There is always a running joke about preppers hoarding beans, rice and cat litter. While some of them are true and I am going to give you 14 reasons why kitty litter should be added to your stockpiles.
As Preppers we are always looking for items that can solve multiple problems. Once we find this item we determine if it is worth adding some to our stockpile. Well I have one for you. Kitty Litter or Cat Litter for some. Even if you do not own a cat you should still consider stockpiling this extremely versatile item. Here are several reasons why and after reviewing them I am sure you will agree.
Cat litter comes in several styles. It is made from absorbent material such as bentonite clay, non-bentonite clay, and silica gel to name a few. Each of these may be a better option in some cases, though generally they will each work to a lesser degree if necessary. For nearly every one of these uses you will want to obtain the non clumping kind.
The Reasons Why Every Prepper Needs to Stockpile Cat Litter
- Traction – Ice & Mud
Storing a bag of litter in your car could be a boon if you ever find yourself stuck in ice or mud.
When navigating wet, icy or snowy roads cars can get stuck. This is due to the ice, and moisture from the snow, causing the tires to spin and not gain traction. Often you can alleviate this problem by simply adding a granular material such as dry dirt, sand or gravel to the areas immediately behind and in front of your tires.
This is where cat litter can excel. Since kitty litter is designed to absorb water and comes in small chunks similar to tiny gravel it is excellent at absorbing the excess water, and providing some bite for your tires to gain traction.
In order to apply this trick simply pour an inch or two thick area around the front or back of your tires. (This is dependent on if you are trying to pull forward or back out.) Allow it to sit for a minute or two and then attempt to move your vehicle in its lowest gear setting, you don’t want the tires to spin all of the litter out of the area you just placed it.
This same technique can applies if you live in the country and frequently deal with muddy roads or parking areas. Simply add the litter and give it a bit of time to absorb some of the water from the mud.
- As an Ice Melt
Nearly every part of the US and even in many other countries Ice can be a problem in the winter time. By keeping some kitty litter in your vehicle, garage or by the front door you can scatter this over the icy sidewalk, driveway or even parking spaces and create a surface that is much safer for you to walk on.
When putting down the kitty litter it is not necessary that every inch be covered. You should only need enough so that you have a light scattering over the area. When you step on the kitty litter you have placed down then it should bite into the ice and hold your foot just above the surface preventing you from slipping.
- Treatment For and to Prevent Mold and Mildew
It is nearly inevitable that water will get to places you don’t want it. This is especially true in areas such as under sinks where a leaky faucet or drain can cause mold and mildew to brew. Basements are another area in which water can become a problem, especially after heavy rains or a burst pipe.
You can sprinkle cat litter in these areas to help control this moisture. Due to the absorption effect and odor neutralizing properties of kitty litter you can prevent mold from forming and eliminate any of that musty odor that frequently accompanies the growth of mold and mildew.
One method to control the odor without having loose litter on the floor is to place a cup or so in old socks. Then place them in the corners of the basement. This will help keep down on the moisture content in the air. It would also absorb those musty smells common with completely enclosed basements.
- Keep Pests and Other Rodents Away with Cat Litter
Kitty litter can also be used to deter certain pests or drive them from your home. For instance moles and other rodents detest the smell of scented cat litter and by dumping a half a cup or so into any mole hills you find you can drive them from your property.
If you have a cat then used kitty litter is great for keeping mice and their larger relatives the rat from your home. Simply take non clumping kitty litter and scatter it around the outside of your home close to the walls. The litter will have absorbed the odor of the cat urine. While you will not notice the odor in this case the mice, rats and other rodents will.
Many mice and rats are hard coded to detect certain proteins in urine that correspond to their natural predators. This coding coupled with the used cat litter will ensure that they decide your residence is too dangerous for them.
Don’t have a cat? Check out this article on The Importance of Cats for Prepping.
- Kitty Litter as Odor Control
We have discussed mold, mildew and now rodents, we would be remiss if we failed to discuss kitty litter’s effect at controlling odor in these incidents and more. The number of ways that you can use cat litter to remove stubborn odors is mind boggling.
