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:
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?
------------------------------Ryan SimonsonCat Depot------------------------------
So for our shelter, we served about 700 cats and went through 25 tons (50,000lbs) of litter last year.#DataandTechnology#OrganizationalManagement------------------------------Jeff OkazakiHumane Society of Jefferson County------------------------------
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!
------------------------------Ryan SimonsonCat DepotOriginal Message:Sent: 01-10-2023 11:46 AMFrom: Jeff OkazakiSubject: Cat Litter Usage BenchmarkingIn 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:
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...
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.