Best Cat Litter For Odor Control
Cats are amazing companions when they want to be.
They’re independent and curious, and when they drop into your lap or paw at your screen demanding attention, you just can’t help but to stop and give it to them.
Once you pick up your cat, they own you.
Your social media is consumed with cat pictures of your fur baby.
Your house is taken over by cat trees and kitty toys, and your furniture is regularly accessorized by way of becoming your cat’s favorite new perch.
Unfortunately, there are other things cats bring to the table, too. While you may not mind the furniture, you probably wish you could hide that litter box away and pretend it didn’t exist. Why can’ they just go outside like dogs??
While you don’t mind your cat taking over the house, you definitely don’t want their litter box taking over your space. How do you prevent the litter tracking, the mess, and worst of all… the smell??
The good news is that pet companies know this is the worst part of pet ownership and have done their best to come up with the best smelling cat litter they could create. If you are looking for the best odor control cat litter, then this article will let you in on the best cat litter for odor control.
What is the best cat litter for odor control?
If you are constantly on the look out for the best odor eliminating cat litter, then take a look at these products. All of them have been lab tested and kitty approved before being added to the list of the best kitty litter for odor control.
Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Ultra Litter For Odor Control
Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Ultra Clumping Cat Litter is one of the best cat litters for any needs.
This is a clumping cat litter, so it is less likely that your cat will trail sand everywhere.
Larger clumps reduce the amount of pellets that can get caught up in cat paws and reduce the amount of crystals being pushed out into the surrounding area when cats cover up their mess and leave the box.
The Dr. Elsey’s Ultra formula is also unscented, so it is fantastic for small apartments.
It is an expert at odor elimination but because it is unscented, it won’t perfume an entire apartment, making it difficult to breathe because of cloying perfumes and fragrances. Read the full Dr. Elsey's cat litter reviews here.
Tidy Tidbit: If you don’t mind cleaning things yourself, then this is a great option for households with multiple cats… but don’t combine it with automatic cleaners. The formula is too big and it will break and shut down robotic cleaning tools, creating an even bigger mess.
This formula uses moisture locking technology to eliminate the appearance of liquid waste at the bottom of litter boxes. This means you can say goodbye to scraping congealed messes off the bottom of the box!
The hypoallergenic formula is makes it less likely that your cats will reject this formula and the heavier granules are far less likely to be tracked through your house or apartment.
Tidy Cats instant action immediate odor control cat litter
Tidy Cats is at the top of the kitty litter game, so it isn’t a surprise that they have one of the best odor eliminating cat litters available.
This cat litter was formulated to be the best odor eliminating cat litter for multiple cats.
This formula protects against ammonia, urine, and feces odors using natural clay with a special system for deodorizing messes.
It is also almost entirely dust free!
You can read the full Tidy Cats litter review we've written.
You want to keep about 3 to 4 inches of litter in the box, so when you scoop out clumps remember to replace the sand with fresh litter. Wash the box regularly between changes, too.
This kitty litter is not septic or sewage friendly, so do not flush it or bury it. You will need to take it to the trash. For this reason, many users will make their litter cleaning day the same day they take the garbage to the curb, so the smell of the full litter change won’ stink up their storage for days.
This cat litter is patented because they have an exclusive 2 part granule system. Each piece absorbs moisture and clumps tightly, instead of having a litter mixture with some clumping and some odor fighting pellets.
Each piece also has an odor fighting agent to eliminate bad smells for instant and lasting relief. On top of that, every piece is also given a special coating to prevent dust.
arm & hammer fresh scent deodorized litter
Nearly everyone has used Arm & Hammer in their kitchens, but did you know they are also in the kitty litter business?
They employ the absorbent power of baking soda in their formula, and now they have a brand new look for their Multi-Cat Clumping Litter formula.
Like all Arm & Hammer products, this is manufactured in the USA. It is a clay based kitty litter to facilitate natural absorption.
The Arm & Hammer cat litter formula also includes extra ammonia blockers as compared to any other cat litter to eliminate any lingering chemical kitty stench.
This litter is lightly scented, so it doesn’t have the same chemical or clay smell that many of the other cat litters can sometimes acquire.
It also has an extra strength formula that has been clinically tested to destroy lingering odors while also attacking new ones.
The baking soda is activated by moisture, removing any odors at the first sign of kitty business and clumping so that it can be easily removed. It is also less likely to get tracked through the house than the non-clumping formulas.
Litter Purrfect Odor Control Cat Litter
Litter Purrfect’s Advanced 20 Day multi-cat formula is specially designed to have real stopping power.
In fact, it goes beyond odor control to eliminate bacteria!
Litter Purrfect combines zeolite with probiotics for moisture and smell reduction.
Zeolite is a honeycomb shaped mineral that seeks ions and seals moistures.
When it combines with the sodium bentonite found in clay clumping cat litters, it makes for a dust free, track free clumping cat litter. Read our review of Litter Purrfect for more information.
The formula uses 5 different forms of probiotics to eliminate the bad bacteria found in food waste.
Labs have shown that within 5 days, the litter eliminated all bad bacteria present in the clay due to cat wastes and remained effective for nearly a month on average.
