Pretty Litter Review: The Ultimate Guide to the Internet's Favorite Crystal (Silica) Cat Litter
In recent years, Pretty Litter has become one of the most popular brands of cat litter on the market thanks to its health-monitoring capabilities and overall performance. But is this premium crystal litter worth the price? We tested Pretty Litter first-hand to find out. In this article, we’ll give you our complete, unbiased review of Pretty Litter, explore its benefits and drawbacks, and help you determine whether it’s a good fit for you and your cat.
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. Our criteria are based on consultation with a cat behaviorist, veterinarian, and hundreds of cat parents.
Here's how Pretty Litter stacks up against other popular litter types in terms of its standard features. These are features that many litter brands advertise but aren't necessarily included in the scored categories.
What is Pretty Litter?
Pretty Litter is a health-monitoring, non-clumping cat litter made from silica gel (also known as crystal cat litter). The company was founded in 2015 by Carly Marinetti and Daniel Rotman with the goal of making a cat litter that was 1) health-monitoring and 2) pretty. They definitely succeeded, because Pretty Litter was sold to Mars, Incorporated (yes, the chocolate bar company) in 2021 for a mind-blowing $1 billion. Clearly, Mars, Inc. saw some exceptional potential in Pretty Litter's health-monitoring benefits.
Pretty Litter’s health-monitoring feature is achieved by compounds that change color depending on your cat’s urine pH. Blood in your cat’s urine is also easy to see because red spots clearly stand out from the white crystals. This color-changing feature allows cat parents to catch possible health problems early and seek treatment before the problem becomes more serious. Long-term, this can save cat parents lots of money on recurring veterinary appointments, medications, and procedures, and in some cases even save your cat’s life.
The crystal litter itself is made of small silica gel particles that are extremely porous and lightweight. The silica gel particles absorb urine, trap the stinky compounds in their pores, and allow the water to evaporate over time. This means Pretty Litter can continue absorbing urine for several weeks, which is why the brand claims that one bag can last for a full month.
Tip: See how Pretty Litter stacks up against other popular silica gel litters in our list of the best crystal cat litters.
Credit: Pretty Litter
What is Crystal (Silica) Cat Litter?
If you’re not familiar, here are the main facts you need to know about crystal cat litter. For more detailed information, you can see our article on the pros and cons of crystal cat litter.
Crystal cat litter is made from amorphous silica gel. Despite its name, it does NOT contain the harmful crystalline silica found in clay litters (confusing, we know).
Silica gel/crystal cat litter is totally safe for cats and humans.
Silica is a naturally occurring mineral harvested in open pit mines.
Crystal litter is not considered a “natural litter” because 1) it’s not biodegradable and 2) open pit mining is environmentally damaging.
Crystal cat litter is naturally non-clumping. Instead of scooping clumps, cat parents should stir it to ensure all the urine is absorbed by the crystals.
How does Pretty Litter work?
Pretty Litter changes color depending on the pH of your cat’s urine. If you see any of the abnormal colors in the litter box, you should make a vet appointment. Here’s what the different colors mean:
Olive green to yellow — urine is in the normal pH range.
Blue — urine is more alkaline than normal, could indicate a UTI.
Orange — urine is more acidic than normal, could indicate conditions such as bladder stones or metabolic acidosis.
Red — urine contains noticeable amounts of blood, could indicate conditions such as bladder crystals or feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD).
I tested Pretty Litter's color-changing feature using tap water and pantry items. From left to right: acidic pH (vinegar + water), normal pH (tap water), alkaline pH (baking soda + water).
How do you use Pretty Litter?
Using Pretty Litter is fairly straightforward. Here's a step-by-step guide:
Pour 2-3 inches of Pretty Litter into a clean litter box.
Let your cat use the litter box as usual.
Scoop out any solid waste and stir the remaining litter to evenly distribute urine among the crystals.
Repeat step 3 as necessary, until it's time to replace the litter entirely (usually 3-4 weeks).
