The Scoop on Kitty Litter

Picking the wrong kitty litter can have disastrous effects on sewer water and landfills.

| May/June 2008

Americans have 90 million domestic cats. That’s a super duper scooper of cat litter that ends up in sewers and landfills. In short, your pick of the kitty litter matters.

Most litter is made from bentonite, a type of clay, which is mined and non-renewable. Silica gel/crystal litter is made from sand, water and air, but is quite expensive and difficult to use alone, so it’s usually combined with clay. Plus, silica dust is a potential respiratory irritant, although its effect on cats is still largely unknown. Finally, clumping litters made from bentonite and/or silica can clog plumbing—your home’s and your cat’s, if Puff licks her paws—because the granules swell when saturated.

Try a biodegradable cat litter that’s made from a renewable resource such as corn or corncobs, pine, wheat or recycled newspapers. Add a layer of plain baking soda on the bottom for extra odor control. Have a finicky feline? Transition by switching gradually, adding the new greener litter to the old.

Don’t litter…down the sewer.
Cat feces in wastewater may also transmit a deadly parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, through wastewater to marine wildlife. In fact, California recently passed a law requiring cat litter labels to carry a warning against flushing the substance. Toxoplasma gondii may also cause birth defects, so pregnant women should never change or handle used cat litter.

Corn: World’s Best Cat Litter 

Corncobs: One Earth Cat Litter 

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