Where cat litter was once just used to accommodate your cat’s natural habits and absorb odors, today, cat litter is so much more than just absorbent clay.

Cat litter is a must for homes with indoor cats and pet parents who value cleanliness and hygiene. However, there are often an overwhelming number of options to choose from, so where do you start?

Before we delve into how to choose the best cat litter for your home and feline companion, let’s take you through your options.

Understanding the Different Types of Cat Litter

Cat litter types are generally placed into one of four categories, making it easier for you to decide what will work best for your cat and what you would prefer as a pet owner. These categories include:

  • Clumping. When this cat litter comes into contact with urine or feces, clumps will form.
  • Non-Clumping. This is the opposite of clumping cat litter – you won’t find any clumps in your litter box after your cat has used it.
  • Flushable. This type of litter is safe to flush down the toilet, provided it’s not placed in a plastic bag.
  • Health-Monitoring. To help you keep track of your cat’s health, this type of litter will change color and alert you to potential health issues. However, this should never be used as an official diagnosis. A visit to your local vet is always recommended first.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the different types of cat litter you can choose from and which categories they fall into. 

Clay Cat Litter (Clumping & Non-Clumping)

Clay was the original kitty litter and is still widely available, which is why it’s used by countless pet owners today. 

You can choose between clumping and non-clumping clay cat litter brands, each of which has slightly different ingredients and capabilities. There are also some notable differences between clumping and non-clumping clay litter.

Non-Clumping Clay


  • Affordable and readily available.
  • Less scooping required.
  • Can be effective for odor control, depending on the brand.


  • Produces dust, which can be tracked through your home.
  • Heavy consistency.
  • Not eco-friendly or biodegradable.

Clumping Clay


  • Better odor control than non-clumping clay litter.
  • Fewer litter changes required.
  • Easier to clean.


  • Produces dust, which can be tracked through your home.
  • Heavy consistency.
  • Not eco-friendly or biodegradable.
  • More expensive.

If you’re looking for kitty litter that’s easy to come by and does a good enough job of controlling odors in your home, clay could be a good option. However, be prepared to clean up the dust trails your cat’s probably going to leave behind after using their litter box.

And, if you do decide to go with clay, we highly recommend the clumping variety. It may be more expensive, but you won’t need to change the litter as often and it will do a better job of keeping odors under control.

Pine Cat Litter (Non-Clumping & Flushable)

If fighting odors in an eco-friendly way is at the top of your list when searching for cat litter, you may want to consider pine. 

Also known as wood cat litter, pine has fast become a top option for many cat owners, however, it’s not entirely flawless.


  • Excellent odor control
  • Eco-friendly
  • Affordable.
  • Minimal dust and tracking.


  • Can be difficult to clean due to non-clumping properties.
  • Strong pine scent.
  • Not all cats like the texture.

If you find the smell of pine refreshing and wouldn’t mind it being a permanent scent in your home, this could be the eco-friendly option you’re searching for. The fact that it’s affordable really helps too. 

However, keep in mind that you may need to test whether your cat will want to use a litter box filled with these pellets before you switch to it full-time. 

Corn Cat Litter (Clumping & Flushable)

Corn cat litter is another popular option among pet parents who value biodegradable products, but it’s not always the most popular choice within the feline community due to the smell and texture. 


  • Non-toxic and eco-friendly.
  • Minimal dust.
  • Clumps well.
  • Flushable and biodegradable.
  • Good odor control, depending on the brand. 


  • Some tracking will occur.
  • Prominent earthy smell.
  • Often spoils easily.
  • Known to attract insects.

Made from dried corn kernels, corn kitty litter is ideal for controlling odor and simple cleaning, thanks to its clumping properties. 

Unfortunately, it’s not as readily available as other cat litter types and there is a higher chance of mold growth, which can be harmful to your pet. There is also a chance your cat won’t love the texture. For these reasons, corn cat litter is not always our top choice.

Crystal (Silica Gel) Cat Litter (Non-Clumping & Health-Monitoring)

Mined from quartz sand, this type of cat litter has become a popular alternative to clay. The particles are blended with oxygen and water, which is what turns them into absorbent crystals that trap moisture and odors. 


