What’s in Your Litter?

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Mom wants me to write a post about cat litter. Cat litter? Really? It seems to be important to her so I agreed.

This all came about because mom loves to garden. The condo we lived in had no room for a garden but mom still always had a few herbs on the kitchen counter. Occasionally, there was even some fresh catnip or grass for us.

Composting - Even in the desert mom composted

Even in the desert mom composted

Other places she lived before the condo all had small areas where she could have a garden and she did what she could there. She even tried to have a garden in the ghost town in the high desert in Nevada where she lived for five years. She had lots of space but no real soil. She composted and composted and composted until after about three years she had a decent little patch of dirt. Finally, that year she had some tomatoes and squash and beans growing. And then the locusts came. Thousands of them. They ate the garden right down to the ground, every bit of it. She said that was one of the worst experiences of her life. The grasshoppers even got in the house and mom hates bugs.

When we moved here to our new house, mom was so excited about the prospect of being able to garden again. We can’t garden in our yard because, if you follow my blog, you know the deer can get in and they’re almost as bad as the locusts. But mom’s friend next-door always has a garden and she’ll be helping with hers.

So what does all this have to do with litter? Well, I am getting to that.

Trash pick up here is very expensive. The alternative, is to take it to the sanitation station yourself. Mom started thinking about all the used cat litter and how heavy it is because we use clay litter. How would she load all that heavy stuff into the truck herself every month or so? How would she store it?

So she started thinking about lighter alternatives. A pet sitting client uses a corn litter that she likes and the cats all seem to like as well, so she decided to try that. It is so much lighter and fluffier. It clumps just as well, keeps the odor down, comes from a renewable source and most important of all, we like it.

One of the first things mom bought when we moved here is a composter. Mom likes to be green whenever possible so she started researching composting the corn-based litter — then she wouldn’t have to take it to the dump at all so she’d be helping the environment even more.

She found out a few things she hadn’t even considered before while doing her research. The important thing, she tells me, is what she found out about clay litter. Clay litter is strip-mined, non-renewable, and non-biodegradable. It sits in a landfill forever. That doesn’t sound good for the environment at all!

What's in Your Litter? Composing Cat LitterThere are currently four types of biodegradable litter sold—pine pellets, recycled newspaper pellets and litter based on corn and wheat.  All of these litters are healthier for the earth, and for cats—they contain no silica dust, a component of clay-based litter that creates health problems when inhaled, no chemical additives, and, unlike clay litter, which can build up in a cat’s digestive system, these natural litters are safe if ingested during grooming.*

All of these biodegradable litters can be composted but there is a bit of a glitch there, it seems. You see, we cats can carry a protozoan parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, which causes toxoplasmosis, a disease that can be fatal to infants (who acquire it congenitally from their mothers) and immune-system-deficient adults. This really only applies to kitties who go outdoors and consume prey, since that’s how they get infected, but there are other pathogens as well that all carnivores can carry. So, it is recommended that litter be composted separately from your other compost and only be used on ornamental plants. Mom says it is a bit of a pain to have two separate composters but she is willing to do it to keep all that litter out of landfills.

Just the other day, my friend Dezi over at Deziz World posted a review and contest for SwheatScoop Natural Clumping Litter. Of course, I had to enter the contest for an opportunity to try out this wheat-based litter to see which I like better. What kind of litter do you use? Do your humans compost?

Christy Paws

*The Straight Poop on Kitty Litter


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17 Responses to What’s in Your Litter?

  1. Pingback: Pine Pellet Litter and a DIY Litter Box - Savvy Pet Care

  2. Pingback: Compost for Catnip - Christy Paws

  3. We use World’s Best – it’s flushable. We LOVE it!!

  4. Raven says:

    Definitely no composting of carnivore poop around here. Actually, we don’t compost vegetable waste either because we live close to a river and it would attract critters like rats & raccoons. The vegetable gardens get organic compost.

    We used and liked a corn based litter until it hatched beetles…so be careful of that if you go with a plant-based product. Don’t store it too long or you may get more than you bargained for. Corn litter can also be a problem if you have animals with corn allergies or (like dogs who will get into the kitty box). We’ve also tried crystals, and light-weight stuff, but I like to step on the edge of my box and it will tip over with light-weight litter. We produce only 1 kitchen garbage bag of trash per week (including my litter) so we’re not too worried about the landfill. And we only have to carry the trash to the curb, so hauling it isn’t an issue for us either.

    I’m not sure there’s a perfect litter – they all have their pluses and minuses. I’ve settled on clumping clay because it works best for me.

    • Christy Paws says:

      Beetles, huh? I like bugs but mom sure doesn’t and I probably wouldn’t like them in my litter. I’ll definitely be on the look our for those to give mom an early warning if it should happen! Thanks for the heads up!

  5. Penelope says:

    Mommy tried to get us to use pine and corn litters. It was a NO GO. But then, when wes moved back to Midway, there is a spot in our yard where the bank has washed away. To stop it from eroding more, we was going to has to buy clay fill, guess what litter is!!!
    Our litter is now spread over that part of the bank and interspersed with other organic composts and soil. Oh yes, there is a place where wes can take the solid waste (including the dog’s).
    Kisses
    Nellie

  6. We use Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat which is clay based and not biodegradeable. We didn’t have good success with the corn based or newspaper ones. We wouldn’t use them. So we may not be green, but at least we use the box. 😉

  7. Sandi says:

    Just got my first bag of recycled newspaper litter delivered today.

    We want to transition Gorgeous from dirt to litter, but I was afraid the clumping litter we normally use would stick to his nose-hole, and didn’t want anything dusty because it might be too irritating with him still being extra sensitive.

    I love wheat-based litter and I liked the pine and corn, but Peepers is very picky about texture and insisted I go back to the clumping clay. 🙁

    We might try wheat again. I don’t think she got to try that kind because my supplier stopped carrying it before she arrived.

    • Christy Paws says:

      Mom tried lots of other litters in the past, like the one made of crystals. We just didn’t like the texture of that one and wouldn’t use it. Here, the disposal issue is so much more important so we really need to transition.

  8. Gweat posty. Yep dat clay stuffs is just pawful all da way wound. But it duz clump like cement and dats why peeps like it. They just haven’t considered what it might be duin’ inside kitty. Weez twied da corn too, but still purrfur da wheat. And of course mommy wuld much radder smell fwesh baked bwead fur a foo minutes stead of wet corn. MOL And yep compostin’ can be a pain ifin yous wanna use dat on yous edibles since you can’t. Mommy dusn’t do much gawdenin’ anymore and ow pawtment dusn’t allow compostin’. Good luck in ow give away. Today’s da last day so weez’ll be announcin a winner soon.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi

  9. Christy, this litter sounds very interesting. We use clay litter right now and your right, its dusty and I tend to wheeze so maybe its the litter. Shoko is very slow to change if she will at all. Yet, this litter seems to worth a try. Thanks my friend.

    Kali

    • Christy Paws says:

      Oh, it very well could be the litter making you wheeze. What mom did to help us change is give us a box of each kind of litter side by side. Eventually, we all used the corn litter and now use whichever one is cleanest! MOL! The clay is almost gone and then we will strictly be using the corn litter.

  10. Very interesting post! Thanks for sharing. 🙂 xx

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