The ultimate guide to different types of cat litter

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The ultimate guide to different types of cat litter

The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Cat Litter

Welcome to the wonderful world of cat litter! If you thought choosing the right litter was just about what lands under your cat or kitten's paws, think again. It's a delightful dive into a realm where the clumps matter and the odours vanish! Here in the UK, where our love for our furry friends knows no bounds, picking the purr-fect litter is more than just a choice – it's a commitment to the comfort and joy of our whiskered companions.

So, let's embark on an exciting adventure through the land of litters! From the humble traditional clays to the highly absorbent and environmentally sound recycled paper litter, we've got a galaxy of options to explore. It's not just about keeping the litter tray in check; it's about finding that blissful balance where your home stays fresh, and your feline comfortable and calm.

In this guide, we'll review the different types of cat litter, so get ready to be the best human your cat could ask for – all while giving a high-paw to our environment! 

The Importance of Choosing the Right Litter

Selecting suitable cat litter is more than just a routine decision; it's integral to the well-being of your cat and the cleanliness of your home. In the diverse landscape of Australia, where our homes range from cosy apartments in the city to sprawling properties in the Country, the type of litter you choose can significantly affect your cat's health and ease of cleaning. Some litters are better at controlling odour, while others are designed for cats with sensitive paws. Moreover, suitable litter can drastically reduce the environmental footprint of your pet care routine. With this guide, we aim to help you navigate these choices, ensuring your cat's litter box is not just a necessity but a well-considered part of your home.

Types of Cat Litter

When it comes to choosing cat litter, conscientious cat owners have a smorgasbord of options, each with unique benefits and characteristics:

  1. Clay Litter: The old, reliable clay litter is known for its high absorbency. However, it's heavy and can create dust, which might not suit all cats, especially those with respiratory issues.
  2. Corn Litter: With an eco-friendly edge this type forms easy-to-remove lumps when wet, making clean-up a breeze. It's a favourite for its convenience but can be pretty expensive if you have multi cats.
  3. Crystal Cat Litter: Made from silica gel, this type effectively absorbs moisture and controls odour. It's lightweight and produces less dust, but its higher price point might be a consideration. Crystals also have questionable environmental credentials due to the fact they are made from an inorganic material, meaning it can’t be composted or flushed so they end up in landfill. 
  4. Tofu / Soy Litter: A newer, eco-friendly option, tofu litter is biodegradable from natural materials. Tofu & Soy is also made from organic ingredients, making it a great choice for environmentally conscious households.
  5. Wood: Wood pellet cat litter is a type of cat litter made from compressed sawdust or wood shavings. These pellets are typically made from recycled wood materials, making them an environmentally friendly option.
  6. Paper: Paper is highly absorbent so excellent for natural odour control. Typically created by shredding and processing old newspapers, cardboard, or other paper products into small granules or pellets making it another great option for the benefit of the environment.

These options are just the tip of the iceberg in the diverse cat litter world. Understanding these types helps you make an informed decision for your furry friend's needs and your lifestyle.

Pros and Cons of Each Litter Type

Clumping Clay Litter


  • Cost-Effective: Generally cheaper than other types.
  • Easy to Remove: Because clumping clay litter clumps it’s easy to remove from the tray. 


  • Dust Issues: Can create dust, which is problematic for respiratory health.
  • Environmental Impact: Non-biodegradable and heavy, impacting transport emissions.
  • Heaviness: Makes cleaning and changing more laborious.

Corn Litter


  • Easy Clean-Up: Forms clumps for simple scoop-and-remove cleaning.
  • Longer Lasting: Because of clumping, the remaining litter lasts longer.


  • Dust and Tracking: Like clay, it can create dust and track around the house.
  • Not suitable for kittens: Curious by nature, kittens tend to taste their litter until they mature, which can cause gut issues.

Crystal Cat Litter


  • Low Dust: Less dusty home.
  • Superior Odour Control: Silica gel crystals absorb odours well.


