When cats loathe their cat litter, you know it. One Fatherly editor learned that lesson the hard way when a feline peed into her Uggs, soaking them through and turning $200 booties into reeking sewage vessels. Cat urine is foul, outdone only by scent of cat feces. And that’s why it’s crucial you find a cat litter that your kitties like. Cats are fastidiously clean animals, and if their toilet smells like a Porta Potty, they won’t use it and go on your floor (or inside your boots) instead.
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“Cats are very particular animals and not every litter works for every cat,” says Dr. Carly Fox, a veterinarian at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. So once your cat finds a litter they like, stick with it. You can choose between regular clay litter, clumping litter, crystal-based litter, and plant-based biodegradable cat litter.
The Humane Society recommends that you replace cat litter twice a week, but you can go as long as a week. If you scoop it daily you can change clumping litter every two or three weeks. Crystal litters go even longer. As for the litter box itself, avoid harsh chemicals and instead clean it with dish detergent.
Based on veterinary guidelines, user reviews, and Fatherly suggestions, here are our top recommendations.
If you're worried about what your cat tracks around the house, this is the litter for you. This is a clumping cat litter made from clean wood fiber that naturally blocks the creation of ammonia stench for up to an entire week.
Pros: This cat litter is made from 100 percent sustainable and renewable wood fiber. It is clumping, non-dusty and lasts an average of seven days.
Cons: It’s pricey, for a clumping cat litter.
13,000 reviewers can't be wrong. This is Amazon's top-selling litter.
Pros: We love this litter because it’s hypo-allergenic, and has no icky chemical scents or deodorizers. It’s made of clay, and, because the granules are on the larger size, doesn’t wind up in tracked into every single crevice of your home.
Cons: It’s expensive, and the odor control could be improved.
This clumping clay cat litter has the additional odor-killing power of Febreze.
Pros: It’s a nice low-dust formula, meaning your air isn’t full of teeny, nasty particles. You can usually go more than week without changing your litter. And the price is totally accessible.
Cons: There’s a lot of controversy over the scent, with some customers (and cats) not being fans at all.
This is the monster of all cat litters, giving you rock-solid clumps to clean up. And minimal dust.
Pros: It’s cheap, it clumps, it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the litter box in rocky granules you have to scrape off, and it generates little to no dust.
Cons: Has a strong, rather citrusy smell that turns some folks off.
A stellar, albeit pricier, litter that's fully flushable.
Pros: This cat litter is ideal if you have multiple felines, or one cat who really loves the potty. It’s made mostly of corn, so you don’t get a ton of chemicals, and you can flush it down the toilet (if you are hooked to a city sewer). Plus, it’s virtually dust-free.
Cons: It has a tendency to spread.
If you use crystal litter, this one eliminates stench like a pro.
Pros: One Fatherly editor has tried every crystal litter on the market, and settled on this one because it really kills the stank, is easy to scoop, and cats seem to dig it. Plus, if you have a top-closing litter box, most of it stays inside the box, which is crucial.
Cons: Generates a ton of dust when you clean it out, and dump in fresh litter.
It's meant for the PetSafe ScoopFree litter box, but works just as well with any other kind.
Pros: One bag of this cat litter lasts up to a month, for one cat, and it truly does suck up moisture (translation: yucky odors). It’s not immediately obvious you have a cat in the house, which is a huge plus if you don’t want your house smelling like a cat litter box.
Cons: Like most crystal pellet cat litters, this one releases dust when it’s emptied. And it does stick to the bottom of the box.
The price isn't for the faint of heart, but if your cat is into it, this litter is the most mess-free we've ever used.
Pros: Almost zero mess, and no tracking around the house. The pellets are almost 100 percent dust free, which is nothing short of miraculous.
Cons: It works best with the Tidy Cats litter box system, which is pricey and also requires liners. And some cats really dislike the pellets.
So you hate stopping on litter pellets and chunks? Yes, so do we. This beauty of a litter box is your answer.
Pros: Yes, we called a litter box a beauty. What of it? We have one and trust us when we tell you, it keeps litter where it belongs, inside, thanks to its locking lid that acts as a walk-off mat that keeps litter in the box and off of your floors. It also looks good doing it. And cats love the privacy.
Cons: It’s not the cheap plastic box of yesteryear, that’s for sure.
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