Is Vermiculite Cat Litter Safe for Cats?
Vermiculite is cheap, light, and easy to find. A common ingredient in potting soils, it is both natural and easy to dispose of. Many cat lovers have asked me whether it is safe to use this readily available material as cat litter. Others want to know whether it can cause urinary tract problems. Today I would like to answer that from a vet's standpoint.
Vermiculite is typically found in bags of white or greyish material that resembles rocks or pebbles. It is often found with soil and other gardening supplies, as well as part of commercial potting mixes. It resembles other materials used for litter, which has led some cat owners to consider replacing their pet's litter with this inexpensive alternative.
But is this a good idea? Is vermiculite safe for cats to use as litter?
In a vet's opinion, vermiculite is not safe. Simply pour a small amount of it into a bowl and you will see why this material can be very dangerous for your cat: vermiculite creates a lot of dust that can easily irritate sensitive noses and eyes. Pawing or scratching in litter to cover waste can stir up dust and tiny particles which your cat can inhale. These microscopic bits of material can create miniscule cuts in your cat's respiratory tissues or irritate their mucus membranes.
In addition, vermiculite can contribute to urinary tract infections and other problems if they discourage your cat from using their litter box. Many cats will avoid using a dusty, perfumed, or otherwise unpleasant litter box. "Holding" urine can stress their excretory system and result in conditions such as urinary tract disease, bladder stones, and more.
Take it from a vet: the cost savings of using vermiculite litter is not worth the damage it can do to your cat's body. On top of that, vermiculite does not provide the clumping properties that other litters do.
Is vermiculite a good cat litter? In a vet's opinion, no. It can damage their respiratory systems and cause serious problems. It is also not very effective as a litter and many cats will not use it.
I hope this article has helped you learn whether vermiculite makes a good cat litter.