The Healthiest, Safest, and Best Natural Cat Litter Alternatives with Reviews and Ratings
Many environmentally-minded cat owners are always on the look-out for alternatives to traditional cat litter, which often contains silica dust and is known to be one of the worst pet care products for the planet.
In the past, alternatives to cat litter were usually ineffective or expensive, meaning that many people had no choice but to go with the mass-market option, even if it went against their eco-friendly principles.
In today’s world, however, the problem is completely different. There are hundreds of brands of cat litter that now market their product as being eco-friendly on top of working just as well as stock-standard kitty litter does, and in some cases even better than the regular option.
In this oversaturated market, it can be difficult for the average, well-meaning consumer to figure out which brands really are eco-friendly and which are just slapping a green label on their average product in the hopes that people will be more likely to buy it.
- 1 Quick-Find Best Natural Cat Litter Table
- 2 How We Chose The Best Natural Cat Litters
- 3 Reviews of the Best Natural Cat Litter
- 3.1 #1. World’s Best Cat Litter – The Best All-Round Natural Litter (EDITOR’S CHOICE)
- 3.2 #2. Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Quick-Clumping Cat Litter – The Best Walnut Litter
- 3.3 #3. Feline Pine Original Cat Litter – The Most Affordable Natural Litter
- 3.4 #4. Purina Tidy Cats Pure Nature Clumping Cat Litter – Best Multi-Formula Litter
- 3.5 #5. sWheat Scoop Natural Fast Clumping – The Best Wheat Litter
- 3.6 #6. Arm & Hammer Naturals Clumping Cat Litter – The Best Corn Litter
- 3.7 #7. Purina’s Yesterday’s News – The Best Paper Litter
- 3.8 #8. Cedarific Soft Cat Litter – The Best Cedar Litter
- 3.9 #9. Next Gen Pet Green Tea Fresh Cat Litter: The Best Green Tea Litter
This article reviews some of the best natural cat litter that is effective, accessible, healthy, affordable and, most importantly, natural and eco-friendly kitty litter products out there, to help take the guesswork out of litter shopping for your feline friend!
Quick-Find Best Natural Cat Litter Table
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How We Chose The Best Natural Cat Litters
When choosing the best products to review, there were several points we took into consideration. Here’s what went into deciding which of the many natural cat litters were actually worthy of our list.
Does it actually work?
Obviously, the most important aspect to any product is whether it actually fulfils its intended use. For kitty litter, this means that the product needs to be absorbent, control odor to some degree, and be easily disposable.
Basically, it needs to be a nice surface for your kitty to do his or her ‘business’ in and it needs to be convenient for owners to clean up and replace.
Learn more: See our reviews of the best cat litter
How environmentally friendly is it?
The second most important aspect that we looked at was how environmentally friendly the litter is.
Does it contain silica dust? How long does it take to break down? Does the brand use eco-friendly packaging and manufacturing techniques? What’s the total environmental impact?
How affordable is it?
For cat owners who aren’t billionaires, cost is obviously a big factor in deciding whether to purchase a certain product or not.
We looked not only at the cost but at the value of the product.
Can you find an identical product for cheaper? If the litter has some extra features, are they worth splashing out a little bit more cash for? If a product is a little more expensive, is it worth it because it contains more litter or can be used for longer?
What about clumping and odor control?
Litter ‘clumping’ occurs when moisture is absorbed and the litter clumps together in obvious, congealed balls. Litter that has this property needs to be changed far less often, as you can simply scoop the clumps out and leave the rest of the litter untouched, which is convenient for on-the-go cat parents.
Odor control is a similarly desirable property of good cat litter, for obvious reasons. If you don’t want your house smelling of your cat’s waste (ew!) then this is the best way to go.
Some kitty litters are scented and control odor in that way, and others are odor neutral. It’s important to decide which is best for your household and always check to see if the litter you’re buying is scented or neutral.
