5 Best Odor Control Cat Litters — No More Icky Smells

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Last Updated on by Gail Ramirez

They say that new parents become desensitized to baby poo, and don’t really mind dealing with it when it comes out of their own bundle of joy. I know parents who would beg to differ.

However, I do understand where this sentiment comes from. I don’t mind cleaning up my cat’s poo, because I love her and it is just something that needs to be done. Even when it is a bit gross because she is unwell, I have no problem cleaning it up, I just want her to feel better.

However, what I can’t stand is a lingering smell of cat poo and pee in the house. Cleaning it up is one thing, but I don’t want to live with a constant odor hanging around.

The cat litter that I started with when I got my cat was really good and I didn’t really notice odor problems, but when they stopped selling it at my local supermarket I just switched to another brand thinking that it would be the same.

I was wrong. I went for more than a month with the house having this unpleasant smell before a friend suggested to me that it might be the cat litter that was the problem.

Naturally, I went into research mode and discovered that cheap cat litters will absorb liquids, but just aren’t that effective at absorbing smell, and that if I wanted my house to smell normal again, I would need odor control cat litter. I went through a few different brands before I found one that controlled the smell, was easy for me to clean up, and my cat seemed to like using.

Based on my research and experience, I’ve come up with the five best odor control cat litters currently on the market. But before sharing that, I will let you know the main things to look for in an odor control cat litter, and also share some tips about actually using the litter. It is not very effective if you don’t use it properly.

Any of the five cat litters on this list should effectively contain litter tray odors, so the challenge is finding one that your cat likes, probably through trial and error. My personal preference is the Arm and Hammer Clump and Seal Multi-Cat Cat Litter. It has a specially designed formulation that uses a special blend of moisture-activated granules to seal in the odor of multiple cats for seven days .  In addition, this litter formula includes baking soda that instantly elimates odors when your cat uses the litter box.
 

The Best Cat Litters for Odor Control Are…

Product Details    
1. Arm and Hammer Clump and Seal Multi-Cat Cat Litter

 

  • Lightly scented
  • Locks in odor with baking soda and moisture-activated micro granules
  • Low dust
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2. Fresh Step Febreze Extreme Odor Control Clumping Cat Litter

 

  • Paw-activated scent
  • Locks in scents with activated charcoal
  • Low dust
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3. Ever Clean Extra Strength Unscented Premium Clumping Clay Cat Litter

 

  • Unscented
  • Locks in scents with activated carbon and antimicrobial agents
  • Low dust
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4. Purina Tidy Cats Scoop Glade Touch Odor Solution Clumping Cat Litter

 

  • Subtle scent
  • Controls scents with TidyLock technology that neutralizes ammonia
  • Low dust
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5. Dr Elsey’s Cat Ultra Premium Cat Litter

 

  • Unscented
  • Low Dust
  • Hypo-allergenic
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Features

  • 7-Day odor free guarantee
  • Moisture activated micro-granules
  • Arm and Hammer Baking Soda
  • 100% Dust Free

Pros

  • Specially formulated litter provides 7-days odor-free guarantee
  • Plant-based particles create clumps for easy removal
  • Eliminates odors for use by multiple cats
  • Low tracking for multi cats litter boxes

Cons

  • Some people may find the smell unpleasant
  • Not safe for use by kittens

Arm and Hammer use a patented baking soda formula that eliminates odors on contact so that they never have a chance to spread and infect the home. They also use a proprietary blend of moisture-activated granules, that respond quickly and effectively to clump around urine on contact.

Arm and Hammer think that this combination will contain odors for up to seven days, so there is no need to change litter more than once a week, even with heavy use. It does come with a very light scent, which shouldn’t irritate your cat, and helps make it feel fresher for longer.

This is another ultra-low dust formula that cats won’t inhale, and also won’t irritate anyone in the house with allergies. It is also low tracking, so you are unlikely to find bits of litter, clean or otherwise, showing up around the house.

What’s more, this litter works really well if you have more than one cat.

