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.