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Kitty Litter?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
OK, so, I'm having my baby come home in a few weeks, and I am starting to shop for all her "stuff." (When he saw my list, Alex was like, we need to get all that for a cat??? LOL)

Anyway, I've heard that the clumping litters can be bad for a cat's health? I read a couple stories about cats, particularly kittens, that get the dust on their fur and then lick it off and it causes digestive problems. How much merit is there to these stories? I found this other litter that clumps but is made of corn, so it's supposed to be safe. I don't know anything about it, though. Does anyone here use it or know someone who uses it? There are so many different types of litter, all I know for sure is that I don't need the kind for a multi-cat household. Any recommendations? I plan on starting with whatever the breeder uses so she has as few adjustments to make as possible, but should I keep her on that or try this new stuff?

I read about this on breeders' sites, but this is health-related, so I didn't know where this thread should go: breeding or health or here, since it's both. Sorry if this is the wrong place for it.
post #2 of 11
I use a litter called "What's Mew". It's 100% recycled paper. Below is some information about it!

Good Mews is a revolutionary concept in cat litter · Made entirely from recycled paper, Good Mews absorbs 3 times more odor causing moisture than clay litter. Its natural fibers absorb quickly and neutralize ammonia odors, leaving the cat litter box fresh and dry. And it's truly dust free. No more cleaning up the fine "sand" tracked from the cat box.

Recommended By Veterinarians · Because they don't cling, Good Mews pellets are recommended by veterinarians for kitten care, declawed cats and post-operative care. The pellets are non-abrasive and non-irritating, reducing the chance of infection. And unlike clumping litters that adhere to moisture, Good Mews is safe if ingested and is the best litter box solution for feline health.

A Truly Environmental Solution · Good Mews closes the recycling loop twice. The recycled paper fiber from which it's made would normally be landfilled. And, because Good Mews is made from paper, it's completely biodegradable. You simply can't find a more environmentally friendly litter.

No Scraping, Less Scooping, Easier Disposal. Our pellets hold their shape and do not cling when wet, so they pour cleanly from the litter box. As a biodegradable product with none of the clogging properties of expanding clay litter products, Good Mews is completely flushable and can also be safely incinerated or composted.

My cats all use this litter. I just mixed is with a little bit of clumping litter to get them to use it! I this litter! It's affordable, the boxes don't stink and most of all, NO litter tracking!
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Is there a web site for it? Also, where can you buy it?

BTW, I forgot to post the link for the corn litter I found:
post #4 of 11
I'm moving this thread to the cat care forum. Viva, you may want to run a search there - there were lots of cat litter discussions in the past.
post #5 of 11
There are different types of litter yes.
For kittens or any animals about the size of a kitten, used non clumpable clay, OR "digestable/nautral (non clay)" clumping litter.
Because even though it can take more then a few licks, the clumping CLAY litters, once in the intestines can cause a blockage, and this can either lead to expensive surgery, or death. It bloats up in their intestines often, and can not be disloged or digested.
There is also the risk of dust, just about any litter can have dust in it, but some brands have a very minut amount, and others have too much for even ME, let alone a cat, with very small sinuses.

I will give you a list of ones you can safely use for your kitten, once he/she grows bigger you can switch to a clumping clay (this is what we don't want to use for young kittens.) The first one is my favorite! And this is an incomplete list, just a guide line. Some come in clumping and non clumping form, but none of them are made of clay!
Papuur *
Worlds Best Cat Litter
Feline Pine/Small Animal Litter (wood stove pellets, VERY Cheap)
Yesterdays News
Sweet Scoop
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the help y'all! And Anne, thanks, I'll be sure to perform a search.

I'll also talk to the breeder, like I said, to get her opinion. But clumping clay litter IS safe for adult cats? I was thinking maybe I'd just keep whatever litter I get for her as a kitten, to be safe, as long as it's not too expensive.
post #7 of 11
Hi Viva!

The first few days after i took Daisy home, i became increasingly concerned when i noticed black specks of dirt accumulated in and around Daisy' nails. Also, she used to pull her nails with her teeth!

i got so worried i even made a vet's appointment. When it was not available, i actually went to emergency room!! The vet explained it was the litter i used.

i did an entire day of research on cat litter, and i found the following article carries a very powerful and strong message:

i emailed this article, together with a bunch of websites, to all cat owners i know, even to SF SPCA.

(This article is very long, but it is WORTH your time, trust me!)


