Do Cats Like Sand?

cat sitting behind sand dune

Most cats do like sand. If you’ve ever had an outdoor sandbox, then you’ll know how quickly it can turn into a cat’s toilet. Sand has a texture that felines seem to like using to walk, bury and eliminate on. One reason is that sand makes it easy for them to bury any messes and to hide their scent. Think about the types of litter you see in the pet store: the popular ones are often gritty or grainy and designed to imitate the type of ground covering you get outside. 

Sand is generally safe for cats. It depends what’s in the sand and what it’s been exposed to. Sometimes you can get parasites in sand which could make a cat unwell. If there are toxins or contaminants in the sand, that will make it unsafe for not only cats but other animals, too.

Some felines with nutritional deficiencies may start eating sand. This is called Pica and is when a cat, pet or person starts eating non-edible materials. If your cat is eating sand, take them to the veterinarian as soon as you can. 

Do cats like the beach?

Some cats love spending time at the beach with their owners but others don’t. You’ll probably already know which category it is that your pet falls into.  How adventurous are they? How happy are they to jump into a cat carrier or car?  If you’re planning on taking your cat to the beach, then make sure the beach is pet-friendly or you may be liable for a fine. Make sure you keep them on a harness or leash and that they have a spot to sit in the shade. 

Can you use play sand as cat litter?

You could use play sand as litter but we wouldn’t recommend it.  Firstly, it won’t cover up any nasty smells. Secondly, it will stick to the cat’s paws more easily which means they’ll be tracking it through the house. Thirdly, if you’re planning on washing it, drying it and reusing it then (whilst that’s possible), it is time-consuming 

How do you keep cats out of sand?

If you have a problem keeping cats away from sand, then there are a few things you can try. It’s important to remember that the cat isn’t pooping or peeing in a sandbox or garden because they’re being difficult. They’re following their nature so any remedy used to try and stop them should be humane and safe. 

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do. The Spruce recommends some natural options and ones that use a cat’s heightened sense of smell.  You can spray a white vinegar-water solution around the edge of the sandbox.  You could also sprinkle used coffee grounds as cat’s don’t like the smell of coffee.  We can’t vouch for the latter on a sandbox but we do use it on our bark and mulch section of our garden and it has kept the cat’s away.  

Remember, you may have to reapply regularly depending on the weather.  The Spruce also makes the point that you should consider covering the sandbox over when not in use. We think this is one of the easiest and most reliable forms of a deterrent. You can use a cheap piece of tarp and then weight it down with bricks to keep cat’s away.

Only take advice from reputable websites as some may suggest things which are harmful to cats.  You can also buy products in pet stores that claim to act as a deterrent but we can’t comment on how good they are.

How to keep cats out of sand volleyball court

A volleyball court is essentially a giant sandbox (and to cats a big litter tray).  We’d echo the advice given in the paragraph above: try using a cover if you can (although, this is harder with a volleyball court than a child’s sandbox).  You could also use citrus peel around the perimeter or used coffee grinds and play on a cat’s aversion to strong smells.  Some people have installed a sprinkler system with a motion sensor that activates when a cat tries to get near the volleyball court. You can also buy motion-detecting cat deterrents which use high-frequency sound to keep cat’s away.

Once cats have used an area to poop or spray then it’s likely that they’ll keep coming back.  They’ll be able to smell the scent even if you can’t.  Make sure you’re regularly cleaning up any mess so that they don’t keep returning there out of habit.