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2. Fresh Step Febreze Extreme Odor Control Clumping Cat Litter

Features

  • 10-Day odor free guarantee
  • Ammonia Block Technology
  • ClumpLock Technology
  • 99.9% Dust Free
  • Lightly scented

Pros

  • Ammonia block technology helps to elimate odors for up to 10-days
  • Lightly scented small granules leave a fresh scent
  • Has minimal dust for a healthier environment
  • Economical to use with each pack going a long way

Cons

  • Doesn’t clump as tightly and leaves a sticky mud that tracks

Fresh Step has partnered with Febreze to make this cat litter that uses activated charcoal Ammonia Vlock Technology to effectively traps odors and leave your home smelling as it should. They have guaranteed that their litter will contain odor for up to 10 days, meaning there is no need to change it regularly, even with heavy use from multiple cats. It also uses ClumpLock technology to ensure that the clumps are firm enough for easy scooping. Actually, it clumps so darn well that this litter also made it to our top clumping cat litter roundup.

The litter has a special ‘paw-activated’ technology, which means that it is not constantly giving off a scent, but that a scent is released when the litter is rustled by the paws. The result is a pleasant smell when needed, rather than a constant, overwhelming smell.

 

The litter is also very low dust, so no felines or humans in the household should be irritated by inhaling it, and it is unlikely to hide in your cat’s hair and make its way into their digestive system. It is also low tracking, so shouldn’t stick to paws and turn up where it shouldn’t around the house.

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3. Ever Clean Extra Strength Unscented Premium Clumping Clay Cat Litter

Features

  • 14-Day odor control
  • Activated carbon technology
  • Premium blend of natural minerals and clays
  • Unscented

Pros

  • Low dust formula keeps the air healthy
  • Unscented litter that keeps the house smelling clean
  • Litter granules contain antimicrobial agents to inhibit bacterial odors
  • Strong clumping for easy cleaning

Cons

  • More pricey than other litters in the same class

Ever Clean’s Extra Strength formula is unscented, so you don’t need to worry about your cat not liking the scent but it still manages to completely contain the odors of urine and feces by using a combination of activated carbon and antimicrobial agents.

It has a very effective clumping mechanism that forms tight clumps that help contain the odor and won’t break apart when scooping, which can release odor during cleaning. In terms of cleanliness, it is also very low on dust, which means you won’t be cleaning up dust around the house, your cat won’t be inhaling it, and small particles are unlikely to make their way into her fur, and then into her stomach through cleaning.

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4. Purina Tidy Cats Scoop Glade Touch Odor Solution Clumping Cat Litter

Features

  • 10-Day Odor Control
  • TidyLock Technology
  • Moisture locking technology
  • Formulated for multiple cats

Pros

  • Moisture locking technology keeps the litter dry for regular use by multiple cats
  • Utilizes TidyLock technology to neutralize poop and urine smell
  • Forms tight clumps for easy cleanup
  • Lightly scented to keep your home ever smelling fresh

Cons

  • Scent may affect sensitive cats and pet owner with allergies

Similar to Fresh Step and Febreze, Purina has partnered with Glade to produce an industry leading odor control cat litter. Naturally, this means that the litter is scented, but the scent is subtle enough to not irritate most cats, yet strong enough to do the job.

The litter also locks in unwanted smells with unique TidyLock technology that neutralizes ammonia, urine, and fecal odors. It also has moisture locking technology that contains urine quickly, though look out for urine clumps in the under-layers of the litter when cleaning. It also forms strong, tight clumps, which aren’t quite as firm as some of the other brands on this list, but still shouldn’t break apart during scooping.

It produces almost no dust, and your cat is unlikely to track granules into other parts of the house.

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5. Dr Elsey’s Cat Ultra Premium Cat Litter

Features

  • Unscented
  • Superior Odor Control
  • Hard Clumping
  • Natural Ingredients

Pros

  • Utilizes a multi-cat formula and superior odor control to leave a fresh smell
  • Medium grain clay that is suitable for sifting and mechanical litter boxes
  • Hypo-allergenic, natural litter that leaves minimal dust
  • Forms hard clumps that are easy to clean up

Cons

  • Long term users have decried the decline in quality of this product

Dr. Elsey’s litter makes the list by managing to produce an odor control litter that is also all natural. This makes it hypo-allergenic and appropriate for the most sensitive cats and cat parents. It does not mask odors quite as well as the other litters on this list but is a viable option if you are looking for something more natural.

It combines litter granules with medium-grain clay that allows for rapid clumping, for clumps that are tight and firm. This makes it an ideal litter for sifting and mechanical litter boxes as the lumps won’t break down as part of this process. It is pretty much dust free, and you shouldn’t see any tracking with this litter.

