Now Even Cats Can Go Green

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Biodegradable Cat Litter

If you are both environmentally-conscious and owned by one or more feline care-givers, there is good news for you. If you primarily buy your cat food and litter in the grocery store or somewhere other than a pet store, there are some innovations that may have escaped your notice.

While cat litter may not be top of the list of environmental polluters, it probably isn’t so very far down the list of offenders, either. A lot of the conventional litters are not only non-biodegradable, but they create horrible dust that is good neither for you or your pets. Silica gel litter is certainly odor free and absorbent, but good for the environment? Not so much. In recent years a couple of good alternatives have come on the market, and they have now been joined by 2 others.

For a good while, my family used a litter product made from recycled newspaper and it works very well. It’s recycled, which is a bonus, plus it breaks down in water, so it isn’t going to fill up the landfill. The big drawback was the lack of odor control, but we have multiple cats. In a single cat dwelling, it could be ideal, especially since it is fairly inexpensive.

After many months of using the newspaper type, we stumbled across another type at the store. We had seen cedar chips used, but this was pellets just like the newspaper ones, only made from pine scraps. This one not only works very well, but also reduces the odor and extends the time between box changes. All that and it’s cheap, too!  The only real con is that it is non-clumping.

Today, we discovered 2 new additions which may be good as well. There are now companies making cat litter from corn and also from wheat! This is definitely a plus as far as using biodegrading materials. At least one type of the corn-based litter is actually made from processed cobs, but other types do say “whole kernel corn.” Hopefully, they are using corn and wheat that is leftover from food processing (or the excess being created as many people try to move away from things like corn syrup and bread), rather than planting more fields of it. These were a bit more expensive, but certainly worth a try at some point, since, unlike the pine and paper, they are scatcoopable, clumping litters.

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71 Responses to “Now Even Cats Can Go Green”

  1. My cats use Swheat Scoop, a wheat based litter. It doesn’t smell much, and they like it. The litter is also flushable, which leads to another question you may be able to answer. I keep the litter box in the bathroom, so when I use the toilet, I toss in the latest offerings from the cats (there are two of them). Is this worse that throwing it out? I really don’t have the area yet for a litter-compost bin.

  2. Thanks for the insight into the wheat litter. I wondered how it would be with odor reduction. As to your question, as long as you are on a sewer system and not a septic tank, I would think it would be fine to flush it. The water gets filtered for bacteria and parasites and broken down food matter like wheat, anyway, so I think flushing might be actually a pretty good way to dispose of it, though I’m no expert. However, you shouldn’t compost with carnivorous animal waste, even if you get the space for it, because of those same bacteria and parasites.

  3. Interesting. I just got a cat; I’m glad I found this post.

  4. @Eloah James - Thanks, that was my thought about the litter too, I am on the sewer system. I just wasn’t sure if there was something that I was missing.

    I wouldn’t add the waste to my garden compost, but I was reading somewhere how to compost your pet waste - consisting of burying a big plastic bin and layering waste, soil, and lime (to kill the nasties). After the few years it takes to fill it, the bacteria/parasites are neutralized (but it’s still not garden compost).

  5. Hm, good to know, I’ll have to look that up

  6. I’ve read that there are parasites in cat poop that are harmful to marine life, so I don’t flush anything from the box. Can you confirm if this is true? The story I read mentioned something like a walrus being infected off the coast of Ireland I think.

  7. Timbo, read this http://www.slate.com/id/2200638/ for further information. There have been a couple of marine deaths (otters), but they have not actually been traced to cats - or even definitively toxoplasmosis. Since (one assumes) you are washing your hands after dealing with the cat waste, if toxoplasma is present, it is going down the drain, already, so personally, I think there would be more than just a few isolated cases if this was the problem. In addition, toxoplasma is also found in ordinary garden soil - which is how many cats come by it - yet no one is saying “don’t shower after gardening or marine life could suffer” so I don’t think it’s really an issue.

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