The 11 Best Cat Litters of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

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To help you find the purrfect cat litter, we tested 24 litter products from a variety of brands, including clumping clay, absorbent crystals, and biodegradable pellets. Each litter is tested with real cats and kittens, while their human counterparts gathered insights on how the litter performed.

The best cat litter should be compatible with your litter box, easy to scoop, and capable of absorbing odors. It should do all that without sticking to your cat's feet and tracking all over your home too. A great cat litter shouldn't release a plume of dust when pouring or cleaning either. Most litter should be disposed of in a trash bag—or one of our favorite litter disposal systems—but there are some suitable for flushing if the clumps are broken up into smaller pieces.

After months of testing, our overall favorite is Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Multi-Cat Litter, which clumps well, absorbs scents even better, and won't spread dust everywhere. We've found it to be especially effective in multi-cat households.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Multi-Cat Litter

Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Multi-Cat Litter

Arm & Hammer

What We Like
  • Effectively masks unpleasant odors

  • Clumps easily and remains intact while scooping

  • Little to no dust

  • Suitable for homes with multiple cats

  • Very low tracking (even with a test cat known for it)

What We Don't Like
  • Confusing array of Clump & Seal formulas

Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Multi-Cat Litter efficiently binds together upon contact with moisture and remains intact while scooping. The small granules have a texture similar to coarse sand and produces little to no dust. It doesn't track as much as many other brands we tested either, so you won't see little paw prints of dust, or too many pieces of litter on your floor.

Clump & Seal Multi-Cat is technically scented, but it's very faint—the Arm & Hammer litter smells mildly like baking soda, with a floral, fresh laundry overtone that's hardly noticeable unless your nose is right on top of it. Still, while it's not noticeably or heavily scented, it is effective at covering up odors, even when we left the box un-scooped for a few days (sorry Wally!).

True to its name our multi-cat households loved the Clump & Seal Multi-Cat formula, but it can get a little confusing when you see the Clump & Seal label on store shelves, since there's a dizzying variety of similar sounding products, including Clump & Seal Slide, Clump & Seal Slide Multi-Cat, Clump & Seal MicroGuard, Clump & Seal with Odor Blasters, and Platinum Clump & Seal. We've tested six different Arm & Hammer formulas, and so far the Clump & Seal Multi-Cat is our favorite.

For proper disposal, this litter should be placed in the trash and never flushed. The litter comes in a recyclable cardboard box with a handle for easy pouring and storage. It's moderately priced and readily available at a variety of retailers. It's also available in 14, 19, 28, and 38-pound boxes.

Price at time of publication: $24 (28 pounds)

Litter Type: Clay | Multi-Cat: Yes | Container: Box with handle | Sizes: 14, 19, 28, 38 pounds

Best Natural

Purina Tidy Cats Naturally Strong Unscented Cat Litter

Tidy Naturally Strong


What We Like
  • Activated charcoal successfully controls odors

  • Fragrance-free and no dust

  • Easy to pour from box

What We Don't Like
  • Clumps located on the sides of a litter box tend to be more difficult to scoop

  • Slight tracking around litter box area

The non-toxic power of activated charcoal in Purina Tidy Cats Naturally Strong Unscented Cat Litter absorbs the odor-causing bacteria found in a litter box.

The formula is made with natural clay that lumps together when it comes in contact with moisture. For bullseye poop and pee in the middle of the litter box, we had no problem scooping, but for organic mess towards the edges of the box, two scooping sessions were required. Despite the extra dips, there was absolutely no detectable stench and the litter is both dust and fragrance-free.

If you have more than one cat, this natural litter will help you keep their shared bathroom ready and suitable for use. It does leave slight tracking, particularly if your cat is a post-poop kicker, but nothing of note or extending beyond the bounds of the litter box area.

Price at time of publish: $24 (35 pounds)

Litter Type: Clay | Multi-Cat: Yes | Container: Box with handle | Sizes: 20, 35 pounds

Best Premium

Tuft & Paw Really Great Cat Litter

Really Great Cat Litter

Tuft and Paw

What We Like
  • Minimizes odors from cat waste

  • Resealable bag is easy to pour

  • We experienced no tracking and no dust

  • Pellets disintegrate in water, expand with pee, and do not stick to poop

What We Don't Like
  • Only available with a monthly subscription

  • Cats set in their litter ways might not accept the smell and texture

This fragrance-free litter effectively masks odors, produces no dust, and does not stick to paws so tracking is minimal. Tuft and Paw Really Great Cat Litter is made from a soybean byproduct that comes in the form of tiny pellets.

