Homemade recycled cat litter

We have 4 cats; two are about ten and spend all day outside but the other two my son and youngest daughter adopted from a local rescue charity last Autumn and theyoften use the cat litter trays inside (Mostly. We're working on it with one cat in particular. I would say which one but I don't want to embarrass George).
"Who me?" Bea

Butter wouldn't melt... George looking cute

 I buy  recycled paper cat litter but a few years ago I decided it was ridiculous paying that much money for old newspaper. A quick google and sure enough, some one else had thought the same thing. I guess you could just rip up old newspaper but I thought it would waft all over the floor and when the children were smaller making papier mache on a huge scale was a good excuse to play with water on a sunny day. If they're going to be paddling in the back garden I figured they may as well be doing something constructive...
Son is older now which is why the process became much higher tech than when I was in charge. Drill-powered mixers are not necessary but useful if you want to get teenagers involved (and I wonder why my electricity bill doesn't drop).
He travels on the train everyday and collects the free newspapers left in the carriage which we use for lining the kitchen compost bin and fire lighting. By the summer we had a good stack in the garage and a spell of warm dry weather so we got started.

Begin by shredding old paper. How small depends on how much ripping you can be bothered to do. The smaller it is the quicker it mushes down, so it's up to you. Put into a large container and cover with water (rain water is fine). If you're concerned about the ink from the newsprint rinse and refill at this point. You can also mix in some bicarbonate of soda which may help with odour control. I'm not convinced but I have a big tub so I added a couple of cupfuls. Then either mix with your hands or stomp with your feet as if you're treading grapes (it always makes me think of  Julia Roberts watching 'I Love Lucy' in Pretty Woman, but I may just be showing my age) or ferret around in the garage and find a plaster mixing attachment for a drill and use that.

 You should now have a slurry.
This is when part-mixed
If you leave it the paper will sink meaning you can bale some water out (I put it on the compost heap so I don't cover the garden in a thin coating of papier mache) or if you have some help, tip it up and strain. For some reason we had some scaffolding netting which was a perfect sieve. We reused the water in the box for another batch.
We then spread it and pressed a bit more- more grape treading- and then squeezed by hand.

It now crumbles and starts to look like cat litter. If I do a small amount, drying in plastic mushroom trays works well. Putting it in a greenhouse or conservatory speeds up drying. We'd made a lot and it was so hot even over night that we just spread it out on the scaffolding netting on the grass and then on a garden table.

Once it's dry, it's usable. I've topped up the sack of shop bought litter and have plans to make more. A lot of newspaper makes a comparatively small amount of cat litter.


  1. Well, what do you know? I am thinking that cat litter is one thing I might keep on buying, as I don't have such co-operative children.. I do have to tell you though, that our cat Polly must be the far away twin of your cat Bea. Seriously, even down to the same face markings and the Queen Victoria 'We are not amused' stare. Love it:)

    1. Ha! Pity we don't live nearer, I'd swap you cat litter for sourdough ;-)
      Bea's really hard to take photos of because she's either moving or she's so well camouflaged with her splodges that you can't work out which bit of her is which! (George on the other hand practically poses for pictures.)


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