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Clumping & Clay Kitty Litter Are Cat Major Health Hazard

 
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God's Warrior
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:46 am    Post subject: Clumping & Clay Kitty Litter Are Cat Major Health Hazard Reply with quote

Clumping Kitty Litter - A Deadly Convenience and a Major Health Hazard to Cats

Clumping clay litter, which forms a hard ball when it gets wet, is one of the most harmful types on the market. Several brands use this clay to make thier litter easier to scoop. What makes it clump? It's a natural clay ingredient called sodium bentonite. In this case, "natural" is not always safe. Here's the problem: When this clay gets wet it expands and forms a hard mass. So when your cat or kitten digs in the litter box it's stirring up clay dust and breathing it in. Once it gets into their lungs, it expands from the moisture, and in time builds up, causing all sorts of lung problems like the ones mentioned above.

Some clumping litters actually post a warning right on the bag; "Do Not Let Cat Ingest Litter". It is ridiculous to think that you can stop your cat from breathing while visiting the litter box .You cannot stop your cat from grooming itself with its tongue or stop your new kitten from swatting and nibbling on the litter. Anything their tongue contacts gets ingested. Once the clay litter is inside the cat or kitten and expands, it not only could cause dehydration by absorbing all the body's moisture, it could also form a hard mass in the intestines over a period of time, which could be fatal."

Kitty Litter with a Serious Warning (via the Internet Archive)
http://web.archive.org/web/200106...ort.com/freeissue/kittylitter.htm

Respiration problems are not the only thing to consider when purchasing litter for your cat. All cats clean their fur and paws, which can be coated with clay litter from using the litter box. Clumping litters in particular can be harmful to your pet because, once ingested, the litter expands and absorbs moisture in the intestines, causing blockages and dehydration, and preventing the absorption of nutrients. For this reason, the ASPCA recommends not using clumping litter for kittens."

From Rainforests to Kitty Litter
http://www.emagazine.com/may-june_1998/0598aske.html

"An article entitled "How Cat Litter is Made" appeared in Cat Fancy magazine (October 1994). Shockingly, the article contains no cautions against the use of clumping litters, even though the description of one of the main ingredients in such products should be enough to alarm any thinking person.

"Sodium bentonite, a naturally swelling clay, is often added as an extremely effective clumping agent. When liquid is added, bentonite swells to approximately 15 times its original volume. But because sodium bentonite acts as an expandable cement would, litters containing sodium bentonite should never be flushed; when they expand
they can block plumbing."

A few moments' thought is all that is needed to realize that something able to block household plumbing must be wreaking havoc on the plumbing of our feline companions."

"There has been a rise in depressed immune systems, respiratory distress, irritable bowel syndrome, and vomiting (other than hairballs) among cats that I have seen in the past two years. All had one thing in common... a clumping product in their litter box. In several cases, simply removing the litter improved the condition of the cat. After a period of natural cleansing, with herbs and homeopathy, cats with "irritable bowel syndromes" (which had been
unsuccessfully treated by veterinarians with a variety of medications) passed copious amounts of a gel-like substance, which prompted me to study these clumping litters. I found that when mixed with a small amount of water it maintained it shape, but turned to a gel after
repeated contact (60 to 72 hours) or with additional fluid added (as would be found in the digestive tract). One can only imagine what happens when this substance is inhaled! One thing for sure, cats ingest or inhale this substance each time they visit their box and when cleaning themselves afterwards."

Great clumping cat litter...Is that why Kitty is so sick?!
http://www.felinesandfriends.org/content/clumping.htm

"The chronic ingestion of bentonite-containing cat litter by this cat appeared associated with hypokalemia, lethargy and muscle weakness, dehydration and heart murmur in addition to macrocytic hypochromic anemia. Clinical signs quickly resolved with administration of fluids and whole blood and removal from the cat litter.

In vitro experiments have confirmed that bentonite clays adsorb potassium, and it has been speculated that the presence of bentonite in the gut may inhibit the absorption of dietary iron."

