14 Sustainable Cat Litter Alternatives for Your Beloved Feline

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Get the scoop on eco-friendly cat litter alternatives that won't ruin your budget while keeping your beloved feline happy. The cat's out of the bag when it comes to sustainable alternatives with excellent odor-control and absorbent properties.


Cat staring ahead while sitting inside her pink litter box.Clay, also known as sodium bentonite, is a common ingredient used to create traditional cat litters. Clay cat litter it is widely available and fairly inexpensive depending on the brand. Traditional clay litter absorbs liquids such as cat urine and becomes solid over time. Once it is solid, it cannot hold any more fluid and often leads to odor.

This type of litter is not biodegradable, nor is it good for the environment. One must frequently change clay litter as a means of combating odors. As cats age, they may attempt to eat non-food items. Ingesting clay cat litter can cause dehydration, diarrhea, airway obstructions, and might even be fatal for your kitty. The treatment of bentonite toxicosis can be costly and terrifying as a pet owner.


Most cat owners are unaware of the plethora of options available to them. We curated a list that breaks down the top five best cat litter alternatives to help you choose a litter that is perfect for your feline best friend.

1. Paper Litter

Purina Yesterday's News Fresh Scent Cat Litter - 26.5 lb. Bag

Source: Amazon

Paper is a popular form of natural litter as companies create it from recycled materials. It is ideal for cats that have undergone surgery as the pellets will not contaminate stitches. Pellets produce virtually no dust, which is helpful for cats suffering from eye, respiratory, or urinary tract infections. Zero dust results in no tracking.

It is essential to keep in mind that some cats may need time to get acclimated with the pellets as they are unfamiliar with them.

Pellets do not clump as well as clay which may be a cleaning hassle for pet owners. The lack of clumping may result in odor, depending on the natural scent of your cat’s urine.

Paper litter is typically not flushable; however, be sure to check the brand’s website before disposal.

Pros

  • Made from recycled materials
  • Ideal for cats that have undergone surgery or are suffering from an infection
  • Produces practically no dust

Cons

  • Most are non-flushable
  • Must change litter often to avoid odor
  • May take time for your cat to become acclimated with the pellets

Yesterday’s News is a popular paper cat litter. It costs approximately $20 for a 26.4-pound bag. This price is in the normal range for this type of litter.

2. Corn Litter

World's Best Cat Litter made of 100% natural whole kennel corn.Source: Chewy

Corn litter is a type of litter typically made from 100% natural whole-kernel corn. The pellets are fairly large, making them a safe choice for kittens. The texture of the corn is not as comfortable as other natural materials when against your cat’s paws. Some cats may refuse to use their litter pan due to the texture alone.

Corn litter creates tight clumps, which is ideal for both pet owners and cats as it is not messy. The tight clusters result in less produce stuck to the sides and bottom of the litter box.

The litter itself smells different than traditional litter, as it uses corn rather than clay. Some owners do not like this smell, while others prefer it over their old litter. Corn litter does produce dust so it may not be the best choice for cats that suffer from asthma.

Some corn-based litters are flushable, despite not listing this factor on the bag. It is best to check the brand’s website before flushing litter down the toilet.

Pros

  • Made from 100% natural whole-kernel corn
  • Ideal for kittens
  • Creates tight clumps
  • Some corn-based litters are flushable

Cons

  • Uncomfortable texture on a cat’s paws
  • Some pet owners do not like the smell of the litter
  • Produces dust, so it is not ideal for cats suffering with asthma

World’s Best Litter is a beloved corn cat litter that comes in a variety of sizes and formulas. This particular litter costs approximately $25 for a 28 pounds bag, which is the average price of most corn cat litters.

3. Coconut Cat Litter

CatSpot organic cat litter made of 100% coconut.Source: CatSpot

Coconut cat litter is made solely from coconut shells. It does not contain any harmful chemicals or allergens, making it hypoallergenic.

Initially, the coconut formula does not smell as it is scent-free. The litter is very fine, which results in tracking dust. Over time, it produces odor as the particles are too fine to clump.

Unlike other litters, coconut litter is disposable in flower beds, the yard, or even a compost bin. This cat litter produces zero waste and does not contribute to landfills.