Clumping Clay Kitty Litters: A Deadly Convenience?
By Marina Michaels

Introduction and Synopsis

Clumping clay kitty litters may be related to a wide variety of seemingly unrelated cat health problems, included diarrhea, frothy yellow vomiting, mega-bowel syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, kidney problems, respiratory problems, general failure to thrive, anemia, lethargy, and even death. For more information, read this article and see the related pages listed at the end of this article.
If, after reading this article, you feel you have been helped in any way, or would like to contribute your own story, please write to me or spread the word. Thanks!

The article begins below. For more information, see the the CatMom.com Home Page.


Clumping Clay Kitty Litters: A Deadly Convenience?

". . . something able to block household plumbing must be wreaking havoc on the plumbing of our feline companions."

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.

I breed Japanese Bobtail cats and I grieved in 1994 when an entire litter of kittens (born in November 1993) died. Despite round-the-clock nursing and force-feeding of fluids and food, one kitten, then another, let go of his grasp on life.

The three kittens started out as a robust, lively group. Then, at weaning time, just as they were learning to use the litter box, they began to vomit a yellow frothy substance and to pass yellow diarrhea; the diarrhea looked and smelled like clay. They also had nasal and eye discharge. The diarrhea proceeded to turn harder and even more clay-like, and finally the kittens stopped moving their bowels at all. The veterinarians said they could feel "a hard mass" inside. The kittens dwindled into thin, dehydrated, frail little skeletons, sunk in apathy. Then they died.

When these kittens first fell sick, I wasn't too worried, because I had seen the same set of symptoms in two earlier litters. The first time it happened I'd lost one kitten, but the other survived with a week of force-feeding fluids. When a second litter started to exhibit the same symptoms, we took the kittens and their parents to the veterinarian, who tested them for everything from intestinal parasites to feline AIDS. The results were negative. "Some kind of virus" was the vague diagnosis, or "possibly giardia" (an intestinal parasite), even though the test for it was negative. We nursed them, gave them fluids and love, and like the previous kittens, these two were over the problem in a week.

So the third time, with the November kittens, although I was a little worried, I was confident we could pull these through as well. But their illness dragged on for three weeks, and they grew progressively weaker. Again we had the cats and kittens tested for a variety of problems; again, nothing. And then, all within the same week, the kittens died.

When a fourth litter, born in late March 1994, began to exhibit the same symptoms yet again, I felt frustrated, frightened, and helpless. What was going on? Was there something in the environment? Was my home somehow a "sick house?" Was one of the adult cats carrying something that the kittens were picking up? I always keep my cats indoors, so it couldn't be exposure to outside cats.


I decided I needed a new perspective and began to look for a holistic veterinarian. The next day, a friend gave me the card of a new holistic veterinarian in town, Dr. Stephanie Chalmers.

But before I had the chance to take the kittens to see this new vet, I was struck by a bolt of lightning. The clumping litter! It was almost as though someone had whispered it into my ear. It made perfect sense. Everything fit; it explained all the symptoms. My thinking went along these lines:

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.
My cats and kittens had probably reacted with diarrhea initially in an effort to cleanse their bodies of the litter before it had a chance to settle and coat their insides. But kittens have very small intestines; a hard insoluble mass could very well produce a complete and fatal blockage within a couple of weeks.

On the strength of these deductions, I immediately went out and bought a plant-based litter to replace the clumping litter. I also took several of the hard, clay-like lumps of stool produced by two of the kittens and smeared them open. Not only did the stools have the consistency, smell, and texture of clay, but they even retained the color of the litter (gray with blue flecks) inside. This was confirmation enough for me.

As soon as I could, I took all the kittens, along with their mother, to Dr. Chalmers, who said that she had already heard of problems like this with the clumping clay litters. She put the kittens on a holistic course of treatment (slippery elm to help soothe the intestines; homemade chicken broth to nourish the kittens without putting further strain on their insides).

She also showed me an article by Lisa Newman, another holistic health practitioner, citing some of the cases of illness and death that she (Lisa Newman) has seen first hand--illnesses and deaths most likely caused by clumping litter. A light went on in my head when I read the following:

"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." ("Great Clumping Cat Litter--Is That Why Kitty is So Sick?" Healthy Pets--Naturally, April 1994.)

The problem of health difficulties and even deaths resulting from clumping litters appears to be more prevalent than most people are aware of. I recently spoke with another Japanese Bobtail breeder, who told me of a kitten she sold that subsequently became very ill with a severe respiratory problem. The new owner used a clumping litter, and her veterinarian found that the kitten's lungs were coated with dust from the litter.

For a veterinarian to spot this problem is unusual. A more common diagnosis would lay the blame at the door of a virus, germ, fungus or parasite. There is not a general awareness yet that the clumping litters can be harmful--even fatal--to cats.


And the problem extends beyond cats. As Lisa Newman points out in her article, dogs get into the litter box for "snacks," and ingest the litter too. She reports that the autopsy of one dog revealed that his stomach was filled with the clumping litter.

