If you have a cat, you will need a litter box. There are many things to consider when setting up a litter box if you want to minimize the time needed to keep the box and area clean.
Location, Location, Location
The litter box needs to be in a good location. You don’t want it to be in your way, where you will have to walk around it, but it also needs to be where your cat can get to it easily and have privacy for her needs. If it is in a closet or behind a door, be sure to wedge something in the way so your cat cannot get trapped by her litter box, or get locked out of the area she needs. It will be easier to clean your cat litter that clumps if you’ve got adequate space around the box to clean it sufficiently. It is also easier
Choose Your Litter Box
There are many types of litter boxes. Some are just open. You may need to experiment to find the type of box your cat likes best. With an open box, some cats feel too exposed and they prefer the security of a covered box. Other cats don’t like the closed in feeling of a covered box, or it is too small for them to go in, scratch a hole, turn around, do what they need to do, turn around again to bury their waste, and exit. If the litter box is too small, they won’t want to use it.
Keep It In The Box
If you use a clumping cat litter, a clean area will be easier to maintain if your cat doesn’t carry the litter around on their paws. If your cat tends to spread litter – either on her paws or when she digs, consider getting a covered litter box. Some even come with a lid and front flap to help the area stay clean. Clumping cat litter is easy to clean up on a daily basis – if your litter box is covered, choose one with an easily removable lid for easy access. Also, consider placing a mat under your box that extends on the sides the cat can exit so that excess litter can go on the mat as the cat walks away from the box. It is much easier to shake a small mat than to vacuum a room!
Keeping The Box Clean
If you can smell your litter box, it is past time to clean it. Do you like using a port-a-potty that smells? Your cat feels the same. Using a clumping cat litter, keeping a clean box is easy. Shake the box from one end to dislodge, loosen, and bring to the surface the clumped waste. They should float up to the top of the litter. Do it again from the other side. Using a slotted scoop, you can clean the clumping cat litter chunks out of the box, then add new litter to bring the level back to where it should be. Your cat will thank you for the clean box.
If you have a cat, you will need a litter box. There are many things to consider when setting up a litter box if you want to minimize the time needed to keep the box and area clean.
Lately, there have been some people arguing that clumping cat litter is dangerous – even deadly – to our cats and kittens. If this is the claim, should we all instantly change our litter for a different type – maybe a biodegradable one as the articles suggest? What are the real facts in the situation? Let’s review the clumping cat litter information.
The Pet Owners’ Claims
Pet owners claim that there are two components of clumping cat litter that cause problems for cats. First, there is the sodium bentonite. This is the “expandable cement” that absorbs the cat urine. It can swell to 15-18 times the dry size. It makes it wonderfully absorbent for a litter box, but the pet owners worry about the litter if the cat ingests it. This is a logical concern, as cats do lick themselves to clean off after using the litter box.
Also, the dust from these litters can give the cats respiratory problems, as they can coat the cat’s lungs when they breathe it in. This component, sodium bentonite, is dangerous for humans to ingest, why should we think it would be safe on our cats and kittens?
The other ingredient some pet owners are concerned about is the quartz silica. This substance is a known carcinogen, and not considered safe for humans. It likely isn’t safe for the cats, either.
Reviewing these clumping cat litter complaints shows some seemingly valid concerns. What do the opposition say?
The Critics’ Rebuttal
The manufacturers of clumping cat litter, upon reviewing the claims of damage, state that they are very careful with their litter, and go to great lengths to keep pets safe. Also, they manufacture some brands of clumping cat litter that are clean, with much less dust. It is wise to choose one of these “dust free litters.
The Scientists Say…
While there are several anecdotal stories and claims, scientists state about clumping cat litter that after review there was “no post-mortum, no hisopathology findings, or any scientific data presented.” They fully believe these clumping kitty litters to be safe.
Take Home Message
The “take home message” is that each pet owner needs to act in harmony with their gut instincts. If the anecdotal stories scare you, or if you’ve had a similar situation involving your own pet, you will probably want to change your cat’s litter. There are plant-based materials available as kitty litter, made from corn cobs, newspaper, cedar, or pine shavings. ഀIf, on the other hand, reviewing information about clumping cat litter has settled some of your fears, perhaps you don’t need to jump ship quite yet.
If you want to buy clumping cat litter, there are many choices. There are various types of scented formulas, which can mask the odor from the litter box. For those cats who don’t like the scents, there are unscented types, which would have a more “natural” odor. There are litters that are low tracking – meaning the particles are bigger and less likely to cling to the feet of your kitty as it leaves the litter box – so less litter ends up in other parts of your house. You can vacuum less often if your litter is low tracking. Clumping cat litters also come dust free.
Why Look For Dust Free Clumping Cat Litter?
When your cat uses her litter box, she will dig to be able to bury her waste. The digging process will stir up the contents of her litter box, and often release dust into the air. Kitties breathing in the dust is not a good idea! Having the dust from the litter box settle on other surfaces nearby is also not a pleasant feature of cat litter; and buying a dust free formulated clumping cat litter can eliminate the litter dust.
