Debra Lynn Dadd

Baking Soda in Litter Box

QUESTION:

Wanted to know what you think about this. My nephew has 2 large cats using 1 covered box. He uses clumping litter, somewhat sparingly, but clean the box daily.

When he goes away I take care of these cats. When I scoop the box there is a cloud from all the baking soda he uses. And, I don't believe he empties and washes the box very often. I am concerned, and I don't want to interfere, but I feel this is no good for the health of his cats. They are orange, one long hair, one shorter hair, brothers, and weigh around 18 lbs. He rough houses with them, and from what I can tell, they seem ok. One of them has started to have hairballs more often then before, and I believe that one also has gone outside of the box on occasion.

Your comments would be appreciated, thanks!

POSTED BY N. W. :: USA :: 08/21/2006 2:16 PM


DEBRA'S ANSWER:

While I know of no toxic effects of baking soda, it is a particle, and high concentrations of any particle has the potential to act as an irritant.

I checked the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for baking soda and it says "High concentrations of dust may cause coughing and sneezing."

I would say that "a cloud" of baking soda is probably too much, and more than is needed to control odor. I personally would cut down on the amount of baking soda used.

We use Feline Pine and have no problem with odor.




Debra :-)


COMMENTS:

The best kitty litter I've found is World's Best Cat Litter (yes, that's the name of the product!). It's made from corn -- not only non-toxic (important for kitty cats even more than people, since no silica dust for either type of critter to breathe. That's extremely important to me since the cat I had before my present one developed lung cancer; no idea whether breathing silica that gets into the air from most commercial kitty litters could have contributed to her condition, but will never use commercial litters again.

World's Best Cat Litter seems very expensive, but it not only lasts a month or more with absolutely no odor and no unnatural additives or scents (and is naturally scoopable) -- as the woman behind me in the health food store mentioned when she saw the bag in my shopping cart, it "smells like breakfast cereal" (and incredibly, neutralizes cat waste odors, to where someone from my insurance company refused to believe me when I mentioned I had a cat -- she said goes to people's homes all day for her job, and when they have a cat it "smells like cat" so I couldn't possibly have a cat -- til she saw my furry little guy!).

Re the cost -- it not only needs to be changed much less often than commercial litters, so actually is more economical in the long run despite price per bag, but the company has brochures and a downloadable form on their website where if you save nine proof-of-purchases from same size bags of the product, they send you $24 worth of coupons.

Since silica dust from commercial litters is both inhaled by cats (and people) but also ingested by cats when they groom their paws, which can lead to clay clogging up their digestive/intestinal systems, I'm a strong believer in natural litters. I haven't used the wheat or pine varieties, but people who've used the wheat have told me it gets gummy, which doesn't happen with World's Best Cat Litter.

I don't work for or have any business association with World's Best Cat Litter -- just so glad I found their product.

Also, re litter boxes: I don't know if it's ecologically correct, but I find that using a sturdy plastic litter box liner (I use Jonny Cat brand for liners only now; if there's a biodegradable litter box liner I don't know of it!) helps a lot in keeping a litter box clean (a lot easier too). Much as I prefer not to enter plastic into the environment, a lot of paper towels and water were wasted when I used to scrub litter boxes, and water is a resource, so I guess it's a draw. But scrubbing a litter box never seemed to get it really clean, so I do recommend the liners (Jonny Cat liners are thicker and sturdier than other brands I've tried). Hopefully a cleaner litter box prevents cats getting UTIs and such...

POSTED BY LOREN REICHMAN :: CALIFORNIA USA :: 09/10/2006 3:58 AM


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