Sustainable Cat Litter

Finding a good sustainable cat litter that works for your household and your cat is definitely a journey. It may require you to try several brands to see what works best. I have tried several myself, in the hopes of switching away from the traditional clay litter.

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Problems with clay litter

Clay litter a popular choice for cat litter, and is the litter type that Teddy is most used to. Despite being the litter that most cats seem to prefer, clay is the worst in terms of environmental impact and health issues. The bentonite clay that forms this type of clumping litter is obtained from strip mining, a process that destroys large amounts of soil and earth, including forests and habitats. Clay can be dusty, and this dust can cause respiratory issues. Lastly, clay is not biodegradable, meaning the clumps you throw out sit in landfills, filling up space.

Problems with silica based litter

Silica (sometimes called crystal) is also mined, and non biodegradable. Silica cat litter companies claim that you end up using less of this type of litter compared to clay, and therefore has less environmental impact. They also claim to be less dusty.

I found this website most informative in the impacts of cat litters: Pet Product News


Switching Litter

In my quest for a sustainable cat litter, I have had to switch Teddy’s litter out several times, and each times comes with a little anxiety. Teddy is on the more picky side when it comes to litter, and if he doesn’t like it, he won’t use it. Since having to take him to the vet when he held in his pee for over 24 hours, I’ve always been cautious when doing litter changes. Here are some tips for changing litter:

  • Keep two litter boxes, and always leave one with their old litter that they are used to. This way they will always have somewhere to go, if they don’t like the new one.
  • Keep the new litter in the same location as their old litter box. They might be used to the location.
  • If they won’t use the new litter, mix in 10-20% of the new litter into their current litter box. This way they’ll get used to the smell of the new litter. Then gradually add more and more.
  • Some people suggested moving some pee clumps into the new litter box so they can smell and associate the new litter as a litter box.
  • Some people suggested leaving the old litter box disgustingly dirty so they will be compelled to use the new litter.

Some natural cat litters claim to be flushable or compostable – please check with your local city bylaws on the preferred ways to handle cat waste. Some building infrastructure are not designed to deal with cat litter and you could clog the pipes. Additionally cat waste can contain a parasite called Toxoplasma Gondii which is harmful to wildlife if not treated properly.


sWheat Scoop Cat Litter

Price: $21.99 for 12lbs (Petsmart.ca)

Overall Score: 54%

  • Clumping: 4/10
  • Tracking: 5/10
  • Smell: 7/10
  • Box Cleanliness: 5/10
  • Cat’s Preferences: 6/10

SWheat Scoop is a wheat based cat litter, with a “proprietary blend of raw grains”. The company claims to be “plastic positive”, as they collaborate with Plastic Bank which helps stop ocean plastic. (More info: sWheatScoop)

This was the first litter I tried. I remember the clumps were mediocre, and would sometimes break apart on the scoop, leaving bits of used litter in the box. Online reviews say that it is dusty and smells like sawdust. It also tracked quite a bit as it is a lightweight litter. The main problem I had with this litter, is Teddy would try to bite through the bag. Something in the smell must appeal to him, and I was afraid he would try to eat it.

Okocat Wood Cat Litter

Price: 26.99 for 19.8lbs (Petsmart.ca)

Overall Score: 52%

  • Clumping: 5/10
  • Tracking: 4/10
  • Smell: 6/10
  • Box Cleanliness: 4/10
  • Cat’s Preferences: 7/10

Okocat makes several types of litter, but the one I tried was the wood clumping litter. It is made from “sustainably sourced, responsibly rescued natural wood fiber”. (More info: healthy-pet)

I also found this litter to be mediocre in terms of clumping and tracking. The clumps would fall apart fairly easily, meaning the clean parts of the litter would have some small bits of used litter, and you will have to replace the entire thing more often. Tracking was also a concern, as it is a light weight litter.

ExquisiCat Naturals Pine Cat Litter

Price: $14.99 for 40lbs (Petsmart.ca)

Overall Score: 65%

  • Clumping: N/A
  • Tracking: 7/10
  • Smell: 8/10
  • Box Cleanliness: 8/10
  • Cat’s Preferences: 3/10

ExquisiCat is a brand exclusive to Petsmart. Therefore there is not much information about this brand, except for what’s on the Petsmart website. This litter is described as a “Pellet Cat Litter that is made with 100% pine”.

