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 scoopable, clumping litters.