You can add loose litter to ashtrays, trashcans, diaper pails. Basements and even the crawl space under your home are also great places to control odors.
If you want even more options then you can place cat litter in a box, mesh bag, old sock or pair of tights to make a small package. You can then place these in smelly shoes, the refrigerator, closets and even the bottom of clothes hampers to control odors.
Another method to use fresh cat litter for odor control is to sprinkle it on smelly areas of your carpet. Leave the litter in place overnight and then vacuum up the following day. While this may not completely remove the smell like steam cleaning the carpet would it will definitely help to control it.
Another way in which I like to use kitty litter is for the fake plants around my living room. Simply use the kitty litter as the “soil” for the plants. This will ensure the litter is clean and dry while being inconspicuous in the room. This will allow it to absorb any smells that may creep into the room.
You can use this same technique in your teenager’s room, just “gift” them a potted plant without telling them that it’s kitty litter in the pot. Reap the benefits of a better smelling room. Just remember it works best when it is changed out every three months or so. (It’s not being used by a cat, remember so it can last longer.)
You could also place a few cups in a shoe box and store it in the attic, closet or laundry area. This makes for a fresh smell in those spaces as well.
- Long Term Storage of Items
As a prepper this is one of my favorite uses for kitty litter. As preppers we frequently purchase items for that inevitable need that may be years down the road. It is important to store these items in a manner that will ensure they are protected and usable when we need them.
Take for instance a tent. How often have you gotten your tent or sleeping bags out after being put up for the winter and noticed that it is musty smelling and has tiny specks of mold or mildew where it was not completely dried out the year before.
What about that weather alert radio that has been shoved under the kitchen counter just waiting for the storm that causes you to need it. When you get it out it wont turn on because the contacts have corroded.
Perhaps you have a storage building and when you go to retrieve some items from it the musty closed up smell is so bad you can’t bear to bring the items back into your house.
Each of those scenarios could have been avoided by packing some kitty litter in with the items. The odors, musty smell and any moisture would have been eliminated by the properties of the kitty litter. You can also leave a small bag of kitty litter in your cooler when not in use. This can prevent the odors that sometimes accumulate from the stale air.
Storing a boat or camper for the winter is yet another great opportunity to benefit from the use of kitty litter. Simply place old socks, clean of course, with a small amount of cat litter in them in drawers, cubbies and lockers to keep them fresh for the next season.
Surprisingly you can also use kitty litter for the long term storage of food. Check out our article on Homemade Desiccant.
- Soak Up Spilled Oil and Other Liquids
Since Kitty litter is absorbent and often has a clumping effect it can be used to clean up various types of spills around the garage and outdoors. The makeup of cat litter is nearly identical to that of oil dry. With the main difference being there may be some additional deodorant added to the litter.
When compared to oil dry the cat litter tends to be slightly finer this reduces its effectiveness only slightly, but when you consider the cost this is a worthy trade off. Additionally both of these materials are ideal for oil. As you can kind of grind it down onto the spill. Thus picking up particles from the cracks and crevices and reducing the chance of a slip later.
In order to clean up an oil spill or remove an oil spot left behind by leaky cars simply pour out a generous amount of fresh litter over the area to be cleaned. Give it a minute or two to soak up any loose oil. Then using a broom you don’t mind being coated with oil, move the material back and forth almost in a scrubbing motion. This will aid the clay in the litter to remove the oil.
Once you have a dry spot sweep up the litter and remember to dispose of it just as you would with oil as it could contaminate the environment if not disposed of properly.
Sometimes the spot does not come completely clean and it is necessary for a second application. In these cases if it is raw concrete or a floor that I don’t mind being scraped I will use my foot to grind the litter in. This gives a final scrubbing and is often enough to remove any remaining oil. At a minimum it will remove the dangers of slipping. Some people suggest using a brick or flat piece of wood for this grinding step, this helps with avoiding unnecessary wear on your shoes.
Cat litter can often be found for much cheaper than oil dry despite them being essentially the same product. Check your local budget retailer such as Family Dollar, Dollar General, Dollar Tree or similar type store in your area. They often have five pound bags for around $1 US.
