Save Money – DIY Cat Litter

"This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links."
"As an Amazon Associate I earn through qualifying purchases."

Has DIY cat litter ever been on your radar? Why not make your own cat litter?

DIY cat litter may be a choice driven by economics but not always. Sometimes it is just the convenience and satisfaction of being able to do it yourself.

I have certainly gone the DIY route over the years, with all manner of things from weed spray and insect spray for the garden to shampoo and moisturizer. Some things work, some don’t, and some are too time-consuming to make.

Some DIY projects are too expensive, and no one wants to waste money. DIY cat litter is budget friendly.

vector cat   with speech bubble saying DIY cat litter needs my approval
Will DIY cat litter pass the cat test?

Cat litter can be problematic for some cats and some cat owners for a multitude of reasons.  This may include allergies or respiratory problems with dusty cat litter.

Do you, as a cat owner have an allergy problem? Even the simple task of pouring the litter can be difficult if you are going to be enveloped in a cloud of dust.

Whatever the reason, it is always good to have a backup plan ready.

Look what happened with the shortages of toilet paper at the beginning of Covid and the panic buying. No one was prepared for that. We are now.  I’m betting that most people have spare toilet paper now. A few emergency cat litter supplies are not such a bad idea.

Five different ways to make DIY cat litter

Here are five different ways to make the best cat litter at home.  Some may not be right for your cat, that’s okay, move on to the next DIY cat litter method until you find one that your cat likes.

  1. How To Make DIY Sand Cat Litter At Home
  2. How To Make DIY Shredded Paper Cat Litter At Home
  3. How To Make DIY Wood Shavings Cat Litter At Home
  4. How To Make DIY Chicken Feed Cat Litter At Home
  5. How To Make DIY Hemp Cat Litter At Home

1. How To Make DIY Cat Sand Litter At Home

Like a lot of families we had a sandbox outside for the kids to play in the sand.  The sand we used was beach sand which we purchased from a local hardware store.  It is actually illegal where we live, to go to the beach and shovel sand to take away. It seems somewhat silly at face value to say that, but actually I do get it.

We did have a problem with cats loving the sandpit a little too much and making it their own private toilet spot.  The sandpit had to be covered at night.

Cats do like sand for toileting and in the wild, sand or soil is exactly what they would be using.

Materials Needed For DIY Sand Cat Litter:

  • Play Sand or beach sand if this is an option for you
  • Baking soda
  • Essential oils (optional, like lavender to reduce odor)

Instructions For Making DIY Sand Cat Litter :

To make you own homemade sand litter it is advisable not to use sand or soil that you collect yourself, as it may contain harmful bacteria and pathogens. 

It is far safer to buy some play sand when making DIY cat litter.

Play Sand  Filtered, Screened, Washed and Dried Soft Sand
  1. Once you have some play sand for your kitty litter box, you will need to think about odor control. Baking soda is known for its odor control properties.
  2. Liberally, sprinkle some baking soda on to the top of the sand and roughly mix it through the sand. Use a small garden trowel.
  3. This step will have to be repeated as necessary. Add a few drops of essential oil if desired at this point.

If adding baking soda to the sand, seems like too much effort, take a look at this nifty little idea.

Arm & Hammer have a baking soda cartridge that can just be popped into any litter. I haven’t used this, but do love the idea. It is a lavender scented and can be used anywhere where odors need to be controlled. It is inexpensive and a timesaver.

Notes for DIY Sand Litter

Cat litter made from sand will track, that is definitely a consideration. Sand will stick to a cat’s paws  so using a good litter mat is a must.

The sand to make the litter will be heavy when purchasing. Online shopping and home delivery will assist here and avoid having to carry heavy loads.

The sand in the litter box will need to be scooped regularly. This will have to be trial and error, until you strike a happy balance between scooping and adding more sand.

Sand litter is likely to spread so a large litter box is recommended as it will lessen the likelihood of the sand spreading too far.

To help with the weight of the sand and if practical leave the sand in its container, whether that be box or bag, near the litter box, to lessen the amount of carrying that needs to be done

How do you stop cat litter from going everywhere? It can take over, that’s for sure. Use the practical tips from this article to help keep excess cat litter under control.

Pinterest image - DIY Cat Litter

2. How To Make DIY Newspaper Cat Litter At Home

A paper based cat litter made with paper pellets is often recommended by veterinarians for use post-surgery for cats because there is no dust in the paper pellet litter.

Paper litter minimizes the likelihood of the wound getting infected. With any wound, dusty cat litter should be avoided.

You can make DIY shredded paper kitty litter.

