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Dangers of Sodium Bentonite Cat Litter

by kapush on October 27th, 2011
Cat Litter

Sodium Bentonite Litter can Kill Your Cat

Cat litter manufacturers cannot possibly be unaware of the dangers that sodium bentonite litter poses to cats. However, they will point out that it is your responsibility as owner to keep your pets safe. If there’s one thing you can be sure of, it is that cats will lick themselves after using the bentonite clay because this clumping variety of litter will stick to their paws. Every time your pets visit the litter box, they ingest the cat litter through inhalation and licking.

The litter accumulates in their stomach and swells, forming a hard lump that renders the stomach to the same state as blocked plumbing. The body will try to cleanse itself through repeated bouts of diarrhoea during which time the stomach can hardly absorb any nutrient. Unfortunately, only the diarrhoea is diagnosed by most doctors, and medicines are prescribed upon such diagnosis. The patient eventually succumbs to a very painful death. The only treatment is to remove the cat from the litter, and then to put him on holistic treatment using soothing laxatives to get rid of the poison. During this time, homemade chicken or fish broth or stock is best for the patient. If the treatment begins early the patient will likely recover completely in a few months time.

Types of Cat Litter

Currently, there are three main categories of cat litter: clump, silica crystal and the plastic crystal varieties. The last one is used by Cat Genie automatic litter box and it is reusable (until you have to replace it). The first two types are used by Litter Maid, a Self Cleaning Litter Box. Apart from these two leading brands, clump and crystal cat litter are sold by various companies, either as a standalone product or as recommended litter for the specific brand of cat litter box.

Sodium Bentonite Cat Litter

The clump variety of cat litter comes as grainy particles that absorb the liquid from the excreta and also control the odor by forming clumps which can then be scooped out and replaced. The most powerful clumping substance is Sodium Bentonite, a certain type of clay that swells up to 15 times its volume in the presence of water and is, therefore, extremely effective as cat litter. Today, more than 50% of the cat litter sold in the U.S. is of the clumping variety, and most of it is made from bentonite clay. We are warned against flushing cat litter that is made of sodium bentonite as the cement like clumping property can block plumbing.

Clumping is not the Problem

Cleaning the litter box and replacing used litter is made extremely convenient if the litter clumps. The problem, therefore, is not the property of clumping but the agent used. This, of course, is easily overcome by switching over to an organic clumping material. There are a number of organic clump litter available.  Natural Wheat Cat Litter from Swheat Scoop is what we can probably vouch for. Probably, because even though we use wheat scoop, it is not Swheat. We purchase the chaff of wheat from wheat grinding mills in our locality and so far, the stuff has been more than excellent as litter.

The litter ‘box’ in our shelter is basically shallow trenches dug in the ground and filled with sawdust and wheat chaff with a bit of citronella oil thrown in for odour control.

Recycled newspaper, wood shavings, sawdust, wheat chaff – anything organic that will not behave like cement is good litter for your furry baby. Please read our post on Organic Cat Litter for a list of safe cat litter brands.

Even silica crystals are not safe and, apparently, they are responsible for affecting the lung tissues of the cat with lesions eventually causing cancer of the lungs or the throat. Please refer to our post on the Problems of Silica Gel Cat Litter if you wish to know more.

Several animal welfare organizations have already begun to garner support against the production of such harmful cat litter. You can also help to spread awareness by sharing this article using the buttons below.


From → Cat Litter

  1. Rich Sommerville permalink

    Hi, My cat started have problems, eg: loose stool; vomiting often with hairballs and then w/o hairballs, but a greyish/yellow frothy substance; wouldn’t eat and had no energy. Took him to the Vet …$$$$. I then read about sodium bentonite on the web. I got rid of both litter boxes of the clumping litter and re-filled with a non-clumping wheat chaff material. My Wife and I force fed our cat a couple of times that evening. I also did a thorough vacuuming and mopping of the floors (I’m retired, but my Wife isn’t so our family responsibilities have changed a good deal). The result was, to say the least, unbelieveable. The next day the cat went to his feed bowl and sat to be fed, as usual. He ate 2 tablespoons of the Vet canned food and hasn’t vomited yet (3 hrs.). GET RID OF YOUR CLUMPING CAT LITTER !!!!!!!!!!! I can’t say this strongly enough. Take care, Rich

    • kapush permalink

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Rich. And I’m sorry my reply comes so late – haven’t updated or even looked at this blog in ages :p

      Hope your fur baby is bouncing around happily, now :)

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