Natural and Thrifty in 365: #116 Natural Cat Litter Alternatives

Cat / Animals / Kitten / Photography

Cat litter contains a lot of toxic chemicals including silica dust. Here are some alternatives for a more green and eco-friendly cat litter:

What are some of your ideas for alternatives?

Photo courtesy of CubaGallery.

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  1. We have three cats and used Feline Pine (or PetSmart’s generic brand) for four years. I swore up and down to everyone about how great it was! We even had the special litterbox that helps you sift out the sawdust.

    But about a year ago I decided to try something new. Our newest cat was having litterbox issues, so I thought a natural litter with a smaller pellet might help her. After reading up on the latest natural litters, we opted to try World’s Best Cat Litter. Omg, it immediately lived up to it’s name! It’s made from corn and is leagues better than Feline Pine. Let me count the ways. ^_^

    1. It clumps easily.
    2. Barely any smell, even when heavily soiled.
    3. It’s a little more expensive but it lasts a lot longer. Probably about twice as long as FP.
    4. The cats took right to it!

    We use the multi-cat formula of World’s Best Cat Litter, which oddly enough smells a little bit like BBQ when it’s fresh out of the bag. Hubs recently grabbed the scented formula because it was slightly cheaper, and we will definitely never do that again! It smells a little like eucalyptus when it’s unused. Once it’s used, it’s just terrible. Ugh!

    But the regular unscented formula is awesome. ^_^ It’s also flushable and safe for composting! (Note: Compost made from used litter must “cook” for 18 months before it’s safe to use on crops.)

    We also tried Swheat Scoop once, which is a natural litter made from wheat. Many people swear up and down by the stuff, but it develops this sickly sweet smell once it’s soiled. It made me feel incredibly sick, and we’ve never gone back to it.

  2. I have tried feline pine and newspaper. And the feline pine my cat refused to use. And the newspaper made the cat box smell so bad! I love going natural where I can but so far cat litter has not been one I have been able to easily

  3. Sarah, don’t give up! We recently converted to World’s Best Cat Litter, and it’s AWESOME! A little more expensive than Feline Pine, but it lasts a lot longer. And we have three cats!

    World’s Best Cat Litter is made from corn and is flushable and compostable. Fantastic stuff!

  4. I have heard that pellets that you would burn in your pellet stove make great cat litter. They are made from compressed saw dust. I have not tried them since I don’t have a litter box anymore, but the employee at the store told me that a lot of people buy them for that. I used to buy a litter that seemed similar and it was much more expensive then the pellets.

  5. Great ideas! Im allergic to something in regular cat litter. It slowly closes my throat up (over a period of a couple days when I’m around it) to where its really hard for me to breathe. We don’t have a cat for this reason! And FYI… if you live in “horse country” find out where the local barns buy their shavings in bulk & pick up bags of shavings there. A lot cheaper even than tractor supply.

  6. We used wood pellets (for a pellet stove) as cat litter for many years. It worked great and didn’t have that perfume smell like the clay litters have. The cat pees on it and it breaks down into sawdust, which you can spread outside instead of mulch. You do have to still scoop the poop though.

  7. Sweet Scoop (made from wheat) was far better than Feline Pine or the newspaper stuff (although the newspaper stuff was great for soaking up oil spills in the garage). Also flushable and compostable.

  8. Sarah – did you gradualy add the new stuff in or just change it to the new stuff at one time? Most cats are super picky and will hate a full change. But if start with a little bit and add a bit more each time you clean the litter box they may not have a problem with it. We use Feline Pine and LOVE it. We started with about 3/4 regular clumping litter we have always used and 1/4 FP, all mixed together. Then a few weeks later we went to half and half. And so on.
    I love that there is no pee smell anymore! I totally would be on an infomercial for Feline Pine! :)

  9. I have tried the newspaper, but it doesn’t control odor well at all, so we switched to an off-brand Feline Pine. It works so well! Even when the box is heavily soiled, I can only smell pine, and it’s not too strong. I have wanted to try the corn based litter, I think it’s World’s Best… Just haven’t gotten around to it. My kitty is pretty picky about her litter, that’s another reason I’ve been hesitant. But we sure love the pine litter!

  10. I used to use pine clumping litters until they stopped clumping and lost their ability to control the odors. Pine is also one of the worst litters for dust production. It tracks absolutely everywhere in the house. I have 4 cats so having a dependable litter is crucial. Several months ago I switched to Swheat Scoop and initially loved it. It has no odor of its own, it clumped really well and was awesome at controlling odors. But recently it has stopped clumping for some reason which causes the litter to get stinky much sooner due to all the small pieces of broken down clumps. It doesn’t seem to matter how gently I attempt to lift out the clumps. Swheat Scoop is rather pricey as well so this is very frustrating! I will never go back to clay based litters, they’re unhealthy for both cats and humans and wreak havoc on the environment. I started doing some research online and stumbled upon a few blogs concerning natural alternatives to kitty litter. One of the bloggers mentioned using World’s Best Cat Litter and how much she liked it but it was very expensive. She then explained how this litter closely resembles ground corn based chick starter feed for baby chicks. The only difference is the chick feed has added nutrients. I have 5 boxes and decided to experiment with just one to see what happened. I put the chick feed into one box and in less than 30 minutes, my cats were using it. I couldn’t believe how fast it clumped and there was no urine odor left behind. The cost difference between this stuff and WBCL is enormous! Where I live, WBCL is around $40. for a 34# bag while the chick feed is $13. for a 50# bag. Since it is now summertime, I will also be adding a little baking soda to the bottom of the boxes to keep them dry and pest free. The used, scooped feed can also be composted afterward so no more landfill contributions.
    I just wanted to share this with other people who may be interested in finding an all natural alternative that is earth friendly as well as cost effective.

    • I decided to give the Chick Starter a try. First let me say that I have a food obsessed cat….. instead of using the box to do her business in she started to EAT the Chick Starter!!!!! I was mortified to say the least. I have even tried the pellets for laying hens and the result was the same. I have always used the “Good News” type of litter but was looking for an alternative. I may go to training my cats on the toilet or look at a Cat Genie.

  11. Hi
    I’ve been searching for a cheap (and I do mean CHEAP) alternative to my clay clumping litter. I’ve been paying about $10 for a 40lb. box at Kroger. I’m now on a fixed income with two indoor cats. One is declawed and the other is a digger. I was using crystals on the digger because she also has a bladder the size of mine. The other one is dainty and fussy and the crystals hurt her paws. The clay clumping is wonderful but they go through, at very least, a box per month (hard when you have to include food and medication in the shopping budget equation). Is there a solution to this problem other than trying to teach them to go in the toilet? Not sure if I want to share the loo with a cat, though.
    Any suggestions helpful.
    Terri T.

    • I use those pellets for horse bedding from Tractor Supply. It’s less than $5 for a huge bag, and is the same things as that “natural cat litter.”

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