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The 5 Best Clumping Cat Litters

October 11, 2019

The 5 Best Clumping Cat Litters

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The best clumping cat litter acts fast and creates firm, easy-to-scoop clumps. It combines clumping ability with minimal dust and a price you can afford. After researching the industry and identifying the qualities that set good clumping litters apart from the rest, I’ve chosen five of the best scoopable cat litters on the market. 

The following lineup includes clumping clay litter, biodegradable clumping litter, lightweight litter, and more. Before we get into our reviews of the five best clumping cat litters, let’s learn more about the qualities that set them apart.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Quickly creates firm, easy-to-scoop clumps
  • The clumps don’t crumble or break
  • Known for good odor control
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  • Creates solid, scoopable clumps that don’t stick to the bottom of the box
  • Uses activated charcoal to neutralize odors
  • Relatively low-dust compared to other clumping clay products
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  • Advanced odor control
  • Has a paw-friendly texture
  • Unscented formula won’t irritate cats or people
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  • Provides good odor control
  • Creates easy-to-scoop clumps
  • One of the best-trusted products on the market
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  • Has a soft, fine texture that’s gentle on cat paws
  • Provides good odor control
  • Creates firm, easy-to-scoop clumps
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What Are The Qualities Of The Best Clumping Cat Litter?

Clumping litter can be clay, wood, corn, or wheat, but regardless of what it’s made of, the best products exhibit a few high-performance qualities. These qualities make it easy for you to clean the box, extend the life of each boxful, and reduce the amount of odor in your home.

The Best Clumping Cat Litter Clumps Quickly To Keep Urine From Reaching The Bottom Of The Litter Box.

Clumping speed is vital. A slow-clumping litter allows urine to seep down to the bottom of the litter box, go sludgy, and turn into cement. Fast-clumping litter forms clods that rest near the surface of the litter and come out with a flick of the wrist. 

It’s hard to predict how quickly a litter clumps before you try it. That’s why I relied on customer reviews, product testing, and personal experience to tell me about the clumping speed of each litter reviewed here. 

Regardless of how quickly your cat’s litter clumps, you may end up hacking at bottom-sludge if you make one simple mistake—not putting enough cat litter in the box. If there aren’t at least a few inches of it between your cat and the plastic, even the best cat litter can’t create a good clump. Instead, you’ll get sludge or cement. 

It Neutralizes Odors Without The Help Of Added Fragrances.

If odor control is your priority, clumping cat litter is your friend. Because it allows you to pick out the smelly stuff, clumping litter stinks less and lasts longer than most non-clumping products. The best clumping litter neutralizes odors without leaning on crutches. Heavy added fragrances may mask odors, but they also irritate some cats and people.

The Litter Doesn’t Produce A Lot Of Dust.

Whether clay, corn, or cassava, clumping cat litter can be dusty. While some amount of dust is almost inevitable regardless of what type of litter you choose, I looked for low-dust products. Instead of relying on the label to tell me that the litter was 99.9% or 99% dust-free, I read customer reviews to find the lowest-dust clumping litters on the market.

Best Clumping Cat Litter: Our Top 5 Picks

Overall Best: Dr. Elsey's Ultra Premium Clumping Cat Litter

Product Info:

  • Type: Clumping Clay
  • Price per Pound: $0.46/lb
  • Made In: United States
  • Key Strengths: An all-around excellent clumping cat litter

Pros:

  • Quickly creates firm, easy-to-scoop clumps
  • The clumps don’t crumble or break
  • Known for good odor control
  • Relatively low dust compared to other clumping clay litters
  • Controls odors without added fragrances

Cons:

  • Comes in a heavy, large bag that makes it hard to pour

Nothing clumps better than sodium bentonite clay. Clumping clay litter is strong, reliable, and relatively cheap. But many clumping clay litters pair their performance with problems. You’ll find clumping clay litters that clump too slowly, produce too much dust, or contain headache-inducing fragrances. 

This litter from Dr. Elsey’s is free of those flaws. Instead, it has everything you’d want in a clumping cat litter with none of the things you want to avoid. It has relatively large granules that aren’t saturated quickly, allowing it to create cohesive, scoopable clods. The granule size also helps the litter to stay in the box. The granules don’t stick in your cat’s paws or track as much as do some other products. 