"The arguments for potential hazards to pets of using clumping clay with sodium bentonite certainly sound logical:

* Cats inhale dust from clay litter, or ingest it while cleaning their feet. Kittens, being curious creatures, sometimes eat litter.
* The powerful clumping abilities of sodium betonite cause the ingested clay dust and particles which, when combined with natural and ingested liquid form a solid mass. (When liquid is added, bentonite swells to approximately 15 times its original volume.
* Inhaled particles could cause similar problems in the moist climate of the lungs. (The dust in clay is silica dust, which is not particularly friendly to either human or feline lungs.)
* The "clumping activity" in the intestines could draw fluid out of the body, causing dehydration, and possibly consequential urinary tract problems.
*  The clumping substance coats the digestive tract,"attracting the collection of old fecal material, increasing toxicity, bacteria growth and prohibiting proper assimilation of digested food. This can lead to stress on the immune system, leaving the animal susceptible to viral,
bacterial, parasitic and yeast infections." (From an article by Lisa Newman.)
* The problems can also extend to dogs, who sometimes are inexplicably drawn to "litter box snacks."

Absent any scientific studies or documented cases, it is hard to make an objective decision about the use of clumping clay litters for our cats. However, since there are a number of alternative litters that do not use sodium bentonite, the prudent cat caregiver would consider using one of those as an alternative.

The Rise and Fall of Clumping Clay Litter
http://cats.about.com/cs/litterbox/a/clumpingclay_2.htm


Last edited by God's Warrior on Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Scooterbug, an internet friend of mine.  
God's Warrior


Warnings about clumping litter. This notice is displayed at a large Veterinarian Clinic I go to. ( worded as best as I remember)

If your litter boxes are covered remove the covers.

Most cats are fastidious and do not care for the environment in kitty poo caves anyway Wink

NEVER cover these boxes as your fur kids should NOT breathe in the dust as it will stay in their lungs .
(Nasty stuff)

Use caution while changing litter that YOU do not inhale the dust either.

Keep the litter dry so it does not stick to kitties paws and get licked off.

Also NEVER feed near the clumping litter spills where kitty may ingest some by accident.

This builds up in their intestines and can cause an excruciating death as it forms a large impassable mass.

My vet said he recently had to humanly PTS a poor kitty that was bleeding internally from a ruptured gut caused by this type of mass.

Warm Regards,
~S


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kitty Litter
Breathing Silica
http://www.emagazine.com/view/?624

What are the health effects of clumping cat litter on humans? Are there any negative side effects from breathing the actual litter?
Clay-based cat litters contain crystalline silica, the main component in sand, rock and mineral ores. A possible health threat from clay-based litters is posed by silica dust, which can be kicked up and breathed in by both cats and humans. Prolonged exposure to silica dust causes silicosis, a non-cancerous but sometimes fatal lung disease. Crystalline silica dust is also a suspected carcinogen, associated with bronchitis and tuberculosis. Although exposure to this dust is of great concern to those working in mines or on construction sites, the effects on cat owners exposed while cleaning their cat's litter box are virtually unknown.


However, respiration problems are not the only thing to consider when purchasing litter for your cat. All cats clean their fur and paws, which can be coated with clay litter from using the litter box. Clumping litters in particular can be harmful to your pet because, once ingested, the litter expands and absorbs moisture in the intestines, causing blockages and dehydration, and preventing the absorption of nutrients. For this reason, the ASPCA recommends not using clumping litter for kittens.

Aware of the possible risks of silica dust and other side effects from clay litters, many cat owners are opting for healthier, more environmentally-sound alternatives. Dust-free litters like Feline Pine or Swheat Scoop are biodegradable, less harmful if ingested by pets, and produce no dangerous respirable dusts. They both contain no chemical additives, fragrances or dyes, are completely flushable, and can even be used as compost or mulch.
CONTACT
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30333
Tel. (404) 639-3311
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a Waste  by Lisa Newman
http://www.felinesandfriends.org/content/clumping.htm

The future is here today, science has rendered many new inventions. They make our lives seem easier, more cost-effective... and sicker. Sicker? Yes! Every day we are given new information that supports the concerns of many holistic health professionals, that our new and improved world may be toxic. Additives in our foods, artificial scents we spray around us, the list is enormous.
But what about our animals? How are they affected?

One new development of science that has me concerned is that of the "clumping cat litters".

Touted to be easier to clean, non-tracking, and cost-effective, it is often "scented" and "deodorizing". It is chemically altered and I believe harmful to our animals.
There has been a rise in depressed immune systems, respiratory distress, irritable bowel syndrome, and vomiting (other than hairballs) among cats that I have seen in the past two years. All had one thing in common... a clumping product in their litter box. In several cases, simply removing the litter improved the condition of the cat. After a period of natural cleansing, with herbs and homeopathy, cats with "irritable bowel syndromes" (which had been unsuccessfully treated by veterinarians with a variety of medications) passed copious amounts of a gel-like substance, which prompted me to study these clumping litters. I found that when mixed with a small amount of water it maintained it shape, but turned to a gel after repeated contact (60 to 72 hours) or with additional fluid added (as would be found in the digestive tract). One can only imagine what happens when this substance is inhaled! One thing for sure, cats ingest or inhale this substance each time they visit their box and when cleaning themselves afterwards.

