6. Choosing a 'Greener' Cat Litter
Litter is tricky. The most common type of litter is made from clay, says Dr. Hofve. Clay is extracted from the ground in an environmentally unfriendly mining process, and it creates a lot of dust (even with the “dustless” types of litter).
Since your cat’s nose is just a few inches away from her digging paws, clay dust can get into her lungs, where it can cause inflammation and even asthma in susceptible cats. There is also a risk (though very small) of intestinal impaction of clay in the digestive tract of very young kittens, very elderly cats, or cats with extremely furry paws; they are more likely to step into wet litter and then ingest it when they lick their paws clean.
It’s preferable to use natural, sustainable resources, such as corn, walnut hulls, wheat, or sawdust (e.g., pine). However, they too have benefits and drawbacks. Some are quite dusty themselves, and many have scents (whether artificial fragrance or natural pine oils) that are aversive and even potentially toxic to sensitive kitties. Pine oils in particular can cause an allergic reaction. Newsprint is sort of renewable, but the inks used on newspaper may be toxic for cats.
Most cats prefer the softer surface of fine-textured clumping litters over the texture of pellets, pearls, and large clay pieces. The most important thing is to use a litter that your cat likes, and that is also easy for you to keep clean daily; a dirty box is the number one reason for failure of the cat to use it. If your cat doesn't seem to like the litter she has, try another, and keep trying 'til you find the right one!