My Dirty Little Litter Box Secret

I have a secret. I used disposable pads in my litter box for over three years. It was a heaven-send when I started using the system when my daughter was an infant. No more trails of litter across the bathroom floor or murky puddles that resulted when getting our of the bath or shower. It only used one or two pads a week, the odor was more or less under control and I felt like my bathroom was manageable.

I had attempted a greener route with Yesterday’s News litter when I first got my cats in grad school, but that did not quite cut it and for whatever reason– perhaps being in rural Missouri for too many years– I was not aware of the variety of natural litters coming out on the market. I was more or less content with what I had been using, and there was never anything on the local shelves that caught my eye to lure me otherwise.

I finally started experimenting with a couple of different natural litters this summer and am still undecided about what I will stick with, so I will probably try a few others. The first I tried was Feline Pine Original Cat Litter, which I liked, but if you fill it too high, it becomes a mess pile of pine dust. I learned this the hard was driving across the country this summer and I filled the litter box with the remaining litter for our week-long trip to the Northwest. My poor father-in-law drove with the mess in the trunk for five days and we had quite a bit of vacuuming to do in my husband’s car after we reached our new home. The pine pellets seemed to work a lot better with my old litter boxes that had a grate that would sift the dust to the bottom drawer, but the drawer was too small so we got an ordinary litter pan to replace it.

Next, I decided to try a second type of litter after a recommendation from a friend. I went to purchase a flushable corn-based litter, but after seeing all the different choices on the shelves, I came home with a walnut shell litter. The Blue Naturally Fresh Walnut litter supposedly masked the odors better than the corn-based litters, so I thought that would be a good choice with multiple cats. It has worked relatively well, but after it is used too long it starts to smell like sour walnut shells. It also tracks a bit more than I like, so we have it in a giant cardboard box my husband cut an entry into and the cats still manage to get some out of the box.

I realize litter is dirty business and it is going to smell no matter what magical formula you think you find, so my goals with a natural litter are to reduce tracking and odor. I think that Feline Pine was a really great littler, but I am still in search of the perfect litter box to use with it. I have stumbled on a litter box supposedly made for Feline Pine online, but the shipping was a little high so I will have to keep my eyes peeled for one locally. I think this would make the maintenance of the litter easier and the pine was decent with both tracking and odor. I am still curious about the corn and wheat-based litters, but I imagine they probably track similar to the walnut shell litter.

What natural litters have you had success with?

{If you enjoyed reading My Dirty Little Litter Box Secret I would be tickled pink if you left a comment. To read more about my green(er) parenting aspirations, advice and adventures be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed or get updates via email.}


By Emi Stapler. I am a cloth diaper advocate, green parenting blogger, mother of three and a military wife who enjoys sharing my motherhood adventures and advice. Follow me at The Cloth Diaper Report on Facebook, Twitter @TheCDReport , Google +, Pinterest and Instagram.

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  1. It is a dirty business finding the right litter for you and your cats! Thanks for sharing your insights on Feline Pine and Blue Litter!

  2. Gretchen Pinkerton says:

    We like the Worlds Best Car litter…we have really good luck with it, and its flushable!!

    • A friend recommended the same brand and I totally picked this up at the store when I saw it today. We have to finish up what we’re using now, but I will let you know how I like it!

  3. We use an ‘all natural’ litter that is clay. so it clumps wonderfully… both poo and pee. I tried some non-clumping litter for a bit, but that started smelling. the stuff we use doesn’t smell, so long as it gets scooped daily (2 cats). But it does track all over the bathroom. I try to sweep up the closet where the box is and the bathroom each week, but it sure is annoying in the meantime. I figured we were doomed to dealing with litter strewn about. If you figure something out, that would be great. I’ll be watching for your post!

  4. We use SWheatScoop… But it does track. We just confine the litter boxes to a storage area with a cat door entry and left over carpet scraps pick up most of the trails before they get to the main part of the house.

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