Controversy surrounding the safety of traditional cat litter has owners worried, and with good reason. Some litters can be hazardous to the health of both you and your cat. Luckily, there are now a variety of litters to choose from. Here is a run down of some popular choices.

Clay-Based Litter
Pros: Clay litters are the most common. They are odor absorbing and come in clumping and non-clumping forms. This traditional cat litter wins owners over with convenience. It is easy to clean, cats like it, and can last up to a month.

Cons: It is not uncommon for curious kittens to taste their litter and sodium bentonite, a chemical used to make the litter clump, can be dangerous if ingested. Some owners claim clumping litter has caused their cats to suffer from intestinal blockages resulting in injury or even death. Also, dust from clay-based cat litter can aggravate asthma and allergies in both humans and cats.

Corn-Based Cat Litter:
Pros: Corn litters are a safer alternative for kittens since they are not harmful if ingested. The texture is similar to clay-based litter so most cats have no problem with the transition. Corn-based cat litters are made of renewable resources and biodegrade easily.

Cons: Corn-based cat litters can be dusty and are easily tracked around the house. They can also be expensive and hard to find.

Pine-based Litter
Pros: Pine litters are excellent for controlling odor because pine itself has odor controlling properties. Pine is non-toxic and lasts longer than most litters. Once waste is removed this litter can be composted, making it another environmentally friendly choice.

Cons: While pine controls unpleasant odor, the smell of pine itself is sometimes offensive to cats. Pine litter is made of compressed pine pellets, it is not fine like traditional litters so some cats just cannot get used to it.

Paper-Based Litter

Pros: Paper litter is made from recycled newspaper making it an environmentally sound choice. It is odor absorbing and virtually dust-free. This litter is safe for cats that have recently been declawed.

Cons: The consistency of newspaper litter when it is wet can make it difficult to clean. Like pine litter, paper litter is made up of pellets which can be a difficult transition for your cat.

Silica Crystal Cat Litter
Pros: This cat litter is super absorbent and has strong odor eliminating properties. It is virtually dust-free and lasts longer than most litters.

Cons: Silica crystal litter is toxic if ingested so kittens or curious cats are at risk. The crystals seem to be too rough for some cat’s paws so they refuse to use it. This litter is not as environmentally friendly as most of its competitors.

So there you have it. When you decide which cat litter is right for you don’t just follow your nose, get to know your options.

 

About the Author:
Kathryn Lisko is a Wildlife Major at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, is apprenticing to become a dog trainer, and is a regular contributor at ProbioticSmart.com – a leading online retailer of all natural cat litters.

 

Article Sources:
http://www.petco.com/Shop/ShoppingGuides/petco_ChooseCatLitter_ShoppingGuideID_4_Nav_288.aspx
http://cats.about.com/cs/litterbox/a/clumpingclay.htm