Buying cat litter used to be a simple affair. Your decision came down to two choices: clumping or non-clumping.
Today you have many more factors to consider: Dust and tracking, odor control, cost, and biodegradability. And of course, your cat’s litter preference…
If you’re owned by a cat, you know she has the final say in what she’ll use, and what you buy. Cats can be very particular when it comes to their litter boxes. If they don’t like the litter, they can (and will) find somewhere else to do their business.
When you go to the store to buy cat litter, you’re met with a multitude of choices. You must choose between granules, grains, pellets, beads, and crystals that are either scented or unscented.
And you’ve got to select your material: clay, recycled newspaper, corn cob, peanut shell meal, wheat, pine, orange peel, wood chips, and silica gel beads.
The choices are indeed mindboggling.
What about your cat? Which type is he most likely to accept? And how do these varieties impact his health? You may be surprised at the answers…
The Moment of Truth… What Your Cat Really Prefers
First, I have to warn you. You may not like what I’m about to tell you. Your kitty’s preferences may not match yours.
Since your cat’s closest ancestor, the Felis silvestris lybica or the African Wild Cat, lives in the desert, it should come as no surprise that she uses the desert sand as her litter box.
According to researchers, today’s housecats may not have evolved in what they prefer.
A study in the early 1990s took a look at what domesticated cats prefer in their litter boxes.
This study compared fine granular clay or sand-like clumping (“scoopable” litters) with larger granule litter, such as regular clay and recycled paper products.
What did this group of study cats prefer?
- They liked clumping litter made of small granular or sand-like material, rather than the larger granule type litters
- They didn’t like litter with a floral or citrus scent (which doesn’t surprise me since these are usually synthetic scents)
- They didn’t like litter with added odor control, especially baking soda
In summary, these study cats significantly preferred their litter to resemble the natural environment as much as possible. And repeat studies only confirm these findings!
What Your Kitty May Be Trying to Tell You When He Soils Outside His Box
Feline house soiling is the number one reason cats are banished to the outdoors, lose their forever homes, or even more tragic, are euthanized.
It’s a frustrating problem for owners and a potentially heartbreaking situation for all when a solution can’t be found.
I don't believe any kitty needs to be abandoned for inappropriate soiling. The solution is usually a matter of finding what works for your cat. Often switching to a more kitty-friendly litter – and scooping more frequently – is all it takes!
The very first thing you must do if your cat suddenly changes his litter box habits is to rule out any potential medical issue.
Inappropriate soiling can be a red flag for more serious conditions, so please consult your veterinarian immediately.
Once you’ve ruled out any health conditions, put on your detective cap and take an objective look at your situation.
These are all things that could cause your cat to soil outside of his or her box:
- You’re using a textured litter that your cat dislikes
- You’re using a scented litter or one with added odor control (crystals can hurt feet!)
- There’s too little or too much litter in the box (three to four inches is just right)
- The litter box needs cleaning or more frequent scooping
- You’re cleaning the box with a harsh chemical that she doesn’t like
- The box is located in a high-traffic area where there’s no privacy
- Your cat doesn’t like the location or doesn’t feel safe using it
- The box is too close to her water or food dish
- Your cat can’t access her box due to injury, joint problems, or age
- More than one cat in the household is using the same litter box
- Something has changed in your household and kitty is upset
- Your cat has just found a spot he likes better!
The remedy for nearly all of these things, once you’ve resolved the safety and privacy issues, is making the litter box more attractive to your cat.
How to Create the Purrfect Litter Box for Your Cat
Of course, the most important factor in creating a more attractive litter box for your kitty is learning which litter she prefers.
Later on, I will tell you about a litter that I believe will meet all of your expectations as well as your cat’s, and will help you solve the problem of her soiling outside the litter box. Also, make sure you do these things to maintain optimal kitty pan hygiene:
- Vow to scoop out urine and solids at least daily
- Clean the pan weekly with a very small amount of a mild pet-friendly soap
- Avoid using any antibacterial soaps or sprays, or other harsh chemicals
- Rinse the pan well and dry thoroughly before refilling with fresh litter
Now before we discuss the type of kitty litter that I believe is truly best for your cat, let’s talk about all of the kitty litters that I don’t recommend…
The Truth About Clumping Clay Litter – Could It Be Threatening
Your Cat’s Well-Being?
