Best Cat Litter for Odor Control in 2021
Let’s face the facts: sometimes our cats leave a foul smell around the home. For that reason, it’s often a good idea to focus on the odor controlling properties of your cat’s litter box contents. Of course, there are many claims out there, and a lot of hype around the best cat litters for odor control.
Let’s cut right to the heart of the matter, and we’ll show you how to make sure that your cat does their business stink-free.
|Best Overall||ARM & HAMMER Clump & Seal Platinum Cat Litter||4.9|
|Runner Up||World's Best Cat Litter||4.7|
|Best for Self Cleaning Litter Boxes||PetSafe ScoopFree Premium Crystal Non-Clumping Cat Litter||4.6|
|Budget Pick||Fresh Step Odor Shield Scented Litter||4.4|
Our Top Pick
Arm & Hammer makes some of the best odor control products on the market, and their cat litter is no exception. If you’re looking to find a traditional litter with some serious odor control, then look no further. It’s also surprisingly cost-effective.
Table of Contents
Top Odor Eliminating Cat Litters
ARM & HAMMER Clump & Seal Platinum Cat Litter
When it comes to odor control, we found that the Platinum variant of Arm & Hammer’s clumping litter is the most effective option around. It seals in litter box smells, and most cats will find it similar enough to the usual stuff that it shouldn’t be a problem to switch them over.
It’s powered by baking soda, which is remarkably simple but quite effective in the end. It forms an odor-sealing layer around urine and feces, eliminating the odor rather than covering it up as you’ll find with some brands.
According to the manufacturer, it contains 10% more odor-controlling additives than their regular litter. We can’t verify that, but we do know that it seems to control things more effectively than most other litters on the market, and it was hard to find anyone saying anything bad about it.
We really couldn’t find anything wrong with it for the most part. It’s not the cheapest odor-controlling litter on the market, and it has a sandier consistency than most, but otherwise, it’s pretty much perfect. The packaging is somewhat subpar as well.
World’s Best Cat Litter
We’re not sure it’s the World’s Best, but this is a great option if you don’t think that Arm & Hammer Platinum is what you’re looking for. It’s a great, clumping cat litter that readily handles smells despite not being as well-engineered as some of them.
Surprisingly this is a relatively all-natural formula as well. It’s made of whole-kernel corn, which is allergen-free and safe for almost every cat. The low dust formula is nice as well, and even the small amount produced isn’t as noxious as the silica dust, which is in some cat litters.
There’s another big bonus: this is a flushable litter. It’s safe for septic tanks and plumbing and can save you a trip to the trash can once you’re done sifting the clumping waste out. It also needs to be changed more frequently than many litters as the corn decaying produces an odd smell.
Is it perfect? No. It’s a bit expensive for the amount of odor control it produces, in our opinion, and the consistency turns some cats off.
Best for Self Cleaning Litter Boxes
PetSafe ScoopFree Premium Crystal Non-Clumping Cat Litter
Self-cleaning litter boxes are great, but they come with some stipulations about the kind of litter which can be used in them. Non-clumping litters are recommended in the vast majority, and PetSafe produces the best there is.
Keep in mind this is a terrible option if you’re using a standard cat box. Not so much because it won’t control odor but because it will make the box much harder to clean when the time comes.
This litter is comprised of small crystals that some cats hate, but it’s the best option for self-cleaning boxes and makes cleanup a snap when used properly.
It also lasts for a long time when compared to standard options. While it’s expensive upfront, it will also outlast much larger amounts of standard litter for the same amount of time and waste.
Fresh Step Odor Shield Scented Litter
For those who are on a shoestring budget, it can be hard to find something which works well. Our pick? Fresh Step Odor Shield. It’s got a few minor quibbles, but overall it’s one of the best ways we found to control the odor of feline waste.
This one is powered by the same stuff as Febreze and has a light scent that most people can stand. It does some odor elimination, but we have a feeling that the scent itself is partly there to mask the odor, and it’s definitely the strongest smelling of our picks.
That said, it’s cheap and effective, which earned it a place as our budget pick. If you opt to pick it up in bulk, you’ll also find that the packaging is much better than our favorite, which is a bit cheap and unwieldy when it comes to moving the box around.
Is it the most effective on the market? No. But it doesn’t track litter around, it’s low-dust, and it controls the usual odors. It’s just not the best option for a super smelly cat.
Odor Eliminating Cat Box Additives
Best Cat Litter Additive
NonScents Cat Litter Deodorizer
Of the various additives that we tried out, NonScents seems to have created the best additive. It’s marketed as a way to extend litter life, but we found that it makes short work of even the smelliest cat box.
Many of the additives that we tried out were scented, which we feel is a bit of a cheat when we’re talking odor-elimination. Covering up a smell often just seems to make it worse, after all, as the combination of the scent and the cover combine to form a newer, nastier smell than the original problem.
It’s easy to use: sprinkle some in your cat box, and it helps eliminate odors. That’s really all there is to it.
It’s a bit expensive compared to some of the other options on the market, unfortunately, but that seems to be the only real drawback.
Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats Odor Destroyer
While NonScents takes the cake for the best, this is a great runner up from our selection process. It’s also an all-natural option for those who are concerned about finding a green cat box additive.
It has a very light scent, which doesn’t seem to act as a coverup. Instead, the powder effectively eliminates smells in the box and it can extend the life of your litter substantially.,
It’s quite effective, even as a stand-alone additive to normal litters. It works extremely well for reducing the cat urine smell in your home, although it’s not quite what you want if your cat’s diet has led to particularly smelly poops.
Still, in the end, it’s what we’re looking for, and it’s not as expensive as our favorite.