Pros

  • Made from coconut shells
  • Contains no chemicals or allergens
  • Initially scent-free
  • Produces zero waste as it is disposable in flower beds, yards, and compost bins

Cons

  • Tracks dusts easily
  • Does not clump well
  • Produces an odor over time

CatSpot Organic Coconut Litter is a sustainable coconut cat litter that contains no chemicals or allergens. A 5-pound bag cost approximately $15-$18; however, it claims to have the equivalency of a 20-pound bag of traditional clay litter. Although this price is high per pound in comparison to other natural litters, it is normal for coconut cat litters.

4. Wheat Litter

sWheat Scoop cat litter made of wheat.Source: Chewy

Wheat litter is a form of cat litter made from “secondary wheat,” which is also known as grain that is not a high enough quality to use as food. The granules feel and look similar to traditional clay litter. It is not too coarse or too fine, which makes it an ideal litter for picky cats.

While wheat clumps well, it also creates soft masses similar to clay litter. The soft clumps tend to stick to the sides and the bottom of the box. For some pet owners, this litter might be a bit too messy to clean.

Depending on the clumps that form, the litter either controls odors well or decently. It becomes weaker the softer the clusters. This litter must often be changed to avoid soft masses and unpleasant odors.

Tracking and dust occur while using this litter as the granules are similar to clay litter. Sweep or vacuum daily to eliminate the wheat particles around your house. Out of all the cat litter alternatives, this one resembles traditional litter the most.

Some wheat litters claim that they are flushable; however, follow the instructions listed on the bag or the brand’s website to avoid any septic issues. Wheat is biodegradable, making it ideal for pet owners looking for an eco-friendly option.

Pros

  • Made from secondary wheat
  • Similar texture to clay litter, resulting in a familiar product for even the pickiest of cats
  • Some wheat litters are flushable
  • Biodegradable and eco-friendly

Cons

  • Clumping consistency varies
  • Produces dust and tracking
  • Must change litter often to avoid unpleasant odors
  • Litter often sticks to the sides and the bottom of the box

Swheat Scoop is a popular brand of wheat litter as it is veterinary recommended and easily available. A 36-pound bag is roughly $40, which is the typical price of wheat cat litter.

5. Walnut Litter

Naturally Fresh cat litter made with 100% natural walnut shells.

Source: PetSmart

Walnut-based cat litter uses only the shells of walnuts, a product that usually goes to waste. The granule size varies depending on the brand and the formula. Some brands offer multiple granule sizes to ensure each pet owner finds a formula that their cat prefers. A few brands offer pellet formulas as well.

Each formula has advantages and disadvantages; however, the plethora of options allows every customer to find one that is just right.

Walnut cat litter controls odor well, as the finer formulas are quick clumping and the coarser formulas mask the smells of multiple cats. Most walnut cat litter brands produce little to no dust and reduce the amount of tracking.

Many walnut cat litters are flushable; however, the color of the litter may stain the inside of your toilet. Remove the stains by cleaning your toilet regularly. Just like other alternatives to cat litter, be sure to check the brand’s website before disposal.

Pros

  • Made from walnut shells
  • Multiple formulas and granule sizes available
  • Controls odor well
  • Produces little dust and reduces tracking

Cons

  • Color of litter may stain toilet if flushed
  • May have to try different formulas before finding the best one for your cat

Blue Buffalo Naturally Fresh Cat Litter is a popular brand of walnut litter. A 26-pound bag costs approximately $20, which is the ideal range for walnut litters.

6. Wood Shavings

Cat litter box filled with wood chips cat litter with red scoop on wooden flooring.

This is great when you do woodworking at home. Just take apart unused wood pallet boards, run them through a planer and before you know it you’ve got a bag full of wood shavings for cat litter. Once your cat starts using it and gets messy, you can easily sweep off the mess and dump it in your garden.

Just be sure what kind of wood the shavings come from. Aspen is acceptable as well as wood stamped with heat treatment so they’re safe for pets.

Pros

  • It’s free.
  • It’s biodegradable so you can use it as compost in your garden.
  • It’s absorbent.
  • It doesn’t get stuck on cat’s paws.

Cons

  • Some wood are toxic to pets.

