12 Cheaper Alternatives To Cat Litter

Cheaper Alternatives To Cat Litter

Are you looking for an economical way to take care of your feline friend? The cost of cat litter can really add up over time, so you may be wondering if there are cheaper alternatives.

There are a few options you can consider when it comes to finding a cost-effective cat litter. You can choose from natural materials such as wood pellets, newspapers, etc which can be eco-friendly also. In the average household, cat litter costs around $70-$500 per year, which tells us how significant it is.

Each option has its pros and cons, so it’s important to do your research and determine which one is best for you and your cat. In this article, we’ll be going over the different types of litter substitutes and exploring their various features.

Significance of Cat litter

Cat litter is an important product for cat owners, as it serves a variety of different purposes. It is used to keep cats from tracking in dirt and other messes from outside, as well as to help contain odor from cat waste. As cats typically prefer the texture of a soft, sandy surface, cat litter often comes in the form of small granules made from clay, silica, or other materials. 

When used correctly, cat litter can help to keep cats and their owners healthy. Cat owners need to change the trash regularly, as it can become a breeding ground for bacteria and parasites. Regularly changing the litter can help to prevent the spread of unhealthy bacteria, as well as reduce odors and reduce dirt tracks. “Providing a more cost-effective alternative is a great way to keep costs down while keeping your cat healthy and happy. As a veterinarian, I recommend researching different types of litter to find one that best suits the needs of you and your cat.” – Dr. Johnson

In addition to containing the mess and odor of cat waste, cat litter can also be used as a waste disposal option.  It also serves as a convenient way for owners to keep track of their cats’ waste production, as it is easy to scoop and dispose of the waste.

12 Cheap Cat Litter Alternatives

When it comes to cat litter, the options can seem endless. As a cat parent, you want to make sure you’re making the best decision for your cat and the environment. This is why many cat owners are turning to natural and sustainable litter alternatives. Below, we’ll discuss the best cat litter alternatives that are sure to make you and your cat happy.

1. Wood pellets

Wood pellets as cat litter alternative

Wood pellets are becoming an ever-popular alternative to cat litter and are a cheaper option. Not only do wood pellets store and transport more easily, but with their smaller size, the litter box is easier to clean and your cat will be able to dig around and cover up their business with ease. 

Wood pellets are made out of 100% pine, which makes them perfect for cat litter. They are highly absorbent and turn to sawdust when exposed to cat urine, therefore making them extremely effective in locking in odors. They do not smell that bad, so your cat will not be overwhelmed by the smell when they go to use the litter box. 

When it comes to choosing the right wood pellet, there are several different options available. 

2. Pine Pellets

Pine Pellets as cat litter alternative

Pine pellets are specifically designed for use as cat litter and are made from 100% compressed pine sawdust. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to find in stores, but they can be pretty dusty when used. 

3. Pellets Made for Horse Bedding

Horse bedding pellets are usually made from a mixture of hardwoods and softwoods. They are usually less dusty than pine pellets and can be purchased in large bags to save money. 

4. Pellets Made for Burning in Wood Stoves

Pellets Made for Burning in Wood Stoves as cat litter alternative

Pellets designed for wood stoves are usually made from hardwoods like oak or hickory. They are an easily accessible option and can be purchased from any department store. The problem with hardwoods is that they don’t turn to sawdust as easily as softwoods like pine when wet, which may not be ideal for cat litter.


  • Pine pellets will cost around $15-20 for every 40 lbs.
  • For bedding horses, pellets cost around $5-8 per 40 lbs.
  • The wood stoves that are used for burning cost you around $6 per 40 lbs.


  • Cost – Pet owners can save money by using wood pellets because they are usually cheaper and last longer than traditional cat litter.
  • Odor Control – Due to their high absorbency, wood pellets can help to reduce odors.
  • Eco-Friendly – Wood pellets are made from sustainable sources, making them a better choice than traditional clay-based cat litter.
  • Dust free – Pellets produced from wood are dust-free, so allergy sufferers can use them without worry.


