Types of Cat Litter and Their Pros and Cons

wood shavings litter

Choosing the right cat litter is a very big factor, as it will help with maintaining your cat’s hygiene and provide them with a comfortable setup for their litter box.

With various types of cat litter available on the market this can be a overwhelming decision but it’s essential to understand the pros and the cons of each option we have.

Today we will explore the various types and evaluate all of them, hoping to help you make the right decision for your feline companion

So let’s start with the most popular one:

Clay Cat Litter

non-clumping clay litter
Non-clumping clay litter that we tested

The clay cat litter is one of the most commonly used options in every household. It’s made from natural clay minerals, such as bentonite and is known for the amazing absorbency and clumping ability it has.

  • Excellent Clumping Ability: The clay cat litter forms tight clumps around the waste from the box, making it easier to clean and maintain a fresh litter box at all times
  • Good Odor Control: It has some of amazing properties that help to control unpleasant smells, making your home smell fresh for longer
  • Availability and Affordability: It’s widely available at most supermarkets and corner shops and often more affordable when compared to other options
  • Dust and Tracking Issues: Clay litter can produce dust when the cat digs to bury the waste, and can cause some respiratory problems. It can also track litter outside of the box, creating a mess
  • Environmental Concerns: Traditional clay litter is not biodegradable and often ends up on landfills, this being a big contributing factor to environmental issues.
  • Not All Cats Like It: Some pets may develop allergies or skins sensitivities when they are using clay litter

Silica Gel Cat Litter

sanicat silica gel scent test
We tried silica gel cat litter with Lavender smell

Silica gel litter is a type of cat litter made from silica dioxide. It offers excellent absorption capabilities while effectively trapping moisture and odors. The silica gel crystals absorb liquid and lock it away, keeping the litter box dry and odor-free for longer periods. It’s also known for reducing the maintenance of the box and providing a pleasant environment for both cats and their owners.

  • Superior Odor Control: Silica gel litter has excellent odor-absorbing properties that help with keeping the unpleasant smells at bay.
  • Low Dust and Tracking: It produces minimal dust, reducing the chances of respiratory issues and tracking around the house which is always great!
  • Long-lasting: The silica gel can last longer than other types, which will require less frequent replacements for the litter box
  • Initial Cost: Silica gel litter is most of the times more expensive than the traditional clay litter
  • Respiratory Issues: The small particles of silica gel litter can pose a risk to cats with respiratory conditions
  • Limited Clumping: While some silica gel litters can clump to some extent, they may not form the tight clumps that we are used to in clay litter

Paper Cat Litter

Paper cat litter is a type of cat litter made from recycled paper materials. It mostly offers an alternative to traditional clay or silica-based litter. Paper cat litter is typically biodegradable and eco-friendly, making it a popular choice among environmentally conscious pet owners. It is very known for the high absorbency that the paper offers and the ability to control odors when used right. By being soft and gentle on the cat’s paws it offers a comfortable experience for them. Most persons tend to use it as a homemade cat litter as it’s dust free, making it beneficial for cats with respiratory sensitivities.

  • Eco-Friendly and Biodegradable: Paper cat litter is environmentally friendly and can be composted or recycled with ease
  • Low Dust and Tracking: It produces minimal dust, promoting a healthier environment for both cats and humans. It also reduces the tracking outside of the litter box.
  • Suitable for all: It can be used for any cat or kitten, the paper being gentle on the delicate paws is making it suitable for cats with sensitive skin
  • Limited Odor Control: While paper can control odors to some extent, it may not be as effective as other types of litter
  • Less Efficient Clumping: Paper litter generally does not lump as good as clay or silica gel, making cleaning slightly more challenging.
  • Cost: The paper can be more expensive compared to traditional clay litter unless you have some paper that it’s being thrown away daily

Pine Cat Litter

Wood shavings litter with high absorbance

Pine cat litter is a natural and eco-friendly option for cat owners that is made from pine wood. It offers natural odor control and is a popular alternative to traditional cat litters on the market. Pine cat litter is known for it’s ability to neutralize the unpleasant smell of the litter box, providing a fresh and comfortable environment for cats. As it’s made from compressed pine sawdust, the pine pellets or shavings are designed to absorb moisture and liquid waste very quick and minimize the risk of leakage

  • Natural Pine Scent: Pine litter provides a pleasant aroma that helps to mask any unpleasant odors
  • Good Odor Control: It has natural properties that can absorb and neutralize odors effectively
  • Reduced Dust and Tracking: The pine litter produces less dust, reducing any issues with breathing and also reduces the tracking
  • High Transition Period: Some cats may take a longer time to adjust to the scent and texture of the litter
  • Limited Clumping Ability: It may not clump as well as clay or silica gel litter, which will require more frequent cleaning
  • Not For All Cats: It may be unsuitable for cats with pine allergies as they may experience adverse reactions when exposed to pine litter

Walnut Cat Litter

Organic clumping litter made from wood shavings
This was a very good litter made from wood fibers

The walnut cat litter is made from crushed walnut shells, providing a natural and eco-friendly options. The natural properties of walnut shells help to absorb and neutralize the odors effectively, leaving the litter box area smelling fresh an clean. It can also be highly absorbent as the shells are designed to absorb the moisture quickly and effectively. The litter may have a natural scent to it, making it more pleasant for some cats, while for others it may take a little bit of time to adjust to the smell.

  • Natural Odor Control: Walnut litter has a natural ability to neutralize odors, and can keep the litter box to smell fresh for longer
  • Low dust and Tracking: It produces minimal dust, and creates a healthier environment for both cats and their owners
  • Enverionmentally Friendly: Walnut litter is biodegradable and renewable, making it an eco-conscious choice
  • Potential Allergies: Some cats may have allergies or sensitivities to walnut litter, causing discomfort.
  • High Adjustment Period: It may need a longer time for your cat to get adjusted with the walnut litter as the texure and scent is a little bit different
  • Availability and Cost: It may be less readily available in the most supermarkets and slightly more expensive than traditional options

Crystal Cat Litter

Cristal cat litter is made out of tiny silica gel beads that are specifically designed to provide excellent odor control and moisture absorption. It offers a convenience in terms of it’s lightweight nature as the small and lightweight silica gel beads make it easy to handle and pour, simplifying the process of filling and cleaning the litter box. This can be particularly beneficial for pet owners with physical limitations or for those who prefer a more manageable litter option in their home.

  • Superb Odor Control: Crysta litter effectively absorbs and locks in odors, providing a fresh-smelling environment.
  • Minimal Dust and Tracking: It produces minimal dust, making it a good choice for cats with respiratory sensitivities, and reduces the tracking outside of the litter box
  • Long Lasting: Crystal litter can last longer than traditional clumping litters, reducing the frequency of replacements.
  • High Price Point: Crystal litter tends to be more expensive when compared to other types of litter
  • Not For Multiple Cats: In multi-cats households, it will require high-frequency cleaning due to higher usage
  • Non-Flushable: Crystal litter is generally not recommended for flushing down the toilet, requiring proper disposal.


When selecting cat litter, you need to consider factors such as your cat’s preferences, allergies or sensitivities, odor control, and your budget. Making an informed decision will help to keep your cat’s health, comfort and well-being at a high level.

By understanding the pros and cons of different types of cat litter, you can choose the most suitable option for your furry friend

Which cat litter do you use?

Let us know!

Indre K Williams

Indre K Williams

Indre K Williams (DVM) graduated from the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2015, she brings a wealth of knowledge and a genuine passion for animals to their writing. With years of experience working closely with pets and their owners, she has developed a deep understanding of their needs and behaviour.

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