Reviews of the Best Natural Cat Litter
The aptly named World’s Best Cat Litter is the best natural cat litter product on the market, and indeed one of the most environmentally friendly.
It’s a compressed corn-based litter, made from 100% natural and biodegradable materials. The corn is ethically sourced and harvested and is a renewable resource, meaning that you can buy it without worrying at all about your environmental impact.
One of the things that makes this product so fantastic is that it comes in three distinct formulations, each of them 100% natural.
The first and most basic is the clumping formula, which is highly absorbent and long-lasting, seeing as owners can just scoop out the clumps and top up the litter tray without having to replace the entire thing.
It’s unscented, light-weight, dust free, and provides great value for money considering how long lasting it is. In essence, it’s everything that you could ever want in a natural kitty litter.
The second formula is a scaled up version of the first, dubbed the ‘multiple cats clumping formula.’ It has extra odor control, provided by natural plant materials, to cope with multiple cats using it. Note that the first formula is still suitable for up to two cats, but the second really is superior when it comes to multiple cat families and is just as affordable as the first. (We recommend this as the top option, but the other two are still great.)
The third formulation is lavender scented, for those cat owners who prefer a scent to mask the odor of the box. The lavender fragrance isn’t overpowering, as some scented cat litters tend to be, and comes from natural lavender oil rather than synthetic compounds, so you know exactly what your cat is breathing in each time they use the litter tray.
All three formulas are flushable, meaning that clean up is easy and takes no time at all for busy cat parents who are often on the go. Additionally, the litter only needs to be changed every month or so (provided that regular scooping is done), which is another bonus for those who don’t have time to be fiddling around with litter boxes (though they should work with most automatic litter boxes, too).
All in all, this really is the best all-round natural litter for cats with no special requirements and pet parents that just want an eco-friendly, easy to clean up, and affordable product.
- Customers absolutely love it (and it’s incredibly popular)
- Completely natural formula
- Comes in three different varieties
- Slightly more expensive than other litters (though the additional few dollars are well worth it!)
This litter is based on a substance you generally wouldn’t associate with cat litter: walnuts!
Naturally Fresh’s walnut-based litter is made from 100% shredded walnuts grown in California, is fully biodegradable, and is completely natural.
The walnut-based litter is super absorbent and quick-clumping, which means that Naturally Fresh recommends that you only need to clean your litter box every month or so and just scoop residue off the top in between cleans. This is great for cat owners who are short on time, or just don’t enjoy emptying their cat’s entire litter box out every week.
Because the litter is made of walnut, it’s extremely lightweight.
Unfortunately, while this product is free of silica, it does still give off dusty residue which may irritate airways, particularly in cats and humans with respiratory problems like asthma.
A positive effect of the litter’s light weight, however, is that it stretches a long way and therefore is great for pet parents on a budget!
The walnut litter isn’t flushable, and therefore must be disposed of in the garbage.
It has full odor control, with a neutral scent that won’t overpower your household.
If your cat doesn’t take well to the new litter, Naturally Fresh recommends scooping some of your pet’s old litter over the top of the new litter to help your kitty adjust. Sometimes going green takes a bit of extra work, but it’s so worth it!
- Actually does it’s job!
- 100% walnut-based
- Fully biodegradable
- Only needs to be fully changed once a month
- Each pound stretches further than other litters
- Fairly dusty
- Not flushable
Feline Pine’s original cat litter is made from 100% natural pine fibres, which are formed into absorbent pellets. There are no additives or harsh, synthetic chemicals, meaning that this product is about as green as it gets.
One of the best things about this product is how affordable it is. It’s half the price per pound of some of the other products on this list and yet it works just as well. This is great for those cat parents who have multiple cats and need to buy lots of litter, or for those who are a bit short on cash.
The fact that the pellets are absorbent means that odors are locked away instantaneously, and what smell does escape is swallowed by the pine’s natural scent. Because of this, this product is one of the best natural litters for odor control. If you can’t stand the smell of your cat’s waste but don’t have time to scoop after every single visit to the litter box, then this might be a good way to go!
