SAFETY OF CLUMPING LITTER

SANDRA M. BARCLAY, D.V.M.

A while ago I got wind of a frightening rumour, "clumping litter is killing cats"! You can't imagine how alarmed I was. Not only do I own 3 cats but I'm a cats-only vetinarian. I'm responsible for the health and well-being of several thousand feline patients. many, if not most, of "my" cats are clumping litter enthusiasts. Should I continue to recommend clumping litter? Some serious investigation was called for.

First, I went to the source of the rumour, an article in a holistic pet care magazine. The article was a heartbreaking story about a litter of Japanese Bobtails that died. The author, a breeder, concluded that the kittens died from eating their litter. I believe she meant well but her conclusion was unfounded. there was no autopsy or pathology study done on any of the kittens. Further, the kittens' symptoms were the same as those that accompany a number of feline viral infections. The bottom line is, no one knows why the kittens died but there is no evidence or reason to believe that clumping litter was the cause.

In my investigation, I found no documented evidence that cats have ever died from using clumoing litter. Cats do normally ingest traces of litter when they groom. These amounts are too small to cause any harm. Of course, if your cat eats kitty litter like it's a favorite food, you should phone your vet ASAP! Any cat that chows down on kitty litter has a serious medical problem (that has nothing to do with the litter) and needs a thorough check-up.

I also looked into the dangers which may exist from inhaling clumping litter dust. As it turns out, this is not a health risk. According to a 1992-1994 study conducted by the TRC Environmental Corporation, the amount of dust in clumping litters is well below harmful levels.

My reading and investigation put my mind at ease. I will continue to recommend clumping litter. If you'd like more information please leave your name and address. My E-mail address is strat@comm.his.com

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