I vaguely remember hearing something a few years ago about how clay based cat litter is unhealthy. At the time, I kind of brushed it off. Doesn't everyone use scented clay cat litter? Well, it must be fine then! After recently deciding to switch to cloth diapers, I thought why don't I do the same for our kitty?
I bought a few cheap cloth diapers and cut a tail-sized hole... no, not really! I just did a little research on cat litter and after a very short period of consideration, chose to switch to... pine!
There aren't really any credible studies done on the health effects of clay litter, but there are plenty of anecdotal warnings. I read about how many people believe that cats and kittens may ingest too much litter from licking their paws and fur and have become ill or died. Breathing in the dust and fumes from the added scents may not be detrimental to their health as some claim, but it certainly doesn't seem a natural place for a kitty to do his business. I know I wouldn't like it, not to mention he smells awful after getting out of the box.
I chose this over recycled newspaper or Feline Pine's original pellet litter because it is clumping and makes my life a bit easier. I always found changing the entire box to be unpleasant and would put off doing it until it became a horrendously smelling chore. The pine smells lovely and kitty seems to have no issues with the switch. His fur seems much cleaner and shinier now too. My next change was to switch his food.
We switched from Iams to Castor and Pollux Organix. Take a look at your pet's food nutritional label. Chances are, one of the first ingredients is corn, soy, by-products and other things that are definitely not naturally a part of a healthy, balanced diet. You can read all about it as well as product reviews here. Needless to say, since switching to a food with organic and natural ingredients, the kitty is even more thrilled about meal time. His "breffast" and "sup-sup" are highly anticipated and wolfed down much more enthusiastically than his old food. He seems much perkier recently, as well!
We love our cat-baby - why should we consider his health and needs any less than our own? Granted, these products are more expensive but we feel it's worth it and we are able to make cuts elsewhere to afford him what we can. I feel really good about changing these things for him. Even if he doesn't live any longer for it, at least it makes him happy!!