Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Clay Cat Litter Blocks Intestinal System

There's plenty of information online about the problems associated with Clumping Clay Kitty Litters. There are also some articles saying there is no problem. I think prudence and caution is the rule of the day when it comes to our pets. There are too many alternatives to continue using clay litters.

Recently a friend of mine had a cat who was not able to have bowel movements. After using everything possible recommended by the vet and some herbal laxatives, there was still no results.

In her own words about her cat, Doodle:

It wasn't a hairball but two other issues. The Vet first did a manual evacuation with her finger, then an enema. She did a really good job and Doodle was a trooper. The Vet said a bowlful came out.

There was a pouch that had formed just after the pelvic bone, and stuff got into that and stayed there. She does not know whether or not it will go back to normal but I pray that it will. We have to keep her on that lactulose for now.

Second issue that really shocked me is that there was a 5 or so inch piece that came out that was very clay-like. In other words, it wasn't about to go anywhere. I have always used clay kitty litter. Little Doodle has long hair and likes to be clean, which meant she was always licking the clay dust off of herself!

I figured it out pretty quickly and went straight to the pet store to buy something else. Talking to a couple people who work there, they said they have heard of that before. So now I am trying "Yesterday's News" which is made from old newspapers and not possible to ingest and it doesn't stick to the fur and there is no dust. I've used the pine pellets before, mixed with clay, but they did not like it. I loved it and it gave off a nice smell. It did disintegrate and track on the floor though, which meant it also sticks to fur somewhat.

The Vet told me she got all of it out of her, and she's completely clean. However, as soon as we got home, she went straight to the box and dropped two, inch and a half rock-hard pieces, and just now she went again and and deposited a 3/4 inch soft log. So long as it keeps coming out, we'll be fine.

Choosing Cat Litter can be good for the environment also.


Jo said...

We traveled the long hard road with this problem with our cat Ernie 7 years ago. He was diagnosed with mega colon after awhile. He too was on lactulose, but at the time (and I suppose this has changed?) it was not available for humans, having been pulled off the market, and we had to have it ground at a special pharmacy. The costs were astronomical and we just could not afford to give him the required dose. We were able to give him enemas at home for some time because he was so gentle and good natured (We wouldn't dare try this with either of our current cats). Just be sure to never use the salt water kind, and do it under supervision of your vet. We took him to a vet school to see if they would do surgery for him and they refused, saying he just needed to be on this drug. This drug would have run us $800.00 A MONTH. I went home and sobbed with misery, but that was my entire salary at the time. We just couldn't do it.

In all the research I did about this, I had not heard that clumping litter might be a culprit. We do use clumping litter. From my understanding of mega colon, the involuntary muscles of the colon stop responding when stool has reached that point. This gives you the urge and the ability to poop when it is time. So the stool stays there in the large intestine where it gets "baked." The large intestine removes moisture from waste to form feces, and so the longer stool stays in there, the dryer it gets, and the more it becomes like a brick. This was my understanding of the reason for the rock hard feces they had to manually remove from Ernie repeatedly over the course of more than a year. Eventually we found a vet who did perform the surgery on Ernie, and while it is sometimes successful, for our darling boy it was not really. He ended up on a prescription diet and with continued visits to the vet to get manually cleaned out, until he got cancer a year later in his kidneys. We tried surgery for that too because he was one of the best friends we ever had, and he tolerated all of the indignities of his surgeries and procedures with real grace and never even threatened to bite anyone.

I wish your friend the very best of luck with Doodle. In retrospect I wish we had tried acupuncture before going the surgery route. If this is indeed a nerve stimulation problem perhaps that might have helped. Ernie was also overweight, and I think that contributed to the start of his long hard road with this problem.

We spent more than $4000.00 over two years trying to save Ernie. If it had worked it would have been worth it to us. I regret all the discomfort he went through, but his personality was so wonderful he tolerated it like a trooper till the very end. The experience has left me with a lot of mixed feelings about what can be done for both animals and humans with Western medicine. We inflict a lot of pain at huge financial costs for the sake of extending life, and sometimes the length and quality of that extension may not be worth the cost.

sharingsunshine said...

What a sad (health issues) and yet happy story (your devoted love for him). It is sad that most vets do not use a broad-minded or holistic view of things. Like doctors, they are trained well and tend to form "routine practices" based on that information.

Doodle's mom said that the doc didn't mention anything about clay litters either, even though the stool looked like clay.

Thank you for sharing your story! What a testimony of love.

Anonymous said...

I switched to a more natural cat litter as well. Moreso for my dogs, because they are always going in th litterboxes looking for "bon-bons". I couldn't keep them from going in for the treats, and I knew that eating clay covered poop in no way could be healthy for them. Gratefully, I have not had any blockage problems previous to the switch. It's important for people to know the possible harmful effects of using clay litter. Thanks for bringing the subject up.

Anonymous said...

I have heard about this issue, too, as well as some respiratory problems associated with these kinds of litter.

I am sorry that some cat owners have had such experiences. However, I've had many, many, many cats for over thirty years and, while there have been several expensive and very sad illnesses over the years, thankfully,I have never had any litter associated illnesses with my cats (I currently have eight of them). While I want to do the best I can for them, sometimes it is simply not affordable to do so. I used to use the World's Best Cat Litter (which is great!) but it is too expensive for me right now, and Yesterday's News would simply not work in this large cat household.

I have been using Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Litter, which although a clay-based litter, is 100% sodium betonite, and not mixed with cheaper clays. It is very effective and very inexpensive.

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