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Building a Better Mouse Trap When it Comes to Cat Litter

Soyhullcatlitter image
ARS researchers have improved on an earlier biobased cat litter formulation using biochar from soybean hulls and a starch-based ingredient called amylose inclusion complex. (Photo by Steve Vaughn, USDA-ARS)

A new biobased kitty litter developed by ARS scientists could be coming to a box near you—your cat's, that is.

Sodium bentonite clay is traditionally used as a clumping agent for easy disposal of cat waste. However, pet owners have shared concerns over the potential for their cats to ingest some of the bentonite clay used in traditional litters.

In response, ARS scientists and colleagues began researching alternative, biobased cat litter formulations, In their new litter formulation, the researchers used a starch-based ingredient with antimicrobial properties, called amylose inclusion complex, and discarded soybean hulls with two other ingredients, guar gum and mineral oil.  This mixture ensures  proper clumping and minimal dust emission, such as when litter is poured into a box, disposed of, or kicked up by cats after relieving themselves. Learn more.