Allergic to Cat Litter? Our Top 5 Hypoallergenic Cat Litter Picks

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Here are some of the hypoallergenic cat litters that made it to my shortlist when I was researching what to buy.

Are you or your cat allergic to cat litter?

Most people are familiar with allergies to cat dander. But did you know that a growing segment of people is allergic to popular clay-based cat litters too? Not only that, but there is an abundance of evidence showing that our cats are allergic to it too. Read on to learn if you might need to swap out your fragranced, clay-based brand for a hypoallergenic cat litter.

We adopted our cat before I discovered my wife was pregnant. Because of the risk of toxoplasmosis spreading to my wife and unborn child, I always cleaned the litter box. I was also diligent about wearing gloves and a mask. 

When I didn’t, I would cough and have trouble breathing. This was when I was using a popular clay-based litter that was loaded with artificial fragrance. I bought it because it was inexpensive, and I thought it helped keep odors down. Little did I know that it was making both me and my cat ill. 

The cat sneezed whenever he used the litter box, and his face was puffy. Then he stopped using the litter box altogether. He’d never had issues using the litter box before, and I cleaned it every single day. So I took him to the veterinarian, who immediately guessed what was wrong. The cat didn’t want to use the litter box because it was making him sick.

Signs of cat litter allergies in people

  • Runny Nose
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Irritated Eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Contact Dermatitis

If you notice any of these symptoms occurring during or after cleaning the litter box, there is a chance you are allergic to the cat litter.

Signs of cat litter allergies in cats

  • Runny Nose
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Facial Swelling
  • Wheezing And Coughing
  • Hives And Dermatitis
  • Self-Trauma And Scratching

Best and worst types of cat litter

I had never given much thought to the type of cat litter we were using before. But it wasn’t a tough choice to make. I could either switch out our usual brand for a hypoallergenic litter or my cat and my family would be miserable. 

The veterinarian wrote me a list of a few things to look for in a litter.

  • Fragrance-Free
  • Cats kick up dust when they do their business. Be sure the litter is 99% free of dust.
  • Pellets are a great option since most aren’t made of clay. They also make several litters from silica gel, wood, and paper.
  • If you insist on using clay litter, be sure it does not contain Sodium Bentonite. That is the ingredient that creates the most dust.

The veterinarian also instructed me to clean the litter pan and the surrounding area to get rid of allergens. Placing it in a new spot also encourages a cat to use the litter pan if they stopped using it as our kitty did. 

At the pet store, I discovered several brands of cat litter that fit the bill. Some were quite a bit more expensive than what I was used to paying. But the health of my cat was more important, and the resulting vet bill made it worth paying a little extra. 

I settled on a fragrance-free clumping litter that worked better than our last brand. Even without added fragrance, it controlled odors better. And our cat’s symptoms disappeared in a matter of days.

Now onto some of the hypoallergenic cat litters that made it to my shortlist.

Fresh Step Lightweight Clumping Cat Litter

Low dust hypoallergenic cat litter

It’s hard to find an effective cat litter when you or your cat is allergic to it. One you should try is the Fresh Step Lightweight Clumping Cat Litter. It has no added fragrance, and it clumps exceptionally well. If you have a cat that pees often, you will love this cat litter.

It is lightweight, which usually results in a lot of dust. But this Fresh Step product surprised me because the dust wasn’t a problem. Cleaning the litter box was simple and only takes a minute or two. One drawback to this cat litter is that it tracks a bit.

Though this litter is advertised as fragrance-free, you will notice a scent. What the company means is that they didn’t add artificial fragrance to the litter. I noticed the scent of dryer sheets as soon as I opened the package. But I haven’t reacted to it, so hopefully, no one else will either.

Occasionally my family has to leave the cat on its own. So far the litter works even if we skip cleaning the box for a short time. Because it clumps well, we didn’t return home to broken crumbles of soggy litter.

Fresh Step Lightweight Clumping Cat Litter is excellent. Minimal dust, clumps well, and even though it has a light scent, it’s easy for those with allergies to tolerate.

ökocat Natural Wood Clumping Cat Litter

Natural hypoallergenic cat litter

Fragrance and dust are the primary culprits with allergic reactions to cat litter. This brand doesn’t use clay, which minimizes dust. Plus, it’s free from artificial fragrances and dyes. If you prefer a natural alternative to most commercial cat litters, you and your cat should try this one out.

Besides being hypoallergenic, it ticks all the right boxes for an awesome cat litter. 

They make the tiny pellets from wood, so it is lighter than clay-based formulas. It smells like fresh sawdust. Tracking is minimal because the pellets do not stick to my cat’s paws. Long-haired cats love this formula because clay litter sticks to hair.

Cleaning the litter box is different, but not in a bad way. When sifting through the litter, there are no dust plumes. Larger pellets are mixed in with the smaller ones, and often you will end up tossing the larger grains out while cleaning. The pellets are absorbent, and waste sticks well to it. 