It is currently only available with a monthly subscription through the Tuft and Paw website, but it's easy to cancel after a month. Depending on the number of cats in your home, a monthly supply will consist of one to three resealable bags. The pellets clump together with urine but dissolve in water. You should always refer to your local ordinance when it comes to flushing pet waste, but the pee clumps made with this litter can be broken into smaller pieces and flushed.

Unlike clay litter with sand-like consistency, this litter doesn't cover solid waste. Our younger felines were more accepting of the change in their box than our more seasoned cats, with one silently protesting the switch by reliving themself outside of the litter box for the first time since kittenhood.

Price at the time of publish: $29 (9.5 pounds)

Litter Type: Soybean byproduct pellets | Multi-Cat: Yes | Container: Resealable bag | Size: 9.5 pounds

Best Budget

Scoop Away Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter

Scoop Away Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter


What We Like
  • Fragrance-free litter controls odors

  • Low dust when pouring and none while scooping

  • Clumps stay together for effective scooping

What We Don't Like
  • We found this litter leads to some tracking around the litter box area

Scoop Away Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter is a fragrance-free, reasonably-priced product that successfully minimizes odors, and is suitable for a home with multiple cats.

The clay formula joins together in easy-to-scoop clumps and helps control the growth of bacteria from your cat's organic matter with an effective ammonia-blocking additive that is safe for use in a home. The litter is only available in a 25-pound package which was a sufficient monthly supply throughout our testing. The cardboard box has a handle for pouring with low dust emission. The spout is sealed tight so getting started with a new box requires a pair of scissors to puncture for most. The litter does cause minimal tracking but it's primarily around the litter box.

Price at time of publication: $15 (25 pounds)

Litter Type: Clay | Multi-Cat: Yes | Container: Box with handle | Size: 25 pounds

Best Dustless

Arm & Hammer Cloud Control Platinum Clumping Cat Litter

Cloud Control Platinum Clumping Cat Litter


What We Like
  • Very efficient odor masking with a pleasant light fragrance designed to be hypoallergenic

  • No dust

  • Contains baking soda

What We Don't Like
  • Clumping of litter didn't hold together as well as other litters we tested

Arm & Hammer Cloud Control Platinum Clumping Cat Litter produces absolutely no dust and fully masks odors. If respiratory issues are aggravated by cat litter, you may find this lightly scented, hypoallergenic cat litter to be more manageable.

The clay cat litter contains baking soda which helps to neutralize odors without impacting a cat's experience. And after several weeks of use, odors continued to be under control with this litter. Even if you don't smell anything foul, we still recommend cleaning out the litter box once a month at a minimum. Upon contact with urine, the litter clumps together, but the lumps of litter fused with cat pee are slightly more fragile when handling so most bundles of kitty waste require two rounds of scooping with this litter.

Price at time of publish: $35 (37 pounds)

Litter Type: Clay | Multi-Cat: Yes | Container: Box with handle | Sizes: 18, 27.5, 37 pounds

Best Crystals

PrettyLitter Cat Litter

PrettyLitter Cat Litter


What We Like
  • Completely masks unpleasant odors

  • Absorbs urine and clumps around feces

  • Health indicators track urinary health of your cat

  • Litter has a more appealing aesthetic resembling beach sand

What We Don't Like
  • Crystal litter can be a major change from standard clay litters

Fresh from the resealable bag, PrettyLitter Cat Litter resembles sand on a pristine beach. The lightweight litter is made from absorbent silica gel which works differently than traditional clay-based litter. The crystals absorb liquids and odors, so regular scooping of pee clumps isn't required, but daily stirring is recommended. Once you notice that the litter isn't as efficient with absorbing liquid, it's time to fully change the box (every two to four weeks for most). For poop, the crystals clump around, covering the odor and making it easy to scoop out for disposal in the trash.

The litter also tracks urinary health by changing colors with cat urine when it detects abnormalities within the acidity and alkalinity. Any color that falls between yellow to olive green is healthy, but anything outside of that spectrum should be discussed with a veterinarian. The health aspect is difficult to distinguish between cats if you have more than one, but the litter is suitable for multi-cat homes.

The litter is non-toxic, unscented, and didn't produce dust or lead to tracking in your real-world testing with real cats. If you have a cat with established bathroom habits, the texture of this litter might take time for them to get used to, and it also requires humans to change their litter routine.

