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Home > Cats > 6 Best Cat Litters For Senior Cats in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

6 Best Cat Litters For Senior Cats in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

old cat inside a litter box

Cats give us such dazzling displays of nimble agility throughout their lives that it can be surprising to see how much they slow down with age. Like their human owners, cats experience health declines and medical conditions that limit mobility and force them to adjust their behaviors as they grow old. Some studies suggest that up to 90% of cats over 12 years old show signs of osteoarthritis, a painful impairment in the hips, knees, and other joints throughout the body.

While we can’t always prevent these issues as our cats grow old, we can prepare for them. Additions like cat litter and litter boxes geared toward seniors that satisfy your cat’s changing needs can help it avoid undue stress and slow the progression of debilitating diseases. Find out how you can make a positive and healthy upgrade for your aging pet with these six best cat litters for senior cats in 2024.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Fresh News Unscented Non-Clumping Paper Cat Litter Fresh News Unscented Non-Clumping Paper Cat Litter
  • Won’t stick to paws or fur
  • More absorbent than clay
  • Low dust, little tracking
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Tidy Cats Free & Clean Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter
  • Activated charcoal offers powerful odor-absorption
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Dye and fragrance-free
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    World’s Best Multi-Cat Clumping Corn Cat Litter World’s Best Multi-Cat Clumping Corn Cat Litter
  • Pleasant texture for sensitive paws
  • Safe to flush and compost
  • Low dust
  • Feline Pine Original Non-Clumping Wood Cat Litter Feline Pine Original Non-Clumping Wood Cat Litter
  • Effective moisture and odor absorption
  • Emits hints of pine scent
  • Sustainably sourced
  • Dr. Elsey's Respiratory Relief Gel Cat Litter Dr. Elsey's Respiratory Relief Gel Cat Litter
  • Highly absorbent
  • Traps urine and odor immediately
  • Non-toxic and hypoallergenic
  • The 6 Best Cat Litters for Senior Cats

    1. Fresh News Non-Clumping Paper Cat Litter – Best Overall

    Fresh News Unscented Non-Clumping Paper Cat Litter

    Type: Paper pellets
    Scent: None

    Paper cat litter is an excellent solution for many senior cat concerns that doesn’t add a load of headaches for owners. The paper pellets in Fresh News Unscented Non-Clumping Paper Cat Litter are soft and sturdy, making them ideal for sensitive pet paws while keeping dust to a minimum.

    As our pick for the best overall cat litter for senior cats, Fresh News advertises three times better absorbency than clay. The baking soda additive offers non-hazardous deodorizing to handle those acrid cat urine smells, though you’ll find it stays smellier than many other odor-absorbing options. Still, you’ll love the limited tracking and ease of use (you can toss old litter in the compost!), while your cat will appreciate the gentle, non-stick blend that keeps it comfortable before, during, and after using the litter box.

    Pros
    • Won’t stick to paws or fur
    • More absorbent than clay
    • Low dust, little tracking
    • Compostable
    Cons
    • Cats may not like larger pellets under paws
    • Inefficient at controlling odors

    2. Tidy Cats Free & Clean Clumping Cat Litter – Best Value

    Tidy Cats Free Clean Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter

    Type: Clay
    Scent: None

    Low-priced, low-odor, and low-maintenance, it’s hard to find fault with Tidy Cats Free & Clean Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter, the best cat litter for senior cats for the money. Here’s a solution for cats and owners with allergies and sensitivity to fragrances that also need extra-effective odor absorption against smelly cat poop and pee. With activated charcoal in the TidyLock technology, the litter adsorbs any odor molecules near it, offering a fresher scent for extended periods.

    You’ll enjoy easy cleaning due to the clumping action, a huge benefit when your senior cat uses the potty more often. The fine texture will still be gentle on the paws, although you may notice more litter sticking to feet and fur than with non-clumping litter. Many still find Tidy Cats litter is more dust-free than comparable alternatives. If you like the sound of these benefits, but your cat struggles to move the clay powder around, consider paying a little extra for the lightweight blend1.

    Pros
    • Activated charcoal offers powerful odor-absorption
    • Relatively inexpensive
    • Dye and fragrance-free
    • Clumping for easy cleanup
    • Clay is gentle on sensitive paws
    Cons
    • May stick to paws
    • More susceptible to tracking than non-clay options

    3. World’s Best Multi-Cat Corn Cat Litter – Premium Choice

    World’s Best Multi-Cat Clumping Corn Cat Litter

    Type: Corn fiber
    Scent: None, Lotus Blossom, Lavender

    Corn cat litters are one of the best clumping alternatives to clay. The lightweight corn fiber in World’s Best Multi-Cat Clumping Corn Cat Litter clumps well without packing itself uncomfortably into your senior cat’s paws or kicking up tons of dust. It’s perfect for sensitive systems that suffer from allergies and asthma.

