Which cat litter for multiple cats is best?
When it comes to the right cat litter, especially if you have multiple cats, litter with odor control, good clumping and reduced tracking helps ensure both you and your cats can live together without mess. If you’re just looking for an all-around great multi-cat litter with superior clumping and long-term odor protection, check out Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Platinum Multi-Cat Litter.
What to know before you buy cat litter for multiple cats
Clay vs. silica gel vs. natural
Clay litter: Most litters are clay-based. Clay litters come in clumping and non-clumping options. Depending on the brand, clay litter may be low dust or dust-free. Some cat litter is made from fine particles, while others are made from larger particles. The main downside with clay litter is that it tracks easily outside the litter box. It’s also not biodegradable or environmentally friendly.
Silica gel litter: Silica gel litter is made from crystallized sodium silicate and is highly absorbent. It traps odors fairly well, so it isn’t necessary to clean it out as often. In multi-cat households, however, it may be necessary to clean the litter box regularly, just like with clay litter.
With silica gel litter, you only need to remove the solid waste, not the urine. The disadvantage with silica gel litter is that some cats may not like it since they can’t bury their waste in it. It’s also necessary to mix up the silica gel litter to prevent urine from pooling at the bottom of the box.
Natural litter: There are several different types of natural litter, including fiber, wheat, walnut shell and pine-based litters. Natural litter is environmentally friendly and biodegradable. It also has decent odor control. Some come in clumping and non-clumping varieties as well. Depending on the brand, you can dispose of the used litter in the toilet. Although natural litter may be healthier for both you and your cat, some cats may not use it for the same reason as not liking silica gel.
Clumping vs. non-clumping
Some cat litters are clumping, while others are not. Clumping litter simply means that the litter is highly absorbent and can help solidify the cat’s waste to make it easier to scoop out.
Clumping litter is beneficial in households where one or more cats struggle to cover their waste, since the particles help it form into solid pieces. Do not flush litter that clumps down the toilet since it may clog the pipes.
Non-clumping litter can soak up liquids like urine, but the individual litter particles remain separated. This makes scooping it out more difficult. That said, non-clumping litter may be less expensive than clumping litter. It may also have better or equal odor control, depending on the brand.
Both clumping and non-clumping litter still require frequent cleaning and emptying out. Some non-clumping litters come with a disposable pad that collects the urine.
When choosing a litter for multiple cats, make sure you know the best way to dispose of it. Although some litters are biodegradable, it’s not advised to simply place them outside. Additionally, biodegradable litter should not be used as garden fertilizer since cat stools may have parasites that can make their way to animals or people.
Unless the packaging says otherwise, flushing litter also is not advisable. Not only can parasites stay in the water system, but litter that’s highly absorbent can damage the plumping system. If you have biodegradable litter that only contains urine, then it may be safe to flush it.
When in doubt, put any used litter or waste in a trash bag and tie it securely to dispose of it.
What to look for in a quality cat litter for multiple cats
Scented cat litter contains certain chemicals or additives, such as artificial fragrances, that help mitigate or cover up litter-box odors. Some brands of litter, including Arm & Hammer, use baking soda to help cut down on and neutralize unwanted odors. Other litters are infused with Febreze or similar fragrances to cover smells, but they may not neutralize odors. Baking soda is one of the best options for multi-cat households since it absorbs odors on contact and is usually long-lasting.
If the cat litter already has baking soda in the formula, then you don’t need to add it yourself. Otherwise, sprinkle some baking soda into the litter when cleaning out the box to help with odor control.
Unscented cat litter does not have these additives or scent agents. However, different litters, such as clay litter, have their own natural scent even without added chemicals. Since cats have highly sensitive noses, some may prefer unscented litter.
Some cat litter is made from other odor-reducing materials, such as activated charcoal. Activated charcoal traps odors well, but some cats may not like it. An alternative is to get a litter box with a slot for a charcoal filter.
When cats use the litter box, some of the litter gets stuck in their paws. Some pieces of litter may fall from their paws as they walk through your home.
Many litter brands claim to be either low-tracking and non-tracking. However, in multi-cat households, it’s virtually impossible to find a non-tracking litter. Of all the litter types, clay litter and silica gel are the most likely to track. Some litter consists of larger pellets or pieces that don’t track as much due to their size and shape.
Dust can be a problem for many people and cats, especially those who are more sensitive to the quality of the air. Some litters have low dust while some claim to be 99% dust-free.
Natural litters such as pine litter may be dust-free, so if dust is a concern for you, choose one of these options. Otherwise, choose a low-dust clay or silica gel litter.
More cats mean more frequent use of the litter box, which means more dust in the air. Keep the dust down by regularly cleaning the room or rooms with the litter boxes. Also, keep the windows open if possible to help air out the space.
How much you can expect to spend on cat litter for multiple cats
The cost of cat litter for multiple cats varies based on the brand, type of litter and size of the box. Clay and some silica gel cat litters cost $10-$20 for a 10- to 20-pound box, on average. High-end, biodegradable or silica gel litters may cost more than that.
Cat litter for multiple cats FAQ
How can you cut down on cat odor in the litter box?
A. If you have multiple cats, even an odor-control litter may not fully get rid of undesirable smells. Empty out the litter box once every week. Clean the box with a few drops of dish soap and warm water every few weeks to thoroughly remove odors. If you’re using a plastic litter box, the material may absorb odors, so consider getting a new litter box every couple of months if odor is becoming an issue.
How many litter boxes should you have?
A. If possible, have an equal number of litter boxes to the number of cats you have plus one. Cats can be territorial, so this is a good way to prevent any issues among your feline friends. If this isn’t an option, get an extra-large litter box that comfortably fits your cat and can hold more litter.
What’s the best cat litter for multiple cats to buy?
Top cat litter for multiple cats
What you need to know: Produced by a well-recognized brand, this powerful, scent-free litter eliminates odors on contact and is nearly 100% dust-free.
What you’ll love: With baking soda built into the formula, the micro-granules of this litter form a strong seal around cat waste with ease. The highly absorbent nature of this litter makes removing waste very easy. Since it’s dust-free, it’s ideal for sensitive cats and people.
What you should consider: Noticeable tracking is an issue, although that’s the case with most non-natural litters.
Top cat litter for multiple cats for the money
What you need to know: This 14-pound box contains ClumpLock technology, making it perfect for those who need litter that locks away odors and liquids on contact.
What you’ll love: The litter itself does not stick easily to paws, which reduces the amount of tracking around the home. It has a pleasant Febreze scent, is relatively dust-free and is easy to clean up.
What you should consider: The fragrance can be rather strong, which could be an issue for sensitive cats. It may also be dusty when pouring it into the box or scooping it out.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This litter is organic, biodegradable and meant for multiple cats.
What you’ll love: With starch extracted from 100% natural, biodegradable wheat, this cat litter provides a powerful clumping solution and has a strong formula that cuts down on odors.
What you should consider: As an organic option, it may clump less than alternative types.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.