The Best Cat Litters for Odor Control of 2020
- Our Top 8 List
- 1. Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Platinum Cat Litter
- 2. Dr. Elsey’s Premium Clumping Cat Litter
- 3. Purina Tidy Cats LightWeight Glade Clumping Cat Litter
- 4. Purina Yesterday’s News Unscented Paper Cat Litter
- 5. Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Quick-Clumping Cat Litter
- 6. Ever Clean Extra Strength Cat Litter, Unscented
- 7. Fresh Step Simply Unscented Clumping Cat Litter
- 8. Purina Tidy Cats Tough Odor Solutions Cat Litter
- Top 8 Verdict
- Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Platinum
- Buying Guide for Cat Litter
- Tips for Setting Up a Cat Box
As every feline lover agrees, it’s a cat’s world! And we just live in it. Even the most devoted cat friend may grimace with distaste, though, when he or she smells a well-used litter box. Here’s the thing: Cats are innately clean animals, so if you don’t like the way their litter box smells, chances are they don’t either!
Kitty litters on the market today include clay, bentonite clay, silica gel pearls, recycled newspapers, and even walnut and corn husks. All of them have advantages and disadvantages in terms of odor neutralization, dust control and ease of cleaning. We’ve investigated a number of these products, and you can read about our findings below.
Our Top 8 List
Price / Value
ARM & HAMMER Clump & Seal Platinum Cat Litter
Dr. Elsey’s Premium Clumping Cat Litter
Purina Tidy Cats LightWeight Glade Clumping Cat Litter
Purina Yesterday’s News Unscented Paper Cat Litter
Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Quick-Clumping Cat Litter
Ever Clean Extra Strength Cat Litter, Unscented
Fresh Step Simply Unscented Clumping Cat Litter
Purina Tidy Cats Tough Odor Solutions Cat Litter
This is an upgrade of its original Double Duty product. Ingredients include Arm & Hammer baking soda, a light fragrance and agents that prevent the litter granules from adhering to the box. All ingredients in this litter are derived from either mineral or plant sources.
Arm & Hammer is so confident in the odor-eliminating properties that the company offers a seven-day odor-free guarantee. This product is designed for boxes used by multiple cats as well as boxes used by single cats.
The litter itself has a fine consistency, but it doesn’t create a cloud of dust when you pour it out of the container. Urine clumps are hard, which makes them extremely easy to scoop out of the box. You never have the feeling that you are excavating chunks of wet concrete.
It is very effective at odor control, but it does have a distinct fragrance. That means it may not be an optimal choice for cat owners who are extremely sensitive to perfume scents or who have respiratory issues like asthma. It is also very fine, so it’s better suited for use with a scoopable litter pan than it is for use with an automatic self-cleaning box since the fine litter may get caught in a mechanical device’s nooks and crannies.
Dr. Elsey’s litter is made from sodium bentonite clay, which enhances the creation of clumps while at the same time, decreases the formation of dust. Its inventor, veterinarian Dr. Bruce Elsey, has devoted his entire professional career to creating cat food and cat care products that are designed to help felines live longer, happier and more active lives.
The hypoallergenic formula has no added chemicals, perfumes or deodorizers for odor control. It relies strictly upon its superior clumping properties to control noxious smells. It can be used in multi-cat as well as single-cat households, and can be deployed in self-cleaning litter boxes as well as those that require sifting.
It does not handle large volumes of liquid very well. If your cat tends to urinate a lot at a single time, there’s a real possibility that the litter will get gooey and cake to the sides of the litter box, making scooping a lot harder. The manufacturer recommends getting around this by using a deep litter box and scooping at least once a day.
Purina’s litter only weighs half of what a comparable volume of other leading cat litters weigh. That’s because this product is made of bead-like granules that are hollow inside. The beige granules contain a proprietary ammonia blocker while the blue granules contain Glade’s Clear Springs fragrance.
If you like Glade’s Clear Springs fragrance, then you won’t have any issue with the scent, but some customers may it find overly strong. It should be noted that the Clear Springs scent doesn’t neutralize the smell of cat urine and feces so much as overlay them.
Though Purina maintains that the granules have an anti-dust coating, some users report that scooping this litter can produce large clouds of dust. It granules are so tiny, too, that cat paws may easily pick them up and track them through the house. Using more of it in a deeper litter pan may help mitigate this issue.
Since it clumps extremely well, very little of the product gets wasted.
If you’d prefer an eco-friendly cat litter, this one may be just what you’re looking for. Unlike most options, which are made from clay-based materials, this product is made from recycled paper pellets.
Paper pellets absorb three times as much liquid as clay-based pellets, but they do not clump. Paper pellets don’t create any dust either, and your pet will not end up tracking clay particles through the house.
