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Best cat litter 2021: The best clumping, non-clumping and eco-friendly litter for your cats

Jane Hoskyn
22 Apr 2021
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Keep your cat happy and healthy with our cat litter buying guide and our pick of the best litters you can buy for your feline friend

Cat litter is a must for indoor cats, but outdoor-venturing cats will also appreciate a readily available tray filled with clean litter. The best cat litter and litter trays give your kitty a hygienic, private and convenient toilet in the comfort of their own home, whatever the weather.

Cat litter comes in a huge variety of types, some of which will suit your cat and some of which won't. What all cats do have in common is fastidious cleanliness, so they'll always appreciate a carefully-cleaned, freshly-filled tray. Without it, accidents can occur, especially if your cat is very young or old, or hasn't been well.

Skip ahead to discover our pick of the best cat litter products of various types, including clumping, non-clumping, wood-based and biodegradable. Or read on to find out more about which one might best suit your beloved kitty.

Best cat litter: At a glance

How to buy the best cat litter for you and your pet

What type of cat litter is best for my cat?

This may require some trial and error. Give your cat different types of litter in separate trays and see which they prefer. If your cat or kitten is new to your home, try to find out what brand or type of cat litter they were using before, if any, stick with that at first and add any new types little by little.

Clumping or non-clumping?

Clumping cat litter is made from material that soaks up liquids to form solid clumps when wet. These clumps are easy to remove without having to replace all the litter at once, which saves time and money. However, clumping litter can be swallowed by kittens and cause dangerous internal obstructions, so we've recommended a few non-clumping litters for very young cats.

What is cat litter made from?

Clay: The cheapest and most popular material for cat litter, clay is good at absorbing liquids but it gets dusty and smelly (which your cat will hate), so it needs regular cleaning. Wet clay granules can also clog up cats’ paws. What's more, clay litter is pretty environmentally unfriendly. Clay mining leads to pollution and deforestation, and clay litter is neither biodegradable nor compostable. And it's really heavy to lift!

Corn: Corn is a brilliantly absorbent natural material that's sustainable and biodegradable. It doesn't clump as well as clay, and can get expensive, but our top-rated cat litter is made from corn and represents good value for money.

Wood: Pine and other wood remnants are pulped, then used to create pellets, which produce very little dust and smell lovely (to your cat as well as to you) without the need for added scent. Wood pellets are quite large compared to other types of litter, so may take a bit of time for your cat to get used, but it does mean the litter is less likely to get caught in long fur or tracked outside the litter tray.

Chalk, quartz and silica: These natural materials are highly absorbent, great at masking smells, and less dusty than clay. However, they don't clump. Silica-only cat litter is the most absorbent of all, but best avoided, since it may be carcinogenic to you and your pet.

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The best cat litter to buy now

1. World's Best Original Corn Fine Granule Clumping Cat Litter: Best clumping cat litter

Price: £18 for 6.35kg (approx 15 litres) | Buy now from Amazon

It's a bold move to call your product World's Best, but in this case the confidence is justified. World's Best Cat Litter ticks all the boxes: clumping, eco-friendliness, lightweight, and a reasonable price for a top-quality product.

The litter is made from organic whole-kernel corn, whose naturally porous composition does a brilliant job of trapping smells, without the dust and eco-unfriendliness of clay. What buyers love most about this cat litter, though, is how quickly and efficiently it clumps. One buyer reported that as soon as her cat had been for a wee, that patch of litter clumped into a neat little ball that was easy to scoop out, leaving the dry and clean litter untouched. So one bag can easily last a month or more.

Key specs – Material: Natural whole-kernel corn; Clumping: Yes; Scented: No; Biodegradable: Yes


2. Cat's Best Oko Plus Cat Litter: Best wood-based clumping cat litter under £10

Price: £8.49 for 4.3kg (around 10L) | Buy now from Amazon

One of the only wood-based clumping cat litters on the market, Cat's Best Oko Plus is fully biodegradable, easy to compost, and made from 100% pure organic fibre.
It does the job really well, too, clumping extraordinarily well for a wood-based litter (although not quite as firmly as clay or corn). It smells great without the need for added fragrance, and traps odours effectively, managing to stay fresh and last for ages. Users say it does track outside the box a fair bit despite clumping well, but this litter is a great choice for eco-aware cat owners.

Key specs – Material: Organic wood fibres; Clumping: Yes; Scented: No; Biodegradable: Yes


3. Biokat's Diamond Care Classic Cat Litter: Best clay clumping cat litter

Price: £8 for 10L | Buy now from Zooplus

At £8 for 10 litres, Biokat's Diamond Care costs a bit more than you'd normally pay for bog-standard clay litter. But in return, you get a really good quality litter whose small granules produce very little dust and clump superbly well. It contains added Aloe Vera to make the clay more gentle on your cat's paws, but there's no added fragrance. Biokat does also make scented litter, but artificial fragrances can be very off-putting for cats – who may then decide to use another spot in your home as their toilet!

