Green Little Cat

eco-friendly cat litter

All-Natural Cat Litter With Twice the Odor Control

I recently was given the scoop on a nutty all-natural cat litter that claims to have twice the odor control of major brands.  Purr & Simple cat litter is made from locally grown tree-nut shells, which happen to be a sustainable agricultural by-product.

The eco-specs on this litter read really well.  Purr & Simple provides twice the odor control, half the dust and it’s also 100{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} biodegradable.

And, it comes in two different versions to suit your kitty’s fancy. There’s a pellet version as well as the Kwik-Klump formula.

They sure do like lab tests at Purr & Simple!  They do extensive testing within their facility, shelters, and certified laboratories.  I found a little chart on their website that illustrated how Purr & Simple Kwik-Klump turned into a solid clump in just 15 minutes.

Furball uses a pellet litter so I don’t know if this is an astounding number, but based on the chart comparing Kwik-Klump to pine, healthsavy.com corn and wheat litters, it looks like Purr & Simple has a slight edge on pine and corn, with wheat litter being a distant fourth.

Here’s another one of their graphs comparing Purr & Simple’s odor control to three popular types of eco-friendly litters in addition to clay.

Looks like no contest here, but the real truth lies in home use. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any useful reviews for the product on Amazon.  Most of the five star reviews looked a little suspect.  Hmm, only one review written by the user and it’s for Purr & Simple and it gives them five stars.

The two low ratings I found were given due to sneezing issues and the color of the litter.  If you have any experience with this litter and aren’t affiliated with Purr & Simple in any way, I’d love to hear from you.

To learn more about this natural kitty litter, visit Purr & Simple’s website at http://www.purrandsimple.com.

 

Litter Liners — Can They Ever Be Green?

Imperial Cat, makers of earth-friendly cat scratchers, recently announced their new line of “Neat ‘n Tidy” sifting litter liners. According to a recent press release, the Neat ‘n Tidy includes 28 perforated liners – about a month’s supply for daily changes – that neatly stack inside the litter pan.

linersYou’re directed to pour your favourite clumping litter on top of the liners and instead of scooping, you lift up the top liner and the clean litter passes through the slots. So, what happens to the used litter? Well, you’re supposed to toss it out with the liner.

I love Imperial Cat’s cat scratchers. And I love their program for shelter cats, but I have to say the jury’s out on the litter liners. They claim that using the liners can extend the life of your mans health litter by 50{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8}.

If that’s true, then you might be able to consider the litter liners are eco-friendly, especially when you factor in how many hundreds of pounds of clumping litter many cats use over the course of a year. And if it’s regular clumping clay cat litter, then reducing usage by 50{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} is a boon for the environment. And here’s why you should switch from clay litter to eco-friendly cat litter.

Maybe these liners have their place in multi-cat households or animal shelters, where scoop, dump and wash just isn’t practical. I’d love to hear from you. We’re on Facebook and Twitter @greenlittlecat.

I still advocate that self-scooping, a teeny weeny bit of elbow grease and eco-friendly litter are the best way to go.

Cheap Cheap Natural Clumping Cat Litter

I wanted to give a big thank you to Wendy, a Green Little Cat reader, who sent me this great tip for cheap cheap natural clumping cat litter. Perhaps the more appropriate phrase here would be “cheep cheep” natural litter. If you’re looking for a low cost alternative to the World’s Best Cat Litter, then you might be surprised to learn that chickens have the answer to your search.

Wendy’s two cats have been using non-medicated chicken feed, or more specifically “chick starter” in their litter box. Chick starter, also known as game bird finishing crumbles, is mostly made up of corn, along with soybean meal, whole wheat and alfalfa and vitamins. Chick starter is readily available at all feed stores and usually costs about 20 to 30 cents per pound as compared to $1 or more per pound for the World’s Best Cat Litter.