  • Lightweight
  • Minimal dust
  • Excellent odor control and hygiene maintenance
  • Non-toxic
  • Health-monitoring capabilities, depending on the brand


  • Not ideal for cats with sensitive paws
  • Expensiv
  • Requires daily stirring
  • Easily tracked

Crystal cat litter is one of the most popular types of cat litter available today, but it all depends on the brand you choose. Even though it can be more expensive, it will last longer and offer some of the best odor control. 

With crystal litter, there is also far less chance of mold and bacteria growth. What’s more, if you opt for color-changing crystals, you’ll be able to keep a closer eye on your feline’s health. For this reason, silica gel litter is one of our top recommended options.

Tofu Cat Litter (Clumping & Flushable)

Tofu litter is one of the newer additions to the cat product market, but is growing in popularity. Made from soybean fibers, this is a natural, biodegradable type of cat litter that can be flushed after use. However, there are some pros and cons to keep in mind. 


  • Eco-friendly and flushable
  • Dust-free and low tracking
  • Lightweight
  • Long-lasting
  • Non-toxic


  • Expensive
  • Prone to mold and bacteria

If you want to do more for your furry friend as well as the environment and you don’t mind spending a few extra dollars, tofu cat litter could be a good fit for your home. The larger pellet sizes also mean you don’t need to worry about tracking as much as other cat litter types. 

One of the potential downsides of tofu litter is the higher chance of mold and bacteria growth. If you live in humid conditions, you may need to change out your litter more often than you were hoping. You will also need to determine whether your kitty will love the feel of the larger pellets.

Paper Cat Litter (Non-Clumping & Flushable)

Paper is not generally something you would associate with cat litter, but many cat owners use it. While this type of litter is mostly made of paper, some brands also include other materials such as leaves and sawdust.


  • Biodegradable and flushable
  • Low dust and tracking
  • Unscented
  • Affordable
  • Non-toxic


  • Mediocre odor control
  • Some cats may not take to larger pellets
  • Frequent changing required
  • Difficult cleaning process

Even though paper litter is environmentally friendly, affordable, soft, and absorbent, it doesn’t always do an amazing job in terms of odor control. What’s more, you can only use this type of cat litter with a high-sided litter box and it can be difficult to clean, especially when it gets too soggy. 

Walnut Cat Litter (Clumping & Flushable)

Made from crushed walnut shells, this type of cat litter has become another popular alternative to clay. The lightweight nature of walnut litter means your furry feline can easily dig up and cover liquid and solid deposits, and it’s easy for owners to clean and change too. 


  • Fairly low dust
  • Decent odor control
  • Eco-friendly and non-toxic
  • Flushable
  • Lightweight


  • Known for some tracking
  • Prone to mold and bacteria growth
  • Darker color can make cleaning requirements less obvious

The high absorbency of walnut shells is one of the reasons we recommend this type of cat litter – it can really help keep odors under control when the litter is changed frequently. However, if you live with a cat who likes to kick things around, the light weight of this litter might become an issue. 

Grass Cat Litter (Clumping)

If you’re searching for a close natural alternative to clay litter, you may want to look into grass litter. Even more so if you live with more than one cat. However, keep in mind that you may have a harder time finding this unique biodegradable product. 


  • Non-toxic
  • Good odor control
  • Can be used as mulch after use
  • Flushable
  • Ideal for multi-cat households


  • Tracking and scattering can be severe
  • Expensive

Grass cat litter is a seed-type litter that clumps really well, making it easy to clean. As an added bonus, you can use it in your garden after your cat is done with it. Most types of grass litter aren’t made with any added chemicals, making this a healthier option for your pet and home. 

Wheat Cat Litter (Clumping & Flushable)

The final addition to this list is wheat cat litter, which is biodegradable and easy on your cat’s paws. In fact, it’s even softer than some types of clay cat litter. But, because it’s made of natural materials, there are some cons to consider too.