One of the most popular types of cat litter today is clumping clay litter. Many cat owners prefer it because it’s relatively inexpensive and makes it easy to remove urine and feces for a fresher smelling box.
But could this added convenience possibly have some drawbacks for your cat’s well-being?
Suspicions about the safety of clumping cat litter began to arise in the mid-1990s when a holistic veterinarian published the article “Great Clumping Cat Litter – Is That Why Kitty is So Sick?” in the April 1994 issue of Healthy Pets – Naturally.
The author made this observation:
“There has been a rise in depressed immune systems, respiratory distress, irritable bowel issues, and vomiting (other than hair balls) among cats that I have seen in the past two years. All had one thing in common... a clumping product in their litter box. In several cases, simply removing the litter improved the condition of the cat.”
I’ve observed similar affects in my own practice. I’ve treated kittens that ingested clay litter. And I’ve seen respiratory issues and chronic eye discharge clear up when cats were switched off of clay. Some of my colleagues have reported the same types of problems with their patients.
What about clumping clay litter might be causing these issues? Most likely, we just need to look a little closer as to what makes clumping clay litter clump...
Are You Allowing Your Cat to Scratch Around in a
Potentially Carcinogenic Material?
To maximize clumping and absorption, sodium bentonite is often added to clay litter. Bentonite can swell as much as 15-fold over its original volume, a useful feature for absorbing urine, but a potential GI blockage catastrophe if your pet swallows enough of it.
What exactly is sodium bentonite? According to its Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), sodium bentonite is a refined form of clay that’s used as a binding agent in cat litter. And the MSDS points out that it has some serious potential effects.
Sodium bentonite can contain low concentrations of crystalline silica, which when inhaled, is a Group 1 carcinogen to humans.
Breathing silica dust may cause irritation of the skin, nose, throat and airway passages, and can lead to permanent lung damage. That can be happening even if you don’t notice any obvious respiratory symptoms.
When your cat scratches around in her box, clay litter creates a fine dust. Kitty not only inhales this dust into her lungs, but it covers her paws and legs.
And what do many cats do exceptionally well? They’re fastidious groomers!
Either by mouth or via her lungs, your cat takes in small amounts of this dust and litter remnants each time she uses her litter box.
Yet, it’s not only your cat that may be at risk from this known human carcinogen…
You breathe in this clay dust every time you pour fresh litter into the pan or scoop out solids.
And if you also share your home with a dog, you need to know that some pups may occasionally help themselves to a “treat” from cats’ litter boxes, coated with litter!
Do you really want to put your pets, yourself and other family members at risk, just for the convenience and money-saving benefits of clumping clay litter?
The Alternatives to Clumping Clay Litter – A Step Forwards or Backwards?
Today we have many alternatives to clumping clay litter. Some have distinct advantages and potential drawbacks as well.
Corn has become one of the hottest litter box material alternatives in recent years, but is it a safer option for your pet?
I have two concerns about corn-based litters. First there’s the issue of bioengineering.
When one of the leading manufacturers of corn-based cat litter was asked whether or not the product came from genetically modified corn, here was their response:
“Since our product is intended for use as animal litter and not for use as a food, the corn may or may not be GM corn.”
Considering that over 90 percent of corn grown in the U.S. is genetically engineered, I’ll let you form your own conclusion. I think their response says it all.
About genetically engineered corn… Here’s what particularly concerns me. Bt corn, or the type of genetically altered corn grown on up to 80 percent of farmers’ corn fields, creates its own toxic pesticide that breaks open the stomach of certain insects and kills them.
Unfortunately, researchers have discovered that the damage doesn’t stop with insects. When Bt corn is ingested, it can also be toxic to humans and mammals. It can potentially affect immune response and the digestive tract.
