s some advice to help you choose the best fit.


Types of Cat Litter

Cat litter comes in a variety of types, scents and textures. No one type completely matches the description of the best cat litter; instead, each type has its pros and cons. Choosing which cat litter works best for your feline friend and home may take some trial and error.

  • Clumping vs. non-clumping cat litter

Cat litter can be clumping or non-clumping. According to PetMD, clumping cat litters are those that are created so that feces and urine can be removed effortlessly from the litter box without having to empty the entire box. Clumping litter usually contains a material known as bentonite that absorbs the urine and forms scoopable, solid masses, leaving the rest of the litter around it clean and dry. In general, clumping cat litters offer good odour control and need to be fully replaced less frequently than their non-clumping counterparts. However, clumping cat litters produce more dust than non-clumping.

Non-clumping litters usually contain larger pellets that help prevent disintegration into clouds of dust. Also, they usually don’t get stuck into your cat’s paws, and hence, they are low-tracking. They simply let urine sift through, absorbing some of the odour through additives such as charcoal or baking soda. The only way to clean the urine from the litter box is by removing all of the cat litter, usually once a week. Most non-clumping litters are based on silica crystals.

  • Scented vs. unscented cat litter

Scented litters are created to mask litter box odours, but some cats dislike strong scents and they may be allergic with a scented litter.

Unscented cat litters are made without additional scent agents. They rely on ingredients such as natural plant extracts to help absorb odours from urine and feces and reduce litter box smells.


What is Cat Litter Made of?

Most common cat litters are made from the following:

  1. Clay:

Available in both clumping and non-clumping varieties, clay is one of the most popular cat litters among cat owners. It is highly absorbent, quickest to absorb moisture and most economical.

Popular clay cat litter brands include Everclean and Clean N Easy.

  1. Paper:

Paper litter is made of recycled waste paper that has been made into granules or pellets. Well known for dust-free and ultra-absorbent, many cat owners like that it’s also biodegradable. Like non-clumping clay litter, the pellet form of paper litters prohibit scooping out urine clumps, so regular litter replacement is key. The granule type forms clumps, however, so you can scoop urine clumps and feces. One of the popular paper litters is Green Kat Paper Litter.

  1. Wood/Pine:

Wood/pine litters are a great choice for cat owners who are concerned about the environment. They tend to be very absorbent and helps masks unpleasant odours. Keep in mind that not all pine litters are naturally clumping; some pine litters turn into a fine sawdust powder upon contact with liquid. They are best used with cat litter boxes with a sieve bottom. Popular wood litter brand is Cat’s Best.

  1. Silica-based gel crystals:

Silica is a natural mineral that is highly absorbent and can be reused by one cat over a period of one month. It is highly absorbent, offers good odour control and tracks less than some other litters.

Popular crystal litter brands include Fussie CatLitter Star and Kit Cat.

  1. Soya:

Soya and tofu cat litters are made from a non-toxic, natural by-product of the tofu manufacturing process. They are biodegradable, flushable and eco-friendly. Kit Cat is one of the best soya cat litters.  


How to Choose the Best Cat Litter?

What kind of litter do cats prefer? In order to choose the best cat litter for you and your cats, it’s important to compare the different types of cat litter and their benefits.

We look at the five most common types and weigh up the pros and cons of each.  The chart below will help you make a better decision about which cat litter works best for your cat:

Litter Type

Clumping or Non-clumping

Scented or unscented



Popular Products


Quick clumping

Available in scented and unscented varieties

-Highly absorbent

-Excellent odour control

-Easy scooping

-Affordable and easy to find


-Tracks around the litter box

-Heavyweight; hard to carry

-Not an ideal option for young kittens

-Not flushable


-Everclean Lightly Scented Extreme Clump

-Everclean Extra Strength Multiple Cat Litter

-Clean n Easy Clumping Fine Lemon 10L


Does not clump

Available in scented and unscented varieties

-Low tracking

-Lightweight; easy to carry

-Relatively cheap and easy to find


-Need more frequent entire litter box change


-Not flushable

-Pricier than clay litters

-Some cats dislike the texture 

-Litter Star

-Fussie Cat Crystal Litter Lavender


Available in clumping and non-clumping

Natural scent

-Less dust; suitable for pet owners with allergies



-Good odour fighting



-Use with a sieve tray for ultimate results

-Can be costly

-Requires scoop with larger holes

-Cannot be used with automatic litter boxes

-Cat's Best Litter Original 10L


Recycled Paper

Does not clump


-Have very little dust; suitable for pet owners with allergies

-Low tracking

-Highly absorbent





-May not eliminate odours well

-Does not clump at all

-May require frequent cleaning

-Green Kat Recycled Paper Cat Litter

-Fussie Cat Natural Paper Cat Litter


Quick clumping

Available in scented and unscented varieties

-Lightweight; easy to carry

-Less dust; suitable for pet owners with allergies



-Gentle on soft paws

-Good odour control




-Kit Cat Soya Clump Original Cat Litter 7L


The choice between clumping and non-clumping litter is a personal decision that will depend on what your cat prefers and what you want in a cat litter. Most cats appear to prefer clumping cat litter because it is easier for them to push aside, but some cats prefer non-clumping cat litter.

If you have a kitten, we do not recommend clumping litter as kittens may try to eat it which can cause gastrointestinal issues. Generally speaking, it’s best to avoid clumping cat litter for young kittens. Many animal shelters opt for non-clumping litter in order to avoid putting kittens at risk.

If dust is a concern for you, look for formulas that are intended to be low in dust or dust-free.

Keep in mind that your own preferences combined with your feline friend’s preferences will determine which cat litter works best for your household. Ideally, the best cat litter should have high absorbency, scoopable, control urine odours effectively and basically be as hassle-free as possible. Most importantly, the cat litter that you choose to use also must be accepted by your feline friend.


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