Well, when it comes to ridiculous statistics, there’s pretty much a formula. And if you leave one bored writer in a room with a calculator, the internet and a point to prove, on average he or she will come up with a mind-boggling statistic within the space of five minutes or fewer. Chances are it may not make any real sense though.
But hey, if you love crazy stats, be my guest. But getting back to the point, the formula is pretty simple. Take the consumption or manufacture of something, connected to the point you are trying to prove – that you think is a little or highly excessive and get multiplying. And even if it isn’t excessive that no longer matters – that’s where the statistics come in (there are, after all, lies, damn lies and then statistics). Simply start with the daily consumption of something and then just start multiplying to get a year or a lifetime – and soon you’ll have a pretty large number. Take, for example, the amount of coffee I drink in a day or the amount of chocolate – ouch!!!
Or you can go one further and start multiplying by the number of people in a country or on the planet and soon you have even more ridiculously large numbers. And you as the reader will be bowled away by the huge number you’ve been supplied with and vow to do something about the fact that so many Americans have had to stand end-to-end or on top of each other reaching to the Moon, etc.
Well, that’s fair enough – they shouldn’t have to. For a host of reasons. Altitude not the least of it, and think of the poor soul at the bottom of the stack having to bear the weight of ya’ll at the top!
Anyway as a writer with a love of statistics, I have to say I’ve never been drawn to their use before, not least because as the point I have been trying to make, for the most part the statistics are often utter nonsense.
But when I began thinking about kitty litter, I did feel I had it in me to at least put together a reasonable point based on really rather excessive use and waste. Every time it comes to making a purchase of cat litter, I grimace at the task of hauling the five kilo bag home, only to know the task will need performing again in a few days.. So here’s some actual stats for you…
One cat, using the recommended amount of non-clumping clay kitty litter, around five kilos each week, 50 weeks a year, living to an average age of fifteen years equals 3750 kilos in a lifetime. Let’s say the cat I’m talking about is lucky, and it lives to twenty – well that’s 5000 kilos. Now one clay brick weighs 3.5 kilos, so in a lifetime, that’s 1428 bricks you could make from 5000 kilos of clay. Times it by a mere five or so and you have an average-sized house! Because according to many sources it takes 8126 bricks to make a house, I’ve researched this, you know. Indeed, head to Quora, she’s your friend!
But with my two kitties and the rate I have been going through it, make that one house between the two of them. I’ll get into my over use of kitty litter another time, as a first time kitty parent.
So how many kitties are there in the world? Around 600 million, so Google reliably tells me! Now granted they are not all getting through enough cat litter to build a fifth of a home in their lifetime for the sad thing is many are indeed homeless – they are not causing a problem per se – but the ones that are – well are (causing a problem that is!) But, of course, they are just doing as instructed and pooping in a box as requested by their pet parents – who are the real villains in all of this. So every twenty years we are getting through enough cat litter to construct around 100 million homes – all headed to landfill. While plenty of people are still living in mud huts or not even that and could really damn well do with a home.
Enough clay to build five million ample sized homes per year all to landfill in the form of kitty litter. And in a century that’s enough clay material that could have made half a billion homes which would house two billion people easily, granted we don’t all get along (so not easily in the true sense of the word) but that’s the price of a roof over your head, sometimes and you get my meaning, I’m sure. But no, the clay instead has gone from the mines, never to be replaced and instead of homing two billion folks – and there are no countries that exist that couldn’t do with some more affordable housing – the clay has gone to landfill due to kitty’s extraordinarily high carbon paw print.
So that’s my statistics, I haven’t stretched any kittens mercilessly to the Moon and back, stacked them on top of each other or harmed them in any way at all in the construction of this argument.
I can tell you’re impressed. So what can be done? I hear you ask. What’s going to happen? What’s the solution. How long has this all been going on?
Well, let’s start at the being.
So what is kitty litter made of?
Now, back in the day, supposing you were a cat – an unclean kitty litter tray would not have been an issue for you to get upset about. Because there were none, and you’d have been chucked outside to do your business. However, what you would have had an issue with, perhaps, would have been dodging the German bombs as they landed during the second world war.
And to be fair, if you were a German cat around the same period, you would have had to dodge some allied bombs before you could come back inside, as well. Some cat owners, not wanting to risk kitty did have the foresight to use dirt, sand or ashes from the fire, as litter, when they felt it necessary to keep kitty inside.