And as if the thought of your cat pawing through a toxic genetically engineered material and grooming herself afterwards isn’t troubling enough, there’s a bigger concern you need to be aware of if you’re using this immensely popular litter…
The Dark Side of Corn-Based Litters That Nearly No One Talks About
When corn-based cat litter becomes wet, you have a potentially dangerous situation. I believe that very few users of corn-based cat litter realize this.
Corn is a crop that can become contaminated with a toxin called aflatoxin. According to the livestock industry, broken kernels of corn are up to four times more susceptible to this toxic mold growth than whole kernels.
Here’s what the Department of Animal Science at Cornell University had to say about this serious toxin:
“The commodities with the highest risk of aflatoxin contamination are corn, peanuts and cottonseed. Pre-harvest aflatoxin contamination of peanuts and corn is favored by high temperatures, prolonged drought conditions, and high insect activity; while post-harvest production of aflatoxins on corn and peanuts is favored by warm temperatures and high humidity.” (emphasis mine)
Exposure to aflatoxins can occur by ingestion, skin contact, and inhaling the corn’s dust.
For years I have advised avoiding any corn-containing pet food or treat. At least 100 dogs died in 2005 from eating foods contaminated with aflatoxins and because of it, massive amounts of pet foods were recalled.
Corn litter companies may claim their litter tests safe for aflatoxin contamination, but know that reliable testing is nearly impossible. The slightest change in humidity or temperature during production or storage can turn a “clean” batch of corn into one laced with this deadly toxin.
The Other Alternatives? Old News May Not Be the Best News
Biodegradable cat litter is a great step forward for the environment, but in my opinion, it’s not worth it if it can create a potential hazard for your cat.
For example, here are some other popular litter choices available today:
- Recycled paper – Made out of recycled materials including newspaper, corrugated cardboard and reclaimed industrial sawdust. Chemicals and inks are present in the finished litter.
- Wheat – Even though wheat isn’t a genetically engineered crop, farmers apply glyphosate, a widely used herbicide, to non-organic wheat for harvest. The WHO has declared glyphosate a “probable” carcinogen.
- Walnut hulls – Made from the fibrous materials found in walnut shells, but do not break down if your pet ingests them.
- Grass – This litter is made totally from U.S. farmed grasses, and while the litter may not contain harsh chemicals as they claim, the grasses are most likely raised with pesticides.
What to Look for in the Ideal Cat Litter
Now that you know what I don’t like about some of the most popular cat litters on the market today, let’s take a look at what you do want:
- Clumping ability – As mentioned previously, cats like litter that clumps, and it’s also easier for you to maintain. The harder the clumps are, the better, as it helps the litter last longer.
- Environmentally friendly ingredients – Must be safe for you, your cat, and the environment!
- Particle size resembles a cat’s natural environment – Too-small particles can lead to tracking or respiratory issues
- No harsh chemicals, dyes, or carcinogenic materials – Your cat (and you) can be affected through inhaling litter dust, skin contact, or ingestion.
- Fragrance-free – No toxic odor control additives, synthetic perfumes or “crystals” that can hurt your cat’s feet
- Biodegradable and compostable – Will the litter break down after you discard it?
- Sustainably produced – What’s the carbon footprint of its materials?
You may be wondering at this point if any cat litter can fill this tall order.
I’m delighted to share with you a whole new concept in cat litter: A clay-free, corn-, nut- and wheat-free litter that’s made only with environmentally friendly ingredients!
The Organic, High Performance, Super Absorbent Litter That Clumps Firmly Without Harmful Ingredients
Pine trees show symptoms of stress by changing color and dropping their needles, which is a common occurrence in forests.
This creates an eyesore and can become a hazard to surrounding trees. Removal of these trees benefits a forest in multiple ways.
The makers of my BioCharged Kitty Litter decided to make good use of these recycled pine trees. Using a proprietary and sustainable process, they’ve created a cat litter that provides:
- Powerful odor control without added scents or baking soda
- Quick, firm clumping that traps odors and liquid instantly
- Super absorbency that won’t let liquid escape
- Biodegradability and composting for flowers
- Long lasting economical use
Because it’s made only with environmentally friendly and biodegradable ingredients, it’s suitable for both cats and dogs. And unlike clay or corn (or other materials such as paper or silica gel beads), it simulates a cat’s natural habitat, an important factor proven in cat litter studies.
