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While I had always grown up with cats, when I got my first kitten of my very own as an adult, I discovered that I had a lot to learn! I knew that kittens have special needs when it came to food, but I didn’t realize until I was adopting my new furry bundle that they also have specific needs when it comes to cat litter.
This is because kittens have a tendency to eat their litter, either unintentionally, because it gets stuck in their fur and they eat it while cleaning themselves, or intentionally, as they are just using their sense of taste to satisfy their natural curiosity.
Some elements used in cat litter can be toxic to cats when eaten. While these toxins should generally be avoided in adult cat litter, for kittens this is a much more pressing issue.
Read on to learn what elements of cat litters need to be avoided for kittens until they are at least three to four months old, and for my list of the best five cat litters you can buy for kittens.
- If You Are In A Rush…
- Cat Litter For Kittens
- 5 Best Cat Litters For Kittens
- The Verdict
If You Are In A Rush…
Unlike the other three litters on my list, my top two litters are not specifically marketed for kittens, but they still tick all the boxes where kittens are concerned. Both the World’s Best Cat Litter and Arm and Hammer Corn Litter are natural corn litters that make use of natural clumping agents and don’t contain sodium bentonite and other nasty chemicals that can cause cats and kittens problems when ingested.
The first is the more expensive of the two but stands out as it is flushable, which makes keeping the litter tray fresh quite easy. The Arm and Hammer line, however, includes a unique baking soda formula that makes it superior when it comes to dissipating odors and keeping your home smelling good.
Our Top 5 Picks:
- World’s Best Scoopable Cat Clumping Cat Litter
- Arm and Hammer Litter Naturals Clumping Cat Litter
- sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat Natural Wheat Cat Litter
- Naturally Fresh Walnut-Based Kitten Training Quick-Clumping Cat Litter
- Dr Elsey’s Precious Cat Kitten Attract Training Cat Litter
Cat Litter For Kittens
Clumping cat litter, usually made from clay, has become the most popular cat litter on the market, for good reason. The litter forms tight clumps around both solid and liquid waste on contact. These lumps contain the smell and can easily be scooped up and disposed of, allowing you to freshen up the litter on a regular basis. This means less work, less lingering smells, and less wasted litter.
Unfortunately, this is the type of cat litter that is problematic for kittens, as it contains sodium bentonite to enable the clumping action. This clay can expand 15 to 18 times its original size when it gets wet. This is great when it is soaking up urine, but not so great when it does this inside of your kitten’s digestive system. At best this will cause them serious discomfort, at worst they can develop a cement-like blockage with catastrophic health implications.
There are a number of alternative options to the popular clumping clay litter.
Non-Clumping Clay Litter
This litter is made from much the same material as clumping clay litter but without the dangerous sodium bentonite. It is much safer, but it does not trap odors as well as the clumping variety and is not as easy to scoop, which means you need to change the whole litter regularly. However, this is an expense and inconvenience that many cat parents are willing to live with for a few months.
A good reason to choose a non-clumping clay litter is if there is a litter in the same brand as a clumping clay litter that you prefer for older cats. Cats can get stuck in their ways very quickly, and just as they don’t like their food being changed, they do not like their litter to be changed. They often protest by doing their business elsewhere. It is much easier to switch from a non-clumping clay cat litter to a clumping clay cat litter of the same brand when your kitten is ready.
When choosing a clay cat litter, whether clumping or non-clumping, one thing to always look out for is clay dust. You need to choose a litter with minimal dust, as this is what is most likely to get caught in your cat’s fur and paws. Once there, your cats will track it around the house and also eat it while cleaning themselves. While the non-clumping dust might not have anything dangerous in there, it is still not ideal for kittens to be eating it.
Natural Non-Clumping Cat Litter
If clumping is important to you in terms of keeping your home smelling fresh and the ease of cleanup, it is possible to get clumping cat litters in a number of natural, biodegradable materials including corn, paper, grass, and walnut shells.
