TT W8D7: Rock Climbing, Islands of Adventure, and Swheat Scoop Kitty Litter

I had some DOMS in my quads, hamstrings, lower back and glutes from last week’s workouts and my 5k outdoor interval run when I woke up so I warmed up and stretched with a light 30 minute YF workout before heading out to Aiguille Rock Climbing Center in Longwood for the first time with Chris and three of my co-workers. After taking a quick belaying class, Chris and I had a great time clambering up the walls in the gym. I really liked the functional aspect of the activity and wouldn’t mind making this a bi-weekly or monthly activity with Chris since we normally have very different workout schedules and routines. (I’m generally a morning gym workout type–lifting + cardio–with a few home workouts for variety while Chris pretty much just hits martial arts two nights a week for around 2-3 hours at a shot.)

After being defeated by a 5.10 difficulty wall, we headed out to meet some friends at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure with a quick pit stop at Jason’s Deli for a late lunch. We only got to ride the Dueling Dragons and Incredible Hulk roller coasters before we headed back home, but hey, when you have an annual pass you can do that kind of thing without feeling too guilty about wasting money. 😉 I am seriously considering driving out to the park next weekend right when it opens and doing my morning cardio run on property just for a change of scenery. The crowds may not be so bad at that hour. Following said run, I could cool off by hopping on Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls or Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges, the two rides guaranteed to leave a rider sopping wet after 2 minutes of fun.

On to a more eclectic topic: Kitty litter.

I was in the local Petsmart the other week looking to blow a $10 gift card I’d received for Christmas on some posh organic and/or human grade cat food for my boys when I was shanghaied into a 20 minute conversation with a fellow cat owner who was browsing the same set of premium food shelves. This other cat owner told me about another local store that carried the high-end foods at decent prices and also let me know about a clumping, non-clay kitty litter called Swheat Scoop. She said she had hairless Sphynx cats due to allergies, and when she used regular clumping clay litter she noticed that she had to bathe them weekly to get rid of the clay dust that had accumulated on their skins and around their eyes and noses. After switching to the wheat-based litter, her cats stayed cleaner and no longer had the build up of clay dust around their faces and skin.

I was out of litter anyway, so I picked up a box of Swheat Scoop instead of my usual Arm and Hammer brand. I dumped out the old stuff and completely refilled the litter box with the new wheat litter. Luckily, my cats aren’t that picky and had no trouble with the switch.

While I am not 100% certain that the reports on the potential dangers of clumping clay litters are true, I figured it couldn’t hurt to try a biodegradable, natural alternative that was priced competitively with the usual clay brands. Lo and behold, two weeks later I observe that Slinky no longer has his occasional wheezing asthma attacks (this was a 1-2x per week occurrence) and both he and Neville seem to have softer, shinier coats. Fabulous!

The litter is indeed scoopable AND flushable as advertised, and the only negative is that odor control isn’t QUITE as good as Arm and Hammer. I am experimenting with sprinkling some A&H baking soda in the box to help with this issue this week. I’ll post an update on this oh-so-fascinating subject next week.


– Yourself Fitness Flexibility (30 min)
– Indoor rock climbing (1 hour)

8 thoughts on “TT W8D7: Rock Climbing, Islands of Adventure, and Swheat Scoop Kitty Litter

  1. I’ve never heard of a cat dying from cat litter, ever. I’ve heard and seen dogs have to undergo surgery because they ingested massive amounts of it ( along with the contents in the litter) but never from what the people on that website claim.

    Any group of people that claim that kitty litter causes anemia and Irritable Bowel Disease is a group that needs to be questioned where they got their information from. I’m gathering that this is all hearsay as there is no mention of how they spent millions of dollars in scientific models to confirm their claims.

    More importantly, has Slinky been seen for these attacks? If not, you really should contact your vet and have him seen. Cats are experts at hiding illness. It’s only when they are to the point where they cannot hide it anymore than symptoms start appearing and usually there is something really serious going on. If he has a developing heart problem, that could appear to be an asthma attack when in reality he’s compensating for a bad heart.

    Note that I’m not saying that if that were the case that it was caused from kitty litter. One of my cats has had a murmur since he was 2. It isn’t a big deal, however, I need to keep tabs on him especially when he breaks out in a upper respiratory infection as a bad heart and a “cat cold” are not a good mix.

    As for kitty litter in general, it’s dusty. The only exception is one called Yesterday’s News which is made from recycled newspaper. The most common problem with that is cats don’t like it because of the texture. Cats are picky about certain textures in their mouths and on their feet. The company that makes it has been trying to make the pellets smaller, but it I don’t think they’ll ever be able to get to down to grain size just because of what it is made from.