    The multi-cat blend is a quality odor absorber, and you can skip the unscented and opt for the Lotus Blossom or Lavender scents for a more pleasant smell. While it’s a more expensive option, like most corn litters, World’s Best adds convenience by being compostable and safe to flush down the toilet.

    Pros
    • Pleasant texture for sensitive paws
    • Safe to flush and compost
    • Low dust
    • Different available scents
    • Eco-friendly
    • Clumps for easy clean-up
    Cons
    • Doesn’t form hard clumps
    • Relatively expensive

    4. Feline Pine Original Non-Clumping Wood Cat Litter

    Feline Pine Original Non-Clumping Wood Cat Litter

    Type: Pine shavings
    Scent: None

    Feline Pine Original Non-Clumping Wood Cat Litter consists of 100% sustainably sourced pine wood shavings, and it’s a practical and all-natural moisture and odor-absorbing blend. The material is soft on paws and unlikely to stick, but your pet may prefer to avoid walking on the larger wood pieces. The lightweight pellets produce minimal dust, and there are no harsh artificial additives to inflame allergies or respiratory issues.

    As a pleasant convenience, liquid degrades the pellets into sawdust. If you have a sifting litter box, it can make sorting unused litter much easier after scooping solids.

    Pros
    • Effective moisture and odor absorption
    • Emits hints of pine scent
    • Sustainably sourced
    • Sifts easily
    Cons
    • May be uncomfortable underfoot

    5. Dr. Elsey’s Respiratory Relief Gel Cat Litter

    Dr. Elsey's Respiratory Relief Gel Cat Litter

    Type: Silica gel
    Scent: None

    If it wasn’t notably more expensive than the other brands, Dr. Elsey’s Respiratory Relief Gel Cat Litter could take the top spot among our lineup of senior cat-friendly options. It supplies many unique qualities cat owners love about the brand while avoiding many common criticisms.

    The non-clumping, non-toxic, and hypoallergenic silica gel in the litter is extra-efficient in absorbing cat pee and odors. Older cats usually enjoy the forgiving sandy texture, with stress-reducing herbal aromas helping to encourage its use. There are no perfumes or irritating ingredients, and many users find it produces much less dust than alternative Dr. Elsey’s products for senior cats.

    Pros
    • Highly absorbent
    • Traps urine and odor immediately
    • Non-toxic and hypoallergenic
    • Fine sand texture is pleasant underfoot
    • Non-clumping material won’t stick to paws or litter box
    • Produces little dust
    Cons
    • Expensive

    6. PetSafe ScoopFree Premium Crystal Cat Litter

    PetSafe ScoopFree Premium Scented Non-Clumping Crystal Cat Litter

    Type: Silica gel
    Scent: None, Original, Lavender

    Another silica gel option, PetSafe ScoopFree Premium Scented Non-Clumping Crystal Cat Litter, comes in an easy-to-use pouch. You only have to pop it open and pour. With the high absorbency and resilience of the silica gel crystals, the company states that their product can control odors five times more effectively than clumping clay options. One pouch can last over a month for one cat, though you may need to swap it out more often if your senior cat uses the bathroom frequently.

    The larger silica granules are less prone to sticking in cat paws, reducing potential discomfort and preventing tracking. Dust is a minimal concern, and you even have a few choices of scent to give you the best experience possible when handling your senior cat’s litter box.

    Pros
    • Highly absorbent
    • Long-lasting
    • Low dust and unlikely to track
    • Easy-to-use packaging
    • Three scents available
    Cons
    • Expensive

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    Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Cat Litter for Senior Cats

    Does My Cat Need Senior Cat Litter?

    Signs of slowing down aren’t always apparent in a pet that naturally likes to hide its weaknesses and pain. Arthritis can come on subtly in cats. You might notice your cat shows some lameness, doesn’t jump as high as it once did or changes its grooming habits. House soiling can indicate several issues, from degenerative joint disorder to diabetes and UTIs. Your cat may avoid the litter box because they find it painful or inaccessible, requiring a change in equipment or location.