7. Mixture of Chicken Feed, Baking Soda, and Cedar Shavings

Create a homemade cat litter by mixing equal parts of chicken feed, baking soda, and cedar shavings. Probably one of the least used cat litter alternatives, this solution will absorb both the litter and the waste. This homemade cat litter, however, will attract house pests such as rats, mice, and bugs.

Pros

  • It’s inexpensive.
  • It’s biodegradable.
  • It’s absorbent.

Cons

  • It attracts rodents.

8. Mixture of Dish Soap, Water, Shredded Paper, and Baking Soda

Here’s another DIY cat litter. Soak shredded paper into the dish soap and warm water solution for just about five minutes or until the paper turns into an oatmeal consistency. Then strain the water, add the baking soda, knead it and squeeze out the moisture so that it dries off. This can take a few days to dry off, but the mixture will efficiently mask the odor.

Pros

  • It’s free.
  • It’s easy to make.

Cons

  • It can take days to make.

9. Sand Litter 

Beige scoop with a clump on top resting on sand cat litter.

Cats naturally love sand so they’ll love this sand litter. Sand also clusters well when wet and does not hold urine odor. Add one part of baking soda to two parts sand for added odor protection. Mix well.

Pros

  • Your cat will love using it.
  • It’s odorless.
  • It’s biodegradable.

Cons

  • It can get messy.

You can purchase 2 lb of cat sand litter for about $15.

10. Grass Litter

Frisco cat litter made of grass.Source: Chewy

Grass cat litter is lightweight and makes very firm clumps. You can choose between scented and unscented options although it naturally comes with a good odor.

Pros

  • It’s biodegradable.
  • Cats prefer grass to other materials.

Cons

  • One of the most expensive types of cat litter.
  • It can be too lightweight for big cats.
  • It can get dusty.
  • It tends to track.
  • Too much moisture makes the clumps fall apart easily.

Grass cat litter can range from $21 to $32.

11. Green Tea Litter

Green tea fresh cat litter.Source: NextGen

Here’s another way to enjoy your cup of green tea. Once you’re through with your drink, dry out the leaves and mix them into the litter. The leaves have natural anti-bacterial properties and they work as effective natural deodorizer so they’ll absorb the odors. Plus, they have powerful clumping.

Pros

  • It’s odorless.
  • It’s free.
  • It’s biodegradable.

Cons

  • It can get dusty.
  • May need a special scoop for the pellet formula.

You can also purchase green tea cat litter in clumping formula or pellet formula. A 5 lb bag of green cat litter costs around $16.

12. Wood Pellets Litter

Close up of wood pellets cat litter.

Wood pellets are another inexpensive, biodegradable option for cat litter. They’re usually used for stove fuel or for livestock bedding and commonly used for cat litter in many animal shelters. Wood pellets expand as they cluster so be sure to pour just enough to your litter box. You can also add some baking soda on the pellets for added odor protection.

Pros

  • It’s inexpensive.
  • It’s biodegradable so it’s easy to dispose.
  • It’s absorbent.
  • Less tracking.

Cons

  • Can disintegrate quickly when moist so it’ll turn into sawdust and remain in the box until it’s cleaned.
  • No guarantee your cat will enjoy using it.

You can purchase a 40 lb sack of wood pellets for around $4-6.

13. Rabbit Food Pellets Litter

Close up of rabbit food pellets cat litter.

Many feline lovers have tried using rabbit food pellets for cat litter. It clumps well and can eliminate the odor. It’s not dusty so it’s easy to clean and it’s also easy to dispose. You can flush out the solid waste.

Pros

  • It clumps well.
  • It eliminates odor.
  • It’s easy to dispose.

Cons

  • It’s not that cheap.
  • Food gets damp so you need to clean it out right away.

You can buy 50 lbs of rabbit food for $16-$60.

14. Mother Nature’s Garden

A cat closing its eyes as it sits outdoors surrounded by green plants.

This is a great way to cut down expenses mainly when you’re cat’s an indoor-outdoor type. Let your cat bask in the sun and relieve themselves outdoors. Or maybe you can build an outdoor enclosure so that they can still run outdoors without going beyond your property.

Pros

  • It’s completely free.
  • No maintenance needed.

Cons

  • Not applicable for indoor cats.



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