Best natural cat litter
You care about your cats and want what’s best for them, which is why you're looking for the best natural cat litter for your feline.
Whether that’s finding the softest brush for their fur, interviewing multiple vets to find not just the right talent fit but the one your cat likes enough not to claw to death, or finding the best perfectly balanced nutritional meals that are delicious without tons of additives.
You also care about the environment. You have turned your household as green as possible, using energy saving lighting and products, locally friendly vegetation in the gardens, and recycling regularly.
What makes it tricky is that sometimes what is best for your cat seems to be the opposite of what’s best for the planet. This is especially true when it comes to kitty litter. You go through tons of it but the majority of it is environmentally friendly, natural, or biodegradable, unless you're getting cat litter made from corn, wheat, or pine which are perfectly safe and actually good for the environment.
In this case, how do you choose the best option? Should you compromise a little bit on your cat’s needs to save the planet? Should you justify the small incursion on the planet to make sure your cat is taken care of?
The good news is that you don’t have to choose any longer. More and more companies have turned to natural solutions for kitty litter. It used to be the case that you could find a biodegradable and organic cat litter as long as you didn’t mind your house smelling more than usual, and cross your fingers hoping that your cat would accept it.
Now, there are so many options available that this article is not a review of the only biodegradable cat litter; it’s filled with the best non-clay cat litters, plural. Rest assured that by the time you finish reading this article, you will be a fully informed cat lover who knows the ins and outs of the best biodegradable and natural cat litters on the market.
What is natural cat litter?
Natural cat litters are essentially environmentally friendlier options compared to other cat litter brands. They are biodegradable, organic and completely renewable, non-toxic, sewer and septic friendly options that will break down instead of being sitting around in landfills stinking up the area.
Natural cat litters use sustainable materials that are found in nature and skip the additives and chemical fillers that most cat litters contain. In fact, as long as you don’t use them on food plants, a lot of these can be used in mulch and composts to fertilize gardens.
The Best Natural Cat Litter Reviews
Now that you’re aware of natural cat litters, you may be wondering which of the best natural litter brands genuinely work and which ones are just like the original natural choice, leaving your house smelly and your cat unsatisfied. Here are the 5 best natural cat litters available. They have each been cat tested, and owner approved!
Cat Spot Organic Non-Clumping Coconut Cat Litter
Coconut has a ton of great uses. It’s a savory cooking flavor mixed in with curries; it’s great for baking toppings shredded on top; mix it into drinks for a tropical cocktail; even use the oils for healthier and smoother skin and hair!
Did you know that it makes a great cat litter, too? Cat Spot Litter does!
There is one issue with Catspot coconut cat litter, which is that it's known to track. The benefits of this product make up for tracking, though.
The biggest thing this coconut cat litter is capable of is major absorption power. Only 5 pounds of this litter has the same absorbance rating as 20 pounds of the best kinds of clay based litters.
Coconut is so good at its job that liquid will disappear nearly instantly, and if you notice even a tiny bit of moisture, stirring it around will fix that.
When this product claims that it is all natural, it means it. The coconut base is natural, but they so not add any chemicals or fragrances. It is also hypoallergenic and dust free because it doesn’t contain clumping agents or toxic clay particles.
Using this litter is pretty easy, too. Put about 2 inches in the bottom of the box, being careful not to over pour thanks to the lightweight formula.
Remove solids that have become grey and dehydrated and stir the remaining mixture. Every couple of weeks, empty the litter box straight into the yard, using as compost for your flowerbeds. Warning: Do NOT empty this into any agriculture, as cat urine is extremely harmful if ingested, not to mention gross.
Okocat Cracked Pine Natural Wood Cat Litter
Wood and pine is an extremely absorbent force in nature, and Okocat’s Cracked Pine litter takes advantage of those properties.
In fact, this litter can absorb over 500% its weight in moisture!
