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Kitty Litter for a Happy Planet

Kitty Litter for a Happy Planet

I love my cat. I hate her litter box. Not only does it require me to clean it, but the litter itself just can’t be good for the environment. Clay litter is strip-mined, and more than 2 million tons of this non-biodegradable material are estimated to end up in the landfill annually. Total lose-lose there. And that’s not to mention the health risks of clumping clay litter. Crystalline silica, an ingredient that abets clumping, is a known carcinogen according to California Proposition 65. Toss in some other assorted chemicals and a hit of synthetic fragrance and … yikes.

Fortunately there are a growing number of biodegradable litter materials made from renewable plant resources. And most of these can be composted! (Although composted used litter should not be used near a water source, edible plants, or near where children will be playing.) These choices include recycled newspaper, wood pellets (typically pine), sawdust, corn cobs, and wheat bran.

I came across another option that struck me as particularly appealing: Toilet training the cat. I confess I am drawn to the novelty of coaxing my cat into performing such a feat, but the idea of litter box-free life brings a happy sigh to my lips. I have gone so far as to purchase the CitiKitty Complete Toilet Training Kit. Alas, the blasted researcher in me has discovered that Toxoplasma, a parasite common to warm blooded animals, might be the potential source of infection (from flushed cat feces) for California Sea Otters. Good thing I live in New York! Just kidding–what’s not good for the Pacific can’t be good for the Atlantic. So I guess it’s time for a Toxoplasma test for my puss, and, fingers crossed, some acrobatic toilet training in her future.

Until then, 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.
Swheat Scoop: Naturally processed, non-food grade wheat.
One Earth Cat Litter: Clumping corn-cob granules.

Read more: Cats, Everyday Pet Care, Pets, , , ,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

256 comments

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5:57PM PDT on May 1, 2013

noted

11:59AM PST on Mar 9, 2013

can't flush,throw out,or use outdoors as toilet? What are they supposed to do?never eliminate?

12:39PM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

We've been very lucky so far and have not needed a litter tray. We adopted our cat, Pumpkin, about 3 years ago. He kept appearing in the garden and when he came nearer to the house, we could see that he was in a poor condition. I put food out and gradualy coaxed him into the kitchen. His skin was bitten so badly bitten by fleas, it was painful for him to be stroked etc. He also has a tumour by his mouth and is blind in one eye. Anyway, he's getting the best care now, although it's difficult to groom him properly as he's not used to it and gets a bit aggressive. As I'm an owl and my partner's a lark, there's always someone up to let him in and out and we haven't had to use the tray so far.

11:24AM PDT on Jun 21, 2012

Thank you

4:29AM PDT on Jun 21, 2012

good to know, this way is easier to help to save the enviroment. tnks.

4:26AM PDT on Jun 21, 2012

good information and we can choise better and don't destroye more our planet. tnks.

8:10PM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

Cat poo should NEVER be flushed down a toilet or composted!!
Cats carry a parasite called toxoplasma gondii that is highly dangerous to many people, especially fetuses, newborns, young children, and immuno-copromised humans, and it survives wastewater treatment plants!

Toxoplasma gondii has also been liked to psychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxoplasmosis

It is also highly dangerous to other wildlife, causing many to spontaneously abort. Cats are where this parasite finishes it's life cycle. Cats poo out millions of the eggs, which can live a long time.

Please read this article too: http://cawd.org/education.html

8:10PM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

Cat poo should NEVER be flushed down a toilet or composted!!
Cats carry a parasite called toxoplasma gondii that is highly dangerous to many people, especially fetuses, newborns, young children, and immuno-copromised humans, and it survives wastewater treatment plants!

Toxoplasma gondii has also been liked to psychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxoplasmosis

It is also highly dangerous to other wildlife, causing many to spontaneously abort. Cats are where this parasite finishes it's life cycle. Cats poo out millions of the eggs, which can live a long time.

Please read this article too: http://cawd.org/education.html

8:10PM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

Cat poo should NEVER be flushed down a toilet or composted!!
Cats carry a parasite called toxoplasma gondii that is highly dangerous to many people, especially fetuses, newborns, young children, and immuno-copromised humans, and it survives wastewater treatment plants!

Toxoplasma gondii has also been liked to psychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxoplasmosis

It is also highly dangerous to other wildlife, causing many to spontaneously abort. Cats are where this parasite finishes it's life cycle. Cats poo out millions of the eggs, which can live a long time.

Please read this article too: http://cawd.org/education.html

8:10PM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

Cat poo should NEVER be flushed down a toilet or composted!!
Cats carry a parasite called toxoplasma gondii that is highly dangerous to many people, especially fetuses, newborns, young children, and immuno-copromised humans, and it survives wastewater treatment plants!

Toxoplasma gondii has also been liked to psychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxoplasmosis

It is also highly dangerous to other wildlife, causing many to spontaneously abort. Cats are where this parasite finishes it's life cycle. Cats poo out millions of the eggs, which can live a long time.

Please read this article too: http://cawd.org/education.html

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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