Pet Topic: Make Your Own Newspaper Cat Litter

Cat crawling out of a litter box on a hardwood floor.

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Cleo, spokescat for the Environmental Working Group's Pets for the Environment offers a rundown on the pros and cons of various kitty litters on the market, as well as the dos and don'ts of poop disposal. (Be sure to watch the video of the toilet-trained cat, which always manages to crack us up and confound us simultaneously.)

More intriguing, however, is the recipe she gives on how to make your own newspaper-based cat litter. It sounds rather involved, although Cleo claims you should be able to make a two-to-three-week supply of litter in half an hour to 45 minutes—which is easy for her to say, since she can fall back on her "Woe is me, I have no opposable thumbs" schtick and beg off from what she calls a "great afternoon craft project." Cats will be cats.

DIY Newspaper Cat Litter

Shredded paper pile aerial shot.

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1. Shred newspaper in a paper shredder and collect it in an unused litter box.

2. Soak the paper in warm water mixed with a few squirts gentle, biodegradable dish soap. The shredded paper takes on a cooked oatmeal consistency. The paper won’t come completely clean, but the water will turn grey.

3. Drain the water (an old colander works wonders) and repeat the soaking process minus the soap.

4. Sprinkle baking soda liberally on the wet paper. Knead it into the mixture (you might want to wear gloves to avoid getting ink on your hands).

5. Squeeze the remaining moisture out until it’s as dry as you can get it.

6. Crumble over a screen and leave to dry for a few days.

7. Once it’s dry, put about an inch and a half to two inches of the paper crumbles in the litter box. Scoop solids daily and change it once a week. It takes about half an hour to 45 minutes to make a 2-3 week supply of litter.