To Clump or not To Clump? Is Clay Litter Safe?

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series To Clump or Not to Clump? Is Clay Litter Safe?

Friends,

My parents might be considered over protective of me.  But they have their reasons.  I was very sick when I came down with pancreatitis after receiving  my shots.  I developed transient diabetes and it was a trying time for me, my doctors and my parents.  Luckily, I fully recovered and now enjoy good health. But during this transition, my parents began to worry about everything that I came in contact with, including the litter in my pan.

My parents were concerned about the safety of clumping clay litter. Clay litter has been criticized  because it contains the clumping agent, sodium bentonite. Sodium bentonite is a natural clay, but when it absorbs liquid, it  can swell up to fifteen times in size!  Whoa! I am picturing those little sponge toys that come in a capsule and they grow when you add water to them.

The clay litter is also dusty, so what happens when we cats breathe in this dust? What happens when our parents breathe in this dust? Anything? Is clay litter safe?

Cat parents worry about what happens when a cat licks their fur and paws, eating sodium bentonite dust.  Being cats, we are naturally curious, so what happens when a kitten decides to test taste the clay litter? Could the sodium bentonite clump up inside the kittens body, causing gastrointestinal  blockage and/or death?

Clay litter manufacturers  assure our parents that their products are safe.  And to be fair, all evidence of sodium bentonite being harmful to us is anecdotal, meaning no scientific studies have been done. Even so, many parents have started switching to natural cat litter for added protection for their feline family.

Cats Against Clay,  (C.A.C.) a unified front and quasi-political group united in the hatred of all things clay is gaining momentum. Recently at  the BlogPaws Conference their anti-clay message  was loud and clear. C.A.C. claims responsibility for the increase in sales  for all-natural cat litters.

So, The Tiniest Tiger is wondering what you think.  Are you concerned about using clumping clay litter?