Clumping Cat Litter...Is that Why Kitty is so Sick?
by Lisa S. Newman, PhD.
The future is here today,! Science has rendered many new inventions. They make our lives seem easier, more cost-effective...and sicker. Sicker? Yes!! Every day we are given new information that supports the concerns of many holistic health professionals; that our new and improved world may be toxic. Additives in our foods, artificial scents we spray around us...the list is enormous. But what about our animals? How are they affected?
One new development of science that has me concerned is that of the žclumping cat littersÓ. Touted to be easier to clean, non-tracking, and cost-effective, it is often žscentedÓ and ždeodorizingÓ. It is chemically altered and, I believe, harmful to our animals.
There has been a rise in depressed immune systems, respiratory distress, irritable bowel syndrome, and vomiting (other than hairballs) among cats that I have seen in recent 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. After a period of natural cleansing, with herbs and homeopathy, cats with žirritable bowel syndromesÓ (which had been unsuccessfully treated by veterinarians with a variety of medications) passed copious amounts of a gel-like substance, which prompted me to study these clumping cat litters. I found that when mixed with a small amount of water it maintained its shape, but turned to a gel after repeated contact (60 to 72 hours) or with additional fluid added (as would be found in the digestive tract). One can only imagine what happens when this substance is inhaled! One thing is for sure, cats ingest or inhale this substance each time they visit their box and when cleaning themselves afterwards.
They are not the only ones that can be harmed. Dogs who love to sneak into the cat box for a (Ugh!) treat, not only ingest the toxins normally found in feline fecal material, but the coating of clumping cat litter as well! This has reeked havoc on many a canineŪs digestive tract, including leading to a fatal case of bloat in one dog that I know of. When his stomach was opened, it was full of clumping cat litter! Some dogs have been known to root around in the litter daily, creating respiratory conditions (from gel coating of the lung tissue), eye irritation, colon distress and even mal absorption of nutrients.
It is my belief that the clumping substance žcoatsÓ the digestive tract, attracting the collection of old fecal material, increasing toxicity, bacteria growth and prohibiting proper assimilation of digested food. This can lead to stress on the immune system, leaving the animal susceptible to viral, bacterial, parasitic and yeast infections.
The only way to prevent this is to supply a cat with a good, old fashioned plant-based litter. Sand litters can create many of the above mentioned problems as well. But, plant-based litter products, such as fine (not larger types made for bedding) cedar shavings, provide not only a safe environment to potty in, but a fresh naturally deodorized one to boot. They are easy to dispose of, safe for septic systems and sewers (be sure to read labels first). Always check that your litter is free of any deodorizers, colors or dying agents which could be potentially harmful.
Having a natural litter in your kittyŪs box is not only healthy, but may encourage those finicky about using a box, to try this one out. The natural texture and aroma is more suited for their needs. When Mother Nature imprinted feline potty instructions, do you think they included silica and chemically treated clays?