How Much Do You Actually Spend on Cat Litter Each Month?

Caring for a cat has its obvious costs like food, grooming, and vet bills. You most likely use a litter box if your furry friend is an inside cat. Do you purchase the cheapest litter brand you can? Do you pick up whatever cat litter is on sale at the supermarket? The cost of the litter for your cat is much more than the actual litter you put in the box.

Most people don't know how much they actually spend on cat litter and associated items per month. Items like litter liners and garbage bags, among other things, need to be considered when calculating litter cost. This all adds up. I’ll break it down to show you the real cost of having a cat litter box.

The Cat Litter

Felines like to hide their personal business by covering it up. This is a natural instinct that comes from the wild when it was necessary to hide their tracks in order to stay safe from predators. Our indoor cats have kept this behavior and that is why we provide a safe place for them to do their business in.

Cat litter comes in a variety of options and your cat may or may not be finicky about which you provide. Here is a list of the most common cat litters used by cat owners.

  • Clumping Cat Litter Clay: This is one of the most popular on the market because of the ease of scooping the waste out. It’s made of pulverized clay and bentonite sodium and clumps the urine into a ball that you can scoop out along with the feces. Clay cat litter can be messy as your cat can track the clay all over your house on his paws.
  • Non-clumping Cat Litter Clay: This type of litter is also pulverized clay but it doesn’t clump. This is cheaper than the clumping option and can also be very messy and dusty. You will need a lot of this litter to keep the smells at bay and the litter box clean.
  • Silicone Crystal Cat Litter: These litters are made of silicone absorbent crystals that trap liquids and odors. These tend to be a little pricier and are better at odor control then the clay options and are less messy.
  • Natural Cat Litter: Many natural cat litters have come onto the market in recent years due to the demand for a more healthy and environmentally friendly way to care for our cats. These can be made of walnut, pine, wheat, corn, and paper, among other natural ingredients. These may cost a little more but the benefits are sometimes worth it.

What Does it Really Cost

The Hidden Costs

What you spend on your cat's litter box per month is more than the bag of clay. There are several extra items that you need to purchase to keep the litter box and your home clean. Traditional clay litters don't last very long and they need to be replaced often because of its limited ability to absorb liquid and to suppress odor. You will probably also need some sort of perfume or substance as an odor mask. Because they’re not flushable or compostable you will need to purchase litter liners or garbage bags to dispose of it.

The right choice, for your kitty and the earth.

With traditional cat litter, you may have to splurge on an expensive hooded cat litter box to keep the odors from wafting throughout your home (though this is not in the best interest of your cat). Mats, scoopers, and a dedicated garbage pail and vacuum are also items to be considered and can bump up the monthly total of your cat litter expenses. These are usually not purchased every month but do need to be replaced from time to time.

But you need to think of more than just the monetary price of litter box care. If you’re concerned about your cat’s long term health or about reducing your carbon footprint, it may be time to switch your cat litter. As you’re probably well aware, traditional clay and crystal litters are detrimental to the planet in addition to being a health hazard for both you and your cat! You can read all about it here. [Link to The Environmental Impact of Cat Litter: How Eco-Friendly is Your Cat’s Litter?]

Natural cat litters are emerging onto the market and providing an excellent option for cat owners who want to save in the long term, who are concerned for their cat's health, and also the environmental impact of owning a cat. Maybe you’ve pondered switching your kitty litter to a natural brand but thought that it was too expensive or complicated. You may be surprised when you calculate all the monthly costs involved with the traditional cat litters in addition to the non-monetary costs. Luckily, I’ve done it for you! It’s time to break down the financial and hidden costs involved when purchasing kitty litter.

The right choice, for your kitty and the earth.

Traditional Clay Cat Litter:

Expenses
25lb bag of litter:
$6 x 2 per month per cat
Liners/garbage bags:
$2/month
Deodorizers:
$4/month
Vacuum:
$30 (1x per year)
Trash bin with cover:
$25 (1x per year)
Mat:
$25 (1x per year)
Scooper:
$5 (1x per year)
Approximate total monthly cost:
$27.58
Pros
  • Cheap
  • Lots of choices available

Cons
  • Doesn’t last long - needs to be completely changed once or twice a week
  • Heavy bags to carry
  • Lots of tracking and dust
  • Doesn’t clump - makes for messy and difficult clean up
  • No odor control - deodorizers needed
  • Need to purchase garbage bags or liners - isn’t flushable or compostable
  • Extra trip to the store to purchase
  • Environmentally destructive

Clumping Cat Litter:

Expenses
25lb bag of litter:
$10 per month per cat
Liners/garbage bags:
$2/month
Deodorizers:
$4/month
Vacuum:
$30 (1x per year)
Trash bin with cover:
$25 (1x per year)
Mat:
$25 (1x per year)
Scooper:
$5 (1x per year)
Approximate total monthly cost:
$25.58
Pros
  • Budget-friendly
  • Readily available
  • Lasts longer than traditional clay litter - change every 2-3 weeks
  • Easily clumps to scoop out
  • Better odor control than traditional non-clumping clay litter
Cons
  • Heavy bags
  • Messy - lots of tracking and dust
  • Need to purchase deodorizers
  • Need to purchase garbage bags or liners - isn’t flushable or compostable
  • Extra trip to the store to purchase
  • Clumping agent can be potentially lethal for your cat
  • Environmentally destructive

Crystal Cat Litter:

Expenses
8lb bag of litter:
$15 per month per cat
Liners/garbage bags:
$2/month
Deodorizers:
$4/month
Vacuum:
$30 (1x per year)
Trash bin with cover:
$25 (1x per year)
Mat:
$25 (1x per year)
Scooper:
$5 (1x per year)
Approximate total monthly cost:
$30.58
Pros
  • Lasts longer than traditional clay litters - change once a month
  • Lightweight
  • Little tracking
  • Great for absorption
Cons
  • Painful on the paws
  • Need to purchase garbage bags or liners - isn’t flushable or compostable
  • Probably need to purchase deodorizers
  • Extra trip to the store to purchase
  • Can be potentially toxic for your cat
  • Environmentally destructive

All-Natural TofuKitty Cat Litter:

Expenses
10lb bag of litter:
$29.99 per month per cat
Liners/garbage bags:
$0/month
Deodorizers:
$0/month
Vacuum:
$0 (1x per year)
Trash bin with cover:
$0 (1x per year)
Mat:
$0 (1x per year)
Scooper:
$5 (1x per year)
Total cost including shipping, delivered to your door every month.
$29.99
Pros
  • 100% all-natural; made of recycled food-grade plant ingredients
  • Non-toxic, completely safe for your cat and you
  • No chemical or artificial clumping agents needed - clumps naturally!
  • Triple odor protection, naturally
  • 1 bag lasts an entire month
  • Delivered to your door
  • Dust-free - no tracking, no mess
  • Lightweight
  • No extra purchase needed besides a pooper scooper
  • Eco-friendly - biodegradable, flushable, and compostable
Cons
  • More of a premium price than traditional litters

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As you can see by my calculations, the actual costs of maintaining a cat litter are much more than the simple (and heavy) bag of litter you drag home from the supermarket. When you add it up, the total cost of the extras needed to keep the cat litter box (and your home) clean and the environmental destruction of traditional litters far outweighs the costs of a more premium, all-natural cat litter like TofuKitty. The outdated thought that natural cat litter costs a lot more than traditional cat litter has been debunked!

The right choice, for your kitty and the earth.
I want in!
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