Paper pellets are only effective at absorbing unpleasant smells up to a point, though. If you really want to eliminate all lingering traces of ammonia smells, you’ll have to empty the box and replace the litter far more often than you might have to with a more conventional clay-based product. Fill the bottom of your litter pan with approximately two inches of pellets and when the pellets have approximately doubled in size, toss the old litter and start afresh.
It is also a great option for rabbits, guinea pigs and small rodents, so if your household menagerie includes these pets in addition to cats, this product is definitely worth checking out.
This one derives its odor-neutralizing properties from the fibrous materials found in walnut shells, which have been proven to be far more effective at absorbing smells than litters made from clay or wood shavings. The litter itself has a slightly woodsy smell.
No clay means no kitty paws tracking litter throughout your house. However, it may not be completely dust-free as advertised. Some people report that a brown dust rises when you pour the litter into a pan and that a residue covers objects in the area around the litter box.
It may not be completely effective eliminating the smell of feline feces in all cases, so you may find yourself needing to scoop more often than you might if you used a different brand. With urine, though, Naturally Fresh’s super-absorbent formula produces tight clumps in a very short amount of time. The product is formulated entirely from natural materials and is 100 percent biodegradable.
There are some issues associated with the walnut base. Sometimes. there is walnut staining on the cats’ paws, which subsequently finds its way onto carpets and tile surfaces.
This one combines granules with activated charcoal to eliminate odors upon contact in a safe, natural way. Made from a proprietary blend of clays and other minerals, this litter is fortified with an ammonia shield as well as with an antimicrobial agent that inhibits the spread of unpleasant smells associated with bacterial growth.
Its moisture lock technology allows the litter to form hard clumps the moment it comes into contact with urine and feces. This makes scooping extremely easy and is another way that it works extra hard to control odors. You may be able to go as long as 14 days before you’ll need to clean your pan.
Like other clay-based litters, this one can create quite a bit of dust when you pour it into the pan, but you can usually get around that by pouring the litter from a lower height. The granules have a tendency to stick to cats’ feet, which means your pets may spread them throughout the house.
Charcoal and plant extracts contribute to this one’s superior odor-fighting properties. Its proprietary formula contains antimicrobial agents, too, that work to halt the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Simply Unscented also incorporates ClumpLock technology into its granules that help bind liquids more tightly and quickly, which makes it very easy to scoop.
The litter does not smell like perfume, but it does have a distinctive odor which we find fresh and pleasant.
It sports larger granules than many of its lightweight litter competitors, which makes it slightly heavier than these other brands. It’s still relatively easy to lift and pour, though, and the benefit to its slightly heavier weight are that it will cause less dust and your cat will track significantly less litter throughout the rooms of your home.
You can use it in single-cat boxes or pans that are shared by multiple cats, but it’s no good for self-cleaning cat pans. The heavier granules will stick to the mechanism that sifts through the litter, which may abort the cleaning cycle.
Another Purina product! This one promises it’s almost completely dust-free, and it delivers on this promises. This is one of the very best products for felines and owners who are sensitive to that fine cloud of particulate matter that can rise from clay-based litters when they’re poured or rooted through. The product is specifically designed for pans shared by more than one cat, and it forms strong, tight clumps with minimal crumbling for easy cleanup.
Tidy Cats Tough Odor Solutions uses a dual odor-fighting system. It incorporates Purina’s TidyLock formula, which is designed to neutralize the odor of cat urine and feces. It also uses Glade’s proprietary Tough Odor Solutions, imbuing the litter with a fresh fragrance.
This may not be the best choice if you have perfume sensitivities, though, since the Glade fragrance is strong. Some users also reported that their cats developed respiratory issues when this litter was used, which those users attributed to the Glade ingredients.
Top 8 Verdict
What are cat owners really looking for when they go shopping for litter? Odor control seems to be a top priority, followed closely by ease of cleaning. A third criterion, dust control, is also important, but cat owners seem willing to compromise on this one if their product delivers on the other two.
Our top pick for the all-around best odor control litter is the one by A&H because it performs well in all three of these critical categories. The litter contains micro-particles that bind to the surface of feces and form very hard urine clumps, which helps contain emanations from these sources. Clump & Seal Platinum contains the company’s famous baking soda as well as other specifically odor-neutralizing agents.
We’re also impressed by the fact that A&H stands by its product with a money-back satisfaction guarantee. If you need to take advantage of this, all you have to do is send the original UPC cut from the product’s container and your in-store cash register receipt to A&H’s rebate center.
