If your cat tires easily, has trouble breathing, or coughs and/or wheezes frequently, you might want to consider a hypoallergenic cat litter. While most of us associate allergies with people, cats can be affected by allergens, and other agents carried in the air, just like people can. A hypoallergenic cat litter helps eliminate a major source of respiratory distress for cats—a dusty litter box.
Hypoallergenic cat litter is made without silica dust, a mineral that is often found in clay cat litter. Silica dust is not biodegradable, and it's a known cancer-causing agent. Your cat can stir up silica dust every time it scratches in the litter box. Using a hypoallergenic cat litter reduces the danger from silica dust for your cat, and for you.
Here are some things to think about when selecting hypoallergenic cat litter. Some Features to Consider for Hypoallergenic Cat Litter
Hypoallergenic cat litter comes in two varieties, ‘clumping,' which will clump together when exposed to moisture, thus making for easier cleanup, and ‘regular' or ‘clay' hypoallergenic cat litter, which is non-clumping. You might try some of each in two litter pans, and see which one your cat prefers. Typically, the non-clumping hypoallergenic cat litter requires that the litter pan be emptied and changed at least twice a week for one cat. Clumping litter lasts a little longer, but even hypoallergenic cat litter is no substitute for good litter pan hygiene. ‘Earth-Friendly' Hypoallergenic Cat Litter
Other types of hypoallergenic cat litter include biodegradable
materials such as those made of plant materials, wood, and paper. These can be useful if you want an earth-friendly or a potentially flushable product. They are generally more expensive and less available (available at specialty pet stores). Some cats can handle these products fine. If you choose this type of hypoallergenic cat litter for the first time, use it in a second box and watch to determine if it is appealing to your cat. Features to Avoid in Hypoallergenic Cat Litter
Check the ingredient label for ‘sodium bentonite.' This cat litter additive is an extremely porous clay that is highly absorbent and helps the litter ‘clump' around moisture. However, when cats lick their paws, they can ingest sodium bentonite and when the mineral absorbs moisture in the cats' digestive tract, blockages can result. This has been reported but is extremely rare.
Heavily perfumed hypoallergenic cat litter can be a turn-off for cats. Scented litter will not hide the fact that a litter box needs cleaning. Test your cat on several litter types to see whether he or she prefers the scented, or unscented hypoallergenic cat litter. Your Ideal Choice in Hypoallergenic Cat Litter
Hypoallergenic cat litter should be dust-free, lightly scented, or unscented, and may be either clumping, or non-clumping. If it's a clumping hypoallergenic cat litter, it should not contain bentonite. The hypoallergenic cat litter you choose should be monitored and attended by you on a regular basis. Clumping hypoallergenic cat litter should be scooped at least twice a day. Non-clumping hypoallergenic cat litter should be removed and replaced, and the litter plan cleaned, at least twice a week for one cat, and more frequently for multiple cats using the same litter box.