Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Dangers of Clay Cat Litter

Most cat owners never think twice about the cat litter they buy. They think of it as a necessary and standard care item for their feline companion. It's readily available and simple to use, especially the clumping variety. But did you know that you are putting yourself, family and furry friend at risk every time you use clay litter? The two main reasons to stop using clay litter are its bad for the environment and its bad for human and animal health!

  • In order to produce clay cat litter the clay needs to be STRIP MINED
  • Used clumping litter will NEVER biodegrade in the landfill
As an Earth Warrior it seems counter intuitive to buy clay litter on that basis alone.
  • Clay litter contains Quartz Silica, which is a known carcinogen when inhaled
  • Clumping clay litter contains Sodium Bentonite, which expands 15-18 times its volume and forms an insoluble mass when it ocmes into contact with liquid. 
  • When a human or animal inhales the clay dust it "sticks" to your lungs. After a prolonged of exposure it can damage the lungs and cause respiratory related illnesses
  • When a cat grooms himself his is injesting the dust and litter he is licking off his paws. This over time can create "clay balls" in the intestinal track and cause blockages, dehydration and even lead to death.
Think of it this way, Sodium Bentonite acts like expanding cement. Which is why these litters should NEVER be flushed. They can also be used as grouting, sealing and plugging materials! Now think about what happens when you inhale the dust or when your feline friend licks his paws.
So you are wondering what your options are? I have been using corn litter for over a decade now and swear by it. Initially it may seem a bit pricier. But what I have noticed is that I use less corn litter then I did of the clumping clay variety. I would say it lasts me at least twice as long. I never put more than two inches in the litter box; I scoop daily and once a week change the litter completely. I also opted for the smaller litter box as I find it much more manageable and cleaner. If you have more than one cat, then each cat should have their own litter box, providing you have the space. If not a larger box will do, but ensure that you are scooping it a few times a day.
There are other environmentally and health friendly options. Here are some great chemical-free, biodegradable kitty litter choices made from renewable plant sources:
  • Yesterday's News: Recycled Newspaper
  • Feline Pine: Reclaimed sawdust pellets
  • World's best Cat Litter: Whole Kernel Corn (Semi-clumping)
  • Swheat Scoop: Naturally processed, non-food grade wheat (Semi-clumping)
These are just a few companies, there are many others that just fabulous!

Say NO to clay litter

If your cat has been using clumping litter for most of its life, then it can be a difficult transition for them. I do not recommend switching cat litters "cold turkey". This should be a gradual introduction. The first day just add about a cup of the new litter in with the old. Gradually every othe day add a cup of new litter and remove a cup of the old litter. Do this until your cat's litter box is %100 new litter. If you notice that your cat is taking well to the transition, then you can increase the increments and amount switched. If he's not taking to it, then decrease and add more time between switching a cup of new for old.
As an Earth Warrior and Animal Advocate it only makes sense to switch!

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