Personal Development and Spirituality Topics

with Karen Scheel

Cat Litter Related Pet Health Problems

For the record, I am not a superstitious person by nature but am also not inclined to tempt fate either, so I am not sure what category this seeming dichotomy would fall under? Whatever the case may be, I had been putting off writing the Feline Leukemia Natural Treatment article for a number of years. After it had been initially posted on my website, this little voice sounded off in the back of my mind with, “Are you sure you want to do this?” Turned out, I was not sure. The article was taken down more than once before I finally decided to leave it up there so other feline leukemia cats could benefit. In retrospect, it would seem there must have been something surrounding my reluctance after all – an intuitive knowing on some level.

My FeLV cat Fairmount developed an allergy within a few weeks of posting the article. Her symptoms were very similar to those of my first cat Shema. The cause for Shema’s allergy was something never pinpointed. As was initially done with Shema, a process of elimination began with Fairmount to see if she had developed sensitivity for a specific food. And just like Shema, this was not the case for Fairmount either. It took approximately three weeks for me to locate the actual cause, and by the time the cause was discovered it was too late. It should be noted that feline leukemia cats require additional mineral supplements. From day one, Fairmount had been taking a liquid vitamin that provided more than standard pet vitamins. However, the vet was out of her particular brand when more were needed so another brand was purchased. I did not double-check the label, and mistakenly assumed she would be getting the required vitamins and minerals in this new brand. I also did not think a couple of months would matter all that much because her leukemia virus had been in remission for a number of years, and her health seemed to be thriving. As it turned out, this was a big mistake on my part.

Within a couple of weeks of the initial allergy, her symptoms progressed. When Fairmount initially came to live with me, she had a habit of licking cement, which indicated a mineral deficiency. With good food and vitamins, this condition had been eliminated, but something in her environment was causing her earlier symptoms to return. I had no clue what it was, and began to monitor her very closely. One day I caught her coming out of her litter box chewing. I researched the reasons cats eat their litter, and learned it was because of a mineral deficiency. It was then that I checked the label on her vitamins and discovered that she had been getting absolutely no iron or minerals whatsoever. This pissed me off because the vet should have made me aware. In any event, it did explain why she was licking cement and then eating her cat litter. She was trying to give her body what it needed, and was immediately placed back on her original vitamins. But soon after eating the kitty litter, she became constipated. This is when I was able to determine the actual cause of the allergy that had plagued two of my three cats, and also learned about a pet product that is very unsafe for our animals.

Many of us remain completely unaware of the fact that pet product suppliers are pretty much given a free pass to do whatever they want. There are very few regulations in place to protect our pets. Suppliers are not required to list the ingredients they use for their various pet products, which put our pets in danger. Sodium Bentonite clay is a common ingredient in cat litter products. In addition to causing allergies, respiratory problems and other pet health problems, clumping clay litter has killed many cats and some dogs that eat cat litter. Granted, the clay is a natural mineral but fluid of any kind causes it to expand. If the litter does not become lodged in the back of the animal’s throat then it can become a plug in the intestines that many animals are not able to pass without medical intervention. It can also prevent the proper absorption of nutrients and cause dehydration. Therefore, we must protect our pets until our government enforces more regulations. We must educate ourselves and become aware of the ingredients used in everything that concerns them. Otherwise, our pets will continue to be used to line the pockets of big money businesses via veterinarians and drug companies. If a pet supplier does not list the ingredients for their products then do not buy the product. When it comes to kitty litter and if no ingredients are listed then you must assume that ‘bentonite clay’ is most probably the primary ingredient. Additionally, I highly recommend using natural cat litter products such as corn or wheat litter. Both are a bit more expensive but neither one of these products will cause any harm whatsoever to your pets should they inhale or ingest it.

Cat Fairmount's last sunbath before kitty litter related death. Unfortunately, Fairmount already had a fragile immune system that could not counter the harmful effects of the clay litter without the support of her liquid vitamins. I had caught her eating it quickly but not quickly enough. She had six small clay plugs that could be felt in her intestines. Due to her condition, surgery was out of the question. Outside of an enema, administering foods and herbs was the only course available. She was fed every thing I could think of. After 24 hours, the plugs began to move, but the first one became stuck, which caused her to cry out in pain and had me racing her to the vet. Turns out, the plug popped right out when the thermometer was inserted to take her temperature. But before I learned this, I had opted to follow the vet’s recommendation and Fairmount was in the process of receiving an enema.

Having never had an enema myself, I did not realize this would be painful or weaken her further. In retrospect, I wish I had listened to that intuitive prompting that had me thinking twice and questioning the vet’s recommendation. The enema seemed to stop what the food and herbs had initiated. Contrary to the alleged 24-48 hours, it took an additional 96 hours (four days) before any movement began again. Not to mention, Fairmount became dehydrated and had to have fluids administered. Furthermore, she still could not pass the five remaining plugs on her own. All required the help of lubricating jelly and my little gloved finger to ease these rock hard things out of her. Had I bypassed this enema and/or had her immune system been normal then she probably would have been able to rebound with some extra care. However, this was not the case, and she died within a matter of hours after passing the last litter plug. The photo reflects a very exhausted Fairmountain taking her last sunbath in her favorite window the day before she died. Needless to say and unlike my other pet loss teachings, she taught me a hard lesson, which is one I will never forget. Clay litter is some very nasty stuff and I strongly suggest that all kitty litter containing clay of any kind be avoided like a plague.

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