Owning and caring for a cat is, for the most part, a pleasant experience other than that one thing. As a cat owner, you know exactly what that “one thing” is: cleaning out the litter box.
Cleaning the litter box is a dreadful chore in itself, but the smell is the worst part. You may think you have tried everything to keep the putrid odor from permeating through your home. However, a high-quality odor-control cat can help keeps smells at bay and is essential for a happy and healthy home, both for you and your cat.
But which odor-fighting cat litters are the best? With so many cat litters claiming to be “odor control options,” which one do you choose?
We know from firsthand experience that selecting the proper odor-blocking litter can be difficult and frustrating. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with additional factors to consider, like absorption rate and safety for your cat.
We’ve spent hours of research reviewing the best odor control cat litters available on the market and are ready to present you with our list of recommendations to help you simplify your decision.
The 5 Best Cat Litter for Odor Control
1. Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter
Dr. Bruce Elsey, a practicing feline-only veterinarian, founded his company, Dr. Elsey’s, in 1987, and has been providing cat owners all over the world with high-quality products, including cat litter for odor control.
Dr. Elsey’s Ultra Clumping Cat Litter features a unique clay litter formula that easily forms hard clumps and instantly absorbs cat urine or feces. The result is a litter box that doesn’t give off the typical litter box smells, but smells fresh! Dr. Elsey’s litter is especially ideal if you have a mechanical litter box that automatically sifts over the contents. This product is also great for multi-cat households!
Dr. Elsey’s litter is a medium-grain clay that improves absorption and prevents moisture from seeping into the bottom of the litter box. The non-tracking granules ensure that your cat won’t easily drag litter out of the box and track it all over the floor. This means less clean up around the litter box for you, and who doesn’t love the fact that they won’t be cleaning up litter tracks all over the floor?
The grain size combined with the fact that this litter is hypoallergenic and 99.9% dust-free is also a huge help if you or a family member has allergies to cat litter, as most of it will remain contained in the box and not become airborne.
This litter is excellent for odor control and doesn’t contain synthetic perfumes designed to disguise the scent of cat feces or urine, so it’s also healthier for your cat to use daily.
Dr. Elsey’s Cat Litter is also budget-friendly, and once you clean out your litter box after using, you’ll find that less of the litter goes to waste, especially compared to some other brands.
The fast absorption means the litter can harden on your cat’s paws if they’re wet when they enter the litter box, and this hardening can also lead to some difficulty cleaning the litter box if it hardens to the bottom. However, the additional effort to clean was worth it for us since Dr. Elsey’s Cat Litter excels at providing an odor-free litter box.
- Eliminates odors quickly
- Hypoallergenic and 99% dust-free
- All-natural, safe ingredients
- Great for multi-cat households
- Can harden on your cat’s fur
- Can cement to bottom of litter box
2. World’s Best Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Corn Cat Litter
What is corn cat litter, you ask? Our second choice, World’s Best Corn Cat Litter, made from whole kernel corn and free of chemicals, is an excellent choice for cat owners looking to get rid of litter box scents in their homes. as odors are virtually non-existent with this cat litter.
An eco-friendly litter made with all-natural ingredients that doesn’t include chemicals or perfumes, World’s Best Cat Litter is undoubtedly one of the healthiest litters available for your cat or multiple cats. Because this litter is environmentally friendly, it is flushable, which means most of the cleanup can happen right in your bathroom, and you won’t have to carry heavy bags of litter out to the garbage. It’s also lightweight and easy to scoop, so cleanup is simple.
It clumps exceptionally well even with larger quantities of urine, so if you have a diabetic cat or multiple cats, this litter may be perfect for you.
World’s Best Litter consists of larger pieces, so you won’t see your cats trailing much of it out of the litter box, but some dust in the bag may come out on their paws. The mixture of larger pieces and dust is likely what leads to the litter clumping so nicely, and the clumps stay together too, so you’ll still see that cleanup is quick and straightforward.
The presence of litter dust can be an issue for those who are allergic, and it can become airborne easily, especially with cats who like to dig. This can also lead to some of the litter hardening on the bottom of the litter box, which can make cleanup time a bit more challenging, but the larger grains mixed in help prevent this from being a major issue.
While this litter efficiently covers litter box odors, it does have a unique scent that could be unpleasant for some people. We assure you it is far better than the alternative!
