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Ok, lemme have it....

Cactus Flower
September 14th, 2004, 01:24 AM
I know that the Cat People in this forum are probably going to slap their foreheads and give me a hearty roll-of-the-eyes for asking this question.
But I really am curious.

So, shtoopid question or not, here goes:

With all of the talk about cats being sensitive to this kitty litter or that kitty litter, and having to change brands or get non-allergic types of kitty litter....
how come you folks don't just fill the litter box with dirt? Isn't this the most natural kitty litter on earth (pardon the pun)? It seems to me that this would not only be safest in regards to irritants, but most cost-effective! I'm thinking you could even add some baking soda to help absorb odors.

Please, fill me in.

iRONKNiGHT
September 14th, 2004, 01:51 AM
Good Question... the best cat litter is a clay based cat litter with some sort of Odor absorbent...
Clay because it clumps well.. and since cat's like to bury their deposits, the grainy clay attaches to the deposits stays dry and does not stick to the cat making clay the best choice..

The dirt would have to clump and in order for that to happen dirt itself would have to be moist which in turn will guarantee a messy house..
Plus it would stick to the kitty's paws, and yes even to their bum's if you got a Long hair'ed kitty!!
just too much cleaning!!

Added reading

Clay is still the most popular box filler because of its ability to absorb from 75% to 100% of its weight in moisture. Cats do not like stepping on wet litter and wet litter has an offensive smell to cats as well as to humans. Keep this in mind if you are considering an alternative box filler. The strange texture and smell of the new substrate may also put off your cat. If he does not recognize it as being an appropriate substance in which to eliminate, he will either try to hold his urine (which may precipitate a health problem), or he may find the living room carpet more to his liking. Although many of the alternative litters boast their status as earth-friendly, if you have to use strong chemicals on your carpeting to remove the odor of cat urine, the environment is going to suffer in another way.

Look at the choices from your cat's point of view. Too many cat owners select products for their cats based on human, rather than feline, preferences. This approach often backfires as the cat may find that the new purchase offends his natural instincts and refuses to use it. We know that cats have an inborn drive to seek out an easily-raked substrate in which to eliminate. Our domestic cat's ancestors used sand. Studies show that 9 out of 10 cats prefer the sand-like texture of the clumping litters. This shouldn't be too surprising considering that the paw pads of an indoor cat are sensitive and tender. (Would you rather walk barefoot on a gravel driveway or on a sandy beach?) Declawed cats especially require the comfort afforded by a clumping litter as more of their weight rests on their pads than on their shortened toes. (The declaw surgery involves severing, not just nails, but whole phalanges--up to the first joint--including bone, ligaments, and tendons.)


I hope that helps in answering your Question.

Bugsy
September 14th, 2004, 03:36 AM
Hmmm .... I never thought of that. However I use the flushable kitty litter & I can't flush dirt....wait a second
can I? :eek:

Sneaky2006
September 14th, 2004, 07:26 AM
While reading your post I was thinking Great idea!
But then IK saying about the mess, I got to thinkin...
Wet dirt = mud!!! I think I would have to shoot the cat every other day so I don't think dirt would work well for us. :)

Cactus Flower
September 14th, 2004, 09:07 AM
Interesting!

We had a time-share cat for a short while (both myself and my neighbor at the time were feeding it). He would walk into my place, greet us, and just make himself comfortable. I was paranoid about him possibly using a part of the house as a toilet, so I got a box, cut it down to litter-box size, and filled it with sand from the yard (not soil, but sand). He used it a few times, and didn't track anything through the house. I'm assuming that's because it was sand instead of soil.
I hadn't thought about the mess-factor when it comes to wet mud. I didn't think they stepped in their mess. Aren't they meticulous about that? Ah well, as I've said- I know very little about cats. I'm learning here, though!

Sneaky2006
September 14th, 2004, 09:10 AM
They do step in their messes, but it's usually only when they're trying to cover it up. Also sometimes when stepping into or out of the box. And if they do step in it... the litter doesn't stick to their paws, as mud would...
Sand. Hmmm....

krdahmer
September 14th, 2004, 09:28 AM
Yes, I am one of those selfish humans....I have to use one of those beaded silica litters because of my allergies!!! :rolleyes: And I know how much they love the clay stuff....Windy seems to go in there just for fun to dig around when we are at my moms! :eek: EW

And for the kittens, I can't use the clay cause of what I heard in this forum about it being to blame for sick kitties!!!

