When we got our kitten a year ago, my mom very kindly gave us a little starter kit of some toys and a box of Arm&Hammer kitty litter. Nothing on the box said it was scented, but that stuff stank! I think people would rather smell just about anything than poo, but no one is really fooled- if you have a dirty litter box, some nasty perfume does not hide this fact. Perfumes are also composed of molecules that are toxic to humans and the environment and are best avoided.
Also, the standard clumping litter can wreak havoc on the internal organs of kittens. No, they should not be eating the litter per se, but they do lick every inch of themselves as part of their grooming ritual, including between every toe so they can thoroughly remove those pesky clumps of kitty litter. This can cause a toxic amount of litter to get into their little systems: the clumping, dehydrating action of the litter is extremely bad for their health, and can cause death. Additionally, standard cat litters don't biodegrade, so produce more waste for landfills.
As handy as I found it to be able to scoop our kitty's pee cleanly away, I did not think it was worth putting up with the smell of perfume or risking the health of our kitten for my convenience, so I began researching more natural cat litters. It turns out there are many varieties, with of course a steeper price range for these alternative litters. There are all kinds of alternatives out there with various clumping abilities, so we went to our local pet store and spent about $16 on a ten pound bag of their wheat can litter. As frugal as we are, I wanted something that worked and something that wouldn't harm the cat.
Imagine my surprise when I dumped it into his freshly washed litter pan to discover that this expensive wheat kitty litter is literally just a bag of coarsely ground wheat. No magic ingredients. It wasn't even organic. Feeling a bit foolish since this expensive litter was nothing we couldn't have made ourselves for a fraction of the cost, I vowed next time to make my own.
|Bulk whole wheat, available from health food stores, makes a simple, sustainable cat litter|
You can use a grain grinder on a coarse setting, or simply blend up some wheat berries until it's the consistency you want. I have found that the finer I grind the wheat, the better it clumps, but you don't want it to be as fine as flour because that would be a bit dusty to have around. I try for a coarse meal, but the exact grind doesn't matter too much.
Also, even though we are not eating it, we still choose to buy organic wheat because it's important to support sustainable farming practices whenever we can, and this is a very affordable way to do that. We buy organic animal-grade wheat (animal-grade means it hasn't been cleaned to the standards we expect for human consumption) from Azure Standard. It costs us $14.20 for 50 lbs: less than 1/5 the cost of store-bought wheat cat litter! Any wheat berries will do, they are also available in bulk at your local natural food store. I love that when his litter pan is low, I can simply grind some wheat up and toss it in.
|This batch also has some whole feed-quality oats mixed in, which works fine too.|
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