Tip: When using Pretty Litter, we recommend keeping the litter box in a relatively dry and cool room to preserve its absorption and odor controlling capabilities. Silica gel will absorb moisture from the air, so keeping the litter box in a humid room will saturate the silica gel more quickly and worsen Pretty Litter’s performance.
Now let’s get into the actual review of Pretty Litter. I used Pretty Litter for 3.5 weeks in one litter box for my one cat, Eddie. He still had access to his other litter box with his old litter.
Ease of Handling
Pretty Litter comes in a small 6-pound bag that’s far easier to store, pour, and seal than the large bags of some clay and natural litters (looking at you, 40-lb wood pellet bags). It would be nice if the bag included a handle, but it’s still easy to pour without one. The litter itself is very lightweight. The subscription service takes transport out of the equation too—you only have to carry the bag from your front door to the litter box. Pretty convenient!
When I first filled the litter box with Pretty Litter, my cat Eddie was tentative but interested. He pawed around, sniffed it, stepped in it a few times, and peed once. Though not much of a digger, he seemed to be interested in the Pretty Litter texture and dug around a little more than usual. He preferred his old litter for the next few days, but by the end of the first week the Pretty Litter was his go-to. He seemed to like the sandy texture.
Eddie seemed to like the fine texture of Pretty Litter.
Pretty Litter advertises itself as a 99% dust-free cat litter, but my experience did not match that claim. There was a slight dust cloud when pouring the litter and the crystals themselves left a dusty residue on my hands when I touched them. It’s less dusty than clay litter and some other crystal litters, but it’s noticeably more dusty than some cassava and tofu litters I’ve used. Overall, I would say Pretty Litter is a fairly low dust litter, but definitely not “99% dust-free”.
Tracking is easily Pretty Litter’s biggest weakness. Pretty Litter does not emphasize their product as a low-tracking cat litter, and for good reason. The silica crystals are very fine and their porous structure makes them super lightweight. This means they easily get caught in paws and fur and can be flung out the litter box by the slightest disturbance. My boy Eddie is short-haired and not much of a digger, but he still tracked the litter at least ten feet away from his litter box (even when I put the scatter shield on my Cove Litter Box). The tiny particles were almost invisible on my wood floor, but I could clearly feel them when walking around my apartment. Immediately surrounding the litter box there was a significant amount of scattered litter crystals.
Pretty Litter's small crystals were very easy for Eddie to track outside of the litter box.
Ease of Cleaning
Pretty Litter is as easy to clean as any litter I’ve tried. I just scooped the poops, gave the litter a stir whenever I saw a pee spot, and that was basically it. The silica crystals absorbed urine very well and left no nasty sludge at the bottom of the litter box. When changing out the litter box, it was nice to have no clumped residue left over. I still like flushable clumping cat litters slightly better (e.g. Really Great Cat Litter and other tofu litters), but that’s more of a personal preference and not a negative reflection on Pretty Litter.
I found Pretty Litter to be impressively absorbent. I saw no evidence of unabsorbed urine until three weeks in, at which point it was very minor. The litter turning yellow over time is a (somewhat gross) testament to just how much pee Pretty Litter can absorb.
Pretty Litter was very absorbent for the first 2-3 weeks of use.
I found Pretty Litter to have very good odor control for the first week and a half. About ten days in, the litter box smelled more like baking soda and chlorinated swimming pool than urine. By the end of week two the urine odor became more noticeable and then quickly worsened. Based on my experience with one small cat, I would say one bag of Pretty Litter could last for one month at most. I found the fourth week to be a little rough on the nose. Larger cats or those who pee more often might overwhelm the litter’s odor control capabilities by week three. I consider Pretty Litter to have quite good (but not great) odor control.
Health & Safety
Pretty Litter is made from amorphous silica gel, which is safe and non-toxic for both cats and humans. It’s also non-clumping and doesn’t expand when wet, so it is less dangerous than clay litter if ingested.
Pretty Litter is a premium litter with a high price tag at $4/lb, which is definitely out of budget for some cat parents. However, given its unique ability to monitor cat health and its overall performance, I think it provides good value for the money. Just make sure you clearly understand how Pretty Litter works and how to use it before purchasing.
