What You Need to Know About Corn-Based Cat Litter
I first heard about corn-based cat litter from a brand representative at a natural products event. On paper, corn-based litter sounds amazing! It’s made from sustainable ingredients, is earth-friendly and supposedly safe for pets and people. I was sold!
I received a free sample and happily took it home to Ashes, Isis, and Grayson. I transitioned it into both litter boxes in our home – one in the bedroom and one in the bathroom. For a few days, litter box action was going well. The litter was easy to scoop, tracked about the same as my regular clay-based clumping litter (although the actual pieces were smaller), and the cats took to using it with seemingly no problems.
Then I started to notice a slightly pungent smell coming from the litter box in the bathroom. Even though it didn’t smell like cat waste, I figured I just had to scoop more often with this litter and wrote it off.
Around the same time, my smallest cat, Isis, stopped eating and was acting extremely sluggish (especially for such an active kitty). She is very picky about food though so I initially thought she was just not into her food. When she flat-out refused to move from the bed later that day, I began to get worried. She returned back to normal late the next evening.
Unfortunately, Ashes was now acting sluggish and not eating. She is a notorious over-eater and due to her cancer, my panic mode was activated. I quickly realized that the only change we had recently made was the litter. I did some research and found out that despite how it’s marketed, corn-based litter can be toxic.
When corn and moisture mix, a deadly aflatoxin mold can grow. So corn-based litter and moisture…Warm urine…Covered litter boxes…Perfect recipe for mold, right? When you add in the fact that the litter box was kept in the bathroom that is often humid from people showering regularly and it’s no wonder my cats began to get sick.
My cats were lucky – I made the connection quickly. I have seen stories about cats that were sadly not so lucky. As soon as I realized that the litter was the problem, I threw away both litter boxes, disinfected the bathroom and bought brand new litter boxes. I don’t know if that was necessary but I wasn’t taking any more chances with my little loves.
There are little to no warnings about this toxic mold problem from manufacturers of corn-based litter. I know many of us keep our litter boxes in the bathroom, basement, closet, or other potentially humid areas. If you are using corn-based litter, please be mindful and watch your cat’s behavior. Don’t take any chances!
Tell your fellow cat owners. The companies are not talking about this so it’s up to us. ♥
P.S. I didn’t mention the brand that we used because the issue can happen with all corn-based litter. I didn’t feel like the brand name was relevant.