14 Different Types of Cat Litter

Are you confused by all of the different types of cat litters? 

How do you know which litter will be best for your cat?

Are there particular types of litter that you should use for your cat with allergies?

What is clumping litter?

What is the best cat litter for multi cat households?

What are the pros and cons of different types of litter?

The answer to those questions and many others are below.

Different Types of Cat Litter

1. Clay Cat Litter

Clay cat litter is one of the oldest and most popular types of cat litter. It is available in two forms – clumping and non clumping.

Clumping clay litter

Clumping clay litters are made of clay materials (bentonite clay) that clump together when wet, allowing for easy scooping of both urine and solid waste.

This type of litter tends to last longer and keeps the litter box fresher with daily scooping.

Pros

Clumping clay litter is easy to scoop from the box, using a cat litter scoop, because urine and faeces form solid clumps.

The litter can be scooped as needed instead of discarding the entire box of litter. The box can then be topped topped up with litter.

This avoids having to empty the entire litter box when cleaning.

A pretty good list of pros making it easy to see why it is so popular worldwide.

Cons

Clumping clay litter can be dusty.

This dustiness varies from brand to brand and it really is trial and error on your part.

Your idea of dusty might not be my idea of dusty and so on. It’s always helpful to read reviews on the product page.

 Clumping Cat Litter

Non-clumping clay litter

Non-clumping clay litter is more affordable than clumping clay litter but requires dumping the entire litter box contents when cleaning, as it does not form clumps.

The bentonite clay is present but does not cause the litter material to clump together.

The bentonite clay in non-clumping litters still provides absorbency and odor control properties.

Pros

Is more affordable.

Cons

Requires dumping the entire litter box contents when cleaning, as it does not form clumps.

 Non Clumping Clay Cat Litter

2. Crystal (Silica Gel) Cat Litter

Silica cat litter contains tiny silica gel beads. The beads of sodium silicate are dried and highly absorbent.

Pros

Crystal litter is lightweight.

Only need to remove the solid waste. 

Cons

Crystal litter can be more expensive than other types of litter.

Some cats don’t like the sound or feel of the silica gel beads.

3. Wood Cat Litter

Wood litter is a more natural litter option, made from compressed wood shavings or pellets, typically from softwood trees like pine or cedar.

Wood cat litter is biodegradable, environmentally friendly, and offers good odor control.

Pros

This type of litter could be preferred by pet owners seeking a more eco-friendly alternative.

It has a light, natural scent.

Wood is lighter weight than clay litter and easier on joints and muscles for older cats.

Cons

Wood litter may track more than clumping clay litters due to small particle size

different types of cat litter

4. Recycled Paper Litter

Recycled Paper Litter is made from recycled paper or cardboard and comes in paper pellets or a granule form.

It is biodegradable and dust-free, making it suitable for cats with allergies or asthma.

Pros

Paper litter is made from recycled materials so it’s an eco-friendly option.

It has low dust and is generally scent free.

Paper litter minimizes tracking around the home compared to clay or silica litters.

Cons

It may not absorb odors as effectively as clay.

Pellet litter can be messy if the pellets break down too much.

May not be suitable for multi cat households due to increased waste.

5. Flushable Cat Litter

Flushable litter is another eco friendly option, typically made from materials like corn, wheat and plant fibers that are designed to break down rapidly in water.

Note: Flushable litter is not able to be used in some states by law.

Pros

Flushable litter is more environmentally friendly than clay litter since the contents can be flushed down the toilet.

Flushable litter produces less waste sent to landfills than non-flushable litters.

Cons

Even “flushable” litters may not fully break down in septic or sewer systems and could cause plumbing issues.

It does not clump as effectively as clay litter, making it messier to use.

Flushable litter is typically more expensive than clay or silica litters.

It may be illegal to use in your area – check before purchasing.

6. Wheat Cat Litter

Wheat cat litter is made from wheat by products such as wheat scoop or wheat pellets.

Pros

Wheat litter is a natural, plant based alternative to clay.

It clumps urine well and controls odor fairly effectively.

Cons

Wheat litter is prone to developing fungus if allowed to get too moist.

Odor control is not as good as clumping clay for faeces.

It tends to be more expensive than clay litter

7. Corn Cat Litter

Corn cat litter is made from ground corn cob particles. Corn cobs are a by product of corn processing, so corn litter is a natural and biodegradable option.

Pros

Corn litter is natural, dust-free, and lightweight. It’s gentler on cats’ paws than clay.

It clumps urine well and controls odors fairly effectively.

Cons

Odor control is not as strong as clay litters, especially for faeces.