Wendy was kind enough to go into detail about why chick starter makes a great natural clumping cat litter.  She listed the pros and cons:

The Pros:

  • Cats like using it
  • Inexpensive cat litter alternative, also not taxed in some states
  • Clumps instantly and easily sifts through the litter scoop
  • Natural, edible
  • A little goes a long way
  • Helps control odors

The Cons:

  • There is a bit of tracking, but it’s not all over the house.
  • Puppies have been known to eat it.
  • Purchasing it can be awkward if a new store clerk doesn’t know what you need and asks what you are feeding.  Wendy tells them, “Cornish game hens,” to keep it simple.

Wendy’s 2 cats are mostly indoor cats.  She estimates that a 50 lb bag lasts at least 5-6 months. She sums it up really nicely, “There is no excuse for using clay when this is just as cheap.”

I also did an online search for other cat lovers using chick starter as an alternative natural cat litter.  I found two posts from two different people who have used both layer crumbles and the World’s Best Cat Litter.  Both found the two products to be very similar with the main difference being the price.

5 Great Reasons to Use Less Cat Litter

Recycle, reduce and reuse are the buzzwords for the mainstream environmental movement.  People definitely have gotten the recycle aspect down.  Reusing is starting to pick up steam too.  But, what about REDUCE?  For years, it seemed this humble verb was reduced to being a mere sidekick to the sexier “recycle”.  It took a global recession to bring “reduce” back to the forefront.   So with that lead-up, I’ll give you 5 great reasons to use less cat litter.

1. The cat box is easier to clean.

When I was trying to toilet train Furball, I made an unexpected discovery.  During the training process, I had to train Furball to use a shallow litter pan that fit inside the toilet seat.  Because the pan was so shallow, it could only hold about a cup of cat litter in it.

I was somewhat dreading to see what the bathroom would look like after Furball used the shallow tray.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only did he use the tray, the bathroom was actually quite clean.  Because there was so little litter, he didn’t bother scattering it around everywhere.  He hardly tracked any litter so I didn’t have to sweep up as often.  As well, his poop sat right on top, which made it very easy to dump out.  And, when it was time to clean the tray, I could simply pour out the entire contents without sifting through it.  This leads me to my next point.

2. Your litter box will be less stinky.

This sounds counterintuitive because it’s been drummed into our way of thinking that you need to use more litter to keep odors down.  At least, that’s what the box/bag of litter says.  Who benefits from us using more cat litter?  The cat litter company.

When you use less litter, it’s soooo much easier to clean that you can clean more often with less effort.  Hence, the less stinky box.

3. You’ll save money.

Eco-friendly and natural litters cost more, but if you use less, then your annual litter costs can actually go down.  For example, now that Furball uses less litter, I pay less than $75/year for his litter.  Not bad, considering that he uses organic wheatgrass litter.

4. It’s more convenient.

It was a pain in the butt to haul 40lb bags of cat litter from the pet store in a Mini Cooper.  Then, the litter had to be lugged up three flights of stairs and stacked in a very conspicuous corner in the bathroom.  Uh, let’s just say there was more cat litter than bathroom in the bathroom.  Because we use less litter now, the tiny 20lb bag fits neatly under the sink and I can make fewer trips to the store to stock up.

5. It’s really good for the environment.

Add up how much litter you use a year.  I’d wager that if you’re using a common litter (e.g., clay-yikes hopefully not, wheat, pine, recycled paper)  you’re going through over 100 lbs a year, and quite possibly up in the 200 to 300 lb range.  If you’re using corn, pat yourself on the back for its light weight.

Did you know that there are over 80 million cats in the United States alone?  Even if only half of these cats were using cat litter, that’s a lot of litter going into landfill sites.  I did the math once and it worked out to billions of pounds.

If you used just one less scoop of litter per cat per week, that could add up to 10 lbs of litter a year.  Now, multiply that by the number of cats.  If everyone cut down by just one sccop a week, 800 million pounds of cat litter per year would be diverted from going into landfills and being manufactured in the first place.

How to Save Money on Natural Cat Litter

If you’ve wanted to switch to an all natural cat litter rather than use a clay cat litter or some other generic clumping cat litter, but have hesitated because of the extra cost for a premium cat litter, learn how you can save money on eco-friendly cat litters. Even if you’re already green, read on to learn a few tips on how you might save some green.

