The Best Cat Litter for Odor Control – Review And Guide For 2019

It can be downright embarrassing to have someone walk into your home for the first time and ask, “Oh, do you have cats?” If this has happened to you before perhaps it’s time to consider a cat litter for odor control.

The good news is that due to technological and chemical advances, kitty litter has come a long way from the basic clay litters that just soaked up urine. Now several options can keep your house virtually odor free.

In this article, I will be reviewing cat litters that are formulated specifically for odor control. I will cover the differences between scented and unscented litter and explain the various terms like “clump & seal.”

I will also clue you in on how to pick the right litter for your needs. Finally, I will let you in on my five favorite kitty litters that eliminate that pesky odor.

My Top Picks

  1. Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra
  2. Arm & Hammer Litter Clump & Seal Multi Cat Litter
  3. Purina Tidy Cats Lightweight Tough Odor Solutions Clumping Cat Litter
  4. World’s Best Cat Litter Lavender Scented Multiple Cat Clumping Formula
  5. Ever Clean Extra Strength Cat Litter Unscented

What is odor control cat litter?

Odor control cat litter is designed to eliminate those bad smells left by kitty. Even though cats are extremely tidy creatures who bathe themselves constantly, they can’t control the odors left in their litter boxes.

There are a few different forms of odor control cat litter. Some are made to mask the smell of dirty litter, and others have chemicals that neutralize odors. There are heavily scented litters as well.

If you own multiple cats, there is litter made specifically for multi-cat households that can virtually eliminate odors from heavily used boxes.

Most people cannot immediately drop what they are doing and clean out a litter box as soon as kitty leaves. It is a great way to avoid odors, but it just isn’t practical. Odor control litters can keep the box smelling at least a little bit cleaner in between scoops.

Scented Cat Litter Vs. Unscented Cat Litter: Which is Better?

grey tabby smelling the air

“Better” can be relative, making this a tricky question. A lot of fresh scents can mask the smell of kitty litter. But cats are picky! Ultimately, your cat is the best decision maker for litter.

If kitty doesn’t like the smell, then the litter won’t get used. Scented cat litter has extras that will cover the bad odors. They use natural and artificial fragrances. Some of them contain deodorants.

Unscented cat litter is built to absorb better so odors are reduced. While no artificial scents are added, they often smell like their source materials. The litters may be made of clay or baking soda scented litter.

Litter can also be comprised of pine or other natural materials. One of these may be a good choice if you or your cat have allergies or are sensitive to heavily perfumed smells.

As to which is better, it truly becomes a matter of preference. What works for one cat may make another cat want to avoid the box entirely. In a multi-cat household, this can be challenging.

In this case, “better” means which one works best for you and your cat. If kitty likes using the box and odors are neutralized, that is winning scenario. In the end, cat preferences are as varied as their personalities.

How to pick the best odor control cat litter

The simplest answer to this is an experiment because there are a lot of options out there. Before you buy, read the ingredients list on the package. Stay away from anything that may trigger sensitivities in you or your cat.

Pay close attention to scents and anything that could irritate your cat’s skin. Reading reviews can also help you narrow down your decisions.

Don’t forget to pick a quality cat litter mat, we both know how messy cats can be.

After you have done some research, pick a couple of your top choices and buy the smallest package possible to run some tests. Set a small amount of litter in a place far away from your cat (you don’t want kitty thinking her toilet is in a new location).

Then add something with a strong, unpleasant smell, like ammonia. Let the litter do its work.

After a day or so, evaluate which litter masked the unpleasant smell most effectively. Once you have determined the litter’s effectiveness, it is time to try it out on your cat. If you both agree, then you have a great answer.

Ultimately, this is more a cat decision than a human one. If kitty doesn’t like the scent or feel of the litter, then the litter box will remain unused, and nobody wants that.

Pro Tip: Let your cat do the decision making. It’s his box!

Top Picks for Odor Control Cat Litter

Dr. Elsey’s Precious Premium Clumping Litter

This clumping litter is quite a formidable kitty litter. Dr. Elsey’s is a clump-free, unscented brand built to reduce the amount of litter your kitty paws track through the house.

It comes in single bags, so you should make sure that you have a safe place to store it. You wouldn’t want kitty to mistake the bag for his new toilet. This litter earns the 5-star rating! Me-wow, I love this odor control cat litter.

Pros:

picture of Dr Elsey's product
  • Reduces the amount of litter tracked through the house
  • Hard clumping avoids moisture build up in the litter box
  • Hypoallergenic

Cons:

  • Gets stuck to litter cleaning robots
  • Not for automatic litter boxes
  • Larger clumps mean you use more of this than other litter brands

How unfortunate: This product doesn’t play very well with others. If you’ve got an automatically cleaning litter box or a robot, then this probably isn’t the right pick for you.

Pause to Consider: This product seems to have altered its formula recently, and long-term users are noticing that it is not quite as dust free as before, although they are still satisfied overall.

Specifications: Precious Cat manufactures this product. It is a clay-based litter made for multiple cats that utilizes a clumping formula to reduce liquids and is designed for odor control. This product is unscented.

Arm & Hammer Litter Clump & Seal Multi-Cat Litter

Arm & Hammer offers another type of kitty litter. Their litter guarantees that your home will be odor free in a week. No wonder it is a top choice of cat owners.

They have developed a proprietary blend of micro-granules designed to absorb and seal in odors. Once this happens, the Arm & Hammer baking soda works to destroy them completely.

Specifications: This is a clay-based cat litter with micro-granules and Arm & Hammer baking soda. It is a clumping, anti-odor formula. This formula is scented.