Pretty Litter’s Overall Score: 8.5/10
In Eddie's expert opinion, Pretty Litter is great for peeing in.
What are the benefits of using Pretty Litter?
There are several benefits to using Pretty Litter as your cat litter of choice. Here are the four that stuck out to me:
1. Monitors your cat’s urinary health
This is the major strength of Pretty Litter. If my cat Eddie had recurring urinary issues, I would consider buying Pretty Litter for this reason alone. Having near-instantaneous data on your cat’s health is a huge plus when you have an older cat, and it could possibly save you money on vet visits, medications, and costly procedures down the road.
2. Easy litter box maintenance
I was impressed with how simple it was to clean the litter box while using Pretty Litter. Realistically, is stirring any less work than scooping? Not really. But does it make you feel like you’re doing less work? Yeah, kind of.
3. Convenient subscription
I only used one bag of Pretty Litter for this review, but having litter consistently shipped to my door every month would definitely be appreciated. The subscription service is also quite easy to navigate. Of course, it's no secret that we like cat litter subscriptions here at tuft + paw.
4. Good odor control
During the first week of using Pretty Litter, I encountered no litter box odors. In week two, the odor was mild and smelled more like a swimming pool than urine. Weeks three and four were progressively smellier, but I consider 2 weeks of minimal litter box odor to be quite good.
Are there any drawbacks to using Pretty Litter?
While Pretty Litter has many benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider. Here are a few:
1. Litter tracking
By far the biggest weakness of Pretty Litter is how much it tracks. The silica gel particles are very fine and lightweight, so they got caught in my cat’s paws every time he used the litter box. The tiny crystals are almost invisible on the floor, but I could feel them crunch when I walked on them. It’s reminiscent of when you come home after a day at the beach and leave sand everywhere. When using Pretty Litter, I’d definitely recommend regular vacuuming and following our other tips on how to stop litter tracking.
2. Higher price tag
Compared to traditional clay or clumping litters, Pretty Litter is fairly expensive at $4/lb ($24 for 6 lbs) . It may be worth it if you’re already used to paying for premium litters and you want the health-monitoring feature, but for the money I personally prefer to buy natural clumping litters like tofu or corn (which tend to be $2-3/lb).
3. Not eco-friendly
Crystal litter is derived from silica, which is harvested in open pit quartz mines. This type of mining destroys habitat, causes extensive water and air pollution, and can lead to further landscape erosion. Silica gel is not biodegradable, so after being used it’s sent to the landfill.
4. Doesn’t stay pretty for long
Admittedly, this is a personal gripe of mine that other cat parents may not share. Pretty Litter is certainly pretty right out of the bag, but by the first week it takes on a yellow hue. Every time I stirred in another pee spot I was very aware of how much urine the litter had soaked up, and it was a little gross. I’ve mostly used clumping litters in the past, so I prefer removing urine clumps.
What do users think of Pretty Litter?
Pretty Litter receives largely positive reviews from cat parents. Users praise its lightweight texture, odor control, and color-changing properties. Some reviewers have even reported that using Pretty Litter has helped them catch potential health issues in their cats before they became serious.
However, there are also some negative reviews to consider. The most common complaints are about the Pretty Litter’s high price tag and one bag not lasting a full month. Other user complaints include tracking and dust content.
Below is the average customer rating at each of Pretty Litter’s stockists and some real user reviews.
Average Customer Rating for Pretty Litter:
At the time of writing, Pretty Litter’s average rating is highest on the Pretty Litter website, at a nearly perfect 4.9/5. The average ratings on Walmart and Target are good but not perfect. Interestingly, the average rating on Chewy.com (Pretty Litter’s newest stockist) is significantly worse than the others, albeit with far fewer total ratings. Reading reviews, it seems some users may not have correctly followed the litter directions (i.e. stirring daily). It will be interesting to see if the average rating improves as more reviews come in.