- Exceptional odor control
- Eco-friendly, natural, and flushable
- Clumps well even with high moisture
- Reduces tracking
- Great for multi-cat litter boxes
- Contains litter dust
- Not allergy-friendly
3. Feline Pine Original Unscented Non-Clumping Wood Cat Litter
Don’t let the words “non-clumping” deter you from considering this litter, as it works surprisingly well for odor control. This litter is not made from clay like many clumping litters and instead is made from highly absorbent pine fibers. The result is a cat litter that doesn’t clump but naturally hides scents.
Feline Pine litter smells like pine, and it’s made without chemicals or additives. It doesn’t have that standard litter smell, and it’s safe for your cat to use every day. The natural smell makes this one of the best odor control cat litters out there! Most importantly, the odors from your cat’s urine and feces are absorbed by the wood pellets with ease, so you’re left with a fresh, natural scent from your litter box.
The pine fibers are incredibly absorbent, so this cat litter shouldn’t be flushed, and the pieces are relatively small, so you can expect some light tracking out of the box.
Perhaps one of the most significant points in this litter’s favor is that it will never get stuck to your cat’s fur when they use the litter box. If you’ve been a cat owner for some time, you’re likely well-acquainted with “litter butt,” which is when clay litter clumps to your cat’s rear end. This issue is eliminated with this litter entirely.
Since this litter isn’t made from clay, it also contains no dust at all. This means it won’t ever become airborne, the dust won’t be tracked out on your cat’s paws, and it’s an excellent choice for those who are allergic to traditional litter.
This litter is highly absorbent, which means cleaning is a bit more difficult due to the weigh. In addition, you will need to replace the litter more often so that your cat can have fresh litter to scratch or dig to cover after use.
- All-natural, safe ingredients
- Hides odors well
- High absorption rate
- Litter never hardens
- Contains no dust
- Cost is higher than some others
- Used quicker than regular litter
- Needs more frequent cleaning
- Cannot be flushed
4. Fresh Step Extreme Odor Control Febreze Clumping Clay Cat Litter
A cat litter that smells like Febreze? Count me in! The Fresh Step Clumping Cat Litter is another clumping litter on our list, which means that it’s super absorbent. Fresh Step Extreme Odor Control features ClumpLock technology, which ensures the litter forms into hard clumps when it interacts with cat waste. We didn’t experience any “cementing” of wet litter on the bottom of the litter box, which is another point in favor of an easy clean-up.
With Ammonia Block Technology, this clumping litter eliminates odors for up to ten days. Not only that, but the paw-activated Mountain Spring Febreze fragrance keeps not only the litter box but the entire room smelling fresh and clean—the ultimate odor control! Considering some scented litters don’t smell all that good, this one is refreshing on multiple levels.
There is a low amount of dust in this litter, but if you’re looking for a completely hypoallergenic litter, this one won’t be the best for you. The dust may become airborne when pouring or if your cats dig, but you likely won’t find your cats tracking small particles around your house. The litter pieces are medium-sized, which also helps prevent the tracking of litter on your cat’s paws.
This litter is very sticky when wet, so you may find some litter caught on your cat’s rear from squatting, and if they happen to have wet feet when entering or leaving the litter box, you’re likely to have to find that the litter cements onto those wet surfaces. This could be an issue and require additional washing for you.
If you’re concerned with using scented litter, you may also opt for an odor-free alternative, especially if you find that your cats won’t use litter that smells, even if it smells great!
- Super absorbent
- Removes odors for up to ten days
- Low dust content
- Reduces tracking
- Great smelling scent
- Can exacerbate allergies
- Cats may reject fragrant litter
- Very difficult to clean when wet
5. Ever Clean Extra Strength Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter
Have you ever wondered who invented the very first clumping cat litter to the country? Ever Clean, one of our top picks, first introduced clumping cat litter in 1987. They are also the creators of Ever Clean Extra Strength Clumping Cat Litter, a top-notch odor control litter.
Ever Clean is an all-natural clay litter, devoid of any harmful chemicals. It clumps very quickly when it comes in contact with any moisture, and this helps seal in odors from urine or feces rapidly, which means fewer scents escaping into your home. Ever Clean Extra Strength is an excellent choice if strong or frequent odors are a common problem for you, as it seals odors quickly and efficiently for up to 14 days with its activated carbon bond.
