Our cats rely on us for many things—food, water, toys, snuggles, and, of course, a safe place to pee and poop. No cat owner loves litter box duty, but it is a necessary evil, and we do it (albeit begrudgingly) because our fur babies are just so sweet. But, did you know that your cat’s litter box could not only be making them sick1 but also harm the environment?
Traditional clay litter is not biodegradable and is obtained through an extensive strip mining process involving heavy machinery that essentially destroys large chunks of land. If you’re searching for a more sustainable and eco-friendly cat litter, you’ve come to the right place. Your cat’s litter doesn’t have to negatively impact the environment or potentially cause harm to you or your pets.
We’ve done the hard work of researching environmentally friendly litter options to bring you this thorough guide. Keep reading to find our reviews on the best eco-friendly cat litters available on the market today.
A Quick Comparison of Our Winners (2023)
|Best Overall||Kitty Poo Club||
|Best Value||Feline Pine Original||
|Premium Choice||Smart Cat All Natural||
|Naturally Fresh Walnut Shell Litter||
|World's Best Multi-Cat Unscented Corn Litter||
The 11 Best Eco-Friendly Cat Litters
1. Kitty Poo Club – Best Overall
|Materials:||Corn and wheat|
|Sizes:||8–28 lb bags|
Our top pick for eco-friendly cat litter is Kitty Poo Club, which offers a great selection of clumping and non-clumping options. Choose between corn & wheat, diatomite, clay, organic soy, fine-grain silica, and regular silica litters, all shipped to you for free using FedEx Ground Economy.
These excellent litters are all guaranteed to remain odor-free for a full 30 days. They also don’t contain chemicals, scents, or dyes, which is better for your cat and the world. Plus, you can sign up for a subscription to also receive a fully recyclable, leakproof cardboard litterbox every month!
Kitty Poo Club offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so can you feel confident giving this environmentally-friendly cat litter a try. On the negative side, not every material is equally sustainable, so you’ll want to choose carefully. Depending on the material you choose, you may still have dust or tracking problems, too. But overall, we think this is the best eco-friendly cat litter you can buy this year.
2. Feline Pine Original – Best Value
|Sizes:||7–40 lb bags|
If you’re looking to switch over to a new litter for the environment and to better suit your budget, Feline Fine Original offers the best eco-friendly cat litter for the money. This lightweight litter is available in 7-pound to 40-pound bags and is just a fraction of the cost of traditional clay litters.
It’s made without chemicals or clay instead opting for highly absorbent pine fibers that work to absorb liquids quickly to keep offensive ammonia odors at bay.
This litter is non-clumping, meaning it shouldn’t clump together at the bottom of the litter box. You need to dump out the litter and change it entirely often, but it doesn’t track around your home the way traditional litters do and won’t get stuck in your cat’s toe beans, either.
This litter is meant to be disposed of in the trash. It is designed to absorb moisture and, as such, may clog your septic or sewer system. You must not flush or dispose of it outdoors to avoid environmental contamination.
3. Smart Cat All Natural Clumping Litter – Premium Choice
|Sizes:||5–20 lb bags|
Smart Cat’s All Natural Litter is our premium choice as it costs a bit more than some of the other options, but we found that cost worthwhile. This litter is designed to absorb and clump on impact to prevent odors from having a chance to escape your cat’s box. It is 99% dust-free, making your cat’s litter box environment (and your entire home) a little healthier.
This litter has a creamy texture similar to sand, but this lightweight construction means it can track a little more than other litter types. It’s made of 100% grass and is free of chemicals, clay, and fragrances. It’s biodegradable, renewable, and super soft for your kitty’s delicate paws.
4. Naturally Fresh Walnut Shell Cat Litter
|Sizes:||14–40 lb bags|
Naturally Fresh Walnut Shell Cat Litter manufactures a biodegradable multi-cat litter made of walnut shells. It’s available in several different formulas, sizes, and scents, including varieties that claim to provide ultra-odor control or quick clumping. They also create a pellet formula (see product number 8) if your cat prefers the feel of pellets to the shells.
This litter is made from 100% walnut shells to neutralize odors and claims to be entirely dust-free to reduce respiratory issues and keep tracking at bay. That said, some reports of this litter clouding up during cleaning. There are no chemicals, clay, corn, grains, or toxins used in the manufacturing process, so it’s not only safe for your pet but for you, too.
