Yes, using dirt as a homemade cat litter substitute can be inexpensive and simple, but there are some serious drawbacks that you should be aware of. 

Image Credit : Tina Chen

As well as not providing some of the major advantages of conventional cat litter materials, such as odour control or clumping, using dirt as litter can expose your cat to illnesses and diseases. 

Can I use dirt as cat litter? Will my cat like it? 

Yes, because dirt is natural, many cats will prefer to use it as cat litter. 


Image Credit : Regina

Most cats would adapt to it naturally because it resembles the tools that cats’ ancestors would have used. 

Since outside cats frequently use gardens as bathroom facilities, digging in the ground shouldn’t be a problem. 

cat feces on a pile of dirt 

Additionally, unlike some store-bought litter, dirt won’t smell artificial or overpowering, which may discourage cats from using their litterboxes. 

This litter will be more tempting to use because of its natural aroma. 

Can Dirt Be Used As Cat Litter? 

No, using dirt can raise safety issues because it puts your cat at danger of contracting viruses, parasites, and infections


Image Credit : sotos kprs

You might be bringing in parasites and other potentially dangerous things and exposing your indoor cat to things they wouldn’t normally be exposed to if it never leaves the house.

preventing cats from leaving crap in your garden 

How “safe” the soil is will depend on where it originates from and how it has been packaged and treated. 

No dirt will be completely risk-free. 

Having said that, if your cat already spends time outside and utilizes the sand or dirt outside as a litter box, safety won’t be a major problem. 

In that case, it won’t be a big deal to carry some of the dirt inside. 

Problems with Using Dirt 

There is a chance that using dirt as cat litter will expose your cat to parasites and illness. Especially notable are feline panleukopenia and toxoplasmosis. 


T. gondii is a parasite that causes the disease toxoplasmosis. 

Consuming infected meat is a frequent way to get this parasite, which is common. 

Although this parasite can also be present in soil, using dirt as litter raises the likelihood that your cat will get this illness. 

Toxoplasmosis is far more prevalent in outdoor cats and can persist in soil for several months. 

The main source from which toxoplasmosis might spread is litter trays.

There is a chance that soil brought in from the outside will contain contagious toxoplasma. 

Panleukopenia felina 

The highly contagious parvovirus known as feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) can remain on soil for up to a year and spread through contaminated objects including shoes, bowls, and water. 

Consequently, there is a chance of carrying this virus inside and exposing your cat to it if soil is brought into the house. 

It is crucial that your cat has a panleukopenia vaccination and that the vaccinations are kept up to date. Panleukopenia vaccines are available. 

The Advantages Of Utilizing Dirt 

There are several advantages to using dirt as cat litter, including: 

It’s affordable (or free). 

Dirt is affordable, and if you harvest it from your own garden, it can even be free. 

As a result, it provides a more affordable alternative to store-bought cat litter, which may be quite pricey. 

contrasting three types of cat litter 

Compared to store-bought litter like the items in the image above, dirt is much less expensive. 

This suggests that it can be a wise choice if you are experiencing financial difficulties or require cat litter for a limited time. 

However, the disadvantages and dangers of using dirt do not outweigh the cost savings.

It is probably not as inexpensive as you might anticipate if you are purchasing dirt. 

Alternatives to dirt, such as recycled paper, which is less expensive, should be taken into consideration. 

2. It is readily accessible 

Dirt is readily accessible; you can either carry it inside from your garden or purchase it in big bags at the store. 

In either case, getting dirt is simple, and you can frequently get a lot of it without spending a lot of money. 

cat on greenery 

You can remove soil from your garden. 

It’s a good thing you can gather a lot of dirt quickly because the cat litter tray requires frequent emptying. 

Since dirt won’t clump and will simply absorb the filth, it must be entirely emptied and replaced at each cleaning. 

This implies that unlike with clumping litters, you cannot perform little spot-check cleans. 

Cons of Utilizing Dirt 

Utilizing dirt has a couple additional drawbacks that we haven’t covered yet. 

If cat owners choose to experiment with utilizing dirt as cat litter, they will almost instantly notice these differences.

To keep up with the regular full cleans, you will require a lot of dirt, which is messy and rapidly begins to smell. 

1. It’s extremely messy 

First off, it’s really dirty to use soil as cat litter. 

When your cat exits the litter box, they will have dirt on their paws and fur, which they will then trail throughout the house. 

Additionally, a ton of additional organic material that you don’t really want in your home is present in dirt. Not to mention how difficult it is to exit a carpet after being stepped in. 

2. No odour management 

Second, unlike other cat litters, dirt is not good at hiding odours. 

As a result, the litter box will require more frequent cleaning and the odours won’t be controlled or covered up. 

You’ll likely need to discover different means of odour control if you use dirt as cat litter. 

It will be more physically demanding to pick up the litter box, empty it, clean it, and replace it with dirt than it would be with lighter litter materials. 

No Lumping 3. 

Finally, because the dirt doesn’t clump but instead absorbs the pee, the litter box will need to be changed and emptied frequently.

This implies that everything will need to be removed and replaced after each clean. As a result, the dirt is dirtier and more difficult to manage. 

clay-based clumping cat litter 

There is a large selection of cat litters, and they all differ to meet various demands. 

There should be a few affordable, secure, and all-natural solutions if you look at what is out there. 

These alternatives can be more suitable for your cat and house than dirt. 

Finding a natural cat litter that is secure and provides a cleaner solution is preferable than making a compromise with dirt, which has a number of possible drawbacks.