Sunday, May 25, 2014

Homemade Kitty Litter


Make your own non-toxic, clumping, cat litter at a fraction of the cost.

Commercial perfumed cat litters are composed of chemicals that are toxic to animals and the environment and should be avoided. Most commercially sold clumping litters can block the bladder, kidneys and cause other health problems for the internal organs of grown cats and kittens. They don't even have to directly eat it to receive the toxins, because while grooming and licking themselves as part of their hygiene ritual, including between every toe to remove those little clumps of kitty litter, overtime this can cause a toxic amount of litter to get into their systems via the oral route. The clumping, dehydrating action of the litter is extremely bad for their health, and can cause illness or even death. Additionally, standard cat litters aren't biodegradable, so they end up producing more toxic waste for our landfills.

As handy as it is to scoop your kitty's urine cleanly away in a perfumed single clump, it's not worth  risking their health merely for convenience. No matter how extravagant or frugal you are, you still want something that works and something that won't harm your cat.

The Alternatives
 
There are many commercial varieties of 'healthy' kitty litter on the market, with of course a higher price range for the safer products. For example, natural wheat litters are safe and they have good clumping ability. However, the cost is around $16.00 for a ten pound bag.

Homemade Cat Litter

Store bought wheat kitty litter is expensive and literally just a bag of coarsely ground wheat. No mysterious, supernatural ingredients and not even organic. This expensive litter can easily be made at home for a fraction of the cost. Bulk whole wheat, available from health food stores, makes a safe and simple, sustainable cat litter.

Instructions:

You can use a grain grinder on a coarse setting, or simply blend some wheat berries until it's the consistency you want. The finer you grind the wheat, the better it clumps, but don't grind it as fine as flour because then it would be too dusty to have around. It doesn't need to be exact, just try for a coarse, grainier type consistency.

Also, even though you won't be eating it, we still recommend you buy organic wheat! Why go organic? Organic foods are grown without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. Organic grains are not genetically modified. Organic wheat is grown in soil that is nurtured, not treated... which means top soil, groundwater, rivers, lakes, streams, watersheds, fish & wildlife, and people are not compromised. Also because it's important to support sustainable farming practices whenever you can, and this is a very affordable way to go about doing it. I recommend buying organic animal-grade wheat, (animal-grade means it hasn't been cleaned to the standards we expect for human consumption) most feed stores carry it in bulk. It will cost you about $14.25 for 50 pounds: this is less than 1/5 the cost of store-bought wheat cat litter! Any wheat berries will do, they are also available in bulk at your local natural food store. It's so easy to make, that when the litter pan is low, simply grind some wheat berries and toss it in.

Used homemade kitty litter can be composted or tossed in with your green waste pickup. It can also safely be buried several inches below the ground. Your plants will love it.

If your cat spends most of his time outdoors, you'll only need to remove waste from the litter pan once or twice a week. If you have an indoor cat you would probably need to do it daily.

For more pet health care solutions visit Pet Remedy Charts for Cats.

Safety Precautions

Precautions for Pregnant Women Worried About Toxoplasmosis. If you are pregnant, don't handle or accidentally breath the dust from any kind of cat litter or garden with compost made from cat litter. Cat feces can contain a parasite called toxoplasma gondii. Wear gloves when you garden (even if you don’t have a cat), in case the soil is contaminated with cat feces from neighborhood cats. Toxoplasmosis can pass to and damage your unborn baby (mother-to-child transmission). The infection can also cause a miscarriage or stillbirth.

Fortunately, cats infected with toxoplasmosis shed the organism in their feces for only a short period of time. This means that most cat feces shed by pet cats that are housed indoors are not infected with the Toxoplasma parasite and the cat litter is not a real threat to a pregnant woman.

Still, taking precautions to avoid exposure to potential toxoplasmosis in the cat litter is a good idea for any pregnant woman.
  • If possible, a pregnant woman should not change the cat litter box and should avoid contact with cat feces. Ideally, another household member should change the cat litter box.
  • If a pregnant woman does find it necessary to change a cat litter box, she should wear gloves when doing so and wash her hands thoroughly afterward.
  • The cat litter box should be cleaned on a daily basis. Toxoplasmosis cysts in the litter box require 48 hours to become infective.
  • Pregnant women should wear gloves when gardening or working in soil or sand, as it may have been used by neighborhood cats and contain cat feces.
  • Pregnant women should also avoid handling or ingesting raw meat. Wearing gloves while preparing meat and washing hands thoroughly after preparation can also help avoid infection.
  • Any foodstuffs from the garden (fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc.) should be washed thoroughly before ingestion.
  • Do not feed the cat raw meat during your pregnancy. 

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