As for mud....I know my girls track those little beads ALL over the house....so I can just imagine little dirty paw prints everywhere!!!! LOL :D (Although I'm sure the cats would love it!)

iRONKNiGHT
September 14th, 2004, 10:28 AM
Sand. Hmmm....
Dont even think about it!! :)
Sand would only slove 1/2 the problem.... if you're going to put sand in a litter box you'll find out that you'll be smelling the sent of cat urine in no time!
the sand will itself will act as a filter and will not clump well... the kitty urine will collect itself at the bottom of the litter tray.. however the sand would clump to the kitty's deposits.

Sand is the oldest and most popular method of filtration. When in the filtration mode, water/liquid always flows from top to bottom.

krdahmer
September 14th, 2004, 03:33 PM
Yes. And EW! :eek:

Luba
September 14th, 2004, 04:05 PM
The neighbourhood cats seem to LOVE my garden beds :eek:

iRONKNiGHT
September 14th, 2004, 04:08 PM
Luba atlease you know you plant's are getting their protein deposits lol ewww..

Protein: obtained from foods such as meat, fish, eggs, milk, and legumes.

melanie
September 14th, 2004, 04:46 PM
well jsut to share cactus's sentiment of stupid questions here goes-
why dont cats just go to the loo outside like a dog???

iRONKNiGHT
September 14th, 2004, 05:16 PM
Mel* cuz they're cat's duh!!

As funny as that may sound i think it sum's it up LOL

i know i'm being cheeky but hey i'm a cat lover and i'm owned by a kitty

it's all about the Nature of things (http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/)... and for my Fellow Canadians yes you know that show on Tele..

Sneaky2006
September 14th, 2004, 09:47 PM
I would never let my kitties outside to use the potty every time they had to go. First of all, I would never see them! lol Seems like they 'go' all the time!
Only one of our cats I can trust outside but it is only once in a great while and only for a few minutes.
It would be awesome if cats could just go outside... no mess, no litter, no scooping! But I know they would never come home. :(

krdahmer
September 15th, 2004, 08:08 AM
OH...haha...too funny! I know one that does go outside!! My Cordelia (the pretty little tortie!) is an indoor cat, but my dad has "cat-proofed" the backyard-as she has no claws and can't climb- so that she can have some outdoor adventures and recently she has started leaving some treasures for my dad on the lawn! My parents are always there to open the screen door and let her in as she is not allowed outside unsupervised, but she seems to enjoy using the back flower bed instead of having to run all the way inside! :D

Writing4Fun
September 15th, 2004, 08:12 AM
:D Oh, come on! Look at it from the cat's point of view. Would you rather have to run all the way inside to use the cold, harsh, unnatural kitty litter? Or would you prefer to use the convenient, warm, soft, inviting soil? :D

Sunkist/Winnie
September 15th, 2004, 09:21 AM
I put moth balls in my flower beds. My cats only go outside to visit and so far have shown no inclination to try the outside 'facilities' - neighbourhood cats are another ballgame though.

I tried cayanne pepper and some spray I bought, but they don't last through one rainfall. If you aren't out there right after it starts raining there is always a stinky present waiting. So I tried mothballs...and they work! Not the greatest smell at first, but they work - and much better than the smell of cat poo! I just put a couple down in whatever area the cats have decided to use (normally near my front entrance for some reason) by the time they've dissolved the cats don't come back.

Cheap and effective!

Cactus Flower
September 15th, 2004, 12:03 PM
Sand is the oldest and most popular method of filtration. When in the filtration mode, water/liquid always flows from top to bottom.

But there was sand at the bottom of the litterbox, too. It's not as if when I dumped it, there was a reservoir of urine that came pouring out of the bottom LOL. I do remember it smelling strongly of urine, though. Makes sense that it wouldn't be as absorbent as soil.
I wish I would have known at the time what you said about clay! There are clay beds all over this area (people make adobe out of it).