Cat Litter vs Pellets: Which is Right for Your Cat?

Written by

Amy Sawy

Veterinarian. DVM


Joseph M. Plummer

Veterinarian, DVM, MVZ

cat litter vs pellets

As a cat owner, finding the right litter for your furry friend is essential for their health and happiness. With so many options on the market, selecting one can be challenging. Pellets and cat litter are two popular options with advantages and disadvantages.

In fact, cat owners love pellets more than cat litter. However, this varies depending on factors like budget, health risks, and your cat’s preference.

This article will compare cat litter vs pellets to help you decide which is best for your cat’s needs.



Cat Litter

Cat Pellets

Odor Control

Good odor control

Good odor control


From bentonite clay that might has some fragrant and chemicals

Natural wood and no chemicals involved


Very dusty

Not too dusty


High tracking

Less tracking


Not eco-friendly





Cat preference

Most love it

Some might not like it

A Detailed Comparison: Cat Litter and Cat Pellets


    • Odor control

    Clay brands have good odor control and can absorb the bad smell of cat’s urine well. Similarly, most pellets have their own natural scent which can cover the odor of your cat’s piss.

    • Dust

    Despite the label, “dust-free” in most clay brands, it is recognized that clay litter is harmful to you and your cat’s respiratory system due to its dustiness. In fact, some clay litter contains silica dust which can be dangerous to your cat’s lungs.

    Compared to cat litter, pellets produce less dust which is good for you and your cat’s lungs.

    • Tracking

    Clay litter – especially the clumping ones – stick to your cat’s paws which causes tracking at your house.

    Meanwhile, pellets provide less tracking at home since they are bigger than the fine particles of clay litters.

  • Cost

Clumping litter is way cheaper than other non-clumping brands, especially plant-based ones. In fact, it averages around $20 monthly and $150 annually.  

Compared to clumping litter, wood pellets cost more with its premium averaging around $35.

What is Cat Litter?

Clay litter is known because of its excellent absorbency, ability to control odors, and ease of use. It has two types – clumping and non-clumping litter. And, clumping litter is one of the most used cat litter by cat owners because of its absorbent nature and a neutral odor.

How Does Clumping Litter Work?


Clumping cat litter is made of tiny particles of sodium bentonite Because of this, any liquid that comes in contact with this type of litter gets absorbed by the clay itself which in turn forms a clump.

Cat litter doesn’t need regular cleanup. You can just scoop out a specific area that has been used by your cat.

How to Clean and Change Clumping Cat Litter?


Changing a clumping litter is easy – you may remove the clumping litter used and do not need to do it very often, especially if you only have one fur baby.

However, if you have more than one cat, it’s advisable to clean the litter box daily.

The following are the steps to clean your cat’s litter box:

  • Get the scoop and scoop up the clump.
  • Shake the scoop over the litter box and let some loose litter fall back.
  • Put the clump in a bag and continue to feel for more clumps in the litter.
  • Repeat the process until no clumps remain.

Changing your cat’s clump litter should be done every two weeks to ensure your cat’s comfort in dumping.

To clean the litter box:

  • Prepare a mixture of soap and water and spray it at the bottom of the litter box.
  • Wash the litter box properly and dry it.

What Are Cat Pellets?

Most pellets are made of natural and recyclable materials. The following are some types of pellets:

  • Natural cat litter pellets: This type of pellet is composed of natural elements such as wood. Examples of this are wooden cat litter and pine pellets.
  • Paper pellets: This type of pellets is made from recycled paper.
  • Plant-based pellets: This includes pellets made from plants like wheat, corn, and tofu.

Wood pellets for cat litter are one of the popular cat litter to cat owners because of their bounty benefits such as good scent, and being environmentally friendly.

How Do Pellets Work?


Wood pellet cat litter is becoming increasingly popular among cat owners as an eco-friendly and effective alternative to traditional cat litter. The highly absorbent nature of wood makes the pellets effective in absorbing urine and eliminating odors.

