Eco Friendly Cat Litter That Won't Harm Your Pet - The Eco Hub (2022)

Wondering about the best eco friendly cat litter? There is in fact such a thing — just as there are eco-friendly dog toys and eco-friendly cat toys—and as always, I’ve got you covered for everything you need to know on the topic. We’ll look into what makes for the best eco-friendly cat litter, different types of non-toxic litter, a few of the best options to reach for, and more.

What is eco friendly cat litter?

Making the transition to sustainable living means finding more eco-friendly alternatives to all sorts of things, including eco-friendly cat products. When it comes to the best sustainable cat litter, products that are made using materials that will biodegrade once discarded are best. Thankfully, there are many brands making cat litter using plant-based materials that are biodegradable and compostable.

They use materials like corn kernels, corn cobs, recycled newspapers, wood shavings, or grass seeds. If you do opt to compost your cat's waste, you cannot use that compost on plants that you plan to eat.

There are even options made from recycled rubber tires. That is unfortunately not the most eco-friendly option overall unless you find that your cat will use it over the other more eco-friendly options.

To be eco-friendly, cat litter should also be free from any harmful chemicals, synthetic fragrances, and dyes, as well as bentonite clay and silica dust. Avoiding the use of harmful chemicals and synthetic fragrances might be a no-brainer but why bentonite clay or silica dust? We’ll get into that in just a moment.

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What are the benefits of eco friendly cat litter?

Reaching for eco-friendly cat litter is beneficial for cats, humans, and the planet. The most common types of cat litter are “clumping” or “non-clumping”. The materials used for that are most often bentonite clay and silica dust.

Conventional bentonite litter is considered safe for most cats unless they start to eat it. (If your cat does start to eat the litter consult your vet. It may be a sign that your cat is anemic and in search of iron.)

However, cats with breathing problems like asthma or sensitivity to dust may experience negative side effects to bentonite litter. That’s because a lot of the conventional options also contain significant amounts of silica dust. Silica dust is linked to upper respiratory issues in both cats and humans.

The chemical fragrances commonly used in conventional cat litters have also been found to be toxic to some cats.

We also have to think about sourcing. Where materials used are not sustainably sourced, buying conventional cat litter can be a vote for environmental destruction. As is the case for bentonite-based litters which can have a hefty environmental footprint where the bentonite clay used is sourced using unsustainable mining practices.

Whatsmore, conventional litter made with a bunch of toxic and non-biodegradable materials can only go on to add to the global waste problem, winding up in a landfill.

Switching to eco-friendly cat litter that is free of toxic chemicals, fragrances, dyes, bentonite clay, and silica dust is therefore ideal on several fronts.


What are the best types of non toxic cat litter?

The best types of non-toxic cat litter are essentially plant-based litters made using materials like corn, wheat, wood, or paper. This means we have several options when it comes to the best biodegradable cat litter – making sure to steer clear of products that contain silica dust, bentonite clay, toxic chemicals, fragrances, and dyes.

1. Wheat-based Cat Litter

Wheat-based cat litter is plant-based, biodegradable, renewable, and septic and sewer safe. It is similar to clay litter in consistency, easy to clean, and makes for an easier transition from clay litter.

Made using non-food grade wheat, it will not harm pets when ingested and is safe for cats recovering from surgery, kittens, and cats prone to infection. To eliminate odors, natural wheat enzymes go to work without any help from synthetic perfumes and chemicals.

2. Walnut-based Cat Litter

Walnut-based litter is made from the byproduct of walnut production. Using the shells and fibers of the walnut, you get a biodegradable, eco-friendly option that is safe and non-toxic. It is highly absorbent, lightweight, neutralizes odor and clumps which makes cleaning easier. Walnut-based cat litter is not dust-free however, though the dust that is present isn’t the same as silica dust.

3. Wood-based Cat Litter

Wood-based cat litter comes in the form of small pellets which are non-tracking and dust-free. Made from natural or recycled materials, it is biodegradable and you can find shaved options too.

