What Is the Best Clumping Cat Litter?

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Fresh Step Multi-Cat Extra Strength Scented Clumping Cat Litter
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  • One 14 pound box of Fresh Step multi-cat clumping scented cat litter
  • For multi-cat homes and busy litter boxes
  • ClumpLock technology locks in liquid and odors on contact

What is a Clumping Cat Litter?

Clumping cat litter is a cat litter that absorbs moisture from urine and feces to create clumps that are easily scooped out of the litter box. It is most often made of bentonite clay or silica. They are both highly absorbent and low dust.

What is the Difference Between Scoopable and Clumping Cat Litter?

There are a few key differences between traditional scoopable litter and clumping cat litter. We list them below:

  • Contents: Clumping cat litter is most often made of bentonite clay, which is highly absorbent and great at trapping moisture. Scoopable litter are often made of recycled material, such as paper, wood, or plastics. Feline pine is a great example of recycled scoopable litter that is made of reclaimed wood.
  • Cleaning: Cleaning a clumping cat litter is easy as scooping out the easily identifiable balls of solid waste. Scoopable litters tend to be a bit messier and can often require the whole litter box to be refilled. Clumping cat litter also lasts considerably longer than non-clumping due to this.
  • Absorbency: While both types of litter absorb moisture, what they do with that moisture will differ. Non-clumping litters tend to absorb moisture but do not create balls of waste that are easily scooped out. Instead, the litter holds onto the moisture that is to be removed with a scooper. Clumping cat litter, on the other hand, is made to create clumps that are more easily scooped out when cleaning the litter box.
  • Longevity: Clumping litters tend to last longer than scoopable litters. This is because of the nature of their job. Clumping litters are made to reduce the amount of litter required to reduce odors by clumping quickly after coming into contact with moisture and becoming cohesive with itself. Scoopable litters simply absorb the moisture but do not cohere, thus requiring a larger surface area to absorb the same amount of moisture.

Does Clumping Litter Hurt Cats?

Yes, clumping cat litter can harm cats, although the subject is controversial.

Bentonite clay is an inert, non-toxic mineral out of which most clumping cat litter formulas are made. However, that does mean they are harmless. Clumping cat litter creates tight balls when it comes into contact with moisture.

The granules that make up the litter are small and easily stick to a cat’s feet and fur, which they clean frequently with their tongue. This can lead to ingestion of the litter, and given its clumping nature, can create clumps of litter inside the digestive tract.

The clumping nature of this kind of litter can also present dangers along the lining of the digestive tract. It can become stuck to the walls of a cat’s intestines, where it can then attract and hold on to old fecal matter. This can cause infections and illnesses, but it is worth mentioning this is not a common occurrence.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Clumping Cat Litter?

Using a clumping cat litter formula has several benefits:

  • Easy cleaning: The clumps in a litter box are easy to see and easy to pick up out of the litter pan.
  • Odor control: The tight clumps that are formed when a cat uses the litter box also trap and, in some cases, can neutralize odors.
  • More Sanitary: Clumping cat litter may be more sanitary than non-clumping due to its ability to quickly absorb and trap odors and moisture that may be contaminated with harmful bacteria.

However, there are also some downsides to using clumping cat litter, and those are:

  • Dusty: Most clumping cat litter formulas are made of clay. This clay can produce a significant amount of dust when poured or scooped into a litter box. Although this is not dangerous to humans, it can be uncomfortable or irritating to some populations.
  • Not made of recycled material: The clay used in clumping cat litter is not recycled and does not degrade in any way. This means when it is thrown away, it simply sits in the landfill and does not decompose in any way.

The Best Clumping Cat Litters Reviewed

There are many clumping cat litter options on the market – from naturally fresh to multi-cat litter to scented litter. To help owners find the right formula, we have reviewed some best-selling clumping cat litters available on Amazon and Chewy.

Fresh Step Multi-Cat Extra Strength Scented Clumping Cat Litter

Fresh Step Multi-Cat Extra Strength Scented Litter with the Power of Febreze

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Price: $9.54

Size: 14 lbs

Material: Clay

Dimension: 10.13” x 4.19” x 10.13”

Item Weight: 14 lbs

Style: Indoor cat litter

Scented: Yes, Febreze scented

Color: Grey

Pet: Cats

Lifestage: All life stages

Storage Instructions: Store in a dry place near the floor to avoid accidents when moving the box. Keep away from moisture for best results.

