Top 3 best cat litters for odor control in 2023:
- Best Overall Value – Arm & Hammer Platinum Multi Cat Litter
- Best Budget Option – Dr. Elsey’s Ultra Premium Cat Litter
- Best Natural Alternative – Naturally Fresh Cat Litter
It is often said that there are two kinds of people: dog and cat lovers. No matter which group you’re a part of, there are some common situations and problems you’re facing every day. For cat lovers, dealing with cat fecal odors in your house is one that comes quickly to mind. Let’s solve that problem today.
In the past, people have developed different strategies to overcome the smell – mostly by trying out different kinds of sand and ashes, which were very hard to clean. Fortunately, today you can buy products that help you keep your litter box clean and smell-free. Let us introduce you to cat litters for odor control!
In case you already know about them, we’re sorry for the introductory part, and we can jump straight to our job today: help you find the best cat litter for odor control on the market. After this article, you will get rid of the unpleasant smell of your favorite pet quickly and effortlessly!
Essential Features To Consider When Buying The Cat Litter For Odor Control
Although it may seem to you that buying the cat litter is an easy job: go to the store, choose any from the counter, come home, pour it into your litter box, and *boom!* the smell is gone. We’re sorry to break it up for you – it is not like that in reality.
Products for controlling the odor of your litter box vary in a couple of factors. We will first acknowledge them so that we can later proceed to find the best litter for you. Some factors you should consider are:
Depending on your needs, we’ll help you choose the right type of cat litter odor control for you. If you’re curious about the options, here they are:
Clumping or non-clumping
The first option is more recent in the market. Clumping cat litters came as an “upgrade” to previously popular non-clumping cat litters. The main difference is in the way that they react to the moisture; clumping litter binds to it, whereas non-clumping absorbs it.
The cleaning procedure is therefore different – with clumping litter, you only need to scoop the material from your box (which has already been clumped together).
The procedure for non-clumping litter is more complicated – the litter will absorb the moisture, but once it becomes saturated, you will need to carefully remove it from your litter box, unless you want a puddle (and the return of odor) in the box.
Easier use is the reason for our inclination towards clumping litter; however, we must admit that it has a downside, too – your cat may not like it. The reason for this is that it becomes somewhat sticky after adhering to the “product” of your cat.
It is not a terrible downside, as the quality of clumping litter has improved today, and most cats won’t have a problem with it. Clumping litter also produces a little more dust than non-clumping, but different brands went out of their way to ensure that this won’t happen and we’re here today to discover them.
A little tip: You can prevent litter from sticking by using a larger and deeper litter pan.
Scented or unscented
Unscented or odorless litter will only absorb the smell that you want to eliminate, whereas scented litter will add another note to the smell of your litter box.
Actually, a little correction here: unscented litter will add a note of whatever it is made of, whereas the scented will add a fragrance (lavender, pine, etc.).
Nowadays, it is believed that cats do not have a preference or demonstrate that any kind of these two upsets them, so this comes to your personal choice.
Natural or not
This depends on the base of the litter. In broad strokes, a natural litter is eco-friendly and the “greener” option you would want to consider buying. The feature that makes them environmentally friendly is that they are biodegradable and renewable.
Some kinds can even be incinerated, composted, or used as mulch, but not with the soil that will be used for food products. Also, keep in mind that litter should never be flushed, as there is still the cat product part of it, which can be dangerous for the environment and water resources.
Multi-cat or single-cat
The former is suitable for various kinds of cats, and more pets at the same time, while single-cat one is a litter specialized for a single breed. If you own more than one cat, it will be convenient to use the multi-cat litter, and nowadays all kinds are equally efficient.
2. Cat Litter Base
Depending on the primary type of the material used in the litter, the most common bases for cat litter include:
- Walnut shells
Overall, the most absorbent types of litter bases are clay and paper-based, but different artificial add-ons can also enhance this feature. The most common absorbers that are added to some brands are carbon and baking soda.
Clay is also the most popular base, but there are some options that are better for the environment (wood, paper made from recycled material, corn, etc.).
While we will investigate which base each brand offers, you will have to investigate on your own what type your cat prefers (some cats love to play and use silica or clay litters, while some are naturalists themselves).
Finally, we will take a look at the amount of litter that you get for the price and how durable it is (how long it will protect you from the unpleasant odor) to make sure that you get the best value for the price possible.
Additionally, some packaging types will be more convenient than others for pouring litter into your box.
