Last Updated on February 18, 2023 by ellen
Are you looking for a homemade cat litter alternative? Whether you’re hoping to save money or you can’t get to the store right now, there are other options.
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If you have an inside cat, keeping the litter box full of some type of DIY kitty litter is an absolute must.
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Homemade Cat Litter Alternative
If you want a homemade cat litter alternative, there are several different options that will work in a pinch. They won’t clump like your favorite litter or smell like your favorite aerosol air freshener. But, your cats should adjust fairly well.
Ideally, you will introduce the new medium slowly over a few days so that they aren’t presented with a big change all at once. Cats often don’t like change especially when it’s sudden. So, try adding a bit of homemade cat litter alternative to their box for a few days when you know you’re running low.
I find that Chewy.com has a great selection of cat litter and they can deliver it to you quickly.
What can I use instead of cat litter?
So, even if you can’t get to the store right now, there are several places online that you can order cat litter. I would suggest that first if possible before you try a cat litter replacement.
But, if you cannot order online or you would prefer to use something homemade, you can try one of these. They are the best cat litter alternatives I’ve found.
Use paper for an emergency cat litter
If you have a paper shredder you can use shredded paper as a home made cat litter alternative. This will allow your cat to scratch in something to bury their waste. You will need to change it more frequently because the paper will get wet. But, it will work in an emergency.
Wood shavings as a cat litter substitute
For those that live in the country or live near a garden center, you can pick up wood shavings to use as a homemade cat litter alternative. They will absorb the water a bit better than shredded paper will. But, it will still need to be changed more frequently.
Feline Pine is a great traditional clay litter alternative. Get it here.
Can I use rice instead of cat litter?
If you have rice on hand, it’s a much better idea to eat it rather than using it in your cat litter box. But, rice will absorb urine in a way that paper and wood shavings will not.
It won’t do anything to hide the smell of ammonia. And, remember not to overfill the cat box since rice expands.
Can I use beans instead of litter?
Sure. Again, I recommend actually eat the beans rather than dumping them in your cat box. But, if you hate pinto beans or you have a bag that’s just too old to be used, you can definitely use that instead of cat litter.
Again, remember that they won’t absorb cat urine or mask odor like a traditional cat litter.
Using dirt as a homemade cat litter alternative
Traditional dirt doesn’t work very well as cat litter. As soon as it gets wet, what you have is mud. And, that will make a huge mess in your home.
You may have a slightly better result with sand if you happen to live near the beach or have a sandbox in the back yard. If you absolutely must, your cat should use it. But it will be messy.
Homemade cat litter alternative odor tips
None of these homemade cat litter alternatives will do anything to control the odor after your cat uses the box. It’s very important for you to scoop solid waste and remove as much wet litter as possible. And, you will need to wash the litter box and put in new litter regularly.
You can also use baking soda to help control odor. Just add a little bit to the litter when you replace it. How much you need will depend on how much litter, how many cats, and how big your litter box is. Experiment until it works. You can also set a jar of baking soda near your litter box to help absorb odors. Here’s a DIY baking soda jar.
Whatever you do do NOT add essential oils to your litter. Essential oils are toxic to cats.
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Ellen runs a small pet sitting business in southern Vermont. She has experience with a variety of small animals, dogs and cats. She has also cared for ducks, chickens and rabbits. Combined, she has over 20 years of experience in pet care and pet sitting.