Litter is a requirement for any indoor cat. However, certain types of litter come with hidden dangers. This article will address those dangers so you can keep your Modkat litter box a fresh and healthy place for your furry friend to do their business.
Clay Litter: Dust
While clay litter offers many advantages, such as a low price point and terrific odor control, it is also the dustiest litter on the market. When inhaled, your cat can end up with lung issues like chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, or asthma, any of which, if not treated, can lead to death.
Clay Litter: Intestinal Blockages and Environmental Havoc
According to The Kitten Lady, clay litter should not be given to kittens until they are two to three months of age. This is because, like human babies, kittens like to put things in their mouths and will attempt to eat the litter. Older cats also ingest clay litter when they wash their paws after using the litter box. Clay litter with clumping properties can swell up to 15 times its original size, according to Scientific American. Ingestion of clay litter can lead to an intestinal blockage which, if not treated, can lead to the untimely death of a cat or kitten.
Besides the dangers of inhaling and ingesting clay litter, it is also incredibly hard on the environment. According to Tofu Kitty Club, mining clay from the environment wrecks an ecosystem entirely. The mining process ruins animal habitats. It sends silt into the rivers and, eventually, the ocean, where aquatic life ingests it and is choked. The final product, once used, ends up in landfills, where it does not biodegrade.
Crystal Litter: Silicosis
When trying to put together the best cat litter box, using crystal litter is not advised. Aside from being painful on a cat’s paws, one of the dangers of crystal litter is the inhalation of silica dust. This causes silicosis. Silicosis is the scarring of the lungs after the inhalation of silica dust. It is formally diagnosed by a chest x-ray, but Lung.org outlines the symptoms of silicosis as follows:
- shortness of breath
Silicosis has no cure. It is managed with a combination of bronchodilators to decrease any inflammation that may occur in the pulmonary system. Occasionally, supplemental oxygen may be needed.
Crystal Litter: Dye
The majority of crystal litter on the market is dyed blue. The chemical used to produce the color is cobalt chloride, and it is present to help detect moisture in the litter; when wet, it turns a pink or red color. Club Pets points out that cobalt chloride had carcinogenic properties, meaning it is a known compound that causes cancer. It is not just bad for cats; it is bad for you.
Paper Litter: Sodium Bentonite
Like clay litter, paper litter contains sodium bentonite, a compound that acts as a clumping agent. This is the same compound as clay litter. Cats who ingest paper litter have the same chance of developing an intestinal blockage as cats who ingest clay litter. These cats present to a veterinarian with diarrhea but, upon x-ray or abdominal ultrasound, a blockage is present. The cat then has to undergo major abdominal surgery, often losing portions of their intestine that have been blocked from blood flow because of the massive litter blockage.
So what are healthy alternatives to the dangers that lurk in commercial cat litters? Healthy alternatives contain sustainable ingredients that do not impact the environment or the health of your cat. Mudbay suggests trying litters made from pine and other sources of wood. They also suggest trying wheat, corn, walnut, paper (without a clumping agent), and grass litters. It may take time to find a litter that both you and your cat can agree upon, but in the end, ensuring the health of your feline friend is worth it.
Knowing the dangers of different types of litter is the best way to be prepared when constructing a litter box for your cat or kitten. This way, you can pick the most healthy and eco-friendly option on the market for your furry friend to use and enjoy.