Taking care of another living being is always a job of utmost importance. Your pets are just as important as any other human member of the house and they need constant care, attention, good nutrition as well as superb hygiene.
Maintenance of their litter boxes is one of the most important things that you will have to manage when living with cats. It is not always easy to get your pet to use the cat litter box the way you want them to use it and it often takes a lot of practice for them to get it right. This is more important than we give credit because non-usage of the litter box by a pet is known to be the leading cause for them being given up to shelters.
Your pets will also have their tastes and preferences which they make known to you quite clearly after all, they have their own personality! This will affect the selection of the type of litter that you commit to.
There are various alternatives to traditional cat litter that you might want to consider when setting up the most comfortable and preferable option for your pet.
Sand may be a favorite with your whiskered flatmates. Some may even prefer it to regular litter because they have a natural instinct to do their business in sand or soil.
This option is easy to procure at very reasonable prices (sometimes free of cost!) and can be mixed in with other types to customise it to your pets’ needs. It clumps fairly well though not as well as premium litter, but with some practice, you will quickly get the hang of cleaning it. You could also mix it with baking soda or other anti-bacterial or anti-odor mixers for added comfort.
Natural Wood Fiber/ Shavings
Natural wood is also a great idea as it is far more affordable than regular litter and free of chemicals, as long as the shavings are from a trusted dealer in untreated wood that produces it safely and consciously.
They are easy to find, super absorbent and perfectly safe for cats. However, this option can be stinky and messy and does not boast of any odour fighting qualities.
Crazy as it sounds, you can even use newspaper in lieu of litter. This involves a very basic arrangement of just lining the cat litter box with multiple sheets of newspaper or shred them for an arrangement that is more suitable.
While this will keep you on top of your recycling goals, you will need to determine whether your cat likes this setup. It is an eco-friendly option that is really easy to procure and set up, though it may prove a little messy and difficult to change. Your playful pet may even carry it around the house to play with it which is not the most ideal situation! You may have to devise a solution to fight the odours and have to use a chemical additive which your cats may not like.
Cracked Corn and Other Animal Feeds
There are many kinds of animal feeds also that can be used in the place of cat litter.
Being just food, it is a completely natural option, but it may be a big transition for your cat from a traditional litter. If the transition is successful – it provides a good option to be in your cat litter box.
Given that it is a food item, it might attract mice, insects or even molds depending on your climate so this option is only suitable for people who can clean the cat litter box extremely regularly – otherwise, you have a bigger problem on your hands then a stinky litter box!
It is a very simple and affordable option, easy to set up and even smells good! The smell, however, may be an issue for some cats who might not use it because of said smell.
It is also not as simple to scoop out because it will not clump as smoothly as regular cat litter and the liquid will go straight to the bottom. This is an option that you might want to use in combination with another option such as a newspaper or a liner to line the cat litter box.
Other Manufactured Options
There are already a number of manufactured, eco-friendly options that are available in the market, with more being introduced every day! These can range from pet-safe pine shavings to chemical-free alternatives. These options are excellent as they combine many of the benefits of other options into one. These are eco-friendly, cat-safe, chemical-free options with superior clumping qualities and odour-fighting qualities, and super easy to clean.
Purchasing them on a regular basis may make it expensive and you should make sure which specific kind your cat likes – this may take a little bit of trial and error.
Another option which cats take very naturally to, other than sand, is soil. This is a great natural option that is simple to find. It is easy to set up and very affordable, clumps well, and even absorbs some of the odor with its natural soil smell. You could even mix some baking soda or any other natural antibacterial substance to make it more effective. It can get messy and smelly – but that is common to all litter options! It can also make distinguishing solids a little difficult.
Ultimately, you have to figure out an option that works for you – given your capacity and time for cleanups, and your cat – depending on what it likes and feels comfortable with. A good suggestion here would be to test out some sample sizes of the various options to figure out what works best for both of you before you commit to anyone.