Best Cat Litter for Odor Control

Cats are notoriously low-maintenance pets as well as being the fluffy and adorable companions we all love.

They’re known for being fiercely independent, regardless of whether they’re indoor or outdoor cats. Whereas dogs require trips outside and a walk when they need to use the bathroom, cats prefer using a litter box.

Anyone who’s owned a cat will know the familiar ammonia odor that comes along with the job and the consistent scooping. How stinky the litter box smelled will depend on how often you scooped and most importantly, the type of litter you use.

If you want to keep your home smelling fresh, it’s important to invest in a high-quality litter that’s absorbent and reduces odor. It can be difficult to know what litter to purchase as there are several factors that you should take into account such as material, whether it clumps and its absorbency.

All of these factors can influence how bad your litter box can stink.

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best cat litters for odor control on the market at the moment and highlighted their key features. 

We’ve even included a handy Buyer’s Guide at the end of the article to help you with your search.

No time to paws for thought?

We understand that a busy schedule might not allow you to spend hours researching for the best kitty litter, so we’ve done the work for you. Below is a quick link to our top pick and a few reasons why we love it.

  • This litter is great for odor control and is scented with Febreeze to keep your home smelling fresh.
  • It is a 99.9% dust-free formula which helps to reduce tracking
  • Clumplock technology allows for easy scooping
  • Bulk-buy options available

Top 5 Best Cat Litter for Odor Control

OUR TOP PICK

At the top of our list is the Advanced Extreme Clumping Cat Litter made by Fresh Step. This litter is the clumping clay type and has thousands of five-star reviews from happy customers on Amazon.

Fresh Step has collaborated with Febreze to give this litter a fresh Mountain Scent which is long-lasting. It claims to get rid of the strongest litter box odors with a tough odor eliminating formula.

Also, it features its signature Clumplock Technology that locks in liquid and odor and creates tight lumps for easy scooping, and prevents sticky residue from being left behind.

It even boasts being 99.9% dust-free for cleaner floors and surfaces, cleaner air, and reduced tracking. Simply scoop daily and add a small amount of litter after scooping.

This litter also comes in single and multi-pack options. 

Pros:

  • Clumping clay litter is non-toxic and allows for easy cleanup
  • Reduced tracking means less dust being transported around your home on mucky paws
  • Clumplock Technology helps to reduce odor and absorb moisture
  • Provides up to 10 days of odor control before emptying and replacing litter is necessary

Cons:

  • The fragrance, although fresh, can be a little too strong for some cats and lead to litter-box avoidance

EDITORS CHOICE

The Clump and Seal Platinum Clumping Cat Litter from Arm & Hammer is made from moisture-activated micro-granules rather than a natural substance.

However, it doesn’t lack in the odor control department. This litter boasts a unique patented formula that seals and destroys odors before they have a chance to leave the litter-box.

Plant-derived particles help to create rock-solid clumps that make for an easy scooping experience. Cat owners will be familiar with the white powdery plume that chokes us as we pour the litter in the box.

But Arm and Hammer claim that this is a 100% dust-free formula, even when pouring!

They even claim that this litter neutralizes odors for up to 7 days thanks to its powerful added odor eliminators and baking powder formula. 

Pros:

  • Patented odor-control technology keeps your litter boxes fresh for up to 7 days without needing to be changed.
  • 100% dust-free formula, making it easy to pour and prevents tracking around your house from tiny paws.
  • The super-absorbent formula turns urine into hard clumps and dehydrates feces to make scooping a walk in the park
  • Clump & Seal technology seals foul odors upon contact, keeping your home fresher for longer

Cons:

  • This product seems to be subject to often formula changes and some reviewers prefer the older product

BEST VALUE

Next on our list is the Premium Clumping Cat Litter from Dr. Elsey.

It’s well-loved among cat lovers and Amazon reviewers for its odor-reducing technology without containing any harsh fragrances or chemicals. 

This litter is made from a hard-clumping formula that is easy to scoop and it is highly absorbent, so you don’t have to worry about litter sticking to the sides of your litter box as it just slides right out.

In addition to being easy to scoop and great for odor control, Dr. Elsey’s Ultra Premium Cat Litter is excellent for multi-cat households.

Odor control is a key component in this formula, but this litter takes it to a whole new level.

It even works well in small spaces where odor control is essential, making it perfect for city-living and small apartments.

