Clay litter is still one of the most popular types of litter on the market. Many new options are available, but the price point for clay is still lowest – making it an attractive option for cat parents.
We used to use clay litter because we thought that was the only option. Scooping that litter was god awful. This was pre-mask wearing days, so I would pull my shirt up over my nose and mouth and try to hold my breath while scooping. It never even crossed my mind that our cats had to breathe in that same dust when they covered their elimination several times each day.
But once we know better, we can do better.
Most clay litters contain something called silica dust, which is a known carcinogen. Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine says that repeat exposure to clay dust cause the immune system to go into hyperdrive and this could be a reason behind the epidemic of cancer in cats.
It’s also shown to be a trigger or cause for asthma and allergies in cats. This is because they’re not able to wear a mask or use their shirt to protect themselves.
Many of these litters also use sodium bentonite for a clumping agent. This ingredient expands up to 15 times it’s size. That’s what makes it ideal to create clumping litter. However, our cats ingest the litter that they use when grooming, so imagine what this does as it expands and is filtered through the bodies of our kitties. Our vet told us that this type of litter is also linked to kidney disease in cats. Makes sense.
This gross cement is also non-biodegradable. It’s estimated that clay litter adds 8 billion pounds of this strip-mined crap into our landfills every year. By continuing to use the cheap litter, we’re harming ourselves, our cats AND our earth!
There are so many natural options for litter now that there’s no excuse for us to be using clay. Paper, pine, grass, coconut, walnut… the list goes on! Stay away from clay litter for your kitties!