You will need a paper shredder to make shredded paper litter.  We have had a paper shredder at home for years, and surprisingly, in this day of little paper, we do actually use it at home a fair amount.

The paper shredder I have linked to is next level compared to ours. This one chews through staples and credit cards.

As well as using it to shred paper for making cat litter, shredded paper is also ideal to add to a compost bin. Don’t put in huge volumes all at once.

Materials Needed For DIY Newspaper Cat Litter:

  • Newspaper or other paper
  • Baking soda
  • Washing up liquid
  • Essential oils (optional, like lavender to reduce odor)

Instructions For Making DIY Newspaper Cat Litter:

  1. Begin by shredding the newspapers and put into an empty litter box.  If you don’t have a shredder, get the kids to work tearing the paper.  Make sure they wash their hands afterwards to get rid of the black smudgy ink. Junk mail can be used also.
  2. Add water and a squirt of washing up liquid to the shredded paper.  It will go mushy and the water will change to a dull gluggy grey from the ink. Don’t add so much water that the litter box can’t be lifted. An alternative would to make the litter in a bucket that has a handle and transfer it to the litter box when finished.
  3. Drain the paper using a colander or some other type of strainer.
  4. Return the paper to the litter box or bucket and add clean water.
  5. Strain again.
  6. At this point baking soda can be added as this will help with odor control. Just sprinkle it over the wet paper and massage lightly to incorporate. Add a few drops of essential oil at this point if desired.
  7. Give the paper a good squeeze to remove excess water
  8. Then spread out the paper and leave to air dry.  If you have a screen or some fly wire this is ideal for drying, as the air can circulate underneath the screen.

And Finally The DIY Newspaper Litter Is Ready

When the mixture is fully dry and crumbly, it is ready to use. Use it as you would any other litter, scoop daily and top up with more paper litter as needed.

Once it becomes routine to DIY newspaper cat litter you will always have some on hand, ready to go.

Tip: Most neighborhoods have a free local newspaper.  We have about five newspapers in our area, two of which are delivered to our home weekly.  Contact the newspaper administration and ask if you can pick up past editions. You will have a never ending supply of newspapers for DIY newspaper litter. This saves the old papers from possibly going to landfill and repurposing is the buzzword at the moment.

3. How To Make DIY Wood Shavings Cat Litter At Home

Do you have access to wood shavings and sawdust?   If so, DIY wood shavings litter is perfect for you. The wood, of course, would need to be untreated and free from chemicals.

This cat litter, wood shavings mixed with sawdust and baking soda (optional) may be dusty because of the sawdust, so it may take some experimenting to get the ratio just right.

Materials Needed For DIY Wood Shavings Litter:

  • Wood shavings (untreated softwood works best)
  • Baking soda
  • Essential oils (optional, like lavender to reduce odor)

Instructions For Making DIY Wood Shavings Litter:

  1. Gather wood shavings from a local sawmill or wood shop. Softwoods like pine work well. Shavings should be coarse and dry.
  2. In a large tub or container, mix 1 part baking soda with 3-4 parts wood shavings by volume.
  3. Sprinkle a few drops of essential oil over the mixture and use your hands to distribute it evenly.
  4. Seal the container and leave it sit for 2-3 days to allow the baking soda to absorb moisture from the wood shavings.
  5. Periodically shake or stir the litter during this time to fully distribute ingredients.
  6. Once fully cured, the litter is ready to use! Scoop as needed and top up the box.
  7. Replenish baking soda every few months for optimum odor control.

Okocat make a very popular wood litter. If you decide wood litter is a good idea but don’t want to make it yourself, this is a good alternative. Okocat’s wood litter is made from sustainably sourced, natural wood fibre.

Alternatively, to make your homemade wood shavings litter extend further, Okocat’s wood litter would be a perfect pairing.

Adding some commercially produced product is a good way to budget and use materials to which you have access. This is a good way to save money.

wood shavings
Wood shavings mixed with sawdust is a cat litter alternative.

Is the litter getting stuck to the bottom of the litter pan? It’s not a great thing to deal with. Try these DIY ideas to make the litter box non-stick.

4. How To Make DIY Chicken Feed Pellets Cat Litter At Home

Cat litter has been made successfully at home by many people using chicken feed pellets. If you have quite a few cats, the cost of commercially produced cat litter can really be prohibitive.

Be aware that, chicken feed or pellets are food-based, so there is a possibility that the chicken feed could attract rodents.

Mostly however, this does not seem to be the case unless there are already rodents in the area. Add baking soda for odor control. 

A positive aspect of DIY chicken pellet litter is that chicken pellets are absorbent. This is a popular option.

