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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best biodegradable cat litter 

For eco-conscious pet parents, biodegradable cat litter can be an excellent alternative to traditional clay or silica varieties. Not only is biodegradable litter kinder to the planet, but it's also healthier for cats and their human companions. 

Many types of traditional cat litter contain a substantial amount of dust, which can eventually lead to respiratory problems in cats and their owners. Biodegradable litter is also safe for kitties who like to snack on their litter because it’s usually made of nontoxic edible materials like wheat or corn. 

Biodegradable cat litter comes in different forms, such as granules or pellets, and is made of many different materials from walnut shells to green tea to wood. While many of these products clump well and aren't easily tracked out of the litter box, performance can vary quite a bit from one type to the next. The price range is also quite wide depending on the material and the quantity.

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Biodegradable litter offers health benefits too. Clay litter can contain silica dust, a known carcinogen, which can be inhaled by you and your pet. Clay litter can also contain sodium bentonite, which expands up to 15 times its original volume when exposed to moisture. This can cause severe digestive problems for cats that snack on their litter. 

Key considerations

Types of biodegradable cat litter

This cat litter comes in so many forms that it can be tough to figure out where to start. Here is a look at the most common types.

Corn biodegradable cat litter is made of finely ground corn cobs. Corn cat litter delivers excellent clumping performance and natural odor control. It is easily renewable and also tends to be inexpensive, making it a particularly popular option for many pet parents. Most cats won't suffer any ill effects from nibbling on corn cat litter.

Wheat is another grain-based biodegradable litter worth considering for cats that don’t have a gluten allergy. Wheat cat litter generally comes in the form of a fine powder that's gentle on sensitive paws and not easily tracked out of the litter box. Wheat biodegradable litter also clumps well, making waste removal that much easier. 

Wood fiber cat litter consists of sawdust shaped into little pellets. Wood fiber pellets are highly absorbent, and those made of pine, which is naturally fragrant, can work wonders to help mask odors. However, wood fiber cat litter usually doesn't clump, and it can allow urine to seep through to the bottom of the litter box. Wood fiber pellets also tend to break down into sawdust, which can then easily be tracked out of the litter box. 

Recycled paper biodegradable cat litter is one of the least expensive options available, making it a popular choice for budget-minded pet parents. Like wood fiber litter, recycled paper cat litter also comes in pellet form, and typically has a soft texture that's gentle on paws. However, despite it being highly absorbent, recycled paper litter doesn't clump. 

Grass cat litter is a low-dust option that's suitable for cats and pet owners with respiratory issues provided there are no allergies present. It also delivers exceptional clumping performance, making it a breeze to scoop out waste. In terms of texture, grass litter tends to be fine and easy on the paws. However, it can be prone to be tracked out of the litter box, a problem that's easily managed by placing a litter mat under the pan. 

Walnut cat litter is made of finely crushed walnut shells. While this may seem like a strange material for litter, it’s a highly absorbent substrate that clumps surprisingly well. One major drawback of walnut cat litter is that it tends to produce quite a bit of dust. Tracking can also be an issue with this litter, so you might want to place a mat under the litter box if you choose to go with this option. 

Green tea isn't just for drinking. It also happens to make an absorbent and eco-friendly cat litter option that produces very little dust and causes little to no tracking. Green tea cat litter usually comes in the form of little pellets that don't clump, so keep this in mind if clumping is a priority. 

Coconut biodegradable cat litter is made of ground coconut shells or husks. This type of litter is completely odorless and extremely lightweight. While some pet parents swear by coconut shell litter, it doesn't do the best job of masking odors, and the dark fibers can also make it difficult to spot waste in the litter box. On the upside, coconut shell cat litter produces very little dust and is often a good solution for cats with allergies, respiratory issues, or those that are simply sensitive to odors. This type of biodegradable litter is available in both clumping and non-clumping forms. 

Soya or tofu cat litter usually comes in pellet form and delivers excellent absorbency with nice, tight clumps that are easy to remove. However, not all soya and tofu cat litters are created equal, and some turn into a soft, pulpy mess when exposed to moisture. 

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Staff Tip 
Opting for a biodegradable cat litter with good clumping performance, such as corn, wheat, or tofu, can make picking up waste considerably easier while extending the life of the litter at the same time. 
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Biodegradable cat litter features

Texture

Biodegradable cat litter comes in a host of different forms, many of which have vastly different textures, which typically range from extra-fine to granular to pellets. If you're replacing your cat's regular litter with a biodegradable option, try to find something that has a similar texture to what your kitty is already used to. When it comes to choosing a biodegradable litter for a new kitten, opt for one that’s finely ground with a soft texture that's gentle on little paws. 

Packaging 

Some brands go the extra mile by using eco-friendly biodegradable packaging. And other types of packaging, such as cardboard, paper, and plastic film can be recycled if you so choose. 

