Clumping cat litters hold great appeal for cat-lovers because they are so convenient. But what many pet-owners don’t realize is that two ingredients in most clumping cat litters have been implicated in diseases and even the deaths of many animals and humans.
Sodium bentonite is often added as a clumping agent to traditional cat litters to create the “scoopable” clay litters on the market. Sodium bentonite acts like an expandable cement, which is why these litters should not be flushed: they swell to 15 to 18 times their dry size and can be used as grouting, sealing, and plugging materials.
Cats often lick themselves after using the litter box, ingesting pieces of the litter. If litter gets inside them, it expands just as it does in the plumbing.
Also, the dust from such litters can coat our cats’ lungs, leading to respiratory problems. The Hennepin Center for Poison Control in Minnesota has reported instances of poisoning in humans from chronic ingestion of sodium bentonite, so just imagine what effect it can have on our kitties!
Quartz silica (sand), the other ingredient in most clumping litters, is a known carcinogen for both humans and household pets when inhaled.
Switch your cat litter to one made from a plant-based material, better for your pet and for the environment. There are many commercially-available products using compacted pine shavings, cedar, newspaper, or corn cobs that make healthier alternatives.
Adapted from Why is Cancer Killing Our Pets? by Deborah Straw (Inner Traditions, 2000). Copyright (c) 2000 by Deborah Straw. Reprinted by permission of Inner Traditions.
Adapted from Why is Cancer Killing Our Pets? by Deborah Straw (Inner Traditions, 2000).