First off, if you’re currently using a clay cat litter, I’ll be straight with you. Yes, natural cat litters cost more. How much more? Obviously it varies depending on what type of kitty litter you’re currently using and what type of litter you want to switch to, but a general ballpark would be twice as much. For example, a 20 lb bag of Fresh Step clay cat litter costs $5.99 whereas a 20 lb bag of Feline Pine is $9.99. If you were to buy Feline Pine’s uber premium clumping cat litter, Feline Pine Scoop, a 10 lb bag would set you back by $13.99.

Don’t be discouraged. There are ways to save money on eco-friendly cat litters so that they cost the same or even less than using a regular litter. Here are a few tips to on saving money so that you can switch from your clumping clay litter to a green cat litter.

1. Free Cat Litter

Like it or not, most natural cat litters are now made by huge conglomerates. The ma/pop kitty litter brands have sold out to the Purinas of the world. While the ideals of the original company founder are probably long lost, the benefit is that their products are now available at more stores making it more convenient for more people to use them.

With the big business, comes big promotions. The marketers working for these companies want you to switch cat litters, but they know that they have some huge obstacles to overcome to get you to switch to a different brand of cat litter. Thus, many premium cat litter companies regularly have special offers for free cat litter.

I’ve noticed it myself on my blog in the Google ad on my site. Every once in a while, I’ll see a link advertising free cat litter for one of the premium brands of all natural cat litter. You don’t need to visit cat blogs and scour random ads. Just search the web for free cat litter. Right now, I just ran a quick search for “free cat litter” and found rebates for free bags of World’s Best cat litter and Feline Pine.

2. Cat Litter Coupons

Searching for cat litter coupons is not nearly as productive as searching for free cat litter. However, I did find a cat litter coupon for Yesterday’s News to save $1.50, and you can currently eta-i.org/tramadol.html find a printable coupon for $2 off World’s Best Cat Litter through Coupon Sherpa. You also see the occasional special offer for free cat litter before. However, many of the cat litter coupons that come up are for the un-green litters such as Fresh Step.

3. Compare Prices for Natural Cat Litters

Free cat litter and cat litter coupons will help you get started, but the savings need to continue with your regular day-to-day usage of kitty litter. This is a pretty obvious tip, but shop around to compare the prices of natural cat litters. In general, natural cat litters cost more, but how much more depends on the litter you choose, the size of the bag and where you purchase it.

Furball uses Cat Country, a cat litter made from wheatgrass. Being a wheatgrass cat litter, you might expect it to cost more, but we pay about $7 for a 20 lb bag at a local ma/pop pet supply store. That’s a dollar more than Fresh Step, but steps ahead in eco-friendliness.

4. Use Less Litter

This may seem like an oxymoron, but using less litter can actually reduce litter box odors and you’ll also save hundreds of dollars on cat litter. In the past, I always added more litter to reduce the smell from the litter box. It wasn’t until I tried toilet training Furball (enter “toilet train” in the search if you want to read how this went) that I discovered that I could significantly reduce the amount of litter we used and also cut down on litter box odors.

During the toilet training, I had to reduce the litter to less than a half inch layer on a small tray sitting on the toilet seat. Furball was just as happy doing his business on a third of an inch of litter as two inches worth.

When we stopped the toilet training experiment, I started putting a third of an inch of litter in his box. I did have to scoop every day, but I was practically scooping daily before, so it wasn’t much of a change. With less litter in the box, it was actually much easier to scoop.

During the past five months, we’ve used only one 40 lb bag of cat litter. We used to go through a 40 lb bag of litter every other month. Now, we’re down to just over two bags a year, bringing the cost of using an organic cat litter to about $30 a year, a savings of 65%. If you could reduce the cost of using a natural cat litter by 65%, that would bring it on par with clay cat litter. So, now there’s no excuse not to switch to a natural cat litter!

