Dirty Litter Secret: All-natural alternatives give litter a fresh appeal

Dirty Litter Secret

Litter boxes are every cat owner’s dirty little secret. But these days, cat litters have become so advanced that cat owners don’t have to try so hard to disguise their kitties’ waste or feel guilty about the effect it has on the environment.

Four billion pounds of clay litter are thrown into the garbage every year, according to the book In Defense of Garbage, written by Judd Alexander. The book details the major contributors to overflowing landfills, one of which is cat litter.

While many store shelves still offer traditional clumping litters that fill up landfills, so many alternative products have hit the market at nearly the same price point that consumers now have more green options.

These biodegradable products come in all forms: mineral, pine, wheat, corn and paper. Even 10 years ago these types of products weren’t on the market, but manufacturers hear the pleas of environmentally conscious consumers and they’ve produced new options.

(photo by: petecology.com)

The cat litter category has now expanded to include a long list of alternative litters made from natural products that include corn, wheat, and pine.

Wheat, corn, and other starch-based products serve well as litter material when their kernels are exposed through the grinding process. Through this process, these products become absorbent and clump easily. They also contain an enzyme that is able to neutralize the odor-causing chemicals in the urine.

The wheat-based litters are good for multiple-cat households because they become hard right away and won’t contaminate the box if another cat steps on it.

One manufacturer, Pet Ecology Brands, Inc., has developed a litter that detects high alkalinity in a cat’s urine. It is a natural, flushable, mineral-based litter. While it’s not a diagnostic product, it can indicate a possible problem in the urinary tract.

Flushable litters are also more environmentally friendly and many of these products have become more absorbent so less litter is necessary to absorb the same amount of liquid. These lighter-weight products require less waste with shipping. Thus, they leave a smaller carbon footprint as well.


Ann Springer

Ann Springer writes regularly on home and family issues including pets. She is the mother of three daughters and to her pug, Aggie. She holds degrees in health education and journalism.

Note: This Perspectives Blog post is written by a guest blogger of DrGreene.com. The opinions expressed on this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dr. Greene or DrGreene.com, and as such we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied. View the license for this post.

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