10 Best Cat Litters For Odor Control In 2023: Detailed Reviews
Now that you’re familiar with different factors relevant to your choice of suitable litter for your cat (or better yet, you and your cat; after all, your perceptual experience is in question here), we can now concentrate on the ten best picks currently on the market.
1. Dr. Elsey’s Ultra Premium Cat Litter
We’ll start off strong, with a pretty quality cat litter from Dr.Elsey that you can get for a decent price.
Dr. Elsey’s Ultra Premium litter is made from a medium grain clay and non-tracking granules, which means that it will make it harder for the pieces of litter to go into your pet’s paws, and therefore everywhere in your room.
Type-wise, it is a hard clumping litter, which means that a clump once formed will not break down, and you can easily scoop it out of the box. As we’ve learned, a clumping litter can make a little bit of dust, but the manufacturer claims this one is “99.9% dust-free”. After testing it out, we can confirm that this is true.
In addition, it is hypo-allergenic, so you can be sure it will not cause an allergic reaction. It contains no artificial perfumes or deodorants (so, it is not scented), but is an all-natural litter, though it shouldn’t be used as compost or a traction aid.
As for its efficiency, and its main purpose, odor control on this litter is flawless.
It’s easy to use and clean: you should place around 3 inches in your box, so your pet can dig and cover their waste. One “portion” will be enough for the whole day; when cleaning, you just scoop out the waste balls and throw them out (remember, do not flush them!).
The litter comes in a plastic bag, and the larger bag (40 lbs/18kg) will be enough for around 2 months of use.
Overall, this impeccable multi-cat litter will be persistent in preventing your house from smelling like a litter box (metonymy aside, from smelling like the contents of your litter box).
2. Fresh Step Cat Litter WIth Febreze Freshness
Next up is Fresh Step Cat Litter with Febreze Freshness, another option well worth considering.
This is another clay-based clumping product, and, again, clay plus the clumping formula will result in a neat and clean way to dispose of your cat’s waste. Fresh Step has a name for each of their features, and this one is “ClumpLock technology”.
This litter will form clumps together with the waste, and you can easily scoop it out of the box, without trashing the good litter around it.
In this way, you won’t have to change the content of the box completely until around 2 weeks of use. The clumps are tight and will not break down when scooped; however, some users reported they might get a little sticky. It depends on your pet’s discharge, of course.
Unlike the previous one, this litter is scented, thanks to the partnership of Fresh Step and Febreze working together to guarantee efficient odor control.
They developed a formula with “paw activated fragrance” that activates the smell once your cat uses the litter box. We made sure ourselves the room would smell fresh and there would be no “Febreeze-Feces” mixture of fragrances. The only thing you will sense is the fresh note of Febreeze.
The next feature is “low-dust formula”. Indeed, this litter won’t make a cloud of dust, but there will be some, mostly when you pour it into the box. Once it settles, it won’t be dusty and your pet can enjoy digging it.
This litter comes in 6 sizes (14, 20, 25, 34, 42 and 75lb) so you can plan out in advance and buy the amount that suits your needs.
It comes in three varieties: Multi-Cat, Odor Shield and Extreme. The main difference is, basically, the strength of the smell, so you will choose among these according to your personal taste.
3. Arm & Hammer Platinum Multi Cat Litter
This litter is plant-based, made from moisture-activated Micro-Granules that form a clump together with your cat’s waste. It has a little bit of a fine sandy texture, and the clumps will be very tight and therefore easy to scoop, which is enough for us to confirm that the clay is of high quality.
It is scented, but the scent is very light, not overpowering – and it will make your litter box smell fresh and clean. The odor control part here – highly efficient.
Even when being poured in the litter box, Arm & Hammer Cat Litter will produce little to no dust that could get stuck in the cats’ paws or in the box. So, no tracking with this litter.
This is an upgrade to Arm & Hammer’s regular Multi Cat, and with the “platinum” part, the litter is better and really taken to the next level.
You can completely clean the box after around three weeks of use. Before that, you just need to daily scoop and throw out the waste (while adding a little bit of litter each time so that you keep it 3-4 inches deep).
If you have more cats, or if you want to stock up with litter supplies, the largest size you can buy is 80lbs (two packs of 40).
It comes in a cardboard box with a strap handle, which makes it easier to carry around and pour than with plastic bags.
The only con we found to this litter is the fact that it is on the pricey side, but in our final judgment, we’ll see whether the benefits outweigh the expense.
4. World’s Best Cat Litter
Let’s see whether World’s Best Cat Litter lives up to its (we have to admit, a little pretentious) name.
This is a natural, corn-based clumping litter. Corn is an efficient “clumper” but the clumps with this litter will be somewhat less tight, though you will scoop them trouble-free.
