PrettyLitter: A new ally in veterinary disease detection?
Sarah Mouton Dowdy, a former associate content specialist for dvm360.com, is a freelance writer and editor in Kansas City, Missouri.
Cats are masters of disguising pain and illness, but this kitty litter is designed to help reveal their true colors.
All images courtesy of PrettyLitterSomeday, the owner of a feline patient may come to your clinic and tell you that her cat's PrettyLitter is blue so she fears her furry friend has a urinary tract infection. Huh? Cat got your tongue?
Instead of excusing yourself to hurriedly scan Google for answers, here's a quick overview of what PrettyLitter is and how it works:
PrettyLitter is a special cat litter that changes colors to alert owners of potential illnesses that can be detected via the urine in an otherwise asymptomatic cat.
According to PrettyLitter's website, the granules are made of porous silica gel containing the company's patented health indicators. These indicators cause the litter to change color when blood, acidity and alkalinity abnormalities are detected.
The color key:
Golden yellow or olive green litter: a healthy cat (at least in regard to what can be detected via the urine)
Red litter: blood in the urine
Blue litter: high alkaline content, which may indicate a urinary tract infection
Bright green litter: abnormal acidity, which may indicate a metabolic disorder
PrettyLitter's website notes that temporary color changes can occur due to changes in diet or environment, so the company advises cat owners to visit their pet's veterinarian once the color change has persisted for one or two days. PrettyLitter also stresses that the color change should be used as a guide when talking with the veterinarian and that only a veterinarian can diagnose a disease in their cat. (The company has a veterinarian-in-chief-Geoff Dewire, DVM-on staff, so it's no surprise that veterinarians are a part of the product's instructions for use.)
PrettyLitter states that its product is perfectly safe for our purring friends-even when ingested-as the website says it “is not absorbed by the bowel, does not swell in the presence of humidity and poses no risk in blocking the digestive tract.” If ingested, it becomes a fine powder that is naturally eliminated. PrettyLitter is also chemical-free and biodegradable.