Cat litter is one of the few essentials for any cat owner. And as any cat owner knows all too well, you burn through tons of it over a cat’s lifespan. Literally. A single cat will consume thousands of pounds of litter over the course of their life.
While not as expensive as their canine counterparts, cats are still costly. Depending on the health of your feline companion, its lifetime cost can run up to thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars. Is it possible, then, to properly care for a cat on a tight budget? It sure is, if you know where to find the best value for your cat’s necessities.
What is the Best Affordable Cat Litter?
For the indoor cat, there are hardly any necessities more often used than their litter. So, do you splurge or save when it comes to the stuff?
We suggest that you save your money for the important things. You know, the food, the veterinary bills, the toys, the housing—and all the goodies that your cat loves. When it comes to litter, you can afford to pinch a few pennies so you can splurge on what counts.
Now, there are loads of different cat litter varieties on the market. But not all cat litters are made equal. Let’s get to the bottom of this, and find out how to get the absolute best value out your cat litter.
Littered With Litter
In the US, cat litter is a $2 billion industry. It responsible for the consumption of 5 billion pounds of mined clay annually. This should come as no surprise. By some estimates, a single cat will burn through thousands of pounds of litter in the span of a lifetime.
Given the enormous demand that cat owners have for litter, many different litter brands and varieties have found popularity. This can be overwhelming for first-time owners, and makes it tricky for even veteran owners to find the perfect selection.
Whatever you choose—don’t just shop cheap, shop smart. When looking for value litter, it’s important to keep in mind that price is not always paramount. There are other, equally important considerations when stretching the most of your litter purchase. Let’s go through each of them to ensure you don’t mistake value for cost.
Controlling Odors on a Budget
This should be a top concern for any cat lover. Especially those living in close quarters. But when on a budget, there’s ways to work around this problem so that you don’t need to shell out for the premium zero-scent litter.
Premium odor control brands add baking soda to mask unpleasant scents. While this works fairly well, it usually comes at an inflated price point. For budget shoppers, this means you should skip on the odor control and take matters into your own hands (or, scoop) by simply adding a spoonful of your own baking soda.
It’s important to know that keeping odors in check is largely the responsible of the owner, and not the stuff you decide to fill the cat box with. This means scooping the box on a daily basis, and replacing the litter at least twice a week. The experts over at Petfinder even suggest tossing your litter box every year, as the small grooves your cat knicks into the plastic become harder to sanitize over time.
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Natural vs. Conventional Litter, What’s the Deal?
Conventional litter is clay-based and is the cheapest material. Silica is more absorbent than clay, and is the superior option for controlling odors. Lastly, plant-based litter is typically composed of recycled paper or natural pine pellets. Although eco-friendly and having a naturally refreshing scent to it, this is the most expensive option of the three.
For budget-conscious shoppers, going with clay or silica is the smarter choice. Plus, they’re a breeze to scoop and usually require less maintenance. It’s a win-win, really.
Clumping vs. Non-Clumping
This one’s not as easy as it seems. For most owners, our minds automatically gravitate toward clumping litters because they are oh-so easy to clean out. But ultimately, your choice comes down to what your little guy needs.
However, non-clumping litter is typically the cheaper of the two. It’s also true that cats of every age often end up eating some of their litter, whether intentionally or not. The best affordable cat litter, then, is likely of the non-clumping variety. Plus, you will have peace of mind if you find your cat accidentally ingests their litter.
How Cheap is Too Cheap?
The all-important question. When it comes to cleaning your cats “business”, nobody wants to make the mistake of buying a cheap-o product that sticks to the sides of the litter box. For this reason, look for a brand that’s trusted to clump properly and doesn’t leave a cloud of dust after every change.
This last point deserves repeating. Never, ever buy a cat litter brand that’s prone to kicking up dust. Not only is it a pain to deal with while hunched over your cat’s box, but it’s also potentially harmful. According to HealthGuidance, breathing in silica dust can cause inflammation of the lungs, as well as silicosis, a chronic lung disease.
This threat is doubly problematic, as both you and your cat are exposed to it. So err on the side of caution and make sure you find a product that minimizes dust and residues.
Best Affordable Cat Litter Under $1/lb.
Quick Look : Best Cheap Cat Litters in 2021
With these facts in mind, let’s dig through the top five maximum-value cat litter options. However, each option comes with its own set of drawbacks, so it’s important to take those into account before making your final choice.
Fresh News Cat Litter Check Price
While still keeping to the budget of a dollar a pound, this one comes in at the highest price point. This means that it’s not cheap, but it certainly packs a ton of value at a reasonable cost.
Made of 100% recycled newspaper, Fresh News is an excellent choice in terms of affordability, effectiveness, and environmental sustainability. Boasting a high customer satisfaction rating on Chewy.com, Fresh News is a trusted source of premium cat litter that’s friendly to not only the environment, but your wallet too.
