When it comes to cat parent convenience, it doesn’t get much better than flushable cat litter. But is it too good to be true? Will it be the downfall of your plumbing? Are all flushable litters created equal? In this article, we’ll give you our expert picks for the best flushable cat litters on the market today and answer some pressing questions about this promising new category of litter.
Here at tuft + paw, we are cat experts. We're intimately familiar with which litter features are most important to cats and cat parents alike. To compile this list, we consulted cat behaviorist Nicole Van Andel, veterinarian Megan Teiber, and hundreds of customer reviews to determine which flushable litters deliver on their promises.
Below is the short version of our Top 5 Flushable Cat Litters list. Keep scrolling for more analysis and our in-depth reviews.
What makes a cat litter flushable is its capacity to dissolve in water. The more completely and quickly it can dissolve, the better its flushability and the less likely it is to clog your plumbing. Flushable cat litter is almost always made of clumping natural materials that absorb moisture and break down once saturated (e.g. corn, wheat, soy). Note: not all natural litter is flushable! Make sure the litter brand itself claims to be flushable before flushing it.
How to Use Flushable Cat Litter
Even with all flushable cat litter’s promises, it’s important to exercise caution when flushing it. Only flush one clump at a time and divide large clumps into smaller pieces. Let the clumps sit in the toilet for at least five minutes (20-30 mins is ideal) and then flush when the clump has noticeably dissolved. Do not flush clumps of litter if they still look solid.
When first trying flushable cat litter in your household, test it by dissolving a small amount of litter in a cup of water. Once the litter has dissolved, flush it down your toilet and observe. If your toilet easily flushes the litter away, you’re good to go! If the litter is not completely flushed away, you should dispose of used litter in the trash instead.
Note: Do NOT flush cat litter if you use a septic tank system.
Do Not Flush Clay or Silica Litter
Clay cat litter should never be flushed down the toilet because clay turns into a sticky cement-like substance when wet. If you’ve ever used clumping clay litter, think of the wet clumps that glue themselves to the litter box—that’s what clay litter will do in your pipes.
Silica litter is another substance that should never be flushed down the toilet. This is because silica gel crystals do not dissolve in water. Silica litter doesn’t clump so it’s not as bad for your plumbing as clumping clay is, but it can still cause blockages because it doesn’t break down.
Beyond flushability, we prefer natural litters made of sustainably-sourced and biodegradable materials that are healthier for our cats and the environment. In our opinion, the health concerns surrounding clay litter dust and sodium bentonite, and the environmental damage done by mining clay and silica outweigh the benefits of these litter types.
Tip: Every litter on our top 5 tofu litters list is flushable. Tofu litter is usually flushable, except when it is mixed with a non-flushable material like clay.
Benefits of Flushable Cat Litter
Easy to Clean
Benefit number one of flushable cat litter is that it’s easy to clean! Being able to flush away clumps is a big improvement on scooping them into the trash and lugging out a big stinky garbage bag every week.
Natural Biodegradable Materials
Flushable cat litter is almost always made from natural biodegradable materials, so even if you don’t flush it you can still compost or throw it out in a biodegradable garbage bag. Furthermore, since they’re made from natural materials, flushable cat litters don’t pose the serious health problems that clay litters do.
Creates Less Garbage
Flushing cat litter diverts waste from the landfill and avoids using plastic garbage bags.
Controls Litter Box Odor
You’re flushing the stinky bits away! The best way to control litter odor is to get it out of your house. However, if you're not always on top of scooping and need a litter that can control odor for a while, our list of the best litter for odor control is a good place to look.
Safer to Ingest
It’s never good for a cat to eat litter, but if your feline does happen to ingest flushable cat litter there’s no need to panic. Flushable litter dissolves when wet so it won’t form hard clumps in your cat’s digestive system and should pass through safely.
Drawbacks of Flushable Cat Litter
There is significant debate about whether flushable cat litter should actually be flushed. Whether it’s a good option for you depends on a few factors.
Not for Outdoor Cats or Raw Diets
Cats that go outdoors or are on raw food diets should not have their waste flushed. This is because of the risk of parasites in their waste, particularly Toxoplasma gondii, the single-celled organism that causes toxoplasmosis. According to the CDC, toxoplasmosis can cause flu-like symptoms in healthy people and severe health problems in children and immunocompromised people. Toxoplasma gondii cannot be killed by conventional sewage treatment and can go on to infect local wildlife. If your cat lives indoors and doesn't eat raw meat, the risk of toxoplasmosis is much lower.
