Make Your Own Kitty Litter

I found this recipe on another site, sorry can't remember where!

This 'recipe' is a clone for 'Yesterday's News' cat litter. I first tried it because I got tired of lugging 20 lb bags of Feline Pine home and paying $$ for something that was going to be thrown away. I like to be as self sufficient as I can and this is eco friendly and uses just a few cents worth of baking soda.

Shred or tear up a bunch of newspaper (no slicks). Soak in a bucket of water that has a bit of dish soap. I found that soaking for several hours produces a better end result. I just use my hand to goosh it all up to make sure the fibers are all breaking down. Then I drain it using an old colander. Back into the bucket with clean water to rinse. Drain again, pressing out as much water as you can. Mix in some baking soda, then crumble it over an old window screen to dry.
Newspapers use soy based inks now, but you will NOT be able to get the bucket or colander clean again, so use old ones. Do not drain this into your sink. The cellulose in the paper could potentially clog up your pipes.

Every day I pick out the poops from the litter boxes. This seems to control urine odors as well as any purchased kitty litter. I live in the country, so I just scatter it around where I have had moles and voles in the past.

Petra - December 27, 2010

I guess I have to ask this question because people rarely ever take this into consideration. If your ‘time’ is worth anything; even if you only believe it’s worth a few cents per hour, how much money are you actually ‘losing’ by taking all the ‘time’ this requires? I spend about $3 to $4 (tax included) for a 20 pound bag of store brand cat litter that lasts me a month or more. I have two cats. I don’t have cat litter box odors. I remove the solids from the litter box throughout the week, replace it as needed, with fresh litter and use the remaining ‘spent’ litter to keep critters away from outdoor plants. I reuse my newspapers in several other ways, so there’s no waste there. When I buy cat litter, I buy it while I am already at the store purchasing other things, so there is no additional time or fuel expenditure. I think recycling can be great, but like with all other things, a person needs to look at all factors and determine whether the drawbacks actually outweigh the benefits. Could the time you spend making your own cat litter really be spent in a more productive way; especially since cat litter can really be bought so cheaply?

    elisabeth - January 5, 2011

    I guess prices vary from place to place on cat litter. I live out in the country so we have several animal feed stores in town. I buy pine pellets for my cat box. It’s all natural, absorbs order great and goes a long way. A 40lb bag sells in my area for $6-7.00 for a 40lb bag. That bag will last me close to three months with one cat. So, it’s pretty cheap when you consider all the factors.

      Marianne - January 23, 2011

      I didn’t find this too labor intensive as most of the time involved is drying or soaking. It took a couple minutes to tear up some strips of paper into the wastebasket, add soap and water, then walk off and do something else. Often times I wouldn’t go back until the next day to do the next steps, but again, I could walk away while it was draining, then come back to finish.
      I, too, used the pine pellets sold as horse bedding. In our area, they stopped selling them and now are selling a pellet made from mixed woods (?). All I know is that it has an awful smell. But again, I got tired of lugging 40# bags home.
      Yes, this takes a few minutes to do each step. What I liked about it was that you could use something readily available that often is not recycled (we get newspapers from our friends), it’s biodegradable and no shipping is involved to get the end product to my house.

    Brittany - October 31, 2011


    Perhaps people are finding alternative kitty litter because clay cat litter is detrimental to the environment. Plus, all of the added benefits listed above. Sure, sometimes these DIY projects are a little timely but they will be beneficial in the end.

    Mike - November 13, 2011

    The newspaper litter can be added to your kitty litter compost bin and used to help your trees, shrubs and flower beds. After a year and a half, the compost can be added to your vegetable garden. Every penny counts, and I use the big nickel – a free newspaper that has a ton of unused issues for disposal.

    matt - March 1, 2012

    I’ve read on other sites people doing about the same thing have said it only takes about 30 min to an hour to make 3 weeks worth of litter this way.

    candice - March 13, 2013

    My dad is always saying that…calculate your time and energy and everything is more expensive if you do it yourself. So he lives off microwave dinners and the cheapest fast food because cooking and washing dishes takes too much time. Then he spends 3 or 4 hours watching you tube videos because cable is too expensive. This view is a little flawed. Why didn’t you quantify your time spent writing your comment. When and what do you charge and how do you get paid. Its just silly.
    I would like to recycle my husbands pile of newspapers every week instead of not…I would like to stop going across town to purchase litter that gets dust everywhere and doesn’t clump (that’s the cheap stuff) I will try this litter thing since I have everything needed and don’t quantify my efforts, hobbies and day to day activities in financial terms. I don’t charge people when I get on the phone for a conversation and I don’t avoid conversations because I ‘d rather get paid doing something else. I am a housewife who stays home with her kids while hubby brings home the bacon. Everything I do has cost in mind so hubby’s bacon covers more than ever. Saving an average of $520 bucks a year on cat poop fodder is worth my time and effort. If I didn’t make homemade cat litter I wouldn’t be making money as a tradeoff.

Mary Stewart - December 29, 2010

I agree with the above post..but, I live on a remote island and have to pay huge freight charges for kitty litter, I can ask my neighbors for their papers for free, they know I am a little weird and recycle anything and everything. Lots Of Christian Love Mary Stewart

    Marianne - January 23, 2011

    LOL, I’m also in that category. I’m also a huge DIY person and always try to figure out how to make something myself over purchasing it. This is a very green and cheap alternative that works very good for odor control.

nikki - December 29, 2010

There are people that can’t afford to buy cat litter any more. They didn’t plan on that when they got an animal, it is the way things are now. If you lose your job, cat litter is probably the first thing your going to do away with. I have 6 cats and I spend approx. $20 a month for litter. I have one cat that can not tolerate any thing but pine litter, which is even more expensive. I probably won’t make my own litter, but if I need to in the future, I’ll at least have an idea of how to do it.