Which Litters Are More Dusty?
When you review the clumping cat litters, both dust free and traditional, you will find that the finer the grains of litter, the more likely there is to be dust, understandably. Fortunately, generally all types of litter that have been around for a while – whether clay based or clumping – come in both a traditional version and a “new and improved” dust free version. There are a couple of exceptions to this, however. One exception to this is the natural litter made from whole-kernel corn. It tends to be a dusty litter. Other kinds of biodegradable litter are made from pine or newspapers. The benefits of a biodegradable litter are that some people claim it does a terrific job of minimizing odor, and many people appreciate that it is easier to dispose of. Biodegradable can be put into the garden as compost or mulch or even flushed down the toilet! Many people also believe it to be safer for the animals, rather than using a clay that expands (as the scoopable clay litters do – up to 15-18 times original size!).
On the other end of the spectrum are the litters made from crystals, usually a quartz silica. These are usually good at absorbing fluids and neutralizing odors, but many cats do not like the feel of the crystals on their paws. For these cats, it is better to get a non-crystal clumping cat litter, preferably dust free.
There has been a lot of conversation within the pet community these last few years about the dangers of using a clumping cat litter. Is it really a danger? Can a premium clumping cat litter minimize these dangers?
What The Fuss Is About
There are two components in cat litter that people are concerned about. The first is sodium bentonite. When wet, the pieces of bentonite clay will stick together – clump – making it very easily removed from the rest of the litter. The entire litter box does not need to be discarded weekly – the soiled portions can be scooped out and discarded, and more added to bring the level of litter back up to the appropriate level for your cat (usually 2-3 inches).
However, those pieces, when wet, will grow to up to 15 – 18 times their original size, making them dangerous if ingested. A kitty or cat, cleaning itself with its tongue, could easily ingest a few pieces of the litter. If it is eaten, critics of clumping cat litter suggest than the litter can expand with the kitten, given the moist conditions, and that the litter can grow to block the digestive passage of the cat or kitten. They claim many kittens have died from this very condition, eating clumping cat litter. The Premium style is less likely to be ingested accidentally, and that’s one benefit of premium clumping cat litter.
Pet owners are also concerned about the dust from the kitty litter that their cat or kitten might breath in. The dust, fine as it is, could conceivably coat the inside of the cat’s lungs, giving them respiratory problems.
Also, clumping cat litter includes quartz silica. This component is a known carcinogen. It has been tested and deemed dangerous for humans. Can we even dare to assume it would be less dangerous for smaller creatures, cats and kittens?
What The Premium Clumping Cat Litter Manufacturers And Other Experts Say
Those who manufacture premium clumping cat litters say that they have studies the claims extensively. Many are members of the Sorptive Minerals Institute (SMI), their nationwide trade organization. As soon as the SMI heard of any concerns, they began an extensive investigation. They interviewed people who had no preconceived bias one way or the other about the issue. These included pet store owners, cat owners, and veterinarians. None were aware of any problems of a health nature that could be directly linked back to the clumping litters. They also investigated the situation thorough the National Animal Poison Control Center (University of Illinois), and followed up on the names and comments that had been reported through that agency. Those who were available were contacted, as well as their veterinarians. They even autopsied the animals that supposedly had died from the clumping litter. All autopsies showed that death was due to some other underlying cause.
But did the premium clumping cat litter manufacturers or SMI check into the claims of the original holistic veterinarian who raised this issue in the first place? Yes, SMI did. That veterinarian was not able to give any evidence that links clumping cat litter (premium or otherwise) to either sickness or death. Also, the ASPCA still recommends clumping cat litter, as they have identified no health risks related to using it with pets.
The Bottom Line?
Despite the claims to the contrary, there is no scientific evidence that links clumping cat litter (premium, dust free types or otherwise) to any health issues. We can continue to use clumping cat litter, whether premium or not, in comfort.
There are many kinds of cat litter available in stores today. There are clumping and non clumping cat litter, some are crystal or silica based, and others are biodegradeable. There are many options of pet owners. How can a pet owner choose? What are the things to consider?
Absorbency – A Big Consideration
Why would you want cat litter that wasn’t absorbent? You wouldn’t, of course. But how well does non clumping cat litter do at absorbing urine? Non clumping cat litter is usually made from clay, which is very absorbent. While there are other cat litter products that are even more absorbent, clay based, non scoopable cat litter generally does absorb sufficiently.
Odor Control – Does It Or Doesn’t It?
When it comes to odor, the amount a non clumping cat litter masks odor is variable. Some types are scented, some are unscented, but there is no general statement that can be made to cover the non clumping cat litter. It depends on the type.
Is There Dust Control?
That depends. Non clumping cat litter – especially premium kinds can be bought with formulas designed to minimize dust, but not all do. Check the package for each brands claims in regards to dust control. You want a brand that controls the dust so that your cat isn’t breathing in the dust that is stirred up by his paws digging and burying his waste.
