“My Home Sweet Home”

Tweenies Greenies:  Monday Edition

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I am proud to say that we have taken one more small step to “green” up our home.  I have finally taken the plunge and changed our cat litter.  The cat litter has been a very touchy subject at our house.  Both Tomas and I HATE to change the litter.  It’s a dirty, stinky job, but somebody has to do it.  Plus, we love our little kitty and want to do what’s best for her as well.  Awwww….

One of the reasons that I hate to change the litter, is because my allergies act up quite badly when I change it.  I seem to be very sensitive to animal urine.  I know it sounds wierd but that is also why I can’t have gerbils or hamsters in my home.  It’s not the fur and dander, it’s the urine soaked cedar chips that trigger the sneezing and coughing.  If their urine touches my skin, it flares up in huge painful hives.  I have years of doing laboratory work with mice to thank for that sensitivity.  Anyway, I have that type of allergy and then also to dust.

If you have a cat and use clay based litter, you may notice a cloud of dust that rises up when you pour it into the litter pan.  This is what makes my eyes water and my throat scratchy.  Claylitter has silica in it, and that is a known carcinogenic.  When, you get that big dust cloud or even when your kitty paws around to bury her business, both of you are inhaling dangerous silica dust.  Overtime, that can be a big deal for both yours and your kittys health! 

Then there is the dangerous sodium bentonite that is the clumping agent in the scoopable litters.  It acts like expanding cement to “clump” the litter.  Just imagine what that does to then insides of your kitty when they lick that dust off their fur when they are cleaning themselves! 

Now, let’s talk a little about the environmental downside of clay based litters.  Clay is not considered a “renewable resource”.  Tons of it is strip mined from the Earth for the purpose of creating clay based littler.  Over 2 million tons of non-biodegradable cat litter made from clay ends up in our landfills every year.  Like other non-biodegradable materials, it will just sit and sit and sit there for years taking up space and wasting resources.

The last time I needed cat litter, I grabbed a bag of Feline Pine Cat Litter.  It’s made from pelleted renewable pine (no new trees were used) and is biodegradable.  Which means, no stip mining and that it won’t sit for ages in the landfill.  It is all natural, has no dust, no silica, no artificial fragrances are added and it also is not tracked out of the box by your sweet kitty. 

I just switched my whole litter box at once.  Our cat is not too picky about her litter.  But if you suspect yours may be a finicky fellow, you may want to slowly introduce the new litter by mixing it with the old.  I was worried that the pine litter wouldn’t soak up the urine and that it would stink to high heavens.  That soon proved to be a wasted worry.  There was literally very little odor, period.  The pine naturally neutralizes the ammonia in the urnine.  It absorbed any waste quickly and was easy to scoop.  Both Tomas and I ended up loving it.  It worked better than the clay clumping litter we had always used before.  Plus if you shop the sales, you can usually get it for just arond the same price as the clay based litters.  A big green change for a little money.

There are a few options for environmentally friendly litters.  There are those made from pine and there are litters made from wheat, corn or recycled newspaper.  Any pet supply store or major supermarket/shopping center should at least have one of these.  I have found Target to be the most reasonably priced in my area.

Take the plunge and switch your litter!  It’s so easy and the environmentally friendly brands really do work.

One more sidenote:  please do not flush your cat litter, even if you are using a flushable litter.  Our water treatment plants do not treat incoming waste water for toxioplasmosis gondii.  This is a parasite that many cats may carry and is found in their feces.  This parasite is dangerous to pregnant women and marine life.