The Cat Owner's Guide to Kitty Litter Options


Litter made from post-consumer recycled paper converted into pellets or granules has been on the market for a while. Practically dust-free and highly absorbent, many cat owners like that it’s also biodegradable. The pellet form, like non-clumping clay litter, prohibits scooping out urine clumps, so regular litter replacement is key. The granule type forms clumps, however, so you can scoop liquid and solid waste.

Available in scented or unscented, newspaper litters include Yesterday’s News and Cat’s Pride’s new Fresh & Light Paper Litter.


Pine litter is another recycled product, typically made from lumber scraps that are heat-treated to remove toxins, oils and potential allergens from the wood. Pine litter comes in pellets, granules or roughly crushed pine. Some cat owners like the fresh pine scent, which assists with odor control, and the absorbent wood.

More lightweight than clay, pine pellets disintegrate into a sawdust that must be regularly replaced, while the cobble and granules typically have some ability to clump so they can be scooped. Examples of pine-based litter include pioneer Feline Pine, which offers pellets and clumping granules, and newcomer Okocat, which comes in a pellet and a crushed pellet form.


Corn-based litters are the most prevalent natural option on the market. Fans of natural, biodegradable litter may gravitate toward litter made from corn, which leverages the starch and enzymes in corn for absorbency and odor control.

Brands keeping the corn trend popular include World’s Best Cat Litter, Nature’s Miracle and Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural Clumping Litter.


This natural litter is made from ground wheat and, like corn-based litter, leverages starch and enzymes for clumping and odor control. Happy wheat litter consumers love that it’s all natural, biodegradable and promises low dust and tracking.

The most well-known brand in this category is Swheat Scoop, which has a variety of formulas.

Walnut Shells

Litter made from crushed walnut shells debuted in the litter aisle several years ago and has held its own, indicating that some consumers like it. Instead of the lighter color of most cat litters, this litter is dark brown, which often surprises first-time customers. Manufacturers claim walnut shells offer great odor control and are highly absorbent. Fans say they love the clumping power and that it’s natural and biodegradable.

You are most likely to find Blue Buffalo’s Naturally Fresh formulas in your pet store.


Grass has made its way into the mainstream cat litter market just this year, so it's worth mentioning here. Smart Cat has launched a fine-grained litter made from USA-sourced grass fibers to create a biodegradable, natural litter that promises odor control and good clumping. In addition, Dr. Elsey, known for his Cat Attract litter, which uses a proprietary blend of herbs said to attract cats to the litterbox, has recently launched a formula called The Touch of Outdoors. The new litter uses USA-grown prairie grass to help outdoor cats and cats who want to go outdoors feel more at home in their indoor environments.


Join the Conversation

Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!