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free or low cost alternative to cat litter

 
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my girlfriend moved in a couple of weeks ago. she brought her cat here too. Right now the cat is an in door cat. I am  looking an alternative to the cat litter that you normal buy at the grocery store. something free or super low cost like sawdust or shredded paper bits. does anyone have an experience with this?
 
pollinator
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Location: NW Montana, USA
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My cats are outdoor, but as kittens they needed a supplemental litter box, and the few times I've had to doctor them indoors for several days or a week they needed a litter box.  I just put sand/dirt in it from outside.  IMO, cat litter STINKS.  I think it literally enhances the ammonia smell of cat urine.  Dirt just... gets wet.  It's heavy though.  But on the other hand you can also just dump it back outside anywhere, get more dirt, and fill the box back up.
 
pollinator
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We use wood pellets we get from the hardware store. Biodegradable and cheaper.
 
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If you can get sawdust for free, that works great. Cats love to go in it, and you can compost it. Being lightweight, it gets a bit kicked around, so a covered or high-walled box helps.
 
pollinator
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Jen Fan - while I agree that you can dump your used dirt/litter outdoors, it's a good idea to dump in away from areas where root crops are being planted or children will be playing in the dirt. Cat poop can harbor toxoplasmosis, a dangerous parasite, that can among other things cause blindness. One of my kids has it, it's nothing to play around with. I'm not saying that you are, but be careful.
 
Martin Bernal
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thank you for your feedback. cat pool goes in the dumpster where I live.
 
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I have to give another shoutout to using stove pellets, aka pressed sawdust. Less than $10 for a 40lb bag, and the sawdust kills urine smell! We used it for our cat for several years, it was da bomb!
 
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We use compressed recycled paper pellets - no smell, no dust, the cat likes them and it was suggested to us by the RSPCA where we 'adopted' puss. (RSPCA is the about the same as the ASPCA)

Each week they're emptied into a designated compost bin in the yard and a thin layer of dirt sprinkled on top. It also gets some vegetation and egg-shells. (Located well away from food plants)

 
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To keep barn cats from going on the floor I gave them a cardboard box of oats. In a house they would need replaced as often as any litter because of the urine smell, but for a barn I keep scooping the poop and the box and oats dry out. The same box of oats has lasted 5 years without the oats spoiling.
 
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