How to Use Rice as Cat Litter, and Other Clever Alternatives

You can use rice as cat litter because:

You can use rice as cat litter since it is absorbent, but it does not mask the smell of urine. Other cat litter alternatives are:

  • Potting soil.
  • Sand.
  • Shredded newspaper.
  • Sawdust.
  • Chicken feed.

Change your cat’s litter brand gradually. Encourage your cat to relieve itself outside.

Are you far away from the store or need to save money, and are looking for a cat litter alternative? Or perhaps you have run out of cat litter, and wouldn’t mind an alternative route. This guide will answer all your questions regarding using rice or other cat litter alternatives.

Even though these options will not be exactly like your favorite commercial cat litter, be assured that your cat will adjust well.

Keep reading this article, to know if it’s proper to use rice as cat litter, how to introduce the change, and other recommended options.


Rice Can be Used as Cat Litter

You can use rice as an emergency cat litter because it is a great absorber. Some cat owners suggest using the pellet form of rice husks.

However, the main downside is that it expands when wet, and therefore will be a huge mess if the rice granules overfill the litterbox.

Another disadvantage of rice is that it does not mask the smell of urine.


 A Different Cat Litter for Emergencies Is Not Recommended

You should only use a different cat litter for emergencies if you don’t have any other option. Your cat does not like drastic change, and it may refuse to use the method you have just introduced.

Check if you still have a portion of the old cat litter, even if you are going to use the emergency litter. You can then mix these two. If not, don’t worry, there are other options to explore as we shall soon see.

Before you throw out your cat’s old litter, try to see what you can salvage. This will push you for just one more day, or until you can get more at the pet store.

Refresh your cat’s litter in these simple steps:

  1. Sift out all the excrement in the litter.
  2. Place the remaining cat litter in a separate container.
  3. Clean your cat’s litterbox with a mild detergent and tepid water.
  4. Pour in a natural deodorizer to the remaining cat litter, such as baking soda and mix.  

The above steps will help you have an odorless litter, and ensure your kitty is happy until you can replace it.


Some Cool Ideas as Cat’s Litter Alternatives

1. Potting Soil

Outdoor cats use soil when they need to poop, so this might not be a new idea if you want to use it to cater to your cat’s bathroom needs. Use fresh soil because dirt from outside might carry germs.

Soil is not a bad alternative but can be messy. It quickly smells, does not clump well, and will often fall off the litter box each time your cat digs into it. You can place an old rag beneath it to trap the soil that is kicked out when your cat digs.


2. Sand

Sand is a great cat litter alternative. It clumps quite well and does a good job of masking the foul smell of your cat’s excrement. Besides, cats are naturally attracted to sand.

However, just like soil, it will easily fall out of the box. The fine grains of sand can easily stick on your cat’s paws and be transferred all over your place.  Therefore, place a mat underneath the litterbox to contain the mess.


3. Sawdust and wood shavings

Your feline friend will gladly use sawdust as its litterbox because it feels good on its paws. The natural wood scent found in sawdust and wood shavings helps mask your cat’s urine odor. It also clumps very well when wet.

If you are a handyman and own a woodworking shop, don’t throw away that sawdust. Scoop some of it and use it as your pet’s litter.

Avoid sawdust that is too fine as it could become dusty, and be troublesome for those with allergies. Too much dust can also be irritating to your cat if inhaled. You might want to go for bigger wood shavings.


4. Shredded newspaper

This is an alternative that is readily available, which makes it an economical option. Do you have a bunch of old newspapers in the house or junk mail?

Here is a simple DIY project you can make from an old newspaper:

  1. Shred the newspaper into small strips and fill the litter tray.
  2. Soak them in warm soapy water.
  3. Drain the water and soak the shredded newspaper again in clean water (this time without the soap). Drain the water.
  4. Pour in baking soda which helps out mask odor. Mix it while kneading and squeeze out the moisture.
  5. Leave the mixture to dry on an airy flat surface.
  6. Once completely dry, your cat’s litter made of shredded paper is now ready to use.

However, you will need lots of paper to make this litter. If you run out of junk newspapers, you will need to borrow from your neighbors and friends or check with your local distributor.


5. Chicken feed

Chicken feeds make a good substitute for commercial cat litters. They come in pellet forms and have a striking resemblance to the commercial litter.  They absorb moisture well.

But you should be careful when using chicken feed as they attract bugs and mice.


6. Whole wheat

Whole wheat is another great alternative if you have run out of cat litter. It clumps well when wet and can be composted. Depending on your cat’s preference, you can break down the whole wheat berries into a coarse or fine powder.

The main disadvantage of wheat as an emergency cat litter is that it does not mask excrement odors. You can sprinkle baking soda to help contain the foul smell.


7. Alfalfa pellets

If you raise rabbits and feed them with Alfalfa pellets, then this can be used as an emergency cat litter. Since rabbits eat them, they are bio-degradable and safe to say eco-friendly.

Just be careful not to use too many of the pellets, as they may cause increased dust in the area. They can also easily get stuck when stuck in your cat’s paw.


Encourage Your Cat to Relieve Itself Outside

This might not be an option if you have a full-time indoor cat.  Nevertheless, if your feline is the kind that loves to explore the wild and bask in the sun, encourage it to do its business out there. It is an eco-friendly and inexpensive option to cater to your cat’s bathroom needs.

Many years ago, cats were used to using Mother Nature’s garden to relieve themselves. Kitty litter is expensive, and often made of materials that add a burden to our environment.

If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your cat to wander outside, you might build a semi-outdoor enclosure beneath your deck. Ensure this area is fenced for your cat’s safety and it has pliable soil.


Change your Cat’s Litter Gradually

As mentioned earlier, cats just don’t like change. So, if you plan to switch your cat’s litter brand to another, perhaps from clumping clay to non-clumping clay, don’t be surprised when your cat rejects using it.

Yet, with a good plan, you might succeed in introducing a new brand without your cat noticing it. Here is what you can do:


1. Go slow

Instead of making an abrupt change, introduce the new litter gradually. This gives your cat time to adjust to the new brand. Each day, mix a small amount of the new brand with the current brand.

Do this for several days while increasing the amount of the new brand, and decreasing the current brand.

Depending on how your cat responds to change, you might need five days, or even longer for your cat to adjust.


2. Put the litter to the test

Test out which type of litter your cat prefers by placing a box with the new type of litter next to your current brand. Each time your cat needs to go there, watch out for which box it prefers.

Once you are certain which brand your cat prefers, you can remove the other box.


3. Talk to a pet expert

If your feline friend continues to be fussy about its litterbox. It might be time to talk to a vet to rule out a health problem. Your cat could have an illness that is preventing it from using the litterbox.


Valid Reason to Avoid the Use of Commercial Cat Litters

  • Expense: It is expensive to buy commercial cat litter and you have to buy often especially if you have more than one cat.
  • Environmental concerns: Clay-based cat litter is not bio-degradable, and that means it’s not going to break down when disposed of. It stays in our landfills for a long time, thus hurting the environment.
  • Health concerns: Clay litter contains silica which is kicked up in the air when your cat digs in. Silica is a known carcinogen when inhaled.
  • Self-reliance: More people now appreciate the need to follow a simple lifestyle. If you prefer to be self-reliant and make your pet products, you can use home-made cat litter.


Writer: Flora Ojow

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