Cat litter is a necessary product for any house with feline members. Increasingly, studies have shown that traditional clay litter is bad for cats, humans and the environment. So, more owners are looking for safer, biodegradable alternatives. Fortunately, the options are increasing, with products made from nuts, wood, corn, paper and wheat.
Bring the Forest Inside
One of the highest consumer-rated biodegradable cat litters is Feline Pine. This product is made from pine wood, and is available either in non-clumping pellets or clumping . Feline Pine is completely biodegradable and can be composted or flushed. The litter is very absorbent and is even safe for kittens, cats who have just had surgery or cats with respiratory issues.
Nutty about Cat Litter
One of the newest types of biodegradable cat litter to hit the market is made of ground nutshells. Made by Blue Buffalo, Naturally Fresh cat litter is made from sustainable and renewable walnut shells. Another company, Purr and Simple, also used to make nut-shell litter, but the company was recently bought by Blue Buffalo. Nut litter does not have the silica that is in clay litters, so it has very little dust. It also doesn't stick to kitty paws, so there is much less tracking throughout the house. The litter can be composted or flushed in the toilet.
Read All About Recycled Paper Litter
Litter made from recycled paper has been growing in popularity over the past several years. There are several companies, including those offering clay litter, that are now making recycled paper litter at reasonable prices. The litter companies shred the newspaper and form it into small pellets or gravel-sized pieces. Since it is made of paper, it is completely biodegradable, although it's not recommended to be flushed. Recycled paper litter is available in both clumping and non-clumping options. The non-clumping litter receives higher consumer reviews than the clumping version, so you may want to start with the higher-rated option first.
Get a Little Corny about Litter
One of the newest and most highly rated kinds of biodegradable litter is made of corn. The most popular brand is World's Best Cat Litter, although other several other companies also offer corn litter. Both expert and consumer reviews of World's Best are generally favorable, although some experts have expressed concerns. One of the most dangerous toxins that causes pet food recalls is aflatoxin, which is a mold that grows on wet corn. By design, litter boxes trap moisture, so if the corn is contaminated, dangerous aflatoxin levels could develop. While the risk of toxicity may be small, cat owner should be aware of the symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning if using corn litter.
Sweet, It's Wheat
One of the more unique types of biodegradable on the market is Swheat Scoop, which is made of wheat kernels. The litter is safe for kittens and cats of all ages, has a low level of dust and is safe if ingested. The litter is only available in a scoopable formula, although some reviews express disappointment at the instability of the clumps when removing them from the box. Swheat Scoop is completely biodegradable and is safe for flushing.
Completely Biodegradable Doesn't Mean Completely Harmless
Biodegradable litters offer much healthier alternatives for cats and people than clay litters. But biodegradable doesn't always mean harmless. Litters made of nuts, corn, wheat, paper and wood are all safe if ingested, but not digestible. Cats who eat these litters may experience stomach upset or even dehydration from the absorption properties of the litter. Environmentalists have also expressed concerns about the safety of flushing these litters. Even though the sewer systems can manage the litters, increasing toxoplasmosis poisoning among sea otters along the West Coast has been tentatively linked to flushed cat feces.