Its super absorbent material locks in 3X the moisture of conventional litters, while remaining completely biodegradable and free of both dust and allergens. This makes Fresh News the superior choice for health and budget-conscious shoppers.
An added benefit of choosing Fresh News is the zero-tracking that comes with paper pellets. The soft pellet material is lightweight and clumpy, without sticking to neither your pets’ paws nor the sides of your cat box. This makes Fresh News the ideal choice for those who put a premium on cleanliness and ease-of-use. For all-around value, Fresh News is a can’t-lose pick.
- Added baking soda neutralizes odors quickly
- Zero litter tracking
- Completely scent-free
- No mess, easy to scoop out
- Some cats are reluctant to use the material at first
- Paper pellets may cause discomfort
Tidy Cats Scoop Instant Action Immediate Odor Control Cat Litter Check Price
Put briefly, Tidy Cats is simply low-maintenance. This means you will reap maximize value from minimum effort. Tidy Cats is a proven leader in providing high-clumping litter that makes for quick and easy clean ups. And while you’re cleaning, you don’t have to contend with nasty scents or aromas as a time-released deodorization process keeps the box smelling squeaky clean for hours.
While a clay option, Purina Tidy Cats is 99.6% dust-free, which means you can rest assured that both you and your little loved ones won’t be exposed to unwanted chemicals. On top of this, the clay sifts with ease and works wonders while requiring very little effort from the user. Plus, its bucket design makes it easy to carry around the home or the yard.
Utilizing patented TidyLock Protection technology, all unwanted scents from ammonia, urine or feces are immediately neutralized upon contact. This makes Tidy Cats friendly to both your budget and to your house guests. In sum, this product works on odors like none other while still providing easy-of-use and minimal dust or tracking.
- Patented deodorization formula keeps unwanted smells at bay
- Low tracking keeps your home clean throughout the day
- Locks in moisture quickly
- Convenient bucket form factor
- Bucket can open and spill easily
- Some cats do not respond well to the natural perfume
Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Clumping Cat Litter Check Price
Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra provides a unique solution for your litter box. Dr. Elsey’s heavy clay granules make for especially low tracking issues and extra tough absorbency. Their signature granules are built strong, meaning that they are ideal for preventing leakages and puddles at the bottom of the box.
Designed for multiple-cat families, Dr. Elsey’s Ultra provides a bed that many cats can enjoy at once without having to deal with the other’s obnoxious leftover smells. Built-in odor control checks unpleasant scents at the door, while its non-perfume, scent-free composition makes it easy on sensitive noses or allergic pet owners.
- Tough build, very absorbent clay grains
- Strong clumping, keeps box clean
- Effective odor neutralization
- Sticky material may cause limited tracking
- Heavy clumps can sink to the bottom of the box
Frisco Scented Multi-Cat Clumping Cat Litter Check Price
Frisco’s Multi-Cat is a super-value option for those who want maximum bang for their buck. Made from all natural grains, Frisco’s Multi-Cat clumps tight to ensure that no urine makes its way to the bottom of the litter box. Moisture locks in while remaining light on top of the litter bed, making the scooping process a breeze.
This product contains a proprietary odor control system that keeps unwanted smells from affecting the rest of the room. This includes ammonia odors, which are specifically targeted by Frisco’s signature technology. While being priced competitively, this option offers everything you need to get the most out of your litter box. It’s low-tracking, scent-free, lightweight, and a unique de-dedusting formula makes sure that no pesky dust gets in you or your cats’ way.
- Hypo-allergenic, no plant proteins or dyes
- Easy removal and scooping, perfect for sifting
- Tough-hold clumps, no falling apart in the box
- Fine granular texture makes cleaning a breeze
- Grains may occasionally stick to long-haired cats
- Becomes very hard when left wet for long periods of time
Tidy Cats Non-Clumping 24/7 Performance Long Lasting Odor Control Cat Litter Check Price
Purina’s Tidy Cats Non-Clumping provides a non-clumping solution that’s ideal for small cats, kittens, or those with sensitive digestive tracts. By not clumping when wet, the product ensures maximum absorbency while posing no risk to your pet if accidentally consumed. For those who feel like their cat may be at risk of injury if clumping litter is consumed, this makes for a super easy choice for those seeking peace of mind.
Where the product really shines is its easy-to-use form factor. At only 10 lbs. per bag, Purina’s Non-Clumping is easily accessible by most pet owners without having to strain your back carrying it. There’s nothing about Purina’s Non-Clumping that could possibly detract from the user experience. Extended release deodorization, dust-resistant clay, minimal tracking—what’s there not to like about this litter?
This is a value option at its finest, and makes for a superior yet affordable cat litter option when compared to competitor brands.
- Non-clumping form makes it risk-free for kittens and smaller cats
- 100% aroma-free
- Low tracking and high dust control
- Large and coarse grains may be uncomfortable to some cats
- Thick granules may become heavier than conventional clay