Some corn litters are prone to mold/mildew growth if allowed to get too moist.

8. Grass Cat Litter

Grass litter is another natural option that offers excellent clumping properties and is biodegradable.

Grass cat litter is made from various dried grasses such as wheatgrass, oat grass or barley grass. The dried grasses are processed into litter.

Pros

Grass litter is a natural, biodegradable option that is plant-based.

It has a light, natural scent and clumps urine well

Cons

Like other plant based litters, the odor control might not be as good as clay litters. There may also be mold growth if the litter get too moist.

9. Scented Cat Litter

Scented cat litter has additional fragrances like lavender or vanilla added to the litter. This is usually clay litter that has been infused with synthetic scents.

Pros

Scented litter can help mask odors in the litter box.

Cons

Strong scents can cause some cats to avoid the litter box or develop health issues.

Synthetic scents can irritate a cat’s respiratory system.

10. Unscented Cat Litter

Unscented cat litter does not contain any added fragrances. It is typically just the base litter material like clay, wheat, wood, etc. without synthetic scents.

Pros

Hypoallergenic – Less likely to cause respiratory issues for cats.

Cons

No cons. The odor in litter box will be based on the particular litter used.

11. Tofu Cat Litter

Tofu cat litter is made from soybean curds, also known as tofu and is known for being lightweight, biodegradable, and good at controlling odors. The tofu is dried and compressed into litter granules.

Pros

Plant-based and natural material makes it a sustainable option.

Clumps urine well due to high protein content of tofu.

Lightweight.

Cons

Stronger odors are not absorbed as well as clay.

May not be as readily available as other litters.

Requires more frequent changes than clay.

12. Walnut Cat Litter

Walnut litter is made from crushed walnut shells, offering a natural, eco-friendly, and highly absorbent option. Walnut cat litter is made from crushed or powdered walnut shells.

Pros

Natural and biodegradable plant-based material.

Has a soft texture that is gentle on paws.

Cons

Grinding shells could potentially damage septic systems.

Needs to be changed more frequently than clay.

May not be as readily available as other litters.

13. Pine Cat Litter

Pine cat litter is made from softwood shavings or pellets. The softwood pine materials are dried and processed into litter.

Pros

Biodegradable material from a renewable resource.

Pine has natural absorbency and odor-fighting properties.

Cons

Strong odors are not as well masked as clay.

Need to monitor pH levels as pine can be acidic.

More dust may be produced than clay.

14. Pretty Litter

Pretty Litter – Pretty Litter is a brand of litter but I have included it here because of the unique properties.

Pretty Litter is a clumping clay litter that changes color to indicate your cat’s health. It starts blue and turns green when wet (normal) or other colors for potential health issues.

Pros

Provides a visual health indicator by changing color for pH levels.

Clumps waste like traditional clay litter.

May help catch health issues earlier.

Cons

More expensive than regular clay litter.

Color changes don’t replace annual vet check ups.

Cats may try to eat or play with colored litter.

Odor control may not be as effective as scented litter.

Significant Features of Different Types of Cat Litters

Different cat litters come with different features that help cater to the preferences of both cats and their owners.

Some of these features of cat litter include odor control, absorbency, texture, weight, and scent.

Odor Control Of Cat Litter

Odor control is an essential aspect to consider when choosing cat litter. Litters with good odor control can efficiently neutralize or suppress the strong smells from cat waste.

Clumping litters, for instance, are known for their ability to trap urine and ammonia odors.

Absorbency Of Cat Litter

A cat litter’s absorbency plays a crucial role in maintaining a clean and dry litter box. Highly absorbent litters can quickly soak up cat urine and help prevent a soggy litter box. Clay-based litters, for example, are known for their high absorbency.

Texture Of Cat Litter

Cats tend to prefer certain textures in their litter, which can affect their willingness to use the litter box. Soft textures are generally preferred, as they are gentle on cat paws and encourage digging and burying. Some common textures in cat litters include a sand-like texture, a pellet-based texture, and a granular texture.

Weight Of Cat Litter

The weight of cat litter can impact the ease of handling and cleaning. Lightweight litters are easier to transport and pour into the cat’s litter box, while heavyweight litters might provide firmer and more stable footing for cats. It’s essential to strike a balance between the ease of use and a cat’s preferences.

Scented vs Unscented Cat Litter

Cat litters come in scented or unscented varieties.

Scented cat litters typically contain artificial fragrances to help mask odors, whereas unscented litters rely on their natural odor control properties.

Scent preferences can vary among cats, and some may be sensitive to strong fragrances, making unscented litters a more suitable choice in such cases.

