Best Cat Litters Under $20

5 Best Cat Litters Under $20

Discover the best cat litters on a budget

Gone are the days when we pet owners had only one or two options for kitty litter, specifically whatever sparse offerings had made it onto the shelf at Walmart. With the rise of online shopping, we now enjoy an overwhelmingly large selection of litters, in all scents and sizes, and at all price points. Those looking to identify the perfect low-price litter have come to the right place: here we’ll explore my hand selected best cat litters under $20.

I’m a veterinarian, a cat owner, and at this point a serial cat litter connoisseur with a large number of tests and reviews under my belt; I’m basically the Queen of Kitty Litter at this point. Not necessarily a title I ever thought I’d earn, but one I’m oddly proud of, nonetheless. Let me teach you all I know.

Best for Multiple Cats – World’s Best Cat Litter

WORLD'S BEST CAT LITTER Multiple Cat Unscented, 15-Pounds - Natural Ingredients, Quick Clumping, Flushable, 99% Dust Free & Made in USA - Long-Lasting Odor Control & Easy Scooping

World’s Best Cat Litter is – in my personal opinion – not actually the best cat litter in the world (I’m sorry, World’s Best!) However, it is an absolutely fantastic choice for multi-cat households on a budget. It’s also made my Top Five when it comes to odor control, which is saying something when it works out at a relatively budget friendly $1.16/lb.

This litter is USA manufactured, and is made from corn without much added (a fact which the minimalist owner is sure to appreciate). It’s fragrance free, and cats will certainly favor this litter over a perfumed option. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: your cat wants their litter tray to smell of nothing, or better yet, of them! A nice little upside of World’s Best litter is that – despite being fragrance free – it does a great job of preventing unpleasant smells from reaching a level that is detectable to the human nose.

Another factor which makes this litter the top choice for multiple cats is that it really is practically dust free, which means even if you have a few four-legged friends kicking up litter a couple times a day, there’s minimal dust in the air. This is important as it minimizes inhaled particles which may irritate your cat’s respiratory system.It’s also flushable and septic tank safe, making clean up a pain free process.

Best Bargain – Dr Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Cat Litter

Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Ultra Cat Litter, 18 pound bag

Made from 100% bentonite clay, Dr Elsey’s litter is naturally hypoallergenic, low dust and low tracking – we’re starting out strong! The next point may be considered a benefit or a deterrent, depending on your priorities and your cat’s preferences: Dr Elsey’s litter forms hard clumps, which owners will find easier to clean yet which some cats may dislike. The clumps can be uncomfortable on your furbaby’s paws and will make it more difficult for them to kick the litter around, bury their deposits and generally make a joyful mess.

Once you know your cat is happy with the texture of the litter, you can upsize and invest in a bulk buy: $19.94 gets you a whopping 40lb of litter, which works out at only $0.50 per lb. Insanely economic.

At this price point, it would be a little unrealistic to have no drawbacks. A small downside is that the clumps formed by this litter can be a bit sticky, making it more difficult to clean the tray and meaning a sort of damp, sticky litter residue may be left behind at the bottom of the tray and on the scoop. However, this is a relatively minor inconvenience and you should really be rinsing and scrubbing your cat’s litter tray (as well as your scoop) at least weekly anyway, whether there’s a residue present or not. Overall, an excellent product.

Best Odor Control – Fresh Step Odor Shield Cat Litter

Fresh Step Clumping Cat Litter, Odor Shield With Febreze, 14 lbs

Fresh Step are a really solid brand when it comes to clay-based cat litters, and I genuinely rate them highly. In fact, those who have already checked out my article on the 5 Best Cat Litters for Odor Control will note that I have very little to say about this litter that isn’t extremely positive. In particular, its odor control capabilities are truly excellent, so much so that it comes with a ten day odor control guarantee.

The one downside I’ve noted for this litter is that cats don’t really appreciate litters that offer “perfumey” fragrances as much as their owners do. This litter actually releases a fresh burst of fragrance each time your cat uses the tray (with the characteristic scent of Febreeze, thanks to a brand collab). Owners may enjoy this, but feline users probably won’t.