Product Use Instruction: Evenly spread a layer 3-4 inches thick of litter inside the litter tray. Scoop clean regularly and replace the litter when it is soiled or odorous.

Summary: This cat litter from Tidy Cats, one of America’s most trusted producers of cat litter, is a highly absorbent clumping clay cat litter. It is made from clay that is formulated to keep dust and tracking to a minimum.

The scent of Febreze is infused into the granules to provide a powerful aid in controlling smells. It is made in the USA to the highest safety standards and costs less than $1.00/lb, so any cat owner can afford it.

Pros
  • Quick and easy clumping
  • Dust-free formula
  • Controls odors for up to 10 days
  • Fit for multi-cat households
  • Affordable price tag
Cons
  • Relatively high tracking
  • The smell of the litter itself can be a bit much for some people

Customer Reviews: Nearly 70,000 reviews give this an average rating of 4.6 stars which also makes this one of the best-selling cat litters on the market. Positive reviews mention the litter’s performance in clumping and controlling aromas and say they won’t use another litter because they are so satisfied with this one.

Cat owners who were critical of the product said it created too much dust when they cleaned the cat’s litter box and that their cats did not like the scented kitty litter.

Veterinarians.org Review: Our team at veterinarians.org is giving Fresh Step Multi-Cat Extra Strength Scented Clumping Cat Litter an overall 9/10-star rating. The breakdown of our ratings is below:

  • Pet Suitability (9/10): This cat litter works great, but some cats may be deterred by the scent.
  • Material Quality (9/10): It clumped tightly and quickly, but it did create some dust and tracked on the cat’s feet. 
  • Cost Effectiveness (10/10): At under $1.00 per pound, this is a very affordable litter.
  • Customer Feedback (10/10): Tens of thousands of ratings have been left on this product, and these give it an average rating of 4.6 stars.  
  • Product Variety (10/10): Available formulas include multi-cat, odor shield, and extreme.

Dr. Elsey’s Premium Clumping Cat Litter Ultra Unscented

Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Ultra Cat Litter

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Price: $19.99

Size: 40 lbs

Material: Clay

Dimension: 20” x 14” x 4”

Item Weight: 40 lbs

Style: indoor cat litter

Scented: Unscented

Color: Grey

Pet: Cats

Lifestage: All life stages

Storage Instructions: Store in a dry place near the floor to avoid accidents when moving the box. Keep away from moisture for best results.

Product Use Instruction: Evenly spread a layer 3-4 inches thick of litter inside the litter tray. Scoop clean regularly and replace the litter when it is soiled or odorous.

Summary: Dr. Elsey’s unscented clumping cat litter is the best-selling litter on Amazon. This low-dust formula is affordable and strong enough to be used in multi-cat households.

It is low-tracking, so even if multiple cats use the same litter box, cleanup will be quick and easy. Multiple versions of this litter are available to meet the needs of almost any cat owner.

Pros
  • Dust-free and low-tracking
  • Hypoallergenic formula
  • Clumps easily
  • Potent odor control
  • Affordable price
Cons
  • Made in China
  • Counterfeit product versions on Amazon

Customer Reviews: Over 80,000 reviews have been left about this litter. Tens of thousands of customers like the price and the performance of the litter. These cat owners mention how well the odors are kept to a minimum, although some of them mention the dust as a potential con.

Critical consumers were dissatisfied with the dust and how often they needed to clean around the box when their cats would track litter to the floor.

Veterinarians.org Review: Our team at veterinarians.org is giving Dr. Elsey’s Premium Clumping Cat Litter Ultra Unscented an overall 9/10-star rating. The breakdown of our ratings is below:

  • Pet Suitability (9/10): Strong enough for multiple cats but tracks and creates some dust.
  • Material Quality (9/10): This clay litter clumps hard and is low tracking but can create a bit of dust when refilling the litter box.
  • Cost Effectiveness (10/10): Priced at less than 50 cents per pound, this is an extremely affordable product.
  • Customer Feedback (7/10):  80,000 reviews give this litter an average rating of 4.4 stars.
  • Product Variety (10/10): Five versions and multiple sizes are available.  

