What Can I Use Instead of Cat Litter? (in 2024)

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If you’re getting tired of the same old cat litter and wondering about other options, good news for you!

My cats usually go for sandy litter when they need to do their business, but they’re not too fussy and will use whatever’s easiest.

Beyond the usual commercial cat litter, there are a bunch of alternatives I can check out, like dirt, paper, wood shavings, and some other common waste products that might work just as well.

Whether I have a personal dislike for the standard litter, deal with asthma triggered by its dust, or just want something more budget-friendly, I’m in luck—I’ve got a bunch of choices.

I can take a closer look at what can i use instead of cat litter that might already be hanging around in my home.

These alternatives won’t just suit my cat’s preferences; they can also tackle my specific concerns or preferences as a pet owner.

Best Cat Litter Alternatives


You won’t believe what I’ve discovered – paper can be an excellent alternative for cat litter.

The versatility here is incredible; any type of paper will suffice. However, for a sustainable, long-term solution, I’ve found that investing in a reliable paper shredder and maintaining a steady supply is crucial.

Shredded paper, especially sourced from newspapers, may not be the top contender for moisture absorption, necessitating more frequent changes to manage odors.

But hold on, the game-changer is its dust-free nature, proving to be a significant relief for households dealing with asthma concerns.

reliable paper shredder

Pros & Cons:

  • Super easy to find.
  • Fits my budget just right.
  •  Almost no dust, which is a relief for asthma.
  •  Soaks up only a limited amount.
  •  Requires more frequent changing.


The revelation that cats have a penchant for sand introduces an alternative, albeit messier, cat litter option.

Virtually any type of sand, ranging from beach sand to horticultural sand, proves effective.

While cost-effective, be prepared for a slightly increased cleanup effort around your living space.

Discover more about feline preferences and behaviors, such as whether cats can share a litter box.

Pros & Cons:

  • Easy to find, even budget-friendly.
  •  Cats love it.
  • Absorbs moderately.
  •  Needs changing quite often.
  •  Creates a bit of a mess.

Chicken Feed:

Can you believe it? Chicken feed pellets are pulling double duty as a surprisingly effective cat litter alternative in my world.

They don’t kick up any dust, clump surprisingly well, and adding a bit of baking soda kicks up the odor control. Just a heads up, though, keep an eye out for potential pests.

Learn more about keeping your pet safe and comfortable with insights into topics like keeping cats out of certain rooms.

Chicken feed pellets

Pros & Cons:

  • Easily found in agricultural settings.
  • Clumps well.
  • Dust-free, which is fantastic.
  • Watch out for attracting pests.
  • Baking soda is needed for optimal odor control.

Puppy Pads:

If you’ve got small dogs or puppies around, those puppy pads might come in handy for your cat too.

 I’ve noticed that cats can get used to them, although some might struggle with burying their waste.

Pros & Cons:

  • Designed for moisture absorption.
  • Cats can get used to them.
  • Easy to find.
  • Cats can’t bury their waste as they’d like.
  • Some cats might bunch or shred them.


For those fortunate enough to have access to a workshop, sawdust has emerged as my practical go-to, and believe it or not, it’s sometimes available for free.

The natural scent it carries contributes positively by effectively masking the ammonia smell in the litter box, although caution is advised with pine sawdust due to its harmful nature for cats.


Pros & Cons:

  • Might be free, which is always a plus.
  • Has a subtle, pleasant scent.
  • It’s biodegradable, contributing positively to the environment.
  • Absorbs moderately.
  • Regular changing is necessary.

Potting Soil:

I decided to go for a more natural vibe, and potting soil seemed like a good experiment. It’s messier, but that earthy smell does wonders in controlling odors, and it’s a win for the environment.

Pros & Cons:

  • Easy to get, especially in bulk.
  • Biodegradable, which is great for the planet.
  • Can get messy.

Rabbit Food Pellets:

Guess what? The same food rabbits munch on can actually be repurposed as cat litter.

The pellets clump like traditional litter and do a great job masking unpleasant odors. But, like other animal feed options, pests might come knocking.

Rabbit Food Pellets

Pros & Cons:

  • Clumps like regular cat litter.
  • Low on odor.
  • Affordable.
  • Absorbs moderately.
  • Watch out for pests.