Fresh Step’s litter clumps well and is pretty easy to scoop. With a 14lb bag retailing at around $11.49 ($0.82/lb), this litter is a catch overall. However, a downside for me is that this litter is not flushable; I have an intense (almost irrationally intense) dislike of having a stinky cat litter bin in my home, meaning daily tray cleanouts also equate to daily bin dumps with this litter. To my mind, this is a whole bunch of extra effort that shouldn’t really have been necessary. I much prefer a litter that I can just flush down the toilet. Which brings me on nicely to…

Best Flushable – VETRESKA Tofu Cat Litter

VETRESKA Tofu Cat Litter,Natural Pretty Kitty Litter Strong Clumping Flushable Cat Litter Pellets Ultra Absorbent Deodorant Tofu Litter,Tidy Dust-Free,Low Tracking,Eco-Friendly,Green Tea(5.5lb×1bag)

I’ve already raved about this litter in my previous article The Top Biodegradable Cat Litters of 2024, where VETRESKA was a close runner up. At this point I’m very well acquainted with this cat litter, and am starting to get over my initial delight about the fact that – when used – this litter forms balls that genuinely look like cake pops covered in sprinkles. It’s a cool novelty, but it’s not really the reason this litter stands out.

Rather, the standout feature of VETRESKA’s Tofu Cat Litter is that it’s completely and entirely flushable, with no risk of clogging up my pipes resulting in an expensive and stressful emergency plumber callout. Which, by the way, you’re kind of asking for if you’re consistently flushing clay based litters down the john. Unfortunately, it’s only a matter of time before it catches you out – trust me, I’ve been there!

This tofu-based litter actually dissolves in water, meaning it flows seamlessly away along with the food your cat is no longer using (I’ve been writing a number of litter reviews recently and am running out of inventive ways to say ‘poop’). VETRESKA have also added deodorizing beads and a subtle green tea scent, meaning this litter holds its own in terms of odor control, too.

It’s also practically dust free, making it an excellent choice for multi-case households and those with respiratory issues. The only downside? The price. Yes, you can pick up a bag for under $20, but it’s only 5.5lb, meaning this litter works out at around $2.76/lb and is the most expensive option on this list by a pretty big stretch.

Best Overall – Purina Tidy Cats Tidy Care Comfort

Purina Tidy Cats Tidy Care Comfort Unscented Clumping Cat Litter Odor Control Low Dust Formula - 24 lb. Box

For me, the crown simply has to go to Purina Tidy Cats here. Available on Chewy at $17.98 for a 24lb box (just $0.75/lb), this litter is the epitome of affordability, yet it comfortably outperforms litters that are twice the price.

My favorite thing about this litter is that Purina put your cat’s comfort first, but without compromising on the experience for the human user (after all, your cat can’t use the poop scoop!) Purina Tidy Cats litter has a paw feel that cats prefer over other clumping litters, and is fragrance free making it suitable for the most sensitive of feline noses.

Rather than masking unpleasant odors, the activated charcoal in Tidy Cats absorbs them and locks them away. In fact, Purina are so confident in the odor control abilities of Tidy Cats that they’ve bestowed this litter with a 14 day odor control guarantee.

Tidy Cats forms tight, flat clumps upon use, which are easy to scoop (and remarkably low dust) whilst remaining comfortable for your cat if they need to revisit before you’ve had a chance to get to the tray. All in all, I simply don’t have any criticism for this litter. For me it’s the perfect choice, at the perfect price.

Choosing the Right Litter for Your Cat

Different cat litters

There are a number of important factors that you’ll want to consider when it comes to purchasing a budget cat litter…or any cat litter, for that matter!

Consider your cat’s preferences:

Fragrance: As mentioned earlier, cats simply don’t appreciate fragrance in their commode. Your kitty may seem unperturbed by the scent of Febreeze, but I promise you that deep down they would prefer their toilet to smell of nothing. This is an evolutionary fact, as being able to identify their own smell (and that of intruders) was historically important for feline survival.

