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Is Fresh Step Cat Litter Harmful to a Cat?

Is Fresh Step Cat Litter Harmful to a Cat?

Recently, many pet websites and blogs have stated that various cat litters are harmful to cats, especially litters that are clay and clump and those that have silica in them. Fresh Step makes several different cat litters and claims that their products are safe.

Function

    Cat litter is used for a cat to relieve itself indoors in a controlled place.

Types

    Varieties of cat litter by Fresh Step are Clay made from clay, borates and fragrance; Scoopable (clumping) made from carbon, bentonite clay, limestone, borates and fragrance; Crystals (silica) made from silica gel and fragrance; and Dual Action Crystals, a scoopable clay with a mineral crystal.

Theories/Speculation

    Those who claim cat litter is unsafe say that the clay dust can coat a cat's lungs and cause health problems and, if a cat eats the clumping cat litter, it can cause a blockage. Furthermore, silica can cause silicosis as the cat breathes in the particles.

Considerations

    There has been one study done in 2001 published by the "Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association" stating that, with a small sample size of twelve cats (six with respiratory disease and six without), a higher concentration of silica was in the lungs of the cats with respiratory disease. Fresh Step states that their silica gel crystals do not contain crystalline silica and that all their cat litters are safe.

Misconceptions

    The study was funded by the Grain Processing Corporation (there are wheat and corn cat litters on the market), had a very small sample size and was not subject to peer review. Until there is more research done on this aspect of cat litter, the pet owner should be cautious about jumping to conclusions concerning the safety of Fresh Step or other clay cat litters.

Prevention/Solution

    If you are concerned about the overall safety of Fresh Step or other clay litters, look for a biodegradable cat litter made from wheat, corn or recycled newspaper.

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