Is Clumping or Non Clumping Cat Litter Better?

clumping or non clumping

As a pet owner, you have to choose from many different options of cat needs and accessories, from your pet’s food to their collar, to make sure they live a healthy and happy life.

When it comes to cat litter, decision making becomes even more complicated thanks to the huge variety of options available that have small, but important, differences. One of the most important questions that cat owners have is: “Is clumping or non-clumping cat litter better?”

All litters fall into one of these two categories, so determining which type you want or need to use is a great starting point when shopping either online or in retail stores.

The Two Major Categories of Cat Litter

To answer the question of which cat litter is better, we must understand each type of cat litter. We should also look into their benefits and drawbacks so that you can decide which is better for your cat and home.

Clumping Cat Litter

Clumping cat litter is designed specifically so that pet owners can easily scoop out all waste and urine from the litter box without needing to replace all of the cat litter. The formula contains a clumping agent, often bentonite, which causes the litter to clump together when it absorbs liquids.

There are also some natural varieties made from fibers to help it clump.

The Good

The best part of using clumping litter is just how easy it is to remove all of the soiled parts of the cat litter without needing to replace the entire box. A lot of cat owners also appreciate not needing to do a complete litter box replacement every single week. Instead, they can scoop the clumps out with a slotted scoop, and all the clean litter is left behind and supplemented with fresh litter. The litter box will still need to be changed occasionally, but this will not need to be done nearly as frequently.

Another benefit of using clumping litter is that you can easily keep an eye on your cat’s health via their waste. If a cat is not defecating or urinating often enough, this will be very clear based on the state of the litter box.

The Bad

While there are many benefits to using clumping litter, it’s not the favorite of all cat owners because of some problems.

One is many find that the added cost of clumping litter is prohibitive. Others find that the litter’s weight is hard to deal with for both disposal and storage purposes.

Finally, many cats don’t like to use clumping litter once they see the clumps in it, so it can be frustrating to deal with if your cat suddenly rejects their litter box.

Non-Clumping Cat Litter

This variety of cat litter has been around for longer than clumping litter, and it remains one of the most popular types of litter. There are many reasons why this litter remains popular, but there are also some reasons why not all cat owners prefer it.

The Good

One benefit of using non-clumping litter is that it is great at trapping ammonia odors because it has a very high absorption rate for cat urine. Like all cat litters, non-clumping litters can be bought in non-scented varieties or in varieties with add-ins to adjust how they function.

Many cat owners also choose non clumping litter because it is lighter and less expensive, making it more convenient to use in many cases.

Additionally, homes that have multiple cats often do better with non-clumping litter because some cats will not want to use a litter box that has clumps in it already.

The Bad

Though non-clumping cat litter can initially absorb a lot of urine and prevent smells, urine will eventually begin to pool under the litter and cause odors to develop. When this happens, it is hard to get rid of the smell or dirty litter without getting rid of the entire box of litter.

Often, you need to replace the entire box of litter at least weekly when using non clumping litter.


The final decision of which is better between clumping and non-clumping cat litter should be based on the preferences of both you and your cats. Some cats prefer clumping litter, while others prefer non clumping. If you aren’t yet sure which your cat prefers, we recommend trying both out for a few weeks to see which seems most effective.

You must also consider how much time you can spend in cleaning the box and replacing the litter.

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