    The other alternative if you wanted to get away from dust all together is to use shredded newspaper. Usually it is used for cats that have undergone decalw surgery, but there is not reason why it couldn’t be used on a regular basis. Obviously it wouldn’t have any built in odor control and you shouldn’t use flyers as alot of them have a coating on them and contain inks that have stuff in it that can leech into a cats blood stream.

  2. Stacy – The vet did a full work up on both cats last fall, and came up with nothing. Slinky is the more fastidious of my two cats (he is always washing himself AND his “little brother” Neville), and tends to be the one that hacks up the most hairballs as a result. I think he just winds up with more dust and hair in his system. He was also the only survivor from a litter of kittens that was struck down with upper respiratory infections, so he’s always been a bit of a snuffler.

    As I said, I’m not taking the clay cat litter claims as gospel since the “documentation” I have seen online is almost entirely anecdotal vs. scientifically-proven, but I like the other features of the wheat litter enough to keep using it. The thought of thousands of pounds of my cats’ non-biodegradable, hard-clumped, used clay litter sitting in equally-non-biodegradable double plastic bags in the landfills really bugs me from an environmental standpoint.

    And their fur really is nicer since I switched. 😉

  3. If they’ll put up with being brushed once a week, you could try that as another method of cutting down on hairballs. Some cats like being brushed while others would rather gouge your eyes out just because you thought about brushing them.

    I use a small slicker brush on both of my cats and my chinchilla as all of them are blowing their winter coats. The chinchilla hates it, but likes the treat he gets afterwards and both of my cats tolerate being brushed well. Tool took exception to it at first, but I found that as long as I don’t restrain him much, he enjoys it. Oreo is an attention hog so as long as I don’t go against the hair growth, I could brush him until he was bald. LOL

    Good luck with the new litter, just watch out of possible allergic reactions to it as cats don’t normally go potty in fields of crushed up wheat.

  4. I’m interested in the kitty litter info. I use the Arm & Hammer Multiple Cats formula (even though I only have one cat–she is a real stinker!) but if this other one works better (i.e. healtier for cats) and is similar in price then I may switch over. Did you get the litter from PetSmart or did you get it at the other store that the lady you talked to told you about?

  5. Meghan, I found it at Target and Wal-mart carries it, too. Petsmart charges more than those other two stores.

    It doesn’t have the baking soda or fragrance that is added to the A&H brand, though, so you might want to do the plain old baking soda sprinkle to boost the odor absorption if you do give it a shot.

    My cats switched over without any problems.

  6. More on the kitty litter… I started using Swheat Scoop because of environmental concerns, but recently I found another kind that’s also environmentally friendly – World’s Best Cat Litter. It really lives up to its name, and clumps very nicely. I think it smells a little better than Swheat Scoop too.

  7. Hi. I found your website a few weeks ago when I was looking for garden start dates. I found your nifty spreadsheet and used it for my plantings this year (I grow lots of tomatoes and hot peppers). Anyhow, I’ve also been getting back into exercise since about two months ago so I’ve continued to read your site through its RSS feed due to the content you post on. This post caught my attention and figured I’d comment with some questions/comments.

    1. Have you tried the crystals litter? It last a lot longer if you regularly clean it, contains smells very well, and doesn’t seem to be dusty. Thoughts?
    2. I care for the environment and in fact I’m a Master Recycler and Composter. As for the environmental impact unless you are composting the waste it is going to end up in the same place anyhow. By flushing it down the toilet it is going to end up as sludge that will be taken to the landfill. There are some risks with composting pet waste but if you only use the compost for non-food plants it is pretty low.
    3. There is another natural type of litter I’ve seen called pine pellets. I’m not sure how it would do with oder though.

    Anyhow, hope you don’t mind a lurking reader!
    -Josh in Ohio

  8. Josh – Cool! Someone actually uses my garden starting date spreadsheet! (Which reminds me–I need to get cracking on my garden this year even though most of my peppers just carried over from last season.)

    1) I tried the crystal silica dessicant gel litter soon after it came out. It did a very good job, but my cats are big litter kickers and the lightweight, bead-like crystals always wound up all over my bathroom floor.

    2) One of my goals is to start composting this year. If I do start to compost kitty litter waste, I will definitely keep it separate from the compost I use for my fruits and vegetables.

    3) I’ve read about the pine pellets but haven’t tried them yet.

    Miss Rachel – I’ve seen the WBCL, too, but it is more costly than the Swheat Scoop. I also recently picked up a bag of the Arm & Hammer High Performance clumping litter made of “natural” materials. I checked all over the bag, but they never reveal what these materials are. I’m curious as to whether it looks more like wheat, corn, or something else entirely.

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