Most natural cat litters come in the form of relatively large pellets, which means that they are less likely to get caught in your cat’s fur, and natural cat litters also aren’t nearly as dangerous as clay litter when it comes to ingestion.
On the downside, natural cat litters are more expensive, and if your cat becomes accustomed to a certain natural cat litter, you may find that they protest when you try and change to a different (presumably cheaper) litter as they get older.
Clumping Corn Cat Litter
By far the best natural cat litters are made from corn, and pretty much the only clumping natural cat litters are made from corn. However, be aware that corn allergies are relatively common among cats, and if your cat has an allergy, obviously, they will not be able to use this litter.
Besides not containing sodium bentonite, the real benefit with corn cat litter is that many brands are flushable (no, the vast majority of cat litters are not flushable). This makes cleaning up much easier as you can just flush waste away, rather than filling endless disposable bags with used litter.
The downside with clumping corn cat litter is again that it is expensive, and once your kitten gets used to it, you might find yourself investing in this cat litter for the long run.
When choosing a good cat litter for kittens, there are a few other things to consider.
While larger grain cat litters are less likely to stick in your kitten’s paws, kittens naturally prefer to do their business in a fine-grained litter that resembles sand or soil, which, unfortunately, is usually terrible for tracking. Investing in a fine-grained cat litter for kittens is an especially good idea if you are hoping that they will move to do their business outside, as it will more closely resemble nature’s cat litter.
Some larger grain cat litters are designed to be gentle on cat paws so that cats like using it and you have the benefit of minimal tracking. Finding one that your kitten likes can be a matter of trial and error, but definitely avoid silica crystal litter. This type of litter is known to be harsh on the paws and considering it is entirely synthetic, it is not the type of thing that you want them ingesting, accidentally or otherwise.
Remember too that your litter box shouldn’t be too tall either, so these little kitties won’t have trouble getting in and out. Click here to learn more about picking the right litter box.
While cat litters are often scented, a feature designed to help mask the natural smell of your cat’s business, most cats don’t like perfume and prefer to use unscented litter. If you do want a litter with a scent, it is important to go for something subtle that will not overwhelm your cat while they are doing their business but is still strong enough to mask smells for you (otherwise, what’s the point of the scent?).
5 Best Cat Litters For Kittens
With all these considerations, here are my top five cat litters for kittens four months and under.
While this litter is not marketed specifically for kittens, it ticks all the boxes for a kitten litter while clumping.
- All natural
- May be difficult to move to another cat litter
Made from wheat, it naturally forms clumps around solid and liquid waste. These clumps aren’t as solid as the clumps made by clay, but they are good enough to contain odors and allow for regular scooping to keep the tray fresh. Even better, this litter is septic tank and sewer-friendly, so you can scoop litter straight into the toilet for fuss-free cleanup.
The litter is pretty much dust-free, so there isn’t much to get caught in a kitten’s fur and paws, though if they do accidentally eat some, there is nothing nasty inside to cause them problems.
When you buy this litter you can feel good that you are doing the best thing for your cat and for the environment. However, this litter is expensive, costing more than twice as much as the other litters. In theory, there is no reason to change as this is a litter that is suitable for both cats and kittens, but it is an expensive commitment.
Overall: Good for Your Cat and the Planet
Arm and Hammer are one of the most trusted cat litter brands and this natural corn formula is as good as their more popular clay formulas.
- Made from corn
- Eliminates odors
- May be difficult to switch to a different litter
It uses a natural plant-based clumping agent so that there are no risks from sodium bentonite for your kitten. It also works harder than most natural cat litters to eliminate odors with a baking soda agent to neutralize smells.
This formula is virtually dust-free, and also very lightweight, weighing almost half as much as their clay litter. This is something that cats will either like or loathe, and if they get used to this, and the corn smell, it may be hard to get them started on a new litter in the future if you wish to.
This litter is ideal for both kittens and cats, so it is something that they can use for life. But while it is not as expensive as the first cat litter on this list, it is still more expensive than the standard cat litters.