Cat Litter Sale at the Only Natural Pet Store

OnlyNaturalFurball and I are lucky to live in an area where we literally have at least a dozen choices of eco-friendly litter available to us at the local pet stores.  If you don’t have this assortment available to you, it might be worthwhile to consider online options.  As with most decisions, nothing is black and white, or in this case green and white.  The carbon cost of having a heavy bag of litter shipped to you needs to be weighed against the environmental destruction caused by stripmining clay litter.

If you do decide in favour of ordering litter online, the Only Natural Pet Store is having a cat litter sale on for the month of September.  They’re located in Boulder, CO, so if you don’t live halfway across the country, you may want to check in to see what they’re offering.

To save 10{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8}, enter the code: LITTER when checking out.

Visit the Only Natural Pet Store

Mint Ice Cream Cat Litter

PpodI recently visited the Humane Society of Silicon Valley and was told about an eco-friendly cat litter that smells like ice cream. I had to see (smell) this for myself so HSSV’s Director of Customer Service was kind enough to lead me the their pet store and held up a bag for me to sniff.

Normally, I wouldn’t get up close to a bag of cat litter, but I had to smell this ice cream cat litter for myself. I bent down, took a tentative sniff and the litter did indeed smell like a mint ice cream cone.

The Director of Customer Service said that she tried using this litter at home, but stopped when her cat wanted to eat it. I had a similar experience with Swheat Scoop, where Furball wasn’t sure whether to eat the litter or pee in it. But then again, my cat will eat anything and inhales every last crumb of food.

If your cat is the normal type when it comes to food, you may want to consider Healthy Pet P-POD litter. It’s reportedly excellent for odour control and also clumps well.

P-POD is made from reclaimed cellulose fiber and is processed to remove potentially harmful aromatic hydrocarbons that exist in pine and cedar oils. It’s made by International Absorbents Inc.

I haven’t done any investigating into this company, so I’m not sure if they’re fake green or real green, but their website says that they are “engaged in the development, manufacturing, and marketing of proprietary, cost-effective absorbent products derived from waste wood fiber (cellulose), a by-product of the pulp and paper manufacturing process.” Apparently, they started making pet bedding for small rodents and moved into cat litter from there.

This is also claimed in research. According to doctors, Valium can be used as an anesthetic drug. In the case of combination such as medicine with https://www.therapyheals.ca/valium-10mg/ other drugs, as a result, it enhances the effects.

If you want to learn more, check out their website.

Why Switch from Clay Litter to Eco-friendly Litter?

I’ve always heard that clay litter wasn’t good for the environment, but never really knew why, so today, I decided to investigate and learn more. The more I learned, the more I’m glad that Furball has never used clay litter. If you’ve been sitting on the fence about switching to an environmentally friendly cat litter, here are some good reasons to switch litters.

Health Concerns
Have you ever wondered what makes the cat litter clump together after your cat has urinated in it? I’ll be quite honest that this question had never crossed my mind before either. Well, today I learned that sodium bentonite is the key ingredient. It’s described benignly as a “natural clay” by many litter manufacturers.

A quick search on wikipedia reveals that sodium bentonite is a type of bentonite or clay that expands to several times its size when wet. It’s commonly used when drilling mud for oil and gas wells and for sealing things such as buried nuclear waste.

The health issues concern the ingestion and inhalation of sodium bentonite by your cat. When cats dig around in the litter, very fine particles may be inhaled. When they lick their paws, they may also ingest the clay.

There are claims that the litter causes asthma and lung issues and can block intestinal tracts. However, a visit to the Scoop Away® litter site reveals this: “Scoop Away® litter is not known to cause harm to animals, including kittens, when ingested in small quantities. However, if a pet eats a large amount of any litter (i.e. a bowlful), we recommend that you contact your vet.” I’m sure this statement is 100{456796300b989ac2391159a2df073ed1ad38074dfcdb28494d5d1df8ab5972d8} true in that there is no known study that proves that this particular litter causes harm to animals when ingested in small quantities.

It’s up to you to decide whether this reassurance is good enough for you and your cat. Myself, I just think that sodium bentonite expands when wet. If the litter is dry outside of the cat, it will most certainly be wet once inside Kitty.