Every cat owner knows how much cats adore boxes. Some biodegradable litter brands thoughtfully place their packaged litter in a box that's included simply for your cat's lounging or cardboard-shredding pleasure.

Odor control 

Litter box odors are one of cat owners’ biggest gripes, and that's precisely why many cat litter brands use different methods to help reduce odors. When it comes to biodegradable cat litter, odor control can be natural through the use of fast-clumping, odor-absorbing ingredients like corn or with the use of additives like baking soda or a mild fragrance. 

Flushability

Many brands of biodegradable cat litter are marketed as flushable. However, it can still wreak havoc on some septic systems. Flushing any type of cat litter down the toilet is usually best avoided if you'd rather not deal with the possibility of a hefty plumbing bill.  

Quantity 

Bulk packs of biodegradable cat litter can offer decent savings, but if it's your first time trying a new litter, you might want to start by getting a single package. Cats are notoriously finicky creatures, and there's no guarantee that your feline will take to a new type of litter. Finding the best option for both you and your cat can sometimes entail a bit of trial and error. To avoid ending up with a large quantity of unusable cat litter, purchase a single package to start with and see how things go from there. 

Composting used biodegradable litter is a great way to put the waste to work, but it requires caution. Only use composted litter on inedible plants like flower beds or grass. Animal waste contains pathogens that can contaminate vegetable gardens and fruit-bearing trees, making your harvest unsafe to eat. 

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Accessories

Biodegradable litter box: Kitty's Wonderbox Disposable Litter Box 

If you're making the switch to biodegradable litter, it makes sense to use a biodegradable cardboard litter box as well. Use one as a standalone litter box or an eco-friendly liner. 

Cat litter mat: iPrimo Cat Litter Mat

Placing a cat litter mat beneath the litter box can help prevent bits and pieces of litter from being tracked all over your home. 

Litter scooper: iPrimio Cat Litter Scooper

A cat litter scooper like this one from iPrimio is essential for removing waste from the box. A model with a deep shovel head allows you to pick up more waste at once without causing a mess. 

Pricing

Inexpensive: Recycled paper cat litter tends to be the least expensive, with prices averaging around $15 for a 25-pound package. 

Mid-range: Corncob, wood, wheat, walnut shell, or grass biodegradable cat litter generally costs anywhere from $10 to $18 for an 18-pound package. 

Expensive: Biodegradable litter made of green tea, tofu, or coconut tends to cost the most, with prices ranging from $17 to $25 for a 6-pound package. 

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Did You Know?
Although it’s uncommon, it’s possible to find lightly scented biodegradable cat litter. If severe odors are an issue, one of these might be worth considering. 
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Tips

  • Purchase one package to start. If your cat is already used to a particular type of litter, start by getting a single package of biodegradable cat litter. That way, if your feline flat out rejects it, you won't have wasted money on a large amount of unusable litter. 
  • Try mixing different types of cat litter. Cats can be fussy when it comes to their litter box. When introducing a biodegradable litter for the first time, try filling the litter box with half of their regular litter and half of the new litter to help make the transition easier. 
  • Look for litter with a similar consistency. Litter texture can be a major issue for some cats. Try to find something with a similar consistency and texture to your cat's regular litter to reduce the chance of rejection. 
  • Shop around. Finding the right biodegradable litter might take some looking around. If one type doesn't suit you or your cat, don't give up just yet. There are plenty of options to choose from that offer a variety of textures and clumping performance. 
     
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If you've found a biodegradable cat litter that your cat likes but is easily tracked out of the litter box, consider using a litter box mat to trap stray particles rather than changing the feline-approved litter. 

FAQ

Q. Is biodegradable cat litter flushable? 

A. Although many types of biodegradable litter are labeled as "flushable,” flushing generally isn't a good idea. Flushing cat litter can cause blockages and plumbing problems. Composting it (for use only on inedible plants like grass or hedges) and throwing it in the trash are better alternatives to flushing. If you're concerned about adding to landfill waste, don't be. Biodegradable litter is made of all-natural materials that break down relatively quickly even in landfills. 

Q. What should I do if my cat eats its biodegradable litter? 

A. One of the biggest perks for owners of cats who like to snack on their litter is that biodegradable varieties are generally nontoxic and safe when ingested. Many are made of edible materials, such as wheat and corn, so the occasional mouthful shouldn't hurt. 

Q. How often do I need to replace biodegradable litter? 

A. That depends on a number of factors, including the type of litter, its clumping performance, and the number of cats using the litter box. If you have one cat and your biodegradable litter delivers good clumping performance, a complete litter replacement every two to four weeks should suffice. However, if you own more than one cat or use a non-clumping biodegradable litter, you might need to bump up the litter replacement to once every week or two. 
 

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