The 8 Best Cat Litters of 2020

These options will reduce bad odors, while making for easy clean-up.

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Our Top Picks
"With powerful odor eliminators and almost no dust, this litter won't leave a distinct 'pet home' smell in your house."
"If you (or your cat!) find scented products off-putting, especially for litter, than this odor-eliminating option is for you."
"Made with corn instead of clay, this eco-friendly option clumps well to make cleanups a cinch."
"You'll need a dust-free option with powerful odor control if your litter is going to have to keep up with multiple cats at once."
"This litter can be flushed safely, and its light color allows owners to spot health issues visible in their cat's waste."
"This litter, made from recycled paper, is environmentally-friendly and made without any harmful chemicals."
"If your cat's litter box smells off despite frequent cleaning, this pick with Fabreeze and activated charcoal may help."
"Hate lugging 20-pound bags of litter around? This option is half the weight, but still has plenty of odor-fighting power."

Any cat parent knows that the wrong litter can be a big problem. For one thing, cats are particular about their bathrooms, reasonably enough—litter that doesn’t suit your furry friend can lead to accidents and bad litter box behavior. And of course, you want an option that is easy for you to scoop, doesn’t track everywhere in your home, and helps tamp down odors. Here are some of the best options out there, whether you’re looking for something that’s environmentally friendly, have multiple cats, prefer scented or unscented options, and other important factors.

Here are our picks for the best cat litters to keep your home clean and your cat happy.

Best Overall: Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Ultra Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter

Excellent

This clumping litter is almost entirely dust-free, and does a great job at controlling odors. It’s suitable for sifting and mechanical litter boxes. 

The clumping power is super strong with this litter, which makes scooping out the box incredibly easy. However, that the clumping may be almost too powerful if you leave it for too long; if the solid clumps make their way to the bottom of the litter box, removing them can be challenging. 

You'll appreciate that this litter is low dust (dust can be irritating for both cats and their owners, especially when filling and cleaning the box). Plus, despite being unscented, this relatively affordable litter has the ability to mask unpleasant litter box odors.

"Dr. Elsey’s litter seemed to suck up bad scents as soon as they appeared, as our home was left odor free. Even after a week, a sniff of the room our litter box is in smelled like nothing—no fragrance, no cat urine, nothing—which is exactly how we like it."Joline Buscemi, Product Tester

Best Unscented: Scoop Away Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter

Like humans, cats can be particular about odors. For some, a perfumed litter box may be just as off-putting as one that smells like an outhouse. It’s also the case that for some humans, coverup scents can be cloying. Unscented litter is the solution. 

With Scoop Away, antimicrobial agents help keep odors under control, according to the manufacturer, which says the litter provides seven days of odor protection. The odor-stopping ability of this litter is so effective that your guests might even be surprised you have a cat—even if they're in the same room as the litter box.

Best Clumping: World's Best Unscented Clumping Corn Cat Litter

There’s a lot to admire about this cat litter: Since it’s made from corn, it’s an environmentally-friendly option. It’s scent-free, which is appealing to some cats. And, it does an excellent job keeping odors under control, while also being easy to scoop. It’s lightweight, and is also flushable.

While this pick is on the pricier side, you can make the litter last longer with daily cleanups and top offs from the bag of litter. That way, you have to completely clean out your litter box less often.

Best for Multiple Cats: Arm & Hammer Cloud Control Platinum Clumping Cat Litter

If you have two—or more!—cats in your home, it’s easy for the odor from the litter box to quickly get out of control. This Arm & Hammer dust-free option clumps well, which makes it easy to clean out the box. The odor control is long-lasting, which is important when you have multiple cats sharing one litter box.

You'll particularly appreciate that the litter box can be scooped and cleaned without tremendous clouds of dust, which can be unpleasant and unhealthy to breath in—and can cause litter dust left on surrounding surfaces.

Best Flushable: Garfield Cat Litter Ultimate Clump Litter

If your cat’s litter box is in the bathroom, being able to flush the clumped up bits (aka, the odor-causing part of the litter) is a huge advantage. But not every clumping litter is suitable for the toilet—some can cause unwelcome issues with the sewage system. Not so with this litter from Garfield, which can be placed directly in the toilet bowl (just let the clumps sit and dissolve before flushing). 

This biodegradable litter is dust-free and made without fragrances or harmful chemicals. The manufacturers also point out that since the litter is white, it can help pet owners see signs—such as blood in the urine—early on.

Best Biodegradable: Purina Yesterday's News Cat Litter

Purina Yesterday’s News is a highly effective cat litter, as well as being environmentally friendly. The biodegradable pellets are made from recycled paper. It’s a low dust, track-free option, and one that’s made without harmful chemicals, per the manufacturer. 

If you're switching from clay litter, know that it may take a bit of a learning curve to get used to scooping this litter so that the stinky pellets are discarded—you'll need to make sure you're cleaning out your cat's litter box daily, not just a couple of times a week.

Best Scented: Fresh Step Odor Shield Scented Clumping Clay Cat Litter

There’s no denying it: Your cat’s litter box isn’t a source of good smells. Instead of sprinkling in baking soda or spraying air freshener around the cat’s box, try a scented litter to keep odors under control. This litter comes with a 10-day odor control guarantee—the scent comes from Febreze, and activated charcoal helps keep the cat urine odor under control.

This Fresh Step clay litter is clumping to make scooping out the litter box easy. Note that litter should be disposed of daily in the garbage (not flushed down the toilet bowl). 

Best Lightweight: Tidy Cats Free & Clean Lightweight Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter

If you live on the fifth floor of a walkup, the weight of the products you purchase matters—toting purchases and deliveries up the stairs is a workout. If you’re looking for a lightweight option, this Tidy Cats formulation is a good one to consider: One 8.5 pound jug of this litter is the equivalent to a 20-pound bag of other litter. 

The jug itself is recyclable, and the litter is free from fragrance and dyes. Activated charcoal and ammonia blocker help to ward off and control the odor. This litter does not result in a lot of dust, and it does a good job at neutralizing odors. However, you may find that this litter tracks, which means more daily cleanup. 

Final Verdict

If you're searching for a powerful clumping litter that traps odors at the source and makes for easy cleanup, then our best overall pick Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Ultra Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter (view on Chewy) is right for you. If you have multiple cats, check out Arm & Hammer Cloud Control Platinum Clumping Cat Litter (view on Amazon), which is formulated with baking soda and boosts a 7-day odor-free guarantee to keep your home smelling fresh and cat-free.

What to Look for in Cat Litter

Material Today, cat litter is most commonly made of bentonite clay, a clumping formula that resembles little rocks. However, you can also find old-fashioned Fuller’s earth, aka non-clumping litter, as well as silica gel and natural litters. Bentonite clay litters are popular because they’re easy to scoop and fight odors, but there are some environmental concerns associated with this material. Natural litters are more eco-friendly, but not as effective at masking odors.

Clumping Bentonite clay is known as “clumping” litter, as wet patches stick together, making them easy to scoop out. On the other hand, Fuller’s earth and natural litters don’t clump, meaning you may have to replace the litter more often. There are also silica gel litters, which absorb moisture into their pellets so you only have to scoop solid waste.

Odor-fighting If your litter box is in a low-traffic area, you might not mind if it smells a little. However, if your kitty’s bathroom is in a central area of your home, you may want to opt for a litter formula with odor-fighting ingredients to neutralize or mask the smell.

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