Overall: Powerful Odor Control Naturally
This wheat cat litter manages to provide clumping action without containing any silica dust, sodium bentonite, or chemicals of any kind, just natural clumping action.
- All natural
- Ideal for multiple cats
- Clumps not as tight as clay
- May be difficult to change to a new litter
This litter’s natural clumping formula produces clumps that are relatively easy to identify and scoop, meaning that you can freshen up the litter box without having to change the whole litter.
But the clumps that form are not as tight and strong as clay clumps so they do not contain odors as well and may break up during cleaning. This is a slight irritant, but worth it for such a safe litter.
You can use this litter if you have multiple cats in the house, as it is designed to stay fresh even when it is used a lot. There is no reason why fully grown cats can’t use kitten litter.
The big problem with this litter is that it is so good, which also makes it expensive. Also, since it is made from wheat, your cat will likely become accustomed to the texture and smell of wheat litter and you may struggle to move them over to a more affordable clay litter as they get older.
Overall: All Natural Clumping
This natural cat litter is made from a mix of the fibrous materials found in walnut shells, which have natural odor-absorbing properties to diminish smells.
- Absorbs odors
- Naturally clumping
- Supports litter training
- Clumps are not as tight as with clay
- May be difficult to change litters
It is also naturally clumping to make the mess scoopable, but the clumps formed are not as tight as with clay litter. This means that they do not do as good a job holding in smell and are more prone to breaking apart during clean up. However, this seems a small price to pay for the peace of mind when it comes to your cat’s health.
This litter also uses a mix of herbal attractants designed to encourage your cat to do their business in the tray, helping with litter training. This makes this litter a good option for kitten parents who are struggling to litter train their kittens.
This attracting scent, combined with the relatively unusual material, does mean that it might be challenging to switch your cat’s litter as they get older. They may protest to being asked to use a different litter, especially if it is not accompanied by the same attracting smells. Fortunately, this is a reasonably priced litter for a natural brand, so you can afford to keep using it for a while.
Overall: Natural Safe Clumping
This cat litter from Dr. Elsey is a clay cat litter but specially formulated to be safe for kittens.
- Soft on paws
- Helps train kittens to use litter
- Made from clay
- May find it difficult to switch litters
This is achieved by making the litter virtually dust-free, which means that there is nothing to stick in your cat’s fur and paws for ingestion later when cleaning themselves. However, it is still dangerous if your cat actively eats their litter as part of their natural curiosity.
Another feature of this litter is that the relatively large granules have been designed to still be soft on paws and most kitten owners have reported that their kittens use the litter well.
With its clumping power, this litter contains odors better than most kitten litters on the market, and it is also easy to scoop and freshen the litter without the need to replace everything.
This litter also contains natural herbal attractants designed to encourage kittens to do their business in the litter box. This makes it a good choice for cat parents that are struggling to get their kittens accustomed to using the litter. The only danger is that they become reliant on these scents to use litter, and you would need to continue using this brand, or its adult equivalent, to maintain consistent bathroom habits.
Overall: Kitten Training Clay
If you are looking for a good cat litter for kittens, you can’t really go past the World’s Best Cat Litter, which is a natural corn cat litter that does not contain any nasty elements that can cause your kitten stomachaches if they eat some of the litter. But the litter still clumps pretty well to contain smells and make for easy scooping.
I love this litter because it is biodegradable and flushable, so I can just scoop the used litter and flush it away without having to worry about bagging it up in plastic. However, this litter comes with a hefty price tag.
A more affordable alternative is the Arm and Hammer Corn Litter, which is another all-natural litter that clumps naturally but unfortunately, is not flushable. However, this litter is actually a little better at containing smells as it uses a special baking soda formula to neutralize smells.
Unlike the other three very good cat litters on this list, these two litters aren’t marketed specifically for kittens, but they certainly tick all the boxes as far as cat litter for kittens is concerned.