Materials Needed For DIY Chicken pellet Cat Litter

  1. Chicken Feed Pellets – You can purchase these at a farm supply store or online. Opt for plain chicken feed pellets without added chemicals or medications.
  2. Large Container or Bag for storing the homemade cat litter.

Instructions For Making DIY Chicken Pellet Litter

1. Select the Chicken Feed Pellets. Ensure that the chicken feed pellets are made from natural ingredients and do not contain any harmful chemicals. Look for plain, untreated pellets.

2. Crush the Pellets (Optional). If the chicken feed pellets are large, you can crush them into smaller pieces to create a finer texture for the cat litter. You can use a heavy object, like a rolling pin or a mallet, to break them into smaller bits.

3. Store the Crushed Pellets. Transfer the crushed chicken feed pellets to a large container or bag. Seal it tightly to keep the material clean and free from moisture.

4. Use the DIY Chicken Feed Cat Litter. Fill your cat’s litter box with DIY chicken feed litter to the desired depth, usually around 2-3 inches.

5. Regular Maintenance. Scoop out waste and clumps daily to keep the litter box clean and fresh. Chicken feed pellets are absorbent and should work well for controlling odors.

While homemade chicken feed cat litter can be an effective option, it may require more maintenance than some commercial litters.

chicken feed as cat DIY cat litter
Chicken Feed as cat litter. Add some baking soda

5. How To make DIY Hemp Cat Litter At Home

Hemp is another alternative for cat litter.   

Hemp is long lasting, easy to sweep and it is absorbent. It can be scooped in the same manner as ordinary kitty litter.

On the downside, it may be dusty. 

On the positive side, if you have other animals like rabbits, hamsters, chickens, rats, horses, it can be used for all of the animals which is a plus.

This hemp is free of pesticides and insecticides.

Materials Needed For DIY Hemp Cat Litter

  1. Hemp
  2. Large Container or Bag – For storing the homemade cat litter.

Instructions For Making DIY Hemp Cat Litter

1. Prepare the Hemp Fiber. Ensure that the hemp fiber is clean and free from contaminants. You can use either pure hemp or a blend of hemp with other natural materials like corn-starch or baking soda for enhanced odor control.

2. Shred or Cut the Hemp Material (Optional) – Depending on the form of hemp you have, you may want to shred or cut it into smaller pieces to create a finer texture for your cat litter.

3. Store the Hemp Material. Transfer the prepared hemp fiber or shives to a large container or bag. Seal it tightly to keep the material clean and free from moisture.

4. Use the Homemade Hemp Cat Litter. Fill your cat’s litter box with the homemade hemp litter to the desired depth, usually around 2-3 inches.

5. Regular Maintenance – Scoop out waste and clumps daily, just as you would with any other cat litter, to keep the litter box clean and fresh.

Notes For DIY Hamp Cat Litter:

Hemp cat litter has good absorbency and can control odors effectively. However, it may require more frequent scooping than some commercial clay-based litters.

Monitor your cat’s reaction to the new litter, as some cats may have preferences for specific textures or materials. Make the transition gradually if needed.

Homemade hemp cat litter is an excellent eco-friendly choice, and it’s suitable for cats and their owners who are looking for more sustainable options. Remember that it may take some time for your cat to adjust to a new type of litter, so be patient during the transition.


If you have another DIY method for making your own homemade cat litter and are willing to share, we would love to hear it.

Often time is our enemy when thinking about DIY, but this isn’t a kitchen renovation, it is making cat litter.

It is really more of a case of having the right materials to mix together. Go make your shopping list!

If you are like me, it won’t happen, if it is not on the shopping list .

All the materials mentioned in this article are easy to collect. Some you may have already and others are easy to purchase.

Save Money – Half DIY Litter & Half Commercial Litter

Using half and half, half your own DIY litter mix and half a commercial cat litter mix is another very good way to save money.

You can also experiment with what works and what doesn’t before fully committing.

Some cats eat cat litter. Homemade cat litter may just be the perfect solution to stop your cat from eating cat litter.

Some cats cope well with litter changes and others don’t.

To be on the safe side have two litter boxes side by side to begin with, one with the old litter and one with the new.

Start by adding new litter to the old litter box until essentially they are both the same. You can then remove one box.

Litter box attractant is also a handy solution for those cats that won’t use a litter box.

vector - two cats reading
Let’s just wait and see what the litter is like before we take further action.

Latest from Is That Your Cat

leaves with water droplets
Why Do Old Cats Lick Water off Plants?
girl playing with a cat
Ten Fun Games to Play with Your Cat
two cats different cat litter
14 Different Types of Cat Litter: A Comprehensive Guide for Cat Owners