Price at the time of publish: $28 (8 pounds)

Litter Type: Silica gel crystals | Multi-Cat: Yes | Container: Reseable bag | Sizes: 8 pounds

Best Budget Crystals

Fresh Step Crystals Premium Scented Cat Litter

Fresh Step Crystals


What We Like
  • Fully absorbs odors from poop and pee

  • Absorbs urine

  • For most, a box of crystal litter lasts longer than traditional clay-based litter

  • Produces no dust and no tracking

What We Don't Like
  • Bag is difficult to reseal

Fresh Step Crystals Premium Scented Cat Litter is made with silica gel which fully absorbs cat pee and the associated odor. Like our favorite crystal litter, PrettyLitter Cat Litter, this litter doesn't clump around pee or produce dust clouds when pouring. This crystal litter has a more approachable price for an eight-pound bag, but the resealable feature isn't as reliable as PrettyLitter's and it also doesn't provide colored indicators tracking urinary health.

The fine sand-like crystals don't easily adhere to paws, and we experienced absolutely no tracking throughout our real-world testing. It was also introduced to a kitten who will grow up using crystal litter. Daily maintenance of scooping out poop and stirring litter is recommended, and every three to four weeks, the box of litter should be fully refreshed. On average, crystal litter, like this one from Fresh Step, tend to last longer than clay-based litter.

Price at the time of publish: $23 (8 pounds)

Litter Type: Silica gel crystals | Multi-Cat: Yes | Container: Resealable bag | Sizes: 8 pounds

Best Attracting

Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract Litter

Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract


What We Like
  • Suitable for automatic litter boxes

  • Cats are lured to their litter box with a natural herbal attractant

  • Odor is controled with chlorophyll

What We Don't Like
  • Grains vary is size and larger pieces more readily sick to paws

A natural herbal attractant in Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract Litter brings cats to their litter box and helps prevent accidents when cats are in a new home or have a new litter box.

The clay-based clumping litter is suitable for use in an automatic litter box and a standard litter box and provides effective odor control from plant-derived chlorophyll. The sand-like texture of this litter is also appealing to most cats, giving them the material needed to cover their poop while keeping dust and tracking to a minimum.

We also recommend Dr. Elsey's Ultra Litter as a budget-friendly, hypo-allergenic option providing a cat-pleasing texture from 100 percent natural clay that creates scoopable clumps. Dr. Elsey's was our former Best Budget cat litter pick, but we think most people would prefer not to deal with its heavy, floppy bag, and found a better option during our testing.

Price at the time of publish: $20 (20 pounds)

Litter Type: Clay | Multi-Cat: Yes | Container: Resealable bag | Sizes: 20, 40 pounds

Best Pellets

Ökocat Dust Free Non-Clumping Paper Pellet Cat Litter

Okocat Cat Litter


What We Like
  • Ideal for those with respiratory ailments or allergies

  • Biodegradable pellets made from paper

  • Pellets absorb odors and liquid

  • Easy to scoop poop from litter

  • Free of ink, dyes, and scents

What We Don't Like
  • Pellets don't often track, but are large and distracting when they do

  • Not all cats will accept litter box pellets

The dust from cat litter can aggravate respiratory conditions and allergies. For a completely dust-free experience, Ökocat Dust Free Non-Clumping Paper Pellet Cat Litter is a solid choice. The pellets are made from clean paper free of inks, dyes, and scents and it is fully biodegradable.

In our real-world testing, it took our cat two days to get used to the texture of the pellets. Similar to crystal litter, the non-clumping pellets fully absorb liquids and odors from the waste a cat produces. The poop should be scooped daily with routine overhauls of the litter box every three weeks or so as needed. The pellets are larger than conventional litter, so some tracking around the litter box area is likely but easy to clean.

Price at the time of publish: $22 (8.2 pounds)

Litter Type: Paper pellet | Multi-Cat: Yes | Container: Box with handle | Sizes: 8.2, 12.3 pounds

Best Scented

Fresh Step Advanced Cat Litter with Gain Scent

Fresh Step with Gain


What We Like
  • Sturdy clumping

  • Gives off the scent of clean laundry while masking unpleasant odors

  • Easy to pour with very little dust

What We Don't Like
  • Some tracking

Fresh Step Advanced Cat Litter with Gain uses activated charcoal paired with the proprietary ammonia-blocking ingredients from Febreeze to banish odors. The litter also has the added fragrance of Gain Original, a laundry detergent that many find pleasing.

