Your Pet’s Litter Preference

To find the right one, you have to think “cat.”


Litter frequently scattered on your bathroom floor may be a sign that your cat is not happy with the type of litter you have chosen for him. So might a litter box that frequently goes unused even though your cat does not have a medical condition.

If either of these is the case, consider the litter you buy from your cat’s vantage point rather than your own. For instance, while a scented product might seem just the thing to keep your home smelling pleasant, it could be too much for your cat’s sensitive sense of smell. What a cat is more likely to prefer is a non-odorous litter that’s also soft underfoot and dust-free so that his respiratory system doesn’t get a dose of the stuff with each use. It should also clump, separating liquid from solid waste and thereby helping to block extra odor with quick and easy disposal. Read on for suggestions.

Dr. Elsey’s Premium Clumping Cat Litter is an unscented clay formula that masks odors naturally without scented additives. The dust-free litter clumps well, preventing moisture from seeping to the bottom of the litter box while also making removal of stools easy. The heavy granules also help prevent tracking along the floor. Available on Amazon, $18.00 for a 40-pound bag.

Purina Yesterday’s News Non Clumping Paper Cat Litter (Softer Texture Unscented) comes as a dust-free formula comprised of paper recycled into pellets. It does not clump yet absorbs three times more moisture than clay litter, prevents odor, and reduces tracking. The paper formula is also soft on your cat’s paws. Available on Amazon at $14.98 for a 26.4- pound bag.

Purina Tidy Cats Litter Box System, (Breeze System Starter Kit Litter Box, Litter Pellets & Pads) has ease of use in mind. The kit provides a litter box and scoop along with a 3.5-pound bag of litter pellets and four disposable cat pads for weekly removal via a sliding drawer at the bottom of the box. It should all last for a month. The dust-free, non-clumping pellets do not hold liquid, which instead reaches the pad at the bottom of the litter box, holding in moisture and preventing odor. And the anti-tracking pellets dehydrate solid waste, making it easier to scoop out. The regular kit measures 20.9 x 16.6 x 8.6 inches and the extra-large kit, which comes with two 3.5 pound bags of litter pellets, is 29 x 19 x 14.75 inches. Available on Amazon for $41.91; $99.00 for the extra-large kit. Refills of pellets and pads sold separately for later use.

World’s Best Cat Litter is a sustainable corn-based formula with unscented, dust-free, and rapid-clumping features. The chemical-free and flushable litter has tested safe for flushing in septic systems or sewer. (See last month’s issue for environmental concerns about the flushing of litter depending on where you live.) Available on Amazon at $30.05 for a 28-pound bag.

Purina Tidy Cats LightWeight Free & Clean Clumping Cat Litter is a low-dust product that keeps odor at bay with its clay and activated charcoal formula. The dye-free litter weighs less than half of a leading clumping formula. Available on,, and at $20.97 for a 17-pound box.

K KAMY’S ZOO I AM TOFU — Tofu Cat Litter (Natural Flushable Extra Clumping Pellet Litter) is a pricey but eco-friendly choice with an extra-thin shape that is gentle on your cat’s paws. The biodegradable formula has dust- and odor-free features and no tracking of litter from the box. The litter clumps easily and can be safely flushed. Available on at $48.89 for an 18-pound bag.

Box with a Hood, Or In the Open?

If you were thinking about switching to a hooded litter box because you believe your cat would like the privacy or because your cat has a habit of squirting her urine over the side, you might want to reconsider. Some veterinarians say many cats are not really fans of hooded litter boxes. They can leave pets feeling hindered in movement and “locked inside” with the smell of scented and/or soiled litter—unpleasant for a cat’s strong olfactory sense.

Instead, if your cat urinates over the side, consider why. Maybe there are too few litter boxes for the number of cats in the home. Even a single-cat home should have two litter boxes. A two-cat home should have three; and so on.

You also want to make sure that the litter box is large enough for your cat to turn around in. And it should be filled with consistently changed, unscented, odor-absorbing, clumping litter—remove clumps as soon as you see them. Make sure, too, that the box is in a quiet spot removed from anything that might startle your cat.

If you have all of those bases covered, bring the issue to your veterinarian’s attention. Arthritis and other medical conditions can be the root cause of your pet’s difficulty in the litter box.


  1. Once I was low on money-but needed cat litter, & got some generic stuff. The cats wouldn’t use it (I think it was the texture.) Everything turned out ok.

  2. My cat definitely prefers to go outside. As a kitten she used it but, once she was allowed outside it was over. She walked in the litter box and scratched but would not use it, if she has no choice, she would but, she howled the whole time she was in it. ( please please someone wake up and let me OUT ) We tried putting plain dirt in the box. Now she uses ( quietly) it if trapped in the house. She is happy, we are getting a whole nights sleep.


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