Corn-based cat litter can be food for pests which is a downside

There must be some upsides in buying corn-based cat litter but I’m focusing on the downsides here. The major downsides emanate from the obvious fact that corn is a food. Not only food for people but pests including worms. A contributor to this website said that she received a voucher for corn-based litter and when she opened the packet there were worms in it. This indicated a failure in the manufacturing, packaging and storage process.

Corn-based cat litter pellets. Image believed to be in the public domain.
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Although it might not be failures in the manufacturing process which could result in pests being inside a packet of corn-based litter, but also storage at home. And there may be problems in its use as it becomes wet with urine and smelly with cat poop, which might attract insects and other pests.

Thirdly, the storage of unused cat litter at home may present a problem if it is corn-based for the above reasons; attracting pests who want to feed on it.

The biggest scandal about using corn in cat products came from dry cat food which was contaminated with aflatoxins. These toxins come from a species of fungus which grows on the corn in the field. Once again, the quality of the corn in the product be it either cat litter or dry cat food depends on the quality of process control during manufacturing. It can break down. And any weaknesses in quality control might be magnified if the raw product is a food for pests. In an earlier post I speculated about the same aflatoxins infecting corn-based litter.

Corn contaminated with aflatoxin
Corn contaminated with aflatoxin

Corn is an organic product and when it is soiled with cat waste it can attract flies, ants and other small insects. And there would have to be proper disposal of used corn-based cat litter because I think it would be more of a hazard once disposed than other forms of cat litter such as clay-based litter which is inherently less hazardous.

The corn content in the litter may also attract pests like rodents especially if the litter tray is kept in a place such as a catio which might allow access to rodents. This might be a concern in certain environments and in certain climates.

It’s probably fair to state that no manufacturing process can guarantee 100% pest-free products especially when the product is based around an organic material like corn. I think this needs to be borne in mind when buying this product.

In terms of the other aspects of corn-based litter, it might not be as effective as others at odour control. It might have a shorter lifespan as it breaks down faster than clay (clay does not break down at all!). This might be a cost issue. Some cats and people might be allergic to corn or the dust emanating from corn. The issue of storage of the cat litter is going to be more critical if it is based on corn for the above reasons. And corn-based litter may not clamp as effectively as clay-based litter. This makes it harder to keep the litter tray clean. If the corn-based litter is made to be lightweight it would be dusty which would lead to tracking. Also, dusty litters can cause respiratory issues in cats using the litter and even the cat caregiver cleaning it up.

Addressing environmental issues, my understanding is that corn kernels or cobs that don’t meet the strict quality criteria for human consumption are repurposed for corn-based cat litter. What I’m saying is that the production of cat litter is not taking food out of the mouths of people! It’s a point worth making. Although, that said, the standards concerning what is fit for human consumption are flexible and if they are set too high it would allow more corn to be used to make cat litter.

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