Pellets are better than other cat litter because they don’t contain damaging chemicals and dust which makes it a healthier choice for both cats and humans.

The pellets absorb the urine and turn into sawdust which sinks at the bottom of the litter box – making new pellets surface for your cat to use.

Aside from the urine, pellets also absorb the odor.  However, they don’t absorb feces, thus, your cat’s feces would likely pile up on the pellets.

This means that you may need to scoop out the feces regularly to maintain a clean litter box.

However, the natural pine fragrance can still help to cover the odor until the litter is changed completely.

How to Clean and Change Pellets?


Using wood pellets comes with the responsibility of constantly changing and cleaning them compared to clumping litter.

By this, you need to scoop out every day and change the pellets once every two weeks. If you have more than one feline friend, you should up the game and do the cleaning more than once a day.

Here are the simple steps you can use to change the pellets:

  • Since pellets don’t absorb solids, you must first remove the feces in the litter box.
  • Scoop the sawdust piles and sift, ensuring the dry, clean pellets fall back into the litter box.
  • Add some new pellets in the litter box to top the older ones.

This changes when you have a litter box with a built-in sifter tray. It will be much easier for you to clean the litter box.

Which is better: Pellets vs Litter?


Overall, the better option is the wood pellets instead of cat litter regardless of the kind of wood pellets you’re drawn to use.

Not only does it benefit your cat’s health, but it is also beneficial for the environment, and to you. You won’t also worry about how to properly dispose of it – you can either easily throw the used pellets in the toilet or composite it.

This suggestion also applies to kitty litter.

Pros and Cons


Cat litter

Cat pellets



  • Easy to scoop after used
  • Leaves no to little odor
  • Available at a cheaper price
  • Good texture that cat loves
  • Highly absorbent Environmentally friendly
  • Ensures no dust and chemicals
  • Easy disposal
  • Good odor control using natural scent



  • Rather dusty
  • Not very eco-friendly
  • May have some harmful chemicals
  • Can sometimes get messy


  • Frequent litter change
  • Cats might find pellets rough and big to their liking

Things to Consider When Buying

  • Price Comparison

Compare the prices of clumping litter and pellets. The cheaper of the two is the clumping litter, however, if we’re talking long term, pellets are more long-lasting than the clumping litter – thus, you can save more by buying it.

  • Safety

Make sure to buy litter that won’t impose any health risks on your fur baby. Among the two, pellets are way safer than clumping litter.

  • Some Recommended Products

If you prefer cat litter, check out the following products:


  • Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Multi-Cat Litter
  • Purina Tidy Cats Naturally Strong Unscented Cat Litter
  • Okocat Original Cat Litter

Below are some best clumping wood pellets you might find in the market:


  • Next-Gen Pet Fresh Cypress Cat Litter with Green Tea
  • Feline Pine Original Unscented Non-clumping Wood Cat Litter
  • Simply Pine Natural Cat Litter


Does wood pellet cat litter smell?

No, it does not smell, but it can decrease the unpleasant odors because of the pine’s natural scent.

How often to change wood pellet cat litter?

You can change it once every week or two, sooner if you think it needs changing. If your time allows, cleaning the tray every other day is advisable.

Is pebble cat litter good?

Skoon is known for pebble cat litter – claiming that this type of litter is 100% non-toxic and natural, absorbent, and odor-control. Some cat owners loved the product – especially the Skoon Cat Litter Original Bag.

What are clay pellets?

Pellets or pebbles made of clay play the role of the base player for soil, thus beneficial for plant roots. You can always use them as an affordable method to have some more growing space for your garden plants.


Many different types of cat litter are available on the market, each with its pros and cons. We hope this article, “cat litter vs pellets” has helped you decide the most suitable litter for your cat.

Remember that the best cat litter will depend on your cat’s health and preferences. It’s important to consider all factors and choose a litter that works well for you and your furry friend.

Read more: Which is better: Lightweight cat litter vs. regular?

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