Commonly made from pine or cedarwood, wood-based cat litter does not clump like clay-based litter. Instead, wet pellets disintegrate into sawdust and settle to the bottom of the pan. Untouched pellets stay on top and unpleasant odors are trapped below the surface. As for feces, they can be scooped out and discarded.

Soiled litter can be disposed of in the trash, flushed, or composted. Wood pellet litter is also safe for cats recovering from surgery, kittens, and cats prone to infection.

There are litter boxes designed for use with wood pellet litter but you do not need a specific kind of litter box to use it.

4. Corn-based Cat Litter

Corn-based cat litter is made from corn kernels or corn cobs. It is septic and sewer safe making disposal easier. Corn-based cat litter is also 99% dust-free and safe for kittens, cats prone to infection, cats with respiratory problems, and cats recovering from surgery. Since corn is edible, the corn-based litter will not cause any harm to your cat or any other pets in the home if ingested—though it may encourage unintended eating.

Where smells are concerned, corn cat litter quickly absorbs odor without the use of perfumes or chemicals, and it is scoopable. You will also find that corn litter will not stick to the bottom of the litter box or cause any build-up in mechanical cat litter box cleaners.

Corn cat litter is biodegradable and renewable but if GMOs are a concerned look for products with the Non-GMO Project certification. An issue may arise where consistency is concerned so look for brands that strike a balance so the granules are not too big or too fine.

5. Grass Seed Cat Litter

Grass seed cat litter acts similarly to clay-based litter where it is fast clumping and easy to scoop. It is literally made of grass seeds that are renewable, biodegradable, and can be flushed or composted. You can even find Non-GMO Project Verified options. Where odors are concerned, no worries here and no need for fragrances and chemicals either.

It is also 99% dust-free and safe for kittens, cats prone to infection, cats with respiratory problems, and cats recovering from surgery; and a good fit for one cat or multiple cat homes.

6. Recycled Paper Cat Litter

Cat litter made from recycled paper comes in the form of pellets as well. Where the environment is concerned this is a wonderful option since it reuses what might have otherwise have been wasted. Recycled paper-based litter is also mostly dust-free, low-tracking, and very absorbent.

When made without harmful additives like sodium bentonite (found in some clumping paper litter), paper litter is safe for kittens, cats prone to infection, cats with respiratory problems, and cats recovering from surgery. For disposal, composting is fine but with paper-based litter, the litter box has to be cleaned a little more often than its counterparts.

In our search for the best non-toxic cat litter, where materials used are recycled or upcycled, that is even better. We also look for brands that go the extra mile, to avoid any greenwashing. Whether it be through the use of sustainable packaging and other sustainable practices, or their charitable works.

The best non-toxic option for you will depend on your cat's preferences, however, so this may require some trial and error.


Is clay litter bad for the environment?

Also known as “clumping” litter or bentonite litter, clay litter is made of granulated bentonite clay which absorbs liquids very well. It makes cleaning up easier and is one of the most readily available options when it comes to littler. However, it is considered bad for the environment because the clay that is most commonly used in these products is sourced unsustainably, using strip mining. Strip mining destroys landscapes, forests and wildlife habitats — leaving the mining site contaminated for years after the mine is shut. It also pollutes waterways, threatens groundwater, and causes dust and noise pollution.

Our top picks for the best Eco Cat Litter

Here are our top picks for the best environmentally-friendly cat litter.

1. Fresh News Cat Litter

Fresh News Cat Litters are paper-based cat litters made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper. As such, they are biodegradable and compostable. Fresh News’ cat litters are also 99% dust-free, low-tracking, non-allergenic, and 3 times more absorbent than clay according to the brand.

Fresh News also ensures that its fast-acting pellets work well to neutralize any smells with the help of baking soda. The brand sources its paper from recycling centers and has its own recycling program, where non-profit organizations (mostly churches and schools) get money in exchange for collecting paper products.

2. Yesterday’s News Cat Litter

Yesterday’s News is another paper-based option made using recycled newspaper. According to the brand, their paper litter remains tough on odors, is 99.7% dust-free, and 3 times as absorbent as clay.

