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Cat Litter Usage Benchmarking

  • 1.  Cat Litter Usage Benchmarking

    Posted 01-10-2023 11:46 AM
    In the last year and a half we've had real challenges with finding usable litter.  Our previous litter was discontinued by the manufacturer and after that, our litter cost increased by 70%.  We've been scrambling to try and find other options, but either the litter we have found is too dusty, even more expensive, or stores (even Walmart!) told us they can't order in bulk for us.  We've also tried using wood pellets and paper pellets but our staff find it to be too messy as it rapidly dissolves and too many cats dislike using it.  We've also tried generic shop spill clean up clay, but it was either too dusty or not available in our area.

    We are already spot cleaning our cages and using paper scoops to clean litterboxes without dumping them, but it still seems like our usage is high so it has me wondering what other shelters do for litter and if we're just way out of whack with the amount of litter we use.

    Specifically it would be interesting to know:
    • Your total cat intake over 1 year
    • Your annual litter usage
    • Anything else about your process, do you dump, scoop, etc?
    So for our shelter, we served about 700 cats and went through 25 tons (50,000lbs) of litter last year.
    #DataandTechnology
    #OrganizationalManagement

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    Jeff Okazaki
    Humane Society of Jefferson County
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  • 2.  RE: Cat Litter Usage Benchmarking

    Posted 01-10-2023 12:26 PM
    Hi Jeff- so we too have gone round and round about cat litter. I ended up buying it from Walmart. I buy 12 (which is the max per order) 50 lb bags from them once per week, which are shipped to our facility. It is the most cost-effective solution I have found.

    Looking forward to hearing other solutions in this thread!

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    Alexis Pugh
    Director, Memphis Animal Services
    www.memphisanimalservices.com

    Organizational Management
    & Pet Support Services Specialist
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  • 3.  RE: Cat Litter Usage Benchmarking

    Posted 01-10-2023 12:36 PM
    Thanks Alexis, that's helpful!

    So it sounds like you do about 31,000lbs a year and do you serve about 1,500-2,000 cats?

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    Jeff Okazaki
    Humane Society of Jefferson County
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  • 4.  RE: Cat Litter Usage Benchmarking

    Posted 01-10-2023 01:00 PM
    We took in 2143 cats in 2022, but that includes hundreds of bottle babies that went straight to foster, so I think your estimate is correct!

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    Alexis Pugh
    Director, Memphis Animal Services
    www.memphisanimalservices.com

    Organizational Management
    & Pet Support Services Specialist
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Cat Litter Usage Benchmarking

    Posted 01-11-2023 08:37 AM
    We use wood pellets and dump and wash daily. Our Intake for cats in 2022 was 2439 cats. We do also get other kinds of litter donated to us (clay, paper, etc) and it all helps. Most of our man hours every day are used for cats but we also had a dog intake of 1490 for 2022. This is just that animals that were cleared through our shelter for the year. Our daily count has been over 300 cats and 120 dogs in care. Don't be afraid to ask the public for help with your animal needs. Photos really are worth a thousand words to show your needs.

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    Carrie Ward
    South Utah Valley Animal Services Special Service District
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  • 6.  RE: Cat Litter Usage Benchmarking

    Posted 10-29-2023 05:25 AM

    I'd really like to revisit this and reinvigorate the conversation. Of all our costs the Litter is by far the one that scares me the most because of the following reasons:

    1. Prices are continuously escalating,
    2. Litter donations are harder to produce because of the low perceived value.
    3. Using the correct kind of litter is essential to pathogen control.
    4. Bad litter habits formed in the shelter could negatively impact long-term pet retention by adopters.

    To that end we are consuming roughly 90x40 pound bags of clay non-clumping litter a month.  We serve approximately 1300 cats a year. We are required by our veterinarian to dump and sanitize each cat's box at least once per day, with some medical conditions requiring higher frequency. In addition, we consume 48x40 pound boxes of clumping litter each month. This litter is used in our open floor adoption spaces, offices, and other longer duration resident spaces. This one we scoop daily and replace when the box becomes overly soiled or when the cats currently using the box are adopted. 

    I can't believe there aren't bulk litter distribution agencies or buy direct from the bagging facilities. Would you all please share ideas on cost reduction or bulk purchasing?



