“Wood shavings for cat litter? What?!” Before you say anything you might regret, we’re thinking of your future and the chance of you reducing your pet’s carbon pawprint. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing better than having a pet to share your life with. But, maybe there are better ways to do that.
What do we mean by that? Of course, you love your pet to death. Whether she makes you laugh because she doesn’t know how to walk or because she keeps stealing your socks, she makes your life better.
Even though she’s the best thing that happened to you, she might not be the best thing that happened to the planet. We can’t overlook the fact that owning a pet comes with environmental consequences.
Meat-based pet foods (Fancy Feast, we’re looking at you) tend to be bad for the environment because of deforestation. Pet food pouches made of plastic create waste (even when you do your best to recycle them). Litter that’s not biodegradable ends up somewhere within the landfills.
Therefore, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be concerned about your cat’s (adorable, but dangerous) carbon pawprint. And, using wood shavings for cat litter might be a great way to start. There are so many different ways to reduce your cat’s waste. And, her litter box appears to be an appropriate kickoff.
Can you use wood shavings for cat litter?
Worry not, you can use wood shaving for cat litter! Though that might sound strange, most pet parents turn to wood shavings when they’re looking for cat litter alternatives.
Whether they’re doing that because they want to save money. Whether they’re hoping to become more environmentally conscious. More often than not, they make a shift towards wood shavings.
First and foremost, wood shavings work as a substitute because they’re lightweight, straightforward, and cheap. Sure, they might not that be that easy to come by when you don’t own a woodworking shop.
But, when you manage to get your hands on a sack or two, you might want to open one only for the sake of providing your fluffer with fresh wood shavings. Whatever the case, you can use wood shavings by adding them to your litter box at a depth of about 3 inches.
At the same time, we can’t overlook the fact that some cats might not like the thought of switching to sustainable options. Cats who have gotten accustomed to regular litter might have a hard time going for the grubby, aspen-scented shavings.
Word of advice – arm yourself with patience and make sure you’re using the right kind of wood. And, on the off chance that you don’t have a great experience with wood shavings, you can always go for some of the other alternatives we gathered for you. Throw a glance and voilà!
Cat litter alternatives (other than wood shavings)
1. Shredded newspapers
First off, we’re aware that people don’t read actual newspapers anymore which means they don’t have the same problem of “where do we store these after we read them” that we did back then.
But, you can’t say you don’t have old brochures, notebooks, and random paper things lying around (even paper bags count!).
Whatever type of paper you have, you can use it as a substitute for litter. Maybe you have a paper shredder. Perhaps you’re relying on your scissors to do most of the work. Make sure you make the smallest paper pieces possible to mimic that feeling of fresh litter.
However, one of the downsides of using paper as litter has to be the fact that paper gets soggy after a while. And, that means that you might need to secure endless supplies of shredded paper. That way you can change the “litter” the moment your cat finishes doing her business.
Another wood-based product you can use as an alternative to cat litter! Sawdust stays on the ground when you’re done sawing sanding, milling, planing, and routing. Sawdust appears to be similar to wood shavings. But (unlike wood shavings), sawdust’s smaller and even easier to come by.
Whether you can get a sack from a woodworking shop. Whether you collect the waste yourself. You’re bound to save some money and save the planet by getting a product that doesn’t come wrapped with tons and tons of plastic.
And, you can even find considerable amounts of sawdust when you walk through the forest. Some animals, birds, and insects munch on the wood and leave the dust behind. Before you head off to the nearest forest, know that sawdust can be a bit of a health hazard for both you and your pet.
Sawdust happens to be a known cancerogenic for humans, which means the same thing could be dangerous to cats, too. To make sure you’re doing the right thing, always opt for wood shavings (if you can).
3. Wood pellets
Besides using wood shavings for cat litter, wood pellets might be an even better option. As a matter of fact, wood pellets are made from compressed wood fiber and are used for heating and cooking (when you don’t have charcoal, firewood, oil, or gas at your disposal).
