I had both a cat and dog growing up, but after the dog passed away, we only ever had cats. Dogs are great and I may own one again, but they don’t make sense for me right now. I would feel terrible leaving a dog alone for a full-time workday. I don’t want to walk a dog in the cold, early morning hours of winter before work. I don’t want to travel with plastic poop bags everywhere we go. Speaking of poop, my cat poops. A lot. He’s laid turds that appear to be half the length of his body. I only feed him all natural canned cat foods without grains and additives because he’s an old man now and has gnarly digestive issues if I feed him “McDonald’s” cat food brands. He also pees about a gallon a day.
Over the years, I have searched and tested and tried out many brands and types of kitty litter looking for the perfect formula. I scoop his box on average 3 times a day and need something that can keep the stink down to a dull roar, isn’t too dusty, has no perfume (who wants to smell poo + flowers?), and will clump well to remove all the urine. As a bonus, I would love a litter that doesn’t “track” out of the box, but I have come to realize that kind of kitty litter is a unicorn, despite claims on packages to the contrary. Anyone who says cats are clean animals has clearly never owned a cat.
In addition, I prefer not to use a pan liner. I find that my cat tends to tear holes in it, allowing litter and urine to seep under, making it very challenging when it’s time to clean out the box. I have never found a liner that doesn’t have this issue.
On to the reviews…
Arm & Hammer Multi-Cat Unscented
If you want to go with a clay-based litter, this is a very good one. Medium-dusty and clumps pretty darn well. It is VERY heavy to carry when you buy in bulk. Odor control is good. I found Tidy Cats and Fresh Step were about as good, so I just went by the price and which was available without perfume.
Yesterday’s News –
Kudos for trying to be eco-friendly but not a great product. It doesn’t clump at all so you have to change it more frequently, and it really does nothing to keep down smells. I read a ton of great reviews on Chewy but I can’t believe these are real because I’ve tried it and it just doesn’t cut it for two cats. Granted, it doesn’t track as much out of the box, but my real issue is the cat kicking it out when he tries to bury his business.
Purina ProPlan Renew, Feline Pine, and other wood-based litters –
Lower dust than clay, lighter weight, environmentally better, have a smell which reminds me of a hamster cage. These didn’t seem to clump as tightly so when I’d remove the urine, the clumps would break up and stay in the pan. Also, my cat seems to kick/track this stuff out even more than the clay. I really liked that ProPlan was sold in recyclable post-consumer waste cardboard “bottles” but if left in the trunk of one’s car unsecured, the lid pops open spilling its contents which are crazy hard to vacuum out of a trunk liner.
Blue Buffalo Naturally Fresh Quick Clumping –
I recently started using this and I really like it so far. It’s made from walnut shells (eco-friendly), seems lower dust than the clay, and it doesn’t have a strong odor (some reviewers say it does, but maybe they weren’t using the “unscented” formula). It clumps up very tight and dry so it’s pretty easy to scoop out. It tends to track/get kicked out about as much as the clay litter. One thing I don’t like is that it has a very dark brown color which could hide the presence of blood in the urine or feces if your cat is ill. Right now it’s my litter of choice.
Swheat Scoop – current champion
Non-toxic, environmentally friendly, clumps well, keeps down odors pretty well (though I scoop often so nothing sits and stinks too long), and it’s light in color so if there’s blood in the urine or feces you will know. It’s good but a bit dusty (haven’t found a litter that isn’t), it’s expensive and I use a ton of it with two gatos, so I have it shipped on a schedule from Chewy along with their food. It works out to be a little cheaper than Petsmart.