If you want more information, our article on toxoplasmosis in cats has everything you need to know as a cat parent.
Flushable cat litters are designed to break down when wet, so they form softer clumps than conventional clay litter. The clumps should still be solid enough to scoop, but they won’t be rock hard.
Can Cause Plumbing Problems
Flushable litter, no matter how well it dissolves, adds more solid waste and creates more work for your home’s plumbing system. Therefore, we don’t recommend flushing litter if your home has a septic tank system, old pipes, or a history of plumbing issues. If disposed of improperly, flushable cat litter can cause clogs even in new, well-functioning pipes.
Uses More Water
To avoid clogging your pipes, you should flush cat litter on its own, not with other waste. This means you’ll be significantly increasing your water usage when you use a flushable cat litter. If you have a low flow toilet, make sure to test whether it uses enough water to adequately dispose of the litter. We don’t recommend flushing cat litter if you live in an area prone to water shortages.
Illegal in Some Places
Cat litter cannot be flushed in California. Laws vary between municipalities, so check your local guidelines before you flush cat litter.
Flushable cat litter is usually on the higher end of the price spectrum, even among natural and clumping litters. It’s up to you whether the convenience is worth it.
Our Criteria for Finding the Best Flushable Cat Litters
The following criteria were developed in consultation with veterinarian Megan Teiber and cat behaviorist Nicole Van Andel.
Flushability — How well the litter dissolves in water and how easily it can be flushed down the toilet without causing blockages.
Tracking — How much litter ends up outside the litter box, and how far from the litter box it can get.
Dust — How dusty the litter is. This factor is very important for cats and people with respiratory issues and allergies.
Scent — Unscented is always preferable. Cats rely heavily on their sense of smell to interact with their surroundings, so strongly scented litter can be overwhelming.
Ease of cleaning — How well the litter clumps, coats solid waste, and how much it sticks to the litter box.
Odor control — How well the litter neutralizes smells. Controlling urine smell is the key here, because no litter can truly neutralize the smell of solid waste. Keep in mind that odor control partially depends on individual cats and the strength of their urine odor.
Health and safety — All litters on this list are made with safe non-toxic materials. The fewer additives the better. This includes scents, preservatives, and colors.
Eco-friendly — Every litter on this list is made from sustainably harvested and biodegradable materials.
Ease of handling — How easy the litter is to transport, pour, and handle.
Price: $29 for 9.5 lbs = $3.05/lb (shipping included) Rating: 4.7/5 with 229 reviews on tuft + paw Ingredients: soybean fiber, corn starch, corn flour, guar gum, charcoal
Disclaimer: Yes, we included our own cat litter here. This is only because we truly think it performs excellently compared to other flushable litters. We subjected it to the same scrutiny as every other litter on this list and asked for honest opinions from experts.
Our choice for the best flushable cat litter on the market is the tuft + paw Really Great Cat Litter. This is a tofu litter made primarily from soybean fiber and comes in the form of small, soft pellets. The low tracking and very low dust content were consistently praised by users, as was the flushability. These three traits together make for a very clean and convenient litter. We also like that it is unscented and uses activated charcoal to manage odors, rather than covering it up with an added scent. A small bonus is that the bag has a handle for easy pouring.
The main drawback of the Really Great Cat Litter is that it is fairly pricey at $29 for a 9.5lb bag. The price includes shipping, and there is also an option to receive 3 bags every 3 months for a lower price of $79 ($2.77/lb). Overall, the clumping was considered quite good but a few users felt the clumps were on the soft side. Another factor to consider is that Really Great Cat Litter is only available through subscription, which some users liked and others didn’t.
Price:$36.74 for 32 lbs = $1.15/lb Rating: 4.6/5 with 4,471 reviews on Amazon Ingredients: corn
Our runner-up for best flushable litter is World’s Best Cat Litter. This natural granular litter is made from compressed corn and has quite good flushability if it’s allowed to sit in the toilet for a few minutes. The clumping is very solid and the small grains coat solid waste well, both of which help with odor control. This litter is less dusty and lower tracking than some of the other granular litters on this list. We appreciate that this litter is unscented and has a soft texture.
