Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Greening of their Litter Box



Recently, I have been giving much thought to finding ways to improve our kittens' litter box problems. Actually, we don't really have any problems with the litter boxes...with the exception of the fact that they stink! Spike and Trouble each have their own litter box. Both boxes are cleaned regularly and they both have the dome that goes over the pan with a little entrance for the kittens to climb in and out. They domes each have a filter that can be replaced. The kittens usually do their business at the same time. It's sort of like "tandem pooping".

I've been thinking of how to get that stinky smell to be not so stinky. The other day, I was in the midst of cleaning the litter boxes, when the stench was so bad that I started dry heaving, then gagging, and eventually vomiting into one of the litter boxes. Hubby came running downstairs to see if I was alright. When he realized what had happened, he started laughing uncontrollably.

Me: Oh, I see. It amuses you to see your wife throwing up into the the litter box because it's so stinky?

Hubby: No. I was laughing because even after all this, you still want to have cats in the house!

The litter we use for the kittens seems to be fine. The kittens aren't boycotting their litter boxes. However, each time I clean the boxes, it strikes me that all of this waste and litter must not be that great for the environment. I did some research, and found this article
from GreenLivingOnline that was really interesting. It didn't even occur to me that the clumping litter was bad for our kittens' health. The article states that:

Cats inhale fine sodium bentonite particles when they dig in the litter. Once inhaled, the clay expands when it hits their lungs, causing asthma and other lung problems. Cats can also ingest the clay while cleaning their paws and some even develop sores on their pads from it. Silica-based litters are not much better. This porous granular form of sodium silicate absorbs odours and moisture but is also easily inhaled by humans and felines. It’s been linked to lung cancer, bronchitis and tuberculosis. Some cats can end up with a fatal form of pulmonary tuberculosis called silico-tuberculosis.

I was thinking of using something more biodegradable and more natural for the kittens' litter. Sand was an option, or sawdust from Hubby's sawmill. Then Hubby reminded me that sand and sawdust would track when the kittens walked around the house. Grrr!

Do any of you readers with cats have any suggestions? Do you know of any healthier alternatives to clumping or silica-based litter?


18 comments:

japanmanpete said...

I have a suggestion, but you may not like it. Toss out those kittens! O_o

-Pete

hellomelissa said...

you know, i thought we were rid of litter once and for ll until we got our 2 cats last year. one of them has gastointestinal ISSUES. although the cats are in/out, we need to have a box in the house at night. it sucks.

mrinz said...

Do the litter boxes have to be inside? Can they be in an outdoor place somewhere and the cats go in and out a cat door to get to them?
I guess the climate in the winter places restraints on the animals - ours 'go' outside all year round!

Litter boxes are usually only used here when toilet training a kitten.

Dan said...

When he realized what had happened, he started laughing uncontrollably.

Oh my God, I'm sorry but I had to laugh when I read that too! :) I love my kitty and will put up with stink. We use paper pellets that we buy at Whole Foods. Hardly any stink at all and Lulu loves using the box.

Uncivil said...

Now I know why I don't have kitties!LOL!!!

My brother keeps the litter box in the garage,and "Billie" their cat uses a small doggie door from inside the house to go out in the garage to do his business!

C said...

Pete:
Funny. That's exactly what Hubby said!

HelloMelissa:
Gastrointestinal issues...eww. Our kitties have been pretty flatulent recently. I'm not sure if the cat food isn't agreeing with them. Every once in a while, they'll hop onto Hubby's lap while he's watching TV and then just drop a stink bomb on him. The funny thing is that they look at him so innocently after they've farted. Poor Hubby! LOL!

C said...

mrinz:
The litter boxes are inside at the moment, because I've been trying to keep these two kittens as indoor kittens. I don't want them to go out until they've been spaded and neutered...for obvious reasons! LOL! We've got the mother cat and her sister and two other kittens as outdoor cats. They're supposed to be barn cats. Hmph! They're more like "front doorstep" cats!

C said...

Dan:
Yay! You're back for another visit! :) Hmmmm...that's a great idea! Paper pellets! I wonder if I'd be able to get them around here. Are they expensive?

