Clay cat litter sucks for many reasons, and one of those reasons is how freaking heavy it is. Luckily for all the tired cat parents out there, lightweight cat litter is a thing. It comes in many forms and can be made from many different materials, but it’s always easier to carry than traditional clay litter. In this article, we'll explain what to look for in a lightweight cat litter and give you our picks for the best lightweight litters on the market today.
Here at tuft + paw, we are cat experts. Over the last couple years, we've spent countless hours determining which litter features are most important to cats and cat parents alike. To compile this list, we consulted a cat behaviorist and veterinarian, hundreds of customer reviews, and our own experience as cat parents to figure out which lightweight cat litters provide the best all-around performance.
monitors cat health, super absorbent, good odor control, lightweight, easy to clean, long lasting, unscented, cat-friendly texture, available via subscription or one-time purchase
expensive, some tracking, slightly dusty, not eco-friendly
silica gel crystals, colour-changing compounds
$24 for 6 lbs = $4.00/lb
What Is Lightweight Cat Litter?
Lightweight cat litter, as the name suggests, is designed to be lighter in weight and easier to handle than traditional clay litters. Clay litter is extremely dense, which means a relatively small amount can weigh a lot, even if it only lasts you for one or two litter box refills. Some “lightweight” clay litters are combined with more porous minerals (e.g. perlite, diatomaceous earth) to reduce the density and make it easier to transport and handle. In recent decades, alternative litter materials have gained popularity and all of them are lighter weight than clay. This includes crystal litters made from silica gel, as well as natural litters made from plant-based materials like wood, soy, corn, coconut husk, and the list goes on.
Lightweight clay litters combine traditional clay like Fuller’s Earth and bentonite with lighter weight materials like perlite and diatomaceous earth. These litters have similar absorbing and clumping properties as regular clay litter, but can be less than half the weight. Unfortunately, the tradeoff is that lightweight clay litters can be dustier and more prone to tracking. The dust in particular is an issue because it contains crystalline silica, a known carcinogen.
We did not include any lightweight clay litters on this list for a two main reasons:
The risk of carcinogenic silica dust, which is harmful to both cats and humans.
The environmental damage caused by clay strip mining.
However, many cat parents love lightweight clay cat litter for its easy portability and affordable price. If it meets your requirements and the needs of your cat, that’s what matters. The best litter is the one your cat will use!
Crystal/Silica Gel Litter
Crystal cat litter (a.k.a. silica cat litter) is a non-clumping litter variety made from silica gel particles. Silica gel has a naturally porous structure, which makes crystal litter very lightweight, long-lasting, and absorbent. The crystals draw in moisture, lock in odor particles, and allow excess water to evaporate. Like tofu litter, a small bag of crystal litter can last a month or more depending on your cat’s litter box habits. Unfortunately, crystal litter is also derived from mined minerals, so it has a negative environmental impact.
Note: Crystal/silica litter is totally safe for cats and humans. Silica gel has a different molecular structure than the harmful crystalline silica dust found in clay litter. Confusing, we know.
Tofu cat litter is a lightweight, biodegradable option made from waste soybean fiber. It often comes in the form of pellets which are low dust and do an excellent job of reducing litter tracking. It forms firm clumps which dissolve in water, so you can flush them down the toilet if that’s legal in your area (see note below). Tofu litter is surprisingly efficient as well, with most brands selling 5-10 pound bags which last a month or more thanks to the pellets’ outstanding absorbency. See our list of the best tofu cat litters for an in-depth look at this unique litter type.
Note: Flushing cat litter is illegal in California. Always check your local regulations before flushing cat litter. Only flush cat litter if your cat lives indoors and eats commercial food to avoid the risk of spreading toxoplasmosis.
Granular Natural Litters
Granular natural litters can be made from a variety of organic materials such as corn, wheat, cassava, or walnut shells. These litters offer a lightweight alternative for those seeking natural options. They vary widely in their clumping, dust content, tracking, and other features. What they all have in common is being lighter in weight and more eco-friendly than clay litter.
Wood Pellet Litters
Wood pellet cat litters are made from compressed sawdust, usually from the lumber waste of softwoods like pine or fir. When these pellets absorb moisture they break down into a fine sawdust, making them a perfect match for sifting litter boxes. They’re often non-clumping, very affordable, and are available in gigantic bags which can last for months.
What to Look For in a Lightweight Cat Litter
When shopping for a lightweight cat litter, the number one thing to look for is a low dust formula. Most cat litter brands will claim they’re low dust, so it’s important to read reviews before buying. Lightweight clay litters can be quite dusty, so we recommend avoiding those. Instead look for low dust natural litters like tofu, cassava, or paper pellets. A dust-free environment is not only healthier for both you and your cat but also keeps your living space cleaner.