And at under $0.50 per pound, it’s one of the cheapest products on the market. It provides top-of-the-line performance at an accessible price. 

Runner-Up: Purina Tidy Cats Free & Clean Clumping Cat Litter

Product Info:

  • Type: Clumping Clay
  • Price per Pound: $0.50/lb
  • Made In: United States
  • Key Strengths: A high-performance clumping litter with activated carbon for odor control

Pros:

  • Creates solid, scoopable clumps that don’t stick to the bottom of the box
  • Uses activated charcoal to neutralize odors
  • Relatively low-dust compared to other clumping clay products

Cons:

  • Tends to track and scatter

This clumping clay litter from Tidy Cats does several things well. It’s an unscented litter that contains activated carbon, also known as activated charcoal. This porous substance neutralizes without masking and, unlike added fragrances, it doesn’t irritate cats or people.

The litter’s dense granules are comfortable under your cat’s paws. When it comes into contact with urine, the litter forms tight little clumps that are easy to scoop. 

On the negative side, the granules are lightweight and will probably scatter out of the box a bit. The litter’s also prone to tracking, so you may want to pair it with a good litter mat. 

Best for Odor Control: Ever Clean Extra Strength Cat Litter, Unscented

Product Info:

  • Type: Clumping Clay
  • Price per Pound: $0.64/lb
  • Made In: United States
  • Key Strengths: Contains activated carbon and an antimicrobial agent for fragrance-free odor control

Pros:

  • Advanced odor control
  • Has a paw-friendly texture
  • Unscented formula won’t irritate cats or people
  • Creates firm, cohesive clumps

Cons:

  • One of the dustiest litters on this list

If an odorless litter box is your number one goal and you’re willing to spend a little bit more to achieve it, consider this litter from Ever Clean. 

In addition to creating firm, cohesive clumps, this litter takes a few extra steps to fight odors. Activated carbon and an antimicrobial help to neutralize odors and keep them from forming. The litter captures ammonia and stool odors, and inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria. 

The litter has a fine-grained consistency that cats seem to enjoy, but it tends to be on the dustier side. It may not be a good choice for dust-sensitive homes.

Best Biodegradable: World's Best Cat Litter Clumping Litter Formula for Multiple Cats

Product Info:

  • Type: Clumping Corn
  • Price per Pound: $0.99/lb
  • Made In: United States
  • Key Strengths: A plant-based litter that creates strong clumps

Pros:

  • Provides good odor control
  • Creates easy-to-scoop clumps
  • One of the best-trusted products on the market
  • More affordable than the average biodegradable cat litter

Cons:

  • Tends to be on the dustier side

What if you want a great clumping cat litter but don’t want to use clay? A lot of biodegradable litters claim to clump as well as clay, but few live up to those promises. This litter from World’s Best Cat Litter is one that does—or at least comes close.

The litter is made from compressed corn particles and an “all-natural plant ingredient” that neutralizes odors. It doesn’t contain any fragrances or other potentially-irritating additives.

According to both the company and customer reviews, the litter is quick-clumping and makes cohesive, easy-to-scoop clumps that don’t crumble or collapse before they reach the trash.

The litter is affordable compared to other biodegradable products. 

Best Dust-Free: 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:

  • Has a soft, fine texture that’s gentle on cat paws
  • Provides good odor control
  • Creates firm, easy-to-scoop clumps
  • Doesn’t contain any irritating fragrances or other additives

Cons:

  • One of the most expensive cat litter products on the market

Let’s say your dream litter is lightweight, low-dust, strong-clumping, and made from biodegradable, environmentally-friendly plant materials. In that case, this litter from SmartCat could be the product for you. It’s made from lightweight grass seeds, which produce virtually zero dust when poured into the litter box. 

When it comes into contact with urine, this grass-based litter creates firm clumps that are a breeze to lift out. It’s relatively strong in the odor control department, too. 

Overall, this is a cat-friendly, user-friendly litter that performs on par with clumping clay. That said, it’s a bit more expensive than equivalent clay products and some other biodegradable litters.

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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