Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Homemade Cat Litter

I realize that you may now think I'm a podperson, but I really do make my own cat litter*.

It's pretty simple, though not easy. There is a bit of time involved, but it really has become a part of our life.

Back in the glorious days of their youth, the kittens used clay litter. The kind you can scoop. It's not really super expensive, and as they are brothers from the same litter, they have always used the same box**. This requires only one box of litter to be purchased at a time.

After some soul searching (and gut-wrenching guilt from watching polar ice caps melt before our very eyes) we decided to go with biodegradable, natural cat litter. Also, cats apparently lick their paws with vigor, hoping to ingest litter particles for fun***.

The thing is, natural litter is a bit more expensive. We've done World's Best (corn), Arm and Hammer Naturals (wheat), and another wheat and one that uses volcanic rock (it was awful).

Also, it doesn't last as long. There. I said it.

We try to scoop everyday and change every week. It was starting to add up. With coupons and deals (and even a rebate, in one case), it was still turning into a 7-10 dollar expense every 10 days. That's a 30 dollar monthly expense, which is cool. Whatever. I can spend more than that at Taco Bell.


After exercising my right to appear ignorant of natural solutions in public, I Googled "homemade cat litter"*****. This basic recipe appeared:

2 complete newspapers, shredded
tsp dish detergent
1 cup baking soda

Essentially, after shredding the newspaper, you put it in a bucket that has a small amount of detergent and about 2 quarts water in it. This is to a.) remove some of the ink from the paper and b.) provide a surface for the baking soda to cling to.

Once swished a little bit, you squeeze out the water (it looks like gray, nasty clumps) and sprinkle the baking soda over top (I do this in another bucket). I separate the clumps, make sure the baking soda is lightly coating it, and place it over the screen (actually a torn window screen we found), making sure it's laid out evenly to dry.

It takes about 2 days to dry completely, so after the initial dampness wears off we move the screen somewhere else convenient and wait.

It ends up looking a little like, well, crumpled up, stiff newspaper. The baking soda, once dried on, does not come off. Initially, we slowly added to our cats' original litter until they were used to it, and now they use it with no problems. Oh do they use it.

Because the newspaper has been slightly treated beforehand (soaking, adding baking soda) it doesn't cling to their paws like regular newspaper does******.

Caveat: we already buy a paper for coupons. We get the Sunday Boston Globe, but free and old newspapers are all around for the taking. If we didn't already do this, we would get our source materials the free way (or freewise, if you will).

After doing some experimenting, we've cut down on the baking soda and detergent a little. It comes out costing (with the paper included) 0.89 for a week's worth.

It takes a little under an hour of hands-on time to do, and so my hourly wage is anywhere from 6-8 dollars an hour.

Yes, there are better ways to spend my time. Yes, manufactured cat litter is a modern wonder.

But I have way more time than money, at least right now.

*This is my assumption concerning podpeople. Feel free to prove me wrong.
**This may eventually change. Cats are ridiculous little creatures that have as many whims as they have whiskers (sokewt!)
***Cuss you, marketing experts!
****...spend it on litter. I will always want to spend it on Taco Bell.
*****Obviously, there were plus (+) signs all up in that search. I really only know 1 way.
******It's like a little kitty ticker tape parade, but with no candy or celebrations. Just sweeping.

No comments:

Post a Comment