What The Heck Is Natural Clay Cat Litter?

Is a natural clay cat litter an oxymoron? One of the biggest knocks against conventional clay litter is that it’s full of added chemicals to make it smell better and is not biodegradable. This is why there’s been such a big push to make and market kitty litter made from pine, wheat, corncob and recycled newspaper. But the very first kitty litter available was natural clay cat litter.
What’s The Difference?
Natural clay cat litter is made of just clay that has been formed into itty-bitty pellets and dried. Often, there are some ingredients like baking soda, essential oils and even alfalfa hay. When you’re looking for a natural clay cat litter, you need to check the ingredients and make sure the clay used is sodium betonite clay and not just “clay”. It’s the sodium betonite clay that makes natural clumping cat litter.
The problem of most clay-based cat litter is that the clay is harvested from strip mining. Just in the year 1994 alone, it is estimated that over 1.5 MILLION metric tons of clay was taken by strip mining just to make commercial cat litter. Strip mining completely destroys the land and makes it unusable for anything.
Silica Dust
Another ingredient that natural clay cat litter claims not to have is silica dust. This is a carcinogen found in most commercial clay-based cat litters. This dust is not only thought to cause cancers in all kinds of species (human and feline), but often irritates the nose and throat linings of people and cats. It also gets just about everywhere in the house and makes everything look as if it was coated in baby powder.
Is It Worth The Hype?
It’s really confusing to try and determine which litters are made with commercial clay with silica dust and which are more beneficial natural clay cat litters. Some cat lovers and vets claim that there isn’t any difference between clay litter and natural clay cat litter, except the price.
Many cat lovers find that it’s easier to forge the hunt for a natural clay cat litter and just move on to another kind of natural and absorbent material for their cat’s needs. Once upon a time, our ancestors let our cats poop in the garden. In the early 1900’s, people brought in boxes of their garden soil for the cat. Is this the next new trend in cat litter? Only time will tell.