  • Mess – Wood pellets can be messier to manage than traditional cat litter and can be tracked around the house.
  • Comfort – Wood pellets can be uncomfortable for cats to walk on and may cause them to avoid using the litter box.

5. Sand

sand as cat litter alternative

As an alternative to cat litter, sand is much more affordable and in many cases, more appealing to cats. Sand is naturally attractive to cats, making it an easy choice when looking for an alternative to litter. It is also easy to purchase, as most pet stores, home improvement stores, and even grocery stores have bags of sand on hand. The cost of sand is very low compared to litter, making it a great choice for those on a budget.

When it comes to cleaning up after your cat, sand can be scooped if the clump is small enough. If the clump is too large, it can be spread out and the clumps removed. The main drawback to using sand as a cat litter alternative is that it does not control odor as well as traditional litter. To help with the smell, you can mix an odor-controlling agent such as baking soda into the sand.


  • A very cheap, 50 lb bag only costs you around $5.


  • Compared to traditional cat litter, it is cheaper.
  • Natural and biodegradable.
  • Non-toxic and safe for cats.
  • Absorbent, making it easy to scoop.


  • Can be messy and spread outside of the litter box.
  • Can be dangerous if ingested by cats.

6. Newspaper and Paper

Newspaper and Paper as cat litter alternative

Using paper scraps and a paper shredder as a cheap alternative to cat litter is a solution that many people have been turning to in recent years. It is a cost-effective way to provide your cat with a comfortable and hygienic place to do their business. Newspaper is the best option for this, but you can also use a mix of shredded paper and paper scraps. This will provide soft bedding for your cat to use, and it is much easier to clean up than traditional litter.

However, be aware that this solution is messier than traditional litter. You will need to empty it and replace it with fresh paper scraps and baking soda each day, which can be a bit of a hassle. Additionally, the baking soda will not be able to mask odors, so it is important to make sure that the litter box is cleaned regularly. Nevertheless, if you do not have cat litter on hand, it is an excellent emergency alternative. 


  • Usually, the old newspaper and papers are at home so you don’t need to buy them. This solution is almost free of cost.


  • Cost-effective – Newspaper and paper are much cheaper than traditional cat litter and can be used for a much longer period.
  • Eco-friendly – Paper is biodegradable, so it’s much better for the environment than non-biodegradable cat litter.
  • Easily disposable – Newspaper and paper can be disposed of in the trash or composted and is much easier to dispose of than traditional cat litter.
  • Absorbent – Paper is highly absorbent and can help keep odors at bay.


  • Messy – Newspaper and paper can be messy and can stick to cat fur when they are used as cat litter, making it more difficult to clean up.
  • Unpleasant smells – The smell of newspaper and paper can be unpleasant, especially when wet.

7. Wood shaving

Wood shaving as cat litter alternative

Wood shavings can be an affordable alternative to cat litter, especially if you have access to leftover sawdust from woodworking projects. It can be almost free as it is a leftover, but it can be difficult to find the right kind – you should use shavings that are made from non-aromatic and non-toxic woods like pine, spruce, and cedar. Unfortunately, cats with asthma or allergies may not be able to use wood shavings as they can contain irritating particles or dust, so check with your vet if you think this might be the case. 


  • As it’s leftover from woodworking so can be dependent on your situation. You can get it free from woodworkers.


  • Cost-effective – Wood shavings are much cheaper to purchase than regular cat litter, making them a great cost-saving alternative.
  • Environmentally friendly – Wood shavings are a renewable resource, making them more sustainable than conventional cat litter.
  • Easy to clean – Wood shavings can be easily cleaned up with a shovel or vacuum, making it simpler to keep your home clean.
  • Absorption – Wood shavings are absorbent, helping to keep odors at bay.


  • Inhalation – Cats can be at risk of inhalation of the small particles in the shavings.
  • Tracking – Wood shavings can be tracked around the house, making it difficult to keep the area clean.