This cat litter comes in 18, 20, and 40-pound bags and it is surprisingly affordable.

Pros:

  • Thousands of positive Amazon reviews.
  • This litter is free from harmful chemicals and unnecessary fragrances.
  • The hard-clumping formula makes it easy for scooping and cleaning.
  • Great for multi-cat households.
  • Comes in a variety of size options.

Cons:

  • If buying a large bag, this can be difficult to manage as the packaging doesn’t have an easy-grip handle.

RUNNER UP

Our next choice is this Walnut-Based Clumping Cat Litter made by Naturally Fresh.

This unique formula is eco-friendly and completely natural with a secret ingredient- walnut shell! Walnut Shell litter is very absorbent and fibrous and can neutralize odors better than clay, pine, corn, and wheat options.

Naturally Fresh lives up to its name and keeps your home odor-free without the use of harsh chemicals and fragrances.

It features Advanced Odor Defense which neutralizes three odor sources, keeping your house smelling fresh for days on end.

Not only is this litter excellent for odor control, but it is highly absorbent. In fact, one bag of this litter is equal to three bags of the leading clay litter, so it can actually save you money to make this your litter of choice.

It’s also quick-clumping for easy cleanup and it won’t stick to your cat’s paws to be tracked all over the house. You’ll also love that it is environmentally-friendly.

Pros:

  • Made from natural materials making it safe for your feline as well as the planet
  • The highly absorbent clumping formula allows for easy cleanup
  • Virtually-dust free and has anti-tracking technology keeping the air and your home clean
  • A great option for multi-cat households

Cons:

  • May not clump as hard or be as absorbent as clay litter alternatives

RUNNER UP

The litter option at the tail-end of this list is the Scoop-Free Premium Crystal Non-Clumping Cat Litter from PetSafe.

This is the only crystal litter option on our list and it comes in an attractive blue color. This 2 Pack option comes with two pre-portioned bags of their original scent crystal cat litter.

The crystals absorb moisture on contact to quickly remove odors instead of masking them and can be used with any litter box.

Amazon reviewers are particularly impressed with the odor control that this litter can achieve, with some customers stating that the litter has lasted up to a month with daily scooping before becoming stinky.

However, despite the manufacturer claiming that the litter is up to 90% dust-free, some reviewers have found that it can give off more dust than the average clay litter.

Also, this litter is more expensive than some of the other options on the market.

Pros:

  • It is easy to clean - just scoop out the solids daily and mix the litter around to avoid areas of over-saturation.
  • Super-absorbant crystals help to keep foul odors at bay.
  • Crystal cat litter typically results in less tracking than powdery clay litter.
  • The long-lasting formula can even last up to a month before it needs to be changed.

Cons:

  • Due to the shape of the crystals, some cats can find it a little painful and sharp on their paws.
  • It’s more expensive than other options on this list.

Best Cat Litter for Odor Control Buying Guide

Before deciding which cat litter you’re going to buy, you need to consider a few things first such as which type is most suitable for yours and your cat’s needs, what features it comes with, how much it costs, and how easy it is to clean.

With so many options on the market right now, it can be overwhelming and time-consuming to try to figure out which is the perfect litter.

So to prevent you from making any cat-astrophic errors, below is our helpful Buyer’s Guide which provides a rundown of important factors to take into account before making a purchase.  

Clumping or Non-Clumping?

Clumping cat litter forms into solid, compact lumps when wet. This makes it easy to only scoop out the waste while leaving the clean litter in the tray, increasing the life span of each litter re-fill.

However, clumping cat litters are typically less bio-degradable. Litters that disintegrate or turn to sawdust when wet will breakdown and decompose quicker making non-clumping the most suitable type if you wish to compost your used cat litter.

Cheap non-clumping litter can leave the litter tray smelling nasty due to it soaking into the entire tray contents. If convenient cleaning is important to you and you’re comfortable with everyday scooping, then clumping cat litter could be a great option for you.

Material, Type, and Texture

Different cats will prefer different textures, you will want to avoid ones that are too fine or gritty as they could get caught in between your cat’s toes and claws which can be messy and painful.

The texture will depend largely on what the litter is made from. Below are the most common types:

Clumping Clay Litter

Clumping clay litter is the most popular type of litter as it’s widely manufactured and can be relatively cheap compared to other options. It’s usually satisfactory at controlling odors and makes cleaning out the litter box a breeze.

