Co-habiting with cats is joyful, but sharing your home with their ‘bathroom’ is one of the less appealing aspects of cat ownership. Cat litter isn't exclusively an indoor cat consideration either; even feline adventurers will appreciate a clean toilet from time to time. Whether your cat is an indoor or outdoor kitty, we all know how picky they can be, so even with the best intentions, expect some trial and error!
What is the best litter for your cat?
The most important thing is to offer your cat a toilet solution that is clean, comfortable, and convenient, where they feel safe and have some privacy. When welcoming a cat or kitten to your home, we recommend that you offer consistency by providing the litter they used in their previous dwellings before making any changes. Should you wish to make a change, try sprinkling the new litter into their current litter bit by bit. Keep reading to find the best cat litter for your cat.
What cat litter options are there?
From clay to silica gel to pea husks and paper - there are many cat litter options, which your feline friend may or may not get on with. In this article, we recommend our preferred biodegradable litters and discuss some mainstream options that may not be good for your cat’s health.
When it comes to choosing a litter for your cat, here are some things to know:
What is clumping cat litter?
Clumping litter is designed to make it easier to clean and maintain your cat's litter box. This type of litter forms into lumps when it comes into contact with your cat’s urine. This means you can remove the clumps daily and refresh the entire tray less regularly (some clumping litters require weekly changing but others can last over a month!)
What is it cat litter made from?
Many mainstream litters are made from silica or clays (sodium bentonite and calcium bentonite), which are the most common ‘clumpers’ - we avoid these because they aren’t biodegradable. There are also further concerns about the safety of clay-based litters which can be ingested and then expand in your cat’s tummy. Clumping litter isn’t advised for kittens less than four months old, as it can cause dangerous intestinal blockages.
Consider safer natural litters made from wood, recycled paper, wheat, tofu, corn and even walnut shells.
How can you stop a litter tray from smelling?
Some litters are scented with smells such as lavender or contain added ingredients like activated charcoal or baking soda, which can help counteract a cat’s ‘eau de toilet’. While these options may be better for humans, they are not always welcomed by the furry user and their sensitive noses. It will be down to your cat’s personal choice whether it’s for them or not. It’s also worth knowing that mal-odours from your kitty’s toilet could be due to their diet. Since switching our kitties to a raw diet their litter trays don’t smell at all! There are also products that you can hang by your cat’s tray to neutralise odours such as Moodify Pet’s Cat litter box odour eliminator.
Why is my cat sneezing after using their litter tray?
Cat litter can generate dust, a factor more prevalent with clumping varieties made from clay. This is not only impactful on your home, but it can also trigger allergies (human and feline).
How to stop cat litter tracking around your home
Litter leaving the tray via your cat’s paws, legs and overall fur is called ‘tracking.’ If you don't want to share more of your home with your cat’s loo than you need to. Having a mat next to your cat’s litter tray or box will help shed some of the excess litter from their paws. Large pellets made from wood, tofu or pea husk are heavier and tend to get stuck to your cat’s paws less than finer materials. Large pellets are also easier to sweep or even pick up!
Cat Litter Hygiene Guidelines
How many litter trays does my cat need?
It’s recommended you have one litter tray plus one per cat, so if you have two cats, it's three litter trays and so on.
How much cat litter should I put in their tray?
A tray or litter box also needs to offer between one to three inches of litter depending on your cat’s size
How often should I clean the tray?
If using clumping litter, scoop daily and completely replace the litter once a month. But if being used by more than one cat, change more frequently e.g., every two to three weeks
If using non-clumping litter, then your cat’s toilet will need a weekly clean and re-fresh!
How should you clean a litter tray?
After you have emptied your cat’s soiled litter, make sure to deep-clean the tray before filling it with fresh litter. Fill the tray with hot water from the tap (with the cats safely out the room!) and add some eco-friendly dish soap. The hot water and soap kills bacteria and lifts any stubborn marks. Wait for the water to cool and then pour it down the drain. Dry the tray with kitchen roll and use a non-toxic spray cleaner for the final refresh before re-filling the tray with litter.
Cat I flush my cat’s litter down the toilet?