  • Easily Tracked: It stays wet so can easily be tracked around the house.
  • Requires Daily Stirring: With crystals, your litter tray will require daily stirring to keep the litter fresh.
  • Non-Biodegradable: Environmental concerns due to silica gel.
  • Not suitable for kittens: crystals are often made from crystalline silica which is recommended not to be ingested. This means it’s a no go for your kitten.

Tofu & Soy Litter


  • Flushable: Made from natural, biodegradable materials so can easily be flushed!
  • Non-Toxic: It’s made from organic ingredients, meaning that this litter is also non-toxic to kittens should they happen to digest any. 
  • Clumping: Tofu & Soy litter clumps which makes it much easier to scoop out the mess and clean the tray.


  • Spoilage: Because it’s organic in nature, it’s susceptible to mould.
  • Regular Cleaning: Tofu & Soy litter also requires more regular cleaning to ensure mould does not grow in the tray.
  • Soft Clumping: Softer clumps can make it more difficult to scoop.
  • Not for multi-cats families: Because of the many large clumps removed from the tray, it may not be suitable for multi-cat families.

Each type of litter comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Understanding these will help you choose the best option for your cat's needs and environmental preferences.

Overview of Paper Litter

Paper litter is a standout choice for the environmentally conscious pet owner. Crafted from recycled paper, this litter type prides itself on absorbency and champions sustainability, aligning perfectly with the eco-friendly ethos many pet owners hold dear. It's exceptionally light, reducing the strain of handling and disposal. Furthermore, its dust-free nature makes it ideal for feline friends with respiratory sensitivities or those recovering from surgery. And because of it's absorbency, paper litter also offers exceptional odour control, keeping your home fresh. While it may not clump like clay or corn litters, its environmental benefits and gentle touch on your cat's paws make it a top contender in the litter box league.


Eco-Friendly: Made from 99% recycled paper, paper litter is a win for the environment. By choosing it, you're contributing to reduced deforestation and landfill waste, making it a top pick for eco-conscious pet owners.

Health Benefits

Dust-Free: Ideal for cats (and owners) with respiratory issues, paper litter minimises airborne dust, ensuring a cleaner, healthier air quality in your home.

Non-Toxic: Free from chemicals and artificial fragrances, it's safe if ingested, reducing your curious cat's risk of health issues.

Gentle on Paws

Soft Texture: Especially suitable for kittens, cats with sensitive paws or those recovering from surgery, paper litter offers a gentler and more comfortable experience.

Odour Control

Effective Odour Management: While not as inherently odour-controlling as some other types, many paper litters are treated with natural, non-toxic deodorisers, efficiently neutralising smells.

Easy to Handle

Lightweight: Compared to clay and silica litter, paper litter is significantly lighter, making it easier to carry, pour, and dispose of.


High Absorbency: Paper litter is highly absorbent, locking in moisture effectively and maintaining a dry surface.

Aesthetic and Practical Benefits

Low Tracking: Less likely to stick to your cat's paws or fur, which means less mess and litter scattered around your house.

Environmental Impact

Biodegradable: Once used, paper litter can be composted or disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner, unlike clay or silica litters that don't degrade. Check with your local council for composting guidelines and regulations in your area.

The Importance of Litter in Overall Cat Care

Selecting the suitable cat litter is crucial for your cat's overall well-being. The type of litter you choose can significantly impact your pet’s comfort, health, and behaviour.

Health Considerations

Respiratory Health: Dusty litters can exacerbate or cause respiratory issues in cats.

Paw Sensitivity: Some litters can be harsh on delicate paws, especially for declawed cats or those with recent surgical procedures.

Behavioural Aspects

Preference and Comfort: Cats can be picky about litter. Their acceptance often depends on the texture and smell.

Litter Box Usage: Inappropriate litter choices can lead to litter box avoidance, a common issue in feline behaviour.

Home Environment

Odour Control: A key factor for maintaining a pleasant home environment.

Cleanliness: Some litter is trackless, reducing clean-up time and tidying your home.