After dustiness, lightweight litters often suffer from tracking because of how light the litter particles are. Again, lightweight clay is especially bad in this department. We recommend looking for lightweight pellet litters (e.g. wood, tofu) because they’ll always be lower tracking than lightweight granular litters (e.g. corn, crystal). In general, the larger the litter particles, the less they track.
The main benefit of lightweight cat litter is its ease of handling. Look for litters that come in manageably sized bags and include a handle (this helps a lot!). Shopping for litter online helps too, because then you can get litter shipped directly to your door, whether as a one-time purchase or subscription.
Easy to Clean
Choose a lightweight litter that works with the litter box and scoop you have (unless you want to change your litter box setup). For example, non-sifting litter boxes and small scoops don’t work very well with wood pellets, but work great with clumping corn litter. In general, most cat parents prefer clumping litters that are low-tracking and low dust, which makes clean up easy. If your cat lives indoors and it’s legal in your area, flushable cat litter adds a whole new level of convenience.
Your cat's health is paramount, and the litter they use should be non-toxic if possible. Choose a lightweight cat litter free from chemicals, fragrances, or additives that could harm your feline companion. We recommend avoiding clay litter because it contains harmful crystalline silica dust
While a pleasant fragrance may seem enticing, it might not be as appealing to your cat's sensitive nose—their sense of smell is 14x stronger than ours! Opt for an unscented lightweight cat litter to avoid overwhelming your cat with strong scents.
Our Criteria for the Best Lightweight Cat Litters
Ease of handling — How easy the litter is to transport, pour, and handle.
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 — We prioritize litters made from sustainably harvested and biodegradable materials.
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/absorbs, coats solid waste, whether it’s flushable, 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.
Price: $29 for 9.5 lbs = $3.05/lb (shipping included) Rating: 4.6/5 with 1,200 reviews on tuft + paw Ingredients: soybean fiber, corn starch, corn flour, guar gum, charcoal
Disclaimer: Yes, we included our own tofu cat litter here. This is only because we truly think it performs excellently compared to other lightweight cat litters. We subjected it to the same scrutiny as every other litter on this list and asked for honest opinions from experts and users.
Our choice for the best lightweight cat litter is tuft + paw’s Really Great Cat Litter. This tofu pellet litter comes in small 9.5-lbs bags, which ship straight to your door and last for up to a month. The bag itself is resealable and has an integrated handle, which makes this litter easy to pour and store. Really Great Cat Litter excels in the tracking and dust departments, making it an incredibly tidy litter to use. It’s both clumping and flushable, which adds to the convenience factor. Cats will also appreciate that it's unscented and has quite a paw-friendly texture for a pellet litter. The pellets are thinner, smaller, and softer than other pellet litters (e.g. wood, paper). Last but not least, the addition of activated charcoal provides good odor control.
The only notable drawback of Really Great Cat Litter is its price: $29 for 9.5 lbs ($3.05/lb), shipping included. There is also an option to receive 3 bags every 3 months for a lower price of $79 ($2.77/lb), but we understand this is not within every cat parent's budget.
Price: $28.99 for 16.4 lbs = $1.77/lb Rating: 4.5/5 with 600 Petco reviews Ingredients: recycled spruce, fir, and pine fiber
Our runner-up for best lightweight cat litter is ökocat Featherweight Wood Cat Litter. It’s made from upcycled wood fiber, which is processed into small, lightweight particles. We like that ökocat goes the extra mile for sustainability—their manufacturing facility recycles 50% of its used water, and they prioritize local materials to reduce shipping emissions—which makes sense considering that "öko" is German for eco. This clumping litter is quite low dust, has great odor control, and is flushable. The soft wood particles have a paw-friendly texture which make it an easy transition from clay.
Ökocat Featherweight’s main weaknesses are that the small particles tend to track and the clumping can be too soft. With use, the wood particles can also break down and become dusty.
Price: $38.57 for 32 lbs = $1.21/lb Rating: 4.5/5 with 13,000 reviews on Amazon Ingredients: corn
World’s Best Cat Litter is one of the most popular lightweight litters on the market. This natural granular litter is made from compressed corn, so like our first two picks it’s biodegradable and sustainably sourced. The clumping is fairly firm but still readily dissolves in water, so cat parents will have little trouble flushing it. Cats will appreciate the lack of added scents and paw-friendly texture. In terms of tracking and dust, it’s not top of the class but is certainly better than clay litters. We also like that it’s fairly affordable and widely available.
