Eco Friendly Home Maintenance

Published on October 28th, 2011 | by Lynn Fang

Eco-Friendly Compostable Kitty Litter


You love your kitty, but how green is that particulate matter we call litter?

Typically, cat litter is made from clay that is strip-mined and often contains toxic compounds like silica dust. This stuff isn’t biodegradable or compostable. Eco-friendly kitty litters try to use alternative products that are all-natural and biodegradable, or recycled from post-consumer content. All of these are compost-friendly:

Recycled Newspaper

Wood Shavings

  • Feline Pine is made from pine chips.
  • Better Way Cedar Cat Litter: a combination of natural clay and cedar.
  • Cedarific Natural Cat Litter: a blend of hardwood and cedar chips, with no clay or silica dust.
  • Plain Sawdust is a great, natural, inexpensive resource for cat litter. The only issue is that it may be difficult to find sawdust in urban areas. Otherwise, it’s an excellent option that you can also compost in a backyard composter.


Grass or Vegetable Base


You can indeed compost your kitty litter if it’s made from any of the above products. The main concern about this process is from a toxic protozoa in cat poop, called toxoplasmosis. But, it’s more likely you’ll get it from eating raw meat or drinking dirty water than handling kitty litter. In a hot compost, the temperatures reach over 130 degrees F, which is hot enough to kill toxic pathogens.

If you have a backyard compost, you can set up a separate compost dedicated to kitty litter. Most of the litters listed here are compost-friendly.

General Composting Tips:

  1. Add the first layer of sawdust, soil, or leaves.
  2. Dump your cat’s waste directly into the bin.
  3. Cover it with a 1-inch layer of sawdust, soil, or leaves, and leave it alone.
  4. When it’s time to empty your entire litterbox, simply do the same. Then add another layer of your composting material.
  5. Aerate the compost every 3 weeks to one month.
  6. Always seal the top with sawdust, straw, or hay to keep odors away.

After about 6 months to a year, the compost is finished. You can tell by the sweet earthy smell and loamy texture. If you want to be cautious, use this compost only on ornamental plants and not on food crops.

When the compost has cured for 18 months or more, it should be safe to use on any crop. These composting tips were adapted from Glenbrook North Zero Waste Blog.

Would you compost your kitty litter?

[CC Image by MDPhotography via Flickr]

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About the Author

is a compost consultant and educator, eco-conscious writer, and intuitive artist. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

2 Responses to Eco-Friendly Compostable Kitty Litter

  1. Lane' says:

    I’ve tried Swheat Scoop: Natural Wheat Litter but I didn’t like it at all – terrible odor control and it degraded rather quickly (cats tracked it ALL over the place). Plus, it was SO expensive. I didn’t consider composting it because of the smell. I switched about 2 months ago to Feline Pine. It’s great for urine but it doesn’t mask stool all that well (at all) — even if scooped daily (I even scoop twice a day if I can). It’s very inexpensive, which is a definite pro, and it’s easy to purchase.

    I just started composting it, but I ONLY compost the wet stuff and flush the stool in the toilet (usually when our “mellow” has mellowed long enough). We’re not composting anything else in that particular compost pile as I want to keep the two piles separate and I’m not yet noticing it break down, so I’m hoping it well. You go through quite a bit (we have two cats). I’m hoping with the addition of some water (I hadn’t been watering it), it will start to break down a little faster.

    I haven’t heard of some of the others, such as Better Way or Cedarific – I haven’t even seen these at our pet stores. So, they may be hard to come by.


  2. molly says:

    Pro-Pet at walmart is corn cob, compostable kitty litter, at 5.77 a bag it has become my new best friend. it works great and really does better with the smell than anything i have used (i have 8 cats-so it really matters !!) and another benefit is it is incredibly light in weight, 1 ten pound bag outlast and outperforms 2- 14 pound tidy cats scoop !!

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