Pretty Litter Website: 4.9/5 stars with 28,000 ratings
Walmart: 4.0/5 stars with 5,300 ratings
Target: 4.0/5 stars with 5,500 ratings
Chewy: 3.4/5 stars with 300 ratings
Positive Pretty Litter Reviews
“I heard great reviews from friends about this litter & thought it still might be overrated. However, I’m pleasantly surprised, it’s great. Masks smell, easy to clean the box & I appreciate the color not only for detecting possible medical issues but for quick clean up since it’s easy to spot where you need to scoop. Got a 3 month supply but will be continuing to order!” – Heathyr P.
“I have 7 cats- they are all using the same litter box which is driving me nuts when I have 6 set up. This litter is fabulous- the solids dry hard and are easy to scoop. The urine gets absorbed in the crystals. I don't smell that horrible smell as I walk in the door anymore! Great product.” – Laura C.
“We have the most finicky elderly cat and any time we switch her litter, she refuses to use the box for at least a week. She immediately used her litter box when we put Pretty Liter in it and so nice to see her ph & acidity levels…. 😻😻. Love it!” – Sarah P.
Negative Pretty Litter Reviews
“With only one cat I hoped it would last longer than a month or at least last the full month. Getting about 3 - 3 1/2 weeks out of a bag. It’s a great concept. You can def tell when they do pee ... the odor is strong until you 'stir' the litter around and then absorbs. Just overwhelming when you first walk in the room at the end of day. We’ve been using it about 6 months... it is expensive... trying to decide if it’s worth the extra money not to have to scoop wet clumps.” – William B.
“Litter is like fine grain beach sand and goes EVERYWHERE.” – Michelle R.
“Because it is so fine, it sticks to cats’ paws, so then it’s dropped on floors where it crunches under foot & certainly is not good for hardwood floors! Cats use it about same as other brands. For me, with 12 cats, it is expensive & really not worth it.” – Ruth B.
Where can you buy Pretty Litter?
Pretty Litter is primarily sold on the company’s website through a subscription service. You can choose how many cats you have and which delivery schedule you prefer: one 6-lb bag every month, or three bags every three months for a slight discount. The Pretty Litter website offers a 30-day risk-free guarantee and free shipping within the contiguous United States. Customers outside the contiguous US will have to pay shipping.
Pretty Litter is also available at Walmart, Target, and Chewy.com in 8-lb bags.
Overall, I had a positive experience using Pretty Litter and I can see why it’s so popular. However, it might not be the perfect choice for every cat household. Here are my recommendations for who could benefit from using Pretty Litter:
Pretty Litter is worth it if…
Your cat is elderly or has a history of health issues, especially urinary-related ones.
You want a low maintenance cat litter. Pretty Litter is easy to clean, has good odor control, and ships to your door.
Pretty Litter is not worth it if…
Litter tracking is a deal breaker for you. I found Pretty Litter to track quite a lot.
You have a small budget for cat litter. Pretty Litter is quite pricey at $4/lb.
You have several cats. With more than two cats, Pretty Litter could become prohibitively expensive.
You want an environmentally friendly cat litter. As already mentioned, crystal cat litter is not biodegradable and is sourced via open pit mining. If you want a more eco-friendly product, look for a natural cat litter.
Pretty Litter FAQs
Is Pretty Litter safe for cats?
Yes, Pretty Litter is safe for cats to use. It's made from non-toxic materials and will not clump if ingested.
How often do you need to replace Pretty Litter?
The frequency of litter replacement will depend on how many cats you have and how frequently they use the litter box. In general, it's recommended to replace Pretty Litter completely every 3-4 weeks.
Is Pretty Litter biodegradable?
No. Pretty Litter is made from silica gel, which is not biodegradable or flushable and should be disposed in the trash.
How does Pretty Litter compare to traditional clay litter?
Pretty Litter is lighter in weight, less dusty, and more expensive than traditional clay litter. It doesn’t clump and is completely non-toxic, whereas clay litter is usually clumping and contains harmful silica dust.
Can you use Pretty Litter with automatic litter boxes?
Yes, Pretty Litter is compatible with most automatic litter boxes. However, it's important to check the manufacturer's recommendations before using it with your specific litter box model.