- Control Algae in a Pond using Cat Litter
I originally found this tip on a site for Koi Ponds. They indicated that you can use unscented, non clumping cat litter to absorb some of the ammonia found in your pond water. This will reduce the amount of algae that grows in the pond. If you already have algae adding the litter could cause the algae to die. This is due to the removal of ammonia which is what the algae feeds on.
They suggested that you use around one pound for every 2000 gallons of pond water. Clay cat litter also contains numerous minerals that the fish will benefit from. This was first discovered in Japan where they used bentonite clay to line their ponds. The fish will eat tiny particles of the clay and it improves their colors and health.
Now from a prepper standpoint, how does this matter. Well many preppers have fish ponds on their properties as an additional food source. Depending on the climate, weather and location it is possible that algae could become an issue. It is important to control algae if you plan to use the pond as a source of fish.
While the algae itself is not harmful to the fish it is a sign of conditions that could be harmful to fish. Most often this is caused from high ammonia levels. This could pose a problem for those fish you are hoping to eat at a later date. You can add kitty litter to the pond to remove some of the ammonia. It will also provide beneficial nutrients to the fish. Make sure to use only cat litter that is unscented and non clumping.
Using the following formula (depth x width x length=) will give you the volume of your pond in cubic feet. You then need to convert that to the number of gallons by multiplying the cubic feet total by 7.48. This will give you the volume of water in gallons. You can then divide that by 2000 to get a rough number of pounds you need for your particular application.
When dealing with a larger pond, it does not have to be an exact number and any decent sized amount of litter should have some effect on the algae levels. For example a small pond that is 100 foot in diameter and 4 feet deep would hold about 35,000 gallons of water. You could treat a pond of this size with 17 pounds of kitty litter. A standard 50lb bag of cat litter could easily treat a pond with 180 foot diameter. This is fairly common size for some small catfish ponds.
It is possible that this would also help with water clarity.
- Improve the Soil Quality of Your Garden
As you know different types of plants need certain things from their soil. Some water loving plants may not get enough water in very sandy soil. You can correct this by mixing equal parts of clay kitty litter and soil. By mixing the soil in this manner it will remain moist. The particles in the kitty litter will also help keep air in the soil which plant roots also need.
Clean clay cat litter mixed with soil is safe for any type of plant. By incorporating it into the soil it will help to develop a stronger root system. It may have the added benefit of discouraging grubs, slugs and snails from feeding on your plants.
To discourage slugs and grubs create a ring around your plants. This will necessitate the grubs or slugs crossing the ring. Due to the absorption effect and texture of the litter it is not likely that they will cross it as it disturbs the slimy fluids they secrete.
- Removing Pesticides, Heavy Metals and Radio-actives from Produce
Due to the levels of pollution in the world today many plants and vegetables are contaminated by unwanted sources. Most often this is from “acid rain” but could also be from unwanted mineral from the soil coming in contact with the plants. There are also leftover unwanted pesticides both in the air and water system. These could be brought into contact with your plants as run off from other locations. Possibly even from over spray if aerial spraying is common in your area.
As you can see there are numerous possible sources of contamination. In the event of a war or other disaster this contamination could greatly increase. You should have a plan in place to be able to safely clean your plants. Sometimes water alone is not sufficient.
Bentonite Clay commonly found in cat litter is capable of absorbing many of these toxins. Since Bentonite Clay is negatively charged it attracts anything with a positive charge. That added with its absorption properties can allow you to use it to scrub many contaminated particles from your food.
In order to use Bentonite Clay cat litter in this manner mix ½ cup litter to 4 cups of clean water. Once you have mixed it well in a non metallic bowl, cover the produce with the liquid and allow it to rest undisturbed for about ten minutes. Then gently sift the veggies around in the mixture. Next you want to rinse the veggies at least three or four times to remove any clay and contaminates.
- Create a Poultice or Antibiotic Paste
Bentonite Clay has been used for ages as a natural remedy for healing many types of physical ailments. Some of these include eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis. It is also known to soothe poison ivy and poison oak rashes.