This brand prides itself on being eco-responsible, using solar energy to produce its litter and 30% recycled packaging to keep waste down.
5. World’s Best Multi-Cat Unscented Corn Litter
|Materials:||Whole kernel corn|
|Sizes:||8–28 lb bags|
World’s Best Multi-Cat Unscented Corn Litter earns its brand name honestly as we believe it manufactures the best overall eco-friendly cat litter. This unscented multi-cat household litter is all-natural as it’s made from whole kernel corn. There are no harmful additives or artificial perfumes added to the litter, so not only is it eco-friendly, but it’s also entirely safe for your cat, too.
This formula is quick clumping to make scooping easy. It’s also very lightweight and 99% dust-free, so you don’t have to worry about polluting the air in your home with dust particles. This litter stops odor in its tracks, so you no longer will have that foul ammonia scent that often accompanies traditional cat litters.
Most of the litter granules are a decent size, but as you get to the bottom of the bag, there is a slight sawdust consistency that can make for dusty paws and floors. The unscented variety does carry a subtle barn scent. Corn is difficult to farm in a sustainable way.
6. Okocat Super Soft
|Sizes:||8.4–16.7 lb boxes|
Okocat’s Super Soft wood cat litter has a fine texture and is super soft, so it’s great for your kitty’s delicate paws. It’s made of biodegradable wood fiber that’s been sustainably sourced. The litter naturally prevents enzymes from bonding with your cat’s urine and feces to stop ammonia odors before they have a chance to form. The litter forms solid clumps and is pretty easy to scoop. This litter is made without any artificial fragrances or chemicals and is GMO-free.
This litter works best in a manual litter box and should not be used in an automatic style box as the formed clumps need to sit for an hour or two before being sifted. It is not dust-free and can track around the house if you’re not using a litter mat to control tracking.
7. Fresh News Recycled Paper Litter
|Sizes:||4 –25 lb bags|
Fresh News Recycled Paper Litter is an affordable pellet litter made with 100% recycled paper. This material is three times more absorbent than clay, so you can expect superior absorption. The manufacturer includes baking soda in the pellets to help neutralize any offensive litter box odors.
Though the pellets are soft, they hold their form well and won’t stick to your cat’s paws. Since the pellets stay the same shape even after becoming soiled, it’s easy to see where you need to scoop to clean the litter pan. Their soft nature can eliminate some trackings that happen with other litters. This litter is non-allergenic and nearly dust-free.
This litter does not clump, so cleaning the litter box may require more maintenance. The manufacturer recommends scooping from the top every day and changing the entire litter box out once a week.
8. sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat
|Sizes:||12–36 lb bags|
sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat is a 100% wheat cat litter designed for use in multi-cat households. It is unscented but does a great job of controlling ammonia or urine odors that usually accompany a cat’s litter box. This product is made without any chemicals, perfumes, dyes, or other potentially harmful ingredients. It claims to provide twice the odor elimination and clumping properties as the brand’s fast-clumping litter option.
This litter is lightweight, so it tracks around your home a bit more than other options.
9. Naturally Fresh Walnut Shell Pellet
|Sizes:||8 –28 lb bags|
Naturally Fresh Walnut Shell Kitty Pellet is made of 100% natural walnut shells that get to work neutralizing odors the moment your cat uses its litter box. This formula is dust-free and can reduce tracking by not sticking to your cat’s paws. No chemicals, toxins, or grains are used to produce this litter, so it’s extra safe for your cats. This non-clumping litter provides superior absorbency to control urine, feces, and even ammonia odors. Although you must be prepared to scoop out your pet’s solid waste every day and replace all the pellets once they no longer control offensive odors. It’s important to note that the pellets are brown, which can make seeing your cat’s feces challenging.
10. Catalyst Soft Wood Cat Litter
|Sizes:||20 lb bags|
Catalyst Soft Wood Cat Litter is the only cat litter made of upcycled softwood and is said to provide four times the performance of traditional clay litters. It clumps well so cleaning out the soiled litter is a breeze. The wood particles are engineered airborne dust and to keep tracking to a minimum. This naturally lightweight formula keeps offensive odors at bay, while zeolite, a natural absorbent mineral, adds a pleasant and mild fragrance that can make your home smell like a forest.
