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Author Topic: Environmentally Friendly Cat Litter  (Read 8268 times)

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Environmentally Friendly Cat Litter
« on: May 17, 2014, 08:49:19 am »
When we moved to our smallholding and inherited its two resident cats, we carried on using the same bog standard clumping litter that the previous folks had used.

Howevever, I then found out that it's produced by strip mining bentonite clay soils:



So let me get this right - we dig up rock, crush it and ship and truck it hundreds of miles just so we can let our cats poop in it, before sending it back to landfill?  Modern life really is crazy, isn't it?!

So, my quest for a better solution began.

First I tried standard compost. This worked ok, but tended to be a bit damp, and thus not very absorbent. I then dried some in trays in the greenhouse, but it went really 'crusty' and lumpy - not ideal. Also, when I tried to break up the lumps, it went very dusty.

Next I tried soil from the garden. This was better, but again not very absorbent, so needed to be changed all the time. Also, the cats tended to 'track' it around the kitchen floor a bit too much for my liking.

I then tried a commercial wood-pellet litter. This is a bit more eco friendly than the clay stuff, but still has high energy input costs, and is itself very expensive.

Dry beech leaves from under the hedge were a surprise hit. However, there were only a couple of places I could gather them from, so I soon ran out. Also, urine tended not to be absorbed, but pooled in the bottom of the tray. Still, this was by far the best 'free' solution I found.

And finally, the holy grail of cat litter? (well, sort of!)  Believe it or not, it's Aubiose horse bedding!  We've been using this for years for all our poultry, so the answer was staring me in the face really. For the uninitiated, Auboise looks a bit like chopped up pieces of straw, and is made from the stem of the hemp plant. It's really cheap (about 10  a bale from a farm store, which if only used for cat litter, will last for at least a year I'd think), and is readily compostable.



The cats do track it out of the box a little, but only dry bits, which are easily swept up. This would be easily fixed by using a top-entry litter box.

For disposal, I've set up an old 'Dalek' compost bin in the far corner of the garden, well away from anywhere we grow food. The bedding and poop will eventually rot down in there, but of course I won't ever use the compost for growing anything, due to Toxoplasmosis risk.

So that's us sorted I reckon! We have three cats here now, and I shudder to think of the environmental impact of a lifetime's worth of clay cat litter. So, especially if you already use it for hens or horses, I'd strongly recommend you try out Auboise instead. If you do, please post below how you get on!  :thumbsup:

« Last Edit: May 17, 2014, 08:51:24 am by Womble »
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

bloomer

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • leslie, fife
  • i have chickens, sheep and opinions!!!
Re: Environmentally Friendly Cat Litter
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2014, 10:27:49 am »
i use the cats go out at night method, only need a litter tray when i have one that needs keeping in for any reason!!!


cos kitty poops pong bad!!!




doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: Environmentally Friendly Cat Litter
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2014, 12:04:07 pm »
I use the 'cat stays out all the time unless he needs food, bed or a cuddle' method.  :roflanim: And the back up if Rio is caught short during the night is a bucket in the utility room and four dogs  :innocent: :o :o :o :-[
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

henchard

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Carmarthenshire
    • Two Retirees Start a New Life in Wales
    • Facebook
Re: Environmentally Friendly Cat Litter
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2014, 12:09:13 pm »
Never thought that I'd see the words 'Environmentally Friendly' and 'cat' in the same sentence. 

Coeur de Chene

  • Joined Mar 2014
Re: Environmentally Friendly Cat Litter
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2014, 01:15:52 pm »
All that research, impressive! I love to see reasons behind a choice and I'll definitely be seeing if I can find some of that. I hate the litter tray but its often a necessity.

Bionic

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Environmentally Friendly Cat Litter
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2014, 02:37:55 am »
My cat rarely goes out of her own accord so we have to put her out. She comes back in the cat flap and goes and uses her litter tray  :(


Cat litter drives me mad and I dispose of it in the general rubbish bin, double bagged. I have never used Auboise horse bedding but use wood shavings meant for horses for my chickens. I wonder if that would work. I'm gonna give it a try.
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Environmentally Friendly Cat Litter
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2014, 07:36:14 am »
thats really helpful/ we were using wood pellets but they do cost about 4 a week.

cans

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Environmentally Friendly Cat Litter
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2014, 03:02:00 pm »
What ever kind of  :cat: litter you use it is easier to clean out the tray if you put newspaper on the bottom first.  That way it doesnt stick as much.  still smells though.

Alistair

  • Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
Re: Environmentally Friendly Cat Litter
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2014, 09:15:32 pm »
We go through a big sack of wood pellets every week, bout 12, cats arn't allowed out cos they're too special and would get run over or nicked round here

benkt

  • Joined Apr 2010
  • Cambridgeshire
    • Hempsals Community Farm
Re: Environmentally Friendly Cat Litter
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2014, 09:40:09 pm »

Cluckinggoodpoultry

  • Joined Mar 2009
Re: Environmentally Friendly Cat Litter
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2014, 06:54:53 am »
Great trial Womble and useful. My cat Humphrey thinks he is a dog as has been reared with dogs since three weeks old, he used a litter tray when he was smaller, but now he is allowed into the world outside he goes out to do his business with the dogs and never needs a litter tray  ;D

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Environmentally Friendly Cat Litter
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2014, 09:57:49 am »
Perhaps this is the wrong forum then, since most folks seem to let their cats outside to do their business!
 
We do have a litter tray in the house though, and that's because the cats can't get into the house using the catflap, but only into the porch.  Having the litter tray means we don't have to worry about who's in or out when we go out - invariably when you're in a hurry for work, the cats can sense that, and choose to hide behind the furniture and refuse to be shood outside!
 
Also, we have one cat who who's prone to constipation (usually if somebody she's eaten disagrees with her), so she has to be kept inside at this time of year, for her own safety!
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Cluckinggoodpoultry

  • Joined Mar 2009
Re: Environmentally Friendly Cat Litter
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2014, 07:54:19 pm »
No definitely not the wrong forum as I plan to get a couple more cats and know now what to use, used to have cats that stayed indoors but Humphrey has his own ideas  :)

sss

  • Joined Mar 2014
  • Cambridgeshire
Re: Environmentally Friendly Cat Litter
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2014, 05:05:24 pm »
We have bought a bale, and shall see how we get on. Out of the cats only one seems to use a tray the rest are happy with alfresco pooping.

devonlad

  • Joined Nov 2012
  • Nr Crediton in Devon
Re: Environmentally Friendly Cat Litter
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2014, 06:57:36 pm »
I use the 'cat stays out all the time unless he needs food, bed or a cuddle' method.  :roflanim: And the back up if Rio is caught short during the night is a bucket in the utility room and four dogs  :innocent: :o :o :o :-[

 :roflanim: everything became much easier when we discovered that our spaniel had an acquired taste. if you don't look it never happened.

 

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