Wood pellets are soft, lightweight, and comfortable under your cat’s bottom. And, to make things better, most homes already have wood pellets because they have become quite popular over time.
Even when you don’t have them at home, you can easily find them at home improvement and hardware stores. Advantages of using wood pellets as cat litter – they’re absorbent and have a great scene. They can easily mask the smell of your cat’s pee or poop, and they’re pretty easy to come by.
Disadvantages of using wood pellets – they can contain chemicals that could cause harm to your cat. Make sure you’re using the 100% natural kind.
4. Poultry feed
Chicken feed sounds like something your cat might be tempted to eat, right? However, some pet parents swear by the fact that poultry feed helps them save money and keep the house smelling fresh.
Other than wood shavings, feed does seem to be a great alternative to cat litter (if you happen to keep chicken or other farm animals at home).
Of course, when we look at what’s needed for average chicken feed, we can see cereal grains, cereal byproducts, fats and oils, protein, a bunch of raw ingredients, minerals and vitamins, and feed additives.
Now, you can combine regular poultry feed with baking soda and wood shavings to create your own version of sustainable cat litter.
Or, you can purchase the type of poultry feed that’s already shaped like little wood pellets and use that without adding anything. But, be weary of mice and other crawling creatures – they sure love to munch on these.
Argh, there’s no way of knowing how many times my Maine Coon’s peed inside my children’s sandbox while nobody was looking! And, she wasn’t even trying to hide the fact she did a naughty thing.
She made sure to dig through the toys and sniff to check whether she marked her territory the right way. However, sand does seem to make a decent litter substitute (though, we can’t promise you won’t spend a lot of money).
First things first, you can buy sand at most hardware or landscaping stores. Or, you can go to the beach and help yourself to some of that “free” litter. And, you can add a little bit of baking soda to help with those odors.
Don’t forget, though – sand can become the worst decision you ever made because it gets everywhere. Put a rubber mat or something of the sort under the litter box to make cleaning a little easier. Or, place the litter box someplace you don’t mind getting messy.
Keeping up with the most natural cat litter substitutes, potting soil might be even better than wood shavings for your cat (and the planet). Chances are, you’ve seen your cat do her business outside more times than you can count.
Cats don’t mind peeing or pooping outside because they can dig through the soil, do whatever they need to do, and hide the evidence. Therefore, you can use potting soil as an alternative to litter.
That’s a great way to save up some money because you can use the soil you already have, or purchase little sacks of soil that typically don’t cost that much. That being said, soil can get pretty much everywhere (not to mention the mess it can make when it gets wet).
The best thing to do would be to place the litter box on the porch or in the laundry room (at least during the warmer months) to ensure your home stays mess-free.
7. Homemade litter
Who would’ve thought Dawn dish soap would come to the rescue? Here’s the thing, most pet parents prefer the clumping type of litter because it’s easier to deal with and clean. However, most alternatives we talked about don’t necessarily do that when your cat pees on them.
Actually, they create even more chaos. According to a bunch of cat magazines, you can make regular cat litter out of newspaper, water, dish soap, and baking soda. Here’s how you can do that.
Shred the paper and add some water and dish soap (to make a soggy mess). Repeat the process of rinsing and draining the water a couple of times. Add a sprinkle of baking soda, crumble the paper, and let everything dry. At last, the consistency should resemble that of regular litter.
8. Regular (human) toilet
Wood shavings might work for cat litter. But, wouldn’t you prefer teaching your cat how to use your toilet? Come on, you wouldn’t have to worry about litter polluting your house (and the planet) anymore.
Cat toilet training has been blowing up on TikTok as of late, resulting in a bunch of companies creating toilet training kits. With these kits, you get numerous toilet-shaped trays and flushable litter.
When you start training your cat, you place the first tray with litter on your toilet and encourage her to go potty there. Each tray becomes more and more challenging. But once she goes through them, she’s going to learn how to use the toilet on her own.
Whichever alternative you decide to go for, your wallet, your cat, and the planet are bound to be filled with gratitude. Good luck!