Best Odor Control Litters
Probably the most common performance factor that people look for when shopping for cat litters is how well it does at masking odors. While we wish there was a single example that was the “best” at odor control, it unfortunately isn’t that simple. There are many variables that are at play and in certain scenarios one litter might be quite good at absorbing odor but in a different occasion struggle.
For instance, some litters can manage a multi-cat box much better than others. Some litters can tackle large amounts of urine without issue but have a hard time with feces. Some litter might excel at its performance for the first 2 or 3 days but after that go downhill quickly. There are dozens of these scenarios we can come up with. Simply put, we are trying to emphasize that what works best for you will depend on you and your cat’s particular situation.
However, that isn’t to say that there aren’t some choices we have found that overall are considered at the top of their class. These litters should be able to handle most challenges thrown at it, with any exceptions being discussed.
To help clarify let’s consider what makes a litter “good” at odor control. Obviously stopping things from smelling is the clear goal, but what does that mean exactly? Is there a certain amount of time that it should be able to do so? What about a certain amount of cat waste before things become stinky?
To simplify, we looked for these common three ideals:
- Is able to control odor for at least a week before having to worry about smells coming out
- Can adequately handle both feces as well as urine
- Can reasonably handle fluctuations in litter box usage
Variations such as litter scent, material used, granule size, etc. were essentially ignored, so it is important to make sure that a particular litter will work for your other needs. For instance, if you need extended clumping ability then going with a conventional crystal litter might not be the best choice and if you are looking for a low-dust option then choosing a clay example might not be recommended.
We tried to look for a variety of choices, but noticed some common trends. All-natural and non-clumping clay products, for example, seemed to overall not be as good as conventional clay and the crystal litters. Many of the low-dust choices also compromised some of its scent performance as well. Finally, we saw a direct correlation between clumping ability and odor control life. This is likely due to the fact that clumps somewhat “seal” the odor in place.
Now for our choices:
Cat’s Pride Fresh & Light Ultimate Care Premium Unscented Hypoallergenic Multi-Cat
Not only is this product great at odor control, but it is also hypoallergenic and has low dust levels, meaning smell shouldn’t be a concern even for cats and owners with sensitive allergies. It is available in 12 pound jugs, is comprised of clay, and is available in the mid to premium-priced tier.
Pros: Amazing clumps, locks in odors, basically no tracking
Cons: Somewhat time-sensitive clump removal
Tidy Cats Small Spaces
We especially like this litter because it is able to excel in small apartments and houses where a bad smell could easily overwhelm things. It is available in 14 and 20 pound jugs, is comprised of clay, and is available in the budget-price area.
Pros: Good hard clumping, can handle odors for several days, great price
Cons: Moderately dusty, minor tracking
UltraPet Crystal Clear Litter Pearls
While crystal litters tend to be quite good at odor control, this is considered one of the top options, with odor control capabilities extending well beyond a week. It is available in 7 pound bags, is comprised of silica gel, and is available in the premium-price tier.
Pros: Extremely good at locking in odor smells, quite absorbent, no litter smell
Cons: Somewhat dusty, expensive
Scoop Away Multi-Cat Plus Crystals
We like the interesting approach on this product, which incorporates both crystals and clay and optimizes both to be very good at handling odor. It is available in 25 pound boxes, is comprised of clay and crystals, and is available in the budget to mid-priced categories.
Pros: Great price for a litter with crystals, great job of knocking out cat waste odors
Cons: Clumps could be harder, strong perfume scent, need to be timely in clump removal