It wasn’t until 1947 that cat litter came about. Mrs Draper’s sand pile had frozen over in the Michigan winter and she asked her neighbor Mr Edward Lowe for some of his. Instead, Mr Lowe gave her some Fullers Earth (or clay) and she found it to be far better and didn’t track all over her home like the sand. He named it kitty litter and gave it away for free until it caught on. And the rest they say is history; the multi-million dollar Lowe Industries eventually being sold to Ralston Purina after Lowe’s death.
So to answer the question in hand, kitty litter was originally and still is made from clay. However, litter is now made of other things and cat litters fall into four types: Fuller’s Earth or non-clumping clay, Bentonite clay, Silica or crystal litter and natural kitty litter.
Fuller’s Earth or Non-Clumping Clay Kitty Litter
In terms of the bad boy of kitty litter the original is the worst. It is, however, still popular because it’s cheap and because some cats do seem to like it. It does have the ability to eliminate odor from cat urine. But it’s environmentally dreadful and you end up using larger amounts of this non-renewable source which is strip mined. Other cons are that non-clumping kitty litter produces dust which is bad for both you and kitty. It also needs to be changed frequently and unless you enjoy carrying large loads from the shops and to the bin, then avoid this environmental disaster.
Bentonite Clay Kitty Litter
Bentonite clay is better than non-clumping kitty litter in that you will likely use less of it. Instead of tipping out the whole litter tray you can clear away the clumped urine and feces. However, it’s still heavy and dusty and comes from non replenishable strip mines. The urine can pool at the bottom and may not be as odor-free as clumping clay. So still not the best idea.
Silica or Crystal Kitty Litter
You’ll find silica kitty litter to be a big improvement to the non-clumping clay of the 1950s and the clumping clay of the 1980s. While it is still made from silica gel, i.e. it’s derived from sand which is of course also a non-renewable source – it’s not strip mined and it’s used in far smaller quantities as it’s a clumping kitty litter and lightweight. Silica kitty litter is also good at eliminating odors and absorbing liquid unlike bentonite clay.
Natural Kitty Litter
Natural kitty litter is a far better option in terms of the environment and can be made from wood, sawdust, paper, wheat and other types of plants such as beet and corn. It’s not a perfect option as there is still the use of natural resources and the issue of producing carbon dioxide with natural kitty litters. However, it’s a little like blaming a vegan for eating vegetables – it is the least harmful option of them all. What else can be done?
Natural kitty litters are usually made from recycled materials are lightweight, sustainable and safe for both pets and pet parents. You can let your kitty out but many people don’t like the fact that cats tend to kill wild birds and in my opinion, cats are just not really safe to be let out. They’ll only run in front of a car, get locked in a garage or something worse! (It’s worth reliving this astonishing cat story from the UK in 2010). So it’s best to keep them indoors where you can keep an eye on them, for me.
So what is the best kitty litter?
It’s really best to avoid the clay litter if you can unless, of course, you’ve your own landfill far away from where you live and you’d like to build a house with the kitty litter you’ve collected once the toxins have disappeared. Assuming you don’t then stick to silica or better still natural kitty litter.
Best Silica Kitty Litter
An excellent silica kitty litter we found is Pretty Litter. You can have it delivered to your home, and it weighs just 3 pounds for a months’ worth of litter. What’s revolutionary about Pretty Litter is that it changes color to detect several feline diseases. Cats won’t let you know when they are sick and they could have an advanced stage disease before you become aware as a pet parent. By then the cost may be high or the condition untreatable. So while the product still uses a small amount of silica it still seems like a great cat litter. It’s also dust free so great for asthmatic cats or humans and great at eliminating odor. You can check out Pretty Litter pricing direct from the supplier. If you have a senior cat it may well be worth investing in a litter that detects illness, so check it out!
Best Natural Kitty Litter
With great reviews we love the range from World’s Best Cat Litter. All the range is made from natural corn and seems to tick every box. The litter is clumping so you use less. Make sure you invest in a trusty kitty litter scoop and you are ready to go. All the range is easily scoopable and flushable. It’s lightweight and 99% dust free. There are pine and lavender varieties to choose from for a fresh smelling home. There are clumping and zero mess varieties which have extra clumping abilities too. And there are even two varieties that can be used if you have a cat that needs encouragement to use a litter tray which have attractants in the formulas. All make a great and sustainable choice.
So there you have it, knock yourself out with these new advanced kitty litters. And well we can stop needlessly digging up clay and use it for something more useful, instead.
From Miss Pet Paws