They are not the only ones that can be harmed. Dogs who love to sneak into the cat box for a (ugh!) treat, not only ingest the toxins normally found in feline fecal material, but the coating of clumping litter as well! This has reeked havoc on many a canine's digestive tract, including leading to a fatal case of bloat in one dog that I know of. When his stomach was opened, it was full of clumping litter! Some dogs have been known to root around in the litter daily, creating respiratory conditions (from gel coatings of the lung tissue), eye irritation, colon distress and even mal absorption of nutrients.

It is my belief that the clumping substance "coats" the digestive tract, attracting the collection of old fecal material, increasing toxicity, bacteria growth and prohibiting proper assimilation of digested food. This can lead to stress on the immune system, leaving the animal susceptible to viral, bacterial, parasitic and yeast infections.

The only way to prevent this is to supply a cat with a good old fashion plant-based litter. Sand litters can create many of the above mentioned problems as well, but plant-based litter products, such as fine (not larger types made for bedding) cedar shavings, provide not only a safe environment to potty in, but a fresh, naturally deodorized one to boot. They are easy to dispose of, safe for septic system and sewers (be sure to read labels first). Always check that your litter is free of any deodorizers, colors or drying agents which could be potentially harmful.
Having a natural litter in your kitty's box is not only healthy, but may encourage those finicky about using a box, to try this one out. The natural texture and aroma is more suited for their needs. When Mother Nature imprinted feline potty instructions, do you think they included silica sand chemically treated?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://thelighthouseonline.com/index-2.html

Clumping clay kitty litters, the kind that contain sodium bentonite, may be related to a number of cat health problems, such as respiratory problems, bowel problems (including irritable bowel syndrome), urinary and kidney problems, as well as a host of others. On this page, you'll find links to articles concerning clumping clay kitty litters and the possible health hazards they pose, not just for cats, but for many other creatures as well. In addition, you'll find a link to a page of excerpts from some of the letters I have received from others describing their experiences with clumping clay kitty litters and their cat's (or other pet's) health problems, as well as some other links of interest to cat lovers.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.thecatsite.com/Snips/107/Cat-Litter-The-Dust-Settles.html

If it comes from the earth, then it must be environmentally safe, right? According to the Bureau of Waste Management, approximately 8 billion pounds of kitty litter is dumped into landfills every year! That is over twice the amount of disposable diapers! Also within the clay litter there lays an inherent risk factor. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, silicon particles which can be found in clay litter are a known human carcinogen. Breathing in these particles can cause respiratory illness.

When your cat goes to cover her waste, this dust is kicked up and introduced into the room. Distributed on the floor and anywhere else it chooses to settle, the dust becomes an invasive intruder. Research has shown that silicon particles do indeed cause cancer-like symptoms in lab rats, but so far, there is no data available to say if it does the same in cats. Although there exists evidence that silicon particles cause problems in humans, case studies available only show that cats with respiratory illnesses have six times the amount of silica in their lungs than healthy cats do. But the studies are greatly overshadowed by the needs of cat owners, and the availability and ease of using clay litter.

Another fact that immerged as this article was being researched included numerous reports that clumping litter and kittens do not mix. Kittens are quite curious and some of them taste the litter, or lay down in the pan. Because the litter performs when it meets moisture and swells, and kittens routinely lick themselves clean after using the litter pan, if clumping litter gets inside of their system problems can result. Vomiting, frothing at the mouth, and intestinal blockages are only some of the symptoms that can occur. Always err on the side of caution with kittens and use an alternative litter until they are grown and not so apt to sample kitty litter. Green litters are a good choice for the kitten’s needs.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Overview
This article is a companion piece to Clumping Clay Kitty Litters: A Deadly Convenience?, an article first published in Tiger Tribe magazine in 1995.

When I first wrote the article on clumping clay kitty litters, I felt that it would best serve people if I were to not only provide information on the potential dangers of those litters, but if I could also offer information on alternative kitty litters. Hence this article.

Natural alternatives to clumping clay kitty litters, such as plant-based litters, are available at many pet, health food, and especially feed stores. Plant-based litters are usually made from some combination of wheat, alfalfa, oat hulls, corn cob, peanut hulls, or recycled newspaper.
This article includes a list of specific brands of alternative kitty litters that I have been able to find. For those litters that I have tried, I include a discussion their advantages and disadvantages.

