Apart from cat food, cat litter is possibly the most crucial feline need in your home if you have a cat. However, as crucial as it is to your cat’s everyday life, you may be unaware of what’s inside. You may have asked, “Is the litter I purchase completely safe?” How can I tell which one is the best? Are there any eco-friendly alternatives? “Can I design my own?”
Cat litter comes in a variety of materials, with bases ranging from clay to corn to crystals. Some of the most common forms of cat litter are as follows:
Clay-based cat litter
Cat litter is a new product on the market. Prior to WWII, cat parents used sand boxes or furnace ashes as indoor toilets for their cats, but that proved unpleasant. Despite the fact that cats have been human companions for nearly 10,000 years, we just began bringing them indoors full-time in the last century. “Housewives in the 1940s were not fond of cats tracking ashes or sand through their houses,” according to the ASPCA.
Fortunately, a feasible remedy emerged soon after WWII. Edward Lowe, a businessman, advised that a neighbor fill a box with absorbent, powdered clay, a material used as an industrial absorbent by Lowe’s father’s company. The clay was determined to be excellent at absorbing her cat’s urine as well as decreasing tracking and stink by the neighbor.
According to About.com, “in 1947, Edward Lowe decided to package the clay in 5lb bags labeled ‘cat litter’ to sell in a local pet store.” Mr. Lowe was able to quickly transform this discovery into the Kitty Litter business we know today.
Bentonite and Silica Clumps
There is still granulated clay-based cat litter available. Clay is, in fact, one of the most often used materials in cat litter. However, cat litter was adjusted once more in the 1980s.
“In the early 1980s, Thomas Nelson discovered that a specific type of clay, bentonite, produced clumps in the presence of moisture, and voilaf… clumping kitty litter,” explains Dr. Justine Lee of PetMD. Dr. Nelson realized that instead of changing all of the litter with each use, he could simply remove the clumps as they dried after testing it in his own cats’ litter box. “According to a US Geological Survey, around 987,000 metric tons of this clumping clay was mined for kitty litter in 2003,” Dr. Lee says.
As a clumping ingredient, silica, a component of quartz, was eventually added to various varieties of cat litter. “Silica, like bentonite, is a physically and chemically inert substance that contributes significantly to common sand.” According to the ASPCA, “silica is often used as a moisture-absorbing component in small packets found in shoe boxes, medications, and some foods.” Some “crystal” cat litters now contain silica gel as the major ingredient.
Is clumping cat litter safe to use?
While clumping cat litter (also known as “scoopable”) is one of the most convenient options, there have been concerns that it is harmful to pets. However, clumping litter is frequently rather innocuous, causing only minor gastrointestinal problems in select animals when swallowed, according to the ASPCA’s poison control experts.
The biggest danger occurs when large amounts of litter are swallowed, which can happen when a dog decides to feed on the contents of a litter box or when a kitten learns how to use a litter box for the first time. Avoid using clumping cat litter for kittens and learn how to prevent dog litter box nibbling to keep your pet safe.
Numerous Eco-Friendly Alternatives
For “green” cat owners, there are also more environmentally friendly cat litters available that are not strip-mined like clay-based litters. These recipes usually include a variety of renewable or recycled materials, such as:
- Processed wheat, pine, and cedar shavings of sawdust orange peels
- Corncob-derived peanut shell meal
You can also use these or similar items to make your own kitty litter. Cat litter “recipes” created by inventive pet parents abound on the web. Just keep in mind that your cat might not be as excited about alternative cat litter as you are. Set up a litter café to ensure that your cat feels at ease with each different litter you test. Observing your cat’s litter habits will help you avoid future stains and problems.
Carbon Additives with Baking Soda
Many current cat litter producers incorporate odor absorbers into their formulas. Two common odor-controlling chemicals are carbon and baking soda. Some brands feature scents as well. Certain environmentally acceptable litter items, like as pine and cedar chips, are claimed to be natural odor absorbers by manufacturers. If you want to try a scented brand, start with a litter cafeteria because many cats dislike scented litter.
Choosing the Most Appropriate Cat Food Formula
Even if you know what’s in the different types of litter, only your cat knows which one he favors. Cats can be picky about their litter boxes, so you may need to try a few before finding one that works for both her and you. Discover how to select the best cat litter for you and your cat.
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