Clumping Cat Litter with Sodium Bentonite Is NOT Safe for Your Cat

Sodium Bentonite Clumping Litter Can Kill

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18 Responses

  1. Mady L says:

    I have been keeping and loving cats all my life. For at least 44 years I have used clumping clay cat litter, even though the modern ones are nicer with smaller particles, they have all worked excellently.

    I have always either kept the litter tray/boxes on carpet or used a litter collecting mat to ensure their feet are naturally cleaned of any dust when they leave the litter tray; or a combination of mat and carpet. Perhaps other owners do not do this?

    My current two cats are 18/19 year old neutered males, who have lived as house only pets their entire lives. They have reduced appetites… that is normal (for non-greedy) elderly cats. They are arthritic also normal. They are given egg yolk lecithin to assist them in breaking down furballs and one has Lactulose, due to constipation. It is common for elderly cats (and humans) to have bowel issues that cause constipation.

    They both had their fill courses of vaccinations as kittens, including the 1st year booster. Since then neither of them has ever needed to see a vet, other than 1 cat developing asthma.

    I have never seen grey sludge in vomit or in the litter tray, although I inspect both regularly for any health problems. None of my cats have ever eaten cat litter to the best of my knowledge, and I’m sure I would know if they did.

    Perhaps cats are eating the clay because of a lack of something essential in their diets? it’s certainly not something that normal cats do, in mine experience and opinion.

    You say anecdotal evidence, i.e. first hand experience, does not count, but it would in a court of law, so why not for you?

    I think you are scaremongering unnecessarily as many millions of cats do live with clay cat litter every day of their lives and come to no harm, like mine. If bentonite clay is as dangerous as you and others seem to think, I do not believe that my cats would be as alert, fit, healthy and happy as they are. I would attach a photo if I could.

    I feel that perhaps you need to rethink your advice. I don’t think that 44 years of loving and caring for my healthy cats as much as I do is a coincidence or luck. I have never encountered any health problems caused by using the clay cat litter.

  2. angie says:

    iI have lost three healthy beautiful fur babies after buying the Bentonite cat litter it took me three deaths to investigate this litter as this was the only change I had made for my babys in years and now it looks like I unknowingly caused their deaths I am totally destroyed over this and something has to be done to get this of the market

    • kapush says:

      Hi angie,
      Please forgive me for the terribly late approval. There was a problem with the WordPress notification system and I don’t really monitor this site any longer (but will, shortly).

      I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Only way to get this out of the market is to spread the word as much as possible. I do hope time heals you. Best wishes to you and yours …

  3. Pat says:

    My cat age twenty started to lose her appetite over the last two months, and then I noticed she started eating the clumping cat litter, and I noticed she started to suffer with constipation, and started to go downhill very rapidly. I took her to the vet and they gave her lactulose, and I carried on administering twice a day 2ml of lactulose.
    You would not believe what came out of her. Over a period of five days about a mug full of grey cement sludge and stools were passed. Here colon must have been impacted with litter. She is now on the road to recovery and eating again and looks very happy in herself. I feel that I had a very lucky escape, cat litter or fullers earth could possibly be a killer

  4. claudeus gothicus says:

    Mandy – Please do NOT push for these studies because you are in fact asking for numerous kittens to be killed if they do them. Perhaps you do not fully understand what you’re asking for. A study of this nature will involve a study with numerous cats of different ages including a large number of kittens who will be subject to a slow and painful death. This study will require the feline subjects to be gavaged – a tube of the appropriate diameter to necessitate the flow of the material will be jammed down their throats to facilitate the substance in question reaching their stomachs. They will start off with a set amount of litter, then gradually increasing each day until those cats are dead. They may chose to kill and dissect some while allowing others to remain having litter forced down their throats until the amount is increased and death is achieved. Those cats and kittens will suffer terribly. They will not be handled gently. They will receive one iota of love or kindness because the people who work in labs that perform animal studies are known to cruelly abuse and torture these animals. The humans shut down due to the nature of their work and instead of allowing themselves to feel any emotional pain that comes from showing those animals any kindness while at the same time causing such suffering in those animals, they become exceptionally cruel to them. These animals will only know horrible pain and constant fear and abuse from the time they enter that lab until they’re killed by having a pipe roughly rammed down their throat and litter poured down it each day. They may even withhold water from some of them as a facet of the study. You will condemn these kittens to this if you push for this study. This is the reality of EVERY animal study that happens with all products marketed for animals. And many studies are much more horrific than this one would be. Every time a manufacturer markets a new flea product a new group of animals are subjected to similar studies having toxic chemicals poured down their throats, poured into their eyes, etc. How do I know these things? Because I do research. I actually read these studies despite crying so hard I can barely see and it making me physically ill. Every last line, every sickening detail, of every single one of them. I hate reading them. I hate seeing the videos of these animals being tortured and abused, but to ignore them, to look away, to stop reading, is actually worse. People don’t want to know, pet owners don’t want to know what animals go through so we can have products for our pets. But I know what these animals have suffered, and will continue to suffer, that’s why I actively work to try and stop it. — Please don’t ask for animal studies to test products. We have enough products already out there and we don’t need new ones. Many times there is no good reason for these studies, and worse many times with new products the same horrific tests have already been done yet they are repeated. Animal studies are always bad for the animals who are forced to suffer unimaginable horrors and lose their lives through them. It’s unconscionable what they do to these animals in their labs and it has to stop. I urge everyone to bear witness to their suffering and try to do something about it, petition your congressperson for an end to animal experimentation and product testing. And please, please, support an organization working towards ending the suffering of animals in labs everywhere.

