Cat Litter: Clumping Vs. Non-Clumping

The debate over clumping vs. non-clumping cat litter has gone on for a long time—the fact is, both have their advantages and it really comes down to you and your cat’s preference. Here, a Poway veterinarian discusses the two possibilities in more detail.


Non-clumping or granulated cat litter can absorb relatively large amounts of cat urine, effectively cutting down on smell. It is typically made from clay, although alternatives are available if you or your cat prefers a different material.

One major advantage of non-clumping litter is that it is almost always cheaper than the clumping kind. In addition, many cats prefer it for the smooth texture.

Non-clumping litter will probably need to be changed more often to remain fresh—it can only handle so much urine before it becomes oversaturated.


Clumping litter is designed so that the litter forms solid masses when liquid saturates it. This means you can scoop out only the dirty clumped litter and leave the clean in place, occasionally refilling with fresh litter where you scooped out the dirty. Entire litterbox changes will occur less frequently.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you never have to change your cat’s litter box if you use clumping litter—once a month at the least is still recommended. This could increase if you have more than one cat, or if your cat produces large amounts of urine. Also remember that clumping litter will probably cost more than non-clumping. In addition, some cats won’t mind the clumps, while some just won’t be able to accept those strange solid masses in their litterbox.

The choice comes down to you and what your cat prefers. Try each type with your cat. If he doesn’t seem to mind clumping and you don’t mind paying the extra cost, it might be the right choice for you and allow you to cut down on litterbox cleaning time. If your cat likes smoother clay litter, use that and remember to check the box for cleanliness at least once a week.

Consult your Poway veterinarian for his or her thoughts on the two major types of cat litter. With some research and observance, you can make the best choice for your feline friend!


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