Let’s Talk About Cat Litter

Let’s talk about cat litter today. Nothing fancy. Just plain clay litter and clumping litter and what’s myth and what’s fact. The information online is very confusing and I really would like some input from the readers here.

This topic came about as I was checking on a cat I follow on Facebook. The page is at www.facebook.com/TheStoryOfSnow. Their page tells of a kitten named Allie who had to undergo emergency surgery for a bowel obstruction after crying in pain and vomiting bile. One person who commented mentioned clumping clay litter could be the culprit. Apparently a cat may either inhale the dust or lick this litter off while grooming. Some even have an addiction known as pica which may cause them to enjoy the taste of the litter. This makes sense. Clumping litter expands when wet and could easily block the bowel.

I was curious, so I did an online search. Fresh Step® has a website here and states the clumping litter/bowel obstruction theory is only a myth. What do you think? http://www.freshstep.com/cat-world/cat-health/litter-safety/

Another problem with litter is making it flushable. We all thought that was a grand idea. No more bagging up soiled cat litter to haul away to the dump or wherever. Just flush it right down the toilet. As it turns out, this is a big problem and the culprit is toxoplasmosis. That nasty illness that keeps pregnant women and young children away from the litter box is now poisoning whales and sea lions. It’s especially deadly to sea otters and has been blamed for the increase in death off the California coast.

Have any of the readers here heard of clumping litter causing intestinal obstructions? So what are we supposed to use for litter and where should we dispose of it when we, excuse me, our cats, are done? I’m open to comments on whether one type of litter is better than another and the best way to dispose of dirty litter.

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Let’s Talk About Cat Litter — 8 Comments

  1. I’ll try and get the conversation going! It is confusing. I have never considered throwing used cat litter down the toilet. I always bagged and it went out with the rubbish. I have read quite a lot about the dust kicked up by clay cat litter. We don’t know how it affects our cats. Your cat might look fine but for all you know he or she might not be because of ingesting clay dust.

    I have used wood pellet litter for the last several years as it absorbs odour better and it leaves the litter tray cleaner. It might also be be more environmentally better.

    As it happens my boy cat Charlie goes out and uses the earth in the garden as his toilet! And that might give us a clue as to what is the best.

    Earth, the soil on the ground is the most natural cat litter. It is what cats used before cat litter became a huge business. And there are no health issues for cats if they use earth. There might be health issues for people though (toxoplasmosis again) but I believe the toxoplasmosis scare is overstated. Apparently a very high percentage of people in the USA already carry the toxoplasmosis protozoan! So it makes no difference.

    So what is the best cat litter? Don’t know. The best does not necessarily mean the most convenient to us. It means the safest for our cat, what are cat prefers, the best for the environment and the most convenient. It is complicated.

    Like I said, I prefer wood type cat litter as it is cleaner to handle and once you have a technique for scooping it, it is just as easy to scoop up. It is just technique!

    Here are some toxoplasmosis posts:




  2. Flushing cat litter is probably not a good idea, despite what it says on the bag. Especially if your house was built in the 1920’s, apparently. At least that was the opinion of the young man from Roto Rooter who came to snake out the main in the basement when the floor drain started backing up every time I did wash down there.

    Monty uses World’s Best cat litter, which is corn based, not clay. It clumps really well, and though there is some dust it does not seem to cause him any problems. He also sonetimes poops outside, burying it under leaves usually. Last fall it looked like gnomes had come and raked all our leaves into tiny piles. Under each pile of leaves was what my husband calls a “Monty bomb.” For the first two years of his life Monty only used his litter box, asking to come in to use it and then going back out to play.

  3. I have not heard of or had any problems with litter & my cats. It would not surprise me if there are cats with Pica Disorder & might eat litter & other things as well. That would cause physical problems of all kinds & most likely not be limited to litter consumption alone. I guess if you notice your cat actually eating their litter, than you would have to make a plan to fix that but I would not think it is common behavior & something to think about. So I can’t say what type of litter is better than another from my experience.

    Through my life, I’ve only used the clumping types of litter & the only problem I have is the dust. It’s just something I’ve learned to deal with & I don’t see that causing health problems for my cats or myself… I wonder if it does though ?? That’s another topic all together though ~

    Disposing of the scooped & used litter has always been in the trash for me. I worry that it would cause sewage damage in my home. Also, In most instances, wastewater flows by gravity from a home/business’ on-property sewer service line to a public sewer main where it travels to wastewater treatment plants. At the plants, the wastewater is cleaned, disinfected and safely returned to the environment. Litter is one of things we have been told not to put in our wastewater/toilet or drain. That really limits what I can do with the used Litter ~

  4. There’s no way I’d flush cat litter. Just because something says you can flush it doesn’t mean you should. The dump is on my way to work so I stop by there with trash 3x a week so its no problem.

  5. My friend uses chicken feed/grain, im going to try it with my two furry pals. Biodegradable and cheaper, also safe for cats

  6. I like this! Our family just tried something new.. we purchased an automatic self-cleaning litter box ..let me tell you, it’s awesome! We google searched it for awhile and ended up going with http://www.litter-robot.com .. worth checking out if you want to eliminate scooping litter in your house!

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