Artificial Grass:

Believe it or not, certain artificial turfs make for a pretty excellent cat litter substitute.

They’re easy to clean, and cat urine doesn’t bother them, although the cleaning process can be a bit of a chore.

Pros & Cons:

  • Resistant to cat urine.
  • Simple to wash.
  • Can be used indoors or outdoors.
  • Less common to find.
  • Cleaning can be somewhat bothersome.


Wheat litter, made from rejected food components, forms little pellets similar to chicken feed or rabbit pellets.

It clumps, but be prepared for some dust and tracking around the house. Whole wheat can work if you have an abundance, and blending it can create a finer texture for your cat’s comfort.


Pros & Cons:

  • Easy to find.
  • Fits my budget.
  • Low to no dust.
  • Absorbs moderately.
  • Requires frequent changing.

Wood Heating Pellets:

Here’s a cool revelation—I use wood pellets for heating in the winter, and they can actually double as cat litter.

They absorb a surprising amount of moisture, carry a naturally fragrant woody scent, and are eco-friendly.

Pros & Cons:

  • Absorbs a lot of moisture.
  • Environmentally friendly.
  • Budget-friendly.
  • Doesn’t clump, so that’s something to keep in mind.

Cloth Scraps:

Hey there! If you’re into upcycling like me, consider giving old cloth scraps or towels a new purpose as a cat litter alternative.

 Just grab those scissors, cut them into small pieces, and pop them into the litter box. The best part? They’re washable and reusable, ticking off the eco-friendly box.

Cloth Scraps

Pros & Cons:

  • You can reuse and wash them – talk about a win-win!
  • Doesn’t break the bank – super budget-friendly.
  • Be ready for some laundry; they might need frequent washing.
  • Absorbs okay, but it’s not top-tier.

Coconut Coir:

Ever thought of using coconut coir for your cat’s litter needs? It’s derived from coconut husks, offering a natural way to soak up those kitty messes.

Plus, it’s a friend to Mother Earth, being biodegradable. Snag it at your local gardening store.

Pros & Cons:

  • Naturally soaks up moisture – a tropical treat for your cat.
  • Biodegradable, because we love a litter option that’s easy on the planet.
  • It might get a tad messy; be prepared.
  • Availability can be a bit hit or miss.

Shredded Cardboard:

Looking for an eco-friendly option that’s as easy as ABC? Shredded cardboard is the way to go.

It’s a breeze to get your hands on and can be swapped out regularly. Just make sure it’s finely shredded for your cat’s comfort.

Shredded Cardboard

Pros & Cons:

  • Good for the environment – reduce, reuse, recycle!
  • Wallet-friendly – won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
  • Absorbency is okay, but not top-notch.
  • Changing it up often is the name of the game.

Bamboo Pellets:

Let’s talk bamboo pellets! Compressed bamboo fibers make these gems biodegradable and pretty absorbent. You might spot them in some pet supply stores, making it a bit of a treasure hunt.

Pros & Cons:

  • Biodegradable – because we’re all about sustainability.
  • Soaks up messes moderately well.
  • Might not be the easiest to find.
  • Prices may play hide and seek.

Oat Hulls:

Fancy a bit of nature in your cat’s litter routine? Oat hulls, the outer shell of the oat grain, bring the outdoors in. They’re biodegradable and might be hiding in specialty pet stores.

Oat Hulls

Pros & Cons:

  • Biodegradable – keeping it green.
  • Absorbs quite well – nature’s own sponge.
  • Keep an eye out; they might not be in every store.
  • Watch for some tracking around the house.

Hazelnut Shells:

Going nuts for an eco-friendly option? Hazelnut shells are the answer. Biodegradable and odor-controlling, just make sure they’re clean and free from any extras.

Pros & Cons:

  • Biodegradable – giving back to the planet.
  • Odor control for those less-than-fragrant moments.
  • Might not be everywhere; availability varies.
  • A bit of tracking could happen

Recycled Wood Pellets:

Consider this a two-for-one deal – recycled wood pellets, usually for heating, can moonlight as cat litter.

They’re moisture-absorbent and eco-friendly, so your cat can enjoy a cozy litter experience.

Recycled Wood Pellets

Pros & Cons:

  • Absorbs moisture like a champ – no puddles here.
  • Good for the environment – double win.
  • Clumping might not be its strong suit.
  • You won’t find it everywhere; it’s a bit of a hidden gem.