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    Ryan Simonson
    Cat Depot
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  • 7.  RE: Cat Litter Usage Benchmarking

    Posted 10-29-2023 05:39 AM

    Our entire shelter switched to pine pellets because of the litter prices. It works fine and people are more likely to donate--even pet stores that sell them, sometimes!



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    Jae Taylor
    Foster Coordinator
    McKamey Animal Center
    Chattanooga TN
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  • 8.  RE: Cat Litter Usage Benchmarking

    Posted 10-29-2023 05:44 AM

    Do you get the pine pellets from a local supplier of a national chain? I've been thinking outside the "litter box" recently and trying all kinds of suggested substitutes. I was experimenting with topsoil at my house because I can get 40 pounds of that for $2. It seems to work well...



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    Ryan Simonson
    Cat Depot
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  • 9.  RE: Cat Litter Usage Benchmarking

    Posted 10-30-2023 11:03 AM

    We're a smaller non US rescue (150 kittens and cats a year in Portugal) and use wood pellets and wood litter at two sites and clay at the third. Wood pellets are great especially if you make a double layer tray, with the top tray having holes drilled in it. Give it a shake,  empty the bottom and scoop the poop from the top. The main order is in bulk from a fuel supplier.

    Clay we get from the supermarket and it's a real pain not being able to buy in bulk but haven't found anywhere.

    In the past, I have used car workshop spill clay which is ok with a decent brand, but you might like to experiment there. And a very long time ago, we got untreated sawdust from the mill our friends worked at for the cats and horses. That was free! An, happy times.



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    Bettina Vine
    Animal Health Director
    The Kitten Connection
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  • 10.  RE: Cat Litter Usage Benchmarking

    Posted 10-30-2023 05:37 PM

    I'm very curious about the top soil. In comparison to traditional clumping clay, how did you find the mess/tracking with soil? Did you have any issues with it getting "muddy" and cats stepping in it? How easy was it to scoop? Did it do anything to control odor?



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    Sam Maurice
    Humane Society of Jefferson County
    Jefferson WI
    https://hsjc-wis.com
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  • 11.  RE: Cat Litter Usage Benchmarking

    Posted 11-03-2023 05:25 AM

    Hi Sam, I use top soil sometimes when I'm getting a street cat used to a litter box (if it is one that I need to keep in for healing after a surgery). It does absolutely nothing for odour and it makes a real mess. What I do is use straight soil the first 1-2 days and if they're using it ok, make the next tray 1/3 clay, then increase to 100% clay by about day 5-7. Then if they are staying longer, I move them to wood pellets.



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    Bettina Vine
    Animal Health Director
    The Kitten Connection
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  • 12.  RE: Cat Litter Usage Benchmarking

    Posted 11-05-2023 10:37 AM

    Hi Sam,

    Try using Pine litter right from the start, instead of dirt. Pine has a natural smell and you can get it crushed or in pellets. I have handled a lot of recovering ferals and usually only have one accident outside of the box. Key if they miss  is to put the poop into the litter they never have a problem after that. 



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    Theresa Spataro
    President
    Central Jersey Animal Rescue
    NJ
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  • 13.  RE: Cat Litter Usage Benchmarking

    Posted 11-05-2023 06:01 PM

    Thanks, I don't use dirt though. I've never used it. I was just curious on how well it worked compared to conventional litter.



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    Sam Maurice
    Humane Society of Jefferson County
    Jefferson WI
    https://hsjc-wis.com
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  • 14.  RE: Cat Litter Usage Benchmarking

    Posted 11-06-2023 12:22 AM

    Hi Theresa

    I've found that some ferals just won't use a pine box straight up, unless they are in a very small cage, so that's why I do the mix.



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    Bettina Vine
    Animal Health Director
    The Kitten Connection
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Cat Litter Usage Benchmarking

    Posted 12-06-2023 09:25 PM

    Hello, everyone!

    Yesterday, while researching bulk quantities of Kitty Litter and identifying organizations in need of this product, I stumbled upon this forum. After reading through all your comments, I see that many of you are facing a common challenge with the supply of cat litter for your organizations.

    I attempted to reach out ind