This unique blend is specially formulated to be easy on your kitty’s paws and on your home. Its perfect blend of small (but not too small) pieces is designed to trap odors and liquid instantly, but not create respiratory issues for you or your cat.
With my BioCharged Kitty Litter, there are no soggy messes like with wheat and nut-based litters, or embarrassing cat box odors.
Yes, I know there are other pine-based cat litters on the market. But none of them include this special ingredient that contributes to its remarkable clumping, absorbency, and powerful odor control…
BioCharged Kitty Litter – The FIRST Carbon-Neutral Cat Litter
Biochar is a type of charcoal that’s sustainably produced in the U.S. by slowly heating wood waste and forest residue in a controlled atmosphere.
Many organic gardeners and sustainable farmers know biochar well… When you add it to your garden or lawn, it absorbs carbon dioxide from the air and locks it up in the soil for hundreds or even thousands of years.
With biochar, you not only help the environment but you also introduce an amazing substance that dramatically improves your soil and plant growth.
But why include it in cat litter?
Because of its multitude of micro pores, biochar has an immense ability to absorb moisture and trap and eliminate odors. And that makes it extremely valuable for use in your cat’s litter box.
Through its pyrolyzed carbon technology, our U.S. based manufacturer is proudly reducing their carbon footprint by 25 percent with their organic biochar and by deriving 50 percent of their energy from renewable, biomass sources.
My BioCharged Kitty Litter, with its organic biochar and recycled pine, is perfect for composting or adding to your flower garden after use in your cat’s box. Yes, really! Just make sure you remove all of the solids first.
Two Ingredients for Superior Clumping Ability
What’s the secret behind BioCharged Kitty Litter’s tough clump-ability?
Two ingredients: Guar and the organic biochar I just introduced you to, both environmentally-friendly ingredients.
Guar, or guar gum is derived from the guar or Indian cluster bean, which grows mainly in India and Pakistan. Resembling green beans, guar beans are commonly eaten as a vegetable by locals.
Animal and human studies on guar gum showed no harm at even very high doses. Plus, these studies concluded that it is not carcinogenic.
And because guar isn’t a starch-based material, together with biochar, it helps resist biological growth in your cat’s litter box!
The Environmental Scorecard: How Sustainable Is Your Cat Litter?
My BioCharged Kitty Litter outperforms other pine-based litters, clay, wheat, and nut-based litters for absorbency, clumping ability and odor control.
As consumers become more “green” savvy, they want to know where their litter comes from, and what will happen to it once it’s discarded. Here’s a quick summary of the major types of litter:
|Type of litter
|Clumping bentonite clay
||Strip mines (a non-renewable resource)
|Silica gel crystals
||Sand (a non-renewable resource)
||Genetically engineered corn
||Newspapers and other paper (may contain ink and chemicals)
||Walnuts, but may be harmful if ingested
|BioCharged Kitty Litter
||Recycled pine trees and organic biochar useful for your flower garden compost (with solids removed)
A Hands Down Winner – Why BioCharged Kitty Litter Deserves to Be in Your Cat’s Pan
With all its positive attributes, I can’t imagine a cat litter that could perform any better for clumping, odor control, absorption, biodegradability, and safety.
To recap, my BioCharged Kitty Litter with 100% Organic Biochar excels in its ability to:
- Resemble a cat’s natural and preferred soiling medium
- Be welcoming, comfortable, and inviting to your cat
- Control odor without added scents, crystals, or baking soda
- Clump firmly to trap odors and liquid instantly
- Absorb large amounts of liquid without letting it escape
- Be biodegradable and suitable for composting in your flower garden
- Provide long lasting, economical use
- Resist biological growth with its use of guar and biochar
- Create a healthy litter box environment for your cat and other pets
Isn’t it time you provided your cat with the healthy litter box she deserves?
Order BioCharged Kitty Litter today and treat your feline (and yourself) to the finest that nature can offer!