Does Shredded Newspaper Work for Cat Litter?

You can make your own litter out of last week's stack of papers.
You can make your own litter out of last week's stack of papers. (Image: Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

If you’re looking for a way to utilize your daily paper, look to Princess’ litter box. Shredded newspaper can work just fine for cat litter, plus it’s eco-friendly so you won’t have to worry about adding to the landfill. While you can certainly use yesterday’s paper to fill the litter pan, it does come with a handful of concerns.

Using Shredded Newspaper

Shredded newspaper isn’t super absorbent so you’ll have to clean out the dirty paper daily or every couple of days. You’ll want to invest in a paper shredder, otherwise you’ll get stuck cutting up paper by hand quite often. It’s up to you as to whether or not you want to put a plastic liner around the litter pan before filling it with the newspaper pieces. Princess probably won’t care either way, it can just make it easier for you to gather up all the dirty litter and toss it out.


Using old newspapers can save you a few bucks, while getting rid of something you’d otherwise throw away, but these aren’t the only benefits. Shredded newspaper is very gentle, making it a perfect solution if your kitty just went through foot surgery. Shredded newspaper is also safe for your fur-covered pal after a spay or neuter procedure. You won’t have to worry about excess dust or pieces of litter getting stuck to your kitty’s open wound and causing an infection.

Problems with Newspaper

If you’re a stickler about odor control, shredded newspaper won’t be an ideal solution -- it doesn’t do anything for minimizing smells. In addition, the ink from urine-soaked paper can stick to Princess’ paws and she’ll wind up leaving a black pawprint trail all over your home. Then if she swallows any ink during her grooming session, it could make her ill, warranting a trip to the veterinarian’s office.

Making Newspaper-Based Litter

With a little elbow grease, you can make your own litter out of old newspaper that is slightly more absorbent than shredded paper and doesn’t make a big ink mess. After shredding all the leftover newspaper in your house, soak it in warm water with a touch of dish soap. Stir the mixture until the water turns milky grey, letting you know that the ink is coming off. Pour out the dirty water and rinse the newspaper in clean water without soap. Drain off the excess water and sprinkle the paper with baking soda. Knead it all together while wearing gloves and squeeze out all the extra water. Lay the mixture in a warm area to dry for several days. The next time you need to change the litter box, you’ll have your own homemade cat litter that works better for odor control than plain old shredded newspaper.

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