One of the more frequent complaints about World’s Best is it can have a “barnyard” smell, though this seems to vary from person to person. The tracking and dust, though generally well-received, did have some mixed reviews. As with all granular litters, World’s Best Cat Litter can be prone to tracking, especially if your cat is long-haired or a vigorous digger. The litter granules themselves can also break down over time and create more dust in the litter box. Another annoyance is that seems to be sold out on Amazon fairly often.
Price: $22.99 for 13 lbs = $1.77/lb Rating: 4.4/5 with 1,218 Amazon reviews Ingredients: corn, cassava
Sustainably Yours Natural Cat Litter (formerly Garfield Cat Litter) is a fine grain clumping litter made from corn and cassava starch. The clumping of this litter is legendary, with many users considering it superior to clay in that category. Furthermore, the low dust content, unscented grains, and soft texture make this a very comfortable litter for cats to use. It coats and dehydrates solid waste well and the firm clumping manages odor decently. An added benefit is its white color, allowing cat parents to clearly see any discoloration in their cat’s urine and monitor health problems.
For all you environmentally conscious cat people out there (and there’s a lot of you), we should mention that Sustainably Yours donates a portion of their profits to the Rainforest Trust, a non-profit organization that buys up land to protect rainforest habitat. They don’t specify how much they donate.
Unfortunately, the main drawback of this litter is the tracking. One reviewer compared it to beach sand, both for its fine texture and the fact that it got everywhere in their house. Another problem is that the clumping might be too good—some users were uncomfortable putting rock solid clumps into their toilets which took at least 15 minutes to dissolve. Sustainably Yours is not a particularly cheap litter either, coming in at $1.77/lb.
Price: $26.49 for 10 lbs = $2.65/lb Rating: 4.2/5 with 2,066 Amazon ratings Ingredients: cassava
Almo Nature is quite similar to Sustainably Yours in that it’s a fine granular litter made from cassava starch. It is lightweight and has a sand-like texture that is soft on the paws. Reviewers find this litter to have good clumping and odor control, and its fine grains do a good job of dehydrating solid waste. We like that it’s unscented and that the plastic bag is recyclable.
In terms of eco-friendliness, Almo Nature is easily number one on this list. The brand is owned by the Capellini Foundation, an Italian non-profit devoted to environmental conservation. This means that all profits from Almo Nature go towards protecting biodiversity and animal rights projects. Animal lovers rejoice!
Admirable mission aside, Almo Nature is not a perfect cat litter. The main problem is that, like Sustainably Yours, the fine granules are very trackable. Reviewers also found the grains to be slightly powdery, creating more dust in the litter box than they’d like. Finally, the price is fairly steep, coming in at $2.65/lb.
Price: $34.76 for 25 lbs = $1.39/lb Rating: 4.5/5 with 5,001 Amazon reviews Ingredients: wheat
sWheat Scoop is a granular litter made from wheat and has been in the natural cat litter game since 1994. Its most frequently praised trait is its odor control, which is supposedly thanks to natural enzymes found in wheat. It’s unscented and smells vaguely of flour. For a granular litter it is relatively low dust and relatively low tracking due to the density of the litter particles, while still coating solid waste well and having a soft texture. At $1.39/lb, it is on the more affordable side for a flushable litter.
The main weakness of sWheat Scoop is its slow clumping, with most reviewers saying it takes anywhere from 30 mins to several hours to be firm enough to scoop. If scooped too early the clumps can crumble and remain in the litter box as wet gummy particles. During that waiting time, urine sometimes seeps to the bottom before being fully absorbed, creating clumps that stick to the litter box. A few reviewers also reported that bugs or mice were attracted to the litter. This can occasionally happen to litters made from food-grade materials, especially grains.
great odor control
gummy when wet
can attract pests
Conclusion: Your Cat Knows Best
We quote veterinarian Megan Teiber after every top 5 litter list and we’ll quote her again: “the best litter is the one your cat will use.” If you’re looking for a good flushable cat litter, we hope this list has been of some use to you. Overall, we think Really Great Cat Litter will work best for the most households, but the other four litters can be excellent choices if they match your and your cat’s preferences. World’s Best is a solid alternative choice, especially if your cat prefers granular litters or is transitioning from clay. Sustainably Yours and Almo Nature have the most paw-friendly texture and their fine grains are well suited for use with a litter robot. If odor control is your primary concern, then sWheat Scoop is probably the litter for you.