Best Eco-Friendly Cat Litters

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio

Did you know that you have way more options than clay-based cat litter? Whether you want to keep yourself and your cat away from the dust that clay litter can produce, you’re concerned about your kitty accidentally ingesting the clay, or you just want to go with a product that is made from a sustainable resource, there are a range of litters to choose from.

Check out the information below to learn a bit about environmentally friendly litter, and to access a list of some products that are worth considering.

Eco-Friendly Cat Litters vs. Clay and Crystal Litters

Why isn’t clay litter considered eco-friendly, even though it’s a natural material? Well, there are a few reasons why some pet owners opt to search for a more environmentally friendly cat litter for their furry companions.

First, the way that clay litter is produced is considered environmentally destructive. To get the clay, strip mining is typically used. This involves the removal of any vegetation, along with topsoil, resulting in deforestation and the loss of habitat. The process can also lead to other problems like erosion and pollution. And even when mining companies work to restore the land according to laws and regulations, it may not always work when it comes to undoing all of the damage.

Another reason why clay litter isn’t the most eco-friendly option is because it isn’t biodegradable. This means it won’t break down when it ends up in landfills.

What about crystal litter, also referred to as silica? Typically, mining is involved in the production of these litters too, and they also aren’t biodegradable either. So if you’re searching for a more Earth-friendly litter for your kitties, this may not be the ideal solution.

What Should You Look for in an Eco-Friendly Cat Litter?

There are a few things to consider while you shop for eco-friendly litter. Of course, you want your cat’s litter to boast attractive features, such as: low to no dust, low to no tracking, good odor elimination, lightweight, easy to scoop, safe for your pet, etc.

But when it comes to what you should look for in an eco-friendly litter specifically, you can make an informed decision by looking into the following details. These can help you rest assured that a litter is indeed more eco-friendly than clay litter:

  • Figure out what material(s) the litter is made from. For example, is it made from a recycled source or a renewable resource? How are the materials harvested from the environment?
  • See if the product has received any certifications from third parties to prove that it is environmentally friendly.
  • Check that the litter doesn’t contain any artificial or chemical-based ingredients.

If you have any questions about a particular product, consider contacting the manufacturer to get answers. Otherwise, you can read the product label carefully, check its website for more info, and read through reviews to see what consumers have had to say about it after giving it a try.

What Are the Different Types of Eco-Friendly Litters?

Eco-friendly cat litter is made from various natural materials, so if one doesn’t work as well as you would like it to, rest assured that there are other options available that you can try. The key is to find a litter that your cat won’t mind using, and that’s also effective enough to keep you happy as well.

Here’s a look at some of the main materials used in the creation of environmentally friendly cat litter:

  • Corn – Corn is biodegradable, and it’s also a renewable resource. You can find corn-based litters that clump, produce low amounts of dust, and help control odors. Plus, these are often soft for your kitty’s paws, although you may notice that some brands have a finer texture than others.
  • Wheat – Wheat is biodegradable and renewable. And it can clump well, so you can find clumping options that help make it easier to keep your pet’s litter box clean. Plus, it also has a soft texture for your cat’s paws, which might be helpful when it comes to introducing a new litter if your pet is used to clay litter.
  • Walnut – Ground walnut shells are used to make cat litter that is absorbent and produces little dust. It’s an eco-friendly choice because it uses materials that would otherwise be discarded.
  • Wood – Cedar and pine are two examples of woods that are used in the production of eco-friendly cat litter that comes in the form of wood shavings or pellets. These litters are usually made from materials that would otherwise be thrown away. And this might also be a good choice if you or your pets are allergic to ingredients like corn and wheat.
  • Paper – Litter that is made from recycled paper is a good eco-friendly choice because it helps reuse materials. And it can be yet another viable option when you are in search of a litter that does not contain any grains.
  • Grass – Grass is another litter option that is sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable. It is designed to produce low amounts of dust, and it can create hard clumps quickly for ease of cleaning.

Tips for Making the Switch

If your cat is accustomed to using a certain type of litter, it’s a great idea to transition slowly from the usual litter to a new eco-friendly product. If you change the type of litter too abruptly, your kitty might not be willing to use it, and that may lead to accidents outside the box.

One method you can try involves adding some of the new litter to the one that you’ve been using. Little by little, over the course of several days, or even weeks, you can slowly transition from one type of litter to the other until all you have in the box is the new litter. Once you’ve made the switch, see how your cat reacts to the change.

Another strategy that you can consider trying is setting up another litter box near the one that your cat usually uses. That way, your kitty has the chance to decide which litter she prefers. This might also be a good tactic if you are trying out multiple types of eco-friendly litter and you want to see which one your pet likes using more.

Most of all, be patient. You might need to try different formulas, such as clumping versus non-clumping, or unscented versus scented, to figure out what your cat prefers, and what also makes it easy for you to keep your pet’s litter clean every day.

A Look at Some Eco-Friendly Cat Litters That Are Available

These days, it’s easy to find an eco-friendly cat litter that is made from materials other than clay. Once you start shopping, you’ll quickly realize that there are many brands that are producing litter made from wood, recycled paper, corn, wheat, walnuts, and grass.

From clumping and non-clumping, and scented and unscented, there are a lot of options. But, again, keep in mind that you might need to go through some trial and error to find the type of environmentally friendly litter that will work best for you and your feline companion.