Ever Clean’s clumps are often large, so you may find yourself going through this litter more rapidly than you would with other products, and it is a bit pricier than other litters to begin with. However, the clumps stay together nicely (if you can say “nicely” when you’re talking about litter clumps!) which means less frustration for you when removing and disposing of them. A downside of rapid clumping, however, is that you might find that some of the litter stuck to the bottom of your litter box, making clean up a bit more time-intensive.
Ever Clean Extra Strength features low-dust that keeps the air and surfaces cleaner in your home. This unscented formula is designed with natural minerals and clay.
The pieces of litter are also on the smaller end, so it’s quite prone to tracking as well. Given how rapidly it clumps, your cats are likely to have “litter butt,” and you may be removing clumps of litter that catches in the rear end hair while squatting. Also, Ever Clean features its product at a great price!
- Excellent odor control litter with activated carbon bond
- Makes clean up easy
- Contains no harmful chemicals/perfumes
- Great price
- Gets used quickly
- Can cement if wet
- Easily tracks out of litter box
Our “Pick of the Litter”
Cat litter may seem like a simple product, but finding the right one can be difficult when considering all of the options and features available. For the best for odor control, we recommend Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Clumping Cat Litter. Our top pick is affordable, safe for your cat, and it’s a great blend of all of the essential features we’ve discussed. Dr. Elsey’s Ultra Clumping Cat Litter also has a strong odor-blocking formula, and it also reduces tracking and messes around your litter box.
Whichever cat litter you choose, we hope that this list of reviews and things to look for in your chosen litter will help make your buying process more manageable.
Finding the right cat litter for odor control can be a challenging process that tests your patience, and you’ll likely find yourself buying bags or boxes to test them only to find they don’t work as you had hoped. Don’t give up,
Here are a few factors you need to think about when looking for the best cat litter for controlling odor that can help you save time and money.
Types of Litter
First, you should know the different types of litter materials. There are three main materials for odor control in cat litter: clay litter, crystal, and natural materials.
Clay litter is the most obvious and the most popular option. It is highly absorbent and does a great job of neutralizing odors. Clay litter comes in both clumping and non-clumping forms, and we will discuss those differences in a bit.
Crystal litter is made of silica gel, which is the same material that comes in freshness packets. Crystal litter is more expensive than clay litter, but it lasts a long time (up to a month!) and also is effective at odor control.
Finally, there are the natural materials like some of our recommendations include. Many cat owners prefer their cat litter to be as environmentally friendly as possible, so they go for biodegradable litter like corn, recycled paper, and wood.
How Well the Litter Locks in Odor
First and most importantly, you should find a cat litter that seals in odor. Your litter choice can be excellent in all other areas of comparison, but if it doesn’t get the job done, it’s not worth your time or money.
Most cat litters will claim that they reduce or hide odors, but you’ll want to pay careful attention to how quickly the litters clump and how absorbent they are. These factors play significant roles in your litter’s odor-disguising abilities, so be on the lookout when choosing a litter.
You can also buy Arm & Hammer Cat Litter Deodorizer with Baking Soda to sprinkle into your cat litter. This product is good for extra odor control, and you can use it with any litter. You can buy a 20 oz. bag for under three dollars from Amazon. While there are other cat litter deodorizers out there, Arm & Hammer is the most trusted brand on the market (and the best in our opinion). Plus, you can’t beat the cost.
Absorbs Moisture Quickly
While absorption helps fight odors, it can also create additional problems for you when it comes to cleaning. If your litter absorbs quickly and efficiently, you’ll end up with nearly an odorless litter box, but more absorbent litters tend to cement at the bottom of your litter box and can be challenging to clean.
Cat litters that absorb quickly can also mean they solidify on your cat’s feet if they are wet, and they can lead to “litter butt,” which is when litter clumps to your cat’s rear end. Rapidly absorbing litter might make your cleaning process more time consuming, so you’ll have to consider the benefits and drawbacks of different absorption rates.
Makes Clean Up a Breeze
Beyond odor control, you’ll need to consider how easy the litter will make your cleaning process. (Scoopablity is the term we use in the cat clean up world). Many litters are made of clay and contain clay dust. These particles
can not only cause allergic reactions for you, but they can also create a severe mess.
