What is the worst type of cat litter?

In my opinion the worst type of cat litter is the one which kicks up the most dust and if the substrate contains crystalline silica it is particularly dangerous. It appears that a substance called perlite can be in some cat litters which is simply hazardous. It can cause lung disease. I have written about a particularly notorious cat litter called TIDY CATS LIGHTWEIGHT LITTER which you might want to read about. Also read this: an article written by a man who working in the Tidy Cats factory. Bad news. The product is abrasive. How did the manufacturers come up with this stuff?

It is bizarre to me that in an effort to make the litter easier to carry they made it more hazardous. This is emphasising the priority given to human convenience over feline health.

Cat leaving a covered litter tray
Cat leaving a covered litter tray. Photo: iStockphoto. Note: covered litter trays are more likely to have clay dust trapped in the air inside.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

So dusty litters are the worst because the cat is right next to it and they are digging around in it. How much dust are they inhaling? Clearly quite a lot and it goes into the lungs where it can congeal and cause respiratory problems. Would a human put their faces against a cat litter while disturbing it with their hands and breathing in the dust? Of course not. Why do we let cats do it?

It surprises me actually that manufacturers are allowed to produce this sort of litter because I think it is simply hazardous. But the owner might not be aware of it. Perhaps they might be because their cat walks the dust from the litter tray to other areas of the house. If you see that I would think about changing your cat litter as soon as possible.

Another bad type of cat litter are those that are scented. If they are scented you mask the natural smell of faeces and urine which a cat does not dislike. But humans hate it. A cat litter tray should smell a little bit of their waste products because it attracts them to the same spot to use the tray again. And don’t forget that cats mark territory through faeces. If you totally eradicate the smell of their faeces you in a way eradicate them from their home range. By all means clean the litter tray regularly and keep it hygienic but don’t totally eradicate the smell and don’t you scented litter substrate. One tray per cat is the golden rule.

Many manufacturers say that their litter is 99% dust free but this is a false statement in my opinion. It should be said too that the chemicals producing the fragrances in scented litter may be dangerous or unhealthy for a cat. So the best kinds of cat litter are those that produce the minimum or the least amount of dust, are unscented, and in my opinion wood-based litters are the better ones but they don’t clump.

I don’t think non-clumping litter is a problem because if it’s clumping and the dust gets inside a cat’s lungs it clumps inside the lungs. There is a definite health hazard. That won’t happen with non-clumping litter. I’ve always favoured the wood-based litters because they mask the smells nicely, are easier to clean in my opinion and I generally a little more hygienic, I think. And much less dust.

Heart-shaped poop from cat litter tray that tells you that your cat loves you
Heart-shaped poop from cat litter tray that tells you that your cat loves you. Photo: Nikki Martinez on Instagram.

Perhaps the worst type of cat litter is the one that your cat won’t use because your cat doesn’t like it. There is an element of truth in this because cats do have preferences sometimes. It’s up to the cat owner to find them. And cats who have been declawed find some litter substrates too harsh because their toes are too sore. You might have to use newspaper, for example. Never, ever declaw your cat. Don’t even think about it. To someone like me it is a complete nightmare, a horror story and this brutal and unnecessary operation should be banned across the United States as soon as possible. Sorry to go on and rant but I feel very strongly about it.

A factor in avoiding the worst type of cat litter is to try and choose one which is the most environmentally friendly. The cat litter which is the least environmentally friendly is a factor which would make it the worst. I did an article about that many many years ago which you can read by clicking here. I’m not saying that my research or my thoughts are necessarily 100% correct. But if you are doing some research you might also research that element of the selection process. It is becoming more and more important as we all know.


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