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Anyone make their own cat litter?

 
                            
Posts: 158
Location: Abilene, KS
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I found this link some time ago and decided to give it a try:
http://thegreenists.com/pets/tip-of-the-day-make-your-own-kitty-litter/1044

It's a "Yesterday's News" clone kitty litter.  I have been using Feline Pine ever since the cheap but same stuff Equine Fresh disappeared from our area.  The stuff they have now is NOT all pine and smells to high heaven.  Anyway, paying $20+ for a bag of something that I'm going to be constantly pitching (the Feline Pine) just goes against the grain.  I have to use something, and at least this is earth friendly, no shipping, reusing, etc.  It's just newspaper that I can get from friends that don't recycle, and baking soda.

What I have learned so far:
You don't have to run the newspaper thru the shredder.  I just tore it into some wide strips and soaked it while I did the dishes.
You don't want to pour the goop into a colander that you want to keep for food.
You don't want to pour the goop into the old colander while it's in your sink.  I saw lots of small fibers in my sink, and quickly moved the colander back onto the bucket I was using.

I now have my first batch drying on a window screen, so I'll let you know how it goes.  Anyone else doing this?  Or what do you use that holds down the odor?
 
jacque greenleaf
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Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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During the summer, my cat is outside and I have noticed her using dried leaves and old straw bedding. Haven't tried using them inside, though.

I have, over the years, toyed with the idea of getting a kid's sandbox or wading pool, filling it with a mix of sand and chopped leaves, and placing it under cover just outside a kitty door. Then periodically emptying it and piling it up in a moldering compost pile. Or maybe adding it to a graywater mulch basin that was feeding trees.

Toxoplasmosis is not an issue at my age.
 
                            
Posts: 158
Location: Abilene, KS
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My cats are strictly indoor now, dang it.  We do have an outdoor cat that moved over to our place, and of course, kittens now, too.  I have tried plain sand in the litter boxes and the smell got b-a-d fast!  I have tried various kinds of so called eco friendly litters, but you know, there's still shipping involved, manufacturing, so not as green as I'd like.

I haven't tried grasses, straw, that type of thing.  I heard that rabbit chow worked because of the grass/chlorophyl (sp?) in it, but my daughter said she thought it smelled just as nasty as plain cat whiz.  Our cats are on Iams chow, so that does help on the odor.

I have high hopes on this newspaper/baking soda stuff, appeals to my DIY personality, I guess.  Is DIY OCD a medical condition? 
 
                            
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I know someone who has a pellet stove. She has used wood pellets for years in her cat box, just throws them in the stove and burns them when she cleans the litter box.

I'm not into pellet stoves... guess my cats have to stay outside (actually.. I don't have one anymore, my last one was eagle food about 5 years ago).
 
Jami McBride
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I got tired of buying cat litter and we started scooping up the soil like partially decomposed leaves.  The city drops shredded leaves by the truck loads in my front yard in the fall, and after a few months they are half way between leaves and dirt.  The material is fine enough at this stage, covers the smell really well and is easy to return to the great outdoors for disposal.  The shredding is key, I've tried collecting fallen leaves and they just mat and do not break down like the shredded ones.
 
                            
Posts: 158
Location: Abilene, KS
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Sorry about your kitty being eagle food.  Eeek, that's why all my older cats are in the house forever now, too many wild critters traveling close by.
Acquiring leaves here is difficult.  Planting trees, trees back at the creek, but so much wind that poof! They're gone in a flash.  I did get a few bags from our city friends a year ago to use as chicken litter, but I never thought about using them in a cat box.  The bags that started to break down were taken to the garden as we have crappy soil as well.  No pun intended.  Our friend mulched this year, so no leaves to bring here.  But I bet the cats would like the soil/ leaf mix.
The newspaper batch is dry now, so I'll be able to try it in a couple of days when I change one of the boxes.  Yesterday I thought that I could make enough during the summer to last thru the winter, but that would have to be an ongoing project to get enough. 
Thanks for the ideas.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Jami McBride wrote:
I got tired of buying cat litter and we started scooping up the soil like partially decomposed leaves.  The city drops shredded leaves by the truck loads in my front yard in the fall, and after a few months they are half way between leaves and dirt.  The material is fine enough at this stage, covers the smell really well and is easy to return to the great outdoors for disposal.  The shredding is key, I've tried collecting fallen leaves and they just mat and do not break down like the shredded ones.


Really good to know about the shredded leaves.  I don't have a shredder but I figure I can sift the leaf litter through appropriate sized screens to get shredded size bits.  But this is on my long list of things to do, I'm afraid. 
 
