Feline Approved: What Cat Litter Do Cats Prefer?

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What cat litter do cats prefer?

Clay or crystal cat litter.

This is what cats like best, according to a 2014 study on 18 cats. The cats preferred clay and silicate (crystal) to natural wood cat litter.

Having trouble finding the right cat litter?

Some cats are diehard clay litter enjoyers. Getting it wrong can result in a fussy cat that won’t use their litter box.

In the rest of this article, I’ll unravel more of the science of cat litter preference and what cat litter is best for your cat. Then I’ll look at frequently asked questions on this topic.

I recommend seeking the advice of a vet for any further questions. The advice in this article is not intended as medical advice.

What Cat Litter Do Cats Prefer?

Clay or silicate cat litter.

This is the finding of a 2014 study on cat litter preference.

Here’s the cliff-notes of the study:

  • 18 healthy shorthair cats
  • 11 males and 7 females
  • 28 day length
  • 3 cat litters: clay, silica, and wood pellets
  • Owner asked to record where the cat chose to poop

Only 1 in 18 cats chose the wood pellet cat litter (but seemed to only use it for playing, not pooing). Most cats enjoyed either clay or silica, sticking to one for the 28 day study.

A cat with cat litter
Research found only 1 in 18 cats preferred wood pellet cat litter

Any other interesting findings?

Owners cleaned poop daily, but not urine. Urine stayed soaked into litter for a week.

The researchers thought cats would shift to a dry cat litter that wasn’t urine soaked as the week wore on. Didn’t happen though, as cats don’t seem to care if urine is it the tray.

Any more research?

That’s it.

I would have hoped for more research – but as it stands this is what I’ve got.

Cat litter
Cats don’t seem to care if they’re litter is urine soaked

What does it mean for you?

Most cats prefer fine granule cat litter.

That’s basically it.

This research only used 3 types of cat litter – and doesn’t really capture the whole market of options.

Plant based litter comes in pellets (e.g. pine, recycled newspaper, wood) or granule form.

We’ve tested a few different plant litters which vary is shape, texture, and size in a local cat shelter. Cats seem to use a variety of shapes.

So what should I use?

Clay and silica cat litter is best for most cats.

It’s cheap, and widely available.

Unfortunately, the health effects are problematic. I’ve talked about this in other posts, but clay produces a dust that can cause lung diseases.

This seems to only affect people with multiple cats.

Read More:

Crystalline dust from bentonite clay litter is linked with lung disease

Frequently Asked Questions

What Litter Should Cats Avoid?

Clay cat litter.

Avoid clay cat litter if you have multiple cats. The dust from clay cat litter causes lung disease if exposed to high amounts.

Cats do enjoy this cat litter though, so weigh up whether it’s worth it for your health to use it.

Does It Matter What Cat Litter You Get?


Some cats won’t use certain types of cat litter. This results in going outside the litter tray, which is a huge frustration.

Cat litter affects health as well, as we’ve talked about.

Can Two Cats Share a Litter Box?


Contrary to popular belief, cats can use the same box. The main problem is owners not cleaning out poop daily.

Cats hate having to use the toilet if it’s loaded with poop – whether it’s their own, or another cats.

Read More:

Two cats with a litter box
Two cats can enjoy one litter box – as long as it’s cleaned daily for poop


Cats prefer clay or silica cat litter.

Any small granule litter seems to be easier on the paws. However, dust from clay litter affects respiratory health.

It’s best to use a fine grain plant based litter for your cats enjoyment and your health.

Our preferred cat litter for that is World’s Best Cat Litter, a fine grain corn cat litter that’s easy on the airways and soft on the paws.

>> Check out World’s Best Cat Litter here

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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.