Finding the right cat litter for your feline friend to use with their litter box is an important decision and one that will ultimately depend on their preference, as well as your budget. Many people opt for clay cat litter as it's an economical choice, but some cons of clay cat litter include poor absorption, inability to control odors, and creating the need to frequently clean your cat's litter box. For these reasons, some people prefer crystal cat litter made with silica, which is ultra-absorbent of both solid waste and odors, tends to emit less dust and tracking throughout the home, and it's lightweight and easy to clean up. This premium cat litter is considerably more expensive than low-cost kitty litter varieties, but because it's so absorbent it does tend to last a long time, and is lightweight for easy transporting.
What to Consider When Purchasing Crystal Cat Litter
Price: Generally speaking, crystal cat litter is among the more expensive types of kitty litter available on the market. Many cat owners find the cost worth it as it's lightweight, odor-absorbing, and usually dust-free, but depending on your budget, the price tag may outweigh the pros over time. There are budget-friendly options of crystal litter available, so always shop around if this is the only thing stopping you from trying silica litter.
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The Feel: Many commercial cat litters are made of clay, which has a soft feel and doesn't tend to irritate a cat's paws in most cases. Crystal cat litter particles are a bit larger in size, which can make stepping on it or pawing through it uncomfortable for some cats, especially if they have sensitive feet. If your cat seems to experience pain while using this type of litter, or if you notice that your cat is reluctant or refusing to use their litter box after adding crystal litter to it, you should probably consider looking into other options.
Durability: Because crystal cat litter is so absorbent, usually about 40 times more so than clay or wood varieties, litter box cleanings tend to be less frequent, which can be a major convenience for cat owners. As crystal litter doesn't clump, however, urine and other liquids can pool up on top of this type of litter if it's reached its capacity, which can lead to odors, messes, and a cat's refusal to use their litter box. Some crystal cat litters will hold up better than others, but as with any litter, always be sure to implement a regular cleaning routine for the best results and the happiest cat.
Transition: If it's your first time introducing crystal cat litter to your feline it's recommended that you transition from your old cat litter slowly over a period of time. Crystal litter feels a bit different than commonly used litter varieties and can take some getting used to. To transition your cat from, say, clay litter to crystal, keep a 2/3 old litter and 1/3 new litter ratio at first, and gradually add an additional 1/3 at a time until your cat's litter box is fully crystallized.
The Best Overall Crystal Cat Litter
Fresh Step Crystals
When shopping for crystal cat litter, a few things seem to top a lot of people's lists: dust-free, lightweight, and not overly scented. This option checks all of those boxes, and is widely available at a number of outlets whether you prefer to shop online or in stores. This litter is unscented, 99.9% dust-free, and guarantees to lock in odors for at least 10 days, making it a great choice for anyone in a smaller space. Like all crystal cat litter, this variety is ultra-absorbant, and goes a longer way than most clay litter— an 8-lb bag is comparable to a 28-pound bag of competing clay litter in terms of daily litter box usage.
The Best Budget Crystal Cat Litter
Vibrant Life Mini Crystal Unscented Cat Litter
Crystal cat litter is more expensive than standard commercial cat litter, which is mostly made from clay, but there are some lower-cost varieties out there for anyone looking to shop on a budget. This litter is unscented, dust-free, and like many crystal cat litters it doesn't clump as clay cat litter does. Instead, paper pieces within the litter expand when soiled, letting pet owners know when the box needs to be scooped. Additionally, these crystal pieces are smaller than some other crystal litter options, making them more gentle on cats' paws, and may be ideal for smaller cats or kittens.
The Best Crystal Cat Litter for Multi-Cat Households
ExquisiCat Crystals Multi-Cat Silica Cat Litter
Offering cat litter crystals in a home with multiple cats can be an expensive endeavor, which is why it's important to find one that will hold up to excessive messes, control odor in the home, and won't kick up too much dust when in use. This litter does all of those things at a reasonable price, costing $2.35 per pound when purchased in a 14-pound bag. As with any cat litter, crystal litter included, it is recommended that you remove pet waste from your cat's litter box on a daily basis, which will help limit odors as well as encourage your cats to use their box without accidents.
The Best Low-Dust Crystal Cat Litter
Litter Pearls Micro Fresh Scented Non-Clumping Crystal Cat Litter with Odorbond
For the ultimate in dust-free litter choices, consider this option from Litter Pearls, which undergoes a dust removal process during manufacturing. This litter also offers ODORBOND technology to neutralize ammonia smells immediately and absorbs liquid waste to keep your cat's litter box as clean as possible for as long as possible. This product is safe for use with cats of all ages, from kittens to seniors, and is gentle on paws thanks to its rounded pearl-shaped crystal particles. This litter is scented and is nontoxic and nonclumping. It's sold here in a 7-pound bag.
The Best Unscented Crystal Cat Litter
Frisco Micro Crystal Unscented Non-Clumping Crystal Cat Litter
Not everyone appreciates added perfume in their pet care products, and this litter is not made with any additional fragrances. Rather than cover bad odors, this litter's sand-sized silica granules absorb odor for up to 30 days—to keep litter working, just remove solid waste, then give it a quick stir to help the crystals absorb any lingering liquids in the box. This product is not designed to clump, and the sand consistency helps to prevent pooling on the bottom of a litter pan.
The Best Scented Crystal Cat Litter
Now, if you like a nice scent with your litter, you have a choice of options from this company, including their original scent in dyed-blue crystals, lavender scent in dyed-purple crystals, or fragrance and dye-free clear crystals. This litter, like many, is dust-free, but is also low-tracking, meaning you'll be less likely to step on hard pieces of litter throughout your home after your cat uses their box. One 4.5-pound bag is designed to last for 30 days if you live in a home with just one cat, and odors are absorbed quickly by the silica gel crystal, up to five times faster than traditional clay litter.
The Best Crystal Cat Litter Tray
PetSafe® ScoopFree® Disposable Crystal Litter Tray
If you'd rather not buy a bag of litter, you can also offer your cat the benefit of silica gel crystals in convenient pre-filled trays. A single-cat household can use a single tray for around 30 days, and multi-cat homes can enjoy one for between seven and 15 days before replacing. These trays are intended for use with a self-cleaning litter box, and are available in original, lavender, and unscented varieties.
The Best Hypoallergenic Crystal Cat Litter
Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Unscented Non-Clumping Crystal Cat Litter
Sensitive cats need certain precautions to be taken in order for them to experience their healthiest lives, and that can include the type of litter in their litter boxes. This crystal cat litter is nontoxic and hypoallergenic, making it a great choice for anyone with cats who have urinary tract infections or kidney disorders, which can be exacerbated by an uncomfortable litter box. Urine becomes absorbed by the silica gel particles, and dust is used to coat and dehydrate solid waste, so this isn't a dust-free option.
The Best Clumping Crystal Cat Litter
Ultra Clumping Odor Control Low Dust Crystal Cat Litter
Some people find the nonclumping formula of crystal cat litter appealing, but others may prefer a litter that clumps up and makes scooping a little bit easier. These sand-sized crystals include a clumping agent to help gather your cat's waste into easy-to-remove pieces, and because the particles are so small, they won't irritate your cat's paws and make covering waste easy for your feline friend. This is a low-dust and low-tracking formula that controls odors and limits scooping to twice a week if you prefer to go a few days between cleaning (and if your cat will allow that).