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 Choosing the best cat litter for odor control

Cats are beautiful, god-like creatures, who walk among us mortals as a mercy from the heavens… and their poop stinks. In fact, it stinks a whole lot, especially because it comes from a living being whose sole purpose is to sleep and groom themselves, so the best cat litter for the odor control is a must-have.

But if you think that the smell is bad for you, we got news for you pal, your cat senses all smells, especially bad ones, two times better than you!

10 Best Cat Litters For Odor Control And Smell Prevention

  1. World’s Best Cat Litter, Clumping Litter Formula for Multiple Cats, 28-Pounds (Winner – Our Pick)
  2. Dr. Elsey’s Premium Clumping Cat Litter (Runner Up)
  3. Fresh Step Advanced Extreme Clumping Cat Litter with Odor Control (Best Value)
  4. ARM & HAMMER Clump & Seal Platinum Cat Litter, Multi-Cat
  5. Purina Tidy Cats Lightweight 4-in-1 Strength Clumping Cat Litter
  6. Arm & Hammer Double Duty Advanced Odor Control Clumping Cat Litter
  7. sWheat Scoop Natural Fast-Clumping Wheat Cat Litter
  8. NonScents Cat Litter Deodorizer, Litter Box Odor Eliminator, Fragrance Free, Longer Kitty Litter Life
  9. Fresh Step Odor Shield Scented Litter with The Power of Febreze, Clumping Cat Litter
  10. Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Ultra Odor Control Multi-Cat Quick-Clumping Cat Litter

What is a cat litter for odor control and why do I need it so badly in my life?

Cats will refuse to use a litter box that is not clean or has a nasty smell. The same goes for the cat litter mat. So imagine what she is going through and how fast she will be tempted to find a new pooping place, the one that doesn’t smell that bad, let’s say in your favorite leather shoes or behind the sofa.

Or you can purchase a cat litter specifically designed for odor control and save yourself(and your shoes and sofa) from all that fuss.

So the litter box won’t smell?

You guessed from the first try. The bacterias in your cat’s pee and poop are the main sources of that awful smell, and they decompose urine to ammonia which smells even worse!

So the litter box won’t smell

The best cat litter for odor control has the ingredients that kill the bacteria and stop the spreading of the smell. Of course, you have to do your part too. We have some advice to prevent the reason for the smell, the litter will deal with the consequences.

Cats eat meat

The cat’s urine has more or less the same smell all the time, but if your cat’s stool is suddenly grosser than ever, consider changing your pet’s diet. Cats are carnivore and their food must be highly digestible and thus almost waste-free.

Beware if you are using cheap cat food and always check the ingredients on the label. If the cat food has a higher percentage of plant-based ingredients, consider taking other, meatier choices.

Cats are stubborn

Sometimes your pet just doesn’t like the changes and will refuse to use the new kind of cat litter. Maybe she doesn’t like the smell, the texture or is just playing with your nerves. But you have to be patient and give your pet the time to adapt.

Cats can get sick

If the smells coming from the litter box are weirder then usual, it is time for an inspection. Visually check your cat and your cat’s litter box for any traces of blood and parasites in the stool and urine. If you have the slightest doubt, take your cat to a veterinarian to check her urinary and digestive tract for eventual diseases,

Types of the best cat litter for odor control

The market is overflowing with various types and brands. We’ll give you a quick tour and point out what you need to know.

Pellet litter

Pellet litter is usually made from recycled paper, excess wood from wooden industry or other natural sources like walnut, coconut or pine shells. This type of litter has a high power of absorbing liquids and is a natural deodorizer especially if you use pine wood pellets.

The principle is simple: pellets absorb the urine and they disintegrate into small pieces. You scoop up the poop with the perfect cat litter scooper and shake the litter box a bit, so the crumbled pellets end up in the bottom of the box, and the fresh ones stay on the top.

It is also a great dust free cat litter, so it is helpful if your cat has any respiratory issues or allergies. Its unordinary bigger texture makes it a great choice for long hair cats, kittens or cats recovering from surgery because it doesn’t tangle in their fur.

Also, it is completely biodegradable and nature-friendly, and some types are even flushable!.

Clay litter

Clay litter

Clay litter was the first commercial type of cat litter on the market and it remains the most commonly used one, because of clay’s natural ability to absorb liquid.

However, the traditional clay litter just absorbs the urine but doesn’t clump, which after a while becomes an issue, and must be frequently cleaned and changed.

Furthermore, their natural protection against odors is low, so they were made with the addition of active charcoal, carbon and baking soda. Modern clay litters contain a special type of clay called bentonite, which gives the litter the ability to clump, giving this type advantage over the classic one.

The cleaning becomes much easier and you don’t have to change the litter that often, which will save you a penny or two. Clay litter isn’t recommended to use for kittens, as there are certain risks of health issues if your small furball ingests the clay.

Silica gel crystal litter

Silica gel crystal litter

This type of litter is modern, praised for its simplicity of use. It is composed of small crystals with devastating power to absorb really high amounts of liquid.

