Yes, using dirt as a homemade cat litter substitute can be inexpensive and simple, but there are some serious drawbacks that you should be aware of.
As well as not providing some of the major advantages of other cat litter materials, such as odor control or clumping, using dirt as litter can expose your cat to infections and diseases.
Will My Cat Like Using Dirt As Cat Litter?
Yes, because dirt is natural, many cats will prefer to use it as cat litter.
Most cats would adapt to it naturally because it resembles the tools that cats’ ancestors would have used.
Digging in the ground should not be a problem for indoor cats either since outside cats frequently use gardens as bathroom facilities.
Additionally, unlike some store-bought litter, dirt won’t smell artificial or overpowering, which may discourage cats from using their litterboxes.
This litter will be more tempting to use because of its natural aroma.
Is It Safe To Use Dirt As Cat Litter?
No, using dirt can raise safety issues because it puts your cat at danger of contracting viruses, parasites, and infections.
If your cat is an indoor cat that never goes outside then you could be bringing in parasites etc.
and exposing your cat to potentially dangerous things they wouldn’t be exposed to otherwise.
How “safe” the dirt is to use will depend on where the dirt is from and how it has been packed or processed.
No dirt will be completely risk-free.
Having said that, if your cat already spends time outside and utilizes the sand or dirt outside as a litter box, safety won’t be a major problem.
In that case, it won’t be a big deal to carry some of the dirt inside.
Dangers Of Using Dirt
There is a chance that using dirt as cat litter will expose your cat to parasites and illness. Especially notable are feline panleukopenia and toxoplasmosis.
T. gondii is a parasite that causes the disease toxoplasmosis.
Consuming infected meat is a frequent way to get this parasite, which is common.
Although this parasite can also be present in soil, using dirt as litter raises the likelihood that your cat will get this illness.
Toxoplasmosis is far more prevalent in outdoor cats and can persist in soil for several months.
The main source from which toxoplasmosis might spread is litter trays.
There is a chance that soil brought in from the outside will contain contagious toxoplasma.
The highly contagious parvovirus known as feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) can remain on soil for up to a year and spread through contaminated objects including shoes, Bowls, and water.
So, there is a chance of taking this virus inside and infecting your cat if you bring soil into the house.
It is crucial that your cat has a panleukopenia vaccination and that the vaccinations are kept up to date. Panleukopenia vaccines are available.
The Benefits Of Using Dirt
Using dirt as cat litter does have a number of benefits including:
1. It’s Cheap (Or Free)
Dirt is affordable, and if you harvest it from your own garden, it can even be free.
As a result, it provides a more affordable alternative to store-bought cat litter, which may be quite pricey.
This suggests that it can be a wise choice if you are experiencing financial difficulties or require a temporary kitty litter solution.
However, the disadvantages and dangers of using dirt do not outweigh the cost savings.
It is probably not as inexpensive as you might anticipate if you are purchasing dirt.
Alternatives to dirt, such as recycled paper, which is less expensive, should be taken into consideration.
2. It’s Easily Available
Dirt is readily accessible; you can either carry it inside from your garden or purchase it in big bags at the store.
In either case, getting dirt is simple, and you can frequently get a lot of it without spending a lot of money.
It’s a good thing you can gather a lot of dirt quickly because the cat litter tray requires frequent emptying.
Since dirt won’t clump and will simply absorb the filth, it must be entirely emptied and replaced at each cleaning.
This implies that unlike with clumping litters, you cannot perform little spot-check cleans.
The Cons Of Using Dirt
Utilizing dirt has a few additional drawbacks that we haven’t covered yet.
If cat owners choose to experiment with using dirt as cat litter, they will almost immediately notice these differences.
To keep up with the regular full cleans, you will need a lot of dirt, which is messy and quickly begins to smell.
1. It Is Very Messy
Firstly, using dirt as cat litter is very messy.
Your cat is going to end up with dirt on their paws and fur and this will be tracked around the house when they leave the litter box.
Additionally, a ton of other organic material that you don’t really want in your home is present in dirt. Not to mention how difficult it is to exit a carpet after being walked in.
2. No Odor Control
Second, unlike most cat litters, dirt is not good at hiding odors.
As a result, the litter box will require more frequent cleaning and the odours won’t be controlled or covered up.
You’ll likely need to discover alternative means of odor control if you use dirt as cat litter.
It will be more physically demanding to pick up the litter box, empty it, clean it, and replace it with dirt than it would be with lighter litter materials.
3. No Clumping
Finally, because the dirt doesn’t clump but instead absorbs the pee, the litter box will need to be changed and emptied frequently.
This implies that everything will need to be removed and replaced after each clean.
As a result, the dirt is dirtier and more difficult to manage.
There is a large selection of cat litters, and they all differ to meet various demands.
There should be a few affordable, secure, and all-natural solutions if you look at what is out there.
These alternatives can be more suitable for your cat and house than dirt.
Finding a natural cat litter that is secure and provides a cleaner solution is preferable than making a compromise with dirt, which has a number of possible drawbacks.