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Is Clumping Cat Litter Dangerous?

Aug 17, 2007
Clumping cat litter has enjoyed a long run as one of the most popular types of cat litter. However, it seems that recently cat litter that clumps has come under fire from some quarters, with claims that the litter can present a health risk to not only your pet but also to everyone in your household. Here are some of the things you should know about cat litter of this type and your health.

One of the purported dangers of cat litter that clumps has to do with the chemicals that are used to give the litter its clumping ability. Most brands contain sodium bentonite and quartz silica. Sodium bentonite is an absorbent material that can swell up to eighteen times its original size. The idea is that a cat may very well carry a small piece of this agent away from the box and then ingest this fragment of litter while going about the routine grooming that cats like to do every day. The swelling properties could then create an internal health risk for the cat. In the case of sodium bentonite, it has been proven to be a cause of several types of cancer in humans, if contact is prolonged and consistent.

A second attribute of clumping cat litter also presents a potential problem. The compounds tend to be dusty. This means that when your cat does his or her scratching in the litter box, it sends out dust particles into the air, with some also settling into your cat's fur. As your cat roams the house and most particularly on those occasions when your cat jumps into your lap and demands some attention, sodium bentonite particles can then be transferred to you and create respiratory problems. Also, the transference of the silica quartz by way of the dust particles is a relatively easy way to introduce the cancer causing agents into your system as well.

Just how serious and what amount of exposure is actually needed to put pets and humans at risk is still being determined, so there is no immediate need of dumping any litter you may have into the garbage just yet. At the same time, with so many other forms of cat litter on the market, perhaps it would be a good idea to try something other than clumping cat litter for your pet's litter box. In the long run, you and your cat may benefit from the change.
About the Author
Mayoor Patel is the writer for the website http://cat-litter.wares-are.us. Please visit for information on all things concerned with Clumping Cat Litter
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