Paw sensitivity: A cat’s paw pads are far softer and with far thinner skin than a dog’s paw pads, or indeed, the bottom of a human foot. As such, you can bet that your feline family member is very aware of exactly how their litter feels between their toes! And if there are sharp edges, hard clumps or prickly bits of shell, I guarantee you that your cat has noticed. Some cats will even stop using their tray altogether if they find the litter uncomfortable, especially older cats with arthritis. A clear sign to reconsider your litter selection.

Number of cats:

If you have more than one cat, you should ideally be providing at least one litter tray per cat plus one, if this is practically possible. According to this rule, if you have two cats, you need to be providing three litter trays! I realize that to us this seems excessive, but to your cat, the litter tray is a treasured resource, perhaps the most prized possession after food, and they want it to be private and all theirs. I’m not kidding here! Even if your cats get on well, they’ll dislike sharing a tray.

With the above in mind, owners with multiple cats are going to have to budget for buying quite a lot of litter! Bulk buying economy-friendly options is probably best in this case. Pet parents with numerous felines should also be sure to pick a litter that produces very little dust, since more cats means more litter kicking!

Weigh Up Your Priorities:

Do you value a litter that clumps well and is easy to scoop above all other qualities? Or perhaps (like me) your non-negotiable is that a litter be flushable and septic tank safe? Maybe you have a sensitive respiratory system and prefer a litter that is fragrance free and low in dust production. Or perhaps for you it’s most important that your kitty litter is as eco-friendly as possible.

We live in an age where all tastes and preferences are catered to at the touch of a screen: there’s no reason why you can’t find a kitty litter that fits like the proverbial glass slipper.

Ultimately, no two cats and no two owners are alike, which is why it’s so important to weigh up your own priorities and preferences (as well as those of your cat) in the process of deciding which budget-friendly litter is purr-fect for your needs. If in doubt, it’s a great starting point to select the smallest bag of litter available from a brand, and give things a test run before investing in a bulk buy (which will be more economical long term).

I hope you now feel prepared to go forth and conquer the online kitty litter marketplace. May your purchases be prosperous, and your cat’s litter tray economically filled yet never stinky! 

FAQ

Is a $20 price range perfect for cat litter?

It can be, but don’t forget to take into account the size of the bag, and be sure to check this when making an online purrr-chase for your feline friend! There’s nothing worse than expecting a large delivery of cat litter, and receiving a laughably small sample-sized box.
In general, budget friendly cat litter options clock in between $0.50-$2.00 per lb. You can absolutely find a great litter at the lower end of this price range

Are there any health concerns with using budget-friendly litters?

As a veterinarian and a cat owner, I would not hesitate to use any of the budget friendly cat litters on this list, all of which retail for under $20. A health concern that is present with every cat litter – no matter the price point – is dust. You may have noticed that cat litters release variable amounts of dust during pouring, scooping and when your cat is kicking up a storm.
Ideally, you want to choose a litter that produces as little dust as possible, since inhaled dust particles may irritate the airways of both people and animals, particularly those with asthma or allergies.
It’s also worth being aware that a minority of cats – especially young inquisitive kittens, or cats with an inadequate diet or certain health issues leading to nutritional deficiencies, may be tempted to try and eat their kitty litter. As far as we are currently aware, all types of litter are equally “at risk” of being eaten; there’s nothing in the literature to suggest that cats are more likely to consume corn-based litter over clay-based litter, for example. So, whatever type of litter you’re using (budget friendly or not) you need to be aware of this risk.

My cat has respiratory problems. What litter should I choose?

If your cat or indeed any human family members suffer with respiratory problems, then you should pick a litter that produces as little dust as possible during pouring, scooping, and when your kitty is kicking it about. It’s also sensible to select a fragrance free option, as some fragrances can also be very irritating to the sensitive respiratory system of a cat. I recommend trying World’s Best Cat Litter (Multiple Cat Unscented) in this case.



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