Human Toilet:

Alright, so if you’re a cat owner like me, you might have come across something intriguing – the human toilet for cats!

It may sound a bit outlandish, but trust me, it’s entirely doable and surprisingly easier than you’d imagine.

When I first ventured into this, I’ll admit, that patience was key. But fear not, there are fantastic online courses and cat toilet training kits available that can turn the whole process into a walk in the park.

Picture this: special kitty trays resembling toilet seats, filled with flushable litter. You place the tray on the toilet rim under the seat, fill it with the flushable litter, and guide your cat to their new bathroom spot, using the litter as a helpful intermediary step.

Pros & Cons:

  • Eliminates the need for traditional cat litter.
  • Environmentally friendly and reduces waste.
  • Potential cost savings in the long run.
  • Requires patience and consistent training.
  • Not all cats may easily adapt to this method.
  • Initial investment in training kits.

Corn-Based Litters:

Absolutely! Let’s talk about corn litter. Have you ever heard of it? I think it’s pretty cool! It’s made entirely from corn, which makes it popular with small kittens because of its big pellets.

But here’s the thing – some cats, like mine, might not find it the most comfortable option, so they might not use it.

On the bright side, it forms tight clumps, which makes cleaning up super easy for you.

Just a heads up, though – the smell and dust of corn litter can be different, and it might not be the best choice for cats with asthma, like my furry friend.

Oh, and here’s a little tip – before you go ahead and flush it away, I always suggest checking the brand’s website because, believe it or not, some corn-based litters can be flushed. How neat is that?

Corn-Based Litters

Pros & Cons:

  • Biodegradable and eco-friendly.
  • Forms tight clumps for easy cleaning.
  • Some brands offer flushable options.
  • May not be comfortable for all cats.
  • Variable smell and dust levels.
  • Potential issues for cats with respiratory concerns.

Horse Bedding Pellets:

Here’s a nifty option for fellow cat parents – horse bedding pellets! Made from compressed wood material, these pellets, similar to regular wood pellets, are safe for our feline friends.

Horse owners use them to keep things dry and odor-free in stalls. They’re affordable, low on dust, easy to clean up, and environmentally friendly.

Toss them in the compost, buy in bulk – perfect for households with multiple cats. Just ensure they’re untreated and kiln-dried to eliminate phenols. It’s like offering your furballs a comfy and eco-conscious litter choice!

Pros & Cons:

  • Biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
  • Affordable and often available in bulk.
  • Low dust and easy to clean.
  • May be less common in pet stores.
  • Potential tracking of pellets.
  • Requires careful selection to ensure no additives.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I really train my cat to use the human toilet?

Yes, it’s possible! With patience and the right training tools, many cats can successfully adapt to using a human toilet.

Is corn-based litter suitable for all cats?

While some cats love it, others might not find it comfortable. It’s essential to consider your cat’s preferences and potential respiratory issues.

Are horse bedding pellets safe for cats?

Yes, horse bedding pellets made from compressed wood material are generally safe for cats. Ensure they are untreated and kiln-dried to eliminate phenols.

Can I flush corn-based litter down the toilet?

Some brands offer flushable options, but it’s crucial to check the specific brand’s guidelines on their website.

Is training a cat to use the human toilet expensive?

Initial investments in training kits may be required, but the long-term savings on traditional litter can outweigh these costs.

Are there any cat litter alternatives suitable for multiple cats?

Options like horse bedding pellets, recycled wood pellets, and artificial grass can be purchased in bulk, making them ideal for households with multiple cats.

Do artificial grass options require special cleaning products?

Artificial grass is easy to clean with regular pet-safe cleaners, but the process may be somewhat bothersome compared to traditional litter.


In exploring alternatives to traditional cat litter, various options cater to different preferences, budgets, and environmental considerations.

From the unconventional yet feasible human toilet training to eco-friendly choices like corn-based litters and horse bedding pellets, cat owners have a range of possibilities.

 It’s essential to consider your cat’s comfort, any potential health concerns, and your lifestyle when selecting the most suitable alternative.

 With careful choices and a bit of experimentation, you can find the perfect cat litter alternative that aligns with both your and your feline companion’s needs.

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