                            
Posts: 158
Location: Abilene, KS
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Could you leave the dry leaves in a bag and just stomp on them?  The leaves that I got were chopped pretty good after going thru the leaf vac.  Wish I would have known about using that for cat litter then.  O well.
The recycled newspaper litter turned out pretty well.  I scoop out the poops, give it a stir and that's it.  It's holding down the urine odor better than what I thought it would.  I can sit my colander over a five gallon bucket, pour the wastebasket of paper pulp into that and let it drain, push it down a bit then dump the water outside.  Same for rinsing.  Push out as much water as you can in the now stained, designated colander and proceed.  The longer you let it soak, the better it breaks down.  It's not that its labor intensive, it's just well, always there, you know?

BUT with multiple cats and two litter boxes, it's going to be an ongoing thing, I'm afraid.  I'm going to check the feed store for ground corn, that's supposed to clump so you can scoop, but then it's back to hauling bags.  I also read that some people use scratch grains for cat litter.  More bags to haul...and surprise crops growing. 

I think I'll aim for leaves next year, add a bit of soil and suppliment with the newspaper litter when the ground is frozen solid.
 
Eli Boyd
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Location: Taos, NM
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I'm in New Mexico and gathered some sand and clay.. I'm still working on the ideal ratio but the clay absorbs and makes easier to remove.. I haven't tried shredded paper though..
 
rose macaskie
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  Heidi Gildemeister in her book Mediteranean Garden a Waterwise Approach it seems that you think of a book once and then you remember it again on the same day, suggests sharing a shredder with neighbors. She also suggests a communal green house for everyone to grow their seedlings in. agri rose macaskie.
 
                      
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Location: Austin,TX
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Posted this in another thread but thought some might be interested...


Met a lady who ran a cat rescue shelter. She did worm bin kitty litter boxes.
Said it works great and no changing litter. Just swap boxes after awhile then harvest the worms after they've finished.
Think she kept adding more shredded newspaper as needed.

Couldn't get my sister to try it for her 6 house cats...she'll handle cat shit but not worms.
 
Emerson White
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Location: Alaska
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If you live in otter country it's important to be careful what happens to your kitty litter, it's more often than not loaded with toxoplasmosis cysts which can find their way to sea otters at the coast (if you live reasonably close to the coast, say close enough that your drain water gets there in a few days) and litterally make them crazy, which leads to them either starving to death or being eaten. Bad news.
 
                            
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Thanks for the type Emerson, I never thought of that! And I love Otters!
My grandma used this corn based litter, but I don't think it worked so well, plus I felt like it was really awful to use storable grains for cats to pee on when they were probably edible quality before and there are millions of people starving in the world.
 
rose macaskie
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I dont think that people starving has much to do with whether we use corn for cat litter, it has more to do with politics.
when we take food to people we take away the livelyhood of the people in those countries who grow food. Charity is very complicated. Bill Molison teaches them a few tricks to help them grow food . That is beeter than sending them grain.
  Many people suffer from bad government like from people like the haitian villan, the expresident who has just gone back there, who used to send any money the Haitans gained to bank acounts in other countries for himself. We ought to kill of shore banks and such that make it possible for people to cream money off from their countries.
  our ruling them also leads to brutality though we believe we are brining them civilization brutality like that of the british in africa that wangari Mathais describes in her book.
    Also we abuse them we buy their wood for example at cheap prices.
    We convert their countries in to centeres of production for things we want to buy, palm oil for us, so there is no land left for them to do subsistence farming on and so to feed themselves the land all gets bought up buy big land owners who want to earn money off palm oil. feed themselves..
Maybe, if  poverty worries you, you should be studying all the ways we abuse them and fighting to stop it instead of giiving them money or corn.
We should also fight for education for them, we put them into the world markets, they then needed our education that allows them to compete with us in our world and we have Victorian ideas about third world countries and teach them to read and write instead of to university leve, to be lawyers and economists etc. Our NGO should be thinking bigger than they do when they take education around trhe world as where there is a will there is a way. l
only educating certain sections of society was the old order that kept a large amount of populationsin servitud it does not matter if people become proffessionals or not the higher education allows them to do many things better life is not all work. The poor are lovely for the rich they are always hoping that the rich will help them on so they are absolutely charming to the rich. Stories about how much more love and virtue  there is among the poor only serve to stop people pressing for social justice. agri rose macaskie.r
 
solomon martin
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polypod wrote:
I'm in New Mexico and gathered some sand and clay.. I'm still working on the ideal ratio but the clay absorbs and makes easier to remove.. I haven't tried shredded paper though..


I'm shooting from the hip again, but instead of clay, try adding hydrated lime to the sand, it should clump together better, plus the lime slows decomp in case you don't clean often enough and are worried about smell.  Sand is super cheap, and doesn't take any thing to get it ready for cat poo.  Seems like an easy alternative that is cheap and quick compared to some of the methods in this thread.
 
                              
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I read an article about cat litter awhile back.  Clay.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Litter_box
 
                            
Posts: 158
Location: Abilene, KS
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Ya, the newspaper thing got old, plus with 5 indoor cats and two litter boxes, I had to have a batch of homemade working constantly.  Better than driving 40 miles one way to get Feline Pine litter, but....if I had just one cat, I'd probably keep doing it.  It only takes about 10 minutes actual labor.  Most of the time it's soaking, draining or drying.

