What’s The Best Cat Litter For Senior Cats?

Cats litter Aug 1, 2019
Written by Mallory Crusta | Updated Apr 21, 2021
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What’s The Best Cat Litter For Senior Cats?

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After researching the unique bathroom needs of senior cats, learning about how other cat guardians address those requirements, and reflecting on my own 11-plus years of cat guardianship, I’ve chosen Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Senior Cat Litter as the best litter for senior cats. It’s a fast-absorbing silica gel litter that promises to keep your cat cleaner and healthier.

We’ll talk more about how to resolve common litter box problems later, but for now, let’s go into more detail on what your senior cat needs out of his litter.

We highly recommend looking at the comparison table we have below where we highlighted the features of each product. You’ll also find more detailed information about each product later in the article.

Compare Best Cat Litter For Senior Cats

Overall Best
Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Unscented Non-Clumping Crystal Cat Litter

1. Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Unscented Non-Clumping Crystal Cat Litter

Best Biodegradable
Feline Pine Original Non-Clumping Wood Cat Litter

2. Feline Pine Original Non-Clumping Wood Cat Litter

Best For Odor Control
Tidy Cats Free & Clean Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter

3. Tidy Cats Free & Clean Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter

Type
Silica Gel
Type
Biodegradable Pellets
Type
Clumping Clay
Made In
United States
Made In
United States
Made In
United States
Key Strengths
Helps to keep senior cats clean
Key Strengths
Very low dust, pleasant pine scent
Key Strengths
Unscented litter contains activated charcoal for superior odor control

What’s The Best Kind Of Cat Litter For Senior Cats?

I’ll warn you right off—most old-age litter box problems have nothing to do with what you’re putting inside the litter box. Dumping out the familiar stuff and pouring in a brand new litter could be just one more change your cat doesn’t want.

But…

Once you’ve ruled out health and stress issues, provided a litter box that accommodates any mobility issues, and mediated territorial conflicts, choosing a great cat litter can help make bathroom time easier for your senior cat.

Here are the qualities to look for when choosing the best cat litter for senior cats:

The Best Cat Litter For Senior Cats Is Low-dust And Doesn’t Stick To Your Cat’s Body.

Especially if your senior cat isn’t grooming as well as he used to, he shouldn’t step out of the litter box dirtier than he was when he stepped in.

  • Weight and consistency are important, too- The best litter isn’t so light that he sinks to his ankles but not so dense that it makes digging difficult. Fine-grained clay litter usually fits this description, but you might also use a good silica gel, pellet-style, or biodegradable litter made from corn or wheat.
  • It’s an all-around good cat litter- The best litter for seniors helps you to keep the box clean by creating rock-solid, easy-to-scoop clumps. It controls odors without a mask of irritating fragrances and is the right price for your budget.

Our Top Picks For The Best Cat Litter For Senior Cats

Overall Best
1.

Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Unscented Non-Clumping Crystal Cat Litter

Product Info

  • Type: Silica Gel
  • Made In: United States
  • Key Strengths: Helps to keep senior cats clean
Pros
  • Silica gel litter is low-maintenance and highly absorbent
  • Non-toxic and hypoallergenic
  • Helps to keep your cat cleaner
  • Cats like the sandy consistency
  • May help to encourage cats to use the litter box
Cons
  • Like most silica gel cat litter, it is one of the more expensive products in the cat litter aisle
  • Some reviewers say the litter is dusty
This litter from Dr. Elsey’s is designed and marketed specifically for senior cats. That’s a rare find. What makes it different from other products? Let’s take a closer look.

It’s a silica gel litter, which makes it extremely absorbent. Urine is sucked away into the crystals, leaving a dry surface behind, while feces is desiccated instead of swaddled in clay granules. Compared to clay litter, the result is drier and lower-maintenance.

According to Dr. Elsey’s, senior cats are 45% more likely to develop bacterial urinary tract infections.

When you combine poor grooming habits with sticky, dusty, dirty litter, you’re increasing the chances that your cat will step out of the litter box with fecal bacteria teeming around his urinary tract. Add on a diminished immune response and you’ve stepped into infection heaven.

Dr. Elsey’s claims that the litter’s quick-drying action makes it an antibacterial option, reducing the chances that your cat will get a urinary tract infection from his litter box.

The fine crystals are comfortable under cats’ feet and they’re infused with a “natural herbal attractant” that may help bring cats back to the box after they’ve started avoiding it.

Dr. Elsey’s makes some pretty lofty promises with this litter, and based on customer reviews, it’s kept most of them. Reviewers say their senior cats like the litter and most find it easy to handle and clean. The main recurring complaint is that the litter is dusty when poured.
Best Biodegradable
2.

