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Can You Use Dirt For Cat Litter – Alternatives & Tips!

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With all the new options on the market these days for cat litter, traditional cat litter made of clay may seem a little old-fashioned. Sure, it gets the job done, but you might not like the dust or the smell of cat litter. If your cat doesn’t prefer it, it could make the litter box a contentious subject. Plus, litter is expensive for something to throw away! So you start looking for different options and ask yourself, can you use dirt for cat litter?

Yes, you can use dirt for cat litter. Dirt is not as effective in reducing odors compared to cat litter. While you may want to avoid switching completely to dirt for cat litter, you can dirt in your litter boxes to encourage your cat to use the litter box. An all-dirt litter box will be messy and difficult to clean. 

Dirt has its place when it comes to your litter box, and I’m not here to say that you should not use it at all. Dirt should be used in moderation, in my opinion. We’ll talk about this and some other cat litter alternatives in this article, so continue reading to learn about what you can do for your cat’s litter box! 

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Can You Mix Cat Litter With Dirt

Mixing cat litter with dirt is a great idea.

If you have a cat that doesn’t like to use the litter box or prefers to go outside to do his duties, then I might suggest mixing your cat litter with dirt.

Dirt will encourage your cat to use the litter box because the scent of the dirt or soil will attract your cat to the litter box. 

Dirt acts as a stimulant to your cat’s senses, so you might want to give it a try if you are struggling with your cat.

Remember that soil and dirt will not have the same clumping effect as cat litter. You will not find that dirt will make your litter box clean up duty any easier, which can be a bummer. 

In order to keep scooping your litter box as easy as possible, do not add too much dirt into your mixture.

Can I Use Mud For Cat Litter

Dirt is good at attracting cats, but you may want to avoid using mud for cat litter.

As we’ve already discussed, dirt is a good addition to your cat litter because it will attract your cat to the litter box.

On the other hand, mud might cause more problems than it solves when it comes to the litter box. 

For instance, your cat is going to track mud. Everywhere.

Once mud gets onto your cat’s feed and stuck to the hair between your cat’s toes, you’re going to see little brown footprints all over your house.

Mud is also going to dry out and turn back into dirt, which means that your cat is going to start kicking it out of the litter box like he is trying to attain a world record.

Can I Use Potting Soil For Cat Litter

You can use potting soil for cat litter if you want to make the switch to dirt cat litter.

Although I wouldn’t recommend committing to using dirt as your litter, it is indeed possible, and people do it.

But you then might start to wonder where you can get dirt. 

We all have dirt outside our homes, but it isn’t ideal to have to dig up the earth every time you need to refill your cat’s litter box. After all, your property will end up covered in holes in no time!

As an alternative to this hard labor, you can purchase bags of potting soil. 

Potting soil is usually sold in large quantities and is relatively inexpensive. You do not need to purchase special potting soil that feeds plants.

Potting soil is light and fluffy and will not be packed down as easily as soil that you will find outside. While this can be good in some situations, this too may end up all over your floors in worse ways than traditional cat litter.

What Can You Use For Cat Litter Instead Of Cat Litter

If you’re on the market to use an alternative to clay cat litter, you do have several options.

Everything has an alternative, and cat litter is no different.

Most people are most familiar with the cat litter that you can buy in grocery stores or pet stores, which is usually made of clay.

If you’re thinking about using dirt for cat litter, you might already be thinking about what other options you have for cat litter.

Here are some of the other alternatives to traditional cat litter, although this list is in no way exhaustive:

  • Wood pellets, chips, sawdust, or shavings
  • Alfalfa pellets, which are often used as feed for animals
  • Pellets that are used for horse bedding
  • Sand
  • Newspaper, either whole or shredded
  • Chicken feed

Cat litter alternatives have a range from cheaper to more expensive and more natural to artificial. 

Since every cat and situation is different, it may take some trial and error to find the cat litter that is right for you and your cat. 

Can I Make My Own Cat Litter

You can make your own cat litter, which can be an easy way to save some money when it comes to cat litter.

Let’s look at two popular cat litter alternatives. We’ll talk about how you can take it upon yourself to “make” your own cat litter.

Neither wood pellets, chips, or shavings, or newspaper take a lot of time to make or require many materials. With the right resources, you will be able to make these in large quantities in no time!

Read ahead to learn what to do.

Wood Pellets, Chips, Or Shavings

You can purchase wood pellet cat litter at the pet store, but you may quickly notice that it is more expensive than clay cat litter.

The higher price defeats the purpose of changing cat litter if you’re looking to save money.

You can make wooden cat litter by yourself with the right tools.

You will, of course, need wood and something to cut the wood.

If you live in a wooded area, you will have an abundance of trees to use, but pine is going to be your best choice. 

Cut the wood into small pieces; if this is an at home job, chips and shavings are going to be the easiest to manage.


Newspaper is a great alternative cat litter because there is not much work there on your part.

If you don’t want to be involved in making cat litter at all, you can throw a few sheets of newspaper into a litter box.

You can put in more effort, though, and shred the newspaper to make it most of a bedding for the litter box.

You can use your hands to shred the newspaper, though you will not get the fluffy texture you might be expecting. The shreds of newspaper will not be that small. 

An electric paper shredder is going to be your best bet. That will cut the newspaper into fine strips, and you will be able to fluff it up in your cat’s litter box.