My neighborhood is implementing a new trash disposal mechanism. They said that they will be composting pet poop. However, cat litter is not compostable (from what I know which could be limited knowledge).

We were thinking of using small-sized aquarium pebbles as an alternative. These are polished stones that are about 3-5mm in diameter. Our litter boxes are outdoors on a balcony so the smell won’t be an issue. We will collect the solid poop into separate bags for composting. The additional chore would be washing the pebbles every day to get rid of the urine.

Also, it remains to be seen if our cats will accept this as an alternative. We have been looking for an alternative since locally available brands contain bentonite which is not environment friendly (apart from that German brand which is paper shreds. We and our cats dislike that since it sticks to just about everything).

Any input and thoughts would be appreciated.

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    Sounds like a very messy idea. Bentonite is a clay ; its use is mostly because some deposits are relatively pure. There is some clay in most soils so it is difficult to imagine any risk. Feb 25, 2021 at 21:43
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    Don't believe me ; look up bentonite on the net before you decide it is dangerous. Feb 25, 2021 at 21:51
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    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bentonite Feb 26, 2021 at 6:51
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    related pets.stackexchange.com/questions/18298/… here you can read about the properties of the different types of cat litter including the natural ones like clay and sand. Feb 26, 2021 at 7:00
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    There are plenty of brands that are compostable, that cats can comfortably dig in, and that will control odors and clump appropriately. Your idea is equivalent to replacing the toilet paper in your bathroom with actual sandpaper (not just cheap "sandpaper" tissue) and the toilet seat with unsanded wood. Making the litter box more unpleasant for the cats will just result in them finding a "better" option.
    – Allison C
    Feb 26, 2021 at 14:42

1 Answer 1


There are much better alternatives than aquarium pebble for cat litter. And a recent "incident" in a carrier box was an unpleasant reminder that common household detergent is not able to wash away the smell of cat urine.

If you look at different brands of commercial cat litter, you may well find several brands advertised as "compostable" or "biodegradable". Some of those use clay as the main material, others wood or natural fibres.

If all else fails, I would try fine soft wood shavings for rodent pets (not sawdust! That can irritate your cat's airways) or playground sand that can be disposed of regularly.

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