A high dust litter will mean lots of airborne particles when pouring or when your litter box turns the litter over if you use one that is automatic. These particles can spread surprisingly far from the box during cleaning or if your
cat tends to dig, so be mindful of the dust concentration when searching for a litter.
Contains Small Litter Pieces
Another factor is the size of the litter particles. Most clay cat litters will contain some amount of dust, but the litter pieces can also vary in size and have a big effect on how easy clean up will be. Small pieces can easily get caught on your cat’s fur and can be tracked outside of the litter box, and this can lead to a big mess for you. Depending on how small they are, that mess can extend into multiple rooms of your home. Since you don’t want to clean litter
off the floor every day, consider larger litter pieces.
While larger pieces are usually less absorbent than smaller pieces, they typically help to reduce tracking litter. Absorption and tracking will often be trade-offs, so you must consider both carefully and choose the appropriately
sized litter for your situation.
You will want to think about your cat’s needs here as well. According to this article, your cat will likely prefer a smaller substrate in their litter and may even choose not to use a litter that is too large.
You might think this is enough to consider, but there’s still more! You’ll also want to pay attention to how effectively your litter clumps, which can be independent of the absorption rate. Clumps that stick together even while cleaning can make your job easier, as no one wants to fish out small crumbles of used cat litter. Clumps that stick together mean you can scoop out and throw away the used cat litter quickly and easily.
Scented vs. Unscented
Lastly, you’ll want to decide if you prefer a scented or unscented litter. As with all of the other factors, there are pros and cons to each. Odorless litter is more likely to be healthier for your cat, as it doesn’t include chemicals or perfumes. However, odor-free litter may be worse at covering the smells of cat urine and feces, and some odorless litter can still have a distinct “litter” smell, so if you may opt for a fragranced litter.
You should make sure that any litter you choose doesn’t include any harmful chemicals, and we always recommend trying scented litter in small quantities first before committing to a large bag or bulk box. Some cats are sensitive to scented litters even if there are no harmful chemicals included, so depending on your cat, you may find that they opt not to use fragrant cat litter. At least they’ll make that option easy for you!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are scented litters bad for my cat?
A: Not necessarily. You should review the ingredients of a scented litter to ensure there are no harmful chemicals included that could pose a threat to your cat. There are many scented litters available that are safe for your cat, and
it’s just a matter of finding one that works for you.
However, you should be aware that your cat may not like scented litter, so try it out in a small quantity first to see if they’ll use it.
Q: Can unscented litters really cover up litter box smells?
A: Absolutely! A litter’s absorption rate and ability to clump will ultimately determine how well your litter conceals odors. If you use a highly absorbent litter that’s unscented, you likely won’t experience many smells coming from your litter box, if any, at all.
Q: Should I just buy the most absorbent cat litter?
A: The answer to this question really depends on your personal preferences. If your only goal is to prevent cat odors from escaping the litter box, then the most absorbent and fastest absorbing litter will be best for you, as your litter will quickly and permanently absorb scents. However, these kinds of litters can make cleaning your litter box more difficult and time-intensive, so odor blockage and clean up are often trade-offs that you’ll need to consider when choosing a cat litter.
Q: Are non-clay litters better for blocking odor?
A: It’s not so much that non-clay litters are better or worse. Some non-clay litters, including ones made from wood, are great for blocking odor and can even make your litter box area smell rather pleasant. These litters often absorb quickly and become significantly heavier. This means washing the litter box will be more strenuous, and you’ll likely have to replace litter more often.
With clay litter, you can usually do daily clump removal and weekly litter changing, but with other non-clay products, you’ll likely have to swap out all of your litter more often than once a week.
Q: Is dust-free litter best for odor control?
A: Usually, small particle litter will be best for controlling odor, but you’ll likely find that the additional clean up and airborne litter particles make them impractical for use. Using a litter that is a combination of small pieces with some dust included, even a small amount, will likely be best. This will optimize absorption and odor blockage, and it will also make clean up easier and litter less likely.
As I said at the beginning of this article, and as you already know as a cat owner, cats are wonderful pets, and the only downside is that dreaded litter box. Well, I guess we could also say they are picky, persnickety, and downright odd at times, but that’s another article for another time.
To make your life easier and your house smell a little better, you now have you all need to know about searching for the best odor control cat litter on the market today. Now, it’s time for you to get shopping and welcome the cleaner, fresher air in your house. Your nose will thank you, too.