You Can Use Paper as Cat Litter, This Is How to Do It

Paper is a safe material for cat litter but check it is made from soy-based ink or another non-toxic material. You can make paper cat litter by shredding newspapers and junk mail or buying commercial products. Some DIY paper litters have odor problems, but commercial products address this issue.

Paper as litter for cats makes a lot of sense. Paper is a renewable resource, it’s plentiful, and you might have a bunch of it around and wonder if you can use it as litter for your cat. 

The answer is yes and no.

Yes, you can shred newspaper and junk mail and put it in the litter box. However, your cat might not like it, and your feline might find somewhere else to go. 

In addition, some types of paper don’t make suitable cat litter because the paper contains toxic chemicals or is not moisture and odor absorbent enough. Fortunately, many companies are now producing paper cat litter products. 

First, let’s look at how you can make your own, then we’ll discuss available commercial products. 


How to recycle newspaper for cat litter

If you want to try using newspaper as cat litter, check that the print is made from soy-based ink or another non-toxic material. 

Then, shred the paper by hand or with a shredding machine to make long, narrow strips that work best for this purpose. 

After that, put a generous layer in the litter box and see what your cat does.

Shredded newspaper for litter is sometimes recommended by veterinarians for cats after a declawing, spaying, and other surgery because it is soft and dust-free, unlike clay cat litter. 

However, vets usually only recommend newspaper for short-term use for medical situations due to the drawbacks of this material. 

The biggest downside of recycled newspaper for cat litter is it needs changing several times a day because the paper is not very absorbent. In addition, some cats refuse to use it.


Junk mail and such paper may not work as well

Some people also shred junk mail and other waste paper and use it as cat litter. However, this type of paper may be even less moisture and odor absorbent than newspaper. 

If you shred and recycle paper around your house to use as cat litter, be prepared to change the litter frequently, possibly as often as once or twice a day. 

A benefit of recycling junk mail and newspaper is that it is free, readily available, and decompose quickly in the landfill, unlike clay cat litter. 


Commercial paper cat litter usually works better

The easiest way to switch to paper litter is to buy one of the numerous products available commercially. Many of these products are made with recycled paper and safe, natural ingredients, but always read the label to verify what’s in the product. 

The most significant advantages of commercial paper cat litter are that it is:

  • Made from renewable, eco-friendly resources
  • Designed to minimize odors and mess
  • Low dust and tracking of litter on cat’s feet

Many commercial paper cat litter products are even more absorbent than regular clay litters. However, the biggest downside is that commercial paper litters are often two to three times more expensive than clay litter. 

Another problem is that paper litter is not as easy to find in stores as clay and sand litter. However, more and more stores are carrying these products due to popular demand. 

If your favorite store does not have paper cat litter, ask the manager if they can start getting it for you. No doubt, other customers will also be happy to find it on the shelves in the future. 

Pet stores and online suppliers are other good places to look for paper cat litter.


Check if any materials have been added to it 

Many types of cat litter, including those made from paper, contain artificial fragrances that cats don’t like.. In addition, many people do not like the smell of these added fragrances. 

If you are concerned about additives, check the package to ensure the litter does not contain any added artificial chemicals for odor control.

 Look for a commercial paper litter that uses safe, natural ingredients for clumping, such as mineral oils and guar gum. 

Paper cat litter is made from recycled paper,  lumber scraps, and sawdust from wood milling, making it more environmentally friendly than bentonite clay litters.

Bentonite clay is not a renewable resource, and it does not decompose in landfills.  


Test which type of paper litter you cat prefers

More and more paper cat litter products are available for sale. Some are made with shredded paper that clumps up when wet. You can also find non-clumping litter that comes in small pellets. 

In addition, paper litter is available with and without added fragrances to reduce odors. Pelleted litter made from pine trees is the best at absorbing odors.

Pelleted paper litters have the least problems with dust and tracking. However, older cats and ones that have been declawed often prefer the shredded paper varieties. 

Another problem is that some cats won’t bury their waste in paper litters. So if you plan to switch to paper litter, you might need to try several types to find out which one your cat prefers.  


Slowly introduce your cat to new litter types

Cats are fussy about their bathroom habits, and getting a cat to try new litter can be a challenge. If you have a new kitten, starting them off with paper litter is the best way to train it to use this material. 

However, if your cat currently uses clay litter, and you want to switch to paper, here’s a way to do this:

1. Set up three or four litter boxes. To save money, use low cardboard boxes with a plastic bag around the outside, so there is no leakage onto the floor. 

2. Put the litter boxes in different spots that are acceptable to you and easily accessible for the cat.

3. Put a different type of paper cat litter in each box. 

4. Show the cat where the boxes are, and then sit back and see what happens.

Your cat might show a clear preference for one type of paper litter. But, on the other hand, your cat might not like any paper litter. In this case, you might want to try adding herbs that make the litterbox more attractive to your cat, but make sure they are ones that are safe for cats.


Adding a cat safe herb encourages them to use it

If your cat is reluctant to try paper litter, you can try adding small amounts of a natural herb that your cat likes to the litter box to make it more attractive and enticing to use. 

Choose an herb that your cat seems to like and is safe for them. Then grind the dry herb into powder with a coffee mill, sprinkle a teaspoon or two on top of the paper litter, and watch how your cat reacts. 

Herbs that cats often like include:

  • Catnip
  • Lavender
  • Lemon balm
  • Calendula
  • Mint

You might want to check your cat’s reaction to an herb before you put it in the litter box.

For example, put some herb on the cat scratching post or a toy your cat likes to play with to see if they enjoy the scent before putting it into the litter box. 


Paper cat litter is bio-degradable and greener

Paper comes from wood pulp, and wood is a renewable resource. In addition, paper and wood products are readily biodegradable, creating less waste and taking up less space in landfills.

On the other hand, clay litters contain bentonite, which is not renewable. The mining of bentonite also takes a lot of energy and damages the environment. In addition, bentonite does not biodegrade, so it takes up more room in landfills. 


Conclusions about using paper cat litter

Switching a cat to paper litter from clay litter can be tricky. The cat may not like the new litter and refuse to use it. 

Also, once you find a paper litter that your cat likes, it’s essential to stick with it. Cats do not easily switch litter, and if they do not like what’s in the box, they will find somewhere else to relieve themselves, and you may not appreciate their decision. 

Sadly, cats not using their litter box correctly is the leading cause of being put up for adoption or euthanized. So, getting a suitable litter for your cat is crucial for you and the cat. 

If you want to switch your cat to a DIY or store-bought paper cat litter product, you are helping the environment and saving energy. However, it’s essential to find a product your cat is happy with and will use. 

Writer: Mary Innes

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