Okocat is a German company that uses over a century of research data when developing their natural pine litters. Oko actually means Eco in German!
They are committed to more than jut eco-friendly products.
They source sustainable, use reclaimed wood instead of fresh timber, and use a green manufacturing process.
This litter is flushable and biodegradable and organic because it uses no chemicals or additives. It is made of pine, so it uses natural odor absorption to leave your house smelling fresh without chemical perfumes.
Okocat uses a patented Odor Shield Technology to trap odors and liquids into the wood pellets. Their wood is firm on the outside and soft on the inside, which makes it ideal for cat feet.
This litter also has a dust free formula, so you won’t be breathing in litter remains. He larger pellets also prevent it from being tracked through the house. The wood pellets also weight less than clay, so it’s easy to carry and store and lasts longer.
So Phresh Odor Lock Crystal Cat Litter
A lot of cats aren’t keen on pellets, and for those cats So Phresh came up with Crystal Cat Litter instead!
The crystals are designed for cat paw comfort and minimal tracking.
The crystals in this litter are designed to absorb liquids and reduce odors.
This makes the cat litter last a while because you aren’t constantly scooping out massive clumps and refilling the box; you’re just scooping off the solid excrement.
With a natural cat litter formula that entirely eliminates dust and tracking, both cats and their owners will love this litter from So Phresh's review.
You can breathe safely and won’t be following after your cat cleaning the house every time they use the litter box.
So Phresh is the best crystallized cat litter on the market for odor reduction, too. It lasts for a long time and keeps the litter box from stinking. It even makes it easier to clean your litter box when you completely change the litter; and in case you’re a high tech pet owner, this litter is compatible with automatic cleaning litter boxes and like the one you'll find in our litter robot review.
Arm & Hammer Litter naturals Clumping Litter
A lot of pet owners don’t immediately think of Arm & Hammer when they think of pet supplies or natural and organic cat litter, but that should change.
They have a lot of great kitty litters, and their Naturals Clumping Litter is one of the best eco-friendly cat litters available.
Although this is naturally based, and uses recycled organic substances, it is not a flushable product.
You will need to dispose of it the same way that you dispose of traditional clay based kitty litters.
If your cat is a bit resistant to completely natural forms of kitty litter, they may take well to this formula. It’s a corn-based kitty litter, and corn is well known for its absorbent qualities.
It weighs half as much as clay based kitty litters, so a bag of this corn-based cat litter will last much longer.
On top of that, the corn-based natural cat litter lightweight formula reduces dust, making it easier to breathe around this litter without holding your breath to scoop and pour.
World’s Best Cat Litter Clumping Formula
This company certainly lives up to its name, creating some great cat litters.
World's Best Cat Litter's Clumping Formula is no exception to this rule. It is a very powerful cat litter that owners and animals alike rate highly.
This is another corn based cat litter that ditches the clay and silica dust in favor of natural solutions.
It’s a hypoallergenic formula that works well for cats with allergies and eliminates owner sneezing during pouring and scooping tasks.
This natural cat litter clumps very quickly, so you don’t need to use a ton of this formula to get lasting results.
Although this cat litter made from corn has clumping action, it’s important to now that the clumps can sometimes break apart on you while you scoop the cat litter. Corn also has a very distinct natural scent, so although your house won’t smell like ammonia and feces, it may still smell a bit like a barn.
The highly absorptive corn flakes lock away moisture and instantly trap odors to keep t hem from seeping into your litter box trays. It’s also biodegradable, with means disposal is as easy as scoop and flush. This means smelly litter doesn’t stink up trash bins for days until trash collection day; it’s gone instantly.
This natural cat litter is fantastic for finicky cats that need special treatment. When given the choice between litter boxes with different litters, most cats will naturally choose this litter over other options. Asthmatic cats have also done much better with this litter, coughing significantly less than when using other, clay based options.
