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If you’re looking for a healthy natural or organic cat litter, one of the types of cat litter that you may consider is corn cob or other corn-based cat litter. As the name suggests, this kitty litter is made out of corn. Corn cat litter is environmentally-friendly and won’t cause respiratory distress because it’s very low in dust.
However, this typically healthy plant-based cat litter has attracted some concern due to its potentially dangerous relationship with toxic mold. We’re here to address some of those concerns and help answer your question—is corn cob cat litter safe for cats?
Let’s take a closer look at the good and the bad of corn-based cat litter so you can confidently decide whether or not corn cat litter is right for you and your cat.
- 1. What’s the danger of corn cob cat litter?
- 2. What’s good about corn cat litter?
- 3. So, is corn cat litter safe for cats?
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What’s the danger of corn cob cat litter?
If you’ve done any research into corn cat litter, you’ve probably come across a few warnings. When corn litter is wet and warm, it can be a breeding ground for bacteria, bugs, and mold. That means when it’s in use, it is a fertile environment for stuff that can make your cat sick.
Dangers of aflatoxin mold growing in corn cat litter.
Maybe you came across this article from Truth About Pet Food describing cats who got gravely ill after switching to a corn-based litter. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a follow-up article indicating whether or not Zelda’s liver failure was determined to be related to mold poisoning or not. Let’s take a closer look at what aflatoxin mold is, and whether it’s worth fearing in your cat’s litter box.
Aflatoxin is a toxin produced by the fungus, Aspergillus flavus. This fungus is commonly found in soil and organic debris, and when it gets airborne, it often sets up house as a gray-green mold on corn or other grains. Aflatoxin is poisonous to a number of animals—including cats. Aflatoxin poisoning or aflatoxicosis can cause jaundice, reproductive harm, anemia, gastrointestinal distress, and cancer.
The mold grows most readily on corn grown in humid environments and on improperly stored or damaged corn. Unfortunately, aflatoxin mold can grow on corn even after it’s dried and processed into cat litter.
World’s Best Cat Litter, the most popular brand of corn cat litter, is aware of the risk of aflatoxin mold. They test the litter for mold before it’s packaged and leaves their facility. However, they have no control over what happens to the litter in storage or once it gets to you.
There is a potential for risk, and it’s up to you to be aware and mitigate that risk if you choose to use corn cat litter. Make sure that you always store corn cat litter in a cool and dry location. Keep the litter box away from humidity—don’t store it in the bathroom—and scoop regularly to prevent a buildup of moisture in the litter box.
Corn cat litter can attract bugs.
Mold isn’t the only thing that can make your cat’s litter box its home. Grain can be a fertile breeding ground for bugs—it’s not uncommon for meal moths and pantry beetles to infest stored grain products. That could include the corn cat litter you just picked up from the store.
Fortunately, these bugs won’t harm you or your cat, but you probably don’t want a bug infestation just the same. While it’s not likely that your package of corn cat litter will come with stowaways, there are steps you can take to be safe just in case. Freeze the bag of cat litter for several days before pouring it into your litter box. Freezing will kill off any bugs or eggs.
Make sure that you keep open bags of litter well-sealed and scoop the litter box regularly. Once again, regular cleaning is your best bet to prevent pests.
What’s good about corn cat litter?
Now that we’ve gotten the bad stuff out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the good side of corn cat litter—there’s a reason it’s growing in popularity.
Corn cat litter is biodegradable and sustainable.
Corn cat litter is primarily created from corn. It’s made from a renewable resource and doesn’t require any strip mining to create, unlike clay cat litter. Once the litter is used, it breaks down and decays into the earth. If you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly litter choice, corn cat litter is certainly one to consider.
Some corn cat litter is marketed as flushable. While these litters may be septic safe, flushing cat waste isn’t recommended. Cats are often carriers of the parasite, Toxoplasma Gondii. An infected cat can excrete hundreds of eggs in their feces. This parasite can infect any mammal—while most humans who are infected with Toxoplasma Gondii show no symptoms, it can make immunosuppressed people severely ill.
If you flush your cat’s waste down the toilet, Toxoplasma Gondii may be introduced to public waterways and eventually make its way to the sea. Toxoplasmosis from cat feces can contribute to the deaths of sea otters, dolphins, monk seals, and other marine mammals. For this reason, we don’t recommend flushing your cat litter, even if it won’t clog up your toilet.
Corn cat litter is low-dust and is good for sensitive cats.
Corn cat litter is one of the least dusty cat litters available. It’s one of the best options for cats or people with sensitive respiratory systems. As opposed to dusty clay cat litter, corn cat litter also doesn’t contain any potentially dangerous silica dust, either.
Many corn cat litters are also unscented and don’t contain any harsh chemicals that might irritate sensitive skin and noses. Corn cat litter is fine and lightweight, making it good for sensitive paws.
>> Related article: Best Cat Litter for Sensitive Paws
Corn cat litter is easy to use and effective.
Corn cat litter is easy to use and just as effective as the more popular clay litter.
It usually clumps well for easy scooping. The excellent clumping also makes it a good choice for use with automatic litter boxes.
Corn litter is exceptionally light. A little goes a long way, so you get more litter per pound than you would with clay litter. Corn-based cat litter also has a reputation for effective odor control.
So, is corn cob cat litter safe for cats?
Environmentally friendly and chemical-free, natural corn cat litter is, on the surface, a healthy choice for you, your cat, and the environment. It effectively captures odor and is easy to dispose of.
The dark side of this natural cat litter is that it’s possible for unwanted creatures to take up residence in this plant-based litter. Aflatoxin mold growing in the litter can pose a serious risk to your cat’s health and manufacturer testing doesn’t sufficiently protect against mold growing in your cat’s litter box after purchase.
Despite these concerns, I was ultimately able to find a lot more theories about the danger of aflatoxin mold in corn cat litter than evidence that it has actually harmed any cats.
Many people use corn-based cat litter without any trouble. Corn litter is an eco-friendly choice, usually provides good odor control, and doesn’t irritate cats with respiratory issues.
If you’re storing the cat litter in a cool and dry location, corn cat litter is probably a safe choice.
Unfortunately, we can’t be 100% sure that corn cat litter is safe for cats. If you’re uncomfortable with corn cat litter but still want a natural and biodegradable litter, you have options. Our favorite natural and biodegradable cat litter is wood pellet cat litter—it’s also one of the most budget-friendly options! Read our full review of wood pellet cat litter here.
Click here for a list of our top 5 picks for the best corn cat litters.
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