Cat’s Pride Odor Control Lightweight Clumping Cat Litter

Cat’s Pride Odor Control Lightweight Clumping Cat Litter

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Price: $9.49

Size: 15 lbs

Material: Clay

Dimension: 13.5” x 9.25” x 5.7”

Item Weight: 15 lbs

Style: Indoor cat litter

Scented: Unscented; UltraClean scented; Baking soda

Color: Grey

Pet: Cats

Lifestage: All life stages

Storage Instructions: Store in a dry place near the floor to avoid accidents when moving the box. Keep away from moisture for best results.

Product Use Instruction: Evenly spread a layer 3-4 inches thick of litter inside the litter tray. Scoop clean regularly and replace the litter when it is soiled or odorous.

Summary: This litter is made 25% lighter than traditional litter, meaning less litter goes a long way. It is available in may varieties like unscented, pure and fresh, flushable, and easy scoop for easy cleanup.

It is made to fight against unwanted smells for up to ten days, and the instant action against odors keeps the room smelling fresher between cleanings. As a bonus, every jug purchased donates one pound of litter to animal organizations.

Pros
  • Wide variety of purposes
  • Dust-free clay formula
  • Controls odors efficiently
  • Affordable price tag
  • Donates to animals in need
Cons
  • Customers complain about the clay smell of the litter when it is opened
  • Relatively high tracking

Customer Reviews: Over 40,000 people have rated this cat litter, with 85% of them being positive. Of those reviews, the most common point of satisfaction was simply that the litter worked. These people were happy with the variety of the litter they purchased and said it created hard and tight clumps that were easy to scoop away, and the odor control was above expectation.

Others, however, were unimpressed with the amount of litter their cats would track, and this was the most common complaint.

Veterinarians.org Review: Our team at veterinarians.org is giving Cat’s Pride Odor Control Lightweight Clumping Cat Litter an overall 9/10-star rating. The breakdown of our ratings is below:

  • Pet Suitability (8/10): An apparent change in the formula now causes the litter to track more than we would have liked.
  • Material Quality (10/10): The clumps were tight, the odor was nearly unnoticeable, and the deodorizer additives did not add any off-putting aromas themself.
  • Cost Effectiveness (8/10): This is right at the average price for cat litter.
  • Customer Feedback (10/10): 40,000+ ratings and reviews have been left, with the vast majority of which being positive. 
  • Product Variety (10/10): This litter is available in many varieties.  

Fresh Step Advanced Dust-Free Gain Scent Clumping Cat Litter

Fresh Step Dust-Free Advanced Cat Litter

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Price: $29.09

Size: 37 lbs

Material: Clay

Dimension: 12.25 “ x 11.31” x 10.63”

Item Weight: 37 lbs

Style: Indoor cat litter

Scented: Yes, Febreze and Gain

Color: Grey

Pet: Cats

Lifestage: All life stages

Storage Instructions: Store in a dry place near the floor to avoid accidents when moving the box. Keep away from moisture for best results.

Product Use Instruction: Evenly spread a layer 3-4 inches thick of litter inside the litter tray. Scoop clean regularly and replace the litter when it is soiled or odorous.

Summary: Fresh Step made with Febreze and Gain paw-activated odor-fighting crystals, is power against unwanted litter box odors. These features give this litter the power to fight smells for up to ten days. It is 99.9$ dust-free and leaves your cat’s feet litter-free and smelling great.

This scented litter absorbs smells from solid waste and keeps them in the box instead of on your cat or in the air. It is made in a wide variety of options, so every cat owner will find a cat litter relevant to their needs.

Pros
  • Infused with Febreeze
  • Ammonia blocking technology
  • Wide varieties available
  • Comes in a large container
  • Available at an affordable price
Cons
  • The scent may be overpowering
  • Can be high tracking

Customer Reviews: Over 60,000 people have reviewed this product and have given it a high average rating of 4.7 stars. These consumers liked the smell control and the clumping action for this litter. They reveled in the cost-effective formula’s ability to stay in the litter box as their cat exited as well.

Other cat owners did not like the dust that came from refilling the box and said it was a “messy, sticky mess” when they cleaned the box.