Buying Guide for Cat Litter
Does it really matter what kind of cat litter you buy? Yes! Purchasing one that satisfies the needs of both you and your fur baby will go a long way toward helping you maintain a happy household. Keep in mind that whatever product you prefer, the ultimate decision is up to your pet: If your cat doesn’t like the smell and the feel of the one you choose, he or she may start thinking outside the box.
Odor Control: If you’re like most cat owners, odor control will be the most important consideration when you’re looking for a new litter. You’ll have a number of options here depending upon whether you prefer a scented product or a product that works by neutralizing unpleasant smells. Research has found that cats themselves seem to prefer unscented products. 30% of cat owners get a long-lasting odor control product, and 29% buy extra-strength odor control products.
Ease of cleaning: Clumping litters make it very easy to clean boxes. Before the introduction of bentonite litters in the early 1980s, cleaning a top entry litter box was a harrowing task that involved throwing away an entire tray of smelly used litter, chiseling away at the hardened litter that adhered to the edges of the pan and then scrubbing out the pan.
In the early 1980s, bentonite litters were first introduced. Bentonite is a type of clay that’s capable of absorbing up to ten times its own weight in liquid; when a cat urinates in a bentonite litter, the result is a tight clump that’s extremely easy to scoop up.
Plain clay litters are still available today, and they’re the lowest-cost option on the market. Most consumers are willing to pay a little bit extra, though, for the convenience of clumping options, and scoopable ones account for 73% of all the products that are sold.
Dust control: If the option you choose throws up all sorts of dust when your cat digs in it, not only will the dust get all over the area around your box, it may also cause your pet to develop respiratory problems. Look for a cat litter that is dust free or made from silica crystals.
Weight: In recent years, lightweight litters have been one of the fastest-growing trends in product development. Humans like them because they’re easier to lift and pour, and easier to sift. Cats haven’t weighed in yet with their opinion. There are a few anecdotal reports floating around on social media that lightweight litters may cause respiratory issues in cats, but these reports have not been scientifically investigated.
Eco-friendliness: Clay-based litters may do an excellent job at absorbing odors but they’re hard on the environment. It is estimated that more than 2.6 tons of clay-based litter ends up in landfills every year. Most of the bentonite used in clumping litters is strip-mined in Wyoming, and strip mining itself is also bad for the earth.
These are some of the considerations that have sparked a growing interest in green solutions over the past few years. Eco-friendly products made from walnut husks and cornhusks, cedar chips, wheat and other biodegradable substances are increasingly available.
Self-cleaning boxes: Self-cleaning litter boxes automate the unpleasant task of scooping and cleaning the box. If you decide to go with an automated solution, though, you will have to purchase the exact type of litter that’s specified by the self-cleaning tray’s manufacturer. These boxes tend to be very unforgiving if you use a litter substitute.
Tips for Setting Up a Cat Box
What kind of box should I buy?
Litter boxes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but it’s critically important to get one that your cat can climb in and out of easily. Just like humans, cats like privacy when they’re doing their business, so it’s best to set up your litter box in an area of your home that’s relatively secluded. We like litter box end tables the most because of their beauty. Sifting and self-cleaning boxes are great choices as well, and you can put them inside of the end table furniture.
Never put your tray near your pet’s food and water dishes. Keep your tray away from noisy appliances, too. Your cat feels very vulnerable when he or she is urinating or defecating, and loud noises may make your pet feel too threatened to use the box.
How much litter should I use?
Less is more so far as your cat is concerned. Most cats seem to prefer a litter depth to approximately three inches. Humans prefer to add more but in most cases your cats will not be moved to dig deeper holes, and you’ll still have to clean the box just as often.
To keep the area around the box clean, be sure to always have a mat in place.
How many boxes should I have?
Do you have more than one cat? Unlike dogs, cats aren’t pack animals, so many cats find it stressful to use a box that another cat is using. Feline experts say that a multi-cat household should have the same number of litter boxes as it does cats—plus one extra box.
If your household is not set up to provide each feline with its own box, you’ll probably be okay so long as you buy a product that’s specially formulated for multi-cat households. You will have to clean the boxes more often than you might otherwise, though.
If your home has more than one level, make sure that there’s a box on each floor. That way your pet has options if access to other floors becomes difficult.
Are covered cat boxes a good idea?
Covered cat boxes are more of a convenience for humans than they are for cats: They keep flying litter granules to a minimum, and they spare an owner the sight of a cat hunkering down to do its business. Covered boxes can be difficult for larger felines to navigate, though.
How often should I clean a box?
The Humane Society of the United States recommends scooping feces out of the litter box daily and cleaning the litter and the tray itself at least twice a week.
We are the Pet Cat Friends, a dedicated group of pet loving bloggers and product testers for all your meowy needs. We research, test, and review cat related products with the help of our collective 21 cats. Feel free to leave us feedback and treats!