What are The Best Clumping Cat Litters?

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by Steven Thomas

In this article, I’m comparing the BEST clumping cat litter on clumping ability, odor control, tracking, and more.

Overall, my top pick is Dr Elsey’s Ultra, because it’s very affordable, clumps well, and is good at controlling nasty odors.

I’ll also cover:

  • Why you should use clumping litter
  • And a detailed buyers guide

Let’s dive in.

1. Dr Elsey’s Ultra Premium Clumping Cat Litter – The Best Overall Clumping Cat Litter

Dr. Elsey’s Ultra is the top pick for the best clumping cat litter for most people, because it’s excellent at controlling odors and clumps tightly and consistently.

Dr Elsey's Ultra Premium Clumping Cat Litter - The Best Overall Clumping Cat Litter

This is an extremely popular brand and have been around since the 80’s. It’s also a favorite of many cat parents, who rave about the benefits.

It’s made from 100% bentonite clay and forms solid clumps fast. This prevents the rest of the litter from being contaminated.

The fast clumping also helps lock in bad odors quickly. It’s unscented, which is preferred by a lot of cat owners and their cats.

It also doesn’t have an overpowering chemical smell, like some unscented cat litters.

There is little to no dust and has a hypoallergenic formulation, which is perfect for sensitive cats or cat owners with allergies.

Tracking isn’t perfect, but it’s no where near as bad as other brands. Using a litter mat will help stop cat litter tracking to a minimum.

The litter is available is 18 Lb and 40 Lb bags and bigger bags often works out cheaper in the long run.

Overall, Dr. Elsey’s Ultra premium clumping cat litter is a great choice for single or multiple cat owers.

2. ARM & HAMMER Hardball Lightweight Clumping Cat Litter – Best Clumping Cat Litter for Solid Clumps

ARM & HAMMER Hardball lands in second place for the best clumping cat litter, mainly because of it’s incredible clumping abilities.

ARM & HAMMER Hardball Lightweight Clumping Cat Litter - Best Clumping Cat Litter

It’s in the name (Hardball) for a reason. The clumps formed are the most solid I have seen in any cat litter.

Hardball is also excellent at controlling odor. This is because of how well it clumps, but also because it’s ascented litter.

A word of warning though, the scent can be quite strong for some people. I personally have a terrible sense of smell, but even I can smell how strong it is.

This clumping litter is made from American-grown grain called sorghum, which is a natural alternative to clay litter.

Other ingredients in Hardball are paraffin oils and catalytic dewaxed light, which help with stick clumps together.

Agglomerated wood, mineral and starch granules help to absorb moisture and promote clumping, and benzisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolone are preservatives which help prevent the growth of bacteria and cause unpleasant odors.

Another benefit is the low dust, it’s almost non existent. However, tracking isn’t great, as it is so light and tends to stick to your cats paws.

Lastly, ARM & HAMMER Hardball clumping litter lasts a really long time. It’s more expensive than others, but you can actually save money in the long run.

It’s available in 8.5 Lb and 16.5 Lb bags. You could try a smaller bag to start to see if you like it, then go for the bigger bag to save money.

3. World’s Best Multiple Cat Clumping Litter Unscented – Best Clumping Cat Litter for Multiple Cats

World’s Best Multiple Cat Clumping Litter Unscented - Best Clumping Cat Litter for Multiple Cats

World’s Best Multiple Cat Clumping litter makes the 3rd slot on this list of best clumping litters, because it’s a great all-rounder and made by a very reputable brand.

This is a corn based litter and is wheat free. Being a natural litter, it’s more eco friendly than other litter such as clay based litter.

It’s designed for a multi cat household and so, can last a lot longer if you have more than one cat.

World’s Best is one of the best for tracking. If you use a mat, you’ll get excellent results and it doesn’t travel far beyond the mat.

It is unscented and the odor control good for urine and great for solids. Some people may find it’s natural scent strange as it’s made from corn, but cat aren’t put off by it.

Clumping is great when it’s fully dried out, but it can be a little cumbly if it’s still wet.

One disadvantage is it can be somewhat dustier than other litter, but it’s very minimal.

Bag sizes available are 8 Lb, 15 Lb, and 32 Lb, with bigger discounts the larger you go.

To summarize, World’s Best Multiple Cat Clumping litter is a great contender for a natural clumping cat litter.

4. Fresh Step Extreme Clumping Cat Litter

This one from the Fresh Step brand makes an interesting choice. Like the one above this comes in a large and heavy 42 lb bag. This one is also pretty new to the market. At the moment of writing this I could find around 200 online buyer reviews, but they love it.

Overall they rate this litter with a 94% buyer satisfaction rate. This is of course a very high rating, but the number of available reviews is small, compared to many other litters on the market. I shall see how this one goes, and keep you updated here.

The brand guarantees a 10 day odor free period and it uses the highly popular “Febreze” to make this happen. Buyers clearly love this and say that it works really well.

The litter itself tightens up a lot, and that of course saves on replacing litter, and also makes it very easy to scoop out when that is required.

This one also contains carbon, and has a low dust production. The scent is there and if you are familiar with Febreze, it is the same scent, a fresh light scent. Many buyers are certainly making this one their number one choice.

5. Purina Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Clumping Cat Litter

This one along with the Purina cat litter tidy system kit, makes this particular litter a very high selling product. This one is available in a few choices and these include a 27 lb pail, a 35 lb pail, a 40 lb box and 2 x 20 lb jugs.

There are over 2,000 online buyer reviews, so I know this one is a consistent seller. This one has been out for quite a while, and overall buyers have given this litter an 82% buyer satisfaction rating.

The manufacturer advertises this one with a TidyLock protection, the main purpose being to lock in the odors of cat urine ammonia smell. Buyers say that it is very good at absorbing urine, and also does a good job at controlling the normal smells of a litter box.

