Don’t Be Fooled By Deceptive Marketing! Clay Cat Litter Is Dangerous!

Thu, Jun 18, 2009

Litter & Hygiene

I think deceptive marketing is a terrible thing, especially when it can have a detrimental effect on the health and well being of cats. As a result of the research I have done, I am against using clay cat litter for a number of reasons. Here’s the summary:


  1. Clay is strip mined to produce clay cat litter.
  2. Used clumping clay cat litter NEVER biodegrades in the landfill.


  1. Clay litter contains silica, which is a known carcinogen when inhaled.
  2. Clumping clay litter contains sodium bentonite which expands to 15 times its volume and forms an INSOLUBLE mass when it contacts liquid. It does the same thing when cats ingest it as they groom themselves after using the litter box.

The alternative is to use a “natural” litter, one made from corn, soy, pine, paper and other natural, renewable resources. Here’s the deceptive part, CLAY IS NATURAL! So of course the manufacturers are printing that on their packages and using the term “natural” in all their marketing. Clay litters can also claim to be “chemical-free” and “naturally occurring.” Don’t be fooled! The fact is, it’s still clay!

PLEASE consider switching to a natural litter for your health and the health of your cats. I used clay litter for years before I learned about this issue, and I will admit, the natural litters just don’t work like the clay litter does, so switching can be frustrating. Plus, the natural litters can be pricey, but if you’re committed, you can find some great natural litters that will do the trick. You just have to be dedicated to stopping the use of clay litter.

(I guess this means that none of the clay litter manufacturers will be asking to advertise on Moderncat.)

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66 Responses to “Don’t Be Fooled By Deceptive Marketing! Clay Cat Litter Is Dangerous!”

  1. 51

    If you are really on a budget or live in a rural area where you can’t get the fancy natural litter, try Chicken Lay crumbles that you can find at any feed store. I used it for my cats forever, it’s just corn based chicken feed but it still clumps the pee so you can scoop it out. It is very similar to The Worlds Best cat litter except the granules are bigger and the odor control probably isn’t as good, I just dump in some baking soda and that seems to help. It’s about $12 for a large bag that compares to $40 for TWBCL. Of course if you have the money to spend on the higher quality stuff you’ll probably get better results. My cat boxes are in a utility room so the odor never bothered me.

    Also for everyone who has multiple cats, you should also have multiple boxes. A vet once told me you should have as many boxes as you have cats plus one. I have two cats and two boxes and that seems to work fine, but I scoop at least twice a day.

  2. 52

    Hola! I was just wondering if this litter is any good? Its the only litter that my kitty has known and it works pretty well, but i wanted to see if you know anything about it? Thanks!

  3. 53

    Swheat Scoop is the best, and it keeps odor down much better as well, it’s not too much more expensive than other litters – especially at places like Target.

  4. 54

    News flash: MANY cats will not USE the so-called natural litters. I have lived w/ 2 of them, and was told in NO uncertain terms that scoopable clay is the ONLY acceptable litter. I no longer take that particular risk in my life. ;-) Most cats do not like pellets, nor do they like the strong odor of pine-based litters. The paper-based litters stink and it’s very hard to remove all urine-soaked litter. I’ll continue to use scoopable clay!

  5. 55

    Lay Crumble has changed my life.
    I live in Los Angeles & just run up to Stephen’s Hay & Grain next to Griffith Park- $15 for 50 lbs.
    I add a few shakes of baking soda & even cut some lavender from the front yard- absolutely no smell & it clumps just as well, actually better than the expensive brands.
    I highly recommend Lay Crumble.

  6. 56

    I use only clay litter and have read very few bad things about it! In fact most books reccamend it! This is very disturbing news, I am off to reasearch.

  7. 57

    After reading into my brand of litter that I use, I changed my mind switched. Clay litter gets stuck in cat paws, and when washing their own paws, they ingest some. But that clay expands to about triple the size that it was when it was eaten, this will get stuck in the cats system and cause pain and could possibly be fatal if too much is eaten.

  8. 58

    World’s Best Cat Litter is awesome, once you get past the weird smell of it. I think it clumps well for a natural litter and does fine for the smell, too. :)

  9. 59

    I am so very lucky, I live in a small community in Nevada where they process the best natural cat litter I’ve ever found in over 50 years. It is the approximate consistancy of sand, it is dust free, odor free, it clumps, it holds all the odor the cats contribute, it is biodegradeable and it is even good for the cats when they ingest some when cleaning themselves. It is nothing but the natural mineral Zeolite which is being used in multiple applications all over the world. I’m also lucky that my local Zeolite is 95% pure which has been proven to be the purest in the world.
    I’m lucky, I can just go to the mill and buy a few bags at a time. However, when I asked about a store where it could be purchased, they said they are finding it difficult to get retailers interested. So, everytime I go into town, I give whatever retailer I am shopping at a hard time trying to get it out there for ALL cat lovers.
    The name of the company that processes this wonderful cat litter is: KMI Zeolite Inc. in Sandy Valley, NV.
    I know they have a website and I hope every cat lover climbs all over their local retailer to get some.

  10. 60

    I had a friend mention all the bad stuff about using clay-based litters and, like a good caretaker, researched it and then tried the other “natural” litters. The results were appauling. After following the mfg. recomdations to slowly change the litter from the finer, clumping litter I had been using, my cat didn’t like it and actually revolted against it – he started going in other places in the house, something he had NEVER done before.
    The oder was horrendous and the addition of baking soda didn’t help. Just a note – baking soda is a CHEMICAL and is a FINE POWDER that can get into their lungs too!
    Secondly, pine alternatives are harmful to cats as well. There is a fine powder that is in that as well as every other alternative – corn, newspaper, etc.
    Anything that you put in their box will stick to their feet and they will ingest it. Pine is NOT good for them!
    Just as a final thought, my cat, Buster, has used clumping cat litters all his life and he will turn 19 in May. He has never had a respiratory or digestive problem.

  11. 61

    Check out the CAC protest in Berkley, CA!!

  12. 62
  13. 63
    Not convinced

    I have used NON clumping clay litter for six years now without any problems. The only one that I foresee is the dust when I empty the 25# bag and that would be to me. I have no respiratory problems yet. Have tried all the rest and none do the job that the clay does. The sodium/calcium benzonites are edible clays and very good for you. Zeolite would be a great cat litter, wish I could find it. They used this when Chernobyl exploded and it absorbs all VOC’s and heavy metals. Protects people from VOC’s and heavy metals as well. It would make the best, natural cat litter available.


  1. [...] NOTE:  All long haired cats should use NON CLUMPING litter and NEVER CLAY.  See this excellent post by Kate Benjamin of ModernCat for more information. [...]

  2. [...] NO to Clay Litter! April 7, 2010 Filed under: pets and animals — msktty89 @ 7:33 PM A wonderful article that summarizes why clay litter is an all-around bad idea.   Leave a [...]

  3. Quora says:

    What is the best cat litter for a kitten?…

    I volunteer for a feline rescue . We always use Nature’s Miracle for kittens. It doesn’t stick to their paws like clay litter does. There is almost zero dust issues that could affect kittens.[1] When the kittens groom they do not ingest the corn cob …

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