    • kapush says:

      Damn. I hadn’t thought about that. And in any case, the end result will probably say that there is no conclusive evidence that clumping litter is unsafe for cats, and so it must be safe. Thanks for pointing this out. Since you’ve addressed Mandy directly, I hope you will have no objection if I quote your entire reply when notifying her of what you’ve said.

  5. Judith Blair says:

    I am fostering an 8-month old cat named Fred. One morning he came into the room and said “Wowowow,” and vomited a small amount of brown liquid. He seemed otherwise OK. But he did it the next morning. On
    the 3rd morning, I called the veterinarian. After examining him and palpating his abdomen (which he didn’t like), she gave him an enema – and got clumps of litter! Over the next 3 days they gave him subcutaneous fluids and 2 more enemas. So we immediately began searching for another litter. Problem: we have 9 foster cats, and 9 of our own. With non-clumping litters, the boxes need to be changed more often, creating more bags of litter in the garbage. We are limited to 6 bags total. So we are hoping to find a litter where the used material can be removed without removing most of the unused litter.

    • kapush says:

      Hi Judith,

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us!
      In our shelter, at one point of time there were 39 cats. We had a trench dug outside in the open ground filled with sawdust and wheat chaff purchased in bulk. That worked for us.
      You can also take a look at this litter – it isn’t cat litter per se, but there are user reviews (including on this site) on how well it works.

      Glad the kitty recovered.:)

  6. Julie says:

    I’ve used clumping litter for all my cats, and they have never had any health problems relating to digestion. I have never seen the litter kling to the paws or other places on our cats, so when they clean themselves, they will only ingest a tiny amount of dust (as with most types of litter). If the dust expands 15 times, it would still not post a threat to the digestive system, as it’s so small from the start.

    If your cat has a tendency to eat litter, like if it’s an inquisitive kitten, I absolutely agree that you shouldn’t use clumping litter, because it seems logical that it’s not healthy or may even be harmful to ingest larger amounts of a substance that expands 15 times its size when in contact with liquid. But as long as your cat doesn’t eat the litter, I can’t imagine that it’s unsafe.

    I agree that there seems to be mostly anecdotal evidence on both sides, but because of this I really don’t understand why you would post an article saying basically that clumping cat litter will definitely kill your cat. You should have hard evidence when making such a strong claim. Also, if this was true, almost no person in the world would use it, because everybodys cats would die within weeks from using it. As I wrote in the previous paragraph, if the cat eats the litter, it could probably be dangerous, but most cats don’t do that.

    • kapush says:

      Hi Julie,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I’m so glad you’ve never had a problem with clumping litter – it is always good to hear about healthy fur babies.

      Not everyone has been so fortunate, however. If you scroll down to the first three comments here, you’ll know.

      I’m not sure where in the article I wrote ‘clumping litter will definitely kill your cat’. If you could point it out to me – doesn’t have to exact words, if you could point me to where something I’ve written *means* something that extreme, I’d be very willing to revise it.

      Regarding your statement about no one in the world using substances that are known to be toxic, yes, very logical, but smokers all over would probably disagree. While on that topic, may I also state that despite the very real dangers caused by smoking, I’ve personally known men and a few women as well, who have lived well into their eighties while still being smokers. But that didn’t make them say smoking was NOT harmful.

      Again, I’m happy that your babies are safe.

      I wrote the article to let people know the whole truth . It is important to be informed. You may have noticed that I did not exactly write an opinion piece. Everything has been referenced so that those interested may verify the facts as they stand. But without enough articles on this subject, people might not even be aware of the dangers.

      Thank you for visiting. I do hope we get to see you again.

  7. Jennifer L says:

    Citronella has ketones in it. You should NOT being using it in your “natural” cat litter for scent control. It’s dangerous if ingested. Furthermore, it’s used as a cat deterrent, so I’d be surprised if you’re not making your cats extremely unhappy by forcing them to use litter with citronella in it. I’m not a proponent of clay litter either, but forcing citronella on your cats is not good either. In this case, you’re using your own anecdotal “evidence” that it’s safe when it is not. Please do more research on the subject of citronella since you are claiming you have a “shelter.”