An article entitled "How Cat Litter is Made" appeared in Cat Fancy magazine (October 1994). Shockingly, the article contains no cautions against the use of clumping litters, even though the description of one of the main ingredients in such products should be enough to alarm any thinking person.

"Sodium bentonite, a naturally swelling clay, is often added as an extremely effective clumping agent. When liquid is added, bentonite swells to approximately 15 times its original volume. But because sodium bentonite acts as an expandable cement would, litters containing sodium bentonite should never be flushed; when they expand they can block plumbing."

A few moments' thought is all that is needed to realize that something able to block household plumbing must be wreaking havoc on the plumbing of our feline companions.

What about my kittens after I switched to a plant-based litter? Sadly, the two females died. Both were passing clay stools right up until the time of their deaths; one kitten was still passing clay almost two weeks after I switched litters. The two males survived, though it took months for them to fully recover. Only after switching to a completely organic, homemade diet was I able to clear up the last traces of their ordeal. And still I grieve for the kittens who died so needlessly.


You may feel as horrified as I do at the thought that there must be thousands of kittens and cats (and other animals) ailing or even dying from clumping clay litters. What can we do to prevent such suffering?

One thing is let the manufacturers know we won't buy such products. My husband called a company that makes one of these clumping litters. The woman he spoke with said that the company is aware that clumping litters may be causing health problems, but that it is the consumer's responsibility to make sure their cats don't eat the stuff.

My husband pointed out that cats clean themselves with their mouths, so of course they're going to eat the litter every time they use their cat boxes. Unfortunately, the company's representative maintained her "buyer beware" position.

Given the attitudes of such companies, we can vote with our pocketbooks by purchasing products from businesses that are more responsive to our concerns. Be sure to let the makers of the clumping litter know why you no longer purchase their product. You might even choose to boycott all products made by these companies (it isn't hard to find out who makes what--just read the labels). An even more effective move might be to show this article to the owners or managers of stores selling these products.

If you suspect that an animal may be suffering an ailment caused by clumping litter, take him or her to a veterinarian or holistic practitioner immediately, and explain what you think may be happening. If you encounter resistance, it may mean that the veterinarian is unfamiliar with the problem and doesn't know how to handle it. Try to find a holistic vet--either locally or someone you can work with by phone--who has some experience with clumping litter impacting the intestines. Most importantly, replace the clumping litter right away with one of the plant-based alternatives. Even if your cat is healthy, it makes sense to switch to a different litter.

If you love cats as I do, spread the word. Tell everyone you know about this problem. Tell your veterinarian. You may save the lives of many kittens, cats, and other beloved creatures.

_______________ _________________

i changed my litter to theworld'sbestcatlitter. This stuff is biodegrable and flushable, and is actually made of all-natural, whole-kernel corn. It has odor control, is dust-free, and is safe for the kitties and myself. Even scooping off the litter is much more pleasant an experience than before, as it has a soft, velvety texture.

Both kitties don't have a problem with it. Their paws remain smooth and pink, and their nails are free of black specks.

MORE importantly, i feel assured that they are not licking toxic whenever they clean themselves after using the litter. i really want my babies to live the longest lives possible.

post #8 of 11
Here is a pix:
post #9 of 11
Aurora: Yes you can use clumping clay on your adults if you want to, they would have to consume a whole heck of a lot to creat some real issues!

If you feel safer using non clay based litters, then by all means go right ahead!
I used to use papuur, and loved it. But now there isnt' anything with in 30 miles (one way) of my house that sells anything but clay.
I can not do the non clumping clay in this house, I would sorely regret it. But then again all of my cats are adults. And I keep a bag of Feline Pine handy for any kittens that might show up.
I use other brands for my ferret, you can use these same brands for your cat as well! But they aren't comonly used for the bigger animals.
Eco Fresh
Care Fresh

They can be used as litter and bedding, they are both made out of paper. Some people just even use shredded newspaper.
post #10 of 11
I have a question about clay based litter.
The brand I use is Tidy Cat for multiple cats (I have 50). I also use the Wal Mart brand. They are both non clumping. These are the only kinds I have ever used. Are they not good? My kitties have never had intestinal trouble or urinary problems.
post #11 of 11
Gert: If they are both non clumping, there isn't much to worry about. As we've said multipul times in this thread, it's the CLUMPING Clay based ones which cause trouble.

Both brands you mentioned don't work well enough for smells on my gang, a HS I used to work at used the walmart non scoopable, cause it was cheap.
As long as neither of those formulas are very dusty (and I don't believe they are) and it works for you and your gang, then that's good enough.
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