Sustainability: Eco-friendly litters like paper are made from sustainable materials.

The right litter choice aligns with your cat's health, lifestyle preferences, and environmental considerations, creating a harmonious living space for you and your feline companion.

Transitioning to Paper Litter: Tips and Tricks

Switching to paper litter can be a smooth process with the right approach. Here’s how to make the transition easy for your cat:

Gradual Introduction: Mix a small amount of paper litter with your cat's current litter. Gradually increase the paper litter proportion over a week or two.

Consistency Is Key: Keep the litter box in the same place and maintain regular cleaning routines during the transition.

Observe Your Cat’s Behaviour: Watch how your cat reacts to the new litter. Some cats may take time to adjust, while others will adapt quickly.

Positive Reinforcement: Encourage your cat with treats or affection when they use the paper litter.

Patience and Persistence: Some cats may initially be hesitant. Be patient and continue the gradual transition.

Following these steps will help your cat adapt to paper litter, ensuring their comfort and embracing an eco-friendly choice for your home.

Environmental Impact of Different Litters

In the broader context of environmental responsibility, the type of cat litter we choose plays a significant role. While famous for their absorbency and odour control, traditional clay-based litters come with a notable environmental cost. The mining process for clay contributes to landscape disruption and environmental degradation. Additionally, clay litters are non-biodegradable, leading to increased landfill waste.

On the other hand, biodegradable options like paper, wood, and tofu litter present a more eco-friendly choice. Recycled paper litter, particularly, stands out for its sustainable credentials. Made from recycled paper, it reduces tree felling and offers a solution to repurpose waste paper. Unlike clay litter, paper litter decomposes naturally, lessening the burden on landfills.

The shift towards sustainable cat litter is not just a matter of environmentalism; it reflects a growing consciousness among pet owners about their ecological footprint. By choosing eco-friendly litters, we contribute to a more significant movement of environmental stewardship, ensuring the well-being of our planet while caring for our feline friends.

Maintaining a Healthy and Clean Litter Box

A well-maintained litter box is crucial for the health and well-being of your cat, as well as for keeping your home clean and odour-free. Regular cleaning and maintenance of the litter box ensures a hygienic environment, reducing the risk of infections and illnesses related to waste.

Tips for Litter Box Maintenance:

  1. Daily Scooping: Remove clumps and solid waste to keep the litter box fresh.
  2. Weekly Cleaning: Fully empty the litter box with mild detergent weekly to prevent bacteria buildup.
  3. Right Amount of Litter: Too much or too little litter can discourage use. Maintain a consistent level, typically 2-3 inches.
  4. Place in a Quiet Area: Ensure the litter box is in a quiet, low-traffic area where your cat feels safe.
  5. Multiple Boxes for Multiple Cats: If you have more than one cat, provide numerous litter boxes to prevent overcrowding and stress.
  6. Regular Litter Replacement: Depending on the litter type, completely replace with fresh litter every 1-2 weeks.
  7. Monitor for Changes: Pay attention to any changes in your cat's litter box habits, which can indicate health issues.

By following these tips, you can maintain a sanitary litter box, contributing to your cat's overall health and comfort and ensuring a more pleasant home environment.

Choosing the Best Litter for Your Cat and the Environment 

And that's a wrap on our whimsical whisker-tickling tour of the cat litter universe! From the classic charm of clay to the futuristic flair of crystal and tofu litters, we've walked through a plethora of choices, with a special cheer for our planet-friendly paper litter. Picking the perfect litter is not just about delighting your purring pal’s paws; it's about paw-sitively impacting our precious planet too.

As the loving human to your fabulous feline, your choice weaves magic into their daily digs and dances gracefully with the environment. So, let's scoop up a choice that sprinkles joy in your cat’s life and plants a seed of goodness in the earth. Remember, finding that litter-ary match made in heaven isn't just about keeping the tray tidy; it’s about strengthening the purr-ecious bond in your shared abode, making every day a bit more purr-fect and a lot more fun.