Unscented supermarket cat litter (plus bonus points for cat name)
October 29, 2014 8:12 AM   Subscribe

The good news is that we are getting a cat, but it will be this weekend! He's a young male tiger cat stray. The current caretakers say he likes unscented cat litter (will not go in the box if litter is scented). Does anyone have any recommendations for a decent supermarket litter that is clumping and unscented. I don't have time to get fancy or specialty litter with the timetable involved.

Obligatory pictures of the cat, Perry. (Bonus question, I'm iffy on his current name, so if anyone has thoughts on cat names as well, we would be grateful.)

The longer version is that I am currently dealing with my father's unexpected death a month ago, with much sorrow, angst and paperwork, since I'm the executor as well. My father and his 2 sibilings all died from different causes in the last month, so the extended family is grieving and in shock (and I'm seriously sleep deprived as well).

I'm very very happy to get the cat, but the timing is bad, and I don't have a lot of time to get ready for his arrival, so good tips on cat litter would be so very gratefully received. I have no car so supermarket or mail order options would be best.
posted by gudrun to Pets & Animals (36 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm sorry about your father. I suspect Perry will help with that.

There's a brand of cat litter you can find in supermarkets called "Feline Pine", which is largely made from sawdust; it wasn't great in terms of "clumping" and ease of disposal (this might become very important to you in time), but it's otherwise good. You may be okay with the Feline Pine cleanup anyway.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:22 AM on October 29, 2014

I've seen unscented at Target. At least, it was labeled that way. It was the Boots and Barkley brand, I believe.
posted by emjaybee at 8:24 AM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

What grocery store do you use? I get the Pet Pride unscented litter from Fred Meyer (Kroger chain) that works fine.

I mix it with a silica crystal cat litter called "Amazing Cat Litter" to make it last longer. It is also unscented.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:24 AM on October 29, 2014

Best answer: The easiest thing would be to get whatever litter the current caretakers are using, but failing that, I like Precious Cat which you can buy from Amazon or any online pet store. Plus, it will be delivered to your door so you don't have to worry about lugging it home yourself.
posted by Shal at 8:25 AM on October 29, 2014

Aha, here's the link to the Target stuff.
posted by emjaybee at 8:25 AM on October 29, 2014

OH MY GOD my tabby is also named Perry. I will trade you maybe though.

All the big pet stores carry this now; you can check for locations here. My Perry loves it, and it doesn't smell, and it clumps well, and it doesn't get gross dust into their lungs, allegedly.

This annoying but you might have to try a couple things if your new buddy rebels at scents. BUT. There is definitely plain "unscented" clay litter at your neighborhood supermarket for sure. You can always start with that, to make things easy on yourself, and trade up later when things are more settled there. Really make this about ease—both for you, and for the cat. Give the cat a safe space to hide in and a tidy litter box and keep food and water out and you're basically doing your job. You have a LOT on your plate; you can make cat ownership high maintenance later.

Congratulations and condolences.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:29 AM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I use Target's house brand, which is indeed called Boots & Barkley, for the litterbox that is in the en suite bathroom in my bedroom. I settled on it after trying several brands of scented and unscented clay litters because I loathe the smell of clay litter (unfortunately, the cat who uses this litterbox has refused to use anything but clay, so). It clumps well, it's readily available, isn't super dusty and lasts as long as any other clay litter so long as proper box hygiene is maintained (scoop at least twice daily, wait for clumps to solidify before attempting to lift, don't break the clumps!, top off with fresh litter every other day to refresh). Note that Target also sells the same litter in scented, in very similar packaging, so double check the label before you pull it off the shelf.

Target also carries World Best Cat Litter. I was initially dubious due to the price but it really is a great litter and lasts easily 3x longer than any clay litter I've tried. I'm using it in other boxes in the house and love it. The only downside is not every cat will take to non-clay litters.
posted by jamaro at 8:45 AM on October 29, 2014 [3 favorites]

Most supermarkets will have unscented clay litter and/or unscented silica litter. Can you find out what kind the current cat caretakers are using and just order that off Amazon?

Later on if you decide to switch I highly recommend Blue Naturally Fresh - it's made from walnuts and the unscented one is FANTASTIC. Very little tracking, can't smell a damn thing unless they just used the box 30 seconds ago.

