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Cheap Alternatives To Cat Litter – A Complete Guide!

Cheap Alternatives To Cat Litter –  A Complete Guide!

Cat litter that can be purchased in stores is one of the most common ways to fill a litter box. 

Despite being so popular, cat litter can be expensive, mainly because it cannot be reused. Once cat litter is used, it must be thrown away. It is just like throwing away money! 

Let’s look at some cheap alternatives to cat litter! 


Newspaper is an excellent alternative to cat litter and can be easily accessible.

Unfortunately, newspaper doesn’t solve the problem of cat litter not being reusable, but newspaper is much cheaper than cat litter that you can purchase in a store.

You can use newspaper to line the bottom of your cat’s litter box, which will soak up the urine. 

Although newspaper is a cheaper alternative, it is not a perfect substitute for cat litter because newspaper does not do most of the things that cat litter does.

Newspaper will not neutralize odor. If your litter box is not in a high traffic area, you may not even notice, though. 

Your cat will not be able to cover his mess adequately. Some cats do not cover their poop, so this might not be a problem for you either.

Newspaper is not highly absorbent, so you will need to change newspaper more often. 

Cat urine can also be prone to more splashing since it is hitting a flat, hard surface. 

Try shredding newspaper into strips before adding it to your cat’s litter box. It will be fluffier and mimic cat litter.

Again, newspaper isn’t the best alternative to cat litter because you are losing some of the benefits of litter, but your wallet will undoubtedly be happier! 


Sand is an excellent alternative to cat litter. Not only is it a cheap alternative, but it also acts very similarly to regular cat litter.

An alternative like sand clumps like cat litter that you are probably familiar with. Clumping will help you see when your cat has used the litter box, which can be helpful.

Sand will also stick to cat poop. If your cat likes to cover up his mess before he leaves the litter box, then the sand will act just like cat litter in this way.

Unfortunately, there are two drawbacks to sand that you should keep in mind before deciding to switch to it:

  • Sand will not absorb any odor of cat pee. Try to put your litter box in a low-traffic area of the house if you plan on switching to sand.
  • Sand will inevitably get everywhere. Since it is finer than cat litter, it will stick to your cat’s paws and fur between its paws. As your cat walks around the house, it will start to get everywhere, just like you went to the beach!

If you are trying to mimic the feel of cat litter, then sand might be one of the best alternatives for you to use. 

Wood Shavings, Wood Pellets Or Saw Dust

Wood in a few different formats can also be used as cat litter. 

You can purchase wood shavings, pellets, or sawdust from a store, but you can also make your own at home. Depending on the kind of living situation you have, you may provide this litter alternative for little to no money. 

There are a few downsides to wood-product cat litter alternatives:

  • It could lead to splinters. Make sure your wood product is cut correctly. If it isn’t, you may be getting splinters too!
  • Wood won’t cover up the strong smell of cat pee. There is a fresh scent to freshly cut wood, but it probably won’t linger.
  • Your wood may get mushy after it is used, especially if you are using sawdust. This could make clean-up messy.
  • Your cat can inhale smaller pieces of wood through his mouth or nose. This can lead to potential health issues over time. 

Think about switching to a wood-based cat litter alternative if you live in the woods with many trees around you. You will be able to source your new litter for free after a little bit of elbow grease.

Alfalfa Pellets

You can use alfalfa in a few different forms for a fresher cat litter alternative.

You’ve probably heard about alfalfa when you are talking about rabbits. Alfalfa is usually what is used to feed animals like rabbits. It can be purchased cheaply and in massive quantities.

Alfalfa is an excellent alternative to cat litter; in fact, it is somewhat like using grass. 

You should choose alfalfa if you have a cat that is used to using the bathroom outside. Here are the two situations you may be in:

  • You just brought in a stray cat from outside. They will often know to use the litter box, but they may not like the feel of cat litter.
  • You are keeping a stray cat inside your house for a short amount of time. You may be holding a cat inside your house to neuter him for trap and release.

Alfalfa will make your cat feel like he is using the bathroom outside in the wild.

Alfalfa, however, is not going to clump after your cat uses the bathroom. It also won’t do much to cut the smell of cat pee in your house.

I would suggest using alfalfa when you find yourself in a pinch. It will not be the best option for long-term litter box use unless you find that it is the only thing your cat likes.

Chicken Feed

Now, this one may seem strange, but you can use chicken feed for cat litter because it works almost like wood pellets or shavings.

Corn-based chicken feed is the product that you usually see on the ground in chicken coops. It is especially popular with people who are raising chicks. 

People usually buy massive chicken feed so that you will get a deep discount on this kind of product. If you are looking for a cheap option, this one will be the best bang for your buck.

You may like to use chicken feed because it is all-natural. There is nothing in chicken feed that will harm your cat, which may give you peace of mind while you are using it.

The two benefits here are the price and the all-natural nature. There are drawbacks too.

Chicken feed probably won’t clump as well as other options.

It will also not smell good, on top of not blocking the odor of cat pee. It can make the room smell worse.

Chicken feed can be used as food, which can attract critters like bugs or even mice.

Chicken feed might make the most sense for your situation if you are a farmer and already have this product on hand in large quantities.

Potting Soil Or Simply Use Of The Outdoors

Potting soil or dirt is an excellent alternative for cat litter. If your cat is using the bathroom doors, then it is an entirely free alternative! 

Potting soil can be used as an alternative to cat litter. 

Potting soil is absorbent and mimics cat litter in that way, but it will not clump in the same way.

Soil can also be used to cover poop and urine. If your cat likes to be clean after he is done, he will enjoy having soil in the litter box. 

Keep in mind that potting soil can be heavier than cat litter, so watch your back if you are lifting large quantities of soil.

It’s also noting that you can find soil outside for free if you have a front or back yard.

Some cats are more used to going outside, and they may also prefer to go outside. If your cat is using the bathroom outside, you do not have to worry about supplying your cat with cat litter or cat litter alternatives.

It is still a good idea to keep a litter box inside, even if you have a cat that likes to go outside. For instance, if it’s raining, your cat may not want to be going outside! 

Cat Litter Purchased At Discount Stores

This type of litter isn’t a true alternative to cat litter, but it can still save you money – which is why we are all here, right?

Look at discount stores around you. Some discount stores sell only household products or food, but many sell both.

Discount stores sell expired or damaged goods at a fraction of the cost of your everyday retail stores.

It will take some hunting – plus, there is no guarantee you will find it – but most discount stores will carry some quantity of cat litter at a deeply discounted price.

Since cat litter doesn’t have an expiration date, you don’t have to worry that the cat litter is “no good.” The bag or box that the cat litter is in may be damaged, or some of the product may be missing because it was open. 

Regardless of the cosmetic defects, the discount litter will do the same job at full price.