The formula is also a hard clumping formula designed not to need full replacement on a daily basis It uses a natural lemongrass scent to not only eliminate the bad odors but replace them with good ones.
So Phresh Odor Lock Crystal Cat Litter
So Phresh trades the clay pellets in for odor locking crystals with this cat litter.
Their crystals are small enough not to hurt cat paws but powerful enough to lock in moisture for up to a month.
One of the advantages of using this crystal litter is that it is compatible with automatic litter box cleaners, so you can let your robots and automated litter boxes do the dirty work instead of having to scoop the poop yourself after every kitty potty break. Check out the full So Phresh cat litter review for more information.
The crystals don’t clump because they work differently. They will absorb liquid in order to reduce odors. Simply remove solid waste once it has dehydrated.
This means that it will last longer than a lot of other formulas.
Cats and their owners both love this litter for similar reasons. There is no dust, no tracking, and no smell involved in this formula.
The bag lasts quite a while, so you don’t run through it nearly as quickly as you might with other brands of non-clumping cat litter.
Common Questions and Answers – FAQs
A lot of cat owners have the same questions when it comes to their litter. Everyone wants what is best for his or her cat but not everyone automatically knows where to start. Here are some answers to common questions when it comes to kitty litter.
What is the best cat litter to control odor in a small apartment?
In a small living space, the litter box becomes an even bigger problem. The confined space offers less opportunity for the smell to dissipate, and there is only so far away from the main gathering space that you can put it.
For this reason, cat owners with small apartments should use odor control kitty litter. Odor control cat litter is specially formulated to eliminate the bad smells associated with cat pee. This allows you to breathe easy.
Furthermore, the best car litter for smell in smaller apartments is also going to be unscented. It seems counter-intuitive, but the truth is that adding scented cat litter to your litter box would permeate the entire apartment with the smell. Unscented odor control litter will eliminate the bad smells instead of just replacing them with different smells.
How do I pick a good cat litter for odor control?
There isn’t an easy answer for this question. Picking a good litter is a decision that can’t be yours alone. Your cat is ultimately going to be the decision maker on whether a kitty litter stays or goes.
You can start testing different litters by buying several small bags from different brands. Choose different materials and formulas. Set a little bit of each kind in isolated areas and add some stinky materials to the mix. After a day or two, see which formulas are best at eliminating the smell.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, it is time for the truest test of all – the cat test. If your cat won’t use the formula, then it won’t matter how much you love it. It’s your cat’s bathroom so let the whiskers be the judge!
If they don’t like a formula, they will let you know. This can make changing litter formulas very expensive. Unfortunately, cats don’t always want the same litter their whole life, either. If companies change even a tiny thing in their formula, it can make a cat instantly hate it and you’re back to the drawing board.
How do I change my cat’s litter without them rejecting it?
While can be very particular about their litter, there is something you can try to make them more likely to adopt your favorite cat litter formula.
To make it more likely that your cats will adopt a new kitty litter formula, start by mixing 1/3 of the new litter in with 2/3 of their old litter. Gradually increase the new litter ratio over time. This helps them get used to the new litter, and by t he time you end up with a full box of the new formula, your cat will probably be completely fine with it.
Is scented cat or unscented cat litter better for odor control?
Honestly, this answer comes down to preference. Both scented and unscented cat litters can be excellent at odor locking, so it comes down to whether you like having a more pleasant scent in the area or simply don’t want any scent in the room at all.
For pet owners with small spaces or allergies, the unscented formulas are usually more popular. The lack of perfume prevents sneezing and allergic reactions, and your litter box won’t take scent control over your living space.
Unscented cat litter usually has formulas that have heavier duty odor reduction and elimination than scented because they can’t rely on scents to cover up any lingering odors that the formula can’t eliminate itself. The unfortunate drawback is that they do tend to smell like their source materials, so you may end up having a litter box that smells like clay or chemical additives instead of like it doesn’t exist.
Several scientific studies have compared the two, trying to figure out which one works best, but the results have all been inconclusive. In the end, it really is up to your personal preferences, and most importantly… your cat!
Are there other ways to deodorize a litter box?
There are some natural ways to deodorize your litter box. Adding absorptive materials from nature, like green tea, can often help absorb moisture and bad scents.
Baking soda is a great addition to litter boxes that traps and eliminates odors. If you don’t use the Arm & Hammer litter options, you can always buy a box from the baking aisle and shake some of it into your kitty litter to help the formula work even more effectively.
Regularly cleaning your cat’s litter box and sanitizing it will also help keep odors to a minimum because it won’t give stray liquid time to absorb into the litter box materials. Stay as hygienic obsessive as your constantly cleaning cat and scoop the litter box daily, clearing away the settled dust and tracked grains.
Pro Tip: Using ammonia based cleaning supplies or anything that is scented with a citrus is a terrible idea. Cats hate these scents and will end up rejecting the entire litter box, not just the litter itself.
What causes odors in a cat’s litter box?
The same factors that can often make human toilets smell awful contribute to litter box odors as well. Nobody’s poop smells great. Why would it surprise you that cat poop smells as bad as human poop?