My condolences on your loss. My dad also died a few months ago, I'm his executor, and we inherited his two cats, so I definitely empathize with you. Take care of yourself, and let Perry (or whatever you decide to rename him) take care of you too.
posted by bedhead at 8:48 AM on October 29, 2014

Best answer: (Regarding the name, I'd be inclined to nickname him "Commodore," inspired by this guy (and his brother), but perhaps more importantly for excuses to croon at him. "Nightshift" is SO GOOD... and I just realized that it's actually a very appropriate tribute to departed loved ones. I am so sorry for your loss, and I hope that beautiful cat brings you much joy.)
posted by argonauta at 8:58 AM on October 29, 2014

Response by poster: Clarifications: no Target close by so it would have to be mail order. Current litter is Walmart, which we can't/won't use for a variety of reasons (hate Walmart, plus none close by). There is a very small Safeway the closest, and a Giant supermarket a bit further, and Whole Foods, and a fancy expensive pet store pretty close that has Precious Cat I think, so I may just grab that from them for the sake of convenience. We've asked for a bit of his current litter to sprinkle on top to help with the transition.

(Thanks for the kind words, Dad was elderly but it was a car accident so this has been super hard. His beloved cat died 3 weeks after him. My aunt's funeral is tomorrow, which I can't make unfortunately. My uncle's service is in December. The family is stunned. I've been wanting a cat myself for a while, and so we said we would take Perry when he turned up as a stray and friends took him in temporarily, but I'm emotionally a wreck so this is hard.)
posted by gudrun at 9:04 AM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

Do you have Trader Joe's near you? Their pine pellet litter is really great, and non-perfumed. And/or if you have horse-related feed stores near you -- that exact same stuff is sold there, in bigger bags, at an even lower cost.

Lastly, once you find the style you and your cat both like, you might want to consider getting Amazon Prime and having it delivered to your house via the "subscribe and save" option -- can lower your stress levels quite a bit to know that it will come regularly to your house without you having to go get it.
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:04 AM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

The wood pellet litter is just woodstove pellets marked up for cat use. Do you have an Ace Hardware near you? They generally carry them, if you want to go the pellet route. (Note: some cats find them not sandlike enough.)
posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:10 AM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I like Swheat Scoop. It's clumping, non-clay, and unscented. Get the normal kind, not the multiple cat kind. The multiple cat kind smells weird and works terribly. I have found it in different supermarkets, though I generally buy mine online or in my local fancy-schmancy pet shop.
posted by Anonymous at 9:11 AM on October 29, 2014

I'm recommending the Breeze System, which you can get at Wal-Mart and PetSmart.

It's unscented, cost effective and the cats like it fine. It's also a lot lower maintenance than other litter.

You change out the pee pad once a week per cat, and scoop poop as you go. We bought a Litter Genie, so poop goes into it.

I spend exactly 10 seconds dealing with cat waste on a daily basis. Once a week we change out pee pads, and dump the poop into the trash for the trash dudes.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:25 AM on October 29, 2014

My cats will not use a box that has any kind of scented litter (including Feline Pine - they can't stand the pine smell) or coarse textured litter. So I use Cat's Pride Fresh and Light unscented clumping litter. I get it in bulk from Amazon (and I have also found it easily available at grocery and drug stores). All my cats really love it, it controls odor well, and I find it has less dust than many clumping brands.

What a handsome tabby boy! What gorgeous stripes! /skritches
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:33 AM on October 29, 2014

I've used Swheat Scoop, The World's Best Cat Litter, and Feline Pine, and I've found that while they all start out kind of non-scented, none of them were all that great for eliminating odors that show up later, if you catch my drift. Or clumping all that tightly. I now use Arm and Hammer's multiple cat (they have several other varieties, but I have two cats, so...) clay litter, which comes in an unscented variety, and is great. Clumps tight, the baking powder takes care of the odors, the clay pellets are really small, so it feels soft on the cats' feet (and it's not as bad when they kick it out and I step on it). It's really the best litter I've found, and I went through a bunch of them. I get it at any grocery store.
posted by Weeping_angel at 9:50 AM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also, I think he looks like a Toby.
posted by Weeping_angel at 9:53 AM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

I use Cat's Pride Natural Scoop, which is an unscented clay scoopable litter that I can get at the grocery store. It comes in a white jug with a green lid. If I notice an odor problem I chuck some baking soda in the box. Princess and Betty approve.
posted by shiny blue object at 9:54 AM on October 29, 2014

Best answer: our market (and every petco/petsmart I've ever been in) carries Arm & Hammer clumping unscented that works great.
Amazon carries it as well (comes in 28 and 40 lb boxes)
posted by bowmaniac at 9:56 AM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I use that Arm & Hammer clumping unscented too! My cats like it a lot and they're pretty picky. They have it at Walmart and Kroger in my town.

