Can I Use Rice as Cat Litter? A Comprehensive Guide

can i use rice as cat litter

Many times I have wondered if I can use rice as cat litter and probably you have the same thought running through your mind.

You can use rice as cat litter if you run out of conventional cat litter. But before you rush to open a bag of rice and fill your cat litter box, it’s important to understand that while using rice as cat litter as a temporary solution, it’s not a perfect substitute for traditional cat litter.

rice and cat litter
Rice can be used as cat litter as a last resort

Today we will have a deep look at this unconventional method and explore the depths of it.

If You Ran Out of Cat Litter, You Can Use Rice

The idea of using rice as cat litter is very unconventional and not that popular, but it started to become more popular and it’s a concept that is being considered by many cat owners.

If you have run out of cat litter and you can’t replenish it immediately, you may have to consider some alternatives like rice or newspapers.

The bag of rice may be a solution if you have ran out of everything else. Using rice is an appealing alternative that is eco-friendly to traditional cat litter.

Although using rice may seem convenient it’s important to note that it’s not specifically designed for using as cat litter. The idea of using rice in the litter box is mostly born out of necessity rather than personal preference.

Can Rice Be Used as Cat Litter?

Based on what we tried it’s possible to use rice as cat litter for a limited amount of time in case of emergency. We did have some difficulties while doing this as the rice was getting stuck to our cat’s paws and it got tracked all over the house.

cat litter box and rice
If you run out of options rice can be a quick alternative

That’s why we only did it for a briefly amount of time while we went to the shop to buy our traditional clumping litter. We also noticed that the rice wasn’t absorbent, and it didn’t control the odor very effectively.

We also had some thoughts about the safety of this test as even if rice is generally safe for cats, there is a risk that they will ingest it. This could lead to some digestive issues that we didn’t want

Pros and Cons of Using Rice as Cat Litter

We found a couple of advantages and disadvantages while we were using the rice and we thought to share them with you so that you can draw your own conclusions:

  • Affordability: Rice is an item that is readily available and very cheap when compared to traditional cat litter. This is making it a very attractive option if you are on a tight budget and buying cat litter isn’t something that you can afford for a while.
  • Biodegradability: Unlike the most cat litters on the market, rice is a biodegradable alternative. This means it will break down naturally over time, and it will reduce the environmental impact.
  • Low Dust Content: Traditional cat litter can often produce a lot of dust, which can harm your cat or even yourself if you are not careful. Rice, on the other hand does not produce dust, making it a safer option in case of emergencies.
  • Poor Odor Control: We notices that the smell was horrible while we used rice in the cat litter box. It doesn’t have the same odor-absorbing properties that our normal cat litter would have and the litter box was very smelly.
  • Attracts Pests: Rice being spread all over your house will definitely attract mice and other insects.
  • Messiness: As it doesn’t clump when it’s wet, this will make it harder to clean and the small grains of rice are very easy to be spread around the house
  • Potential Health Concerns: While it’s safe for cats to be around rice, some curious cats will be trying to eat it. This could result some digestive issues that can get very expensive to treat.

How to Use Rice as Cat Litter

If you made the decision to use rice as cat litter for an emergency situation we recommend to prepare it correctly.

Take whatever type of rice you have in your home and rinse it thoroughly under running water to remove any dust.

Once the rice is clean, you can spread it out and let it to dry completely. This can take a couple of hours or even overnight. We recommend to dry the rice completely to prevent mold growth.

Once the rice is dry, you can place is in the litter box. You will have to make sure that you have a good amount of rice in the litter box, to allow your cat to dig and cover it’s waste, the same like you would do with regular cat litter.

rice as cat litter tracking
Rice tracking – this will be spread all over the house

Cleaning Up After Cats Using Rice as Litter

We prepared a list of steps you will have to take as the rice will require a bit more effort compared to traditional one. Here are the steps that you should take:

  1. Use the Right Scoop: You will need a scoop with small hole to separate the rice from the solid waste. This is going to help you to remove the waste and leave any untouched litter in the box. As it doesn’t clump you will have to be very thorough with the scooping.
  2. Regularly Change the Rice: Unlike traditional cat litter, the rice won’t absorb any odors from the box. This means that you will have to change the rices more often to remove all the smell. Depending on how many times your cat uses the litter box, you may even have to change the rice daily.
  3. Dispose of Used Rice Properly: It’s very important to throw used rice in the trash, and don’t discard it down the sink or the toilet. Rice can expand when it comes in contact with water, and can block your plumbing
  4. Clean the Litter Box Thoroughly: When you change the rice, you will also have to clean the litter box thoroughly. Use pet-safe cleaning solutions and warm water. If you don’t have any cleaning solutions a mild soap might do the trick


In conclusion, while it’s possible to use rice as cat litter, it’s not the most effective or convenient solution. Rice doesn’t absorb as good as traditional cat litter and it doesn’t has the same odor control.

On top of that, it can be very messy and it will attract some pests that you really don’t want in your house.

It’s always good to remember that the key to a happy cat is a clean and comfortable litter box. It doesn’t matter what type of cat litter you are using as long as you are cleaning the box regularly

Indre K Williams

Indre K Williams

Indre K Williams (DVM) graduated from the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2015, she brings a wealth of knowledge and a genuine passion for animals to their writing. With years of experience working closely with pets and their owners, she has developed a deep understanding of their needs and behaviour.

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