Cat Owners Ask: What’s the Best Cat Litter?

I’ve been asked a billion times, and I never mind answering it because I’ve asked it, too! The best cat litter is the litter that works for you, right? Hahaha put down the pitchfork, I’ll help!

Basic Litter Types

Everyone’s been to the store and seen these basic types of litter. I’m going to break them down and give my recommendations below. Litter types are always expanding, sometimes for the good, sometimes surprisingly *not* good.


Clay, Clumping or Non-clumping

This category is the primary cross-section of litter I come in contact with. Thankfully, most people have stopped using non-clumping for their cats and have instead put it to use soaking up oil and getting the car out of the snowbank. Exceptions would be usage in rescue where it can be a time-saving relief to workers who can just dump and refill. Clumping clay litter runs the gamut from the chokingly dusty inexpensive store brands to the spectacularly pristine, but more expensive high end selections. They also come in a dizzying scent range which includes “lavender”, “clean” and “fresh”. More on that later.

The Natural Litter Types

This is my favorite group of litter types to keep an eye on. Owners love or hate them, and it’s easy to see why. Some owners prefer rock hard lumps that just aren’t as prevalent in the pine, corn, newspaper or walnut litters, while others prefer the more eco-friendly, and nose-friendly, litters. Every year we see a new one come out and I usually get to try it out almost immediately because my clients are always on the hunt for the best litter!

Weirdo Litters

Ok ok, stop, I was just teasing! This category involves any litters I rarely see. Each of them has fans, along with upsides and downsides. These litters include crystals, illness detection type litters, and Breeze systems.

What Does This Pet Sitter Think?

I have some important things to say.

First, detection litters are great for people who spend a lot of time carting their cats back and forth to the vet. This is a secondary method of diagnosis. These should not be used in lieu of actually going to the veterinarian.

Lightweight litter – notice your nose or eyes flaring up right after scooping? It’s the litter. That stuff is worrisome, I recommend against it. I made my whole house sick one year with it, 3 cats and 3 humans within 24 hours.

Next up, lavender. Cat noses are more sensitive than yours, so please stop assaulting them with fragrance. The way to a clean smelling box is through your scoop, not your eye-wateringly-strong scented litter. Scoop daily. I know it’s hard. Set a timer on your phone. Provide PLENTY of boxes. One per cat, plus an extra. You like many bathrooms in your house, and so do they.

On that note, stop buying litter boxes. You can go to Lowes and buy a cement mixing tub. You can go to a thrift store and buy a storage container, with high sides, and cut a hole in it. Or don’t, if you have a young cat. They like jumping in and out! You don’t have to buy those dinky, slant-sided, round (right?), shallow, and plain ugly boxes the manufacturers design, you’re a grown human and you can do what you want. Go forth and conquer!

Keep an eye out for a blog about cat boxes and scoops, coming soon!

What Does This Pet Sitter Buy?

You guys are gonna be surprised… I have tried every litter available and I still use Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat clay litter in the blue (unscented) 40lb bag. (Now called Ultra and available in a box.) It’s clean and clumps like it’s possessed by clumping magic. My cats love it and I love how easy it is to scoop through. It’s amazing for cats who have excess urination, and can soak up large amounts of urine and clump it very quickly. My second runner up is Special Kitty at Walmart which is a remarkable bargain for a good quality litter, but is a little more dusty than Precious Cat.

What Does This Pet Sitter Recommend?

Non-Clumping Clay – Only for your car or your favorite rescue.
Clumping Clay – Anything by Dr. Elsey.
Natural Litter – Blue Naturally Fresh Walnut Shell. I love the smell, and I love the clumping. Scoop daily and it won’t break down or start smelling.
Weirdo Litter – Ok, it took a while but I kinda have to admit the Breeze system has its perks. Downfalls too though, such as bouts with diarrhea. Mostly, I don’t like these methods, because they’re digging their paws around in urine covered pellets or crystals and then walking around your house. GROSS. I can’t recommend these, but I get it. If you like it, I won’t say a word, I promise!

So there you have it. The best litter for cats is the litter that makes you and your cats happy. *runs away*