About.com has a very balanced article on the clumping clay controversy.

Environmental Concerns
Sodium bentonite is mined. The Wyoming Mining Association (not singling anyone out, they just came up first in the Yahoo search) mined 5.2 million tons and milled 4.6 million tons of bentonite in 2005. In their own words, “Currently, Bentonite deposits in Wyoming make up 70 percent of the world’s known supply. It is economical to mine Bentonite as deep as 50 feet.”

It would not be a stretch to say that mining 50 feet deep has an impact on the environment. The US Bureau of Mines estimated that in 1994, approximately 1.5 million metric tons of clay were mined to make absorbent cat litter.

As I browsed around mining sites (company websites, that is), there was a strange dearth of photos of what the mines look like. However, I did find this one on Flickr by David Arran Photography.

Worldwise
, a company that makes sustainable pet products writes that, “Each year over 2 million tons of cat litter, or approximately 100,000 truckloads, ends up in landfills in the U. S. alone.”

So based on what I learned about the health concerns of clay litter and the environmental impact of mining cat litter, it seems like the better choice for the planet to switch to an environmentally friendly cat litter. Go green, little cat!

Here’s Furball’s review of several eco-friendly alternatives for cat litter.

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Eco-Friendly Cat Litter Reviews

Eco-friendly, enviro-friendly, earth friendly (or whatever you want to call it) cat litter appears to have hit the big time in the world of cat litter. These days, you can get litter made from pine, corn, newspaper, guar bean, wheat, etc. In my greenventory to reduce Furball’s carbon pawprint, litter is definitely an important item to consider.

However, changing cat litter is always a tricky process. Fortunately for me, Furball is already using an eco-friendly litter. If you’re considering making the switch, I can share with you our experience with three enviro-friendly cat litters.

When evaluating these cat litter reviews, you should take into consideration that Furball urinates about 4x as much as other cats due to his high water diet (for crystals, more on that later) and that his box is in a fairly well-ventilated bathroom.

1. Yesterday’s News

Seven years ago when I first brought home a teeny baby Furball, there was a dearth of earth friendly cat litter. At the time, there was only one product available at PetSmart — now it looks like almost 1/4 of their litters are eco-friendly. The litter was called Yesterday’s News Cat Litter and it was made from recycled newspapers.

From what I recall, it was manufactured by some company in the maritimes, although now, the bag is plastered with the Purina logo and comes in a gajillion varieties, so I’m guessing the smaller company got bought out. Furball was already litter trained when I got him and luckily he took to Yesterday’s News like tomorrow’s latest trend. It’s made up of tiny grey cylindrical pellets that fit through the slots of a standard litter scoop.

PROS:

  • 7/10 for controlling odour; as good as any eco-friendly litter can get
  • Doesn’t track dust
  • Easy to scoop #2 from the cat litter
  • Made from recycled newspapers
  • Comes in a “softer” version that is more “clay-like” so this might be a good transitional litter if your cat is used to clay

CONS:

  • Impossible to shake out all of the pellets through the scoop as they JUST FIT through
  • Pellets stick in between the cat’s toes and can be found occasionally throughout the house
  • “Softer” version tracked little crumbly bits all over the house
  • Scented version stinks like fake perfume

2. Cat Country

When I moved to California, the local PetSmart did not carry Yesterday’s News or any other enviro-friendly cat litter. Fortunately, I found Petfood Depot, which had several eco-friendly litters to choose from. It probably took me half an hour to read through the bags and ingredients.

I went with Cat Country Litter for a couple of reasons. One, it seemed so “California” to be using litter made from organic wheatgrass. Two, it was shaped exactly like Yesterday’s News, so I hoped the cat would transition without incident. Fortunately, Furball switched without really even noticing the difference.