Natural Cat Litter Options
If you are looking for naturally sourced cat litter for a single or multi-cat household, these are some of the best ingredients you should be seeing on your natural litter formulas. They have some of the best antibacterial, anti-odor, moisture-absorbing qualities found in nature.
A couple of the litters in the review are corn-based products. That’s because corn is the most common form of biodegradable cat litter. It’s unscented and clumps up extremely well, locking into rock solid clumps to make scooping easy. Unfortunately, corn is also very easy to track through the house.
The second most common form of biodegradable, natural cat litter is wood. When using wood, if you’re not buying a litter, you need to make sure that you get wood without any adhesives or finishes because those are usually toxic for cats and not natural.
Natural wood pine that is free of treatments and additives is one of the most absorptive options known. It can absorb 5 times its weight or more in liquid, making it ideal for cat litter boxes, and due to its larger chip size it also doesn’t track as much as corn.
Pine and cedar make great choices for wood based cat litter because of their fresh scents. One of the weaknesses of a lot of natural alternatives is that many of them fail to completely eliminate odors. Pine and cedar are naturally fresh smelling cat litter alternatives, so they can prevent litter box odors from permeating the house.
If you and your cat don’t have gluten or oat sensitivities, then consider wheat-based litters. It’s extremely lightweight and has a naturally light, sweet smell to it.
Unfortunately, wheat based cat litter does very little for odor control and tracks a lot. If you can handle that, though, it does clump extremely well and flushes easily.
Grass is one of the most natural options available, and has been the preferred choice of wild cats for generations. It is lightweight, doesn’t track, lasts a very long time, and cats like it.
Unfortunately, if you have allergies grassed based cat litter is also a bad option to bring inside. It’s also higher maintenance, needs replacing pretty quickly, and can leave your cat sink in the mud if he’s too heavy. It’s also so light that a lot of cats will accidentally knock the box over on themselves while trying to bury their excrement.
Green tea is extremely healthy for you. It curbs your appetite and kick starts your metabolism. Did you know that it also makes a great cat litter alternative?
This natural alternative makes some great kitty litter. It clumps extremely powerfully, so clean up is really easy. It also smells great and nearly eliminates all odors. Unfortunately, it does have some problems with dust and tracking and will likely get all over the place.
Walnut shells usually get tossed away, but you can help save the planet by using them as cat litter. Walnut shells have been approved by the ASPCA Poison Control Center as safe for cats.
Walnut shells cat litter also clump pretty well and do a good job controlling odor. As with many other natural alternatives, it does track everywhere and stick to cat paws.
Another great natural alternative is paper. This is not only sustainable and biodegradable, but it’s also made from recycled materials! This makes it the perfect option for ecologically minded pet owners.
There are some down sides to using paper. First, it will take your cats some time to get used to because it’s completely unfamiliar to them. Next, they don’t clump the way clay does, so it makes clean up messier. They’re also not very great at controlling odors, so you will need to change the litter box much more frequently than with any other type of litter.
However, there are some major benefits to using paper. One of the biggest ones is that it is extremely good for your cats. In fact, vets actually recommend this type of litter for cats who have had surgery recently because the paper won’t contaminate their stitched areas. Paper also produces no dust, so cats that have eye problems, allergies, urinary tract infections, and respiratory issues will find that this is a fantastic and comfortable alternative.
Most cats love the feeling of sand beneath their paws, and it’s extremely easy to move and dig in, so sand is an option that even persnickety cats will quickly adopt.
Another great thing about using sand is that it clumps together well when it gets wet and doesn’t have a funky smell. Adding some baking soda (usually in a 1 to 3 ratio) will make for a great natural cat litter that eliminates any odors!
What makes a good cat litter?
Using natural alternatives to kitty litter means knowing what the cat litter companies do when they create their formulas. Here are some guidelines so that you know what properties your natural ingredients need to have in order to work well as cat litter.