Low Tracking Of Cat Litter

Low tracking litters help reduce the spread of litter outside the box, making clean up more manageable. Non-clay litters, such as wood or paper-based litters, tend to be low-tracking due to their larger size and lower dust production.

Tight Clumps Cat Litter

Some litters form tight clumps when moistened, such as clumping clay litters, which can make scooping waste much easier. Tight clumps can also aid in odor control by isolating waste and preventing it from permeating the surrounding litter.

Environmental Considerations Of Different Cat Litter

save the earth text

Eco Impact of Cat Litter

Traditional cat litters, mainly made of clay, can have a significant impact on the environment.

The extraction of most clay litters contributes to land degradation, soil erosion, deforestation, and depletion of natural resources.

When disposed of, clay based litters can take a long time to decompose, adding to the volume of waste in landfills or incineration facilities and emitting greenhouse gases.

The use of non renewable resources, such as the silica gel litter, can further exacerbate the environmental implications.

Standard cat litters can contain harmful additives like fragrance and synthetic chemicals, which can leach into the soil and water systems, affecting ecosystems and wildlife.

Biodegradable Cat Litters

Biodegradable cat litters offer a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional litters. They are typically made from renewable, natural materials, such as:

Wheat

A prime example is SwheatScoop Natural Wheat Litter that employs enzymes from renewable wheat crops to counter odors. This product is low-dust, low-tracking, biodegradable, and compostable.

Recycled paper

Fresh News Recycled Paper Litter is made from reclaimed paper with no added chemicals, making it eco-friendly and safe for the environment.

Wood Litter

├ľkocat Original Natural Wood Cat Litter uses sawdust and wood shavings, which are by products of lumber production. This option is biodegradable, and it can also be composted.

Walnut shells

Naturally Fresh Cat Litter, made from crushed walnut shells, is a sustainable alternative, given that walnut trees are a renewable resource

These biodegradable litters not only reduce the environmental footprint but also maintain a good level of odor control, moisture absorption, and easy to scoop qualities.

Issues Related to Different Types Of Cat Litter

Respiratory issues can be a significant concern for both cats and their human companions.

The dust generated by some cat litter types, such as clay, can cause or aggravate respiratory conditions like asthma.

It is essential to look for low dust or dust free cat litters to minimize respiratory problems.

Other health issues may arise from the use of certain cat litter types. For example, some cats may experience allergies to specific materials, such as wheat or corn litter or walnut shells. It is crucial to monitor your cat’s reaction to any new litter type and be willing to switch if you notice any adverse effects on their health.

Messes can be a common problem for cat owners, especially when using non-clumping litters.

Cats may inadvertently kick the litter out of the box, causing it to scatter around the area.

Clumping litter can help reduce mess by easily removing soiled litter. However, even with clumping litter, some cats may still track particles throughout the home.

Dust and tracking are closely related issues. When cats exit the litter box, they may carry litter particles on their paws.

This tracking can lead to the spread of litter dust around your home, thus contributing to respiratory issues.

Choosing a low tracking litter with larger or denser granules may help mitigate this issue.

Different Litter Selection for Kittens

Kittens are more likely to ingest litter while learning to groom themselves, so a non toxic, dust free, and unscented litter is recommended.

Clay or clumping litter should be avoided until the kitten is at least four months old.

Instead, pet parents should opt for paper or wood-based litter, since these materials pose fewer risks if ingested.

Some suitable types of cat litter for kittens include:

Paper- based litter

Paper cat litter is made from recycled paper and has a soft texture that’s gentle on kittens’ paws. This litter is biodegradable and less likely to cause harm if ingested by the kitten.

Wood- based litter

Made from wood shavings or sawdust, this type of litter is eco-friendly and has a natural scent. The soft texture will also be comfortable for kittens to walk on.

kitten

Cat Litter Considerations for Cats Recovering from Surgery

When a cat is recovering from surgery, selecting the right type of cat litter is essential for the cat’s health.

Post operative complications can be minimized by choosing a litter that is gentle on the cat’s paws and incision site.

Pet parents should avoid harsh materials as well as scented litter which can both cause irritation and discomfort. A paper pelleted litter or low dust cat litter is a good choice in this case.

vector - two cats reading
I prefer clumping. What about you dear?

Latest from Is That Your Cat

leaves with water droplets
Why Do Old Cats Lick Water off Plants?
girl playing with a cat
Ten Fun Games to Play with Your Cat
two cats different cat litter
14 Different Types of Cat Litter

"This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links."
"As an Amazon Associate I earn through qualifying purchases."