As a cat and kitten foster carer I am dealing with litter trays every day. I've noticed that with certain commercial litters, in particular the clay-based ones, a fine dust is stirred up when I scoop out the clumps formed after the cats use the tray. I have always been careful about washing my hands but hadn't really considered the dust.
In Australia we have a great choice of natural and safe litters to choose from, ranging from inexpensive supermarket brands to the fancy breeder-preferred ones, and cats, being fickle beasts, will have their favourites too! Get to know your litter - find out what the ingredients are, do a little research, and regardless of its apparent safety take a few simple steps to ensure your health and safety.
Avoid litters containing Crystalline Silica and Sodium Bentonite. These fine dusts have been linked to respiratory diseases, and more information can be found simply by searching the internet.
Choose alternative cat litters made from biodegradable materials such as corn, grains, nut shells, recycled paper, wood shavings or coconut fibres.
A walnut alternative
Shredded paper makes a good litter
Avoid breathing in the dust stirred up by scooping. Keep your face away from it or cover your mouth and nose with a bandana, handkerchief or mask.
If you wear gloves ensure they are disposed of carefully after each cleaning session.
Wash your hands and wrists carefully, immediately after cleaning up.
If you opt for reusable cleaning cloths put them straight into a bucket of soapy water after use. Wash them separately to other laundry.
Look for safe alternatives
When choosing a litter for your pets consider not only your health, but that of your beloved animals too. They not only breathe in the dust from the litter but also lick themselves clean. Don't panic, but do take all possible steps to ensure your safety and the health of your fur-family.