Best Cat Litter for Allergies

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Fine particle cat litter can get into the lungs and trigger allergies.

Using an air quality monitor I tested a range of different types of cat litter.

I wanted to see what produced the most fine particle dust.

Tofu, corn, and walnut were the least dusty based on testing. Try these types of cat litter for best results.

I recommend World’s Best Cat Litter as a low dust corn litter for allergies.

How Cat Litter Causes Allergies?

Many things can cause allergies in cats.

Food, fleas, dust mites, and even cat litter.

Dust clouds from cats kicking up litter contain different sized particulate matter (PM).

PM is produced from vehicles, coal power plants and chemical reactions.

But it’s also produced from cat litter.

There’s three types of PM sizing:

  • Large PM10
  • Fine PM2.5
  • Ultrafine PM0.1 

The number refers to the size in microns (e.g. 2.5 microns). They’re tiny particles that often cause issues when absorbed into the lungs.

Exposure to it from dusty rooms or going outside in a polluted environment all increase the risk of allergies and asthma.

Putting Cat Litter to the Test: What’s Dustiest?

I put a range of cat litter to the test to find the best low-dust options.

To do this, I set up an air quality monitor that looks at PM2.5 dust.

Then, I poured in different types of cat litter at close range in front of the monitor.

To simulate a cat using the tray, a slapped the litter hard 10 times to see if that kicked up dust.

The worst offenders?

Paper, crystal and zeonite non-clumping clay litter.

Those produces large spikes in dust and aren’t great to prevent allergic reactions.

Bentonite clay, a very popular clumping clay cat litter, was relatively dust-free but spiked a little at close range.

Although it’s a cheap cat litter, it’s not the most hypoallergenic litter (better than crystal though).

Finally the best performed were walnut, tofu and corn.

None produced the typical spike in PM2.5 that occurred from the dust clouds of cat litter.

That doesn’t mean they’re completely dust free, but don’t create much fine particle dust that may increase the risk of allergies.

Does Scented Litter Cause Allergies?

I haven’t found studies on scented litter and allergies in cats.

However, I found a case study of medical assistant being sprayed with perfume and suffering anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction).

Perfumes and scents are mixtures of different plant extracts that may trigger allergic triggers.

Unscented litter is better for peace of mind.

Activated charcoal helps neutralize odor and cat litter with it helps reduce dust mite allergies.

And yes, dust mites can reside in cat litter.

Research shows cats prefer unscented litter. So it’s a win-win.

Other Considerations for Buying Cat Litter for Allergies

Texture and Size

Cats prefer small litter like clay or crystal cat litter.

However, those two are dusty.

The solution?

Try walnut or corn. Both come in small granules.


Clumping litter is usually less dusty.

Plus it’s easier to scoop. Not compulsory, but preferred.

Label Claims

There’s no laws to verify cat litter claims.

Some brands claim “99.9 percent dust-free”. There’s no way to know how they came to this number.

Whilst these cat litters are usually better, it’s not something to rely on.

Use it to get a general idea.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Benefits of Using Hypoallergenic Cat Litter?

Low dust and unscented cat litter can help stop sneezing and coughing.

Some cats are sensitive to strong scented litter and dust may trigger allergens.

What Are the Symptoms of Litter Allergies in Cats?

Symptoms include:

  • Digestive symptoms
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Weight loss
    • Poor appetite
  • Skin symptoms
    • Itchy skin
    • Excess grooming
  • Breathing symptoms
    • Shortness of breath
    • Open-mouth breathing
    • Pallor
    • Wheezing
    • Cough
    • Intolerance to play and exercise

Some of these problems aren’t due to the litter, but the litter box environment.

Unclean litter is a source of allergens from dust build-up and fleas.

Can Cat Litter Cause Skin Allergies?


Feline atopic skin syndrome (FASS) is the clinical name for allergenic skin disorders. It’s caused by environmental allergens.

Cat litter can harbor allergens such as dust and fleas if unclean.

Female cats are more likely than male cats to experience skin allergies.

Abyssian cats are also at a higher risk of this problem.

Do Indoor Cats Suffer From Allergies?


There are many possible allergens in the indoor environment. These include:

  • Dusty cat litter
  • House dust mites
  • Chemical smells
  • Perfume
  • Cigarette smoke (for indoor smoking)
  • Dietary allergens

Are Dust Mites Living in Cat Litter?


House dust mites feast on the dead skin of humans left on the ground or carpet (yuck).

Dust mites thrive in dark, warm, and humid environments with lots of carpets.

Walking makes ground dust airborne, which can go in the litter tray.

Air purifiers and HEPA filters can help lower dust by 25-50%.

Activated carbon can also help to reduce dust mites in litter.

What if My Cat Still Has Allergies After Changing Litter?

Contact your vet.

There are many causes of allergies in cats. Medical conditions can cause similar symptoms (e.g. congestive heart failure).

Vets can help rule out other causes of allergies including:

How Do I Transition My Cat to a New Litter?

Gradually add new litter to the existing litter.

Best way:

  • Add 25% new litter to old for 2 days
  • Add 50% new litter to old for 2 days
  • Add 75% new litter to old for 2 days
  • Replace with new litter

The other way is to give cats a choice of two litters. Let your cat decide what they want to use.

As long as your cat will use the new litter, it’s ok to swap it out.

What Else Can I Do to Reduce My Cat’s Allergies?

Keep the house clean.

This helps stop dust mites and fleas.

What is the Best Cat Litter for Allergies?

Walnut, corn, or tofu.

These are lowest dust choices in my experience.

Final Thoughts on Cat Litter Allergy Treatment

The best hypoallergenic cat litters are walnut, corn, or tofu based.

These are the lowest dust options in my testing. I used an air quality monitor to check.

Silica crystal, zeonite, and paper are dusty. They increase allergy risk.

Artificial fragrances might cause allergies, but the evidence isn’t clear. Unscented cat litter is lower risk.

Look for the label “low dust”. This won’t guarantee low dust, but it’s a start.

Keep your house clean by vacuuming. This helps keep dust mite levels down.

I recommend World’s Best Cat Litter as a low dust corn litter for allergies.

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I'm qualified dietitian that's turned their attention to cat nutrition. My goal is to help tease out the science on how best to feed your cat.

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