How to Choose Cat Litter

A photo of a small and medium granule cat litter

Find a Litter You and Your Cat Will Love

What makes a cat litter the whole household can love? For most cats and their owners, it’s a complicated process to find a litter that meets everyone’s preference for texture, litter base, tracking, and odor control. Add concerns about value, a desire to find a renewable litter, or even the need for an attractant to keep your cat interested and finding the right cat litter may seem daunting.

We understand that cats have distinct preferences, so Mud Bay stocks a variety of litters made from renewable resources such as grass, wood, wheat, corn, walnut husk and paper. We also have clay litters for cats and households that prefer it. If you want to see how different litters work—or how different litters smell—you can test litters for yourself using our in-store litter labs.

Once you bring the litter home, your cat will put it to the real test. A few cats may refuse to change their litter preference at all, but many cats will try different types of litters with a little bit of inducement. Planning for a slow transition will help increase the likelihood of acceptance, but not all transitions work. Just like food preferences, some kittens develop a preference for a particular type of litter that’s maintained for their entire lives. Other cats refuse certain litter textures, litter bases or scents. And we’ve found that while many people like scented litter, many cats do not.

Choosing a Litter Box Your Cat Will Like

The size and shape of a litter box can also affect your cat’s willingness to use a litter. Most cats will accept both open and closed boxes, but some cats have a strong preference for only one type. Bigger litter boxes are almost universally preferred and may encourage resistant cats to use the box. Keep in mind that even a single cat should have at least two litter boxes. Then, you should add a new litter box for every additional cat you adopt, so there’s always one litter box for every cat in the house, plus an extra one.

Bigger litter boxes are almost universally preferred and may encourage resistant cats to use the box.

A cat litter scoop next to a small pile of cat litter

 Types of Cat Litter and Supplies

Litter Pellets: Pellets provide a firmer footing for cats with joint pain and larger cats. This litter is often a favored choice for long-haired cats and cats who have just had surgery. It also tracks less and emits less dust.

Fine Litter Granules: Smaller particle sizes increase the clumping action of litters. This kind of litter is made from many different types of materials. Higher-than-average tracking and dust may be an issue for some litters in this category, but they also tend to scoop more easily.

Coarse Litter Granules: Larger particle sizes reduce dust and tracking, but these litters don’t clump as firmly as other litters. For cats who tolerate this texture, the largest number of material options are in this category.

Litter Boxes: High sides are great for cats who stand to pee but consider carefully before deciding between a covered or open box. While some cats will embrace both options, others will refuse to use one or the other.

Scoops and Mats: Pairing the holes in the scoop with the size of the litter can make cleaning the litter box simpler. Meanwhile, mats reduce tracking and keep the litter area tidier.

How We Choose Cat Litter

Mud Bay searches for a variety of litter solutions to meet the specific needs of every individual cat but also works for the entire household. In addition to stocking a wide range of litters with different features, we also look for innovative litters that approach common problems with new solutions. We’re also looking for litter providers with similar sets of values who are committed to providing sustainable choices to consumers.

While we encourage cat owners to consider litters made from renewable resources, Mud Bay recognizes clay litter works for some households. So, we work to find clay litters that are mined in the United States to reduce their carbon footprint and still provide value to our customers.

To keep cats healthy, we make sure if a litter has a scent, it’s from essential oils or other natural ingredients like green tea or lavender. Cats may be sensitive to essential oils, so we verify the amount in the cat litter won’t irritate them. Litters at Mud Bay use natural minerals or enzymes to provide odor control, not chemicals.

A medium-large and large granule cat litter