Is Cat Litter Flammable?

Cat litter is essential if you have an indoor cat, since it absorbs moisture and odor from the litter box. Various kinds are available commercially nowadays, although you can also use other materials like potting soil or sand as emergency cat litter. Needless to say, some cat owners are concerned about whether cat litter is entirely safe, and whether it poses any danger or fire hazard in the home. 

Is cat litter flammable?

Yes, cat litter is flammable, but only the biodegradable kind. Most litter of this kind is potentially flammable, especially if made from paper, wood shavings or wheat. However, it poses no risk of spontaneous combustion. 

Other kinds of biodegradable cat litter: 

  • Pine litter 
  • Grass litter
  • Corn litter 
  • Walnut shell litter 

What types of cat litter are non-flammable?

Cat litter that is made of clumping or non-clumping clay is not flammable. These types are made from bentonite clay. Silica crystal litter is also non-flammable, since it is made from silica gel which is non-reactive and non-flammable. 

Can cat litter put out a fire?

Yes, cat litter can put out a fire, but make sure you are using clay-based litter and not the flammable, biodegradable kind. To prevent grill fires, pour a layer of cat litter on the bottom of your grill. Replace the litter when it becomes grease-soaked and dispose of it properly. You can also pour cat litter on the flames of a small kitchen fire to bring it under control. 

Is the litter box a fire hazard?

No, the litter box is not a fire hazard, as long as you are using clay-based litter. This type of litter is not flammable, and nor is silica gel litter. If you are using a plastic litter box, make sure it is a safe distance from any hot surface such as a fireplace, furnace, stove or heating vent. Do not burn candles near the litter box, as dripped wax could fall into it and start a fire. 

To reduce the risk of anything flammable accidentally falling into the litter, use a covered litter box. Store the cat litter in a cool, dry, secure place such as a closet, pantry or basement. Do not store it near exposed electrical wires or hot water pipes. 

Types of cat litter and their pros and cons 

Traditional clay cat litter 

This litter looks like sand and clumps when it gets wet. It absorbs its weight in liquid and separates urine very effectively. It has natural odor control and is the oldest type of cat litter.  

Pros:

  • It is affordable compared with other litter types. 

Cons: 

  • It is dusty, and silica dust from clay is considered a carcinogen. 
  • It sticks to cats’ paws easily and gets tracked around the house. 
  • It is heavy. 
  • It is hard to dispose of since it cannot be flushed or used as compost. 
  • It is not environmentally friendly. 
  • It is not long-lasting. 

Clumping clay cat litter 

This is the improved version of the traditional clay litter, and is a combination of bentonite clay and traditional clay. This litter type absorbs its weight in liquid and expands as much as 15 times its original volume. It also clumps, and can be scooped out without having to remove all the litter.   

Pros:

  • It is easy to scoop and you can remove urine and poop easily without removing all the litter. 
  • It is economical.
  • It is not foul-smelling. 

Cons: 

  • It is potentially unhealthy due to the bentonite clay. 
  • It is dusty, and silica dust is a known carcinogen. 
  • It is easily tracked through the house.
  • It is  heavy.
  • It is not easy to dispose of. 
  • It is environmentally unfriendly. 

Silica gel cat litter 

This is also called crystal litter, and is a granular form of sodium silicate which has the ability to absorb liquids. Urine is easily soaked up by silica gel litter, although you have to scoop the poop daily. Some cat owners note that a two-kilogram bag of this litter can last up to a month for one cat. 

Pros:

  • It is economical and the lowest-cost alternative.
  • It is lightweight.
  • It requires minimal work. 
  • It is dust-free. 

Cons:

  • It can be fussy.
  • Some cats do not like it. 
  • It can be messy. 

Biodegradable cat litter  

This type of litter comes in two types: pelleted and granular. Pelleted litter absorbs liquid and crumbles into a removable form. Sawdust and wood pellets absorb urine well, while poop must be scooped from the litter box regularly. Granular litter includes wheat, corn, barley and pine cat litter. These are made from by-products of human and animal food and of the wood processing industry. Most cat owners prefer this type of cat litter. 

Pros:

  • It is dust-free. 
  • It is environmentally friendly. 
  • It is easy to dispose of.
  • It is non-tracking. 
  • It is lighter than traditional clay litter.
  • It is long-lasting.

Cons:

  • Some cats do not like it. 
  • It does not capture odors well. 
  • Its natural odor can be offensive.

Conclusion 

Cat litter makes it more convenient for cat owners to clean and maintain their cat’s litter box. It comes in various types, including clay litter, non-clumping litter, silica gel litter and biodegradable litter. The majority of these litter types are non-flammable, except for the biodegradable kind; the latter are made mostly of lightweight flammable materials like wood shavings, paper, corn and wheat. 

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