So, you’ve decided to go green when it comes to your kitty’s litter. That’s wonderful! Now what? Well, deciding which type of eco-friendly cat litter can be more confusing than one might think. I know what it’s like, you search the internet for hours, you get lost down the rabbit hole of cat videos and advertisement, and you come to your senses just to realize you’re further from understanding the difference between eco-friendly litter types than when you started.
Well, I’m ready to help rescue you, so you don’t have to flush anymore of your time down the toilet (pun intended, you guys!). I have what you need to help you understand the pros and cons of wheat litter and corn cat litter.
When you love your cat and our planet, there’s only one option: natural cat litter. Going green isn’t just about saving green. It’s about saving the future of our environment! Natural cat litters also reduce harmful chemicals and silica dust in your home, so you and your kitty can breathe better.
Traditional clay cat litter swells to fifteen times its original size which means it takes up a lot of space in the landfill. And there’s no way your plumbing can handle clay litter clumping into stone.
Both wheat and corn litters are biodegradable and compostable. This means neither needs to wind up at the landfill. In fact, if composted to 165-degrees F, natural cat litters made from tofu, wheat, corn, pine, or recycled paper can add rich nutrients to your garden.
Don’t have your own compost system? That’s ok. Your city may have a compost drop off that mechanically heats waste to a safe temperature. There are also commercial composting services in most big cities.
Wheat and corn litter both come from natural and renewable sources. And you can find them in most big box stores. And both eco-friendly options usually come in clumping and non-clumping options. So, if you’re looking for a simple, eco-friendly cat litter option, corn and wheat can be great options for you.
You can flush both corn and wheat litter when in a bind, although most experts agree that flushing cat waste releases Toxoplasma gondii into areas where waste waster is reincorporated into the natural world. But if your cat is an indoor kitty that doesn’t eat her filet mignon rare, it’s highly unlikely her poo is part of the problem.
Most natural cat litters don’t knock you over the head with artificial fragrances. And you know who adores this? Your cat. Cats prefer their litter unscented. With noses 14x stronger than ours, some kitties will begin going outside their box rather than in a box that smells like roses or fresh meadows.
Both corn and wheat litters produce less dust than clay litter. Most quality corn cat litters are 99% dust-free. This means that there are fewer irritants floating around your home’s air to bug your respiratory system.
Wheat and corn litters will absorb a moderate amount of odor.
One of the best natural properties of corn is that it traps ammonia from cat urine. How does it manage this? Corn has micro-pores (the kind influencers dream of). These itty-bitty pores quickly pull in and hold odor.
Wheat also has a natural superpower for eliminating odor: enzyme action! Wheat has natural starches that absorb moisture, locking it in.
Based on my research, wheat has just a couple of qualities that make it a slightly better option than corn. Granule wheat can be easier on your cat’s feet when compared to corn and clay litter. This style of litter looks and feels more like clay litter which can reduce the learning curve and adjustment period of switching from clay to a green cat litter.
When I looked into cat litters, I always ask myself, “Would I let my cat pee and poo in this?” Which I know sounds silly, but I love my cat as much you love yours, so her litter matters. You’re probably thinking,” Molly, what are you getting at?” What I’m getting at is that corn and wheat litter present the possibility of one danger that makes me answer “No. I would not let my cat use it.”
Wheat, corn, and corn byproduct litter can develop a fungus called “aflatoxins.” This fungus can be fatal to cats. Aflatoxins can grow in dehydrated corn or wheat when it gets damp from urine or humidity and transform into mycotoxins, which are deadly. This fungus can get on your kitty’s paw and get tracked through your house. And when she grooms herself, she’s destined to swallow a bit of it. Scariest of all, aflatoxins cause cancer.
So, I considered that maybe mycotoxins are super rare and maybe I shouldn’t worry about them. So, how common are mycotoxins? More common than I realized. One study from 2016 tested almost 480 samples of dried grains and corn like those used for cat litters and 90% of the corn samples contained mycotoxin and 100% of dried grains.
Both corn and wheat litters can also contain harmful herbicides. Some herbicides cause chronic bowel disease and many vets consider them carcinogenic.
If your cat has a food sensitivity to corn or wheat, she may also have an allergic reaction to these cat litters.
Have you ever walked barefoot on gravel? If so, you know what it’s like for your kitty to walk on corn pellet litter. These pellets can hurt and even bruise your cat’s paws and create a negative association with her litter box.
When it comes to natural litters, you’ll find most cost more than clay litter by weight. According to Money Crashers, clay litters range in price from 25-cents per pound to about 75-cents per pound. While consumers shell out about 37-cents per pound to $1.40 per pound for natural litters. Does this matter? Not so much. Corn, wheat, and tofu don’t weigh as much as clay. The volume and longevity of litter matter more than how heavy it is.
That being said, wheat cat litter is often less expensive than corn litter.
Corn is biodegradable and renewable, but 92% of corn from the U.S. is genetically modified. When purchasing any natural or eco-friendly cat litter, check the packaging or with the manufacturer to find out if they use crops treated with pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals.
Natural cat litter is cost-effective, eco-friendly, and can be better for cats and their caring parents (like you!). How do wheat and corn litter compare? Both are natural and eco-friendly, both are labeled as flushable, but both have some drawbacks. Both wheat and corn cat litter have the potential of growing fungi that can get you and your kitty very sick.
So, the decision is up to you. If I had to choose between corn or wheat, I would choose wheat litter based on the paw feel, price, and safety.