Unscented vs Scented Cat Litter: Which is Right for Your Cat?

Written by

Amy Sawy

Veterinarian. DVM


Joseph M. Plummer

Veterinarian, DVM, MVZ

unscented vs scented cat litter

Every detail is essential when taking care of pets, and the same goes for the type of litter for your cat. Unscented vs scented cat litter, which will become the winner?

From our experience, both of them have their pros and cons. For example, unscented is great when avoiding allergies, but you’d need to change the litter frequently. Meanwhile, scented litter gives out fresher aromas but has a chance of irritating your cat’s nose!

Understanding Cat Litter Types


There are many types of cat litter, but today we’ll focus on scented and unscented cat litter. Is scented litter bad for cats? Is unscented litter better?

It’s also important to note that any good cat litter, scented or unscented cat litter, should effectively trap unpleasant smells.

But, before we dive into the pros and cons, let’s first get familiar with the details of the two litters.

1. Scented Cat Litter

What makes this litter type have its pleasant aroma? Scented cat litter generally utilizes different essential oils or perfumes, which makes it the best bet when you’re trying to go for odor control.

You can find different types of scented cat litter, including silica, paper, and even clay.

2. Unscented Cat Litter

Unlike scented cat litter, the unscented type doesn’t contain any of these scented aromatics. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s completely void of any smell. This type of litter is natural scented with the scent of what was used to make it, like wheat or clay.

It may also smell like the component used to neutralize any unpleasant scents, like baking soda, that might get mixed into the product.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Unscented Cat Litter


Now that we’ve clarified the details of each litter, let’s move on to the benefits and drawbacks starting with unscented cat litter.


  • By avoiding the extra ingredients used to make scented cat litter, you can also minimize exposure to possible allergies. This applies not only to you but to your cats as well.
  • Unscented litter is faster when it comes to absorbing the ammonia smell of cat urine and feces because of its scent-neutralizer. Originally, it’s used to make it an unscented cat litter, but it comes in handy in this situation.
  • Unscented cat litter is easily attained because of the various types available in various stores.
  • This type of litter is safe for kittens because of its lack of extra components. So, if you still have a little furbaby in your care, this would be the best choice.


  • Since it’s void of strong scents, unscented cat litter would need you to change it frequently since it cannot contain smells that long.
  • Its natural scent can be described as dusty or box-like.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Scented Cat Litter


We’ve covered unscented litter, so now it’s time to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of scented kitty litter.


  • If you are someone who dislikes unpleasant smells, scented cat litter would be perfect to cover up the strong aroma of cat feces.
  • Scented cat litter can also help freshen up the smells of the room, especially if you place the litter in places like the bathroom or basement.
  • Using this type of litter can increase the timeframe of when you’d need to change or scoop up what’s needed. Of course, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to do it all together, but it makes for an easy and less tiring routine.


  • A downside brings the strong fragrance into play since it can prove to affect your respiratory system if you have health concerns.
  • Cats have sensitive notes, and if the scent isn’t to their liking, they might avoid using the litter box altogether because of it.


Ultimately, the result of the unscented vs scented cat litter argument all boils down to you and your cats’ preferences. After all, no owner-pet duo are the same. Which of the pros and cons better benefit your situation?

Remember, every good cat litter is capable of neutralizing the dropping smell, but it takes a great owner to pick the right one that will make you and your cat still right at home.

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