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The 5 Best Cat Litters for Kittens

September 1, 2019

The 5 Best Cat Litters for Kittens

The best cat litter for kittens is the one that’s safe—safe to play with, snooze on, and dig in. It should even be safe to eat. That’s why we recommend Yesterday’s News Softer Texture unscented cat litter as the best cat litter for kittens. It’s unscented, non-toxic, and non-clumping with a soft texture that’s gentle on baby toes.

Once your kitten gets past the toddler phase, you’ll probably want to transition to a clumping litter that controls odors and makes cleaning easy. That’s why we’ve also recommended four other litters for kittens, ranging from biodegradable products to training litters that help your kitten learn about the box.

Keep reading to find out what to look for in the best cat litter for kittens and how we chose the top 5 products on this list.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Easy on kittens’ paws
  • Three times more absorbent than clay litter
  • Biodegradable and environmentally friendly
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  • Highly-absorbent pine naturally locks in odors
  • Effective absorption without clumping
  • Unscented with no harsh additives
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  • Contains a blend of herbs selected to attract kittens to the litter box
  • Highly absorbent
  • Excellent odor control
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  • Most cats like the fine, soft texture of the litter
  • Great odor control
  • Natural clumping ability
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  • Small, fine granules are ideal for kitten paws
  • Features an herbal attractant to aid in litter box training
  • Controls odors effectively
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What’s The Best Kind Of Cat Litter For Kittens?

Kittens need the same high-quality litter that every other cat should have. The only difference is that young kitties are prone to splashing about in the litter box like it’s a pool. Sometimes they even take a taste of their litter.

When you’re using a hard-clumping clay litter, those playful moments could quickly turn into a serious problem. Think gastrointestinal distress or blockage.

That’s Why The Best Cat Litter For Kittens Doesn’t Clump.

Most clumping clay litter is made of sodium bentonite, a type of clay that expands 15-18 times when it gets wet. That’s great if you want to scoop out clods of urine, but it doesn’t look so pretty when the clod isn’t in the litter box but in your kitten’s tiny intestine. It’s unlikely that your kitten will ingest enough to experience this, but it’s still prudent to avoid the hard-clumping clay until your kitten is around three to four months old.

What About Biodegradable Clumping Litter?

Biodegradable—often referred to as natural—clumping litter doesn’t clump quite as hard as clay litter and some products even dissolve when immersed in water. But is it really safe? That’s up for debate, so I asked a veterinarian for their opinion. Maria Botinas, DVM says that she “I would stay away from the biodegradable clumping litters also because if ingested it can cause intestinal upset.”

It sounds like she’s taking the cautious route—and that’s the one that many kitten guardians will take. But not everyone agrees. For example, the people at World’s Best Cat Litter believe that their clumping corn-based litter is safe for cats of all ages, saying that “any litter ingested will pass through the animal’s system naturally, not causing any intestinal blockages.”

Ultimately, it’s hard to say whether biodegradable clumping litter is or is not safe for kittens. It’s unlikely that your kitten will eat enough to cause damage, but again, it never hurts to be cautious.

The Best Cat Litter For Kittens Has A Fine-grained, Gentle Texture.

Most kittens prefer fine-grained litter—it’s easy to dig in and comfortable under the paws. If you adopted a feral or outdoor kitten, it’s likely what she learned to go in. Look for fine, soft cat litter or, if you’re using a pellet-style litter, make sure that it gets positive customer reviews and seems to have a reputation for paw-friendliness.

The Best Cat Litter For Kittens Is Free Of Synthetic Fragrances And Harsh Additives.

Regardless of how old your cat is, it’s a good idea to avoid harsh fragrances and additives. These can irritate your cat’s skin and senses. Opt for unscented, all-natural litter instead.

Best Cat Litter For Kittens: Our Top 5 Picks

Overall Best: Yesterday's News Softer Texture Unscented Cat Litter

Product Info:

  • Type: Recycled Newspaper
  • Price per Pound: $0.72/lb
  • Made In: United States
  • Key Strengths: Safe, non-clumping litter that is gentle on kitten paws

Pros:

  • Easy on kittens’ paws
  • Three times more absorbent than clay litter
  • Biodegradable and environmentally friendly
  • Non-clumping, making it safe for young kittens

Cons:

  • Doesn’t offer the best odor control

According to the company, Yesterday’s News is the number one veterinarian-recommended eco-friendly brand. It’s frequently recommended for kittens, cats recovering from surgery, and other cats in need of a gentle, non-clumping litter. This product, in particular, is designed to have a softer touch than the original Yesterday’s News.

It’s highly absorbent and stays dry for a long time, but it doesn’t have the best odor control ability. The litter doesn’t clump, either, which limits the amount of time you can leave it out.

Because of these practical shortcomings, it’s not the best choice for long-term use, but it can be a good option for very young kittens during the first few months of life.

