If you’re sick of regular cat litter and were wondering if there are any alternatives you could use, we have good news! Cats prefer sandy litter to do their business but aren’t that picky and use whatever’s most suitable. Dirt, paper, wood shavings, and many other common waste products make satisfactory litter alternatives.
Whether you personally dislike litter, have asthma that the dust triggers, or want something cheaper, you have several choices. Check out the most widely available cat litter alternatives you might already have at home below.
The 10 Cat Litter Alternatives
All types of paperwork, but to make it work long-term, you’ll need access to a paper shredder and a ton of paper. Shredded paper, like newspaper, doesn’t absorb moisture as well as other litter choices and must be changed frequently to prevent odors. Paper is a great choice because it produces no dust, which is a godsend for homes with asthmatics.
Anyone with a workshop has access to a lot of free sawdust, which makes it a good choice in place of traditional cat litter. Even if you don’t have your own, nearly any woodworker will gladly give you some sawdust for free. Wood’s natural scent does a good job disguising the ammonia smell that permeates litter boxes, but make sure to avoid pine, which is toxic to cats.
Cats love sand, though it’s much messier than regular cat litter. Nearly any type of sand can work, from beach sand to horticultural sand. Sand makes a bigger mess than commercial litter and also sticks to your cat’s paws. We recommend sand if you can get it cheap and don’t mind cleaning it up around the house.
4. Chicken Feed
Chicken feed pellets look very similar to cat litter pellets, and they do roughly the same job. Because chicken feed is made of corn and similar agricultural products, it doesn’t produce dust while clumping into easily cleaned lumps.
You can add baking soda to help control odors, and you’ll have a great alternative to regular litter. The biggest downside of chicken feed is that rodents and bugs love it, so be careful about attracting pests into your house.
5. Puppy Pads
Owners with small dogs or puppies will already have some of these on hand, and your cats may have encountered them before. Cats learn how to use pads very quickly, but beware that some may have an issue with being unable to bury their poop and bunch the pads up in an effort to hide them.
6. Potting Soil
Cats love to do their business in the garden, and you can take that experience inside by using potting soil instead of cat litter. It makes more of a mess than litter, but the fresh soil smell does a good job at odor control, and it’s biodegradable.
7. Rabbit Food Pellets
Yes, the same food bunnies eat makes good cat litter. The pellets clump together like litter and do a decent job of covering up the foul litter odor.
Like the other animal feed choices on this list, rabbit pellets attract rodents and insects, which can be a dealbreaker for some people. They also don’t hold as much moisture as clay litter.
8. Artificial Grass
Many artificial turfs are good choices for a cat litter replacement because they’re easy to clean and aren’t burned by your cat’s urine like real grass. Patches of artificial grass can sometimes replace puppy pads, or you may consider training your cat to go outside on your turf. It can be a hassle to clean, but the upside is that you don’t have to keep buying litter.
Wheat litter is made from rejected components that are not good enough to go into food and take the form of little pellets like chicken feed or rabbit pellets. It works well as a litter by clumping but kicks up dust and tracks around the house.
Whole wheat works in a pinch if you have lots of it. The natural texture of wheat can be coarse and unpleasant for your kitty’s paws, which you can remedy by popping it in the blender to get a finer consistency.
10. Wood Heating Pellets
Homes that use pellet stoves for heating in the winter can put them to use as your cat’s litter. The wood pellets are one of the best cat litter alternatives because they absorb a surprising amount of moisture, have a naturally fragrant woody odor, and aren’t too hard to clean up.
Cat litter isn’t your only choice; you can use sand if you live near an abundant source or use the wood shavings and sawdust from your workshop. Puppy pads, potting soil, and other materials also work, albeit with their pros and cons. If, for whatever reason, you don’t like regular cat litter, consider using one of the alternatives we listed above.
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