Fresh Step Cat Litter Crystals
At just a couple of bucks a bottle, we figured these crystals had to be worth a shot.
If you carefully read the review of our cat step litter, then you already know what you’re in for. This is essentially the crystals from Fresh Step’s litter by themselves so that you can add them as needed to the cat box.
It’s a bit of a masking scent, and it wasn’t our favorite, but it is effective and extremely cheap. Just be aware of the strong smell before you go down this road.
When Should You Focus on Odor Controlling Cat Litter?
Not every cat needs you to go out of your way to make sure that their smell isn’t tearing up the house. Cat litter has come a long way from the clay flakes that used to make up the vast majority of the market, and sometimes you may want to focus elsewhere.
Your cat’s diet is a large factor in the smells they leave around their box, so you may want to attempt changing their diet before you permanently switch over to a new litter.
And… let’s face it, some cats get attached to their litter and might refuse new stuff. Felines are finicky animals, after all, and they get ingrained in their habits just like we do. We have a few other solutions if your cat refuses to step into the box once your litter has been changed, just check them out below the reviews of litter.
If your cat is leaving foul odors around the home, however, you’re going to have to do something, and for many people, just changing the cat’s litter is the best option.
How Did We Pick the Best Odor Controlling Cat Litters?
Most litters declare on the box that they have some degree of odor control. Most do as well, just the action of trapping urine can help to keep the ammonia smell to a minimum.
The best litters are a little bit different, however. You’ll need to be able to separate the hype from the facts before you choose to invest in a new litter, especially as some of the options out there are a little bit more expensive than what you’re used to.
The type of litter that you choose largely depends on what your cat is comfortable with.
The majority of odor control litters consist of the standard clay flakes with some kind of additive. While they may not say it directly on the box, those that just look like regular litter mostly have baking soda added to them, which helps to neutralize the smell, in the same way, that leaving an open box in the refrigerator can help keep scent down to a minimum.
There are a few options that take things further, however.
The most common ones that you’ll find have crystal inclusions. They’re comprised of various chemicals, and they’re usually some form of a proprietary mix. The end result is usually the same: they neutralize odor on contact with your feline friend’s waste.
On the other hand, if you’re willing to step out of the box entirely, there are also crystals that don’t clump and instead control the odor in different ways. For the most part, these are used in self-cleaning cat boxes rather than the usual fare since they have a different design. In our experience, they’re not quite as effective as standard litter with additives.
All-natural solutions are often highly desirable, but they’re not quite as effective in our experience. We did find one that stuck out from the rest, but it’s not really cut out for dealing with truly stinky cat waste when you compare it to those products that have a bit more chemical engineering behind them.
In the end, it will largely depend on what your cat is willing to deal with rather than what you want, so your first shot should be with something similar to what you already have.
Odor control cat litters, even the best, aren’t prohibitively expensive. They generally run less than 20% more than the regular stuff.
That said, for many people, it’s largely a function of whether or not it’s worth it to make the investment. Some “odor control” cat litters really only do what they say in their marketing claims, real-world use has proven that they’re not quite there.
We tried to ensure that all of the litters we took a gander at were actually cost-effective solutions, not just regular cat litter in a fancier box.
Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
One of the criteria we always use before we test products is online reviews from various marketplaces.
We don’t rely on them entirely, but we’ve found they’re a great place to start. In this case, we knew that any litter which didn’t work as claimed would quickly be shot down. After all, people are much more likely to complain about something which directly affects them than they are to start leaving rave reviews about whether or not they’re smelling cat waste.
They were only part of our selection process, but they’re a good place to start if you don’t think that any of the options we picked out suit you and your pets.
What About Diet?
What About Diet?
Most odor control products for cats are centered around urine. No one, even true cat lovers, likes the smell of cat pee, and most clumping litters are remarkably effective at controlling it in the end.
On the other hand, smelly poops are a whole different ball game. While you can opt for making sure that you’re using a truly exceptional litter, that’s not always the best solution to reducing the smell.
Instead, you may want to change your cat’s diet.
We know it’s a pain in the rear to slowly switch a cat over to something which they don’t usually eat. That said, it’s the best long-term solution, and it may end up saving you a small fortune in additives as well as improving your cat’s health.
High-quality foods are a good way to reduce feces odor. Another thing you may want to try is switching to foods designed for sensitive stomachs. It’ll cut down on horrific scents and improve your cat’s health food in the long term.
Cat Litter Odor Control FAQ
We hope that our information section answered the majority of your questions, but we’ve anticipated some of them for our FAQ. Remember, if you have any more questions you can always drop us a line in the comments and we’ll get back to you ASAP.
Are odor-controlling litters really better than standard cat litter?
In our experience, they’re the best way to go to eliminate smells completely. Clumping cat litters of all types are okay for controlling cat pee smells but in small spaces or with multiple cats… well, things get out of hand. You’re best off using an odor-controlling litter in those cases, you’ll definitely notice the difference.
Can I just add baking soda to cat litter for odor control?
Absolutely. It’s the cheapest way to do things overall and a great first-line defense against cat odors. That said, most litters are engineered to use it more effectively than just sprinkling it in the box.
Can I use non-clumping litter in a standard box?
The stuff from PetSafe is awesome, we know. That said, you’ll need to invest in pee pads to line the box if you’re going to use a non-clumping litter. Frankly, we don’t think the extra bit of scent control is worth all of the effort. If you want to use non-clumping litter, just get a sifting box.
What about poop smells?
The most common cause of serious fecal odors from cats is diarrhea. Change your cat’s diet for the best results, and if problems continue then, you’ll want to consult with a veterinarian. It’s vital for both your cat’s health and a clean scent environment.