Pellet type cat litters are different from clumping litters. The pellets turn into sawdust when wet, and you clean it by sifting the clean pellets out, and disposing of the remaining sawdust. This type of litter can be convenient if you have a special type of litter box which traps the sawdust at the bottom (such as this Arm and Hammer one), and you’ll only have to clean the litter box for the poops and not the pees.

I found this litter to meet all my expectations for low tracking, and odour eliminating. It has a slight pine tree smell which reminds me of the forest. Since I did not have a special litter box, the sawdust would track outside the box, but if I were to use this long term I’d invest in the sifting litter box type. The main problem with this litter was Teddy did not like it. He used it for a few weeks, and then gradually stopped using it all together.

I would highly recommend Pine Litter if its something that works for your cat. Apart from ExquisiCat, there are many other brands, such as Feline Pine, Easy Clean, and Wundercat. Some people even use equine pellets (such as Tractor Supply) to save costs.

Naturally Fresh Walnut Litter

Price: $13.99 for 14lbs (Homesalive.ca)

Overall Score: 60/100

  • Clumping: 9/10
  • Tracking: 5/10
  • Smell: 7/10
  • Box Cleanliness: 2/10
  • Cat’s Preferences: 7/10

This litter claims to be “Made from walnut shells grown in northern California”, and also uses packaging made from “recycled materials”. (More info: Naturally Fresh Litter)

I found this litter to do quite well in terms of clumping, and odour elimination. It does track, but not much than the average sustainable litter, which are all fairly light weight. Where this litter fell short, is the dark colour. The dark colour stained the white litter box and surrounding walls and floors, which was just not acceptable to me. Additionally, the dark litter would cover the pee and poop colours, which would prevent the owners from spotting health issues in the cat.

Sustainably Yours

Price: $21.24 for 13 lbs (Homesalive.ca)

Overall Score: 78%

  • Clumping: 10/10
  • Tracking: 3/10
  • Smell: 9/10
  • Box Cleanliness: 8/10
  • Cat’s Preferences: 9/10

This litter has a confusing name, but is made from “corn and cassava, two crops that are completely natural, renewable and biodegradable”. (More information: Sustainably Yours Litter) They also claim to be “whiter than other plant-based brands”, “instantly neutralizes offensive smells”, and “formulated for minimal tracking”.

I found this litter to excel at forming clumps, with average / acceptable odour elimination. I also like the white colour, which not only looks cleaner, but allows me to monitor changes in the waste. However, this litter definitely is not minimal tracking. It tracked worse out of all the other litters. I would find litter on my floors of another room, the table, and even the bed. The small sand like grains get picked up by the cat’s paws easily and get transferred around the house. If tracking is a deal breaker for you, then this is not the right litter for you. Part of why Teddy likes this litter is the small fine sand like texture. This is one of the more expensive options.

DofuCat Tofu Litter

Price: $15.99 for 2.5kg / 5.5 lbs (Dofucat)

Overall Score: 68%

  • Clumping: 7/10
  • Tracking: 6/10
  • Smell: 6/10
  • Box Cleanliness: 8/10
  • Cat’s Preferences: 7/10

I found this litter to do do fine in odour control, but does not clump too well. The shape of the litter particles make it difficult to stick to the litter well, and sometimes falls apart on the scoop. It would also stick to the litter box which made it hard to clean up. It has a slight fragrance which lasted a few days. It has average tracking for a sustainable litter, and some did get outside the box, but the larger size of the grains made it easier to see and clean up. I think this litter would be a great option for cats who have health issues needing to use pellet type litter, but don’t like the larger pine pellets. It is also one of the more expensive options.

Dofu Cat is a locally owned brand in Vancouver, BC Canada. Other options of tofu litter includes: Pidan Composite cat litter Mineral tofu type, Rufus & Coco Wee Kitty Litter, and Vivipet Tofu Cat Litter.


Other Options

Other than the six litters reviewed above, there are some other options which I have not tried (possibly will in the future), but I would encourage you to try if these options did not work for you.


2 thoughts on “Sustainable Cat Litter

  1. This was a very informative read! I haven’t tried any of these brands except ökocat pellets, which I liked, but we are finally set on the SmartCat grass litter. I’ve been thinking of rotating litters, so I will definitely reference this list in the future!

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  2. I find Okocat clumps so well that even after I put it in the toilet bowl I have to chop it into smaller chunks just to flush it , even after sitting for over an hour. It is definitely a strong clumping product. Haven’t noticed any odour but it does track.

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