8. Using corn-based layers, chicken food crumbles

Using corn-based layers, chicken food crumbles as cat litter alternative

Chicken food crumbles made from corn make an excellent all-natural, biodegradable cat litter substitute. As starter crumbles, they are specifically designed for baby chicks and are much cheaper than other pet litter options. The crumbles provide a natural, absorbent layer that locks away odors while providing a comfortable place for your cat to do its business. 

You can easily clean the crumbles by shaking off the excess and disposing of the used materials. Corn-based chicken food crumbles are a safe, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly cat litter alternative.


  • The price is around $12 for a 50 lb bag ($0.25 for each lb)


  • Biodegradable.
  • Lower cost.
  • It is easy to clean up since it crumbles.
  • Lightweight


  • Can be smelly.
  • Attracts mice and bugs.

9. Putting Soils

Putting Soils as cat litter alternative

Soil is a great, cost-effective alternative to cat litter. Outdoor cats are used to using soil in place of litter, so it is a natural option for most cats when it comes to eliminating waste. They also typically enjoy the texture and smell of soil, making it a preferred choice for many pet owners. Garden soil can be easily purchased from any home and garden store, making it an accessible and convenient alternative. 

The only downside to using soil as cat litter is the potential for messiness. Urine and feces can cause the soil to be muddy and wet, which can be difficult to clean up. Additionally, some cats may dig in the soil, making it even messier. It is important to keep the area clean and to change out the soil regularly. With proper care, soil can be a great, cost-effective way to manage pet waste.


  • $15 per 50 lbs of bag


  • The cost of soil is much lower than the cost of traditional cat litter. This makes it a great cost-saving option for people on a tight budget.
  • Soil is more absorbent than cat litter, meaning it can absorb more liquid and solid waste.
  • Traditional cat litter may contain synthetic, chemical-filled ingredients, while the soil is more natural.
  • Compared to traditional litter, which can be too hard or uncomfortable for cats’ paws, the soil is more comfortable for them to walk on or dig in.


  • Soil is harder to clean up than traditional cat litter. It can be a messy and time-consuming process to scoop out the soil after a cat uses the litter box.
  • Introducing soil particles, like dirt and sand, into a cat’s litter box can cause respiratory issues if inhaled.

10. Puppy Pads

Puppy Pads as cat litter alternative

Puppy pads are large, absorbent pads that can be placed on the floor, providing cats with a place to go to the bathroom. These pads are designed to absorb liquid and contain any mess, making the clean-up process much easier. They are also much cheaper than litter boxes and litter, making them a great option for anyone who is on a budget. 

Puppy pads can be placed in any area where your cat goes to the bathroom, making it easier to keep the area clean. Additionally, puppy pads are easy to dispose of, making it easy to keep the area clean and free from odors. With puppy pads, owners can provide their cats with the hygiene and comfort they need without breaking the bank.


  • They are a little bit expensive but are a very good solution. A puppy pad costs you around $26 per pad with free home shipping.


  • Absorb well – Puppy pads absorb well, so they are a great alternative to litter boxes. They can help to prevent spills, splashes, and other messes from getting on furniture and carpeting.
  • Useful and easy to clean – It is easy to place puppy pads down and pick them up. If any messes occur, they can also be easily cleaned up. Simply pick up the pad and dispose of it.
  • No dust and tracking – Unlike traditional cat litter, puppy pads are dust free and do not track, making them a much more hygienic and cleaner option.
  • Useful as a litter mat – A puppy pad can be used as a litter mat to contain any litter that may have been tracked out. This helps to keep the area around the litter box clean.


  • The puppy pads are not great at absorbing odors: While the puppy pads will absorb liquid, they are not great at absorbing odors. This means that the litter box’s vicinity may still smell unpleasant.
  • Can be expensive: Puppy pads can be more expensive than traditional cat litter, making them a less cost-effective choice.

11. Artificial Turf

Artificial turf is an amazing and cost-effective option for cats who are living in an indoor environment. Cats love artificial turf because it looks and feels like grass. It is also easy to clean and maintain, as it can be vacuumed, brushed, or simply hosed off. Due to its non-absorbent properties, artificial turf also keeps messes and odors from creating in the area.

