How to Make Homemade Cat Litter? - 6 Sustainable Alternatives
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With the wide range of cats litter available, choosing the right product for your cat can be a daunting task. Not to mention that some products can be quite expensive. Moreover, there are some products that can even cause allergies or inflammation of the cat's mucous membranes because they contain fragrances or irritating chemicals. Because of this, these days more and more people are looking for more environmentally friendly and economical alternatives, like making their own biodegradable cat litter at home.
In this AnimalWised article, we will show you how to make your own homemade cat litter using sustainable and budget-friendly materials.
What is the best cat litter?
Cat litter is basically a collection container for feces and urine from indoor cats. To be effective, cat litter must be absorbent. Cats naturally want to bury their feces. Therefore, it is important that you use something that they can sweep up with their paws.
Nowadays, there are different types of cat litter, adapting to the different needs of each kitten and the economic possibilities of each owner. Cats often have their own opinions about cat litter. It may take a few tries to figure out what kind of litter your cat likes. You might need to experiment with different types and textures to find the best solution for your cat and your pocket. There are a variety of options, each promising unique benefits for you and your cat, from easy cleaning and odor control to minimal dusting and high-quality materials.
Most of these commercial products usually require a larger investment. Fortunately, it is possible to make homemade versions of commercial cat litters using affordable and sustainable ingredients. You can save money and help the environment by using homemade cat litter. There are several easy DIY alternatives that can be made from household items such as sand, newspaper, and wood. Each of these products has pros and cons that you should weigh before choosing the best homemade option.
Remember that regardless of the type of cat litter you pick, it is also important to choose the right box for your pet. Keep in mind that the litter box should be at least as long as your cat, from nose to tip of tail (when extended), and at least as wide as it is long (when it is not extended).
If you want to know more about the different types of cat litter on the market, read our article about the types of cat litter.
Can you make homemade cat litter?
There are many natural and inexpensive products with absorbent and/or clumping properties that can be used to make homemade and even biodegradable cat litter. Here are some very easy to make options with ingredients you can find at any market, fair or health food store.
Making your own cat litter offers some important advantages:
- Lower cost
- Greater sustainability
- Increased safety for you and your cat
However, there are also some things you need to consider before choosing to making your own cat litter.
- Some materials used to make DIY cat litter, such as newsprint, require that you have access to large quantities of it.
- You may be used to commercial cat litter, which reduces odors and forms clumps that are easier to pick up. These benefits usually can not be replicated with homemade cat litter. So while you may enjoy some aspects of homemade cat litter, you may be missing out on some of the best features of the commercial products you already know and trust.
- Making your own cat litter requires some experimentation. There are different materials and formulas you can try. If you enjoy it, that's great; if not, you may want to reconsider. You have probably noticed that certain consumer products have their pros and cons. This is also true for homemade cat litters.
If you have two or more cats at home and are wondering if they can share the same litter box, check out this article: Can two cats share a litter box?
Homemade cat litter from cornmeal
Cornmeal is a great product for making homemade cat litter, and it is biodegradable. When it comes into contact with cat urine or feces (which contains a certain amount of liquid), cornmeal forms solid clumps that make it easy to clean the litter box.
To optimize the performance of cornmeal as a homemade cat litter, you can add a teaspoon of baking soda, as this product helps prevent the litter from smelling bad. You can use any type of cornmeal, but also crushed corn kernels.
Homemade cat litter from cassava flour
Another affordable and biodegradable ingredient you can use as a substitute for cat litter is cassava flour. You can buy the same flour that you use for cooking, but you will get less refined, i.e., coarser flour, which is much better.
The cassava flour grains react on contact with the moisture in the kitten's urine and feces to form consistent blocks with a binding effect. A good idea for making homemade cat litter is to mix cassava flour with corn flour, as this improves the properties of this litter and is a completely natural, economical and ecological option.
The only disadvantage of yucca is that its scent can be attractive to many pets. For this reason, your cat, or dog may want to eat the contents of the litter box. You must be careful to choose the product that best suits the preferences and habits of your pets, to avoid these unforeseen events.
Homemade cat litter from wheat
As we mentioned earlier, many people are aware of the impact of irresponsible consumption on the environment and have decided to adopt more sustainable lifestyles and consumption habits. In light of this change in consumer attitude, many brands have started to offer recyclable and/or biodegradable products for pets. A good example of this is cat litter, which is made from natural products such as wheat, without the addition of industrial chemicals (although not all of it is organic).
Making your own cat litter from 100% biodegradable organic wheat is also much cheaper than the products sold in pet stores and supermarkets. If you can not get organic wheat or a cheaper solution, you can use regular wheat. However, we do not recommend using regular flour because it is highly refined and may contain some industrial residues. Also, since it is so thin, it tends to spread and can leave your house dirty and full of white paws.
