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Alternatives to clumping clay litters

Updated: Sep 30, 2022

Clay litters are dangerous to cats and can cause many illnesses and potentially death, especially in young kittens.

Cats die. Kittens die. It’s part of life. But we still grieve when they die, even though we know it is only the body, not the spirit, that is gone. How much worse we feel when those deaths were unnecessary, could have been prevented by something as simple as changing the kind of litter we use.

“There has been a rise in depressed immune systems, respiratory distress, irritable bowel syndrome, 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.”

Clumping litter is designed to form a hard, insoluble mass when it gets wet. It also produces a fine dust when stirred (as when a cat scratches around to bury a recent deposit). And these clumping litters absorb many times their weight in fluids.

When cats or kittens use the litter box, they lick themselves clean; anything their tongues encounter gets ingested. Kittens especially tend to ingest a lot of litter when they are first learning to use the box.

Once the litter is inside a kitten or cat, it expands, forming a mass and coating the interior-thus, both causing dehydration by drawing fluids out of the cat or kitten, and compounding the problem by preventing any absorption of nutrients or fluids.

Here at the Gargoyle Catterie we use:

ökocat pine pellets. This is not just great savings but also safe for your cats. It has great absorbency, and very little is needed to cover the bottom of the litter box. This way you can dump the litter box daily and it eliminates the need to scoop the poop as often. It also creates less dust than corn litter.

Recommended alternatives

If you want a non-clay, clumping, scoopable litter, here are a couple of choices:

WheatScoop, which is made from wheat and is indeed a clumping and scoopable litter. The key difference between it and clumping clay litters is that the wheat clumps are said to fall apart when they get wet, therefore not posing the health hazard that an indissoluble clump would.

The World's Best Cat Litter. I used to not recommend this litter, for reasons listed under the product description, but I have decided since that it is still one of the best alternatives available, so I now recommend it again. We prefer the Lavender scented one albeit it being a questionable plant for cats.

If you want an excellent product that is acceptable to cats, easy on the environment, and easy on you, and you are willing to accept that they do not clump, the following litters are all on our short list (that is, they are all quite satisfactory, and we will use them without hesitation):

• CareFresh -

• Feline Pine -

• Yesterday's News -

Further reading:

The Scoop on Litter-box Cleaning | The Gargoyle Catterie

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