Choosing Eco Cat Litter Alternatives

How to Toilet Train your Cat, Make Homemade Cat Litter and Purchase Eco Litter

While cat lovers generally make peace with the nasty job of cleaning up their feline’s mess, when we dump it in the trash it becomes the earth’s problem which has large negative environmental impacts. Read on learn why cat litter is a problem and how you can start implementing eco alternatives like toilet training your cat and making homemade cat litter.  

 

With 63% of all US households with a pet, that adds up to a big, stinky problem.[1] Here’s why:

  • Toxoplasmosis, a protozoa found in cat feces that can wash into streams, rivers, and oceans through septic systems, sewage pipes, yards, and landfills, can infect birds, rodents, shellfish, and sea otters, causing illness and even death in these creatures.[2]
  • Clay cat litter is made of bentonite or attapulgite/montmorillonite minerals, and although these can absorb a lot of moisture (7-10 times their own weight), mining them is environmentally destructive and carbon intensive. They also create dust that can coat your kitty’s lungs, causing health problems.[3]
  • On average, American households toss over 2 million tons of non biodegradable cat litter annually.[4]
  • Clumping cat litters can be deadly to kittens when the dust mixes in the lungs, causing serious health issues and death.[5]
  • Silica (silicone) cat litters may be linked to cancer in humans and pets.[6]

 

How to toilet train your cat

One way to minimize the eco problems related to your feline’s toilet habits is to actually get her to use the toilet! This significantly cuts down on your cat’s solid waste and will save you some coin as well. If you’re looking for a way to toilet train your cat, here are some products and resources that may help:

Unfortunately, because of the risk of toxoplasmosis spread, many environmentalists recommend that this option is not as eco-friendly as we might like to think. They also use energy and water to rid your home of your pet’s waste, which simply transfer the eco-problems from one issue to another. Choose at your own discretion.

 

Make your own homemade cat litter

Of course, another really cheap and eco-friendly way to collect and dispose of kitty waste is to make your own homemade cat litter. Here’s an easy newspaper cat litter recipe anyone can follow:

  1. Shred old newspapers by hand or in a shredder. Put in clean litter box.
  2. Mix some warm water with biodegradable dish soap and soak the paper. The water will turn grey and the paper will become like oatmeal.
  3. Drain water and repeat, but with the soap this time.
  4. Drain again.
  5. Sprinkle some baking soda into the mixture and mix around.
  6. Squeeze it to dry it out as much as possible
  7. Spread over a screen and allow to dry for several days.
  8. Crumble it up and use as you would other litters!

This eco cat litter alternative is great because it reduces your newspaper waste and gives you a biodegradable litter option.

 

Identifying eco cat litters

If the above cat littler alternatives do not meet your needs then look for cat litters with eco-friendly characteristics, such as:

  • Made of recycled materials, like newspaper, wood waste, corn waste, or recycled paper.
  • Biodegradable materials that will break down naturally when thrown away (unlike clay litters). This can include corn, wheat, wood, soybeans, paper/newspaper, and even tea leaves!

These eco cat litter brands are great options if you’re looking for greener ways to litter train your kitties (many of which are clumping and scoopable):

Many ask, “Can you flush cat litter?”, but because of the potential for toxoplasmosis to invade your water systems, it is recommended that you not flush your kitty litter down the toilet. Rather put it in the trash with your other garbage.






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References

1 National Pet Owners Survey. (2005, May). Retrieved September 1, 2010, from APPMA: http://www.americanpetproducts.org/newsletter/may2005/npos.html

2, 4 Making Your Pet Green. (2004, October 1). Retrieved September 1, 2010, from National Wildlife Federation: http://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/National-Wildlife/Green-Living/Archives/2004/Making-Your-Pet-Green.aspx

3, 5 Miller, M. A. (n.d.). Cat Litter - The Dust Settles. Retrieved September 1, 2010, from TheCatSite.com: http://www.thecatsite.com/Snips/107/Cat-Litter-The-Dust-Settles.html

6 Alternatives to Clumping Clay Kitty Litters. (n.d.). Retrieved September 1, 2010, from The Lighthouse Online: http://thelighthouseonline.com/articles/natural.html

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