Organic Cat Litter – Limited Choices That Need Not Restrict You
Organic cat litter is one that comes with a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) accredited certification. It is notoriously difficult to find certified organic cat litter. This article lists the ones that we did find. The choices are terribly limited, however.
Generally speaking, the definition of ‘organic’ is ‘relating to or derived from living matter’. Our original article from 2011 on organic cat litter was based on this.
We listed ten different brands made from natural resources that were all biodegradable and ‘otherwise’ organic. Only one of them could be retained in this updated version of the article because of the strictures imposed by organic certification.
Organic, As per USDA Guidelines
A cursory search did not reveal any cat litter-related definition for the word ‘organic’. So, we’ll infer the meaning of organic cat litter from what the USDA says about organic farming and food:
Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible.
Produce can be called organic if it’s certified to have grown on soil that had no prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest. Prohibited substances include most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
When packaged products indicate they are “made with organic [specific ingredient or food group],” this means they contain at least 70% organically produced ingredients. The remaining non-organic ingredients are produced without using prohibited practices (genetic engineering, for example) but can include substances that would not otherwise be allowed in 100% organic products.
As with all organic foods, none of it is grown or handled using genetically modified organisms, which the organic standards expressly prohibit.
“Made with organic” products do not carry the USDA organic seal; they must, however, be approved by a USDA accredited certifier that they, nonetheless, meet USDA’s organic standards.
You can read the entire Organic 101 on the USDA website.
Definition of Organic Cat Litter
It is interesting that the guidelines do not mention sustainability except by implication (cultivation without using synthetic fertilizer protects the soil and is, therefore, a sustainable process).
In view of all that we’ve learned so far, we could say that
Organic cat litter is one that is made from non-genetically modified living matter (like plants, for example) grown without using artificial fertilizer or pesticide. It must carry either the USDA organic seal or be approved by a USDA-accredited certifier to contain nothing that does not meet USDA organic standards.
Why You Don’t Need USDA-Certified Cat Litter
For most cat people, the safety and comfort of their fur babies are of paramount importance. And, it is good to use products that do not harm the environment. It is even better when such products are sustainably produced. Bonus points if the manufacturer gives back to society in some manner.
If all that we’ve listed above resonate with you, then you don’t need to restrict yourself to just organic cat litter. There are a number of brands and varieties to choose from that fit the description perfectly. Until we have added more reviews, please take a look at this comparison chart for sustainably produced flushable cat litter brands. Hopefully, you will find something you like even if you are not looking to flush.
Organic Cat Litter Brands
Just a reminder in case you skipped the entire write-up and came straight to this section: these are the only brands we could find that display organic or non-GMO certification from some competent authority. There are a number of cat litter brands that use sustainably produced natural resources which we have NOT listed here because they do not carry any organic certification.
Also, even though two of the litters are flushable, you should check if flushing of used cat litter is permitted where you live. We have an article that answers frequently asked questions on flushable cat litter which may be helpful.
1. Non-GMO Grass Seed Cat Litter (Only Natural Pet)
As of now, this is our first choice for the best organic cat litter.
Only Natural Pet is certified B Corporation with an overall impact score of 86.1 per cent. All shipping is carbon neutral in partnership with Carbonfund.Org.
- The litter is non-GMO certified and made of grass seeds.
- It clumps well and has good odor control.
- The used litter is flushable where permitted.
- There’s virtually no dust and neither any tracking to any significant degree.
We were impressed by the video and strongly insist you watch it:
2. Catfidence Organic Bamboo Cat Litter (The Original Poop Bags®)
This one is made from sustainably cultivated organic bamboo and is certified by the USDA as 98% biobased.
It is pelleted, has excellent odor control, and is supposed to be equivalent to 40lb of clay litter.
However, you need to understand how to use the litter to make the most of it.
Usage Instructions for Catfidence
Catfidence organic cat litter comes in 7lb and 21lb bags. The most important part is that they insist you pour at least 5lb of it into your litter tray.
This, of course, means you will want a tray with high edges so that there is no spillover. Here are the next steps to follow.
- Scoop out the used parts and dump them as you normally would
- Stir the remaining litter to thoroughly mix the still-wet parts with the dry litter
- If you do not follow the step above, the odor control will not work.
We found mixed user reviews, so you will either love it or hate it, we’re guessing!
The odor control is real, at least.
And it does last a month, so pretty economical for the price ( $19.99 for 7lb).
You can flush the used litter if that is permitted in your area.
Worth a try, we’d say.
3. Arclay Catsens Organic Cat Litter
Catsens is a Canadian brand. It is ‘proudly’ certified organic since 2008, the website says. In fact, (the earlier and less stringent version of) this article had a comment from them from as far back as 2013.
Unfortunately, they are awfully reticent about their primary ingredient. Even a direct query through their website did not yield anything beyond a one-liner that is already there on the site: Catsense is made from Canadian feed-grade clay.
We researched further and found out that in all probability, the clay is calcium bentonite.
Anyhow, Catsens does have a certification that makes it an organic cat litter. And as far as we are aware, it is a safe cat litter with good clumping and odor control.
Unless you are for some reason completely averse to anything but certified organic cat litter, please take a look at our list of litters that are flushable, made from renewable resources, and manufactured sustainably. And do leave us a comment if you know of any brand of cat litter that is certified by some competent body to be organic and we’ll add them to the list. Thank you for reading.