Important! The information on this page is provided solely for educational and informational purposes; it is not to be taken as an endorsement for any particular brand, product, or manufacturer.

Although many of the comments regarding the litters on this page date back to 1995/1996, some are more recent. I have added (and continue to add) a number of new litters and have updated the information for other litters. I have also included Web site addresses, if I could find such, and I strive to keep them up-to-date.

To help you know which information is older and which is newer, I have added approximate dates for when each set of comments was last updated.

About Regular Clay
Although regular clay litters do not pose the potential health hazards that clumping clay kitty litters do, they do have their own problems:
• Mining clay is hard on the environment.
• Clay litters contribute significantly to landfills. Unlike many of the litters on this page, they cannot be composted, nor do they biodegrade.
Most, if not all, clay litters contain silica, which is potentially harmful. From a Web page at The Andersons' Web site (manufacturers of FIELDFresh): "Crystalline Silica, once airborne, shows the ability of causing Silicosis. This can cause incurable lesions on the lungs and throat, rendering that tissue useless for transferring oxygen. Crystalline Silica is a naturally occurring element, also known as Quartz, and is found in some of the clay litters. ... According to government standards, silica is a known carcinogen and a Prop 65 material in California."

What I Recommend
I am often asked what I recommend.
If you want a non-clay, clumping, scoopable litter, there are really only three choices that I know of:
• SWheatScoop, which is made from wheat and is indeed a clumping and scoopable litter. The key difference between it and clumping clay litters is that the wheat clumps are said to fall apart when they get wet, therefore not posing the health hazard that an indissoluble clump would.
• WonderWheat, which I have never tried but sounds as though it is the Australian equivalent of SWheatScoop.
• The World's Best Cat Litter. I hesitate to recommend this litter, for reasons listed under the product description, but it is still one of the best alternatives available and, I have heard, works in automatic cat boxes.
I have heard that there is a clay clumping litter that does not use sodium bentonite, but I have not had a chance to test it, and my concerns for kitty litters include as well as avoiding any kind of clay because of the silica present in all clays, as well as the impact on the environment, both in mining the clay and in the piling up of the litter in landfills.
If you want an excellent product that is acceptable to cats, easy on the environment, and easy on you, and you are willing to accept that they do not clump, the following litters are all on my short list (that is, they are all quite satisfactory, and I will use them without hesitation):
CareFresh
• Feline Pine
• FIELDFresh
• Yesterday's News


http://www.felinepine.com/forums/

http://www.worldsbestcatlitter.com/  made from corn

Comments from viewers: I work in a Pet Supply store and one of the best selling litters is California Best. It's from corn.

I switched to Equine Pine in the 40 lb. bags. it's for stalls but it's the same pine that is found in the Feline Pine and is unbelievably cheap. i think i pay about 5 something for it at Tractor Supply but any feed store carries it, i think. i added a little each day to his regular box and at the end of a week, made the total switch over. i highly recommend it.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Transitioning Your Cat from Other Litter Use
By manufacturers of Yesterday's News

While some cats can switch from one litter type to another easily, your cat may require a transition. When possible, plan surgeries in advance so your cat can adjust to Yesterday’s News® beforehand.
Follow this simple transition schedule:
• Week One – mix 1/3 Yesterday’s News® with your current litter
• Week Two – mix 1/2 Yesterday’s News® with 1/2 current litter
• Week Three – 100% Yesterday’s News®

Whenever feasible, maintain the same litter box in the same location it has always been. Just be sure to scoop out the feces and pellets that have absorbed urine daily and replace the litter weekly. Clean the litter box with warm water and a mild detergent between litter.

Once a month, disinfect the box with a mild bleach and water solution. (Ammonia-based disinfectants are not recommended because cat urine contains ammonia and your cat may think the box is dirty.) Air dry outdoors if possible.
Do not flush (even flushable litter can harm plumbing), and do not use litter as fertilizer. It will attract flies and other cats.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kitty Litter with a Serious Warning
From: Pet Consumer Report

Vets have been reporting more and more kitty illnesses related to litter. Certain litters are actually causing serious problems for our feline friends including asthma, bronchitis, intestinal blockage and possibly even lung cancer.

Most litters are loaded with chemicals to reduce odor and help with absorption. These chemicals are released into the air when your cat digs in the litter box. The dust from the litter gets into the cat's lungs and can wreak havoc on its immune system, putting his or her health in jeopardy. With every visit to the litter box, your cat may be polluting its lungs. Damage can occur in just a short period of time.

