Litter Box Care - Types of Litter - Clay

pictures_cats_litter.jpgIn our discussion of litter boxes and why cats pee outside the box, we've touched on litter box size, litter box odor and number of litter boxes as possible causes. And just as important as cleaning, size and number of litter boxes, is what you put inside the litter box. Today's discussion is about types of litter.

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The regular clay litter is the cheapest and most plentiful on the market. I mean you can get a huge bag that takes two people to carry for under $5.00. That's a plus, cheap litter at a time when most people are trying to save some money. But there are some disadvantages that may make Kitty not want to use the regular clay.

The clay produces a lot of dust, which can be harmful if inhaled, by you and your cat, and the dust tracks through the house on little paws. Often the clay contains additives like antibacterial agents and perfumes - which seem like a good idea, but your cat is very sensitive to smells so perfumes aren't the answer. And the clay gets really heavy when wet, so it can be hard to clean out the box.

Another problem is that many communities require that litter be put into the garbage, so it goes to landfills. Fortunately some communities are catching on and have included kitty litter in their community composting program - either they pick it up or you drop it off and it gets composted. But again, that's a lot of weight to be lugging around.

Clumping cats litters contain Bentonite which is highly absorbable and forms into clumps that can be removed when you remove the solid waste. Clumping clay really reduces odor and is often used in multi cat houses. But sodium bentonite can cause illnesses, especially gastrointestinal blockages and respiratory illnesses.

pictures_cats_litter_types.jpgThe bentonite clay can absorb up to 12 times it's weight in fluid which means that if kitty cleans his paws after using the litter box, he is eating some of clay and it can absorb liquids in his system and cause a blockage in his intestinal tract. The same can happen in his lungs if he breathes it in, it can block his air ways. Kittens are especially at risk but consult with your vet.

In both cases, clay can be economical but you end up using a lot of it to keep your cat happy and your litter box odor free. So in the end, that huge bag of litter may not be worth it, after you factor in your gas, time and effects on the environment. The health risks are also a little worrisome. Using a product that can harm your cat if swallowed, doesn't seem like a good choice.

If you are considering making a change or if you have a kitten I would consider a green product like world's best cat litter or President's Choice Green Twice as Absorbent Clumping Cat litter that's made from corn so it's natural, long lasting, safe, clumping, and is odor free and dust free. Oh and it can be flushed down the toilet. (more on that tomorrow)

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