Unless your cat is one of the rare ones that learns to use the toilet, you probably have a love/hate relationship with kitty litter. You have to pay for it, and transport the heavy bags, and scoop it — but boy, would your home be worse off if your cat didn't have it. Litter is typically made with clay or silica gel. These ingredients absorb moisture and unpleasant odors, both of which are probably lurking in other corners of your life. Use kitty litter to banish them all.
Get Traction on Icy Surfaces
Some drivers in colder climates keep kitty litter in their cars, and it's not because they take their cats on field trips. Litter provides traction when spread over slippery, icy ground. It won't melt ice or snow the way salt will, and the litter will be left in clumps on the ground that you'll have to clean up. But if you skid off the road and can't get your tires to move, spreading litter in front of them may help you get a grip.
Prevent Grill Fires
When it comes to open flames in your backyard, safety always has to come first. Sprinkle a layer of (unused!) kitty litter in the bottom of your grill before you use it next. The clay in kitty litter soaks up oil, which helps prevent grease fires. Just make sure to let any litter dust settle long before you start cooking.
Freshen Funky Shoes
Kitty litter is designed to minimize unpleasant odors. Put that technology to work on your running shoes, kids' sneakers and other stinky footwear. Make sachets of kitty litter using cheesecloth or another lightly-woven fabric. Tuck one into each less-than-fresh-smelling shoe and let the litter absorb odors overnight.
Keep Mice Away
Uninvited four-legged visitors have no business getting into your house. If you have a cat, enlist its help in keeping mice away. It's a little gross, but worth trying if you have a mouse problem. Save your cat's used kitty litter and spread it outdoors near areas where you suspect critters are getting in. Mice will smell the urine and stay away.
Hold Decorative Items in Place
Are you someone who makes festive centerpieces for every occasion? If not, maybe you'd become that person if you could do it using stuff you already have around the house. Use kitty litter in the bottom of a vase or bowl to anchor other decorative items. The litter will hold things like figurines and faux flowers in place.
Dry Out Flowers
The key to perfectly preserved dried flowers? Slowly removing the moisture from the petals and wicking it away. Kitty litter is perfect for this task. Grab a glass or plastic container with a cover and pour in enough clean litter to cover the bottom. Lay flowers in a single layer on top of the litter and gently cover the flowers with more litter. Let the container sit closed and untouched for a week, or longer if the flowers aren't yet dry at the end of the week.
Fill Craft Projects
If you like to knit or crochet, kitty litter could serve an important purpose for your crafting projects. Use it as filling for decorative items that need to be weighted. Knitted or crocheted holiday decorations like pumpkins, hearts or Christmas tree ornaments can all be filled with litter. They'll hold their shape for years to come.
Deodorize Smelly Spaces
There's no shame in admitting it: Your home doesn't always smell great. Kitty litter's ability to absorb odors makes it an especially handy helper for people with kids and pets. Cut up a pair of panty hose or tights to make little sachets filled with litter. Tie the ends tightly and stash the sachets in your car, near your trash cans and inside teenagers' bedrooms.
Soak Up Spills
Kitty litter's ability to soak up liquids makes it a useful addition to any workshop or garage. If oil spills on the ground, toss litter over it to sop it up. Also, there's a reason school janitors sometimes keep kitty litter on hand. When a person or pet throws up on the floor, sprinkle litter over the mess. Let it soak everything up, then use paper towels or a broom and dustpan to clean up the litter.
Make a Travel Toilet
Hey, it works for Whiskers, why not for you? Pack kitty litter before heading on extended outdoor adventures where you won't have bathroom access. Set up camp and make your own crude toilet with a bucket and trash bags containing litter. Alternately, buy a camping toilet and add litter as a deodorizing agent. It's hardly luxurious, but it beats going in the bushes.