PROS:

  • Made from organic ingredients
  • Family owned, sustainable business
  • 7/10 for controlling odour; as good as any eco-friendly litter can get
  • Doesn’t track dust
  • Easy to scoop #2 from the cat litter
  • Flushable (see important note below)

CONS:

  • Smells like malted barley — I put out a fresh box before the pet-sitter arrived and she dumped out the whole box thinking it was full of cat urine because of the weird smell. On the plus side, you only smell it if you’re near it.
  • Impossible to shake out all of the pellets through the scoop as they JUST FIT through
  • Pellets stick in between the cat’s toes and can be found occasionally throughout the house

3. Swheat Scoop

I was enticed to try Swheat Scoop Natural Cat Litter after a fabulous sales pitch at the Sweat Scoop booth at the San Francisco Green Festival in 2007. The person RAVED about the superior odour control of their cat litter and how eco-friendly it was. He also gave me a bunch of coupons so I decided it was worth it to try a change. This time Furball did not take as quickly to the new litter.

I did the whole litter transition process, but he seemed very unsure and wouldn’t use his box for the whole eta-i.org/ambien.html day. I think what confused him most was that the litter was made from wheat. It seemed he wasn’t sure whether he should eat it or pee in it.

When I brought the bag home and opened it up, he meowed and rubbed up against me like I had just brought home the ultimate mega-sized bag of cat food. After I poured it in his box, he looked extremely puzzled, with a “why are you pouring my food in my cat box?” look on his face. He kept sniffing the box and looking at me.

I finally figured out that he was wondering whether he should eat it when he kept pawing at the bag and trying to get into it like he would with a bag of cat food.

PROS:

  • 7/10 for controlling odour; as good as any eco-friendly litter can get
  • Flushable (see important note below)
  • Made from wheat, so it’s natural

CONS:

  • It’s made from wheat so the cat wasn’t sure whether to eat it or pee in it
  • Flour + water = glue. So too, Swheat Scoop + urine = bricks of litter that are really hard to scoop
  • Odour control wasn’t any better than the other two eco-friendly litters I used
  • Made of tiny granules that did track. These were a pain to sweep up.
  • Priced slightly higher than Cat Country
  • It’s made from wheat, so I’m not sure if they’re diverting resources from the food chain

My neighbour used it for her cat and thought the odour control was pretty good. She said she didn’t have a problem with the litter bricks, but she did say that you had to use enough of it to avoid this problem and that “you have to stay on top of it”.

Conclusion

Based on my three eco-friendly cat litter reviews, I personally would give thumbs up to Yesterday’s News and Cat Country. For me, Cat Country Litter edges out Yesterday’s News because it’s organic and made by a family-run sustainable business.

When doing a green evaluation, you might conclude the opposite, that Yesterday’s News is better because it’s made by a large company (i.e., larger impact, economies of scale and efficiencies) and uses recycled newspaper. Just goes to show nothing is 100% cut and dry when doing an environmental evaluation, especially for cat litter.

However, I did find both of these eco-friendly cat litters be fairly equal in their use in the real world. I’d give thumbs down to Swheat Scoop for the extra labour involved in scooping, the tracking of wheat dust and that it’s using wheat.

Other “Earth Friendly” Cat Litters

These litters on the PetSmart website also look like they might be eco-friendly or “natural”. However, I haven’t had any experience with them. Please post a comment if you have used them and let us know your experience with these or any other enviro-friendly litters not listed here.

  • World’s Best Cat Littermade from corn. With all of the controversy surrounding biodiesel made from corn, this might not be so enviro-friendly. On the other hand, it is an extremely lightweight litter so there would be carbon savings in transporting and shipping it.
  • Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats Corn Cob Cat Litter
    – I’ve used their carpet cleaning solution and it really did neutralize the urine smell. The company says it uses “enzymes” as opposed to chemicals, so I suppose if odour control is really an issue, this might be a better product to use.
  • Feline Pine
    – Made from “kiln-dried shavings reclaimed from lumber production

IMPORTANT NOTE In the state of California, there are concerns about flushing your cat litter in the toilet. Every bag of cat litter must include a warning label. Why? Apparently sea otters are being killed by parasites found in cat feces, specifically Toxoplasma gondii.

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