Should You Use Cat Litter for Succulents, Cactus & Bonsai?

Having bonsai, succulents or cactus can be fancy. Or it can merely be your love towards them. Maybe they just fit well with your interior.

Apart from the plants, you also have cats in your home. You’ve heard your fellow gardeners explain the benefits of cat litter. So you’ve been wondering if it would be a good idea if you can reuse the cat litter.

Hence, should you use cat litter for succulents, cactus, and bonsai?

Well, if you’re thinking of using your cat’s litter then no. You can’t apply the raw or used version of it. But for some succulent-hybrid plants, you can use the processed cat litter. But for pure succulents, bonsai and cactus, it’s not recommended to use.

But don’t get disappointed yet. Because we’ve mentioned some alternatives to use instead. Go check them out.

Can You Use Cat Litter for Succulents, Cactus, and Bonsai?

Well, the answer is a straight no. Cactus, bonsai, and succulents have one thing in common. They love drought-like situations. This means they love low watering and proper draining soil.

Otherwise, the plants will start to rot from the roots. And eventually, the whole plant will rot. The stems will get mushy and the leaves will turn brown. Even overwatering can lead to fungal disease.

For example, the soil of cacti is soggy due to standing water. Now the soil is damp all the time. And the roots can’t soak this amount of standing water.

As a result the root rots and dies. Then the plant has no choice but to die as well. So you need to provide the plant with a good type of soil. That includes potting soil, coarse sand, and perlite.

All of these will ensure high drainage capability for the plant. But do not use garden soil as a soil mix. Because garden soil is not good enough for succulents

But if you’re really convinced of the benefits of cat litter. In that case, mix 10-12% cat litter with the potting mix.  You can then use it for these plants.

In case you’re thinking of re-potting, use the ideal soil mix that we mentioned before. 

What Are The Alternatives of Cat Litter? -2 Options!

After all the discussions you may not want to use cat litter on your plants.  In that case, we can name a few alternatives for you. Just check them out.


This is quite a popular medium to grow succulent, cactus, or bonsai. Akadama mainly is residue from the volcanic eruptions of Mount Fuji. These have been collected in Japan for over decades.

They even grow bonsai and succulents only in akadama without the help of other potting ingredients. It was previously a Japanese favorite. But now it’s getting popular in the west as well.

So it’s pretty much available there. It’s a drainage-friendly fertilizer and promotes aeration to the plant. So the roots can breathe and grow properly. 

Chicken Grit

It’s mainly granite in crushed form. But the crushed one is not usable. So when you buy chicken grit, look for the plain and refined ones. Because most of them contain calcium carbonate and probiotics. Those are not needed for succulent, cactus, or bonsai growth. 

You can just mix it alongside potting soil and coarse sand. It doesn’t hold moisture so it’s good for non-moisture-loving plants.

So it’s a great option for succulents, cactus, and bonsai.  You may be wondering where to find chicken grit and what would be best. Well, we’ve suggested our favorites just below.

These ones will attend to your needs as it worked for us. And you’ll grow lovely plants. 

Which Plants Can You Use Cat Litter for?

Well, you can’t use cat litter for pure breed succulents, cactus, or bonsai. But it doesn’t mean you can’t use them for mixed breeds. 

Well, we’ve named some mixed breeds that can stand cat litter as their soil component. 

Well, cat litter is a good fertilizer for your plants, not the raw ones. You need to purchase a processed cat litter from the store. 

Cat litter is high in clay content. That means it’ll retain moisture and water in the soil. But that’s the composition of store-bought fresh processed litter. It’s basically processed in a way to be used as a soil component.

It’s simple to use. You’ll just have to purchase and mix it with the potting soil. The percentage of cat litter in the soil mix should be 30-35%.

But this is only for other plants who love moisture. And it’s for the plants that get benefitted by holding water better.

We’ve talked about some of the plants below. All of them benefit from cat litter. So check if you have one of these species.

Aloe Vera

Aloe is one kind of trunkless succulent. But it’s more popular as a medical plant for its health benefits.

The leaves of aloe store water in gel-like form. So they can go a long way without watering. And if you overwater the plant, you’ll encounter yellow and brown aloe. However, it still needs water to survive.

So if you can ensure the proper soil mix, cat litter can be used for it. We suggest using half part of cat litter with 2 parts potting soil for aloe. 

After switching to this new soil mix, observe the plant. See if the soil remains wet after 7-8days of watering. If yes, then you may have to discontinue using cat litter. 

Donkey’s Tail Succulent

This is an extended type of cacti-succulent. It’s known for its long tail-like appearance that climbs down from the pot. It’s mostly used as a part of home decor.

No matter what purpose they’re used for, they’re also water sensitive. If they’re put in wet soil for a long period, the root starts to rot. So adding cat litter would be a difficult choice. But you can play a  little trick here.

Add 20% cat litter to the potting mix. Now keep the plant in the litter mixed soil. And from now on whenever you water the plant, keep it under the sun. You can keep it on the window sill for 6 hours. 

So the light will let the donkey’s tail succulents grow. And the heat generated from the light will prevent wet or soggy soil.

Money Tree

The money tree can be converted to a bonsai after hard work. So if you have one of these, consider yourself lucky. Now let’s tell you if you can add cat litter to these plants.

Well, you can buy the non-scented cat litter. The litter shouldn’t be clumping. Then you can use the litter with a 1:4 ratio with potting soil. So that it doesn’t hold much water. But make sure only to water the plant while the top part of the soil is dry.

And keep the plant in a proper drainage pot. So that extra water goes out of the pot immediately.

Sweetheart Hoya

Well, it’s a half cactus half succulent-looking plant. But they’re just adorable and compliments your home decor. These plants love well-draining soil and minimum watering.

So let the soil dry out 80% before watering. And mix only 20% litter with the soil. This way it won’t get soggy.

And while buying the litter, look for mineral-based ones. These ones are mostly less dusty and clay-based. That is good for the plant.

So this is how you can use store-bought cat litter for plants.

But you may want to know if they’re suitable for succulents, cactus, and bonsai. Then scroll down to know the answer.

Well, that’s all information on if you should use cat litter on them or not. Hope you have a clear understanding by now. 


Question: What is one outstanding benefit of using cat litter in the soil?

Answer: Cat litter helps to improve root health. It provides a better dosage of nutrient supply to the roots. So it helps in the root development of the plant.

Question: Do using cat litter keeps pests away?

Answer: Yes. Cat litter has a strong smell. And snails, ants, and gnats can’t stand this smell. So they stay away from the plant. If you have outdoor plants, this will save your plants from pests.

Question: Are any sort of customized cat litter available at the store?

Answer: No, the options are limited. You may look for chemical-free or scent-free options. But there’s a little chance of finding those options in cat litter. 


Looks like you made it this far in the article. You got your answer whether you should use cat litter for succulents, cactus, and bonsai. Hope you’ll act accordingly.

Also, why don’t you comment on some of your favorite fertilizers below? We would love to hear from you.

Thank You!

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