Veterinarians.org Review: Our team at veterinarians.org is giving Fresh Step Advanced Dust-Free Gain Scent Clumping Cat Litter an overall 9/10-star rating. The breakdown of our ratings is below:

  • Pet Suitability (9/10): This litter clumps quickly and tightly and controls odors greatly, but it does track on a cat’s paws.
  • Material Quality (9/10): The clay in this litter is low dust and low tracking, but not completely dust or track-free.
  • Cost Effectiveness (10/10): This litter costs less than $1.00/lb.
  • Customer Feedback (10/10): Over 60,000 people have rated this product, and these ratings give it an average of 4.7 out fo 5 stars.
  • Product Variety (10/10): This litter is available in a wide variety of options.

ARM & HAMMER Clump & Seal Platinum Cat Litter

Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Platinum Multi-Cat Complete Odor Sealing Clumping Cat Litter

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Price: $32.99

Size: 40 lbs

Material: Clay

Dimension: 7” x 11.75” x 13.69”

Item Weight: 40 lbs

Style: Indoor cat litter

Scented: Unscented

Color: Grey

Pet: Cats

Lifestage: All life stages

Storage Instructions: Store in a dry place near the floor to avoid accidents when moving the box. Keep away from moisture for best results.

Product Use Instruction: Evenly spread a layer 3-4 inches thick of litter inside the litter tray. Scoop clean regularly and replace the litter when it is soiled or odorous.

Summary: Arm & Hammer has been a trusted name in cat litter for decades. This platinum clump & seal litter is a great example of what they are capable of. It features a formula that seals in a destroys odors on contact, so there is no chance of smells escaping the litter box.

It is fragrance-free and made to be 100% dust-free for cat owners who are more sensitive to clay dust. This extra-strength formula also makes it a great choice for multi-cat households.

Pros
  • Clumps on contact
  • Rich in odor eliminators
  • Straightforward to use
  • Suitable for multiple cats
  • Available in large boxes
Cons
  • Tracks more than some other brands

Customer Reviews: nearly 40,000 reviews have been left about this litter. Cat owners who liked it were happy with its clumping ability and said they noticed next to no smells when using this litter, even in their house with multiple cats.

Customers complain frequently about the inconsistent delivery times and say the “pale gray litter kicks up a cloud of smoke,” and they feel duped by the advertisement.

Veterinarians.org Review: Our team at veterinarians.org is giving ARM & HAMMER Clump & Seal Platinum Cat Litter an overall 8/10-star rating. The breakdown of our ratings is below:

  • Pet Suitability (9/10): Tracking is a small problem with this litter, but overall, it works great for cats.
  • Material Quality (8/10): This litter is great at controlling odors, but many customers complained of dust. 
  • Cost Effectiveness (10/10): This litter is priced well under $1.00 per pound.
  • Customer Feedback (10/10): Nearly 40,000 ratings give this product 4.6 out of 5 stars. 
  • Product Variety (7/10): While there is only one variety of this litter, Arm & Hammer makes cat litter for every cat owner. 

Cat’s Pride Multi-Cat Clumping Litter

Cat's Pride Multi-Cat Clumping Litter

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Price: $9.49

Size: 10 lbs

Material: Clay

Dimension: 5.7” x 9” x 13.5”

Item Weight: 10 lbs

Style: Indoor cat litter

Scented: Yes, fresh scent

Color: Grey

Pet: Cats

Lifestage: All life stages

Storage Instructions: Store in a dry place near the floor to avoid accidents when moving the box. Keep away from moisture for best results.

Product Use Instruction: Evenly spread a layer 3-4 inches thick of litter inside the litter tray. Scoop clean regularly and replace the litter when it is soiled or odorous.

Summary: This litter from Cat’s Pride is a multi-cat, hypoallergenic formula that’s great for trapping and eliminating odors instantly. This helps your sensitive cats stay happy and healthy and keeps your home smelling fresh and clean.

It is powered by baking soda and is gentle on your cat. The lightweight formula allows 10 lbs of litter to do the same job as 20 lbs of traditional litter, so there is less waste. Each jug of litter sold is also a donation of 1 lb of litter to animal organizations across the country.

Pros
  • Lightly scented
  • Trap odors for 10+ days
  • Lightweight
  • Donates to animal organizations
  • Hypoallergenic formula
Cons
  • Experienced customers complain of a formula change
  • Tracks more than we would prefer

Customer Reviews: Customers were largely impressed with this cat litter. They liked that the smells were kept to a minimum and raved about how low-tracking it was for their cats.