The product itself is almost similar to that small packages you may find in the package with new shoes, or medicaments, and the purpose is the same: to get rid of the moisture. You just scoop up the feces, and the litter can remain unchanged even for a month, which is pretty great.

Also, this type of litter produces little or no dust, which is beneficial for your cat’s health. Also, it can be used in automatic litter boxes, which just adds to the benefits of using.

Although, the price can be a bit demotivating, especially if you have a multi-cat household. Kittens and the cats that had their claws removed shouldn’t be using this type of litter, as it might damage their sensitive little paws.

Other types of anti-odor cat litter

Besides the most popular three types mentioned above, some other types of cat litter can be used too:

  • grass litter, with a pretty good ability to control the bad odor, clumps really good and is completely biodegradable
  • corn and wheat litter, with great anti-odor and clumping power, however, it can get moldy so you have to be extra careful, also not suitable for kittens

What makes a great cat litter for odor control

The high absorbency of liquid

It is the whole point of buying any type of cat litter. Pick the one with great power to absorb the urine. Some types or brands have a higher absorbency power than the others, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only condition you need to pay attention to.

Low amount of dust

Dust is a by-product of almost every cat litter, and it is better to be avoided. Lots of dust, besides the mess that it creates, can lead to developing some serious breathing problems or even allergies for the cat as well as for the owner.


Clumping is a process where the litter in contact with your cat’s urine and feces forms little clumps. That makes it easy to scoop it away thus saving time and money as you don’t need to change the whole box of litter often, just replace the missing litter with a fresh one.

We have also reviewed clumping cat litters and have chosen our clumping litter king.

Odor control

That’s the reason we started this guide, right? A great cat litter for odor control should do his job perfectly in neutralizing and covering the bad smells produced by your cat’s digestive tract. If you can still feel the nasty smell, it means that the cat litter isn’t doing its job


Always check the label for ingredients when you are buying a new cat litter for odor control, especially if your cat has any diseases or breathing issues or (God forbid) you are buying from the unchecked source.

Cats can develop a certain animosity for any kind of the cat litter so be sure to think about that, too. Some cat owners even prefer using just natural-based and/or fully recyclable ingredients for the cat litter, as their fair share of environmentalism.

Number of cats

Owning more than one cat, although rather enjoyable, can be tempting for many reasons, including the issues with the cat litter. Having one big litter box for all your cats can be a challenge, considering the stubborn and possessive nature of almost every cat in the world.

The best solution is that every cat has its own litter box filled with the type of litter that suits them the most, and a spare one, if possible. But of course, there are numerous cases when the multi-cat box works perfectly. You just fill it with the right amount of amazing cat litter for multiple cats, and voila!


The scent of the cat litter for odor control is a matter of preferences, both yours and your cat’s. The scent may vary from natural ones to artificial aromas and from mild to pretty heavy. Some cats will even demonstratively refuse to use the litter box if the scent of the litter isn’t appealing to them.

Size of the package

If you own more than one cat, you will probably need a bulkier bags of cat litter to avoid constantly going to shopping.

But for one cat, the litter bag shouldn’t be too big, to avoid “drying” the litter and for practical purposes, because sometimes it isn’t that easy to carry 30 kg of litter up to the fifth floor, and naturally the elevator broke, again.

Scented vs unscented

Scented vs unscented

This is an ongoing and probably neverending debate for all cat owners, and sadly cats have failed to provide us with any other answer then: meow.

But, generally, if you are going for a scented choice, pick the one that isn’t too violent for you, your family members and your cats, and if your cat refuses to use the scented one, buy her an unscented one. Simple as that.

Clumping vs non-clumping litter

We have counted the obvious advantages of clay clumping cat litter as easier cleaning and maintaining, as well as it proves to be a cheaper solution than the non-clumping one.

But all that can easily become irrelevant if your cat prefers to use a classical, non-clumping cat litter. This is proven to be true for the clay type of litters, while pellet type is even a cheaper solution than the clay type.

Does spending more means more quality?

In this case, definitely not. There are too many things you need to consider, mostly the preferences of your cat, to be able to draw the classical conclusion: expensive equals good and cheap equals bad.

Even the most luxurious cat litter will be useless if your cat decides she doesn’t like it and refuses to use it. However, it’s far more important to purchase from renowned manufacturers and sellers, whose reputation guarantees you that you will get the value for your money.

As with every product, there are cheap copies of the good brands, so be careful and don’t buy from anonymous sellers, or the ones with a bad reputation in the business. Not just for the sake of your money, but for the well-being of your precious pet.

How often does litter need to be changed?

You need to scoop the litter box at least once per day, and more often if there is any need. But scooping the litter is never 100% sure, there are always small “leftovers”. Litter needs to be scooped daily (ones or twice a day) and changed every 2 weeks, even more often if there is a bigger need.

How to prevent the cat litter box smelling bad

How to prevent the cat litter box smelling bad

Pick the right location for the litter box

Resist the temptation to shove the litter box somewhere in the basement or in a room that is rarely used. If you do that, your cat will simply not use it. Instead, place the litter box somewhere ventilated, and with a touch of privacy. Fresh air will easily disperse any scent coming from the box.