Yesterday’s News Recycled Paper Litter is available in clumping and non-clumping formulations, both of which are designed to be low-tracking. No harmful chemicals or toxic fragrances are involved. Yesterday’s News also uses recyclable paper packaging making it an excellent option for some of the best sustainable cat litter.

3. SmartCat All Natural Clumping Litter

SmartCat All Natural Clumping Litter is a grass seed cat litter made from GMO-free grass seed, grown in the USA. As such, it is biodegradable and compostable and neutralizes odor without any chemicals or fragrances. Their multi-cat formula also performs well where dust is concerned, is lightweight, scoops easily, remains gentle on paws, and is safe for kittens.

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4. Ökocat Natural Wood Clumping Litter

Ökocat offers a wood-based cat litter which the brand ensures is made using sustainably sourced natural wood fiber, without any artificial fragrances, synthetic chemicals, toxic dyes, or GMOs. Their formulation is also 99% dust-free but clumps solid, making scooping easier, without any synthetic chemical binders. Since it is made of 100% natural wood fiber, it is biodegradable and definitely good for composting, although you must remember not to apply this compost to plants being grown for eating. Their Natural Wood Clumping Litter is also low-tracking and available in several varieties.

5. World’s Best Cat Litter

World’s Best Cat Litter is made from corn with no added chemicals. It is 99% dust-free–no silica dust to worry about here. Using corn, their formulation is also naturally-absorbent, quick clumping and easy to scoop. No odor to worry about here either.

Once soiled, waste can be disposed of by flushing. Their selection includes unscented options, as well as scented options made using natural oil blends. The brand also supports animal shelters, making it an even better option for natural cat litter.

6. Naturally Fresh Cat Litter

Naturally Fresh Cat Litter is another plant-based litter but it is made out of walnut shells and fibers. That is really great for the environment because it turns something that would otherwise be wasted into something useful and needed.

It is also low-tracking, biodegradable, compostable, and neutralizes odor. To package their litter, Naturally Fresh uses packaging made from recycled materials and the litter is produced in a facility that is powered entirely by solar energy. You will find a selection of several options including a perfume-free fresh scent litter, a multi-cat litter, and a calming herbs litter, to name a few.

You can also consider making your own cat litter by using or repurposing materials like sand or newspaper.

How did we choose these sustainable cat litters?

Choosing the best sustainable cat litter will ultimately come down to what your cat is comfortable using since cats can sometimes reject certain types of litter. If you are trying to switch your cat litter, the best thing to do is to start slowly — mixing the old litter with the new, and gradually shifting the ratio toward the new litter.

If your cat refuses to use the new litter, there are thankfully several other options to try, but if you end up having to go back to the old litter that is fine too. We don’t want any cats winding up at a shelter because they would not use eco friendly litter.

Remember to keep the litter box clean by removing litter during the day, every 24 hours; and making sure to clean the entire box once a week.

Final thoughtson eco friendly cat litter

Reaching for non-toxic plant-based litter turns out to be healthier for our cats, ourselves and for the planet as well. And I am so glad that there are so many brands making more eco-friendly pet products like eco-friendly cat litter.

I hope this list will be helpful for improving access to more eco-friendly cat litter but whatever you choose make sure it works best for your cat first.

When looking for more eco-friendly products always be sure to check out some zero waste online stores or alternatives to amazon. You can also check out The Hub’s brand directory for everything sustainable living.

If you found this post helpful, please help someone by sharing this article – sharing is caring 🙂!


What is the safest healthiest cat litter? ›

Pine litter is the safest option for cat litter. It does not contain chemicals, toxic additives, or synthetic perfumes like litters made from silica gel or clay. It is low-dust, so, as a cat parent, you do not have to worry about its respiratory system and the toxic chemicals found in dust clouds.

Is Okocat litter safe for cats? ›

Okocat litter is a non-toxic, natural product. However, ingesting the litter should be discouraged for a cat or kitten, no matter the age. The problem lies in the possibility of either choking or impaction. So the litter is perfectly safe to use with kittens, but if ingestion is a concern, it would ...more.