Cats can scratch and dig in it without causing any damage, and it is a great alternative to carpeting. In addition to providing soft, comfortable surfaces for cats to lie on, artificial turf can also enhance the aesthetics of any home.


  • The price per square foot ranges from $5 to $20, which makes it a relatively cheaper option. You can have 4*4 sq feet of turf which will be enough for you.


  • Unlike natural turf, artificial turf is non-toxic and won’t irritate your pet’s skin.
  • You can provide your pet with a safe and comfortable surface by installing artificial turf.
  • The installation of artificial turf is also easy, and any space can be adapted to the turf.
  • Artificial turf is easy to clean and requires no special cleaning products or tools.


  • Artificial turf can become extremely hot in direct sunlight, which can be dangerous for cats as well as other animals.
  • Synthetic turf may need to be replaced every few years since it is not as durable as real grass.

12. A Human toilet

A Human toilet

Training your cat to use a human toilet as a cheap alternative to a cat toilet can be a difficult but rewarding process. It requires patience, dedication, and lots of positive reinforcement. The key to success is breaking down the process into small steps and praising your cat for each step they take. 

First, you’ll need to purchase a cat toilet training kit, which typically includes a litter box, a litter scoop, a mat, and a training seat. Place the training seat onto your toilet and then fill the litter box with a small amount of litter. Encourage your cat to explore the litter box and reward them with a treat or praise when they do. 

Once your cat is comfortable using the litter box, you can begin the process of transitioning them to the toilet. Place the training seat on top of the toilet and have your cat step onto it. Gradually raise the seat until it is level with the toilet seat. Reward your cat each time they use the seat. Once they are comfortable using the seat on the toilet, you can begin to remove the litter box and replace it with flushable litter. 

Toilet training a cat takes time and consistency. With patience and dedication, your cat will soon be using the litter box properly.


  • Completely free of cost and can solve your cat litter problem forever


  • Cost – A human toilet can be a cheaper alternative to a cat than buying a litter box, litter, and other accessories.
  • Less Mess – Since cat waste is washed away by a toilet, there is no need to clean up after cats. This can be especially helpful for people who are not able to clean the litter box regularly.
  • Environmentally Friendly – Using a human toilet is a more environmentally friendly option than using a litter box. The water used to flush the toilet is much less than the amount of litter used in a litter box.


  • Sanitation – Cats will not be able to dispose of their waste properly if they use a human toilet as a cat toilet.
  • Risk of Infection – Using a human toilet can increase the risk of infection, as the waste may not be flushed away properly or could be exposed to other bacteria.
  • Odors – Because a litter box cannot contain cat waste, using a human toilet can be smelly.

Over To You!

There are several cheaper alternatives to traditional cat litter, including newspaper, cardboard, sawdust, and wood pellets. All of these options have the potential to save money while still providing a safe and comfortable environment for cats. 

It is important to research the options available and find the best choice for your pet’s needs. With a bit of research and experimentation, you can find a cat litter alternative that meets your budget and your cat’s needs.


Are there any risks associated with using newspaper pellets as cat litter?

While newspaper pellets are an excellent and affordable cat litter alternative, they may contain inks or dyes that can be harmful to your cat if ingested. Additionally, newspaper pellets may not be as effective at controlling odors or absorbing moisture as other cat litter alternatives. When making cat litter from newspaper pellets, make sure to regularly check for any inks or dyes that could be harmful to your cat.

Is it safe to use wood pellets as cat litter?

Yes, wood pellets are safe to use as cat litter, as long as they are not treated with any chemicals or toxins. Wood pellets are an excellent choice for cat litter, as they can absorb odors and moisture, making them an effective and affordable substitute. 

Are there any drawbacks to replacing cat litter with cheaper alternatives? 

Yes, some of the disadvantages of cheap cat litter include the possibility of tracking, some of the materials may not be as absorbent as traditional cat litter, and some of the materials may be too abrasive for cats. Additionally, some of the materials may be biodegradable and may need to be replaced more often than traditional cat litter.