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Cat Litter Varieties EXPLAINED!

Have you found yourself in the cat litter aisle at the pet store, thinking, “Why are there so many different cat litters?”  If you have, you are not alone.  There are several different cat litter varieties all boasting to be the best at odor control or absorption or everything under the sun!  How is one supposed to know which cat litter is the best for their cat?  You came to the right place!  We not only have all of the litters in one place but decode them and their best uses to have you zooming in and out of the cat litter aisle on your next trip.

The most common types of cat litter are:

CLAY (clumping and non-clumping)

Clay litter has been the most popular litter in most households up until recent years.  The recent dip in popularity is due to the litter being notoriously dusty, which can cause respiratory issues in cats, and the fact that clumping clay litter is not biodegradable.  Non-clumping litter IS biodegradable, but is still rather dusty.  Because non-clumping litter does not, well, clump, this litter is not as odor-absorbing either.  Clay litters, both the clumping and non-clumping, are cost efficient and are a less expensive option.


Corn litter has been around for many years as an alternative to clay litters due to being biodegradable and low on dust.  Made from corn and ground in to granules, corn litter is relatively cheap and lasts longer than traditional clay litter, too.  Some varieties come in different scents for odor control, but beware that some cats are offended by added scents to litters, especially citrus or flowery scents.

Pine, on the other hand, is naturally scented as it is made from scrap lumber and carries with it the natural scent of pine wood.  Some cats may not prefer this scent, but many seem not to notice.  Pine litter comes in pellet and granule forms, of which only the granule is clumping.


Did you know you can find cat litter in something as easy as paper?  It’s true!  Recycled paper is formed into pellets or granules to act as a highly absorbent, biodegradable and dust-free cat litter.  Although the pellet form does not form clumps, the granule form does to make it last longer and for easy scooping.


Made of silica gel crystals, these litters cost a bit more but tend to last longer, giving you more bang for your buck.  Crystal litters are highly absorbent which keeps odors down, however it is does not form the convenient little clumps for easy and complete removal of urine.  Some cat parents have reported their cats disliking the litter on their feet.  Some companies offer senior litter which tends to be finer and softer on the paws – keep an eye out for senior litters, if this is an issue for your feline.


A new favorite among cat guardians for its super absorption and odor control is walnut shell litter.  It is at a higher price than other litters, but happy customers say it is well worth the cost.  Low tracking, low dust, biodegradable, clumping champion, and great on odor control – the only common complaint has been the color.  Seems like a silly problem, right?  The dark color of the walnut shells makes finding the scoopables more difficult, but we’re thinking many people are fine with the trade-off of other benefits.


A general rule for switching cat litters is if your cat isn’t having issues with the litter box, there shouldn’t be a big rush to change it.  Cats are creatures of habit and may not respond well to change in their bathroom routine.  ALWAYS leave a box with the old litter available for use until you are sure your cat will use the new litter.

If you’re not sure what type of litter your cat would like, try offering multiple types in different varieties or scents and let your cat tell you which he likes best!

Is your cat missing or not using the litter box?  Head over to our blog on bad cat habits for some moral support and advice.