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Is Clay Litter Bad for Cats?

Is clay litter bad for cats?

After all, when we scoop or pour the litter, we see dust. Our kitties are breathing the dust from scratching around (which my cats can make into a recreational moment!) What about when they lick themselves? Surely some of the clay makes its way into their little furry bodies!

Those thoughts are certainly worth consideration, and if the cost and difficulty of use of alternative litters do not bother you, by all means, give them a try! Better yet, train your cat to use the toilet! He or she cannot flush, but you will save a lot of money and back labor!

But…back to the main question. Is clay litter harmful to kittens? Let’s look at some realities.

Fact: Most best-selling litters are clay-based – including the litters sold at high-end pet stores.

That fact would lead one to assume that most cat owners are using clay litter, yet inside cats have relatively long lives for mammals of their size. Added to that, as far as I know, no studies have shown any link between clay litters and cancer, pneumonia, or other feline ailment. I feed my precious babies high quality food, but they have, on occasion eaten a bug or licked a bit of ice cream that has fallen on the floor; they have survived. If the fine dust is occasionally consumed (luckily not much clings to the the short, silky hair of my Egyptian Maus), I must assume that it passes through because not only have I never had a problem with my cats having intestinal issues -- except for maybe after eating that bug -- I haven't had any feline-loving friends take their cats to the vet for a clay-in-the-bowels type of issue. Finally, while the impact of clay litters on cat health has not been scientifically investigated, neither has the use of alternative litter.

For the record, we do use a high-quality, low-dust, clay-based litter at our cattery, which is surrounded by litter mats to remove any sticky pieces from furry paws. That said, if I run across an alternative litter in the future that is effective, I'm not against giving it a try. As for the toilet...Egyptian Maus are easy to train to use the toilet, but our rescue kitties are not. For us, it is just simpler to have all of our furry friends do the same thing – so litterbox it is :)