    Marianne - January 23, 2011

    I agree, this is just an alternative, especially for those of us with multiple cats. I have 5 indoor cats and had a batch of homemade going constantly so it’d be dry by the time I needed to switch out a box. But it was pretty easy to do instead of driving 40 miles one way to pick up a bag of Feline Pine.

Anne - December 29, 2010

I just shred my newspapers, bills etc and use that as kitty litter. It took my cats a couple days to get used to it but they now use it just like the clay stuff. It takes between 5 to 10 mins a day to shred the paper, but it is well worth it. I save a bundle doing this and as my Dad would say “a penny saved is a penny earned”

Robyn - December 30, 2010

What a wonderful way to repurpose paper! It is probably not as dangerous as the clay clumping kind…,my kittens were trying to eat the litter at first, they have not yet learned it is not food..not sure why…LOL

Thanks for the tip!

Angela - December 30, 2010

Petra I totally agree I love saving money but my time is worth so much more.

    Marianne - January 23, 2011

    Honestly, it doesn’t take that much time, as most of the time it’s either soaking or drying and I’m off doing something else. I bet it doesn’t take me a total of 10 minutes labor.

Ed - January 1, 2011

I’m not sure what you mean by crumble it over an old screen. Do you mean put it on the screen and rub it back and forth causing it to go thru the holes in the screenwire, or do you mean just break it up leaving it lay on top of the screen to dry?

    Marianne - January 23, 2011

    When I said to crumble over the window screen, it was just to let it air dry. I don’t rub it into the screen, but I do use my fingers to kind of break it up into smaller pieces so there isn’t any big chunks.

Kathi - January 5, 2011

When I had two cats I could not stand the faintest smell of a litter box, even tho I empited urine clumps and poop daily. I started using less and less litter in the box, thinking that with less litter the odor wouldn’t “spread” to the litter that wasn’t clumped and removed when the litter was deep….I ended up using about 2 CUPS (only TWO cups) of litter in the box, emptying the clumps daily, replenishing when needed and washing the box weekly. It worked very well for me, the bag of litter lasted MUCH longer and there was MUCH less odor.

Andi - January 15, 2011

Litter boxes are the biggest draw backs to owning a cat. If you have an indoor\outdoor cat, there is no need for a litter box. I live by a busy street so my two kitties are indoor only. I have yet to do it, but as soon as I have the time I am going to try to toilet train my kitties. If money for a kit in an issue, buy a used one on ebay and then sell it again for the same price when your done :). Here is a link

Marianne - January 23, 2011

Wow, I was surprised to see so many comments about this. Obviously this isn’t something that everyone would consider doing. But if you’re short on money this can help. If you want to be really eco friendly, this is an alternative that controls odor so much better than plain sand or clay litters.

Jaime - February 5, 2011

Just a tip to anyone wanting to stick to the pine pellet liter: If you go to a store with farm animal supplies, you can usually find bags of pelletized pine marketed for horse stalls and the like at around half the price of those marketed as cat litter. Same product, different packaging.

Gail - February 13, 2011

This might be a good idea for a scout troop or Church group activity when the weather is warmer. Kids would have fun, and the litter could be donated to a shelter. Have the local press cover the event and bring attention to the homeless animals. The shelters are really struggling now due to the economy.

Pat P - April 14, 2011

I just use the dry shreds from my paper shredder just as they are. It doesn’t matter if the shreds are the long type or the confetti type. Just put 4 or 5 inches in the litter box. I put 2 inches of shreds in the litter box then sprinkle about 1/4 cup baking soda over it, add another 2 or 3 inches of shreds and another 1/4 cup of baking soda over the top and shake the pan very slightly to get the baking soda to mix in with the shreds. If my shredder doesn’t have enough shreds in it then I shred up newspaper to make up the difference. I have a very sensitive nose for cat urine and can not smell any at all. I clean the solid waste daily and replace the litter every 3 or 4 days for my 1 cat. Even if you have to buy a shredder you will save enough money by not purchasing cat litter in a couple of months to cover the cost. I’ve seen shredders at Walmart for under $30. If you work in an office you could probably bring home shreds for free! Check with the boss first to make sure you are not violating any confidentiality policies they may have.

    Diane - November 2, 2011

    How do you dispose of the paper afterward? Don’t your cats track the paper everywhere?

Jen - November 3, 2011

I use newspaper too, but simply tear it into thin strips. It absorbs the odors even better than ” real” litter! I get papers free from friends. Using a paper shredder works well too. But the thin shreds seem to make more mess. So I just rip it. It’s actually therapeutic to do the ripping. Relaxing!

Beth - August 6, 2012

I think this stuff works great!! My cats love it and it’s fun to make. I have 2 small nephews and they love to help me .. I can even get them to clean the litter box once and a while!! It’s saving me a ton of money too. I’m using an old rubbermaid large dog house as the litter box for my 5 cats and I would have to buy about 60lbs. of litter to fill it. Making my own litter lets me spend the money I save on other things; like treats for the cats and groceries. These days, any money I can save is appreciated!!

Krystle - September 22, 2012

This is great! I like making homemade things especially now since money is tight and I have more patience to do this than my dad would I think he would appreciate it! Plus we have a ton of old mail and newspaper to be used for a good purpose, our cats! lol Going to make this asap :]

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