Did You Know: Clay-Based Cat Litter

Growing up, I had an orange short-haired tabby named Bridgette.  She was awesome!   She lived to be 18 years old and passed when I was a freshman in high school.  Needless to say, I didn't pay attention to what kind of food she was eating nor how often she was being groomed, and I most DEFINITELY didn't notice what kind of litter she was using - I remember it to be gray, with little blue pieces infused.  That was WELL over ten years ago, and since then I haven't had a cat of my own, but have been fortunate to have friends with cats, so I still get to interact with the furry felines!

Because Bridgette lived to be so old (for ANY domestic pet), thinking about potential hazards to her health was the FURTHEST thing from my mind, but since studying small animal care throughout high school and college, along with working at Pussy & Pooch, I've learned a few things that we as pet owners commonly overlook - but this information on clay cat litter slipped under my radar...

Clay litter is actually pretty harmful for both you and your cat.  It contains a couple different chemical compounds that when inhaled/consumed, can be VERY dangerous toward you and your furry friend's health!  One of the compounds, Silica, is a known carcinogen.  Many times when changing the litter or just making a quick scoop, the dust from the litter permeates around the litter box (and probably your face), and when inhaled, posses a health risk.  The other dangerous compound found in (clumping) clay litter was brought to my attention from our friends at Modern Cat - sodium bentonite.  When in contact with liquid, this compound expands anywhere from 10-15 times its size into an insoluable mass.  Unfortunately for our little kitties, the same thing happens when they consume these particles after a routine self-groom.  

Many of our sales and promotions, along with our current visuals are based around the 'Go-Green' concept.  Out of all the cat litter we carry, only 1 is clay based.  Suprisingly enough (after learning this information), the clay-based litter is one of the highest selling (next to some of our eco-friendly litter like Green Tea Cat Litter or Feline Pine).  I suppose I never took the time to learn much about clay litter - probably because its 'the norm' and known for easy clean-up.  It's been used for decades, and I'm pretty sure the litter my sister and I used for Bridgette was clay based.  Found in almost every local market, this litter is very readily available, making it appear (to the unknowing cat owner) to be the standard litter, and thus usually the cheapest.  Am I saying you should stop using clay litter and switch to a cleaner/greener option - not neccessarily.  Clearly there are hundreds and thousands of cats and their owners, living perfectly fine with their clay based litter, just as there are many people who smoke cigarettes and live normal everyday lives, with no obvious health problems. All cats have their preferences and sometimes, switching the litter can be difficult but after learning this information, I had to ask myself: Does this make clay litter ok?  Safe?  Would I keep using it?  

I'm not sure how I'd answer, primarily because I don't have a cat and can't speak about their theoretical likes and dislikes, but I definitely felt this was something you should know - ESPECIALLY those cat owners who use clay litter! 


Read MORE on Moderncat: Dangers of Clay

Lifestyle, Wellnessadrian