Pros:

picture of clump and seal product
  • Dual action: seals and destroys odors
  • Ultra-low dust
  • Preferred brand of cats and owners

Cons:

  • The largest size is 28 lbs
  • Sticks to cat paws and gets tracked through the house
  • The scent is not much better than the original odor
  • Clumps never fully solidify

Cat Fancy? Whether you love the scent or not, cats will love that this litter is so soft. If you can handle wiping some wet clay off the floor, this is a guaranteed to tickle your cat’s fancies!

Purina Tidy Cats Lightweight Glade Tough Odor Solutions Clumping Cat Litter

This brand is the cat’s pajamas! Two of my favorite household brands have teamed up to kick out the kitty litter odor.

Purina is a trusted name in pet care products, and Glade is excellent at removing odors from bathrooms and furniture. That’s why I just had to give this cat litter a chance.

Specifications: The base of this litter is a combination of clay and natural minerals. The product features Tidy Lock with Ammonia Blocker to prevent that nasty scent from leaving the box.

It uses Glade Tough Odor Solutions I the formula with a couple of different scent options depending on your preference.

Amazing Claim: Just 17 pounds of this product goes as far as 35 pounds of similar products on the market!

Pros:

picture of tidy cats product
  • 50% lighter than the competition.
  • Safe for automatic cleaning litter boxes

Cons:

  • Not flushable
  • Lightweight means it gets tracked all over the house!

Pro Tip: If the formula is a little too lightweight for your active cats, try using the original Tidy Cat formula instead.

World’s Best Cat Litter Lavender Scented Multiple Cat Clumping Formula

World’s Best is not kitten around when it comes to scented cat litter. With all natural ingredients, this may be the most perfect cat litter I found for environmentally conscious pet parents.

Specifications: This cat litter is made from 100% whole kernel corn. It has an anti-clumping formula designed for multiple cats and uses real wood fibers and pure lavender oil to create a fresh scent that reduces odor.  

Plant-Based: Say goodbye to those smelly, fake odors! No more impossible red clay stains tracked on your white carpets! Your frisky feline friends will enjoy this all-natural formula as much as you will enjoy a clean and fresh smelling home!

Pro Tip: This formula is safe for septic tanks and sewage, so there’s no need to carry stinky scoop bags out to the trash and let them smell up your containers until trash day. Just flush it!

Problematic Scent: The biggest complaint across all reviews of this product is the scent. I agree. While I love lavender, this scent misses the mark.  

Pros:

picture of worlds best cat litter product
  • All natural plant based ingredients – even the scent!
  • Environmentally friendly flushable formula
  • Automatic litter box friendly

Cons:

  • Hard to scoop out small clumps
  • Not as budget friendly
  • Scent mixes with original odor – does not eliminate

Ever Clean Extra Strength Cat Litter Unscented

Ever Clean Extra Strength kitty litter certainly has power when it comes to eliminating odor. Such an awesome brand of kitty litter.

Specifications: Ever Clean is another clay-based cat litter. It features the same clumping and odor control features as other options, but takes it to a whole new level!

The Carbon Plus grabs and holds the odors found within your kitty’s litter. An antimicrobial agent prevents bacteria from growing and being tracked around your home. Finally, plant extracts eliminate the odors!

Pro Tip: Ever Clean invented clumping kitty litter!

Perfect Score: This kitty litter gets a stunning 5 out of 5 stars!

Alternative Options: The Ever Clean line features a wide range of great products. If you’re worried about tracking try their Activated Charcoal products. Need a boost for freshness? They offer products that are very lightly scented to avoid over stimulating sensitive pet noses.

Pros:

picture of ever clean product
  • Antimicrobial formula prevents bacterial growth
  • Advanced moisture lock for extra strong clumps
  • Odor protection without strange scents

Cons:

  • Not that dust free
  • Not litter robot friendly
  • Less effective with multiple cats

Our winner

adult cat sniffing kitten paw

I positively love the Ever Clean Extra Strength Unscented kitty litter! Trust an inventor to know the best way to get something done. The antimicrobial feature is a great addition, and I love that the formula eliminates odors without adding unwanted and unnatural scents to our home.

If you’re looking for a runner up, then I recommend the Arm & Hammer Litter Clump. I’ve trusted baking soda to reduce odors in our kitchens for years, so I am perfectly happy letting them do the same for our litter boxes.

FAQ’s

How else can I deodorize a litter box?

Regularly empty the entire litter box and sanitize it. Add baking soda to trap and eliminate odors.

Take a lesson from your cat and become obsessed with good hygiene. Scoop the litter box at least once a day and clean the extra dust and tracked little grains.

Pro Tip: Avoid using citrus scented cleansers or anything that uses ammonia. Cats do not like these scents.

What causes kitty litter odor?

The type of food your cat eats can affect the odors that emanate from the litter box. Generally speaking, cats who have a diet of primarily wet food can have more sensitive stomachs.

Also, dehydrated cats can end up produce urine that smells strongly of ammonia, because there isn’t enough water to keep the natural scent diluted. If that’s what your smelling, talk to your vet about how you can keep your cat hydrated.

Lastly, cats are animals. In the wild, animals mark their territory using the concentration of pheromones found in their urine.  Even the most adorable house kitten evolved from a large, wild cat. They are marking their territory in your house.

Does smelly litter mean my cat stinks?

Not at all! Cats are obsessive when it comes to cleanliness. Your cat has probably bathed more recently than you. Their tongues are designed to clean themselves every time they run it over their fur, and as you know, that is constant.

If a cat ever decides to use the bathroom somewhere other than the litter box, it’s probably because the box wasn’t clean enough for them. Make sure that you become as obsessive about litter as cats are about their beautiful fur coats!