Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Litter Controversy

Even though I don't have cats yet, I have been giving a ton of thought to my future cats' care and feeding. I want to make sure I give them the best possible food, litter, toys, and healthcare.

Most people I know use regular clumping cat litter, but I just read an article on cats.about.com that makes me a little worried about the clay that most clumping litters use. In, "To Scoop or Not to Scoop," About.com's Franny Syufy writes:

"The arguments for potential hazards to pets of using clumping clay with sodium bentonite certainly sound logical:

  • Cats inhale dust from clay litter, or ingest it while cleaning their feet. Kittens, being curious creatures, sometimes eat litter.
  • The powerful clumping abilities of sodium betonite cause the ingested clay dust and particles which, when combined with natural and ingested liquid form a solid mass.
  • Inhaled particles could cause similar problems in the moist climate of the lungs. (The dust in clay is silica dust, which is not particularly friendly to either human or feline lungs.)
  • The 'clumping activity' in the intestines could draw fluid out of the body, causing dehydration, and possibly consequential urinary tract problems."

This makes me want to get an alternative litter like Swheat Scoop or World's Best Cat Litter, but are these as effective as regular clumping litter and are they affordable?

The folks at my office mostly use traditional clay clumping litters and say they haven't had a problem. One of my coworkers was raving about Arm & Hammer Crystal Blend, saying that it has the best scooping action.

However, another one of my coworkers recommends litter crystals. Interesting.

Bottom Line: I want the least smell and the easiest to clean, but I'd feel pretty bad if it caused health problems for my cats.


mj said...

Congratulations on your decision, Avram. As to litter, I use the "World's Best" cat litter and find it well worth the price - it clumps better than any other I've used, and is totally natural so if the kitty eats it while cleaning paws there's no worry. It lasts twice as long as other litters so the expense evens out, I think. (No connection to the company, I swear!):)

Anonymous said...

I live in Germany, but we use a litter that is similar to "World's Best." We really like it and it is very "clumpable" and is recycled wood pulp (World's Best is corn cobs). I also find that the smell is less irritating and the dust doesn't bother me as much.

Morven said...

Hi...we use silica litter crystals, because the cats don't track them through the house (we used clumping when we first got sam and aprat from the fact it stuck to the litter tray, he got it stuck to his feet and we found it everywhere!), it absorbs liquid so it's less to clean up and it lasts for about a month for Sam (we have to put two bags in his tray as it's a big deep hooded one) for Ziggy kitten about 10 days per bag (we buy him a slightly cheaper one just now!) because he's so little and has to go to the potty more...plus Sam uses his tray sometimes and just about fills it (Ziggy has a little kitten tray for now)!
But it seems it's very much each to their own...we just wanted one that didn't track, was easy to lift waste out of and the cats would use.

Jeannie said...

Well.. it is definitely something to think about. The dust is bad for kitties and for us too! I realized after cleaning the room where my cats' litter boxes are that it was super dusty, I could even smell it.

I'm trying to switch my cats to a biodegradable litter. My old favorite was Fresh Results, very little to no dust. But I need to do it slowly. I don't want them to revolt.