The sodium bentonite clay-based litter resembles the texture of tiny pebbles and emits very little dust. The clumps form quickly and hold together firmly so scooping is simple. We experience minimal tracking, primarily in the area surrounding the litter box. The litter comes in a cardboard box that is available in a few sizes. All of which come with a handle for easy pouring and storage.

Price at time of publish: $15 (22.5 pounds)

Litter Type: Clay | Multi-Cat: Yes | Container: Box with handle | Sizes: 22.5, 37 pounds

Best Flushable

sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat Natural Cat Litter

sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat Natural Cat Litter


What We Like
  • Biodegradable and flushable (by law, California residents should never flush pet waste)

  • Free of dyes, perfumes, and chemicals

  • Very low dust

  • Neutralizes odors with enzymes

What We Don't Like
  • Some cats will need time to adjust to this litter

  • Tracking likely, but minimal

Reliably sourced wheat, from farms in the United States, is the primary ingredient in sWheat Scoop Mult-Cat Natural Litter. Natural starches in the litter hold clumps together for easy scooping and odors are neutralized with the help of enzymes, naturally occurring microscopic organisms that serve as catalysts for chemical reactions to break down organic matter.

The biodegradable litter can be flushed, but one should first break down clumps into smaller pieces. Flushing might not be suitable in some areas (it's against the law in California) so check your local ordinances before putting litter in your toilet. The litter is more environmentally friendly than traditional cat litter and is completely free of dyes, perfumes, and manmade chemicals. But the litter produces low dust and minimal tracking is likely for most cats.

During our real-world testing, our cats took a few weeks to fully adjust to this litter, but after several months, the cats are fully acclimated and there is less tracking around the litter box than previously experienced with their regular litter.

Price at the time of publish: $35 (25 pounds)

Litter Type: Wheat pellets | Multi-Cat: Yes | Container: Resealable bag | Sizes: 12, 25, 36 pounds

Final Verdict

Our choice for Best Overall is Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Multi-Cat Litter. The clay cat litter clumps together for scooping, minimizes odors, and has a texture that agrees with most cats. If you prefer a crystal litter that absorbs urine instead of clumping it together, our choice for Best Crystals, PrettyLitter Cat Litter, makes it easy to scoop poop, masks detectable odors, and helps you easily monitor your cat's urinary tract health.

What to Look for in Cat Litter

Material: Clay, Crystals, and Biodegradable Matter

Cat litter is most commonly made of bentonite clay which enables the formation of clumps upon contact with urine. Bentonite clay litters are popular because they’re easy to scoop and fight odors, but there are some environmental concerns associated with this material, in part because it doesn't biodegrade

Crystal cat litter is made from silica gel. It is highly absorbent of urine and odor. For most households, a box of litter lasts a little bit longer so it helps cut down on monthly waste. It's also less dense than clay so the litter is lightweight.

There are also biodegradable litters, like our selections for Best Premium (Tuft and Paws Really Great Cat Litter), Best Pellets (Ökocat Dust Free Non-Clumping Paper Pellet Cat Litter), and Best Flushable (sWheat Scoop Mutli-Cat Natural Litter). These litters are made with natural materials, like soybeans, paper, and wheat, which will eventually deteriorate. Clumps made with these litters can be broken down into smaller pieces and flushed, but not all communities allow pet waste to be disposed of this way.


Traditional cat litter produces a plume of dust when pouring which can aggravate respiratory issues and allergies. All the selections on our list produce little to no dust. If dust-free is a priority for your home, our selection for Best Dust-Free and Best Pellets, Arm & Hammer Cloud Control Platinum Clumping Cat Litter and Ökocat Dust Free Non-Clumping Paper Pellet Cat Litter respectively, both emit absolutely no dust.

Odor-Fighting and Fragrance

A variety of odor-fighting methods are found in cat litter including activated charcoal, baking soda, and enzymes that break down bacteria. Eliminating detectable odors from a litter box helps keep the space ready for your cat's next bathroom break, and if you have more than one cat, it's important to keep odors to a minimum to help prevent a cat from taking their business to areas outside of the litter box. On top of the odor-fighting, some cat litters have a fragrance. Like candles and perfume, your personal taste will determine whether that feature is appealing to you.


