If you’ve been reading Moderncat for awhile, then you know I am against clay cat litter. There are only a few issues that I feel this strongly about and that I will use the blog as a platform for. I felt like it was time for a quick reminder on the issue, plus I have some interesting new things to share with you this week related to non-clay litter options. But first — in order to preempt the comments and emails I sometimes get when this topic comes up — I want to clarify something: I’m not saying that you love your cats any less if you use clay litter. I believe that there are several reasons why people still use clay litter:
- Clay cat litter is readily available in every supermarket, grocery store, mass retailer, and convenience store.
- It is the standard, it has been used for decades, and it performs very well.
- It is cheap.
- Many cat owners are unaware of the dangers of using clay litter because no scientific studies have been done to clearly show why it is bad. People simply don’t know.
So there you have it. Availability, performance, price, and awareness. And this is all controlled by the BIG manufacturers who have huge marketing budgets and distribution channels and who have dominated the cat litter market for years. Well, things are starting to change with several new companies now producing excellent non-clay litters and some of the big manufacturers also adding non-clay litters to their line.
So let’s start with the awareness piece. Here’s a summary of why I feel that clay cat litter is bad:
BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
- Clay is strip mined to produce clay cat litter.
- Used clumping clay cat litter NEVER biodegrades in the landfill.
BAD FOR CAT’S HEALTH & HUMAN HEALTH
- Clay litter contains silica, which is a known carcinogen when inhaled.
- 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.
For more information about the dangers of clumping clay litters, please visit Marina Michaels’ website Catmom.com.
To address the performance issue, I have to admit, non-clay litters just don’t work as well as clay. However, I feel that if you are committed to making the switch, you will find a solution that you and your cats can live with. I have one new non-clay litter to tell you about this week and you’ll have a chance to win some to try for yourself.
The other big issue is price. Because of the smaller distribution, the non-clay litters are still quite expensive, usually around $1/lb. but with more and more people buying non-clay litter, the price should come down. I have a terrific budget busting litter tip coming up later this week, so stay tuned.
Please note: I do not allow manufacturers to advertise clay litter on Moderncat, however, sometimes you may see an ad for it in Google AdWords. I try to filter these out but sometimes they come through anyway. I do not support clay litter products.