They make the litter from sustainably grown wood. There are no toxic chemicals used, and the manufacturer de-dusts the litter before packaging it. If you are looking for an environmentally sound cat litter that won’t trigger your allergies, look no further.

Arm & Hammer Cloud Control Platinum Clumping Cat Litter

Allergen-free hypoallergenic cat litter

This is a wonderful cat litter. It has what they call Dander Shield Technology that blocks cat dander. This litter is also dust-free, making cleanup a breeze. 

It is not fragrance-free, but the scent is very light and agreeable. The manufacturer claims that the fragrance itself is hypoallergenic. Plus, they include baking soda, a natural odor neutralizer.

I used to wear a mask when cleaning the litter box. It’s no longer necessary when I use this brand. Instead of being overwhelmed by a dust cloud, it is a simple and quick process. Your cats will appreciate the lack of dust too since it doesn’t stick to their coat.

The performance itself is great but different from other formulas. While it clumps well, the clumps don’t dry as much as other brands. The clumps break more. But it is worth it to have a dust-free litter box that doesn’t stink. 

Tracking is minimal and keeping the area around the litter box clean is a snap. You can also go an extra day or two between cleanings. Odors are truly a thing of the past. All in all, this is a fabulous cat litter anyone would love.

Cat’s Pride Unscented Complete Care Hypo-allergenic Multi-Cat Litter

Best hypoallergenic cat litter for humans

Fragrance allergies are no fun, and kitty litters are sometimes the worst offenders. If you are looking for a fragrance-free hypoallergenic cat litter, this is definitely worth a shot. The odor is neutral, and they also don’t use artificial dyes or toxic chemicals.

The litter clumps well and clean up is a breeze. But it does have a tendency to track. The litter sticks to the paws of my cat, so occasionally I find litter on my bed or sofa.

Though the package claims it is 99% dust-free, I think that number is too high. Little puffs of dust wafted through the air when filling the litter pan for the first time.

Compared to most brands, it’s great. But if you have issues with dust, keep that in mind.

Overall, this is an excellent choice for those on a budget who can’t live with artificial fragrances and dyes.

Dr. Elsey’s Premium Clumping Cat Litter

Multi-cat hypoallergenic cat litter

This clumping cat litter is a wonderful choice. It is free of added fragrances and dyes, plus it truly is dust-free.

The litter is a mixture of medium and small grains that clump perfectly when wet. Cleaning the litter box is so much easier with Dr. Elsey’s. The clumps are not heavy, plus they were easy to lift out of the box with a steel slotted spoon.

Though I usually clean the box once a day, occasionally I skip a day or two and never notice a difference with the odor. It does a lovely job neutralizing smells, and my cat loves it. I imagine this would be a great kitty litter for multi-cat families. My kitty can be very stinky, but you’d never know it when I use this brand of litter. 

I highly recommend this cat litter. It covers up the stink without using allergen laden fragrances. Plus, it’s easy to use, affordable, and lightweight,

Taking proper care of the litter box

A litter box is integral to the well-being of your furry friend. If it is neglected, chances are they will stop using it. Plus, if they have allergies, it’s even more important to keep the litter box and the surrounding area clean.

Something to keep in mind is that a cat’s sense of smell is much stronger than yours. What you may think is a fresh litter box might smell disgusting to your cat. With litter boxes, you can never be too clean. 

Basic litter box maintenance:

  • There should be one litter box per cat in your household, plus one extra.
  • Always wear gloves and a mask while handling cat waste.
  • Litter box liners are best when used with non-clumping litter to prevent urine pooling at the bottom.
  • Scoop out droppings and clumps a minimum of once per day. Place the waste in a plastic bag and dispose of it outdoors.
  • After every use, thoroughly wash the litter scoop and store it in a plastic bag.
  • Once a week empty the box and clean it with hot soapy water. Do not use toxic chemicals like ammonia and bleach to clean it.

Baking soda makes a wonderful addition to cat litter for controlling odors. Sprinkle some in the bottom of the pan before filling it. 

Some people choose clumping cat litter, hoping they won’t have to clean the litter box daily. There is nothing further from the truth, especially if your cat has allergies. Clean the box daily, no matter what type of hypoallergenic cat litter you choose. 

Alternatives to clay-based cat litter

Instead of traditional clay litters, try something different. You and your cat’s allergies will be glad you did.

Paper pellets come highly recommended by many vets. They are made from recycled materials and are biodegradable. The only drawback is they don’t clump, so you will have to clean the litter box more often. 

Corn, wheat, and other grains are advertised as natural alternatives to cat litter. The problem with them is they don’t clump well, plus they have an off-putting odor. Plus, cats don’t always like the size of the pellets.

Wood pellets and shavings are great. Some types of wood are bad for cats, so play it safe and stick to commercially prepared brands.