It depends on what the litter is composed of. Originally litter is clay-based, with some additives for scent and clumping. Clay is soluble; it breaks down and becomes part of the soil with extensive water exposure but additives may reside in ground. Some cat litter is made with dried silica gel because it is highly absorbent. Silica gel can take years to decompose because it is a synthesized (not plant-based) substance. Some litter producers are now offering environmentally friendly options. This litter decomposes quickly and contains no synthesized additives.
aaron10‘s answer was very informative. On a more personal note, my family used Swheat Scoop when we had a cat, and found it much better than all the other cat litters we tried. We did not find it in the stores until we moved back to California, so we have had quite a bit of experience with other brands. Given that Swheat Scoop is wheat-based, I believe that it would take six month or less to decompose. It can also be composted in small quantities. My family put some of it in our compost bin and sent the rest away in our county’s green waste bins. We also tried Feline Pine, but Swheat Scoop was better for odor control.
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