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Can You Use Shredded Paper for Cat Litter? Vet Approved Advice

Jordyn Alger

By Jordyn Alger

hand showing heap of shredded paper

Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Amanda Charles

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Derm) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cat litter may seem fairly straightforward, but the truth is that it can get a lot more complicated than you think. Using too much or too little litter may cause your cat to avoid their litter box, as will using a type of litter they are sensitive to. Therefore, using the right litter is essential to ensuring your cat’s restroom routine is not disturbed.

There are many types of cat litter on the market. You can use shredded paper for cat litter; however, it has pros and cons. Before making the switch, read this article to understand what you should expect with shredded paper cat litter.

Using Shredded Paper Cat Litter

You can use simply shredded paper in your cat’s tray but most people do not find this to be a good long term option. Many cats don’t like using it and it has poor absorbency, necessitating very frequent changes. Commercial cat litters made from recycled paper are a more common choice.

The process of scooping shredded paper cat litter looks similar to the process of scoping clay cat litter. You’ll remove the soiled litter from the box with a sifting litter scoop. You can distinguish soiled spots from clean areas due to their darker color.

You’ll dump the waste in a trash bag, then refill the litter box with fresh litter. The litter in the box should be around 2–3 inches deep. Using shredded paper cat litter looks different than using other types.

While classic clay litter needs to be scooped daily, it often only needs to be completely changed every few weeks, shredded paper litter needs more frequent maintenance.

This is because shredded paper cat litter does not suppress odors very well, so when fecal matter or urine accumulates, the smell becomes much stronger.

Therefore, you should scoop the litter at least once daily, perhaps more if needed. The entire litter box will need to be changed and washed at least once per week.

shredding paper using a machine
Image Credit: EKKAPHAN CHIMPALEE, Shutterstock

Pros of Shredded Paper Cat Litter

Like with any cat litter, there are pros and cons. Paper based cat litter provides benefits that make it an appealing option for some cat owners.

It Is Eco-Friendly

A huge positive to using shredded paper cat litter is knowing that you’re making a difference. Paper cat litter is often made from recycled materials; its production doesn’t waste resources or create a heavy ecological footprint.

It Produces Less Dust

While shredded paper cat litter will still produce dust, the amount that it generates is minimal. Compared to other cat litter options, such as clay cat litter, the dust it creates is negligible. That means less mess for you to sweep up and it is less likely to aggravate allergies.

There Are Two Types

For the most part, shredded paper cat litter is non-clumping. However, paper based clumping versions are available.

box filled with shredded paper
Image Credit: mdbildes, Shutterstock

Some Are Flushable

Check the packaging on your shredded paper cat litter; it’s likely that your litter is flushable or compostable. That means that you have multiple disposal options to choose from, which many cat owners find convenient.

It Is Lightweight

Since paper is light, shredded paper cat litter weighs less than other types. Storing, moving, and pouring lightweight litter is much easier.

It Is Free from Scents

If you or your cat are easily agitated by fragrances, shredded paper litter may be the perfect option since paper doesn’t have a scent.

curious cat sniffing a bucket filled with shredded paper
Image Credit: PawelKacperek, Shutterstock

There Isn’t Much Tracking

One of the most significant benefits of shredded paper litter is how little it tracks. It’s also less likely to cling to your cat, so it reduces the messes you’ll need to clean up.

Cons of Shredded Paper Cat Litter

As great as shredded paper cat litter can be, it has downsides. You’ll want to review some of the cons of this litter before committing to it.

The Odor Control Is Limited

One of the most significant downsides to shredded paper cat litter is its inability to manage odors. While it may slightly reduce odors, it cannot cover them for long. Therefore, you will have to clean the litter box often to keep the stench away.

It Is Not Compatible with Automatic Litter Boxes

Most automatic litter boxes require a clumping cat litter to operate efficiently. While some paper based litters clump, they do not clump as well as other types and are unsuitable for automatic litter boxes.

one litter box two cats
Image Credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock

It Is Difficult to Find

Shredded paper based commercial cat litter is not as common as other forms of cat litter, and it may be harder to find at your average pet shop or convenience store.

If you find one at the store, the price may be steep. Since shredded paper litter must be replaced more frequently, the cost can quickly increase. However, you’ll likely find a better price from an online retailer. Some people make their own shredded paper litter but this is not very absorbent and many cats do not like it due to the inability to dog into it and cover their urine and feces.

Not All Cats Like It

Just like humans, cats have preferences. Regarding cat litter, pets can be very particular about what they do and don’t like; unfortunately, shredded paper cat litter may not appeal to your cat.

Should You Make the Switch?

Now that you have reviewed the pros and cons of shredded paper cat litter, you can decide whether you are ready to take the plunge. If you are eager to be as eco-friendly as possible, shredded paper cat litter may be great for your cat.

Classic clay cat litter is made from sodium bentonite, which must be mined near the surface. This leads to strip mining, which negatively affects the surrounding ecosystem, as it leaves waste rock in its path.

Switching to shredded paper cat litter can reduce your ecological footprint and make the world a healthier, happier place. Before switching to shredded paper cat litter, it is a good idea to consult a trusted veterinarian.

While shredded paper cat litter is generally safe for cats, it may not be suitable for all of them. If your vet has any concerns, they will share them with you so that you can make the most informed decision possible.

siamese cat sitting in a litter box
Image Credit: Axel Bueckert, Shutterstock

Convincing Your Cat to Accept a New Litter Type

Changing your cat’s litter may seem easy, but it can be world-altering to your cat. If you change it all at once, your cat may be reluctant to use their litter box. To avoid such issues, slowly introducing your cat to their new litter is best.

To start, mix an inch of shredded paper pellets in with your cat’s regular litter. Give them at least a week with this blend before you change it again. Then, add 2 inches of paper litter and only 1 inch of clay litter. Wait until your cat uses their litter box without hesitation or problems. Once they are accustomed to the blend, fill the litter box with shredded paper litter.

Final Thoughts

Shredded paper based commercial cat litter is an excellent option for some cat owners. It is eco-friendly, lightweight, produces less dust and is unscented . While there are downsides to be aware of, such as minimal odor control, plenty of people find that the benefits outweigh the negatives. Shredded paper itself can also be used as cat litter, but most people find it hard to get on with due to its lack of absorbency.

If you think that paper based cat litter is suitable for your pet, talk to your vet to get their professional opinion. Once you have the green light from them, you can slowly introduce your cat to their new litter over several weeks.

Featured Image Credit: Hafiez Razali, Shutterstock

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