You can review an article in the National Library of Medicine that discusses the potential benefits even going so far as suggesting that Bentonite Clay can reduce toxins in the body speeding the healing process from various ailments. This same article also discusses the use of Bentonite Clay as a hemostatic agent.
In order to use kitty litter in this way you want to make sure to grind it as fine as possible. This can be done using a mortar and pestle or just smashing it between two clay bricks. Add water until you have a thick paste and make a covering over the injured or affected area. The easiest way to do this is to lather about a quarter inch thick coating on a clean cloth and then wrap the area in question.
- Eliminate Flare Ups in a Grill or Smoker
If you’re a frequent barbecuer and have problems with flare ups in your grill burning the outside of your burgers then this tip might just be for you. Those preppers who are practicing their survival skills and want to be able to smoke meat or slow roast on a spit may find it useful as well.
Many times when cooking meat the fats from the meat drip down to the surface below. Often times these fats can catch fire. If not properly controlled will cause the outside of your meat to burn while the inside remains raw. This is seen most commonly when cooking burgers on a grill, however it can happen with nearly any meat.
One way to help prevent this is to use clay based cat litter on the bottom of your grill. This obviously works best with gas grills but could be applied to smokers as well since normally their heat source is not directly under the foot. The puddling grease could still ignite.
Simply place an inch of kitty litter on the bottom of your grill. This is to absorb this grease, since it is clay based it’s no different than using a clay brick smoker. This kitty litter will absorb any of the grease that drops down below. Not only will it help to prevent flare ups but will make cleaning your grill a cinch. Since all you need to do is scoop out the litter.
This should be obvious but I will mention it anyway. Use only clean unscented kitty litter and for this application make sure to only use a clay based litter.
- Dry Out Electronics that Have Gotten Wet
Everyone knows that cell phones and other electronics have a magnetic attraction to water. No matter what they are bound and determined to jump right into the toilet, creek or kitchen sink. We have been told for years that you can place them in a bag with rice and absorb the water. This gives a tiny chance that your electronics may survive the ordeal.
What if I told you that not only is kitty litter able to absorb this water. But can do it better than rice.
If your tablet, cell phone or other electronic device has jumped into the water then do not try to turn it on. If possible remove the battery. Then place the device along with its battery into an old sock or leggings. This will keep it from being scratched by the litter. Place it either directly into the bag of cat litter or in a plastic bag with two cups of litter.
Leave your electronics there for two or three days. Remove them when there is no sign of moisture on the screen or buttons. You can then attempt to turn the device back on. Just remember there is a chance that too much damage was done prior to drying the device out. This is often the case when you try to turn the device back on before it is dry.
- Lastly You Can Use Cat Litter as Human Litter in a Pinch
In the event of a loss of water, or power, you can use kitty litter for human needs as well. If you do not have water to flush your toilet then an alternative means for disposing of wastes is needed.
Portable Folding Toilet
One method for doing this is to use a five gallon bucket. You can then add several inches of cat litter in the bottom. The odor control and moisture absorbing abilities will function much the same way it does when a cat uses a litter box. This will keep down on the odor and allow you to dispose of the litter at a more convenient time.
This is also an option when camping. While sometimes you can simply make like a bear in the woods, some locations have very strict rules on disposing of wastes. With a five gallon bucket, some cat litter and a seat lid for the bucket such as the Luggable Loo (Amazon Link) you can put together a makeshift toilet. It won’t stink and allows you to safely dispose of the waste when convenient.
Help Expand the List with Your Ideas
Some other ways that cat litter can be used include as an art supply to give texture, as a medium to absorb liquid paint since many landfills won’t take liquid paint, and even as an agent to dry flowers.
As you can see there are many ways to use cat litter beyond just its intended purpose. I am looking for that elusive number 15 now. Comment below with your ideas. If it is completely different then I will add it to the list and update the title, I’ll even include your name in that paragraph if you like. Remember the primary goal is that the use be directed towards preppers, camping or survival.