    After ruling out any territorial conflicts with other pets or cleanliness issues with the litter box that could stop your cat from using it, you should consider your pet’s evolving needs. Talk with your vet about differences in behavior, mobility, and health alongside changes in the house that might contribute to your cat’s litter habits.

    Together, you and your vet can formulate a plan that addresses your senior cat’s needs with diet, exercise, medications, and supplements. Accommodations at home will ease the stress. Adding extra litter boxes and using gentle, easy-to-clean litter and low-sided boxes can instill confidence, prevent painful movement, and encourage better bathroom habits.

    Choosing Cat Litter for Senior Cats

    Senior cats can have numerous problems with the wrong cat litter. With reduced joint movement, many older felines have trouble grooming themselves. If litter kicks up excess dust, your cat may emerge from every potty break dirty and uncomfortable. Sensitivity in their paws and joints can further make bathroom time more challenging if they find their litter coarse, unstable, or unpleasant.

    Weight and Texture

    Weight and texture are crucial factors to consider in making your cat more successful at doing its duty. Litter must be light for delicate bodies to sift and dig but dense enough to give your cat a secure foundation. The finer powder is often gentler on the paws and generally easier for older cats to work, and you may need to make a change if your cat starts struggling to cover its waste.

    Dust

    Not all cat litters create the same level of dust, and making the distinction between dusty and dust-free options can be a primary factor in your senior cat’s comfort. Excess dust can cause plenty of grooming issues, which is already a struggle for many senior cats, and can make a mess throughout the house. More importantly, it can compromise a senior cat’s sensitive respiratory system, especially for those with asthma. Nowadays, low-dust formulations exist for nearly any type of cat litter.

    a tabby cat having constipation using a litter box
    Image Credit: RJ22, Shutterstock

    Fragrance

    As dust can ignite asthma and allergies, fragrant additives can also exacerbate underlying health issues. Plus, many cats simply don’t like anything other than unscented litter, regardless of their age. Research has not shown a significant difference in cats liking scented vs. unscented litters, but that doesn’t mean individual cats don’t have their preferences. Don’t rule out an off-putting scent if your cat doesn’t use the new litter at all.

    Monitoring your cat’s reaction to new litter is crucial as you wean them onto it and for several weeks after you finish the transition. Look for typical signs of irritation like sneezing, swelling, or watery eyes.

    Discuss any concerns with your vet and solicit advice on appropriate litters for your cat’s conditions. It’s a fine line to walk sometimes. Older cats can go to the bathroom quite a bit, and keeping the litter box clean and odor-free will keep them interested in using it. On the other hand, fragrant odor masks can irritate your cat. Often the best course of action is to get a powerful odor-absorbing and unscented formula and increase your litter-changing frequency.

    Having a cat means dealing with occasional bad smells and messes. You can make that job easier with a great litter additive like Hepper's Advanced Bio-Enzyme Cat Litter Deodorizer, a natural product that uses bio-enzymes to eliminate odors.

    Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Cat Litter Deodorizer Powder
    • Bio Enzymatic Cat Litter Freshener - Smart formulation uses natural ingredients eliminating cat...
    • Save Money - Stuff for cats isn’t the cheapest. With this litter box odor eliminator, you’ll...
    • Every Litter, Every Surface - Are you afraid this additive won’t work on your litter? Fear not!...

    We love this deodorizer because it's effective on all kinds of litter and is safe for cats of all ages. Plus, it's fragrance-free and biodegradable!

    At Pet Keen, we've admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool company!

    Clumping

    Clumping cat litter can sometimes create grooming issues if it gets stuck in paws and clings to fur. Younger kitties may have no problem dealing with the minor inconvenience, but cementing litter can be uncomfortable and unmanageable for a senior cat.

    It takes extra effort to care for a senior cat. We must sacrifice our convenience in many ways to enrich our pets’ lives, whether it involves upping your grooming schedule or switching to litter that needs more frequent changing. While non-clumping cat litter may create more of a cleaning chore, you might find it makes all the difference in your cat’s comfort whenever it leaves the litter box.

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    Conclusion

    The affordability, eco-friendliness, and texture of Fresh News Non-Clumping Paper Cat Litter bring a complete blend of benefits for you and your pet. It’s gentle on paws yet powerful against waste, putting up with your pet’s needs without making grooming a challenge. And strong showings from Tidy Cats and World’s Best prove exceptional products exist to fit any budget and style preference. Follow these reviews and tips for managing your senior cat’s litter, and you’ll ensure the most comfort and convenience for everyone in the house.


    Featured Image Credit: Danielle Masucci, Shutterstock

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