Perry looks like my Mom's cat Petey, who is SUCH a good boy.
posted by orangek8 at 10:11 AM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Thirding Arm & Hammer clumping unscented. It's usually available at Walmart and it's my go-to litter when I can't get my usual litter from Petco or Amazon.
posted by augustimagination at 10:30 AM on October 29, 2014

My PetCo has a bulk bin of clumping litter that is unscented that is cheaper than anything else on the shelves, and you can reuse your big plastic buckets.
posted by schnee at 10:52 AM on October 29, 2014

We've used Arm and Hammer unscented and it was nice. We currently use Fresh Step "unscented" but it should probably be called "less scented." We switched because, somehow, only Fresh Step was clumpy enough one of our previous cats. Nothing else held together. No idea why.
posted by advicepig at 10:53 AM on October 29, 2014

N-thing the wood pellets option. We switched our 2 cats over to it a couple of years ago and by far the best decision we made. And yeah, if you go that route, don't bother with pet store or pet brands of wood pellets - the more inexpensive woodstove purposed pellets are perfectly suitable. And only a slight natural wood sort of odour.
posted by annekenstein at 11:09 AM on October 29, 2014

Do you have an ALDI near you? If so, their cat litter is unscented, very clumpy, not too dusty, and super cheap.

Although it sounds like, from the reviews in the link, ALDI has changed both the package and the formula and this is not good. So if you have a store nearby and they haven't switched from the plastic containers, stock up!

Condolences to you, and I hope you catch up on your sleep soon! Enjoy Perry!
posted by danabanana at 11:29 AM on October 29, 2014

We stumbled across the unscented walgreens litter one day when petsmart was closed. It was cheap enough and it WAS unscented which many of them say but arent. It was the store brand but i cznt remember what thats called.

If kitty doesnt like smelly litter he will likely avoid feline pine.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 11:55 AM on October 29, 2014

Also you should 1000000% order a litter genie from amazon. It has turned scooping from a hated and oft postponed chore to 30 seconds of meh that i do every day.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 11:57 AM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: We use Arm and Hammer Super Scoop Fragrance Free - package says "clumps instantly" and while I can't confirm the instantly part, it does clump very well, better than the A&H Multi Cat formulation.
posted by mr vino at 12:20 PM on October 29, 2014

And let me 2nd the recommendation for the litter genie - works amazingly well, and completely kills the odor of the dirty litter.
posted by mr vino at 12:22 PM on October 29, 2014

Best answer: Another vote for Arm & Hammer unscented! I've tried many other clay clumping litters and this one is BY FAR the least dusty.
posted by chowflap at 12:58 PM on October 29, 2014

Petco has cheap unscented litter that my cats are very happy with. We generally get it in store (they sell it in bulk), but I believe this is the exact same product. You get free shipping if you order a certain amount of $$, and they also offer an extra discount if you "subscribe" to regular deliveries.

My condolences on your losses.
posted by insectosaurus at 1:59 PM on October 29, 2014

Best answer: The Precious Cat litter from Amazon that Shal posted would be my answer too. You can have it delivered easily, it's unscented (at least I detected no scent whatsoever) and it's surprisingly low on dust.
posted by kassila at 3:59 PM on October 29, 2014

We use Scoop Away Super Clump Unscented from the grocery store, but Amazon carries it.
posted by Joleta at 9:10 PM on October 29, 2014

My cat isn't fussy so I've had a chance to experiment since I got him a couple of years ago and my favorite* is definitely the Fresh Step Multi-cat Unscented. (The Multi-cat is the only unscented version I've seen.) I'm pretty sure I heard about it from old questions here. Mom and my BFF have strict orders to tell me if there's even a hint of cat box smells and I've gotten the all-star for almost three years. It doesn't track more than a foot away, either.

*Actually, my favorite was World's Best but it didn't quite clump enough to work with my litter box.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:56 AM on October 30, 2014

His name is quite obviously Edward.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:38 PM on October 30, 2014

Response by poster: I marked best answers on what I have immediate access to, but all answers were extremely helpful.

He is happily using the Arm and Hammer now, with a bit of his old litter thrown on top for the transition. I have some Precious Cat as well. (The low dust factor is helpful for my allergies as well.) I'm pondering the Litter Genie. It seems very appealing if I can find the space for it. (I'm also reading through all the old threads on cat food and cat toys.)

Thanks for all the kind words about my Dad as well. One day at a time ....
posted by gudrun at 5:05 AM on November 3, 2014

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