Is there an alternative to litter? ›

Wood shavings or sawdust

Wood shavings and sawdust are other popular alternatives that work really well in place of your standard store-bought cat litter. Not only are they inexpensive, but they're eco-friendly too. When it comes to absorbing urine, both wood shavings and sawdust do a stellar job.

How often should you change cat litter? ›

Twice a week is a general guideline for replacing clay litter, but depending on your circumstances, you may need to replace it every other day or only once a week. If you clean the litter box daily, you might only need to change clumping litter every two to three weeks.

What is natural cat litter? ›

Some of the more popular natural litter materials include cedar, sawdust, pine, corn, beet pulp, soybean, wheat, and recycled paper products. There are even a few natural litters that can be incinerated, composted, and/or used as mulch (so long as it's not used on food plant beds).

What cat litter should I avoid? ›

Dangerous types of cat litter on the market include some types of clumping cat litter, those containing sodium bentonite clay and those containing crystalline silica dust.

Which type of litter is best for cats? ›

The Type of Litter Most Cats Prefer

Smaller Litter Particles: Cats tend to prefer fine particle litters, as opposed to pellet and crystal-type ones.

Is crystal cat litter better? ›

Crystal litter absorbs urine and dehydrates waste, making it five times more effective at reducing odors than other litters such as clumping clay. It is also more cost-effective as cats use less crystal litter over time.

Where is ökocat from? ›

Most of the okocat litters are now produced at our facility in Jesup, GA. As we transition to domestically made litter, some of the packaging may still say "Made in Germany”.

What kind of wood is used in ökocat litter? ›

Okocat clumping products are natural products, produced from 100% renewable organic fiber - raw material without artificial and chemical additives. For the production of Okocat they only use finest organic fibers, which come from untreated softwoods (hemlock, pine, fir and spruce wood).

What are the ingredients in ökocat litter? ›

Our cat litter is made from reclaimed wood which is naturally lightweight, naturally absorbent, naturally odor-controlling, biodegradable and sustainable. Over the years, cat litter has been made from ashes, sand, newspaper and even food-grade materials.

Can I use oatmeal as cat litter? ›

Can You Use Oats as Cat Litter? Yes, you can use oatmeal as cat litter. However, you should grind it into powder first and add a layer or two of baking soda to control bad odors.

Can I use rice as cat litter? ›

Can I use rice instead of cat litter? If you have rice on hand, it's a much better idea to eat it rather than using it in your cat litter box. But, rice will absorb urine in a way that paper and wood shavings will not. It won't do anything to hide the smell of ammonia.

How do I make homemade cat litter? ›

How to Make Your Own Kitty Litter - YouTube

Can I put baking soda in cat litter? ›

Add baking soda to the litter: Surprisingly, baking soda is a great all-natural deodorizer that is both safe for cats and can help manage the litter box smell. By mixing a little bit of baking soda with the litter, you can help absorb any urine odors also.

Is it OK to scoop litter every other day? ›

Dr. Justine A. Lee, a long-time veterinarian, believes the box should be scooped daily but admits it's OK if you do it every other day. “We neurotic types clean litter boxes daily. If that's too much for you, litter boxes should be scooped out at least every other day,” she said in this post on Pet Health Network.

How often should you scoop a litter box? ›

How Often Should You Change the Cat Litter? If you use a clumping litter, it's best to scoop the box daily and change it out completely at least monthly. If you have more than one cat, it may be best to change the cat litter more often, every 2-3 weeks.

What natural litter is best? ›

The 7 Best Natural Cat Litters
  1. World's Best Multi-Cat Corn Cat Litter — Best Overall. ...
  2. Arm & Hammer Clumping Corn Cat Litter — Best Value. ...
  3. Next Gen Green Tea Clumping Litter — Premium Choice. ...
  4. Okocat Non-Clumping Cat Litter — Best for Kittens. ...
  5. Naturally Fresh Clumping Cat Litter — Best Low Dust Option.
2 Sept 2022

Is Crystal litter eco friendly? ›

Crystal litter is NOT good for the environment

This type of litter is made from quartz, which is non-renewable and needs to be mined. And on top of that, it needs more than 10 times of CO2 pressure to make compared to other litters – which is not ideal.

