Breathing in Cat Litter Fumes & Dangers of Dust: Is it Toxic?

It’s been an ongoing debate for some time now. A lot of experts and caretakers have expressed their concerns and importance of safe cat litter for the cats, people and the environment. Breathing in cat litter fumes is toxic too. Read my best kitty litter box post.

Dangers of Cat Litter Dust: The Clumping Clay Debate

health concerns litter

The debate about the safety of clumping clay cat litters that use sodium bentonite as their clumping ingredient started back in the 90s and has been active ever since. Sodium bentonite is a natural clay, there are two concerns about it: (1) the health dangers it exposes to cats ones it’s been ingested when cats lick their paws, and (2) that cats can breath the dust in while scratching in the litter box. This is a problem because once it’s inside the cat, the clay starts expanding and turning into a mass that can cause problems to the gastrointestinal tract, thus causing illness or in worst cases – death.

But, it’s important to note that a lot of experts do not support this theory since it has never been proven by research, it’s simply based on opinions and experience of vets and cat owners.

Dangers of Not Cleaning Cat Litter

Some other concerns about clumping cat litter are that dogs that eat it have the same problems as cats, the litter dust can cause respiratory problems to both cats and people, and it’s bad for the environment because it’s not biodegradable.

Safer Alternatives

I say – why risk it? Even if it hasn’t be proven by any research, why risk the health of your cat and yourself? There are some safer options that you can consider, and the safest option according to many is the organic, biodegradable cat litter. But it’s not that simple, since there are different types of it, made out of different biodegradable materials, that you can choose from, basically:

  • Corn
  • Corncob
  • Citrus scraps
  • Grains
  • Wheat
  • Paper
  • Various types of wood shavings

Even though all of them are organic and biodegradable, many would argue that the corn litter is the best and safest option out there. It’s made from whole kernel corn and is free of any chemicals, clay, bentonite or synthetic ingredients.

On the other hand, some prefer wheat and wood litter more than the corn one. Wheat litter is made from naturally processed wheat and it’s also free of clay, chemicals and is fragrance free. Wood litter on the other hand is another popular safe option usually made out of 100% recycled materials and is fully natural and biodegradable.

Tips on placing the litter box in your home

Even if you choose an all natural, safe option you should be cautious with placing the litter box in your home. First of all – don’t put it near the kitchen or where you eat. Also, don’t forget to clean the box everyday, and wash your hands afterwards. In order to be extra cautious empty the box once a month and fill it with boiling water for five minutes.

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