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12 Cat Litter Alternatives You Have in Your Home

Maybe you’ve come home from doing the grocery shipping after a long day only to find you missed a few essentials off your list, including the cat litter!

A cat faced with an empty litter tray is likely to go and find somewhere else to do their business, such as your beautiful new potted plant or behind the bathroom door.

We’ve rounded up 12 homemade cat litter alternatives that you can turn to in a pinch. Some of these do require a little planning, and others can be used straight away in case of an emergency.

Also, some commercial cat litters aren’t particularly eco-friendly in terms of production or disposal, so you might be looking for a greener alternative that can be composted down rather than added to a landfill. In that case, we’ve got you covered! We’ve also included a recipe for homemade clumping cat litter at the end. This is biodegradable and cost-effective and can be composted. It sounds like a winner to us!

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1. Wood Shavings

Wood Shavings
Image Credit By: Carlos andre Santos, Shutterstock

  • Biodegradable
  • Pleasant fresh scent
  • Cheap

  • Pine oils can be toxic to cats
  • Need to try to select wood chips with little to no dust

2. Potting Soil

Soil Litter
Image Credit By: Creatopic, Shutterstock

  • Likely already have on hand
  • Most cats enjoy the feel of it
  • Cheap & easy to get ahold of


3. Whole Wheat

Whole Wheat
Image Credit By: Indre Pau, Shutterstock

  • Cheap to buy
  • Can throw in blender for a finer texture
  • Absorbent

  • Not effective at masking smells (baking soda helps with this)

4. Puppy Training Pads

Image Credit By: Michael Moloney, Shutterstock

  • Likely have on hand if you already have a dog
  • Absorbent
  • Cheap

  • Cat may scratch them up when trying to bury poop
  • Crystals make become exposed
  • Will not neutralize smells

5. Shredded Paper

Shredded Paper
Image Credit By: Sahat, Shutterstock

  • You likely already have some
  • Free

  • You’ll need a lot of paper
  • Will need to soak to remove toxic ink
  • Will then need to let dry ( time- consuming)

6. Sand

Cat Sand Litter
Image Credit By: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

  • Cats love sand
  • Sand clumps when wet ( reduces smells)
  • Cheap and easy to find

  • Trapped in paws & tracked through the house
  • Does not neutralize odors completely

7. Artificial Turf

Artificial Turf
Image Credit By: Chomphuphucar, Shutterstock

  • Cost effective
  • Can rinse between uses
  • Long lasting

  • Not all cats will love this option
  • Can’t bury poop

8. Alfalfa Pellets

Alfa alfa pellets
Image Credit By: Vipavlenkoff, Shutterstock

  • May already have some
  • Eco-friendly
  • Biodegradable
  • Safe

  • May get tracked when broken down
  • Will not control odor

9. Horse Bedding Pellets

Horse Bedding Pellets
Image Credit By: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

  • Cheaper than pine litter
  • Designed to absorb large amounts of liquids

  • No clumping
  • Have to clean litter regularly to prevent tracking

10. Sawdust

Saw Dust
Image Credit By: Kolosov Alexandr, Shutterstock

  • Cheap
  • Smells good
  • Easy to store

  • Particals have potential to be inhaled by your cat
  • Need to try to select wood chips with little to no dust

11. Chicken Feed

  • May already have on hand
  • Absorbent
  • Cheap

  • Will not neutralize odors
  • May attract vermin

12. Homemade Clumping Cat Litter

Clumping Litter
Image Credit By: Axel Bueckert, Shutterstock

  • Can make at home
  • Effective

  • Time consuming

How to DIY : If you’ve got newspaper or scrap paper, baking soda, and dish soap, then you can make your own homemade clumping cat litter! You’ll need to soak the shredded paper in a mixture of warm water and dish soap. After 30 minutes, drain the paper and rinse in fresh water. Drain, then sprinkle all over with baking power. Squeeze out all moisture, and spread out to dry for at least two days. Crumble into small pieces and that’s your new homemade cat litter!

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Wrapping it up

It’s always useful to know what you can turn to in a cat litter emergency. You might have also been inspired to have a go at making your homemade cat litter. If you decide to try it out, let us know if it was a success. We’d love to hear from you!

Featured Image Credit: Khamidulin Sergey, Shutterstock