  • Soft texture
  • Low dust
  • Flushable
  • Highly absorbent


  • Susceptible to mold
  • Can cause allergic reactions
  • Known to attract insects

Wheat litter is a popular choice for cat parents with kittens because it’s softer on their paws. However, if your cat has known allergies, this particular type of litter could prove to be a problem.

It should also be noted that wheat litter can encourage the growth of a mold called aflatoxins when exposed to excess moisture, which can be harmful to your feline.

How to Choose the Best Type of Cat Litter

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the best type of cat litter for your home. However, it’s important to start with an option that you know your cat will use. 

Every cat is different. Some are more sensitive to smells, while others are deterred by certain textures. You may find that you need to experiment with different types of cat litter before you know which one will stick.

Naturally, it’s also important to take your budget as well as your priorities into consideration. For example, if you know that using biodegradable products is important to you, that will already narrow down your choices. Perhaps you’re not at home as often and won’t be able to change the litter as regularly – this would be another factor that could alter your choices. 

In the end, you’re going to need to find a balance between what you would prefer and what you know your cat will use.

Along with considering the pros and cons of different kinds of cat litter, here are a few other things to keep in mind:

  • Allergies. If you or your feline friend has asthma or allergies, it’s best to stick to a litter that produces little to no dust. Choosing a litter with a gentler scent is also recommended. 
  • The age of your cat. If you’ve recently added a kitten to your family, softer litters that don’t clump may be a better fit. 
  • Ease of cleaning. While some non-clumping litters have their benefits, overall, clumping cat litter is generally always easier to clean. Once you scoop out any clumps, you can simply stir and add to the remaining litter. 
  • Texture. Cats are picky in general, but some more than others. If your cat has never used a litter with crystals or larger pellets, you may need to test whether they are partial to the texture. 
  • Dust and tracking. Cat litter is a big contributor to dust in your home. If this is something you want to prevent, it’s best to opt for heavier cat litter or a product with larger pellets. Even more so if your cat loves kicking their litter up.
  • Odor control. If your cat’s litter box is in a space you often frequent, pay attention to how well a litter type can control odors. Clumping cat litter is known to do a better job of keeping unpleasant odors at bay. You can also keep an eye out for ingredients such as activated charcoal and baking soda, as these are great for odor control. 
  • Number of cats. Living with more than one cat? Natural cat litters such as clay and grass are better options. They’re easy to clean and do a good job of taking care of odors. It’s also highly recommended that each cat has its own litter box. 
  • Type of litter box. If you have opted to use a self-cleaning litter box, it’s important to stick to a clumping litter. This way, the box knows when waste needs to be removed.

Final Thoughts

There may be several types of cat litter to choose from, but it’s great to have options because no two cat parents (or cats) are the same.

It’s incredible how much cat litter has evolved to ensure that every type of cat owner can pick a product that meets their needs as well as those of their furry companion.

If you know your cat well, you may already know what type of litter they would prefer and can now pair those requirements with your own.

However, if you’re still new to the world of cats, you may want to prepare yourself for some experimentation before you find a litter that fits the bill. 

Cat Litter FAQs

1. What type of cat litter is best?

The best type of cat litter for your pet depends on a number of factors, but overall, there are a few brands that stand out based on customer reviews, including Arm Hammer Clump & Seal Clay Cat Litter, Tuft & Paw Tofu Cat Litter, PrettyLitter Health Monitoring Cat Litter, and Purina Unscented Cat Litter.

2. What type of cat litter is best?

If the health of your cat is your top priority (and whose isn’t), opt for a biodegradable cat litter. Some of the best options include grass, corn, pine, paper, and walnuts. Be sure to also look at the ingredients to ensure there are no added chemicals. Keep in mind that natural cat litters are more prone to mold, so changing the litter regularly is important. 

3. Is clumping or non-clumping cat litter better?

Clumping litter is usually a better option for anyone who is looking for serious odor control and a quick and easy clean up. Look for brands that emphasize tight clumping as this means the litter will lock onto liquid and solid deposits more effectively, locking any odors in. Clumps are also easier to spot and scoop out as needed, making cleaning easier.