Natural Cat Litter- should you switch?

By on August 23, 2014

I am a big advocate for eating and living a natural lifestyle. I recently switched my cats over to all natural cat food; they live healthy lives just as I do. While at The Green Spot, one of our pet partners, I got to thinking about kitty litter. I know- I just have the most interesting and thought provoking conversations with myself. It turns out to be a very important thought to have as a proponent of a natural lifestyle for cats.

Traditional kitty litter is full of chemicals. My cats are sitting in those chemicals, breathing them in, then tracking them all over the house. If I had babies, they would be crawling around in the tracked chemicals, breathing those in, too. My mind started spinning and I immediately felt gross. I needed to do more digging.

I thought my mind was spinning while I was in The Green Spot and then my research started and I was appalled. Kitty litter is filled with all sorts of harmful chemicals to your cat, your other animals and to you. The most common cat litters contain sodium bentonite clay and silica gel. Sodium bentonite clay is mainly used in clumping cat liters. When this chemical is ingested by your cat, like when they are bathing themselves, it can lead to bowel blockages, kidney problems, dehydration, an inability to absorb nutrients- even death. See this article for more details. Silica gel is in those packets that are placed in your newly purchased items. When you are cleaning out your kitty litter tray or when your cat is going to the bathroom, you are exposing yourself to the dust. This dust can cause irritation and in some cases permanent damage of the mucous membrane of the lungs and upper respiratory tract. It can also lead to lung cancer. Scary!

You better believe I switched my cats over to natural litter immediately! I felt terrible that for the past two years, my poor cats have been breathing in those chemicals and so have I! Kitty litter with corn in it, I found out, can also be bad for them. Corn and wheat can contaminate if stored in a warm and moist area. Unfortunately, the kitty litter is warm and moist and this can cause a whole array of illnesses as well. I myself have switched them to a cedar and pine kitty litter. So far, so good! Joey and Zooey were skeptical at first but they didn’t seem to mind the change. It masks the smell and clumps just fine. I am pleased with it and they are too.

I encourage you to do some research on your own and think about switching over. There are some critics of natural cat litter, as you can imagine, so do your homework and decide for yourself. You can find natural kitty litter anywhere and a number of our pet partners carry all sorts of kitty litters for you to try!

Here’s an article from that includes a review of five different natural cat litters if you are inclined to test one out. These are fairly short reviews, but the reviewer and kitties indicate one is better than the rest. The main difference in the litters from a consumer point of view is price. Natural litters are a bit more expensive, but given the healthier aspects, a couple of extra bucks towards each purchase is worth it. An example: traditional clay litter in a bag is something like 30 cents per pound. Popular litters with “crystals” are about 50 cents per pound. Natural cat litters range from 75 cents to per pound to $1.50 per pound. Like anything else, choose your brand and buy on sale!

Also, check this article from PetMD about natural cat litter. The author indicates that you should stay away from fragrant litters as they may irritate cats with asthma and other breathing issues. Also, as always, there’s a recommendation to check with your veterinarian before switching just to be safe.

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