Cat parents sometimes complain about the “barnyard” smell of World’s Best, though this seems to vary from person to person. The odor control is average. The tracking and dust content, while not terrible, isn’t as good as our first two picks. Over time, the litter granules themselves tend to break down and create more dust in the litter box.
Price: $17.99 for 5 lbs = $3.60/lb Rating: 4.7/5 with 1800 reviews on CatSpot Ingredients: coconut husk
Our favorite lightweight non-clumping litter is CatSpot Coconut Non-Clumping Cat Litter. This litter comes in 5-pound bags that are easy to handle and ship to your door. It’s a fine grain granular litter made from ground up coconut husks, so it’s fully biodegradable and has a soft, paw-friendly texture. Among non-clumping litters, it’s one of the most absorbent and lightest in weight. Cat parents also like its solid odor control, which is a rare strength to find in a non-clumping litter. We appreciate that it’s unscented and available both via subscription and one-time purchase.
There are two main drawbacks to CatSpot. First of all, it’s expensive ($3.60/lb) and may not be within every cat parent’s budget. Second, it’s quite prone to tracking. This is the tradeoff when using a granular lightweight litter: light particles are more likely to cling to your cat or be kicked out of the litter box. These problems can be minimized by using a litter mat and a sturdy high-sided litter box. A few users also found the small and lightweight litter particles to be slightly dusty, though it’s still better than clay.
Price: $24 for 6 lbs = $4.00/lb Rating: 4.9/5 stars with 23,830 ratings on PrettyLitter Ingredients: silica gel crystals, colour-changing compounds
Pretty Litter is probably the most popular crystal cat litter on the market right now, and for good reason. This crystal litter’s claim to fame is its ability to change color depending on the pH of your cat’s urine, which helps cat parents catch health problems early and save money on vet bills. As with all crystal litters, it’s made from fine silica gel particles that are incredibly lightweight and absorbent. It comes in manageable 6-pound bags and can be shipped to your door, which makes handling very easy. The odor control is quite good, and we also appreciate that its unscented and has a paw-friendly texture.
The main drawback with Pretty Litter is the high price tag, which is not within every cat parent’s budget. The dust and tracking are just okay, but still better than clay litter. Unfortunately, Pretty Litter is not very eco-friendly either; silica crystals are a mined mineral and not biodegradable.
monitors cat health
good odor control
easy to clean
available via subscription or one-time purchase
Lightweight Cat Litter FAQs
Is lightweight cat litter as effective as traditional, heavier litters in controlling odors and moisture?
Yes, lightweight cat litter can be just as effective in controlling odors and moisture as heavier litters. Many lightweight litters are very absorbent and offer great odor control and efficient clumping, keeping your cat's litter box fresh.
How do I prevent my cat from tracking lightweight cat litter throughout the house?
To minimize tracking, first try switching to a low-tracking lightweight cat litter. You could also consider getting a high-sided litter box to reduce scatter, and a litter mat to loose particles.
Are there any health concerns associated with using lightweight cat litter, such as dust or allergies?
Health concerns vary depending on the brand and material. Look for low-dust or dust-free lightweight litters to minimize respiratory issues. Clay litters are generally the most dusty, so we recommend lower dust alternatives like wood or tofu litter. If your cat has allergies, consider hypoallergenic options. Always consult your vet for specific health concerns.
Can lightweight cat litter be used with automatic litter boxes and self-cleaning systems?
Yes, many lightweight cat litters are compatible with automatic litter boxes and self-cleaning systems. Check the manufacturer's recommendations to ensure a good match for your equipment.
How often should I change lightweight cat litter, and is it cost-effective in the long run?
The frequency of changing lightweight cat litter depends on the brand and your cat's usage. Generally, you should scoop waste daily and replace the entire box every few weeks. While lightweight litter may cost more per pound, it can be cost-effective because it's lighter and lasts longer.
Conclusion: Your Cat Knows Best
When choosing a lightweight cat litter, always remember the golden rule: the best litter is the one your cat will use. We hope this list has been helpful for you and provided some good litter recommendations. Overall, we think the tuft + paw’s Really Great Cat Litteroffers the best all-around performance for most households due to its low tracking, low dust, and flushability. ökocat Featherweight Wood Cat Litter and World’s Best Cat Litter are great options if your cat prefers granular litters, though they tend to track more than our number one pick. If non-clumping litters are your thing, then Catspot Coconut Litter or Pretty Litter will do the truck. As long as you prioritize your cat’s needs first, everything else will fall into place. Good luck!