Are you concerned about dust from clumping cat litter?

This is still quite a lot of discussion on the internet and there are many webpages on the alleged dangers from dust both to cat (primarily) and human when using clumping cat litter. Some people are convinced that it is dangerous while others say the opposite. Surprisingly, there are no studies on this potential or alleged hazard to clear up the dispute. Also there are very few stories on the internet of cats being taken to a veterinarian for problems associated with litter dust inhalation. Inhaling the clumping agent sodium bentonite can cause a blockage inside the cat’s gut resulting in a serious illness. As for humans, apparently silica dust, which is in a lot of litters, can cause cancer.

Sodium Bentonite
Sodium Bentonite
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Perhaps the lack of scientific studies is due to the fact that there is no perceived danger because vets don’t report cases of illness caused by dusty cat litter. But that begs the question as to whether vets are under-reporting or missing the symptoms. However, a lack of reporting indicates that clumping litter is okay with respect to dust generation.

If there is this potential danger to cats in using a clumping litter why don’t all cat caretakers use a clumping litter that does not contain sodium bentonite such as the World’s Best Cat Litter (in America). This would be playing safe. And why not play safe? There are no downsides.

World’s Best Cat Litter is made from whole kernel corn. It neither contains sodium bentonite nor silica as far as I am aware. It is a natural product. And it is biodegradable and apparently flushable too. However, flushing cat poo down the loo is ill-advised because the faeces may contain bacteria or microbes which can harm marine life.

There is a trending page on PoC which was written ages ago. For some reason it has suddenly gained in popularity and is of interest to people. It’s about Tidy Cats Lightweight Cat Litter which is reported by Facebook users to be particularly dusty and some users have reported serious illness and even the death of cats using this litter. You can search for the page using the Google custom search above this article.

The trouble is that reports from users of an allegedly dangerous litter are anecdotal. They are opinions by customers. They are usually unscientific. Personally, I value the views of sensible cat caretakers. However, it is easy to counteract their views by stating that the product is good. Reviews are somewhat unreliable nowadays because there are paid reviewers on the internet. And they are usually paid by the manufacturers to promote a product. It is difficult for the voice of a concerned cat caretaker to be heard.

Are you concerned about dust from your cat litter and if so what did you do about it?

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

5 thoughts on “Are you concerned about dust from clumping cat litter?”

  1. When I worked in the shelter, I learned that kittens can die from ingesting litter, so they used newspaper instead.

    I’ve used various brands of clumping litter. One didn’t clump at all, so I returned it. At present I’m using a store brand which seems fine, and isn’t too dusty.

    I wouldn’t use corn because of the GMOs. I also wouldn’t use pine or cedar because it’s not good for cats. I stay away from anything scented, and a large percentage of liters are. It seems there’s some danger in everything.

    We have to do our research, and be watchful of our kitties.

    Reply
    • It is interesting to me that a shelter used newspaper to avoid ingesting litter dust. Was there an additional reason: to save on costs?

      Reply
      • No, it was to prevent the kittens from ingesting the litter itself and dust, which becomes a hard lump that they can’t pass. I saw that when they buried their feces, they kicked litter into their water bowl. I was continually telling the volunteers to put the water on the opposite side, so it wouldn’t be so close. Many didn’t pay attention.

        The shelter doesn’t pay for litter or food; it’s donated.

        Reply
  2. I use Tidy Cats non-clumping litter for Samirah. I haven’t noticed much dust from that product. Last year after she pulled her claw out I switched temporarily to Yesterday’s News cat litter. It’s made from recycled paper. I bought it because her paw was sore from the injury. Samirah is usually pretty good about her litter box. As long as it’s clean she doesn’t seem to care.

    Yesterday’s News was dustless and unscented, but odor control wasn’t very good. I also noticed that it crumbled very fast. When I mentioned that to my vet he said that since older cats tend to urinate more they use up more product like that quicker. I switched her back to Tidy Cats non-clumping. So far I have not observed any physical issues with her at all. I’ve never tried World’s Best or any other clumping cat litter because quite frankly I don’t trust clumping litters, no matter what the claim. Might be unreasonable of me, but there it is.

    I have noticed a lot of dust with cheaper brands, which is why I don’t buy them.

    Reply
    • Well you use non-clumping. I presume that does not contain sodium bentonite and is therefore safer. Thanks for the feedback Serbella.

      Reply

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