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So here's my story: I find myself traveling out of the city once each month. and I'll have to leave my cat home alone for a day to three days. I live in an area where it's hard to buy litter due to the small amount of shops to sell it, not to mention the far distance I need to go every time I have to buy some.

I had two cats. One of them transmitted worms to the other, so I had to deworm both. I also had to get rid of the old litter. Unfortunately, it's time to travel and I have but a little amount of litter, which means a problem because leaving my cat for 3 days with just a little amount of litter means a really dirty bathroom and an irritated kitty to come back to. I still needed to leave, so while I was on my way, we stopped to let our kids play in the sand, and I thought why not get some clean sand in case of emergencies like this one?

Is this a good idea? I'm talking about sand that's clean to the eye, and of course I'll make sure to check it at least two times before getting it into to my house. And my cat goes poo on anything that's put in her litter box, so I don't think she'll mind it.

Thank you!

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There are some problems if you use regular sand in the litterbox.

There is a risk the sand might contain dangerous parasites and bacteria.

It takes a very short time before it starts to smell really bad.

Regular sand is very poor at absorbing fluids so it gets soaked very fast.

A positive thing is, it is easy to find, and it is free.

If you are going to use it, I suggest you mix it with an absorbent type of cat litter and mix it 50/50.

And you have to change it more often then with regular cat litter.

So my advice is to use regular cat litter and try to avoid using regular sand unless you are home and able to change it twice a day.

I know this is a short answer, but it has the things one needs to know to make a choice of what to use.

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    The sand could potentially contain parasites or other unwanted organisms, but for emergencies the above could work. I would however strongly consider looking into alternatives since the stores are a hassle. Alternatives include: - Buying bulk. - Internet or local stores that will deliver or ship the product to your doorstep. – Stig Tore Jun 29 '17 at 10:27
  • i have updated my answer to include these dangers.thank you for pointing this out. – trond hansen Jun 29 '17 at 10:51
  • So should I maybe get dirt instead of litter if I think about getting her a fast litter? (I'm still gonna use regular cat litter though) which is better dirt or sand? – toothless199 Jul 1 '17 at 12:30
  • And I'd like to remind you that our kids played in the sand and they are okay thank goodness, does that mean it's healthy for my cat? – toothless199 Jul 1 '17 at 12:31
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    the reason i mentioned that sand might contain parasites and bacteria is that this is a global site and that this might be a problen somwhere,you might use dry peat or spagnum peat this is a product that garden centers do sell and it can be used in litterboxes but it is not my no1 choice. – trond hansen Jul 1 '17 at 14:22
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I use sand as litter for my cat and have had no problems. He actually does better with the sand then with store bought litter. What I do is I get the sand and

  1. shift it with colander that has larger holes to get any sticks, leafs, or other debris out
  2. Dry it by placing it in a large pot and placing it on the stove with the burner on high. It need to reach a temperature of 165 to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat will kill any bacteria it may have in it. Stir it every 5 minuets or so until all moisture is gone.
  3. Shift it with colander with very small holes so that I only have sand that is almost as fine as sugar.
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    Welcome to Pets SE. :) That sounds like an awful lot of work for (free?) litter. – elbrant Jan 28 '19 at 5:07
  • @elbrant: you know what they say: "there is no such thing as a free lunch" ;) I actually planned to write an answer with this info, but I gave up, obviously. Heating the sand to kill whatever lives there is a very good advice. +1 – virolino Dec 19 '19 at 11:36
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In a pinch with nothing else available why not use sand for now? It beats them using your carpets or bedding as a toilet. Chewy.com and Amazon can deliver litter right to your door, chewy within 2 days usually. Good luck!

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