No one likes a smelly house. While you might be the cat lady of your group, you never want to smell like the cat lady of the group. That’s why most litter formulas contain some sort of odor reduction power.
You may be surprised to learn that your cat thinks that is just as important as you do. The ASPCA even conducted a study, and it turns out that the biggest reason cats reject litter formulas or refuse to use their litter box is because they don’t like the smell.
Artificially added scents may be fine for owners, but they are rarely a component of natural alternatives and most cats don’t actually like them. When you’re sourcing natural ingredients, look for some that have the ability to reduce odor and if you want scents, find some natural options like lavender oil, pine and cedar woods, and baking soda.
One thing to avoid is any citrus scented option. A lot of cat owners are inclined to use citrus ingredients because they are natural cleansers with amazing antibacterial functions. Unfortunately, cats can’t stand the smell of citrus so it is a quick way to ensure they will never go near the litter.
Whether or not to use a clumping formula is under debate among cat owners. Older kitty litters didn’t use clumping power, ad a lot of present day natural litters also don’t rely on clumps.
Ultimately, it’s up to you whether you prefer scooping clumps from your litter or scooping out just solid wastes and replacing litter more regularly after absorption.
If you want clumping litters, like most cat owners do, then look for some naturally clumping options Corn and sand are really good at clumping and they stick together to form rock solid balls.
If you don’t like clumping formulas, then look for materials like wood and coconut. They keep litter boxes clear by absorbing liquids into their pellets instead of clumping together to bond liquid to a group of particles.
Dust and Tracking
One of the biggest reasons people ditch clay based kitty litters is because of the insane amounts of dust in each package. The clay can often disintegrate into powder, and you and your cats sniff the toxic additives and silica every time you scoop and pour. This is a terribly unhealthy issue.
Dust also creates a huge mess in the house. It settles all over everything, making floors, countertops, and furniture look like it just came out of the attic. On top of that, it sticks to cat paws, which results in litter being tracked all over your house.
Crystal litters and natural litters are better about the dust aspect. They have come up with dust free formulas that are safe to pour and don’t settle in lungs or on floors. Unfortunately, they also ted to track through the house more easily than heavier clay based litters.
An ideal natural litter will be light enough not to have any dust but heavy enough not to get tracked through the house. Corn and coconut are the most likely to get tracked through the house. Wood and grass based options are great at avoiding tracking.
When it comes to pleasing your cat, size matters. Cats are very sensitive to texture. They want a litter that feels good underneath their paws and moves well enough for them to bury their excrement and cover it up instead of leaving it out in the open air.
Cats like finer textures, like sand, because it is much softer on their paws. Unfortunately, that is also the litter that is most likely to stick to their paws and end up all over the house.
Coarser litters are a way to avoid tracking, but they also may get rejected if they’re not smooth enough for paws. They are also better for kittens, which may accidentally ingest litter if it’s too fine and small. The advantage of natural litters is that they will pass through eventually, but it still isn’t great if they ingest their own waste.
Finding an alternative between options that are too harsh and coarse for cat paws and options that are so fine they end up settling all over your house and never coming clean is going to be an important task.
Judging the cost of kitty litters is difficult. You can’t jut go by price per pound because every litter is made differently. Clumping formulas usually last longer than on-clumping alternatives. The ones that use coconut and wood to absorb 500% their weight will also require less litter than other options.
Look at how much of a given type of litter you will use in a time period and figure out what that costs you. That is how you can determine the best value for your money when it comes to litters.
By now, you should be a pretty good authority on natural cat litter alternatives. Whether you want to cerate your own or snag one of the fantastic products that the article reviewed, you and your cat should be very happy with the eco-friendly, natural cat litter alternatives available.
You can breathe easy and curl up in your favorite spot while you pet your cat until she purrs. The best part is that you won’t be smelling chemicals, added perfumes, or stinky cat boxes but you also won’t be harming the environment or introducing toxins to your home.
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.