Therefore, the most natural, practical and safe thing to do is to buy wheat grains and grind them with an electric mill until you get a relatively fine bran, but not flour. You can also ask health food stores if they offer ground wheat to make your job easier.
Once you get the wheat, all you have to do is cover the bottom of the litter box with this wheat bran and add a little baking soda to prevent strong odors. If you want to improve the clumping effect of your homemade cat litter, just add some cornmeal or yucca flour.
Homemade cat litter from sawdust
As you might expect, wood is a very versatile material, but it also stands out for being biodegradable and fully renewable. Of course, the supply must be well planned to avoid deforestation and certify the sustainable origin of the raw material. An interesting idea to replace industrially produced cat litter is the use of sawdust, often produced in the construction and carpentry industries.
Remember that it is important to certify the origin of the sawdust before exposing your kitty to it, so that it does not come into contact with chemicals or artificial products used in the cultivation or treatment of wood. Ideally, you should source organic sawdust or at least environmentally friendly wood from reforestation initiatives and sustainable land management. As we have already mentioned, you should add a little baking soda to avoid the strong odors.
So, how do you make cat litter from sawdust? Quite simply, just follow these steps:
- Remove any splinters that may remain so that the cat does not hurt their selves when they step on them.
- You can wash the sawdust or not, depending on its origin. If you think that the sawdust is not completely hygienic, wash it with an ecological detergent and make sure to dry it very well.
- Mix the sawdust with a few teaspoons of baking soda. Another option is to dilute the baking soda in boiling water, put it in an atomizer, and spray the sawdust with this mixture. In this case, you need to let it dry completely.
- Put the sawdust in the sandbox with the baking soda and your are done.
Homemade cat litter from soil and sand
The vast majority of cats prefer to relieve themselves on land or on sandy ground. One of the reasons is that they can bury their droppings to avoid attracting predators or to signal to other animals that their presence is peaceful and non-threatening.
Sand is a naturally occurring element and can also be made for various purposes in construction, agriculture, and horticulture. You can choose between construction sand and natural soil, which are easy to find at affordable prices. Remember that moisture or impurities should not accumulate in these materials to prevent the proliferation of microorganisms.
If you want a clay-like substrate, use one measure of sand for every two measures of soil (for example, two cups of regular soil with one cup of sand). If you prefer to make a classic cat litter with a sandy texture, reverse the proportions and use two measures of litter for every one measure of soil. In any case, this allows you to combine excellent absorption and binding properties, making homemade cat litter easier to clean.
Can sand from the beach be used for making a cat litter?
Beach sand is readily available and inexpensive, and has a texture that is natural for cats. However, AnimalWised advises against using beach sand for cat litter. First, collecting beach sand where you live may be illegal and can alter the beach ecosystem if taken in large quantities. Second, sand can also harbor bacteria that can make your cat or your other pets sick.
Homemade cat litter from recycled paper
Another economical and environmentally friendly option is to reuse certain materials that would simply be thrown away and give them a new life. For example, instead of buying new products and spending more money, you can reuse newspapers, magazine pages and shredded paper to make homemade cat litter. But as we mentioned, using these types of materials is challenging because you need access to large quantities of them on a regular basis.
You can make cat litter from paper by following these steps:
- Cut or shred the newspapers, magazines, and papers you want to use to make the litter.
- Soak the shredded paper with a little warm water and neutral or biodegradable detergent to moisten the preparation and give it a firm consistency.
- When the preparation reaches room temperature, strain it and return it to a clean container.
- Add a little cold or room-warm water and baking soda. Then knead the preparation to homogenize and compact it. The idea is to form balls or small blocks of pressed paper that imitate industrial sand or quartz grains.
- Strain the mixture again to remove excess water and let it dry naturally.
Now you can use the organic cat litter to cover the litter box. If you follow these steps, you will make an absorbent litter. However, if you prefer a solid block of pee and feces, you can add cornmeal or cassava flour to the dry mixture before lining the litter box.
Cleaning the cat sandbox is important to prevent health and behavior problems in our cats. If you want to know more about how to keep the cat litter clean, continue reading our article about How often should I change my cat's litter?
If you want to read similar articles to How to Make Homemade Cat Litter? - 6 Sustainable Alternatives, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.
- The Humane Society of the United States. Prevention of litter box problems. Available at: https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/preventing-litter-box-problems
- Low Income Relief. 5 easy ways to save money with homemade cat litter. Available at: https://lowincomerelief.com/homemade-cat-litter/
- I love knowing 5 homemade cat litter substitutes. Available at: https://cats.lovetoknow.com/Homemade_Cat_Litter
- Conserve the energy of the future. Paper recycling . Available at: https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/paperrecycling.php
- Lohman, Donald J. " Composition Useful as Cat Litter, Vegetable Mulch, or Grease and Oil Absorbent ." United States Patent No. 4,570,573. February 18, 1986.