While this formula doesn’t track like other traditional cat litter, the fibers can become powdery over time.
11. Michu Tofu Cat Litter
|Sizes:||5.5 lb bags|
One of the best things about Michu’s tofu cat litter is that a little bit goes a long way. The price is already affordable for the 5.5-pound bags, but it isn’t until you factor in how long a bag can last that you truly see the value. Two 5.5-pound packs of Michu’s litter can provide waste absorption for one month in a single cat household!
This litter is fast clumping, so scooping waste is a breeze, and its unscented and odor-neutralizing formula is perfect for keeping pet-related smells at bay. The pellets are petite and tightly compacted to keep them as dust free as possible. This litter is flushable, which makes cleaning up even easier.
There are some reports of Michu’s tofu formula sticking to their cat’s paws and becoming dusty over time.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Eco-Friendly Cat Litter
You might want to consider several factors as you search for the best eco-friendly cat litter. This is especially true if this is your first time considering a more sustainable approach to cat litter. Making the switch from traditional clay litter can feel daunting, but with the right know-how, you can make an informed decision.
As with clay litters, eco-friendly options are available in both clumping and non-clumping varieties. One style of litter is not inherently better than the next as they both have pros and cons.
Clumping litter is easy to scoop, and removing only the soiled parts of the litter is simple, making your money go a little further. Clumping cat litter requires daily maintenance and can produce more dust and track easier throughout your home.
Non-clumping litters are sometimes better at removing odors because they can absorb large volumes of urine. The problem is that liquid may pool at the bottom of your cat’s litter pan when the litter becomes saturated with urine. This can make removing soiled litter difficult without changing the entire box.
Materials should be at the forefront of your mind when considering an eco-friendly cat litter. There are several different material types to choose from, and, as with clumping versus non-clumping litters, they all have pros and cons.
Corn or grain litter is made of compressed corn kernels and is sometimes combined with another grain. They tend to clump well, produce little dust and are safe if your cat accidentally eats some of it. The downside is that this litter can have a rough texture that may not appeal to your cat.
Grass litter is made from seeds of grass such as sorghum. They can be almost entirely dust-free, making this type of litter great for cats or owners with respiratory issues. The problem is that it is lightweight, so it can easily be tracked throughout your home.
Walnut litters are made with absorbent walnut shells. They produce very little dust and tend to clump very well. The problem with this type is that it can easily track outside the box and may also not control offensive odors. Of course, pet owners with nut allergies will need to tread lightly and consider another material type.
Wood litters are made from plant fibers that have been sourced from either forests or reclaimed lumber. They have a lovely natural scent and can provide excellent odor control while producing minimal dust. The problem with this type is that it doesn’t clump very well, making scooping a difficult chore.
What Are the Benefits of Eco-Friendly Cat Litter?
The obvious answer to this question is that eco-friendly cat litters do much less harm to the environment than traditional clay-based litter.
Clay litters wind up in landfills, can be unsustainably sourced, and are often non-biodegradable. Many traditional clay cat litters also contain silica dust which can cause upper respiratory issues in pets and humans.
So, why, you may ask, would cat owners buy this harmful litter in the first place? Clay litters are typically easy to scoop, cheap to buy, simple to dispose of (hello, trash can), and are highly absorbent.
As you may be able to guess by the name of the litter, it’s made from clay that naturally occurs on the Earth. Don’t let “naturally occurring” fool you into thinking that this litter type is eco-friendly simply because it comes from our planet. Clay is mined via a process that removes layers upon layers of clay from mines which is harmful as it cannot be replaced. Clay mining can also disrupt the delicate ecosystem by removing rocks, excavating, and destroying the homes of many animals. Not to mention the heavy equipment necessary to mine clay, pumping carbon dioxide into our delicate atmosphere.
The Kitty Poo Club is our pick for the best overall eco-friendly cat litter, thanks to its odor control and easy clean-up. Our best value pick comes from Feline Pine for its long-lasting formula and affordable price. Finally, our premium eco-friendly cat litter is from Smart Cat for its clumping capabilities and easy scooping.
We hope our reviews have made deciding on a new and sustainable cat litter easier for you. Check out our guide on the best robot vacuums for cat litter to help you deal with any of that pesky litter tracking.
Featured Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock