human scooping cat litter while cat watches

How to Choose The Best Sustainable Cat Litter: The Ultimate Guide 

This is Why Your Dog Eats Grass Reading How to Choose The Best Sustainable Cat Litter: The Ultimate Guide  7 minutes

Cats are adored members of our families, but their ecological footprint often goes unnoticed, particularly the impact their litter can have on the environment. Traditional cat litter made from clay or silica may be the most widely available on the market, but they can have detrimental effects on both the environment and your furry friend's health.

In this blog, we'll explore why choosing an eco-friendly cat litter is important for reducing your furry friend's carbon paw print and discuss the available natural options. Plus, we'll share how to pick the best cat litter option for you and your cat!

Why You Should Choose Eco-Friendly Cat Litter

The most common ingredients in conventional cat litter are sodium bentonite clay and silica. These ingredients are also obtained through strip mining, where the vegetation and topsoil in the mining area are completely removed. This process damages the landscape and wildlife habitats and leads to water and air pollution, deforestation, and land erosion, making clay-based and silica crystal cat litter incredibly unsustainable and damaging to the environment. 

In addition to this, studies have shown that those who live in these heavily mined areas are at a greater risk of respiratory conditions and lung cancer. 

Moreover, conventional cat litter made from clay or silica tends not to be flushable and, therefore, ends up in landfills where it does not biodegrade easily. In fact, over two million tons of litter waste are channeled into landfills in the U.S. every year! 

Are Sustainable Options Better For My Cat? 

Yes! Eco-friendly cat litters are better for you and your cat's health. The silica dust produced by conventional crystal litter is known to irritate asthma sufferers and accumulate deep in the lungs, becoming incredibly difficult to expel and leading to respiratory issues. In rare cases, the dust generated from these cat litters can even cause lung cancer. 

Also, clay litter made from sodium bentonite, which your cat may accidentally ingest while cleaning themselves, is known to cause intestinal blockages and other gastrointestinal issues. 

So, perhaps one of the best choices we can make as pet parents for the environment and our beloved cat's health is to choose an eco-friendly, biodegradable cat litter!

What To Look for in Eco-Friendly Cat Litter 

Thankfully, eco-friendly cat litter options are becoming more mainstream in the USA, meaning that it is easier than ever to promote the well-being of our planet and the physical well-being of you and your pet. 

Alternative litters are made from various materials, including paper, corn, soybeans, walnut shells, wheat, wood, pine, and grass—but which one is best for you? 

To help you on your journey to sustainable living, we have compiled a list of features to look out for when shopping for eco-friendly cat litter so that you can find the best cat litter for both your feline friend and the environment.

Composition 

Unlike conventional cat litter made from clay or silica, biodegradable cat litter made from organic material, such as wood or wheat, will eventually return to nature with minimal processing. The added bonus of these natural materials is that they are completely free of artificial dyes, fragrances, and man-made chemicals, making them a safer option for the environment and your cat. 

Eco-friendly cat litters made from recycled paper can also be up to three times more absorbent than traditional clay litter, which means they last much longer. 

By choosing natural litter, you not only save the environment from the burden of synthetic materials and machine mining, but you also save yourself some money! 

Clumping 

An important feature to consider when shopping for eco-friendly litter is whether your cat prefers natural clumping litter or non-clumping litter. Cat litters made from natural starches clump when they come into contact with urine and, therefore, tend to be easier to scoop. They are also the better choice for homes with multiple cats as they minimize cleaning time and extend the duration of time between the dreaded full litter box cleanouts. However, many sensitive cats prefer sand-like, non-clumping cat litter as they are softer on their delicate paws and easier to dig through. 

Pellet Size 

Do you have a long-haired cat? If so, the pellet size of the litter is important to consider. Litter with small pellets can stick and mat in the fur of long-haired cats, causing discomfort, skin irritation, and urinary tract infections in some cases. 

Dust 

It is also important to look for natural cat litter that is dust-free or produces very little dust. The clay and silica dust generated by conventional silica and clay cat litter, when cleaned or used by your cat, can get deep into the lungs and cause various health problems. 

The best eco-friendly cat litters, such as paper, grass, and corn-based litter, are typically dust-free and gentle on your cat's respiratory system. However, while many natural litters are advertised as low-dust, individual products may vary, so it is always best to monitor your cat's reaction when transitioning to a new litter.

Tracking

Litter tracking is where litter clings to your cat's paws and fur, and as they walk around the house, litter and cat poop fall onto the floor. Tracking is as unglamorous and unappealing as it sounds and is a common problem for cat parents. Some natural grass cat litter and litters with larger pellets made from tofu or wood are formulated specifically to be lightweight and non-adhering to avoid the issue of litter tracking. 

We recommend our Washable Cat Litter Mat, made from 80% recycled plastic bottles. This cat litter rug is highly absorbent, protects your floors from tracking and loose litter, and can be cut to fit any litter box, carrier, or crate without fraying. Why not pair it with our natural hemp Cat Litter Bag Holder, which keeps your kitty litter bags neat and tidy and ready to go when you need them?

Odor Control 

Fragrances (made from man-made chemicals) are often added to cat litter to mask the smell. However, these fragrances are made to appeal to humans, not cats! Plant-based cat litter made out of wood or pine is a great option as it gives off a faint woodsy smell that is reminiscent of being outside in nature. These natural wood fibers are also biodegradable and naturally fresh, great for keeping the nasty smell of ammonia and cat urine at bay.

Cat litters containing baking soda and activated charcoal are also great ingredients to help with natural odor control and combat bacteria growth, keeping your cat's litter box fresh and ready to use!

Making the Transition to Natural Cat Litter

When making the transition from clay cat litter to natural cat litter, we recommend taking a gradual approach, as cats can find new textures and scents offputting. Start by adding small amounts of the eco-friendly cat litter to your cat's litter box, and then each time you scoop, add more of the new litter. 

Before you know it, your cat will have completely transitioned to their new sustainable litter and you and your feline friend will be reaping the benefits!

Check Out Our Full Range of Cat Products here