Scented cat litter, good or bad?

In Household Hazards, inside and out, Protection and Safety by LindaLeave a Comment


For several weeks I’ve been searching for an affordable cat litter without a scent.  While shopping in my the other day, I decided to check the pet isle and there shelves of litter, all with scents.  But I actually gasped when I saw the litter that contained Febreze!!

OK, I get that no one wants their house to smell like a giant sand box, but cats have such sensitive noses, actually more sensitive than the canine nose, that I began feeling really sorry for the poor cats who live with the people who buy scented litter.

I began to wonder how many cats are beginning to show signs of chemical poisoning, while their guardians or vets have no idea what’s wrong?

Febreze is manufactured by Proctor & Gamble (P&G), a corporation whose products have been banned in my house for several decades, ever since I found out about the torturous and unnecessary testing they do on animals.

Febreze doesn’t actually “wash” smells away, as promised, and it doesn’t remove odor molecules either.  It works by covering the stinky odor with chemicals, and that’s what you smell.  The products come with enticing names like Mediterranean Lavender, Meadow, Vanilla Cream, and Greek Seaside, but all of the fancy aromas are created using chemicals.

So what the heck is in this stuff, you ask?  P & G lists 3 ingredients on their Air Effects product, but the Environmental Working Group found 87.**  Who knows how many undisclosed and dangerous chemicals are in the rest of their lineup?

I take great care when using my essential oil diffuser, and always have a way for the cats to escape if the scent is too strong for them.  I know that cats are sensitive to high levels of Phenols, so essential oils like Clove, Oregano, Peppermint, and Thyme can be problematic.  Cypress and Roman Chamomile are tricky, and at all costs, AVOID  Melaluca (Tea Tree) and Citrus Oils!!  When using essential oils make sure that you dilute the oil, and use them sparingly. Remember, less is more with cats!

Essential oils that are safe for cats are Lavender, Lemongrass, Cedarwood, Cardamam, Eucalyptus, Sandalwood, Geranium, Arborvite, Marjoram, and Myrrh.  Again, a couple of drops is sufficient.

Knowing the sensitivity of cats with natural essential oils, can you imagine how the toxicity levels of chemicals in products like Febreze can affect them?

So, how are you to keep your home smelling fresh without toxic chemicals?  First of all, remove debris from the cat box several times a day.  This will almost entirely eliminate the need for a scent to cover up the smell. It’s a benefit to you, and your cat(s) will appreciate the effort.   Second, you can mix baking soda in with the cat litter.  That will absorb odor for a while, but cleaning the debris out if the best way to ensure a pleasant smelling house.

** Below you’ll find a list of just some of the 87 chemicals found by the EWG in Febreze Air Effects, listed in order of their toxicity to humans:

  • BHT – Known as a neurotoxin, endocrine disruptor, immunotoxicity, non-reproductive organ system toxicity, skin eye and lung irritator
  • Acetaldehyde – Known to cause cancer, toxic to reproduction and development, immunotoxin, non-reproductive organ system toxin, skin, eye and lung irritator
  • “Fragrance” – One of the three ingredients actually disclosed, it’s a neurotoxin, immunotoxin and allergen
  • Propylene Glycol – Causes cancer, allergies, toxic to immune system, accumulates in the system, non-reproductive organ system toxin, is classified with “enhanced skin absorption” and irritates the skin, eye and lung
  • 1,3-Dichloro-2-propanol – Carcinogenic (causes cancer)
  • Limonene – Allergen, immunotoxin and skin, eyes and lung irritator
  • Methyl pyrrolidone – Toxin to reproduction and development, allergen and immunotoxin, non-reproductive organ system toxin and skin, eyes and lung irritator
  • Alcohol denatured – Also disclosed in the ingredients of Febreze, it’s linked to cancer, developmental/reproductive toxicity, organ system toxicity and skin, eyes and lung irritator
  • Butylphenyl methylpropion al – allergen, immunotoxin and and skin, eyes and lung irritator
  • Ethyl acetate – linked to developmental/reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, organic system toxicity and and skin, eyes and lung irritator
  • Geraniol – Linked to allergies, immunotoxicity, organi system toxicity and and skin, eyes and lung irritation
  • Linalool – allergen, immunotoxin, and and skin, eyes and lung irritator
  • Benzaldehyde – neurotoxin, and skin, eyes and lung irritator
  • Diethylene glycol monoethyl ether – non-reproductive organ system toxicity
  • Ethylhezanol – developmental and reproductive toxin and skin, eyes and lung irritator
  • Hexyl cinnamal – allergen, immunotoxin and skin, eyes and lung irritator
  • And many more.

You can find the EWG’s full report on the dangers of Febreze here.

For information about pets, laundry detergents and dryer sheets, click here.


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