General Question

Yellowdog's avatar

Is cat litter, used for traction in an ice-slick driveway, a hazard to birds or wildlife?

Asked by Yellowdog (12208points) February 20th, 2021

I know it’s non-toxic and safe for cats if used as intended. But I feed a lot of birds, squirrels, and raccoons and the end of the driveway is where I feed a lot of them. The concrete slab makes the food much easier to find and partake,

I have especially been feeding them a lot since we’ve had ten inches of snow, and temperatures around zero, or at least well below freezing, for the past ten days.

That ice and snow is starting to melt and it’s time for me to need to get out again, but it re-freezes at night, making it slick until nearly lunch hour and starts to re-freeze around seven in the evening.

Kitty litter is the only product I have available to aid in traction, but I am concerned that some of the critters, especially birds, might mistake it for food, since that’s what they’re used to finding. I know this stuff has some chemicals in it and clumping qualities that might not be good for the stomachs or gizzards of birds

No, I don’t have any salt, rock salt, or other abrasives or de-icers. Kitty litter and oil-dry compounds are about all I have on hand.

Any recommendations?

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7 Answers

gondwanalon's avatar

Don’t use cat litter that is clay based. That would turn into a slippery injury inducing trap.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

It is clay won’t harm dogs or cats. Yes it make a mess in the house when it comes in on shoes and boots.

kritiper's avatar

No. It is just clay.
Oh, and a FYI, cat litter and floor dry (oil-dry) are the same thing.
You could try playground sand for your traction needs.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Clumping cat litter is made of sodium bentonite, sometimes called bentonite clay. It has the amazing property of holding water and swelling up to 10 or 20 times (maybe more) its size.
I have personally used it to seal my fish pond by sprinkling some on the water where it sinks to the bottom, falls into cracks and crevices and swells up sealing any openings.
That does not seem like a healthy choice for a bird’s digestive system.
I would not do it.
It also makes a mess of your driveway. It sticks to everything including your shoes. It will not be long before it is in your house.

There should be a label on the bag with toxicity info for that specific product.

Yellowdog's avatar

Thanks—that’s kinda what I was afraid of. I’ll see what these products are—I think if the Oil Dry is merely clay pellets, that’s what I’ll use. Not sure about the cat litter but I’ll find out.

LuckyGuy's avatar

The bentonite is amazing stuff. I bought it in 50 pound bags for not much money, less than $10. I kept a little bit so I could experiment with it. Maybe you can do the same.
Place a little bit on a plate and add water. You might be hocked to see how big it gets. You would not want that in your stomach.

jca2's avatar

How about feeding them on cardboard trays, cut from boxes, like when stores throw out boxes from produce or cases of cans?

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