It is lightly fragranced – you will definitely sense a light note of corn, and if you want the stronger scent to neutralize the odor, you can try the lavender variant that this brand offers. Features are the same, except for the stronger smell that comes with the lavender aroma.
This litter is 100% natural, so the manufacturers claim it is flushable, but we always advise you not to do so. Even when a litter is completely natural, cat waste is not safe for the environment.
In comparison to other litters, this one creates much more dust, which goes hand in hand with tracking, and that is what we consider its greatest flaw.
Apart from that, it showed to be a fair deal. The price is good, it is easy to scoop, it does its job in keeping the odor away, and the dust which appears to be the problem will settle in quickly.
The scent control abilities are on par with this litter, and when it becomes powder-like, you should completely change it.
The manufacturers provide you with a formula on the package: 2 cats – 60+ days, 3 cats – 45+ days, 4 cats – 30+ days. Minus the “+” part, this is pretty accurate.
5. Purina Tidy Cats Cat Litter
Purina Tidy Cats litter is another clay-based litter designed for multiple cats; clumping formula is the original one: pour 3-4 inches of the litter into the box, wait for the “moment”, scoop, throw out, add a little bit more, clean after around two weeks. It is pretty efficient – the clumps will be tight so no mess and sticking when cleaning up the waste.
The amount of dust is minimal, though there will be some during pouring and cleaning of the box, as well as some amount of tracking.
It is scented and the smell it leaves behind is fresh, however, not that lasting as it is the case with some other brands.
The box can be best described as a bucket, with a handle that will make it easy to pour.
It is a bit more expensive compared to the other brands, but the fact that it is extremely easy to use makes up for that, along with the quality of the base.
One thing we found specific for this mix: it is good for small spaces and smaller litter boxes. In those circumstances, it keeps your room and box odor-free, but it is not that efficient when used in a bigger box.
Another feature is that it is on the side of heavy litters: you will need some strength to pour it and transport your litter box.
6. PetSafe Premium Crystal Cat Litter
We’ve come to the option that is arguably the most different from the others: the non-clumping silica crystal litter.
Even visually, it is remarkable – and comes in three variants:
- Original Scent – blue
- Lavender – violet
- Sensitive – white
This litter will definitely make your litter box stand out. But let’s focus on the thing that is more important: the functionality.
Original and Sensitive variants come without any scents, whereas lavender (yeah, you already guessed) smells of lavender. The types of this litter without the scent will not be any less efficient in odor control, but you can opt for the lavender one if you want to add another note.
The crystal non-clumping litter is efficient at absorbing moisture and drying out solid products (by dehydrating them, the odor disappears, too), but, as we have learned, it is harder to clean than the clumping litter. No scooping here.
You will instead need to keep track and clean according to your needs – if you notice that some crystals are wet, or the odor re-appears, it’s time to change crystals. There will be no mess, though; silica is very convenient and easy to clean.
Another positive thing about crystal litter is the fact that it is 100% dust-free; no tracking either.
It is also pre-portioned: each package includes two bags that weight 4.5 lb. One bag will last around 25 days in our experience, if you change it after approximately 2 weeks.
Remember how the previous product was very weighty? On the contrary, this one is very lightweight and easy to carry around.
7. Naturally Fresh Cat Litter
Back to multi-cat clumping litter, but not clay-based: the base of Naturally Fresh litter is made from crushed walnut shells.
Although walnut shells are not the most common base for natural litter (corn and wheat are much more used), walnut shells are the most effective when it comes to odor control. There will literally be no unpleasant odor. Instead, you will get a pleasant woodsy-walnut smell.
Thus, it is enough to change this litter once a month, and with a reasonable price, this option will be good for your wallet, too.
Cats also seem to love this litter and get accustomed to it very quickly.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t clump very well (like clay, for example), but it is a healthier and eco-friendly alternative. If you’re careful, scooping will still be smooth, and without clumps falling apart.
Another thing you will need to do if you use this litter is to clean up more often, as these granules will produce a little bit of dirt-colored dust. It will track a little, too, so be prepared to clean brown paw tracks every now and then.
If the foremost reason for buying cat litter to you is the odor control, and you don’t mind using cleaning wipes more frequently to clean up the dust and tracks, Naturally Fresh Cat Litter is a great choice.
Also, you can sleep knowing that you’re using something good for the environment.
It comes in a plastic bag, in 4 sizes (6, 14, 26 and 52lbs) and six variants so that you can choose between scented and unscented ones. We tested Multi-Cat Ultra Odor Control Unscented.