Some clumping clay litters are made with natural deodorizers such as activated carbon or baking soda, which can help to neutralize odors.

However, clumping clay litters are not suitable for kittens. This is due to the fact that sodium bentonite clay can lead to intestinal blockage in small kittens and they shouldn’t come into contact with it until they’re at least 3-4 months old.

It’s important to check the ingredients and guidelines on your specific cat litter to find out if it’s suitable for you and your cat.

Non-Clumping Clay Litter

Unfortunately, non-clumping clay cat litter is notorious for its lack of odor control.

Unlike clumping clay, which is made from sodium bentonite clay, this type of litter is made with clay that absorbs but doesn’t clump.

This means that you can’t scoop out urine. Ammonia odors will build up quickly. You’ll need to dump out all the contents of the litter box every few days, possibly costing you more money.

Silica Gel Crystal Cat Litter

This next cat litter is made from highly absorbent silica gel crystals. These crystals are very good at soaking up urine and are non-toxic to your kitty. Instead of clumping, this type of litter simply absorbs urine and dehydrates feces.

This makes it super easy to clean and therefore less likely to get stinky. If scooping up litter grosses you out, you’ll love silica gel crystal cat litter.

Simply scoop out any solid waste, stir the remaining litter, and throw it in the garbage and replace it when it begins to develop a yellow-brown tinge. It’s even proposed that you can get away with fully cleaning out and replacing silica gel litter as infrequently as once a month. 

Natural Cat Litter

There are a variety of natural alternatives to clay or crystal cat litter. These are typically plant-based and free from any harmful additives.

One of their main selling points is their biodegradability, which sets them apart from clay litters, which don’t break down in the environment. Popular types of biodegradable litter include corn, wheat, walnut, wood, grass, and paper.

Below are a few of our favorite types of natural cat litters and why we love them:

  • Wood litter- Wood pellet cat litter is super absorbent and great at keeping bad odors at bay as they often fill your home with a pleasant pine scent. While effectiveness can vary from brand to brand, the natural capillary system of wood fibers traps moisture and odors for long periods of time. Both clumping wood litter and non-clumping pellets are available. Of course, the clumping type works best, but non-clumping wood litter also has a good reputation for odor control. So if the odor is something you want to avoid, you’ll find yourself pine-ing for the wood pellet kind. 
  • Grass litter- Cat litter made from grass is one of the most effective biodegradable cat litter types on the market. It also has very good odor controllability and clumps well, making it easy to clean up.
  • Corn cat litter- Cat litter made from corn isn’t as common as wood and grass, but it’s a popular choice among those who want a planet-friendly alternative. It’s highly-absorbent, it clumps well and it’s great for odor control. However, corn cat litter is prone to aflatoxin mold growth, which can lead to disease and other health complications. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What other factors should I take into account when trying to reduce litter tray odor? 

Apart from changing what type of cat litter you use, there are a few other factors that could influence the level of odor control you can achieve. The first is the number of litter boxes you have in your home.

The general rule is that you should have one litter box for each cat that you have, plus an extra one. So, if you have four cats, you should have five boxes. Having a sufficient amount of litter trays helps to prevent high-stress levels in your cats and keeps litter-tray avoidance at bay, so there’s less clean-up in the long run.

Location, location, location. The placement as well as the amount of litter boxes in your home is crucial to the reduction of bad odors. Keep the trays away from heat sources and warm spots in your home as the waste will slowly cook and potentially emit a stronger odor.

It’s best to keep litter trays in a cool, dry place as well as a calm place with minimal traffic where your cat will feel relaxed. Providing a safe, low-stress space for your cat to use the box can also prevent inappropriate urination which will help to keep your home smelling fresh. 

Litter deodorizers are good last-resort if you’ve already assessed your litter-box location and quantity. They come in a variety of types, such as basic powders which are typically made from baking-soda, heavier alternatives are made from zeolite, and other odor-neutralizing products like deodorizing sprays and deodorant beads.

These tend to have a pleasant scent, however, cats tend to dislike perfumes and strong chemicals so an air purifier may also be a good option if this is the case for you. To save some cash, we recommend sprinkling a little bit of ordinary baking soda into the tray in question. Baking soda is highly effective at reducing odors and made without artificial fragrances that could irritate your cat.