This one is a clay based litter and the clumping makes for easy scooping. This one is very well priced, and is in fact the lowest and cheapest price on our list. (Just be aware that prices change though, and it was the cheapest at the time I wrote this article)

Most buyers seem convinced that this brand of litter has the lowest dust. That is from buyers commenting that, they had tried many others, and found this one to be the lowest of them all.

Why Pick A Clumping Litter?

There are a number of reasons why cat owners decide to go for a clumping style of cat litter. This is the biggest selling type of litter, and just below I will explain why that is the case.

There are of course some disadvantages of using these as well, and these are also discussed below. For now though let’s look at the advantages.

Money Saving

These clumping litters have been designed to save cat owners money. With a non-clumping litter, the litter gets saturated and urine will start to collect at the bottom of the litter tray box.

Almost always the only way to get rid of the smell, is to completely change out the litter on a weekly basis. That can cost a lot of money to make this regular change, but there really is not any other option.

Clumping litters on the other hand are made in such a way, that the urine clumps, and those clumps along with the cat poop can easily and quickly be removed from the litter box. That helps a great deal in controlling the odors.

In addition to that, the urine does not get through to the rest of the clay based litter. As such you can easily go for around 4-6 weeks without needing to fully change and replace a non-clumping litter.

Clearly that is much better and cheaper than having to change the litter once a week.

On a price comparison compared to other litters clumping litters are certainly one of the cheapest. I have included the average cost per lb just below:

  • Clumping Litter $0.76 per lb
  • Non-clumping litter $0.69 per lb
  • Natural or Biodegradable $1.32 per lb
  • Crystal Gels $1.98 per lb

So you can see a clumping litter is almost the cheapest. If you would like to see how much cat litter costs per month based on litter type and usage, then please click here. Pound for pound though cat litter more than holds its own.

Great Odor Control

Non-clumping litters do a good enough job at controlling odors. However they are not the best at doing that. Clumping litters are much better at doing that, as they clumping effect means that the urine forms into clumps. They can then be removed, and new litter can replace those.

That means that the odor is removed from the box quicker, and is not allowed to sit soaking through to the bottom of the box. That is even more important if you have more than one cat in the home.

The fact that the litter clumps it does make scooping out a litter box faster and easier. if the urine forms into pretty solid lumps, then that along with poop is much easier to get out of a box, without wasting a lot of litter.

It will still need a full replacement about once every 2-3 weeks, but daily cleaning is much faster and a great deal easier.

It is estimated that this can be done in around 30 seconds. With other types of litter this can take anything between 3-5 times longer.

Suitable for Almost All Types of Litter Box

There are a lot of different types of litter box on the market. These include:

  • Pan/Trays
  • Hooded/Enclosed/Covered litter boxes
  • Corner boxes
  • Self-cleaning litter boxes
  • Automatic self cleaning boxes
  • Litter Box Furniture
  • Self flushing Litter Boxes

With the exception of the self flushing box, most clumping style of litters, can be used in almost all of the other types of boxes. That is an important thing to know as for example many non-clumping litters, natural litters and gel based litters will not work in many of the self cleaning boxes.

Clumping litters usually do, so make sure that the clumping litter you buy will work in the box that you have.

Disadvantages of Clumping Cat Litter

Like any litter, there are advantages and disadvantages. I explained the pros above, and down below I will now explain the cons.

Bentonite Clay

These litters are made from a natural clay. However this clay has to be strip mined from the earth. That of course harms the environment where that mining takes place. That is however not the main reason for concern among some cat owners.

I should caution you that the evidence for what I am about to write, is anecdotal, as I could not find any scientific studies that verify this one way or the other.

Some genuinely concerned cat owners fear that sodium bentonite clay, if it is eaten or ingested, could cause gastrointestinal blockage and even death.  This clay has the capability of expanding up to 15 times its own size.

Now cats can use a clumping clay litter, and then lick their coats afterwards, and many cat owners believe that they are inadvertently eating the cat litter. If that then swells up, it can cause blockages. Kittens are also likely to eat cat litter simply down to curiousity.

As I said the information for this is anecdotal and to date no research has been done to either prove or disprove this anecdotal evidence.

Sticking to Cat’s Paws

If your cat’s paws happen to be wet, then with this type of litter does have a strong tendency to stick to the paws. In fact if any part of the cat is wet, and they use the litter, the clumps may stick to their coats. If that happens they can form hardened lumps, and those can become quite hard.

How Often Should Clumping Litter Be Changed?

I’ve written a more in-depth article on how often a cat litter should be cleaned, but here’s a quick overview:

It is recommended that clumping cat litter is cleaned twice a day. Now that cleaning simply means removing poop and any clumps, which takes less than a minute to do.

In terms of a complete change out of the litter, and assuming it is cleaned daily as recommended above, a full change should be done every 3-4 weeks.

At the same time as a full change is being done, the litter box should also be cleaned with hot water and a mild detergent. (no disinfectant) Make sure the litter box is bone dry before adding a new clumping litter, otherwise it will stick to the sides and bottom and clump.

That makes it a nightmare to clean the next time. Please don’t ask me how I know that.


This concludes my reviews of the best clumping cat litters.

There are many to choose from but if you’re looking for an all time favorite, I highly recommend Dr Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Premium.

A good runner up is Arm & Hammer Multi-Cat Clump & Seal and one great for odor control is Ever Clean Extra Strength.

I hope you found this guide useful!

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Steven Thomas
Steven has been studying cat behavior ever since adopting two stray kittens in 1996. After rescuing many homeless cats over the years, he developed the skill of finding new homes for cat lovers seeking to adopt. About Steven

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