What is Dr Elsey's cat litter made of? ›

All clumping litters are made from sodium bentonite, a form of clay. Premium scoopables, like ours use 100% sodium bentonite to maximize clumping ability. Some clumping litters blend cheaper clays with bentonite and will break apart in the litter box.

Is corn cob litter better than clay litter? ›

Made from whole kernel corn, a renewable and biodegradable material, corn cat litter is a better choice for the environment compared to traditional clay.

Are pellets better than litter? ›

Are pine pellets better than litter? Pine pellets are better for your cat's health, better for the environment, better at neutralizing odors, and less messy than clay litter. But your cat's preference is an important and often overlooked consideration. Make sure your cat is happy with whatever litter you choose.

Should you use clay cat litter? ›

Clay is still a great absorber and cheap as dirt (well, clay), but it's more environmentally unfriendly as you have to dump out the whole litter box once it's full (in other words, once a week). Like its name suggests, clay doesn't clump, so you can't just scoop out nice, neat clumps of urine to clean the box.

Why does my cat scratch the wall after using the litter box? ›

Cats who scratch the floor or wall after using the litter box are usually making a comment about the litter box itself and or the litter that is being used. Often the cat box is too small for the cat or there isn't enough litter or there's too much litter in the cat box.

How much litter should I put in the litter box? ›

Just 2-3 inches of litter in the box is the ideal amount for you and your cat. But don't worry, your best bud will most certainly let you know if you're using too much litter. Keep an eye on your feline if you feel they're having a hard time and be sure to to talk to your vet if you have concerns.

How do I dispose of crystal cat litter? ›

Use a litter scoop to sift out urine clumps and stool and place in a small trash bag. Once all the boxes in your house are scooped, tie off the garbage bag in a knot. To prevent odor and bacterial leakage, double bag your scooped litter. Place in an outside trash can with a tight fitting lid.

Is PrettyLitter the same as crystal litter? ›

Unlike the rock-like clumping clay litter that most people use, PrettyLitter is actually a “crystal litter,” which works a bit differently. Crystal litters are made from silica gel crystals—the same material that's in those little "Do Not Eat" pouches that come in purses or coat pockets—and it's extremely absorbent.

How long does ökocat last? ›

ökocat Natural Pine Cat Litter

Made from naturally lightweight wood and plant particles, the Ökocat Natural Pine Cat Litter is not a typical watered-down version of litter. It also offers 7 days of odor control, having been tested in the labs and proven to absorb even up to 500% of its weight.

What is tofu litter? ›

Tofu cat litter is made of food-grade soy pulp that would otherwise end up in landfill. It is one of the longest lasting, easiest to clean, and odor-absorbent litters available. It's a natural option that is biodegradable and can be flushed down the toilet.

Can I use World's Best cat litter with litter robot? ›

And honestly the answer is very simple as I have now been using World's Best Cat Litter for more than 10 years. It actually works well in conjunction with my Litter Robot.

How do you scoop ökocat litter? ›

Use a large-slotted pellet scoop for ökocat litter.

It is especially helpful when the slots in the scoop are located at back, this allows the unused litter can easily fall back into the litter box.

Does ökocat have baking soda? ›

Thank you for your question. No, none of our cat litter products contain any baking soda.

Where is Oko cat litter made? ›

Made in the U.S. from sustainably sourced, responsibly rescued natural fiber without harmful chemicals, fragrance, dyes or GMOs. ökocat® is the U.S. version of the world's number one natural litter, CAT'S BEST, sold primarily in Europe.

Why would you buy non clumping cat litter? ›

Why choose non-clumping cat litter. The tradeoff for most “natural” non-clumping cat litters is that you get a better smelling litter for the environment. Non-clumping litter is also more lightweight, has less dust, and avoids tracking out of the box.