To give you an idea of what’s out there, we’ve compiled a list of 10 cat litters that are considered a more eco-friendly choice. Showcased in no particular order, these are just some of the products that you can consider when you want your kitty’s litter to be better for the planet.

1. Editor's Choice: Okocat Original Premium Wood Clumping Cat Litter

Okocat Original Premium Wood Clumping Cat Litter is a plant-based option that is a blend of pine, fir, and spruce wood. It will clump solid for easy scooping. The fiber is precision-cut to be able to absorb liquid on contact, and it can prevent odor. Plus, it is designed to last longer between changes.

This lightweight litter is 99% dust free, flushable, and biodegradable. It’s also free of synthetic chemicals, GMOs, artificial fragrances, and toxic dyes. And it is made from natural reclaimed wood fiber that is sustainably sourced.

Side note: Other options from this brand include an unscented super soft clumping wood litter, unscented clumping mini pellets, and an unscented dust-free non-clumping paper pellet formula, so you can find the solution that works best for you and your pet.

2. Runner Up: World’s Best Unscented Clumping Corn Cat Litter

World’s Best Unscented Clumping Corn Cat Litter is an environmentally friendly choice because it contains materials that are completely natural, sustainably grown, and renewable. And it does not contain any unwanted ingredients like chemicals, perfumes, clays, or synthetic additives.

This litter is made from whole-kernel corn to provide effective odor control without added fragrance. It clumps quickly, it’s easy to scoop, and it’s lightweight. Plus, it is 99% dust free and low tracking as well, and you don’t have to deal with any silica dust. If you are looking for a natural litter that does not contain any harmful chemicals, and that makes it easier to keep things clean, this might be the right choice.

Also, not all litters are flushable, but this one is designed to be safe for most sewer and septic systems.

Side note: Have more than one kitty? This brand also offers a multi-cat unscented clumping formula, along with a range of other options.

3. Customer Choice: sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Wheat Cat Litter

sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Wheat Cat Litter is made from renewable wheat, and it boasts an improved formula that helps it clump faster and firmer, while also eliminating odors.

This biodegradable litter doesn’t contain any chemicals, dyes, perfumes, or sodium bentonite, and you don’t have to worry about silica dust. Plus, you might find that it lasts longer between changes because it can absorb moisture quickly and clump well.

Side note: If you don’t need a multi-cat formula, this brand also offers an unscented natural fast-clumping wheat formula, along with a premium option that’s also worth checking out.

4. Best Shell: Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Ultra Odor Control Multi-Cat Quick-Clumping Cat Litter

Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Ultra Odor Control Multi-Cat Quick-Clumping Cat Litter is another natural, clay-free option that can provide good odor control. It is made from renewable, non-food walnut shells that work on neutralizing odors better than clay, wheat, pine, and corn litters.

This is a dust-free, biodegradable, quick-clumping formula boasting long-lasting absorbency and triple-action odor defense enzymes. It is free of silica dust, toxins, and chemicals, and it does not contain any grains. Plus, because it is designed to not stick to your pet’s paws, it may also help reduce tracking.

Side note: This brand also offers a lot of other litter options, such as a clumping unscented multi-cat formula; a quick-clumping unscented formula; an unscented pellet non-clumping litter; a training litter for kittens; an herbal attraction formula; and a scented clumping litter. So many to choose from!

5. Best Budget: Feline Pine Original Unscented Non-Clumping Wood Cat Litter

Feline Pine Original Unscented Non-Clumping Wood Cat Litter is a clay-free and chemical-free product that is made from 100% pure pine. If you are looking for a non-clumping formula, and you prefer to use a natural, eco-friendly litter, this one is worth checking out.

This litter absorbs liquid and locks odors with pine fibers that are highly absorbent. It also doesn’t contain any synthetic perfumes or additives, it is dust-free, and it leaves behind a natural, fresh scent.

Side note: If you do prefer a clumping litter, this brand also offers an unscented clumping wood litter as well.

6. Nature’s Miracle Premium Scented Clumping Corn Cat Litter

If you are a fan of the brand Nature’s Miracle, it’s worth checking out their Premium Scented Clumping Corn Cat Litter. It is another eco-friendly option that contains fragrance, if that is what you prefer.

This is a litter that is made from natural corn cob, and it can absorb more liquid than clay. Plus, it can clump quickly, it is 99.9% dust free, and it features a bio-enzymatic formula that can help get rid of odors.

Side note: This brand also offers a natural, clumping pine litter.

7. Honorable Mention: Fresh News Unscented Non-Clumping Paper Cat Litter

Fresh News Unscented Non-Clumping Paper Cat Litter is made from 100% recycled paper. It provides great absorption, as it is more absorbent than clay, and it can also help control odor effectively with the help of baking soda.

This biodegradable litter comes in the form of soft pellets that retain their form, so it can help reduce tracking. It is also non-allergenic and 99% dust free, which is definitely a plus.

Side note: This brand also offers a multi-cat scented formula.

Do You Think Your Kitty Would Prefer an Eco-Friendly Litter?

We hope this list has shed some light on the many different Earth-friendly litters that are out there to keep your cat happy and to make it easy to maintain an odor-free home. Just keep in mind that every kitty is different, so even though one cat might prefer a pine litter, another might like a paper litter more, as one example. It’s all about testing different litters until you find the one that not only delivers the performance you want, but also ensures that your furry friend will be comfortable using it too. Thankfully, there are plenty of options that you can turn to when you want to use something other than clay or crystal litters.

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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