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Clay Cat Litter & what you should know about it.
Clay-Based non-clumping cat litter absorbs liquid waste but
does not form clumps. Most litters of this variety are
available in scented, unscented and dust-free formulas. Odor
control varies based on the brand purchased. This litter
must be replaced more often (at least once a week) than
clumping litter. To clean the litter box: wearing gloves,
remove all litter once a week to a plastic bag, seal the
bag, and place it in an outdoor garbage bin. Disinfect the
litter box and refill it with clean litter. This litter type
provides moderate to maximum odor control. It is easy to
clean up and non-toxic, although if an animal eats it there
may be other digestive problems. Some popular brands are
"Pet Gold Cat Litter" and "Tidy Cats Long-Lasting Odor
"Kitty Litter" was one of the first cat litters sold to the
public, in 1948. This was the first use of clay commercially
as an absorbent for cat boxes; before then sand had been
used in litter boxes instead. Clay litter absorbed urine
much better than sand, and because the grains were much
larger than sand grains, it was much less likely to be
tracked from the litter box. The brand name "Kitty Litter"
has now become a generic trademark, used by many to denote
any type of cat litter.
There is some concern about clay cat litter in the pet
community. Although it hasn't been fully documented, some
people and a few veterinarians say that pets have died from
ingesting or inhaling the clay or clay dust while using the
clay cat litter. There have been some studies done on the
subject but nothing definitive has been derived. The concern
is that when clay dust is inhaled it may harden when
dampened by the lungs and cause multiple breathing problems
such as allergies, bronchitis, pneumonia, etc. The same
concern has been expressed about humans who change the cat
Another concern is that if cat litter is eaten, as kittens
and dogs may do, when the clay is digested it will form
solid clumps in the digestive tract and cause impaction that
may lead to death of the pet. There have been some cases
where impaction by clay cat litter was stated as the cause
of a pet's death. This is even more of a concern with the
clay clumping cat litter that bonds together into clumps.
Because of this, cat litter makers have gone to "dust free"
formulas that are supposed to be much safer for your pet.
However, over time, if the cat litter is not cleaned
properly a fine dust will eventually settle to the bottom of
the cat litter box, causing the same problem with the clay
being inhaled when the cat scratches deeply.
Some alternatives to the clay cat litter are crystal or
natural cat litters. Crystal cat litter uses sand or a blend
of sands in its formula. Sand was the original cat litter
and some people today still use it. The natural cat litter
is made from either pine, paper, corn or wheat. Either of
these is just as good as the clay cat litter and you can
find them in scented or unscented also.
There are other household uses for clay cat litter, for
example, to clean up oil spills in your garage. Conventional
clay litter is indistinguishable from clay-based oil
absorbent (used to clean oil spills); and, as the latter is
far cheaper, it is sometimes used as a substitute.
We recommend the natural cat litter because it really is
"dust free" and causes no allergy problems in either cats or
humans. And it is digestible, unlike clay or sand based cat
litters. It really is just as good as the clay or sand based
cat litters and can be found in multiple brands.
There is no scientifically documented reason to avoid clay
cat litter, so far. In fact a lot of people prefer it
because of its convenience and low cost. However, there is
now a general shift from clay to the natural litter among
cat owners. It may be that natural cat litter will be the
next big thing in the cat market.
Help the Cat in your House to Live a Longer Life