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Dangers to the Environment from Cat Litter
You may not realize it but cat litter is not only bad for
the environment but does have significant impact on the
earth in general. Common clay cat litter, whether it be
clumping or not, is clay. It must be mined, which wreaks a
massive toll on the environment.
Clay cat litter is not a by-product of another process, it
is made from a clay found in the earth. The cat litter most
commonly used is made from a natural clay also known as
sodium bentonite, a swelling clay which is also used to
seal ponds. It is "strip mined" from the earth, pressed into
pellets and then dried, and the resulting pellets can absorb
moisture up to several times their original weight.
Strip mining is a type of surface mining in which miners use
heavy equipment to strip off the top layers of earth to get
to the buried seams of clay. Strip mining has wiped out
thousands of acres of land and removed millions of tons of
earth; much of it just so that cats can eliminate indoors.
That is not the only issue attached to clay litter. The
"bentonite" of clay cat litter is crystalline silica
(aluminium phyllosilicate) which is a carcinogen, and clay
litters constantly throw up silica dust when your cat
scratches in them, and even when you change the litter in
To discover if your brand of cat litter contains sodium
bentonite, check the bag for "natural clay." If it lists
"natural clay" or if there are no details, then it most
likely contains sodium bentonite.
There is a Better Way...
There are several natural alternatives to clay cat litter.
There are now on the market cat litters made from silica
crystals, sand, wheat, paper, wood, or grains.
- Plain newspaper (if the newspaper uses soy-based inks as
most do now)
- Recycled newspaper compressed into pellets
- Ground corn cobs
- Silica gel pearls
- Compressed straw pellets
- Pine sawdust from lumber waste
- Kenaf plant pellets
- Other products made from cellulose fiber
Used natural biodegradable cat litter can also be used in
your garden as a mulch or added to your compost heap,
whereas clay litter is not biodegradable and lies forever
filling up landfills after you dump it into the garbage.
Your Cat can Live a Longer Life - here's How