I tried sand, nasty smelling in no time.  I usually scoop poops once a day, but the urine smell after a day or two was naaasty. Never heard or thought about adding the hydrated lime - interesting.  I'll do some reading about it. I have a rather large pile of sand here at my place.
Tried crushed leaves and straw bits from the garden, but it tracked all over...really bad.  A sprinkle of pine sawdust over it helped hold down the urine smell.  The ground is too frozen now to be able to get the dirt like particles.

I was looking for cheap, eco friendly alternatives available in my area that hold down the odor reasonably well.  I might have five cats, but I don't want my house to smell like I have 5 cats.  Booting them outside isn't going to happen, they're older cats and other cats moved here last year to live under the pole shed.  O joy.

Rose, I agree. 
The worm bin idea was interesting, too. 
Our local co-op has rolled corn instead of ground corn, so that's out.  I sprinkle used litter on areas where I have moles/voles/ gophers.  I'm in the middle of farm ground, so no real worry about it getting into the water supply.

Thanks to all that posted.
 
Franklin Stone
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I looked into using ground corn chicken scratch as litter. While I was at the feed store, explaining what I wanted, the owner gave me a couple of bags of the name-brand ground-corn cat litter to try. It worked very well. I scooped the clumps out into bucket with lid that I take out to the compost pile every few days.

HOWEVER... I noticed that the ground-corn litter grew mold really quickly. When I went to empty the bucket, it was full of colorful blue-green and yellow mold. A little bit of research on the internet turned up some stories of cats sickened and killed by toxins from moldy corn cat litter. So I stopped using it immediately.

I am currently using a cracked wheat litter, and it works well. I have never seen mold growth on it in the short period of time it stays in the bucket. I'm working at transitioning the cats to wood pellets, though it can be difficult to get cats to change their ways to something so different.
 
                            
Posts: 158
Location: Abilene, KS
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Yes, even cat poo in a plastic bag will mold after a few days.  I could see it being worse with any food type litter added to the mix.

When I first bought the pine pellet litter, I lightly sprayed the top with water so it wasn't so 'crunchy'.  I didn't have any problem with my cats.  Actually, I love the pine pellets, best litter I ever used.  It's just the hassle of getting it now - and I hate to pay for something that I end up throwing away.  At least w/ the pine, you end up with sawdust that can be used as mulch around trees and bushes - the urine is supposed to be neutralized.

I'd be leary about putting the used litter in the compost pile if you're using it in the veggie garden.  Some believe that all the bad things don't get cooked out.

Thanks for the info on the corn and wheat litters.  The mold issue is giving me pause about using the chicken scratch, but I may try one box of it to see how it goes over here.
 
Franklin Stone
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The idea that all cats are full of nasty toxoplasmosis cysts is a bit of a myth. Cats kept indoors are not going to become infected unless they come in contact with an outside source. Once infected, the window in which the cats are actively shedding the cysts is only a few weeks long before their immune system adapts, and then they never shed again, even if they are freshly re-infected. Cows, pigs, goats, rabbits, etc. all carry equally risky parasites in their manure.

I'm of the "long composting" school of thought that believes no manure should ever be put on a garden until it has composted for a full year. Anybody that has reason to worry about possible contamination should compost for two full years, or use the compost to fertilize trees.
 
Brice Moss
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not sure how environmentally sound it was, but when I was a teen I lived on a hill of sand discarded from the gravel pit next door
it was real nice beach type sand but utterly devoid or organics
so every day I dumped the litter box, then dump a fresh shovel load into the litter box worked my way around the sand hill in a circle
less work than scooping for sure.
 
Vickie Hinkley
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Location: Toledo, WA
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Marianne wrote:
Is DIY OCD a medical condition? 


Love it!
 
Vickie Hinkley
Posts: 52
Location: Toledo, WA
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ape99 wrote:
Couldn't get my sister to try it for her 6 house cats...she'll handle cat shit but not worms.


Oh, my gawd, that is too funny!
 
Vickie Hinkley
Posts: 52
Location: Toledo, WA
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I don't need a litter box at the moment, but as the current cats age, I will.  I used to work at a farm store, so we sold most every variety and heard most every DIY theory.

I'd tried quite a few of them, but I think I liked plain old dirt the best.  Even in SW WA, in the winter,  you can usually find some nice non-mud-easy-dig-mole-hill-dirt - about as fresh and odor absorbing as it gets. 

And just dump it - digging out crap not necessary. 
Also a non-issue where to dump it.

Also suits my DIY - Cheap-as-they-get - OCD.
 
                                        
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Hi ya'all!
We use only wood shavings that we get for free locally.
No smell at all, and it can be composted just like humanure.
 
                      
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Please ape99, is there a link or plans or a full discription of the kitty litter worm bin available? Do the cats have enough acess to the worms to snack on them? Sounds like interesting vermicompost potential. Thank You.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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