Never flush clay or silica cat litter down your toilet, as it can block your plumbing. Dispose of it with your household waste collection. Avoid flushing entirely. While some brands of litter may be flushable (generally eco ones), we’d recommend forgoing this waste disposal method as it can cause onward health and disease issues in humans and aquatic life. Some cats carry a parasite called Toxoplasmosis gondii, which can spread with their ecrement and therefore via their litter, and this parasite is dangerous for pregnant women. Instead of flushing your eco litter, throw the actual cat waste with the regular rubbish then compost the rest of it.
Cheshire & Wain’s Cat Litter Advice and Review
I have tested many different litters over the years and none are completely perfect! I found clay litters way too dusty and I worry about the health risks from ingestion. Some clay litter that Percy used previously formed cement-like blocks that were impossible to clean. There’s only so long you can perform daily demolition in your cat’s litter tray! I always opt for biodegradable options and like wood and corn-based litters the best. Percy and Penelope approve too. Here are some litters you can try with your own cat:
Pettex Pampuss Woodbase Cat Litter
£18.79 for a 30L bag at Amazon.co.uk
A highly absorbing, non-clumping litter, we liked this for its pleasing woody smell which removes any lingering aromas (which our kitties seem to like). Made from 100% biodegradable wood, it’s super easy to dispose of – you can change on a weekly basis. It’s also suitable for kittens and adult cats alike and 100% natural and free of artificial glues or additives, making it completely pet-safe. We go for the 30-litre bag, which lasts us around six weeks (for two cats) so it's really great value. It’s also available in smaller bags of 5L and 15L. Check your local pet shop for this product as buying local tends to be cheaper than Amazon.
Tippaws Long-Lasting Clumping Litter
From £13.99 as a one-time purchase for a 6L bag at Tippaws.com
Independent cat care company Tippaws launched earlier this year with both cat food and litter and has steadily been getting plenty of ‘paws up’ since. Their eco-clumping cat litter is made from wood and corn making it 100% biodegradable and compostable. Tippaws litter is dust-free (unlike some of the mainstream clumping litters), low-tracking and lasts really well thanks to its extremely tight clumping, antibacterial formula. One 6L bag lasted about a month for us (2 cats and 2 large trays). We love the fact that Tippaws’ has a big heart too, donating 50p to Stray Cat Rescue when a customer buys more than one bag of litter.
Nature's Calling 100% Biodegradable Cat Litter
£18.99 for a 6kg bag at Amazon.co.uk
Cheshire & Wain approved but at a higher price point to some of our other recommendations. You get what pay for though, which in this case is a natural, biodegradable litter made from the lining of walnut shells. Nature’s Calling scores well on zapping out cat stink (it has a pleasant nutty smell) and is quick and efficient to clump, so it's easy to lift out with minimal waste. Like Tippaws, it’s also low tracking, low on dust and doesn't contain any harmful chemicals or toxins, so it’s safe for humans and kitties alike.
Katkin “Scoop” Tofu litter
£14 for a 6L bag at Amazon.co.uk
This biodegradable litter is made from left-over food waste (tofu) and has large pellets which caused very minimal tracking around our home. We found it has quite a strong tofu smell which takes some getting used to but the cats didn't seem to mind it.
Breeder Celect Recycled Paper Cat Litter
£14.24 for a 30L bag at Amazon.co.uk
This option is made in the UK from recycled newspapers, using a patented (safe) chemical and additive-free process. Great value for money and soft on little paws, odour control is pretty good and it's not dusty. The bag has an easy-pour spout to make filling the tray a breeze. Update: this product has been changed since we last tested it and some reviewers are unhappy with the new version which has smaller pellets. Opt for the smaller 10L bag if you decide to trial this with your cat and let us know how you get on.
Cat's Best Original Cat Litter
From £11.79 for 10L at Zooplus.co.uk
Another 100% wood-based litter, this product uses technologically refined active wood fibres to absorb moisture and odours and stores them deep inside. This clumping litter claims to last up to five weeks in your cat’s tray - I had to change it after 2 weeks with two cats. I found the clumps a little gooey and sticky which made tracking an issue. When compared to other wood-based litters, I much prefer the larger, heavier pellets of the Pettex litter but the latter is non-clumping so it depends on your personal preference.
Does your cat use any of these litters? What has your experience been? Let us know if you have other cat litter suggestions. We would love to hear your recommendations in the comments section below.