Cat litter: which one to choose?

Everybody who has cats at home uses cat litter. Do we know what litter is the best? Until recently limited research on cat litter is done.
In this research project we compare different commercial available cat litters. The comparison is done by measuring different parameters like the amount of released ammonia, the moisture absorption, the granulation differences and the potential additives used.
Alongside the chemical analysis the aim is also to investigate the microbiological growth on used cat litter in a real home situation. Which bacteria arise on the litter and how much? Which bacteria appear on the cat? What is the minimum inhibitory concentration of possible additives?
Three kind of materials are used as cat litters in the commercial samples: aerated concrete, wood pellets and clay (bentonite or attapulgite). The particle sizes vary a lot between the different marks. The percentage small particles is essential to decrease the amount of released ammonia. We determined ZnSO4 and Carbonates in some cat litter. The pH varies for all samples between 8 and 10,5.
For the microbiology part, the protocol "identification" and "quantification" on the cat litter in a real home situation was optimized and tested. After gram staining and microscopic research 71% of the detected bacteria on used cat litter are gram positive cocci. Most of them are from the genus Staphylococcus. Next to these skin related bacteria also nose, throat and bacteria from the environment were detected on the used cat litter.

Authors

Inge Gutschoven, Anneleen Soetaert

Organisations

Departement Wetenschap en Techniek, AP Hogeschool Antwerpen.

Presenting author

Anneleen Soetaert, lecturer, Departement Wetenschap en Techniek, AP Hogeschool Antwerpen.
anneleen.soetaert@ap.be
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