Uncivil:
You know, I just knew you were going to say that! LOL! :) I agree. Dogs are easier. Well, at least here it's easier to have a dog. Chance is really good at pooping where he's supposed to. He goes out far, far away into the bushes and fields where no one ever walks and that's where he does his business. The only time he won't go to the bush to poop is when he's tied up. Yes, I know...not nice to tie him up and I hate having to do it. He is off leash most of the time and hangs out with us inside and out of the house, but when we can't take him with us and we're not around, I prefer to make sure that he's tied up. I don't want him running onto the highway, as we live on one of the busier highways here. Chance has been known to run up to the highway and he doesn't understand that cars won't always stop for him. He's really silly and loves chasing cars, trucks, vans...and anything with wheels. I worry that one day, he might get into trouble. Even though our laneway is really long and we're quite a distance from the highway, that highway makes me nervous!

C said...

Uncivil:
When I lived in the city, I always made sure I picked up after Chance. People who don't pick up after their dogs give responsible dog owners a bad name. I know...I'm opinionated, but it used to bug me when I'd be at the park and people who weren't dog owners used to trash talk people who were walking their dogs. Not everyone leaves their doggy's poop behind. It just bugged me that they would generalize like that.

*phew* Okay, my ranting is over :) LOL!

t said...

oh god chris. get rid of all the animals or at least don't have any in the house. especially if you guys are planning to have kids. i worry that all the germs the animals have will be bad fir you if you get pregnant. just my opinion as a loving frind

dee said...

i bought this pine based litter once that was pretty good but it ws REALLY expensive (like $39 a bag)and i could only find it at one store.
then i used those beads but the little cat wouldn't go near them so now we're back to using clumping litter

Palm Springs Savant said...

I sure do! I am a buyer for a very large pet specialty retail chain, "where the pets go". Although I currently buy dog food, I used to buy cat food, cat treats, cat furniture, LITTER and litter accessories.

There are lots of good alternative cluming litters, such as World's Best (corn based)and Swheat Scoop (wheat based). The other one you can try are the recycled newspaper pellets, such as Good Mews or Yesterdays News. As a side note, there are some really good additives to help. Try one of the carbon-based powders you can sprinkle onthe base of the box before you put litter in.

Feel free to e-mail me if you want to know more!

-Rick

Palm Springs Savant said...

one other thought- consider what food you feed, it can make a difference with litter box odor. My kitty gets an organic dry food, although sometimes I treat him to a little bit of organic wet (canned) cat food too!

Palm Springs Savant said...

C- thanks for stopping by...sure you can link, I've done the same as well., See you soon!
Rick

Cara said...

It's been a while since I've been able to check out everyone's blogs. I noticed that you've been changing your banner a lot these days! You're so cute, my fickle, fickle friend! :-)

You are a very nice kitty mama because we have two cats but they share one litter box. Can you get recycled newspaper pellets? That's what we use. They work well but I am looking for other alternatives since I don't know how I feel about the ink in the newspaper.

~M~ said...

We've used the paper pellets as well...I think they're made from recycled newspaper. I've seen them at Petsmart, Target, etc...maybe a little more expensive than the clumping kind. The only problem that we had with it...one of our cats would get the paper pellets in his mouth and carry them around...then would kick them all over the house...UGH. And, as for the smell...we got some Nature's Miracle powder that you mix in with the litter, and the enzymes kill the strong amonia smell. Good luck with that. I'm so sorry that you got sick...luckily El Guapo has litter box duty around here, or I'd be in the same boat as you.

hotmommy said...

Oh wow ! I never thought of cat litter being unhealthy for our cat I noticed him sneezing sometimes but it didn't ocur to me that it could be from his ltter! We use clumping litter because its easier to clean I should look into different litter with none of that dusty stuff. we use baking soda to neutrilize the odor. for some reason the dog likes going into the cats litter box and well you know...........he likes eating cat poo! YUCK

Calfkeeper said...

Hi, just checking in. Glad you are doing well.

Yeah, if you are going to be preggers, make hubby change litter box. There's some kind of bug you can get from cat poo that causes birth defects. But if you've been exposed to cats on a regular basis your whole life you may have it already and it won't affect baby in that case. The doc can do a blood test to see if you have it or not, but is has to be BEFORE you get pregnant.

Believe me...I have been through this.

Also, keep pets when you have kids. It helps them, the kids, not be so allergic to things.

Take care,
Rebecca

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City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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