Best for Odor Control: Feline Pine Platinum Cat Litter

Product Info:

  • Type: Wood Pellets
  • Price per Pound: $0.68/lb
  • Made In: United States
  • Key Strengths: Effective odor control and urine absorption without clumping

Pros:

  • Highly-absorbent pine naturally locks in odors
  • Effective absorption without clumping
  • Unscented with no harsh additives

Cons:

  • Some kittens won’t like the way the firm pellets feel under their paws

Feline Pine Platinum cat litter is a wood pellet litter that doesn’t clump but manages to be one of the best odor neutralizers on the cat food aisle. Absorbent pine fibers suck up liquid and lock in odors, keeping the litter box fresh and dry.

Instead of clumping, the litter breaks down into sawdust when it’s saturated. Cleaning out a litter box with this kind of litter is kind of like traditional scooping in reverse. You’ll scoop out solid waste, then sift out the sawdust. Whatever filters through your scoop can go into the trash and the big particles stay in the box.

Pine pellets aren’t particularly soft under the paws, so some kittens might not like them, but they are safe for your kitten to dig and play in.

Feline Pine isn’t the priciest natural cat litter on the market, but if you’re used to traditional clay, it’ll look pretty expensive by comparison.

Best Training Litter: Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Kitten Training Quick-Clumping Cat Litter

Product Info:

  • Type: Clumping Walnut
  • Price per Pound: $0.99/lb
  • Made In: United States
  • Key Strengths: Effective clumping and odor control with an herbal blend intended to help kittens use the box

Pros:

  • Contains a blend of herbs selected to attract kittens to the litter box
  • Highly absorbent
  • Excellent odor control
  • Virtually dust-free
  • Cats like the texture of the litter

Cons:

  • Tends to stick to cat paws and track through the house
  • Clumps well, but as a biodegradable litter, it shouldn’t cause problems

Most kittens use the litter box instinctively and don’t need any training, but if your kitten needs an extra push in that direction, a training litter may be able to help. This is a biodegradable clumping litter that is made with walnut shells infused with an herbal blend that may be able to help your kitten start using the box.

Walnut shells are naturally absorbent and odor-neutralizing. Because it’s three times more absorbent than clay litter, a bag of walnut litter should last longer than your traditional litter.

The litter is featherlight and has a dark color, so prepare for some noticeable tracking and scattering.

Best Biodegradable Clumping Litter: Pioneer Pet SmartCat All Natural Cat Litter

Product Info:

  • Type: Clumping Grass
  • Price per Pound: $1.79/lb
  • Made In: United States
  • Key Strengths: Forms excellent clumps

Pros:

  • Most cats like the fine, soft texture of the litter
  • Great odor control
  • Natural clumping ability
  • Free from any artificial ingredients and fragrances

Cons:

  • An expensive litter
  • Clumping litter may not be the best option for very young kittens

If you believe your cat is ready to use a biodegradable clumping litter, consider this grass-based product from Pioneer Pet. The litter is made from 100% US-farmed grass seeds. These lightweight seeds have a fine texture that kittens like to step in.

Its performance is on par with clumping clay litter without the dust. It creates firm, cohesive clumps that are easy to scoop. The litter appears to control odor well but isn’t outstanding in this department. You’ll have to clean the litter box frequently to make sure the odor doesn’t build up.

The litter is free of any fragrances or additives that could irritate your kitten.

Best for Older Kittens: Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Kitten Attract Training Cat Litter

Product Info:

  • Type: Clumping Clay
  • Price per Pound: $1.20/lb
  • Made In: United States
  • Key Strengths: An all-around good cat litter infused with an herbal kitten attractant

Pros:

  • Small, fine granules are ideal for kitten paws
  • Features an herbal attractant to aid in litter box training
  • Controls odors effectively
  • Forms firm, easy-to-scoop clumps
  • Free of harsh fragrances or additives

Cons:

  • Not recommended for kittens younger than 3-4 months old

If you have an older kitten who’s ready for clumping clay litter but not yet catching on to the litter box, this litter from Dr. Elsey’s may be a good option. This company is a star in the cat litter space and known for their Cat Attract products, designed to encourage adult cats to use—or return to the litter box.

This litter is a clumping clay product infused with an herbal attractant that can help encourage kittens to use the box. According to customer reviews, it works.

In addition to making the training process easier, this litter does a good job of clumping, neutralizing odors, and feeling good under the paws.

Whether you need a training litter or just something that absorbs without clodding up, the above litters should make your kitten’s first months of litter box use even smoother. 

With a great litter, a kitten-appropriate litter box placed in a quiet place, and a little encouragement, most kittens learn to use the litter box in a flash. They instinctively value cleanliness and the litter box is a welcome space to dig.

Once your kitten is used to using the litter box and is ready to switch to a clumping litter, you can either stick with his kittenhood litter or gradually transition to another product.

Want to learn more about cat litter and explore the top products on the market? Check out this comprehensive guide.

Mallory Crusta

Mallory Crusta is a blogger and adventurecat enthusiast who brings you the facts about cat products, wellness, and care. She's the co-founder of Wildernesscat, a resource for savvy cat guardians who want to give their felines richer, healthier lives. Visit Wildernesscat for product reviews, radically natural nutrition tips, and lifestyle inspiration
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