Owning a cat means ensuring you have a safe home for your cat. Your cat needs quality food, toys, preferably a cat condo and scratching post, and of course, a litter box. It’s wise to have plenty of litter on hand for when you need to change out the litter, but what if you run out and need something quick?
Luckily, sand can be used for your cat’s litter box in a pinch. However, not just any sand will do. Let’s find out the scoop on using sand in your cat’s litter box.
Advantages of Using Sand in Your Cat’s Litter Box
Using sand definitely has its advantages. Sand is a natural litter box for your cat. Have you ever seen a cat attracted to a sandbox? Cats love sand because it’s a naturally occurring granular mixture. Not only is it a natural substance, but it also naturally clumps when wet, and it does an okay job of controlling urine odor.
Sand is also safer than commercial cat litter in some cases because of its natural mixture of mineral particles and finely ground rock. Most commercial cat litter contains chemicals for odor control, and if your cat accidentally ingests some of the litter, it can cause problems in the digestive tract, especially with clay litter. This risk is higher for kittens, as they are often more curious and can more readily chew on litter sometimes. Dust from some types of clay litter can get in your cat’s fur, and if a good amount is licked off while grooming, your cat could get sick. It is advised to steer clear of dusty litter (including sand that’s very fine and dusty).
It’s Better for the Environment
Given sand is 100% natural, it’s better for the environment than commercial cat litter. It doesn’t release harmful chemicals into the environment, and properly sourced sand contains no potentially harmful ingredients that are dangerous to humans.
Not only do cats often prefer sand, but also it’s inexpensive. But keep in mind that you shouldn’t just go outside of your home and grab any sand to put into your cat’s litter box, as bringing outside sand of this nature could contain harmful parasites—it’s best to buy sand from a retail store, especially sand made for children’s sandboxes.
Disadvantages of Using Sand in Your Cat’s Litter Box
One drawback to using sand is that it’s rather messy. Cats will easily track the tiny grains in the sand throughout the home because the tiny grains can get embedded or trapped in your cat’s paw pads and fur, causing you to clean and sweep it up often. To aid with this problem, try placing a litter mat underneath the litter box. That way, most of the sand particles will come off on the mat rather than throughout your home.
It Doesn’t Absorb Odors or Liquid
There is much debate on whether sand does a good job of absorbing odors, especially cat urine. We’ve seen claims where the ammonia in cat urine is absorbed by the sand, and we’ve seen claims of it not absorbing the odor. Unfortunately, you’ll have to try this one on your own to determine if it works well for odor absorption. Other claims state that it doesn’t absorb liquid, which will leave a puddle at the bottom of the litter box.
What Types of Sand Should I Use?
You should refrain from collecting sand from outside your home or somewhere where it is free due to possibly containing harmful parasites. Store-bought sand is the safest to use for your cat’s litter box, as it will be free from harmful contaminants.
The sand should be made up of loose granular material. Sand made for children’s sandboxes is safe to use, and you can also look for white straddie sand (usually made for children’s sandboxes), fine river sand, and coarse river sand.
What Are Other Alternatives to Commercial Cat Litter?
If sand isn’t sounding like a good option, you can choose other methods instead of settling for commercial cat litter. Let’s take a look.
Tips for Keeping Your Cat Safe & Healthy
Whatever product you choose to use for cat litter, ensure it’s safe for your kitty and everyone in the home. Always purchase sand from a store rather than collecting sand around your home or anywhere else.
Suppose sand doesn’t sound like something you want to try. In that case, you can try out the safe alternatives mentioned above, but most importantly, ensure any litter you use is safe, biodegradable, sustainable, and easy on the environment.
Sand can be a good choice as a safe alternative to commercial cat litter. Remember to buy sand from a trusted store, and never collect sand from an unknown source. Using sand has its pros and cons, and you’ll need to use it first to decide if it will work for you and your cat.