Cats do their business outside in the great outdoors.
The first litter box (E-Z Klean Kitty Toilet) is available in stores. Litter boxes are filled with dirt, sand, sawdust, paper, or ashes.
The accidental discovery of clay litter (Tidy Cat) is made by Edward Lowe with the help of Kay Draper.
Clay litter (Tidy Cats™) is widely available in stores.
Biochemist Thomas Nelson accidentally discovers clumping litter (the addition of sodium bentonite).
Scented cat litter is introduced to the market.
Litter made of silica gel crystals is invented.
Non-clay and organic cat litters (wood, corn, straw, hay, coconut skins, newspaper, etc.) hit the market.
Sustainable, biodegradable, eco-friendly TofuKitty litter hits the market.
The process of making clay litter begins in mountains and hills that were once otherwise pristine.
Engineers identify mineral deposits (clay) which can be 30 to 40 feet below the ground.
Trees, bushes, and other vegetation in this area are then bulldozed and dumped nearby.
Huge holes are dug into the earth and, if necessary, explosives are used to break up the rock to reach the raw clay. Excess soil and rocks are dumped nearby.
The raw clay is dug out of the earth and placed in trucks and transported to the processing plant.
From here, the clay is loaded onto conveyor belts where it’s crushed into smaller pieces.
It then makes its way into giant kilns where it’s baked at temperatures up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit in order to remove the moisture.
It’s then cooled and crushed into finer granules before being packaged and shipped out to stores.
The clay is then sorted and screened so various sizes of clay particles are included.
Lastly, the clay gets blended with additives like sodium bentonite, dust-controlling agents, and deodorizers before being packaged and shipped out to stores.
Strip mining is used to create these litters. This process destroys huge sections of natural forest habitat and leaves giant holes in their place, in addition to contaminating natural fresh water sources and displacing wildlife from their homes.
Water pollution, loss of biodiversity, soil erosion and pollution, and formation of sink holes are among the worst effects of strip mining on the environment.
Bentonite clay is non-renewable and isn't biodegradable. Once it’s displaced, it enters a landfill…permanently. Meaning 180,000 dump trucks worth ends up in a landfill each year, and it will never, ever break down.
Traditional litters aren’t biodegradable, resulting in over 2 million tons of cat litter sitting and accumulating in the landfill year after year.
These litters contain hazardous chemicals like sodium bentonite, crystalline silica, and other toxic additives that find their way into our freshwater sources and contaminate them.
The cost of fuel to transport the mined bentonite to the drying facility and the use of petroleum products to dry the material make the production of clump cat litter ridiculously detrimental to the environment.
Birds, rodents, and other animals that depend on trees and plants for food or shelter lose their homes or starve to death. Any creatures that actually survive are forced to relocate and find a new homes and food sources.
The sediment from this process finds its way into fresh water lakes, rivers, and streams where it essentially chokes aquatic life and further destroys the ecosystem.
Mining also may have adverse, long-term impacts on wildlife, including impairment of its habitat or native environment. Many animal species cannot adjust to the changes brought on by the land disturbance involved in mining. In cases where an important habitat (such as a primary breeding ground) is destroyed, the species may be eliminated.
Studies show that water flows from selected mines carry sediment loads up to 1,000 times greater than flows from unmined areas. Sediment increase cause:
Increased sediment loading into a stream will decrease water clarity and reduce visibility for fish seeking food and places to live.
Damage to fish gills and filter feeding apparatus of invertebrates.
The increased runoff and erosion from strip mining has led to depleted soils and lower crop yields for the local communities where strip mining occurs, and contamination of toxic substances such as mercury has led to disease and contaminated soils and sediments.
The communities that live near or work in these mines are at risk to a number of health concerns including silicosis, cancer, kidney damage, enlargement of the heart and other pulmonary diseases, due to the contamination brought by mining.
Women in mining towns often don’t see a direct economic benefit and actually can become overloaded in their responsibilities to provide for the home without the help of their partners who now work long hours in the mines.
Those living in mining towns have higher rates of divorce and domestic violence.
The excess flow of men into mining areas has been shown to increase prostitution or create prostitution rings that never existed before.
There is a strong correlation between mining towns and high alcohol consumption, a factor known to be associated with increased violence, particularly against women.
Sodium bentonite is natural clay that swells to 15-18 times its size when liquid is added, similar to expandable cement. If the litter is ingested by your kitty, (or any other pet) it’ll expand inside them and turn into a cement-like mass that can harden in the gastrointestinal tract causing illness and even death.
These litters contain hazardous chemicals like sodium bentonite and crystalline silica that are harmful for your cat and your family.
The excessive dust and crystal particulates in these litters can trigger asthma or agitate airways in cats and humans alike.
Then become a social activist!
Use your voice and your network to help us educate cat owners (and non-cat owners) around the globe about the impacts of unsustainable cat litter, like clay and silica. We all need to work together to make better choices for our health, our communities, and our planet.