The Hidden Dangers of Cat Litter

None of us would ever intentionally cause our cat harm.  But many people don’t realize that something as simple as cat litter contains many hidden dangers – to your cat and to you.

Litters that contain perfumes as odor control can irritate cats’ eyes and aggravate allergies.  But that’s just the start.

Popular among many cat owners, some clumping litters can be downright dangerous to cats.  Many litters contain a compound known as sodium bentonite as the clumping agent, which expands to 15 to 18 times its dry size when wet.  Cats lick their paws, especially after being in the litter box, and can get internal blockages from the dust alone.  Many cats and kittens eat litter.  This can have deadly consequences as the litter swells in the intestines, especially in kittens.  If you use litter with sodium bentonite and your cat experiences constipation, muscle weakness or lethargy, get them to a vet ASAP.

Ever worried as you pour litter into the litter box if that dust swirling up is harmful?  Many cat litters contain quartz silica.  Silica dust is a known carcinogen, which can cause respiratory problems, some as serious as lung cancer, in your cat.  Although there are no known studies on the effect of silica dust from cat litter on humans, many guess it could very well have the same effect on us.

So what’s a cat owner to do?  Look for a cat litter made from wheat, newspaper or corn, which is free of dyes or perfumes and does not contain silica or sodium bentonite.

My all-time favorite cat litter is the aptly named World’s Best Cat Litter.  Made from whole kernel corn, it’s a safe and natural alternative.  It’s silica free, naturally clumping (no sodium bentonite), biodegradable and flushable.  It also works great with self-cleaning litter boxes.


Check out our great selection of Natural Cat Litter.  We have many brands that are planet friendly, and safe for you and your pet.  Most also offer free shipping.


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6 Comments to “The Hidden Dangers of Cat Litter”

  1. Sandy evans says:

    Anyone having a problem with unusual amount of dust with Fresh Step cat litter? I have two bad boxes. I will not buy this brand again for my cat’s health as well as mine.

    • Andrea Inman says:

      Hi Sandy. I stumbled upon this article because I am trying to find a different type of litter for my cats and couldn’t believe that your comment about fresh step was the first one I see. I just bought a box of fresh step to try it out and it was a decent price. Its the new antibacterial litter. When I poured it out it looked like someone set off a smoke bomb and I had to open all the windows for it to go away and it left a dusty coating on everything in the house! Not glad that you had this junk too, but glad to know it is NOT normal! To the dumpster it goes! Thanks!

  2. Roberto says:

    Excellent article!

  3. Anne says:

    Natural, or in this case plant-based, does not necessarily mean hypo-allergenic. Cats can be allergic to wheat or corn as well :)

  4. Kyle says:

    I once used World’s Best but I removed that from my cat’s box the second I found out that the company uses Monsanto GMO corn and refuses to change that. Given that it produces dust that gets inhaled in the box, as well as ingested post-box, I switched to a pine-based litter. As far as I can tell, there’s no GMO pine market yet…

  5. Jacqui says:

    I have sadly just lost my five month old kitten and I am convinced the catlitter is a probable contributing factor in her death. I am devastated. I will definitely be more careful in future.

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