How does corn litter work? ›

Another natural cat litter option is corn litter. It may come in a scented variety but it is still a biodegradable option. It clumps and absorbs urine, is lightweight when compared to clay litter, and is composed of dried corn kernels. There are even some corn litter options that contain cat attractants.

Does clay cat litter clump? ›

Traditional clay litter must be cleaned and changed often. These litters do not form clumps that are easily removed with a scoop, so normally the entire litter box must be emptied, cleaned, and the cat litter replaced at least once a week.

Is silica litter bad for the environment? ›

I was shocked to find out how bad crystal litter (or silica gel-based litter) is for the environment! This type of litter is made from quartz, which is non-renewable and needs to be mined. And on top of that, it needs more than 10 times of CO2 pressure to make compared to other litters – which is not ideal.

How do you dispose of biodegradable cat litter? ›

If you use biodegradable cat litter, you have the option to put the used litter onto a compost bin. It's good to know clay litter does not breakdown and cannot be put onto a compost bin. Materials such as pine, paper or corn can however be composted.

Is clumping litter bad for the environment? ›

Clay cat litter is terrible for the environment. Not only is your clay cat litter going to sit in a landfill forever, but the mining process to make the clay cat litter is terrible for animals and land. Clay is not a renewable resource. Therefore, if you can, always try to purchase biodegradable cat litter.

Is silica gel bad for the environment? ›

Silica gel is a synthetic material manufactured through an intensive multi-step process that requires significant chemical, water and energy inputs, and results in high levels of pollution and waste-water*.

Is crystal cat litter better than clay? ›

Mess: Clay-based litter is messier and can get stuck on your cat's fur. If the litter box tips over, the material gets scattered around the area and dust particles are released into the air. Crystal cat litter is easy to find and clean up if it does get messed. It is also less likely to get caught on your cat's fur.

How do you dispose of silica litter? ›

The clumps of clay and silica litter can swell dramatically, causing troublesome blockages in your plumbing system. So, the best way to dispose of clay and silica litters is to bag them and throw them into the trash can. Never flush.

Is it OK to flush cat poop down the toilet? ›

Even though it may seem like a good idea, you should not be flushing your cat's litter or feces down the toilet. It can cause havoc on your plumbing, clog pipes, and damage your septic system.

Is it illegal to dump cat litter? ›

Because of the health hazards associated with cat feces, dumping soiled cat litter on public property is illegal. In most jurisdictions, it's also illegal to dump soiled cat litter on your own private property. It must be disposed of by bagging and sending to the landfill, burying, or composting.

What do you do with cat litter poop? ›

Whatever litter you use, to avoid spreading Toxoplasma and other dangerous organisms, never dump it outside. Place it in a plastic bag, tie it shut, and put it in your regular garbage. A biodegradable bag will give it a better chance to break down in the dump.

Why would you buy non clumping cat litter? ›

Why choose non-clumping cat litter. The tradeoff for most “natural” non-clumping cat litters is that you get a better smelling litter for the environment. Non-clumping litter is also more lightweight, has less dust, and avoids tracking out of the box.

Can I use sawdust instead of cat litter? ›

Frugal eco-conscious cat owners might consider making their own cat litter by repurposing everyday materials that would otherwise end up in the waste stream. Plain sawdust makes great cat litter, but doesn't control odor as well as other substrates and might be hard to find in urban areas.

Should I throw away silica gel? ›

It is often discarded with the rest of the packaging. Well, to brush up your knowledge, they are added to packaging that have to be kept moisture-free. We advise you that the next time you find a silica gel pack, do not throw it away and here we tell you why.

Is silica gel toxic to cats? ›

Is Silica Gel Toxic to Cats? Silica gel, as a chemical, is not toxic to cats when eaten. It is also safe if it gets on your cat's skin or fur. The packets say “do not eat” because they are often inside packaged with food, and they are not designed to be eaten.

Are plastic beads eco friendly? ›

For example, plastic beads are made from a non-renewable resource and may or may not be recyclable, depending on what they are made of. Even polymer clay beads are not eco-friendly, since they are made from plastic (PVC) and not natural clay.


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