8. Scoop Away Extra Strength Litter
Out of the 10 litters we tested, this is the one with the strongest scent, which further means that it works great to eliminate the odor. In their terms, it’s called “Odor Guard technology”. Sophisticated.
While the strong scent might be too much for some users, what will surely amaze you is how easy it is to clean this litter. It can be summed up like this: a little bit of dust, no tracking, clumps are tight, no sticking. So, scooping will be a breeze.
You will need to completely change this litter more frequently than the others, after around 10 days, due to its texture, though there will be no problems with the scent even after two weeks.
It is a good combination of a dry no-mess cleaning and the powerful odor control (even with cats who use it very frequently).
Cats seem to like using this litter and do not demonstrate that the strong scent bothers them at all.
It comes in various sizes (25, 38, 76 and 114 lbs) and the biggest one will surely save you from numerous trips to the store. The container is not that convenient (4 or more cardboard packs in a kind of a nylon foil) and it is on the heavier side.
The price is quite high, but if you need something to fight the most challenging odor, this litter will suit your needs.
9. Ricco Pets Cat Litter
Another natural and biodegradable product, Ricco Pets litter, is a wood-based cat litter made of renewable sources (reforestation pine trees). Definitely environment-friendly.
But, let’s see what the wood base implies. First and foremost, it results in effective odor control. You will get a fresh and natural smell with the use of this litter. Secondly: clumps of a mediocre quality, which may fall apart if you do not scoop carefully enough.
However, the absorption power is pretty satisfactory.
Because of its quality natural composition (wood pellets produced from pine trees, without sawdust), it can be used as fertilizer.
With wood-based litter, you can again expect some brown tracks and some amount of dust you ought to clean more frequently than with some other types (which are, on the other hand, less healthy).
The instructions say that you should pour around 1 inch of litter, but we used 3-4 inches, as usually, and It worked.
Currently you can buy only 11lb of this product, and the price is not very low for that amount.
You should give this litter a try if you want a natural product which your cat will enjoy (most cats do love using wood-based litter), but at the expense of ease of use.
It is surprisingly lightweight if you come to think that it was made of wood pellets in the first place. Its lightweight can trick you, so be careful when you pour it in order not to create a cloud of woodsy dust.
10. Okocat Natural Cat Litter
Last but not least, we’ve come to another all-natural clumping cat litter.
Its base is made of wood fiber which will keep the odor away for around 7 days.
Wood is great at sealing odors and preserving the fresh smell in the room. It is also natural-scented, with no artificial scents.
Apart from the satisfying odor control, wood is very absorbent, though the clumps will not be extremely tight and you need to be careful when scooping in order not to make a mess. The particles will also be somewhat more massive, and you might want to consider using a larger scoop.
Some carob-brown dust will be present, and if your cat is long-haired, there will be some tracking.
It is biodegradable, and, as manufacturers claim, flushable, but we again recommend another way of disposal to keep this natural product perfectly environment-friendly.
It comes in four sizes: small, medium, large and large premium. We tested the small one that weighs 8.2lbs, and it turned out to be very convenient and easy to handle.
You have an opening at the side of the cardboard box (we prefer these to plastic bags) which allows you to pour this litter into your litter box with ease. About ½ of this box is enough to fill a medium-sized litter box.
If you don’t mind cleaning, this is another eco and budget-friendly efficient option for odor control on the market.
Our Opinion – The Top 3 Cat Litters On The Market
Finally, we want to remind you: your cat has a part in choosing the best litter for odor control, too! It may take more than one try to find the best option for both of you, but, as usual, we give you our top 3 picks:
Best Overall Value – Arm & Hammer Platinum Multi Cat Litter
We’ll proclaim Arm & Hammer Platinum Multi Cat Litter the best option you can currently buy. This litter is their finest upgrade of all the previous variants. All its features, from the amazing clumping formula to efficient odor control, contributed to our decision. The choice which is definitely worth the money.
Best Budget Option – Dr. Elsey’s Ultra Premium Cat Litter
Less expensive, but undoubtedly not less efficient odor controller is Dr. Elsey’s Ultra Premium Cat Litter. It earned its second place on our list with its consistent quality, ease of use and efficiency delivered by its amazing features that come at a great price.
Best Natural Alternative – Naturally Fresh Cat Litter
If you’re looking for a healthier and eco-friendly alternative, out of all natural litters we reviewed, we suggest Naturally Fresh Cat Litter. It offers amazing odor control due to its walnut shells base and multiple scented, unscented, single and multi-cat variants for all your needs.