We love our cats – but we don’t love poop.

So when it comes to litter – what is the right choice? As a guardian, is there a type of litter on the market that’s safer, better quality, or just most preferred by the cat populous? We could all benefit from some litter learning. Below we break down a little history behind litter, the meaning behind some common terminology, and the pros and cons of 10 different types of litter for your favorite feline.

The Evolution of Litter

According to Katherine Grier, Ph.D. Professor of History in Delaware, after WWII, most pet cats were outdoor creatures – meaning they had no porcelain throne, but instead loved to let it all hang out in the great outdoors.

Cats buried or concealed their waste to:
1.) Avoid disease
2.) Avoid Mother Nature’s predators.

To encourage their kitty’s to become “one” with an indoor way of life, people started creating boxes, called “sanitary pans” out of baking or roasting pans and fill them with various fillings such as dirt, newspaper, sawdust, and sadly yes – even ash from the fireplace ( In the 40’s, George Plitt pioneered a cat box made from wood ash).

On a snowy day in 1947, cat lover Kay Draper asked her clay/sand selling neighbor Ed Lowe for sand. Unfortunately due to the insane weather, Ken could not give Kay what she was looking for – but instead gave Fuller’s Earth, a kiln dry clay he was selling to chicken farmers as nesting material at the time.

From that moment on, the litter craze was born and he began selling sacks of what became known as “Kitty Litter” to local stores.

Shoot years ahead into the future – and now the simple litter has become way more complex – you can choose from many different formulas of litter, style (pellet, granules, sand, etc.) and select all new (and far better) types of litter for your favorite feline friend.

The Label Factor

While there are many different types of cat litter on the market, the differentiating factor you’ll see on most litter label is its “clumping” or “non-clumping”. Here are the main differences between the two.

Non-Clumping Litter 


  • Absorbs a larger quantity of urine
  • Many contain odor controlling ingredients, such as baking soda or charcoal
  • Typically less expensive than clumping option


  • Typically made of clay, better eco-friendly alternatives, like different types of plant-like litters – beet, corn, pine, wheat, or wood.

Requires more frequent changing

Clumping Litter


  • Designed for easier waste removal
  • Stays cleaner for a longer period of time
  • Can refresh vs. replace the whole litter at one time


  • Best for adult cats only. Can cause harm if swallowed by kittens.

“Types” Of Cat Litter



  • Affordable
  • Easy scooping


  • Extremely dusty
  • Non-biodegradable



  • Absorbent
  • Biodegradable
  • Odor Control


  • It contains corn (A no no ingredient for cats).

          Crystals (Silica Beads)


  • Lasts longer
  • Tracks less vs. other types of solutions
  • Highly absorbent
  • *Almost* dust-free


  • Some cats don’t like the “feel” of crystals
  • Dangerous if ingested in large amounts
  • Not the most eco-friendly option



  • Biodegradable
  • Controls odor
  • Clumps well
  • Lightweight
  • Good for cats with arthritis, declawed cats


  • New type of litter product
  • Animal may not like

           Recycled Paper


  • Absorbent
  • Biodegradable


  • Paper doesn’t “clump” but granule form does



  • Recycled
  • Pellet, granules, and crushed pine options
  • Pine scent helps eliminate odor


  • Granules Somewhat Clumping
  • Must be replaced regularly (Pine turns into sawdust)

    Walnut Shells


  • Absorbing
  • Biodegradable
  • Great odor control
  • Clumping


  • Can be more expensive vs. other options
  • Lots of dust
  • Tends to stick to cats paws



  • Clumps
  • Odor control
  • Biodegradable
  • Low on dust


  • It contains wheat (A no no ingredient).

In Conclusion…

There is no one option that is superior to the competition – and all options on this list have some pros and cons. At the end of the day, it’s what your furry friend likes best, and what works the best for you as their guardian at home. Want to learn more about all things cat?
Click here to learn why cats love playing, “The Floor Is Lava.”

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