Keeping The Litter In The Box
An important thing to consider is whether or not the litter tends to come out on the kitty’s paws, where he will track the litter around the house accidentally. Though you love your kitty, and you’re grateful he’s using his litter box, you don’t want bits of kitty litter throughout your house or apartment. Some types of litter track worse than others. Read the package – but usually, the smaller the pieces, the greater the chance of tracking it around on the paws.
Can You Scoop? Cleaning Info
Does non clumping cat litter scoop? Nope, not the urine. You can scoop the feces, but with non clumping cat litter the urine will just soak into the bits of litter and await a dumping. Because you can scoop the urine chunks, the litter box will need to be emptied, washed, and freshened more often – about once a week. By contrast, the scoopable kinds only need a thorough change about every month or so. But you would need to scoop out the chunks of urine and feces daily to keep the box smelling nice.
Cat litter is just cat litter, and any kind will do. Just buy the cheapest stuff – it doesn’t matter what kind you get – right? Well, not exactly. Let’s take a look at the kinds: non clumping cat litter and clumping cat litter – which is best?
Basic Principles – Cat Litter 101
Whichever cat litter you choose, it will work along the same principles: the cat’s urine is absorbed by the litter, and the feces is covered. The idea is to reduce the odor from bacteria, and so some people prefer using a litter with a scent included. Most cats don’t really care if there’s a scent or not, so you can generally follow your own preference in regards to smell.
Two Categories – Non Clumping And Clumping Cat Litter – Choosing The Best ഀ ഀIf you use a clumping cat litter, the best thing is that the urine clumps the litter together, making it very easy to scoop out the affected portion of the kitty litter (solid and clumps). The whole box of litter doesn’t need to be dumped out each day – and not even every week! It is sufficient to empty the whole box and disinfect it before refilling approximately every 4-6 weeks. This is to eliminate bacteria. Other than that, each day when you scoop out clumps and solids, replace the amount of clumped litter again in the box.
Non clumping cat litter is best if you want a litter that is made from natural clay. It is dried into granules, and comes as just unscented or with various types of scents to keep it fresher. It can also have baking soda added in to help it stay fresh longer. You can still scoop the solid parts every day or as needed, but the cat’s urine will accumulate at the bottom of the litter box. Hence, the whole box of litter will need to be emptied once a week. Also, clean the box, disinfect it, and then refill it with new litter. Sometimes it will need to be replaced more often than once a week – depending on your cat or cats, but generally once a week is sufficient.
Which Is Best For You And Your Cat?
To decide which is the best, clumping cat litter or non clumping cat letter, it is best to determine how you feel about dumping versus scooping. To me, the clumping makes the most sense, but you get to choose for yourself and your cat.
If you’ve got a cat or kitten, you probably know a lot about cat litter. Developed and marketed originally in the 1948 as “Kitty Litter”, the name is now used to denote any type of litter for cats. Before this time, sand was used in litter boxes, but it isn’t very absorbent and the small pieces make it easily tracked out of the litter box and around the house. When “Kitty Litter” was introduced, clay was used as the absorbent matter. That worked much better. Not only was it more absorbent, but it was less likely to be tracked out of the box. It was a great improvement. But that paled in comparison to the benefits of clumping cat litter.
Clumping Cat Litter – New And Improved!
The next big improvement was the advent of clumping cat litter. It was developed in the United Kingdom in the 1950s out of calcium bentonite. Bentonite is a substance that most of us have never heard of. It is made of granulated bentonite clay. This clay clumps together when it is wet and makes a solid piece that can be easily removed from the rest of the litter. This way, the pet owner doesn’t have to change all the litter when there is just a few bits of waste in it – they can just sift out the clumped part and throw it away. Periodically, the entire box should be changed to avoid bacteria buildup, but this only needs to be done every month or month and a half. The litter box should also be disinfected at the same time. Given these changes, the hassle and cost were diminished when clumping cat litter became available.
Still Just Bentonite? Not! But Are There Dangers?
The best news? Cat litter that clumps isn’t just made from bentonite anymore. Now it also contains quartz or diatomaceous earth. These assist with the clumping action. Cat litter should not be flushed down the toilet. Some people claim that clumping cat litter is dangerous to cats because they can ingest it or inhale it as they use their litter box. Once inside them, where it is moist, the litter can swell and solidify. This is supposed to be especially dangerous for kittens, who are more susceptible to these dangers.
Clumping cat litter also contains crystalline silica, which is silica dust. This is a known carcinogen. While it isn’t dangerous to humans, there are no scientific studies to show if or how it affects cats and kittens.
While these claims seem serious, they are only anecdotal. There have been no studies done on this matter, and so the situation remains unsolved. Is clumping cat litter dangerous? If you think so, don’t buy it. If you don’t worry about it, enjoy the advantages of clumping cat litter. Now, about 60% of the kitty litter sold is clumping cat litter.