    • kapush says:

      Hello Jennifer,

      Thank you for your comment. First, I’m not ‘claiming’ I have a “shelter” – I mentioned it – there’s nothing to ‘claim’.

      It began in 2001 and has been in a bad state the last five years since I came into severe financial problems. I’m even considering a fundraiser after having self-funded it for the last 16 years. I’m fortunate to have had animal lovers in our area helping me out all the time, hence ‘our’ shelter, to acknowledge that help.

      Citronella is toxic to cats in large quantities (which is the truth about some good medicines as well). Not when sprayed in highly diluted state in a 5′ x 3′ trench full of a mixture of sand, sawdust, and ground garden soil (and some cat poop). I did ask my vet about it (he doesn’t claim to be a vet, either, he IS one).

      Citronella does not repel all cats. Please read the comment by Alice McLean at

      However, I have personally found it discouraging cats from pooping in a neighbor’s lawn when used without dilution.

      On a related note, onions supposedly cause anemia in cats. A friend of mine used to feed her cat a herbal soup with onions in it and the cat lived a happy life and died a peaceful, natural death at around 16 years of age. My friend didn’t know of the danger of onions and I did not know about the feeding – no one was doing anything to prove a point, but a point is proved nonetheless: It is best not to generalize.

      You don’t ‘force’ cats. To do anything. Period.

      If they were unhappy with the scent, they would have pooped elsewhere. There was a lot of open space where the trenches used to be.

      However, you raised a useful point and I’m going to add this conversation inside the article as soon as I can.

      Thanks again.

  8. Michelle Peterson says:

    My baby girl cat started getting sick less than 24 hours ago, with nausea and dry heaves of yellow foamy liquid. She wont eat or drink and I’m worried about her. I’m staying up all night to watch her and taking her to the vet at sunrise. My nephew brought his cat here 2 weeks ago to stay with my sister and I till August . He brought 2 boxes of clumping cat litter to use. Personally I won’t be scooping out the clumps as , I’m a believer in old fashion litter. I change the litter 3 times a week and clean her box everytime . My sister told me that Panda my cat has been using the new cats box and I didn’t think much of it until today, remembering some info about the clumping litter. I don’t understand that if the sodium bentonite clay is harmful to plumbing turning it into cement, then why is it OK for cats. I know my cat cleans her paws right after using the box. Why do they put a warning out for plumbing and not for cats. Does anyone know the signs and symptoms of Bentonite clay ingestion. I’m so sorry to those who’ve lost their cats as I know animals are our family members too. Michelle

    • kapush says:

      Michelle, I’m so sorry to hear about Panda. My wife had a cat by that name, once. Please consult a holistic vet if you think bentonite toxicity is the problem. I have discussed the symptoms in the article – it appears that your cat has diarrhea but that’s a misleading symptom which leads to wrong treatment. Hope Panda gets better soon …

  9. Mandy Cordray says:

    This is so horrible. We need these studies done! We lost 3 awesome cats since Jan. 1st. 2017. Our pets died from a common product. The clumping cat litter. I feel horrible. I am supposed to keep them safe. I want to get this issue resolved. Please help me, so we can spare other family pets from this terrible neglect. Let’s get these studies started!!! Mandy Cordray 217- 828- 1363 text me

    • kapush says:

      Hi Mandy,
      Really sorry to hear about your cats. Please share the article and other related material on social media to raise awareness. However, I would advise against putting your email and phone number where anyone can see them.

  10. Rich Sommerville says:

    Hi, My cat started have problems, eg: loose stool; vomiting often with hairballs and then w/o hairballs, but a greyish/yellow frothy substance; wouldn’t eat and had no energy. Took him to the Vet …$$$$. I then read about sodium bentonite on the web. I got rid of both litter boxes of the clumping litter and re-filled with a non-clumping wheat chaff material. My Wife and I force fed our cat a couple of times that evening. I also did a thorough vacuuming and mopping of the floors (I’m retired, but my Wife isn’t so our family responsibilities have changed a good deal). The result was, to say the least, unbelieveable. The next day the cat went to his feed bowl and sat to be fed, as usual. He ate 2 tablespoons of the Vet canned food and hasn’t vomited yet (3 hrs.). GET RID OF YOUR CLUMPING CAT LITTER !!!!!!!!!!! I can’t say this strongly enough. Take care, Rich

    • kapush says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Rich. And I’m sorry my reply comes so late – haven’t updated or even looked at this blog in ages :p

      Hope your fur baby is bouncing around happily, now 🙂

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