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What Makes a Good Odor Control Cat Litter

Clumping

Odor control cat litters will usually be described as clumping, and this is how it absorbs urine and contains its smell. It is also the clumps that are removed on a regular basis, so as much as possible we want the smells contained in the clumps.

Exactly how clumping is achieved depends on the litter. Clumping clay litter is very common and the most effective. The only concern is that it can be a bit dangerous to cats if ingested. Cats don’t eat their litter, so if they are actively doing that, change your brand and see your vet. However, they can accidentally ingest small amounts when cleaning themselves.

The best way to ensure that they do not accidentally ingest their litter is to go with something dust free so that it does not have lots of small particles that can get caught in their hair. If your cat develops digestive problems, it might be worth changing their litter.

Natural clumping litter is also available and can be made from a range of different materials, such as pine, wheat, or corn. Different materials give different results, but in general, these are not as effective as clay, though corn is probably the best of them.

Crystal litters, made from silica gel, are also very good at absorbing smells, but they are not my favorite because they are made entirely from synthetic materials. This means that it isn’t environmentally friendly, and isn’t great if your cat eats it. However, we’ve recently come across Pretty Litter, which, though made with silica gel, has an interesting health detection feature added.

Also, consider the hardness of the resulting clumps. Whatever type of litter you use, you want the clumps to be hard so that they do not break apart when being removed from the tray, releasing odors into the air as part of the cleaning process.

Dust And Tracking

A good litter also won’t have much dust. If you empty a bag of litter into your cat’s tray and find yourself coughing and sputtering, you know that the litter is full of dust! This is bad for both you and your cat to inhale, which they are likely to do as they kick up dust as they cover their business. It is also dust that can make its way into your cat’s fur, and then be ingested as part of their cleaning process. If dust is a major concern for you, then you also need to check out our picks for dust-free litters.

The other thing to look out for is tracking. This is when your cat picks up pieces of litter, clean or not, on their paws and in their hair, tracking the litter to other parts of the house. You don’t really want to be finding litter granules all over the house, even if they are clean. Most good litters are now designed not to be picked up and tracked.

Deodorants And Perfume

The best odor control cat litters will have something in them that works to eliminate smells, such as activated carbon or baking soda, both of which absorb smells. Other litters contain perfumes or aromas that are designed to cover up the cat litter smell. While some cats are fine with this, other cats will find the smell overwhelming, and you may find them doing their business somewhere other than the litter box.

Using Your Cat Litter

Once you have found a litter that works for both you and your cat, you need to use it properly to make sure it does its job.

If you are worried about smell, you probably already have a closed litter tray, which also affords your cat privacy, which most cats prefer when doing their business. This should not be tucked away in a corner of your home but placed in a well-ventilated area so that the odors that are created are dispersed quickly.

You should also clean your cat’s litter tray as often as is practical, just scooping out solids and clumps. Sometimes you might only be able to do this once or twice a day, other times you might be able to do this five times a day, depending on your schedule. But if it is not sitting there, its smell is not penetrating your home.

Some people recommend changing the litter completely twice a week, though I only change mine once a week, as twice a week is just too expensive. But don’t just take out the old litter and fill it up with fresh stuff. Take the time to clean the box with soap and warm water.

If the plastic still has a lingering smell of ammonia, consider using some kind of odor removing spray. If you just leave it, you are letting the odors build up over time. Also replace your cat’s litter box regularly, maybe as often as once a year.
 

When putting litter back in the tray, make sure you use enough. Cats like to bury their business, and they need enough depth to do that. Ideally, the litter should be 2-3 inches deep, though you may need to experiment with what your cat prefers.

The Verdict

If you are looking for a cat litter that effectively masks the odors of cat urine and feces, any of these litters should do the job, but finding the one that your cat prefers is a matter of trial and error. My favorite litter is the Arm and Hammer Clump and Seal Multi-Cat Cat Litter because of its specially formulated odor protection blend of micro-granules and baking soda that seals in odors to leave your home smelling fresh everytime. 

This litter can effectively contain litter odors for multiple cats and also promises to remain effective for 7 days before you need to change it. It is also formulated into micro particles to be dust-free for easy cleaning and keeps the environment healthy for you and your feline friends.

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