Unfortunately, the litter doesn’t clump and isn’t flushable, which means that the litter box may require more maintenance than some other products.
The pine pellets are quite delicate and can break down with force, so make sure not to throw the bag around roughly or apply too much pressure when filling the litter box.
- Completely natural
- Pellet formula means there’s little to no chance of dust
- Fast absorption
- Great odor control
- No clumping
- Isn’t flushable
Unlike the other products on this list, Purina’s Tidy Cats Clumping Litter is made of three different natural ingredients: Cedar, pine, and corn. While there aren’t any distinct benefits to a litter containing three ingredients instead of one, the mix does have a very pleasant smell and a soft, sandy texture that cats love.
Aside from the cedar, pine, and corn, this litter also contains guar gum and glycerin.
While guar gum is completely safe, some glycerin products can be dangerous to cats. Glycerin derived from natural sources is completely benign, but some pet companies use glycerin produced as a by-product of the manufacturing of biofuels, which can be harmful to cats.
Purina doesn’t specify which type of glycerin they use, so if your main concern is safety and natural ingredients then I’d steer clear of this litter.
Despite having more complex ingredients, this litter is more affordable than most others and lasts a long time to boot, which is great for money-conscious cat owners.
However, many users have reported that it doesn’t clump properly after their cat uses the tray and that they have to scoop more than they otherwise would have to.
Overall, it definitely works, but it’s not quite as good or as eco-friendly as some others on this list. If price is a concern, it’s still a good bet, though.
- Pleasant smell
- Good odor control
- Added glycerin
- Doesn’t always form clumps
sWheat Scoop litter is, as the name suggests, a wheat-based litter. It’s fully natural and eco-friendly and boasts fast-clumping capabilities, meaning that you can simply scoop the clumps and use the litter for much longer than other, non-clumping varieties.
The litter looks and feels like traditional clay litters, which means that transitioning your cat shouldn’t be difficult. If there are problems, sWheat encourages cat owners to mix in a scoop of their cat’s old litter with the new litter to make the transition even smoother.
The wheat-based litter also controls odor without being scented, meaning if you prefer a neutral smell in your home a product like this is the way to go.
One of the most exciting things about this litter is just how environmentally friendly it is. It’s wheat-based, meaning that it’s entirely natural, and it’s fully biodegradable.
The packaging, unfortunately, isn’t as eco-friendly as the product itself, but the bag is fully resealable so the cleverer recyclers out there will surely be able to find a good use for it. (I usually just keep bags like this and wash them, so I can use them again instead of buying new ziploc bags.)
A definite drawback of this litter is that it can be dusty. While not all batches are excessively dusty, it seems that every now and then a drier batch is produced and customers receive litter that gives off larger amounts of dust.
While this dust isn’t necessarily harmful it can be irritating to cats and humans with respiratory conditions. It’s also one of the hard things to fix, since these products are all natural and don’t contain harmful chemicals which might reduce the dust.
- Fully natural
- Recommended for kittens and post-surgery cats
- Slightly more expensive than other similar products
- Can be a bit dusty
Arm & Hammer Naturals Cat Litter is a corn-based litter, containing corn fibres, baking soda, and mineral oil. It has very high absorbance (up to two times the absorbance of clay-based litters) and good clumping properties and is very lightweight, meaning that a small amount can last for a long time.
In this regard, it’s great for money-wise cat parents or for those who need a lot of litter because they have more than one cat.
Unfortunately, the ‘all-natural’ label slapped on this product isn’t entirely genuine. While the litter contains mostly natural ingredients, there is also a synthetic fragrance added to help with odor elimination. While this doesn’t necessarily harm the environment, for those looking for a completely natural product it’s a big drawback.
