Make your own kitty litter

My cat is very patient when it comes to changes in her kitty litter. I don't even have to do the thing where you add a percentage of the new litter to the old litter and up the percentage until you've totally switched over. Whatever I put in the litter box, she'll use. So I've been testing out a lot of different natural kitty litters, and honestly, I don't like most of them.

I've read horrible things about the chemicals that go into conventional clumping litters and the damaging effects of clay mining on the environment, so I'm not about to go back to clay litter. I like Feline Pine pellet litter, but we moved the kitty litter into the bathroom recently, and I've noticed that the cat kicks the pellets out of the box constantly. The pellets are too big for my little Dirt Devil to pick up, so I have to haul out the big vacuum every day, and I just don't have the patience for that.

I came across a couple of litters made from recycled newspaper, but the cheapskate in me couldn't justify paying for recycled newspaper when I have plenty of my own.

I started out using newspaper shredded in my paper shredder, but there were two problems.

I didn't like the idea of the ink getting on my cat's paws. It just didn't seem healthy.
She tracked strips of paper everywhere like she was constantly throwing a kitty ticker tape parade.
So after a week or so of brainstorming, I came up with this recipe for homemade kitty litter.

Shred newspaper in a paper shredder. I collect the shredded paper in an unused litter box.
Soak the paper in warm water mixed with a few squirts gentle, biodegradable dish soap (like Ecover). The shredded paper takes on a cooked oatmeal consistency. The paper won't come completely clean, but the water will turn grey.
Drain the water (an old colander works wonders) and repeat the soaking process minus the soap.
Sprinkle baking soda liberally on the wet paper. Knead it in to the mixture (you might want to wear gloves to avoid getting ink on your hands).
Squeeze the remaining moisture out until it's as dry as you can get it.
Crumble over a screen and leave to dry (it takes a few days).
Once it's dry, I put about an inch and a half to two inches of the paper crumbles in the litter box, scoop solids daily and change it once a week. It takes about a half an hour to 45 minutes to make a 2-3 week supply of litter, and it's kind of fun, in an elementary school art project way.

With the exception of a few cents worth of baking soda, it's free. I use the circular newspapers and Pennysavers (make sure to remove staples) that come to our house. The baking soda does a good job of controlling odor, and it doesn't track very much. I think it actually works better than most of the store bought products I've tried.

Once the temperatures are no longer arctic here, I plan to do this outside and use the wastewater to water my lawn.

About the author

Adriene Hill is the senior multimedia reporter for LearningCurve.

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