Other customers, however, were upset at the amount of litter their cat tracked outside of the box and established consumers said there seems to have been a change in the formula that allows this.

Veterinarians.org Review: Our team at veterinarians.org is giving Cat’s Pride Multi-Cat Clumping Litter an overall 9/10-star rating. The breakdown of our ratings is below:

  • Pet Suitability (8/10): An apparent change in the formula now causes the litter to track more than we would have liked.
  • Material Quality (10/10): The clumps were tight, the odor was nearly unnoticeable, and the deodorizer additives did not add any off-putting aromas themself.
  • Cost Effectiveness (8/10): This is neither an expensive nor a cheap cat litter.
  • Customer Feedback (10/10): 40,000+ ratings and reviews have been left, with the vast majority of which being positive. 
  • Product Variety (10/10): This litter is available in many varieties.  

Purina Tidy Cats Clumping Cat Litter

Purina Tidy Cats Clumping Cat Litter 24-7 Performance

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Price: $40.91

Size: 40 lbs

Material: Clay

Dimension:

Item Weight:

Style: Indoor cat litter

Scented: Unscented; Lemongrass; Free & Clean

Color: Grey

Pet: Cats

Lifestage: All life stages

Storage Instructions: Store in a dry place near the floor to avoid accidents when moving the box. Keep away from moisture for best results.

Product Use Instruction: Evenly spread a layer 3-4 inches thick of litter inside the litter tray. Scoop clean regularly and replace the litter when it is soiled or odorous.

Summary: Tidy Cats has been a go-to for cat owners for decades. This Tidy cat litter is a staple in their product line, and it provides high-performance clumping action and odor control in several varieties.

The single-use bags make refilling the litter box easier as it removes the need for scooping or pouring from a square box. Each bag is just over 13 lbs, giving the package a total weight of 40 lbs, so households with more than one cat will be satisfied.

Pros
  • Scoopable natural clay
  • Formulated to control odors for up to 10 days
  • Low-dust and non-irritating
  • Comes in a giant 40 lb box
  • Suitable for multi-cat households
Cons
  • Relatively high-tracking
  • Comes in a lot of packaging

Customer Reviews: 14,000 reviews have been left on this litter. Happy cat owners liked the individual bags the litter came in and said it helped to keep the smell of the litter down and kept it fresher for longer. For them, the tracking was minimal, and the odor control was a point of great satisfaction.

Other consumers were harsher in their reviews, saying they did not like the way it clumped, and the smell of the litter was nauseating to some.

Veterinarians.org Review: Our team at veterinarians.org is giving Purina Tidy Cats Clumping Cat Litter an overall 8/10-star rating. The breakdown of our ratings is below:

  • Pet Suitability (9/10): This litter is a great choice for most cats, but the smell may deter some cats from using the litter box. 
  • Material Quality (7/10): While we noticed no excess tracking or odors, others complained loudly about odor control and tracking.  
  • Cost Effectiveness (8/10): This is an about average price for cat litter.
  • Customer Feedback (10/10): Over 14,000 reviews have been left, with the vast majority being positive.
  • Product Variety (10/10): There are over a half dozen varieties available for this cat litter. 

What Should I Look for in a Clumping Cat Litter?

When shopping for clumping cat litter, consider the following features:

  • Material: Clay absorbs moisture and creates the clumps this kind of litter is known for. Not all clumping litters are made of clay, but most are made of bentonite because it is cheap to produce and effective.
  • Odor Control: This can come from a variety of methods. Many cat litters are infused with Febreze, Gain, or Glade scents that help to mitigate aromas, while others use minerals to absorb them.
  • Dust Levels: Most clay litters produce some level of dust when poured and scooped. Some formulas are better than others at reducing this dust.
  • Granule Size: This may be a bit more difficult to determine, but the smaller the granules the more likely they are to become attached to a cat’s foot and become ingested or fall off onto the floor, making more work for you.

How Often Should You Change Clumping Litter?

The best option is to look at the direction on the label and follow them closely.

Some general guidelines indicate changing the clumping cat litter if you smell a strong odor or notice the litter has turned darker in color and is not clumping as tightly anymore.

Typically, a clumping cat litter will last 10-14 days without needing to be changed. However, this timeframe will vary greatly depending on how often you clean the litter.