The odor elimination property itself is a mixed bag; it works for some cats and some situations, and not for others. Because of this, pet parents may have to change the litter regularly, rendering the superior clumping and absorbance a little bit useless.
- Potentially great for odor control
- Good clumping capabilities
- Not completely natural (synthetic scent)
- Odor control is ‘hit and miss’
Purina’s Yesterday’s News has a key property that sets it above all others; it’s absorbance. It’s three times more absorbent than clay-based litters, which means that it can be used for longer and in smaller amounts.
Its eco-friendliness is nothing to ignore either, considering that it’s made entirely from recycled newspaper! Unlike grain-based litter, this means that it’s not made from food that requires a lot of agricultural land and water, giving it an extra edge over its competitors when it comes to its green-factor.
Unfortunately, this litter doesn’t clump. However, the pellets do swell when exposed to moisture, so if you have a keen eye you should be able to target only those swollen pellets during scooping and, if you’re successful, make the litter last longer. Otherwise, you’ll need to replace this litter more often than clumping litters.
Because it’s a pellet-based litter it doesn’t kick up to form dust and also doesn’t stick much to cats paws, so it won’t track through the house. However, the odor control aspect of the litter is quite poor and unless you scoop regularly smell will likely be a problem for most cats.
The product is very affordable and definitely worth its price, even if you do end up needing to change it more regularly.
- Works well
- Eco-friendly, made of recycled materials
- Very minimal dust
- Poor odor control
Similar to newspaper-based litters, Cedarific Cat Litter is made from reclaimed materials; in this case, reclaimed wood fibres.
This gives it an environmental edge over other grain and wood-based litters because it isn’t taking up resources that might otherwise serve another purpose.
If this isn’t enough for you, it’s also fully biodegradable and compostable. On top of this, the bag itself is recyclable. It doesn’t get much more eco-friendly than that!
On the downside, this litter is reasonably expensive compared to similar products.
It’s non-clumping and must be changed every week or so, meaning that it doesn’t last as long as some other fast-clumping litters.
It’s also not flushable, but considering that it’s compostable this shouldn’t be an issue unless you live in an apartment complex with no access to a garden.
In terms of the litter itself, it has very effective odor control capabilities as long as it’s changed regularly and is soft on cat paws, meaning that your kitty will love it. The soft texture, however, does mean that it sticks to cat’s paws and can track through your house. Using a good litter mat should help with this, though.
All in all, this is a great, eco-friendly litter but is on the pricey side, so it’s perfect for pet parents willing to sacrifice a few extra dollars for their pro-environmental values.
- Eco-friendly product made of recycled materials
- Recyclable packaging
- Good odor control
- Soft on your cat’s paws
- More expensive
- Can stick to cat’s paws
The ingredients in this litter will be particularly exciting to cat owners who enjoy drinking tea! While this litter has a recycled wood-base, it also contains green tea.
The tea is what controls odor, and by all accounts it does an excellent job of this.
Instead of smelling of ammonia, the litter continues to smell of green tea even after it’s been used multiple times by cats. For those owners who are particularly sensitive to bad smells, this is a huge plus.
One of the other exciting features about this green tea litter is that it’s completely compostable.
It’s quick to break down as well, and the litter is flushable.
The litter clumps well, meaning that you can simply scoop the clumps away and leave the rest of the litter untouched. Because of this, the litter lasts longer than other, non-clumping varieties.
Unfortunately, there are issues with tracking for this product. The soft litter sticks to cat paws, allowing them to walk it through the house. This is a particular problem with fluffy cats like Maine Coons and Persians, so owners of these cats may want to avoid this product unless they’re happy to sweep up the litter a few times a week. (Or, like I mentioned above, use a litter mat.)
This litter is considerably more expensive than other similar products. It’s up to you to decide whether you think the addition of green tea and the compostability is worth the extra cost.
- Good odor control
- Good clumping
- Made with recycled products and green tea
- Much more expensive than other litters
- Problems with tracking
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