Traditional cat litter typically contains bentonite, a natural material that clumps when damp. However, it makes some cat owners nervous because if ingested, it swells, and if the cat has eaten too much, it could block up the animal’s digestive tract.
Also, the way bentonite is mined isn’t eco-friendly. So can you use wood shaving for cat litter instead?
You can use wood shavings for cat litter if they are made from Aspen wood that has been heat treated. Some woods should be avoided, such as cedar. Sawdust should not be used. It’s bad for cats’ respiratory systems and irritates their skin. There are other eco-friendly alternatives, too.
Eco-friendly cat litters have their pros and cons. Some can be incredibly pricey, others are dusty, and some don’t combat odors.
Also, some can be tricky to make your own. For example, making your own wood shavings out of pine could be harmful, as unless the wood has been appropriately treated, pine can be toxic to your cat.
Wood Shavings for Cat Litter
Wood shavings can work as cat litter, but use a cat-friendly wood, such as Aspen, when making your own. Also, make sure they are as free of sawdust as possible.
There is commercial wood kitty litter that is sold in pellets and shavings. Pine is popular in these products. Make sure any pine cat litter you buy is free of sawdust or bentonite and has been kiln-dried or other thermal treatments that are additive-free and have removed phenol, the toxic element in pine.
Most commercial wood kitty litters are safe. The danger comes in when people use wood stove pellets or equine bedding. While some of these will be perfectly safe for your cat, others won’t. The reason being they were not specifically made for cat use.
Pros of Using Wood Shavings for Cat Litter
There are many positives to using wood shavings as cat litter. These include:
- Some types mask the ammonia smell
- Less tractable
- Sometimes inexpensive
Cons of Using Wood Shavings for Cat Litter
As great an alternative wood shavings can be for cat litter, there are some cons. These include:
- Some cats won’t use it
- You have to check the wood and treatment
- Some wood shavings have sawdust mixed in
Coconut for Cat Litter
Commercial coconut liter is made from coir, the fibrous hair from the shell. It is lightweight and super absorbent: brands claiming a 5-pound bag can absorb as much as 20 pounds worth of standard kitty litter.
Pros of Using Coconut for Cat Litter
- Chemical Free
- Can be composted or spread directly onto the garden
Cons of Using Coconut for Cat Litter
All is not perfect in the land of this sustainable product.
- Does not clump well or at all
Corn for Cat Litter
There are people that use their corn-based chicken feed, but this is often an incredibly dusty option. Also, it will attract bugs and other critters you might not want in your house. Lastly, corn feed can develop molds that produce aflatoxins, which is deadly for your cat.
However, you can buy corn-based cat litter. This has generally been treated to make it much safer to use than your chicken’s feed.
Pros of Using Corn for Cat Litter
- It’s absorbent
- Clumps a bit
Cons of Using Corn for Cat Litter
- It doesn’t clump as much as others
- Can produce deadly aflatoxins if you don’t buy a reputable brand
- Using your chicken’s corn could attract unwanted house-guests
Paper for Cat Litter
Paper cat litter is an excellent choice for cats that have allergies or are recovering from an infection. The commercial paper litter usually comes in pellets, is dust-free, and is usually made from recycled materials.
Can You Make Your Own Paper Cat Litter?
Yes, you can make your own kitty litter from paper. It is a lot of work, and you’ll need to make a lot of it, but if you got the time, it is very inexpensive.
Step 1: Shred newspaper or scrap paper such as junk mail.
Step 2: Soak the paper in a tub with warm water and a dollop of dish soap. Leave the mass to soak until the water is grey and soupy.
Step 3: Drain.
Step 4: Refill the tub with soap-free warm water.
Step 5: Drain after another hour.
Step 6: Take baking soda and sprinkle it over the wet paper.
Step 7: Knead and squeezes out all the liquid from the paper. (Some people want gloves for this.)
Step 8: Spread the crumbly-damp mess over a screen and set it out to dry.
Pros for Using Paper for Cat Litter
There are some great pros to using paper for cat little.
- Inexpensive if you make your own
- Great for cats with allergies
- Zero dust
- Compostable (Not the cat solid waste, however.)
Cons to Using Paper for Cat Litter
However, using paper isn’t perfect; there are some cons.
- Doesn’t clump so much be changed often, or it stinks
- Need lots
- Takes a ton of time to make if you can’t afford to buy it
Potting Soil for Cat Litter
Potting soil isn’t an obvious choice, but as any gardener with a cat knows, the kitties love it. They paw through it, making holes just like you, but what they “plant” doesn’t grow.
Pros of Using Potting Soil for Cat Litter
- It’s cheap
- Easy to find
- Cats love it
Cons of Using Potting Soil for Cat Litter
- Tracks everywhere
- Does not clump
- Does not mask the odor
Wheat for Cat Litter
Wheat is used as cat litter both commercially or as something you can make yourself by grinding down wheat berries.
Pros of Using Wheat for Cat Litter
There are a few pros to using wheat for cat litter.
- Clumps when wet
Cons of Using Wheat for Cat Litter
As great as having a clumping and compostable material is, wheat cat litter does have disadvantages.
- Difficult to clean out of the tray
- Won’t mask the odor