Feline Pine Original Non-Clumping Wood Cat Litter

Product Info

  • Type: Biodegradable Pellets
  • Made In: United States
  • Key Strengths: Very low dust, pleasant pine scent
Pros
  • Very low dust and less tracking
  • Effective odor control
  • Easy cleaning if paired with a sifting litter box or another system
Cons
  • Some cats don’t like the paw-feel of wood pellets
The biggest benefit of this litter for senior cats is the fact that it won’t stick in his paws or fur. It is a relatively low-tracking, low-dust product. The litter has overall great performance, absorbing liquids and odors effectively.

Your biggest challenge will arise if your cat doesn’t like the pelleted texture, which some cats find uncomfortable.

There is a learning curve to cleaning out a box of pine pellets. After the litter is saturated, it turns into sawdust, so you’ll want to sift out and reserve the remaining pellets while discarding the dust. A sifting litter box makes this process simple.

Tip: If you want to save money on cat litter, try woodstove pellets or horse bedding.

These wood pellets perform extremely well—some say they’re even better than the stuff you buy for cats—and are significantly cheaper than any commercially-available cat litter. Find them at your local farm and ranch or hardware store.
Best For Odor Control
3.

Tidy Cats Free & Clean Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter

Product Info

  • Type: Clumping Clay
  • Made In: United States
  • Key Strengths: Unscented litter contains activated charcoal for superior odor control
Pros
  • Creates solid, cohesive clumps without turning sludgy
  • Provides excellent odor control without added scents
  • Relatively low dust compared to other clay litter
  • Doesn’t stick in senior cats paws
  • Has a fine texture that is gentle under the paws
Cons
  • Tends to track quite a bit
Where odor control is paramount, this product from Tidy Cats is a good option to consider. The Free & Clean Unscented formula doesn’t have any synthetic fragrances or added scents in general, but it delivers superior odor control with the inclusion of odor-absorbing activated charcoal.

Like other Tidy Cats clumping clay products, this litter has relatively small, dense granules that are easy on the paws and glide through the litter scoop. It forms solid, easy-to-scoop clumps. Though some reviewers had cementing problems, it doesn’t appear that this litter sticks between cats’ toes.

The litter does produce a small amount of dust when you pour it, but customers agree that it’s relatively low-dust compared to other clay cat litter.

Litter Box Tips For Senior Cats

Choosing the right litter is just one part of resolving the potty problems common among senior cats. Here are a few tips to help you make the litter box a happier, healthier space for your senior.

  • Provide a litter box with high sides and a low entrance. When arthritis grips your senior cat’s joints, jumping, stepping, and stretching over a shoulder-height wall becomes increasingly challenging and painful. Instead of putting herself through that, your arthritic cat might decide to go somewhere that doesn’t hurt, like a patch of carpet or a pile of laundry. Even if he chooses to use the litter box, he might not squat anymore, potentially sending a stream over the edge of the box. Your solution is to provide an accessible box that combines high sides with a low entrance. Easy access and flood control. Many guardians create their own accessible potties from cookie trays, under-bed storage containers, or Rubbermaid containers with doors cut in one side.
  • If you’d prefer to buy a premade litter box, you have a few options. 
  1. The KittyGoHere Litter Box is a spacious tray with an easy-access 3”-high entrance.
  2. The PetFusion large litter box (also called the BetterBox) is a robust non-stick tray with 8” sides and a 5” entrance.
  • Keep the area clean. A dirty or even not-quite-spotless litter box may have been frustrating in the past and as your cat grows older, he might refuse to put up with it. After you’ve ruled out any other problems, it’s time to do some self-examination. If your housekeeping hasn’t been up to par, try scooping more often and more thoroughly or invest in a self-cleaning litter box.
  • Mediate any territorial issues. Just like any cat at any age, senior cats in multiple-feline homes can find themselves tangled in territorial spats. When an aggressive cat makes another feel that his or her litter box is no longer a safe place, the victim could start avoiding the litter box. If you think that any of these power plays might be happening in your house, re-evaluate your litter box placement, making sure that each cat has a box of his own and can go whenever he wants without being disturbed by another cat.

Treat The Problem At Its Roots.

Health problems, including kidney disease, arthritis, stress, and urinary tract disease can cause many of the problems senior cats experience in the litter box. The right cat litter, a good litter box, and a healthy bathroom situation can help, but they won’t heal the underlying problems. Do your best to get to the bottom of the issue and address it through diet, exercise, nutritional supplements, and any other appropriate therapies.

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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
One Comment
  1. Stephanie Beltz-Majchrzak

    Thank you from apartment dweller

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