Most cats instinctually try to cover their waste by kicking litter on top of their poop and pee. This can cause granules of litter to get stuck in their paw pads. Most of it comes off around the litter box area, which is easy to sweep up. There are a few litters that don't track at all, but none of the selections on our list should lead to tracking throughout your home.

You can also prevent tracking with the help of a cat litter mat. Here are our favorites.

Disposal of cat litter

To dispose of clumps or when fully refreshing a litter box, most cat litter should be placed in a trash bag and thrown into the garbage. If you have a biodegradable cat litter and you live in place that allows for pet waste to be flushed in a toilet, the clumps should be broken up into smaller pieces before they are sent down the drain.

How We Tested

We tested 24 cat litter products, from clumping clay to pellets, with dozens of felines lending their expertise. We purchased each cat litter and sent it to a volunteer's home, along with a written methodology that guided them through long-term testing.

Testers documented their cats' and their own initial impressions of the litter assigned to their home. For several weeks, testers evaluated their designated cat litter taking note of the manufacturer's claims on features such as fragrance, odor masking, clumping, no dust, low tracking, and cat attraction. Finally, our testers observed how effective the litter was at helping keep their cat's bathroom tidy and ready for the next visit.

After reviewing feedback paired with numerical scores across different categories, we categorized and ranked our selections.

  • How often should cat litter be changed?

    At a minimum, you should fully empty and replenish cat litter once a month, but every two to three weeks works for many. This can easily increase to weekly if your cat relives themself often and/or if you have more than one cat sharing the litter box. Daily scooping to remove pee and poop is always recommended.

  • What is cat litter made of?

    Cat litter is primarily made with one of the following as the base: clay, silica gel, pine, wheat, grass, corn, walnut shell, or paper. You can click here for more in-depth descriptions of each by The Spruce Pets.

    Clumping litter is often made of bentonite clay. Silica gel, often referred to as litter crystals, is absorbent and can provide odor control. For those who would like more of an environmentally-friendly option, natural litter is made of things like recycled paper products or plant-derived materials such as wood shavings or corn.

  • How do you clean a litter box?

    Proper litter box maintenance starts with the right box and tools to suit your cat's habits and needs. Most cat owners prefer clumping litter since it makes spotting waste easier and allows for faster clean up. Clumps of waste should be scooped out daily if using clumping litter, but the full litter box should be deep cleaned once a week or every four to five weeks, depending on the type of litter you use.

    Used litter should always be emptied into an air-tight trash bag. Some litter is flushable and smaller clumps can be disposed of there, but you should never flush the entire contents of the box. Eventually, you'll need to empty and thoroughly clean the entire box using unscented dish soap and paper towels. Non-clumping litter will need to be cleaned more often due to the build-up it can cause at the bottom of the box while clumping litter can be removed in small quantities daily and replaced less often.

  • How do you litter train a cat?

    When bringing home a new kitten, litter training them is one of the first things you should do. It's recommended to start your new cat in a "transition room" that's safe, comfortable, and isolated from other areas of your home. You should place the cat's food and water at one end of the room and the litter box at the other. Right after it eats or drinks, immediately take it to the litter box to establish good habits.

    If your cat does use the litter box properly, reward it with a toy or treat to help seal in place its new routine. They should be allowed to explore the area—avoid scooping out waste right away, let it remain to remind them where to properly go to the bathroom.

  • How do you dispose of kitty litter?

    Most litter should then just be disposed of in the trash. Some brands, like Garfield Cat Litter, can be flushed directly down the toilet in small amounts since it's biodegradable, but keep in mind that many municipal waste system and septic systems are not suited to handle cat waste. Non-biodegradable litter should never be flushed.

    Litter boxes should be scooped at least once a day, placing clumps in a trash bag. To avoid odors, you might want to invest in a Litter Genie that seals waste at the bottom and keeps any smell contained throughout the week. On trash day, simply take out your secured plastic bag of litter and waste and dispose of it with the rest of your trash.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This roundup was written by Anna Mejorada, a writer for The Spruce Pets, who shares her home with a very cat-like pomeranian, Gidget, which she lovingly refers to as a meoweranian. Before researching and writing about pet products for a living, Mejorada embarked on a self-mandated, ongoing quest to find the optimal items for her dog. She is now delightfully devoted to helping humans discover and select the most favorable products for their pets.

A previous version of this article was written by Madeleine Burry, who has covered how to care for pets for more than a decade, and Lily Sperry, a lifestyle writer and commerce editor at the Spruce.

Article Sources
The Spruce Pets uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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