Biokat earned an Ecocare award a few years back for its work to minimise the environmental impact of its clay litter. It uses 100% natural clay sourced from open-mine casts in southern Germany then processed locally, meaning shorter transport routes and lower emissions.

Key specs – Material: Bentonite clay; Clumping: Yes; Scented: No; Biodegradable: No

Buy now from Zooplus


4. Catsan Hygiene Litter: Best value non-clumping cat litter for kittens

Price: £6 for 10L | Buy now from Pets at Home

If you'd rather go for non-clumping cat litter, which better suits young, elderly and sick cats because there's much less risk of it causing blockages if swallowed, then brand leader Catsan Hygiene Litter is a great buy at just £6 for 10 litres. Its quartz sand and chalk composition is more eco-friendly than clay, and it's great at absorbing moisture fast thanks to its super-porous surface. Cat urine smells are masked really well, but poo smells are not, and you get a fair bit of dust when you clean the litter.

Catsan also makes clumping and biodegradable versions of its cat litter, both of which are available from Pets at Home but a little more expensive.

Key specs – Material: Natural quartz and chalk; Clumping: No; Scented: No; Biodegradable: No

Buy now from Pets at Home


5. Catsan Smart Pack: Easiest non-clumping cat litter to clean

Price: £20.93 for 8kg | Buy now from Amazon

Non-clumping cat litter such as Catsan Hygiene isn't as easy to clean as clumping litter, so Catsan has come up with an ingenious solution. Each Smart Pack is filled with Catsan's Hygiene Litter plus an absorbent liner, and has an elasticated hem that wraps tightly around your litter box base. This keeps the tray clean, maximises wee absorption, and makes it super easy to replace the whole lot by pulling the hem tight and tying it up like a bin liner. It's more expensive than plain old Catsan, but the added hygiene and convenience is appreciated by cats and their humans.

Key specs – Material: Natural quartz and chalk; Clumping: No; Scented: No; Biodegradable: No


6. Ever Clean Extra Strong Clumping Cat Litter: Best scented cat litter for adult cats and a sweet-smelling home

Price: £16.49 for 10L | Buy now from Amazon

Cats generally don't like artificial fragrances, but Ever Clean's mild "paw-activated" fresh linen scent goes down much better than harsh cleaning products – which this clay litter should help you cut your use of, thanks to its advanced clumping properties and carbon content, which masks odours completely (both kinds!)

This litter isn't suited to kittens and elderly cats, however. Once wet, the granules expand to five times their original size, which is great for clumping but bad news if any litter is swallowed. (And don't even think about flushing any down the toilet.) Also, one buyer said the litter is liable to stick to the tray, so they started mixing in a few wood pellets. Happily, the resulting mix was a "dream team".

Key specs – Material: Clay; Clumping: Yes; Scented: Yes; Biodegradable: No


7. Pettex Pampuss Woodbase Cat Litter: Best value wood-based cat litter

Price: £11 for 30L | Buy now from Amazon

At a little over a tenner for 30 litres, this recycled wood litter is amazingly good value. It also comes highly recommended by cat owners, who praise its high absorbency and lovely natural pine smell that cats like. Downsides? The pellets are quite large, which does help prevent tracking outside the box but may not be liked by your cat, at least at first. Also, the pellets don't clump but instead turn into a bit of a mush, and they don't do much to mask poo whiffs. Good at absorbing and de-whiffing cat wee, though, and you really can't argue with that price.

Key specs – Material: Recycled wood fibres; Clumping: No; Scented: No; Biodegradable: Yes


8. Natusan: Best environmentally-friendly clumping cat litter

Price: £17 for 10L | Buy now from Natusan

Newcomer Natusan is a 100% sustainable cat litter that absorbs up to seven times its own weight, forming tight clumps that we found super easy to remove. The tiny wood pulp-based granules (all a by-product of the timber industry) smell lovely, and absorb unpleasant whiffs really well to keep your home pong-free. We did find a few clean particles in the carpet, courtesy of our long-haired cat, but the dirty litter clumped so well that it didn't end up outside the box.

At the time of writing Natusan is only available via the company's own website, which also sells recyclable litter boxes, compostable bags, subscriptions, and a 'Collect & Compost' service that takes eco-friendly care of used litter. 48-hour UK delivery is free if you spend over £30, and there are money-off offers for new customers.

Key specs – Material: Recycled wood materials; Clumping: Yes; Scented: No; Biodegradable: Yes

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