Can You Mix Clumping and Non-Clumping Litter?

Can You Mix Clumping and Non-Clumping Litter

No, you cannot mix clumping and non-clumping cat litter. This is because mixing the two types of litter will take away the scoopable nature of the clumping litter. So, it will end up working as if it is all non-clumping litter. Mixing the two types of litter is not recommended and it is much better to just use one type.

If you want to know more why you should not mix clumping and non-clumping cat litter, keep on reading.

What is cat litter?

Cat litter is the magical substance that makes life easier for cat owners the world over.

The idea of a material designed to soak up cat urine is nothing new. In the early 20th century, people used sand and ash. Cats did not take well to the ash and sand though. They had a tendency to stick to the fur on a cat’s paws, which the cats spread all over the house.

In the 1940s, a man named Edward Lowe discovered that granulated clay absorbed moisture along with the strong odor of urine, and most importantly, the material did not get stuck to a cat’s fur. Lowe then went on to brand his discovery as kitty litter which became an instant hit with cat owners worldwide.

Nowadays, there are different formulations and brands of cat litter, but they can usually be categorized into either clumping and non-clumping cat litter.

Non-clumping cat litter

Basically, non-clumping cat litter is any substance that is used in a litter box that stays loose and does not clump up. The material has to have absorbency.

Material like recycled newspaper, silica grit, and some agri byproducts that are used for litter does not clump and can be dust-free. If you or your cat suffer from asthma or you just do not like the idea of litter dust circulating in the air around your home, these kinds of traditional litter might be the better choice for you.

Litter made from wood pellets, corn stalks, coconut husk, and standard clays are cheaper than clumping litter. 

Some cats prefer non-clumping litter because they feel more natural for the cat when they step on it. Plus, it will not have solid clumps that are probably uncomfortable to step on for cats.

Non-clumping litter can have great odor control. It is also very absorbent. But when non-clumping litter is saturated it will start to smell which tells you that it needs to be changed. If you are unable to change the litter quickly, it can really stink up a room.

When non-clumping litter is fully saturated, the whole tray needs to be changed and refilled, unlike the clumping litter that only needs the clumps removed.

Non-clumping litters are generally much better for the environment. Recycled materials can be used such as agricultural by-products or wood pellets or the like. If you are environmentally conscious, non-clumping cat litter is the way to go.

Clumping cat litter

Clumping cat litter is relatively new when compared to non-clumping cat litter. It is more expensive than con-clumping litter, but it is still a popular choice with cat owners as it does have some distinct advantages compared to non-clumping litter.

One litter tray of clumping litter tends to last longer than the non-clumping kind. This is because the litter clumps up when your cat pees on it, and all you have to do is fish out the clumps with a spade daily. This way, you are removing the used litter and leaving fresh unused litter. You can then just place new litter on top every few days. So, your one tray of litter can last for several days.

Clumping litter also has better odor control as you are constantly emptying out the used litter clumps so you will not have bad odors hanging around your house. The smell of ammonia from a litter tray can be pretty bad, but with clumping, that can be avoided.

Clumping litter is always made from clay that sticks and binds together when it comes into contact with water. The problem with clay is that it tends to come hand in hand with dust. If you abhor dust, maybe clumping litter is not for you.

One of the differences that is a major factor for cat owners when choosing cat litter is price. Clumping litter is more expensive because clay litter needs to be excavated and processed, which contributes to the higher cost.

This type of litter can also get caught in the fur on your cat’s paws and deposited around your home, which can be quite unsanitary.

Why a cat owner may want to mix the two types of litter

A cat owner may think about mixing non-clumping and clumping litter together because you are nearly out of your usual litter but your pet store only has the other kind in stock. Sometimes owners will think of mixing them to reduce litter cost, adding cheap non-clumping with the more expensive clumping. While some owners think they can mix the two to maybe balance out each other’s advantages and disadvantages.

Can you mix clumping and non-clumping litter?

Technically, yes, you can mix the two materials together. But the clumping cat litter will no longer clump effectively. You basically, just made more non-clumping litter by mixing them together.


If your reasoning behind mixing clumping and non-clumping cat litter is to make more clumping cat litter, then the answer is no. Mixing the two types of cat litter makes the clumping cat litter lose its clumping properties. It is much better to just pick the type of litter your cat prefers and stick to it.

Image: / BiancaGrueneberg