There are some things that can contribute to abnormally bad smelling litter, though. If your cat is dehydrated their excrements will have that super strong ammonia stink that a lot of boxes are known for having. If this starts happening regularly, talk to your veterinarian so you can come up with a plan to keep your cat hydrated when they aren’t doing it themselves.
Does smelly litter mean that you have a smelly cat?
When cat litter starts smelling terribly, it can be tempting to grab that phone and serenade your cat to the famous song of Phoebe from friends. Smelly Cat, smelly cat, what are they feeding you? Don’t worry though… Not only is a litter box smell not your fault, but it also doesn’t mean you have a smelly cat!
Felines are well known for their impeccable hygiene. In face, your cat has more than likely washed itself more recently than you have! A cat’s tongue is designed to remove anything when it brushes over its fur, and you know just how frequently cats are licking their fur.
In fact, if cats start rejecting the litter box it is probably because the box was not clean enough for their high standards. Make sure you become as obsessive about their litter as they are about their fur!
When should you change your cat litter?
This answer requires you to consider multiple factors. For example, households with multiple cats will need to change litter boxes ore regularly than single pet homes. If your cat uses the litter box more often than the average cat, you’ll need to change litter more often.
A lot of pet owners coordinate litter box changes with household trash day so that their litter all ends up gone the day it gets put out rather than collecting in the house.
Solid clumps should be scooped out every day at a minimum. It can be a good habit to set to go ahead and scoop whenever your cat leaves solid clumps behind the grab.
Are there any natural alternatives to kitty litter that my cat may prefer?
There are tons of natural alternatives available for environmentally conscientious cat owners. These vary in effectiveness, though, because they are not made to be cat litter or developed specifically for odor elimination, so use with caution.
Corn has become such a common litter alternative that a lot of eco-friendly cat companies have begun using it to create biodegradable kitty litter. It’s unscented but corn flakes clump together and soak up moisture extremely well, making it ideal. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no way to avoid this being tracked through the house.
The ASPCA has suggested walnut shells on occasion because they are not toxic to cats, clump well, and control odor extremely well – sometimes better than cat litters can. The difficulty with walnuts is that they can’t be broken down small enough to make sifting through a scoop possible, can’t be used with automatic self cleaning litter boxes, and cats can’t stand them because they stick to their paws and track everywhere.
Grass is one of the most natural alternatives available. It’s light weight, free of dust, doesn’t track anywhere, and lasts for ages. The downside of this option is that it has almost no odor eliminating properties, doesn’t soak moisture quite as well, and is so light that cats frequently knock over the box getting in and out. Heavier cats may even find themselves quite literally stuck in the mid.
Wood pellets are another alternative that eco-friendly companies use in biodegradable litters. This is probably because they can regularly absorb up to 50 times or more their weight in moisture. The issue with these is that they’re pretty big and can’t be scooped. You also need to use extreme caution if you look at this method because toxic additives, adhesives, and finishes can make your cat extremely sick! The wood needs to be natural.
Can you mix different types of litter together?
This tactic is possible, but unless you are actively attempting to ease your cat into a formula switch or desperate in a pinch, then it is not recommended.
Mixing litters changes the smell and texture of a product, and as finicky as cats can be about litters, it only serves to increase the likelihood that your cat will reject the litter and refuse to use their litter box until you change something.
On top of that, mixing will likely have the opposite of your intended result. Generally, people asking this question want to buy a few different types of litter in order to combine everything. They think mixing clumping formulas with odor eliminating ones then adding in a moisture locking scented formula will give them the benefit of a single formula that does everything.
In fact, the opposite is true. You will actually be reducing the effectiveness of each product in proportion to the number of products you are using. SO, in the previous example, rather than having a single super formula, you will have 3 formulas that only work 33% as well as they should. Adding litter that isn’t meant to clump will make it harder for the pellets of clumping formula to find each other because they won’t be able to reach the liquid, absorb it, and clump together with nearby particles that don’t clump.
Conclusion of the best cat litters for odor control
Everyone is an expert on his or her own cats, but by now you should confidently be able to call yourself an expert on odor controlling kitty litters, too! Whether you choose one of the litters on this list, go with a naturally sourced alternative, or keep looking for the right scent and formula for your needs, this guide should have left you with a clear understanding of what each feature does, how it works, and what to look for in stellar formulas.
Finding the right formula for your cat’s individual preferences is the most important takeaway from this article. Every single cat is unique, and you have to make sure yours is happy or your home will become extremely messy. Look for kitty litters with the features most cast share in common for preference: no dust, particles that don’t get stuck to their paws, and something heavy enough for them to cover their business with when they finish using their litter box.
At the end of the day, you will definitely find the right formula to satisfy both yourself and your precious fur baby, ending this review on the best cat litter for odor control.
Jackie Johnston is the founder of Cat Word – a community of cat enthusiasts with a mission to spread as much knowledge as they can throughout the world on every aspect of raising and nurturing cats! In her spare time, Jackie loves reading and spending time with her two sons Logan and Christopher, and of course with their furry felines Simba and Max.