cat litter

Every time I think about ranking something in my life, I think about Steve Boese.

For years, he’s ranked everything from The Outsiders characters to the Founding Fathers to upgrades on airlines. If you want to know where something stands, chances are he’s written a blog post about it. Ranking things? Well, it falls squarely within the purview of Steve Boese.

So, last week, I’m in the basement reflecting on cat litter. Over the past 42 years, I’ve used just about every brand on the market. Clay. Crystal. Wheat. Newspaper. You name it, my cats have peed on it.

I’m pretty sure Steve has never ranked anything related to cats, so I offer for your consideration this unresearched, incomplete, unscientific, completely subjective, and 100% accurate list of cat litter.

10. sWheat Scoop. All kittens should use wheat-, corn- or newspaper-based litter for potty training; however, once they graduate to clay litter, they never go back. Wheat litter is better for the environment and has barely any dust, but I couldn’t bribe my adult cats to use this litter for all the tuna in the world.

9. World’s Best Cat Litter. It’s number 9, so you can see that it’s not the world’s best. I tried to get my cats to convert by using good old fashioned trickery. I stuck some of their existing urine clumps and poop in a new box of this litter. I think Molly gave it a try, but the rest were wholly unimpressed.

8. Yesterday’s News. Newspaper litter is just cool to see, but like its predecessors, it’s useless for my adult cats. Ain’t nobody got time to pee on pellets.

7. ExquisiCat® Micro Crystals. Crystal cat litter is interesting because it absorbs a lot of urine. Unfortunately, it’s expensive, and you have to use a lot for the cats to bury their poop under the crystals. I’m not a fan, and neither are most of my cats. They’ll use it, but they aren’t happy about it.

6. Boots & Barkley Scoopable Litter. As far as scoopable litters go, clay-based litter is pretty much the same everywhere. If you’re going to use a scoopable litter, use something without a scent. We liked this Target brand except that it is super-clumping and gave my cat, Jake, a condition called cement shoes. The cat litter sticks to his paws, and he can’t clean himself enough to get rid of it. It forms a hard shell on the bottom of his foot. So we had to give it up.

5. Precious Cat Dr. Elsey’s Senior Cat Litter. Speaking of Jake, he can’t breathe for shit. We decided to try this litter, which is crystal-based, to see if his breathing would improve. The cats liked it. We had it out for a week, and there was a powdery white dust everywhere in the basement including all over my cat, Roxy, who is black. Plus it was super-fine and messy. So we threw it away.

4. Ever Clean EverFresh Cat Litter with Activated Charcoal. It is probably the most popular litter I’ve ever used in my life. Even my dead cat, Scrubby, liked peeing in his box when we used it. Unfortunately, it was unbelievably dusty and hard to contain. There was a dusty haze in my basement, and I had to use an air purifier. We had to give it up.

3. So Phresh Advanced Odor Control Scoopable Fragrance-Free Cat Litter and Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Clumping Cat Litter. It’s a tie. The first is Petco’s brand of cat litter. You can buy it in bulk from a “litter bar,” and it works pretty well. The second litter is from Dr. Elsey, and it works great. The downside? Both are dusty AF. Not as dusty as Ever Clean, but still pretty messy. My cats like both.

2. Fresh Step Clay Cat Litter. Right here is the cheap stuff. It’s old school cat litter that is over-fragranced and doesn’t clump, and at least one of my cats love it. I have no idea why. I have a hooded cat litter box that I keep off to the side and away from the main litter boxes, and I scoop the poop daily. Since the urine doesn’t clump and can’t be removed, I dump the entire litter box every two weeks and start fresh.

1. Precious Cat Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract Scoopable Cat Litter. Welcome to the holy grail of cat litter. This, right here, is probably the most expensive cat litter on the market. Thankfully, it works. If you have a cat who pees outside of the box, try this brand of litter. Also, it’s probably the least dusty litter that I’ve ever used. The clay is fine. It might track everywhere, but it’s worth it. I went back to using this litter in our two main cat boxes, which are long sweater boxes from The Container Store, and my cats sent me text messages with emoji prayer hands. They were thrilled.

As Steve always says, you could disagree with these rankings. But guess what? You would be wrong. And one more thing: for optimal litter box experience, scoop daily. It takes two seconds, and litter boxes are less disgusting than your daughter’s bedroom. Keep on top of the litter box, and you won’t dread the work!


  1. We use World’s Best (multi cat) and Yesterday’s News. I was using the pine litter and the World’s Best, but was told that the oils in the pine are bad for Charlie’s asthma. WB and YN are about as close to dust free as I can get, but the newspaper litter gets stinky pretty fast, so I’m refreshing every few days. And for not being “trackable”, Clancy manages to get the newspaper pellets EVERYWHERE.

    As long as The Boys are happy, though. (I know when Clancy’s not happy because I’ll catch him using their toy box as his litter box.)

  2. Have you tried the cat spot litter? I keep hearing commercials for it on Sirius radio, — and while I’m crazy allergic to cats, the commercials stand out because the commercial guy says you can use it to amend your soil. My parents are cat people — and my mom is one who they will call to foster kittens because they know she’ll never let them leave her house again, and I was thinking of recommending it to them.

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