If you travel to the nearest pet supply superstore to look for cat litter, you are greeted by a large selection of varying cat litter types. These litters come in every variety and price, all promising to rid your home of the distinctive smell emanating from the litter box. Often, finding the best cat litter for odor control is our main priority. Therefore, the goal is to discover what type of cat litter material and form provides the best odor control.
Cat Litter Material Types
Cat litter generally is composed of one of four different types of material:
- Washable (this is generally used only for automatic cleaning boxes)
Clay-based material is the primary form used in most cat litter brands, particularly in generic and discount cat litters. This type is further subdivided into clumping and non-clumping litter types. The clumping brands are usually composed of considerably smaller particles than their non-clumping counterparts. Clay-based litters are quite good at absorbing liquids and do have some odor-reducing capabilities. For clumping litter types, it is important to scoop the litter often to achieve the greatest odor reduction.
Natural cat litters are composed of a number of materials such as pine shavings, shredded paper, corn-based materials or other forms. This material generally performs better than clay-based litters at removing or masking odors but does not usually come in a clumping litter form. This is a good option when travelling and you must take a litter box with you.
Crystalline litters are quite good and absorbing liquids and removing odors. They are generally more expensive than either the clay-based or natural cat litters and do not clump nearly as well as the clumping clay-based litter.
Washable cat litters are generally not used except into automatic or self-cleaning litter boxes such as the CatGenie self-washing cat litter box.
Hypoallergenic and Dust-Free Litter Properties
Although cat litters by their nature are not truly 100% dust-free, there are significant differences in the overall dust quantity produced by litter types. Some inexpensive and not so inexpensive clay-based cat litter products produce thick, choking dust clouds when poured into a litter box while others produce negligible amounts of dust.
In addition, many clumping clay-based litters sometimes contain sodium bentonite that poses some health hazards to cats and humans alike. The sodium bentonite swells when liquid is added and, when inhaled, causes irritation to the lungs. Hypoallergenic cat litters will have fewer allergens than non-hypoallergenic litters making them a great option if someone in the household suffers from allergies.
Evaluating the Best Cat Litter for Odor Control
When comparing the various cat litters to determine which types provide the best odor control, the three most important criteria are:
- How well does the litter neutralize cat urine, feces and ammonia smell?
- How long does the cat litter neutralize these smells?
- How safe is the cat litter for cats?
Obviously, a cat litter that provides the best odor control for a long time but is hazardous to a cat’s health is not a viable option. Therefore, the following four cat litters provide the best combination of odor control over an extended period and overall safety for a cat’s health:
- Arm and Hammer Clump and Seal Litter
- Precious Cat Ultra-Premium Clumping Cat Litter
- World’s Best Cat Litter, Quick Cat Clumping Formula
- Tidy Cat’s Cat Litter 24/7 Performance
The Precious Cat and Tidy Cat litter options are 99.9% and 99.6% dust free respectively, promote clumping and reduce tracking. Both litters are excellent at eliminating ammonia smells and are idea for families who have two or more cats.
The Arm and Hammer Clump and Seal litter has the smallest granules of the four options listed and clumps the best out of the four options presented. It essentially eliminates all traces of cat urine smell and promotes its litter as having guaranteed 7-day odor control.
For those people who desire a natural cat litter, the World’s Best cat litter is composed of wood fibers and corn kernels to clump fecal materials and cat urine quickly and in solidly. The litter is septic-safe and can be safely flushed down the toilet making them a great option for people who have allergies or have a litter box within proximity of a bathroom. Natural cat litters are also good when travelling because they can be flushed.
Those are PawLife’s Picks for Best Cat Litter for Odor Control. One should be right for you and your cat!