Clumping clay litter, which forms a hard ball when it gets wet, is one of the most harmful types on the market. Several brands use this clay to make thier litter easier to scoop. What makes it clump? It's a natural clay ingredient called sodium bentonite. In this case, "natural" is not always safe. Here's the problem: When this clay gets wet it expands and forms a hard mass. So when your cat or kitten digs in the litter box it's stirring up clay dust and breathing it in. Once it gets into their lungs, it expands from the moisture, and in time builds up, causing all sorts of lung problems like the ones mentioned above.

Some clumping litters actually post a warning right on the bag; "Do Not Let Cat Ingest Litter". It is ridiculous to think that you can stop your cat from breathing while visiting the litter box .You cannot stop your cat from grooming itself with its tongue or stop your new kitten from swatting and nibbling on the litter. Anything their tongue contacts gets ingested. Once the clay litter is inside the cat or kitten and expands, it not only could cause dehydration by absorbing all the body's moisture, it could also form a hard mass in the intestines over a period of time, which could be fatal.

The problem of health difficulties and even deaths resulting from clumping litters extend far beyond cats and kittens to ferrets, rabbits, and even dogs that raid litter boxes. So what can you do? The solution is easy, simple and inexpensive. Switch to a biodegradable, dust and clay free, non-clumping litter. Many of these biodegradable litters are made from recycled paper, which will help to save the environment as well as your pet. You can find these products almost anywhere, just read the label. If you're worried about odor, sprinkle a small amount of baking soda in with the litter. It works better than litter deodorizers that just cover up odors instead of absorbing them. You can also find a litter box with a top that has a filter for odor control.

Now that you know some of the dangers and their solutions regarding kitty litter, hope you will pass this information on to a friend. You could be saving the health of an animal.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What's the issue here?

http://www.thelighthouseonline.com/articles/natural.html

Natural alternatives to clumping clay kitty litters, such as plant-based litters, are available at many pet, health food, and especially feed stores. Plant-based litters are usually made from some combination of wheat, alfalfa, oat hulls, corn cob, peanut hulls, or recycled newspaper.

About Regular Clay
Although regular clay litters do not pose the potential health hazards that clumping clay kitty litters do, they do have their own problems:
• Mining clay is hard on the environment.
• Clay litters contribute significantly to landfills. Unlike many of the litters on this page, they cannot be composted, nor do they biodegrade.
Most, if not all, clay litters contain silica, which is potentially harmful. From The Andersons' Web site (manufacturers of FIELDFresh): "Crystalline Silica, once airborne, shows the ability of causing Silicosis. This can cause incurable lesions on the lungs and throat, rendering that tissue useless for transferring oxygen. Crystalline Silica is a naturally occurring element, also known as Quartz, and is found in some of the clay litters. ... According to government standards, silica is a known carcinogen and a Prop 65 material in California."

http://www.thelighthouseonline.com/articles/natural.html

Clumping clay kitty litters, the kind that contain sodium bentonite, may be related to a number of cat health problems, such as respiratory problems, bowel problems (including irritable bowel syndrome), urinary and kidney problems, as well as a host of others. On this page, you'll find links to articles concerning clumping clay kitty litters and the possible health hazards they pose, not just for cats, but for many other creatures as well. In addition, you'll find a link to a page of excerpts from some of the letters I have received from others describing their experiences with clumping clay kitty litters and their cat's (or other pet's) health problems, as well as some other links of interest to cat lovers.

It all started with this article: “Clumping Clay Kitty Litters—A Deadly Convenience?”
http://www.thelighthouseonline.com/articles/clump.html
This article was first published in Tiger Tribe magazine in 1995. Since then, it has been available at my Web site and has also been reprinted in cat-related newsletters and at Web sites uncounted times worldwide.
Many people have written to tell me that they were able to save their cat because of the information they found here. I've reprinted a small selection from the many letters I've received.
After reading this article, you may be wondering what to use instead. This page summarizes information about alternatives: Alternatives to clumping clay kitty litter.

Additional information
Switching Your Cat to a New Kitty Litter
Alternative Cat Boxes, Toilet Training Your Cat, and Furniture for Cat Boxes
An article by a vet on the potential dangers of clumping clay kitty litters
Cat Health Problems and Clumping Clay Kitty Litters
http://www.thelighthouseonline.com/articles/hornfeldt.html


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