Owning a cat can be costly especially when you spent a lot on cat litter. However, you can save money and reduce your environmental impact by using homemade cat litter. There are a number of ways to save on cat litter costs so you can spend more money on cat toys and treats.
More common than you might think, many people opt for alternatives to retail cat litter and find their own substitutes. Some pet owners want to stop purchasing cat litter as a result of allergies. Other cat owners have environmental concerns.
While commercial cat litter products can be very effective, sometimes it’s just a matter of finding a super-fast solution for a stray cat you just brought into your home.
In this article:
What is Cat Litter?
Cat litter is basically an indoor feces and urine collector for indoor cats. In order to be effective, cat litter must be absorbent. Cats naturally want to bury their excrement, so it’s important to use something that they can sweep around with their paws.
Cat Litter Substitutes
By now you’ve probably realized that you can make your cats litter at home. Some cat litter methods are more complex than others.
Depending on what materials you have available and how much time you want to invest in making your cats litter, there is a wide variety of options for you to choose from.
Please understand that we’re not saying any of these are better than commercial cat litter.
In most cases, if you can buy high-quality litter from the store – or order it online – you’ll probably be employing a better solution than any of the substitutes. But if there are no other options available, these 10 ideas might help you out.
What to Consider When Choosing a Cat Litter Substitutes
Cost of Cat Litter Substitutes
For many pet owners, reduced price leads the list of pros. Depending on the substitute you choose, you might notice a significant drop in cat litter fees, especially if you own more than one cat.
Convenience and Ease Of Use
Depending on where you live, how accessible materials are, and how big your storage area, you might find it more convenient to utilize a do-it-yourself cat litter alternative.
You can make kitty litter in bulk and keep it handy for future use rather than make frequent trips to the store.
Health Concerns for You and Your Cat
Many commercial cat litters in stores treat their formulas with chemicals. Some of these chemicals can cause health problems for your pet.
Gastrointestinal issues can occur if your cat ingests sodium bentonite clay, an ingredient used in many clumping cat litters.
Some cats develop respiratory problems from the silica dust in many kitty litters. Even humans may experience an allergic reaction from the dust.
And then, there’s the issue of your own health.
You may be unaware of the environmental impacts caused because of some cat litters on the market. Sodium bentonite clay obtained via an environmentally harmful strip-mining process can lead to
contaminated water supplies and destroyed agricultural land and forests. It’s important to choose a sustainable cat litter, whether purchased or handmade.
Furthermore, some cat litters are safer to dispose of than others. Some cat litters require disposal via landfill while other kitty litters are compostable.
Homemade Cat Litter Options
1. Use Shred Newspaper
One of the easiest materials to use in the cat’s litter box is plain newspaper. After all, it is what the vet suggests after declawing.
Newspaper is plentiful, it is cheap, and your cat may even be willing to use it. On the other hand, she may not. If that’s the case, you may need to find a way to attract her to it.
One of the negative aspects of the newspaper is that you will need a lot of it. You can ask neighbors to save newspaper for you, and you may also want to check with the local newspaper.
They may be willing to give you the outdated papers. You can also shred your junk mail.
2. Try Chicken Feed
This article on making homemade cat litter suggests using a combination of chicken feed, baking soda, and cedar shavings.
While this may be very absorbent, it would also potentially attract mice, rats, and bugs. If you decide to try this idea, you will need to monitor the kitty litter very closely to ensure that it isn’t causing a problem.
3. Use Sand
It’s no secret that cats seem to be attracted to children’s sandboxes. You can create the same attractive setting inside by using sand in the kitty litter box. Sand clumps very well when it is wet and does not hold cat urine odors.
For added odor protection, add about one cup of baking soda to the sand and mix it well. The downside of using sand as kitty litter is that it is easily tracked all over the house in your cat’s paws. A litter box mat can help cut down on the tracking.
4. Make Homemade Clumping Cat Litter From Dish Soap and Baking Soda
According to TreeHugger.com, you can make a commercial-style cat litter out of newspaper, water, dish soap, and baking soda.
The process takes about an hour. You shred the paper and add the water and dish soap. You drain it, rinse and add baking soda and then crumble and dry.
The consistency that results is more like conventional kitty litter than any of the other options.
5. Use wood chips or pine animal bedding
Wood chips and pine animal bedding can be used for cat litter. You can mix it with baking soda for a deodorizing effect. The animal bedding is usually quite absorbent, but wood chips may be cheaper if you can make them yourself!
Materials To Avoid as Cat Litter Substitutes
We do not recommend using potting soil as a cat litter substitute in your home. Potting soil is incredibly messy and is easily tracked outside of the litter box. It does not clump well, and soil holds pet odor.
If you’re using any kind of wood shavings – make sure they’re pet-safe AND cat-safe. Some types of wood and plant matter can be toxic for cats.
1. How do I teach my new kitten to use the litter box?
Kittens typically learn to use a litter box at three or four weeks of age. In fact, most mother cats teach their kittens how to use litter boxes, which strengthens the kitten’s natural instinct to eliminate in sand or soil.
2. What is the best litter to use?
The best cat litters are made from natural, nontoxic ingredients. Studies have shown that most cats prefer litters that most resemble beach sand and unscented clumpable litters.
Changes are stressful for most cats, no matter big or small. It’s essential to make any changes gradual and subtle.
Whichever cat litter or cat litter substitute you choose, be sure to make the change slowly. A sudden change in routine or environment is upsetting for most cats.
Do your pet a favor and consider their preferences before making any changes to their litter box. Besides, for some cats, it’s more than just about a bathroom but a sense of security as well.
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