Cleaning – better safe than sorry

Besides scooping regularly, the litter box must be washed every time you change the litter, and even more often if you notice the need. And not just the box, the area around the box must always be clean and disinfected, because there is always a chance that your clumsy cat missed the box.

Don’t get cheap with the quantity of the litter

A surprising number of people don’t use the right amount of litter to fill the box, thinking that they will save a few pennies. The result is quite the opposite: the litter gets smelly really fast and you need to change it more often. The recommended amount of litter in the box is at least 2-3 inches.

Replace the litter box every year

Over time, every litter box will get damaged, especially if your cat is a dedicated chewer or a scratcher. Those damaged spots make it impossible for you to clean and disinfect the box properly and put your cat in a health risk.

Thee litter boxes don’t cost a fortune, so you can treat your little pet every year, on her birthday, with a tuna cake and new litter box.

A few little tricks from the sleeve

If you still feel the awful smell coming from the litter box, there are few things you can do to help. First, try with the classical kitchen trick: add some baking soda in the litter. If that doesn’t work, get yourself a professional cat litter deodorizer that will help neutralize the smell.

If none of that works, try a different type of cat litter, or get yourself a self-cleaning litter box. They can be a little expensive, but they are worth it.

How to train your cat to use a cat litter box?

How to train your cat to use a cat litter box?

Luckily, most cats have a natural instinct to use the litter box right away, as they have learned as kittens, by copying their mothers. However, if you got your self a little orphaned kitty, that hasn’t been potty trained, you will have to train her. Don’t worry, we will walk you through the process, step by step.


When you are bringing the new kitten home, make sure to prepare everything in advance. It would be best if you can get two litter boxes for the start, and place them in a nice, safe location.

Use an unscented cat litter for the start, so you don’t confuse your clueless kitten. Make your cat feel comfortable around the box by giving her some treats and toys.


Learn your cat’s routine. Some cats will relieve themselves immediately after a nap, some do that after running and some even right after the meal. When you see that your cat has to go, pick her up gently and place it right in the litter box. Do this a few times and after a while, your cat will learn to do it herself.


Reward your cat with some treats every time she successfully uses the box. That, along with some snuggling will encourage her to keep using the cat litter. Arm your self with treats, patience and love.

Remember to never yell at your cat or punish her for her little “accidents” as she might develop anxiety linked with the litter box, and will refuse to use it. Even if the training fails a few times, every cat eventually learns to use the litter box.

How to clean and maintain a cat litter box?

When you are about to clean the cat litter box, you will need to empty all the litter and scrub the remains of it, so you can start the washing part. Use unscented mild soap or detergent along with lots of warm water, and start scrubbing.

Never use any stronger chemicals, as it might harm your feline or repulse it from the cat litter box. Thoroughly clean not just the inside of the box, but the outside parts too.

Let your box dry (or dry it yourself) and add a new portion of litter. Detailed cleaning of the cat litter box should become your weekly routine, and remember to wash it even more often if needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is cat litter safe for cats?

Although there are certain controversies regarding the cat litters, most of the experts agree that cat litter is very safe for the cats, including every type of it.

Cats, unlike dogs, just don’t have the urge to taste the litter. However, there are always exceptions, and beware because swallowing a certain amount of clumping litter can cause some issues.

How to properly dispose of the cat litter?

There are several ways to do that, depending on the type. The simplest way is to scoop the litter in the plastic bag, seal the bag tight and toss it in the garbage bin.

Double the bag, because the used litter has a high density and even small amounts tend to be pretty heavy, and you don’t want the bag to snap and scatter the mess around.

However, with the litter made from plant-based materials, some solutions are more friendly for the environment. Some brands are even flushable, but be careful not to flush all at once as it can clog your drains.

Non-flushable ones can be used for making great compost for your garden, but that compost can’t be used for any edible plants, as there are some ingredients of cats feces that can be toxic to humans, even as a fertilizer.

What types of cat litter is recommended for kittens?

Kittens prefer the unscented cat litter, as they are just beginning to adapt to the grown-up world and the different smells. Clumping cat litter is best to be avoided, at least until they are 4 months old, as their curiosity can lead them to swallow the litter, which can lead to health complications.

In the same period, avoid silica gel crystal litter, as it can hurt their soft little paws and can get tangled in the fur. The best choice would be a paper pellet type, at least until they grow up a little bit and have their own favorite type.

Final Word

There you have it, a full guide on the subject of choosing the best cat litter for odor control. Choose carefully and keep your cat’s happiness and health a priority. Keep your litter box clean, your supplies of catnip and treats high and your cat will be happy.

Photos from: Andrey_Kuzmin /, ysbrand /, raddmilla /, belchonock /, Savvatexture /, okiepony /, catinsyrup /, FamVeldman /

Big pet lover and a dog training and behavior expert who loves to share his knowledge and experience. Happy owner of two amazing dogs Labrador Bela and Jack Russell Terrier Piksi and one cuddly cat Tom.