Cassava Cat Litter - Cat Info Detective

Cassava Cat Litter

Skye Blake-updated, white background

Hey there, cat litter crazies! Skye Blake here again, checking out cassava (yuca root) cat litter… mixed with things like corn and sugar cane!

What will they think of next???

paw prints coming in from a distance

The information here is for general knowledge… always see your vet with questions about your cat’s individual needs. 

Who Is Skye Blake?

Skye Blake-updated, white background

Skye Blake, Cat Info Detective, is a curious cat researcher (not a veterinarian) who sniffs out expert, reliable sources about cats, studies their information, then passes it on to you! 

Sometimes there’s not enough evidence for easy answers, so Skye gives you all sides, explains the situation as thoroughly and clearly as possible, and links you to experts on each page.

Sources are given at the bottom of each page so you can do more snooping.

What is Cassava?

Cassava (yuca) root
Cassava (Yuca) Root

Cassava (Manihot esculenta) is a woody shrub from South America, believed to have been first cultivated by Mayans in Yucatán.

Yuca (YOO-ka) is the root of the cassava plant… not to be confused with the yucca (YUHK-a) ornamental plant.

People use cassava (yuca) worldwide as a staple carbohydrate food similar to potatoes.

It’s similar in size and shape to yams.

tapioca dessert

Yuca is used in many dishes… tapioca, cassava cake, savory cassava pie, bread, fries, just to name a few.

It’s especially popular in Latin American and Asian cuisines.

“Cassava is predominantly consumed in boiled form, but substantial quantities are used to extract cassava starch, called tapioca, which is used for food, animal feed, and industrial purposes.”1“Cassava”, Wikipedia

Dealing with Toxins in Yuca (Cassava)

Cassava (yuca) chips
Cassava (Yuca) Chips

There are sweet and bitter varieties of cassava, with an important distinction between them… sweet are safer to eat than bitter.

Neither variety are edible raw, but sweet varieties can be peeled and boiled.

Bitter varieties take much more preparation to be safe due to high concentration of toxins.

yawning cat in wicker carrier

This is true for both people and animals.

“… improper preparation of cassava can leave enough residual cyanide to cause acute cyanide intoxication,[7][8] goiters, and even ataxia, partial paralysis, or death. In its prepared forms, in which its toxic or unpleasant components have been reduced to acceptable levels, it contains an extremely high proportion of starch.”2“Cassava”, Wikipedia

kitties looking out the window

Bitter cassava roots are peeled and grated, then soaked for a long time in water.

This “allows leaching and fermentation to take place, followed by thorough cooking to release the volatile hydrogen cyanide gas.

Cutting the roots into small pieces, followed by soaking and boiling in water is particularly effective in reducing the cyanide content in cassava.”3“Cyanide Poisoning and Cassava”, by Ms. Joey Kwok,  Scientific Officer, Risk Communication Section, Centre for Food Safety, The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Food Safety Focus (19th Issue, February 2008)

uncooked & cooked yuca/tapioca

Companies who make cassava-based products like flour and tapioca, process the cassava until there is a very low, safe cyanide content.

Farmers use yuca (cassava) tubers and hay for animal feed, a good source of roughage.

Various parts of the plant are also used for biofuels and other products.

Cat litter is a newer product made from it and it’s typically mixed with other ingredients as a starch for absorbency and clumping.

Will Yuca Cat Litter Poison My Cat?

cat licking paws

Some people have concerns about cassava in litter since cats can eat it or lick it off their paws and fur.

This article explains more about the issue: “Cyanide Poisoning and Cassava”.

Processed products made from cassava have such low amounts of cyanide that they’re no longer dangerous.

kitten asleep on lap

I have not yet uncovered any scientific data about yuca affecting cats.

The cat litter manufacturers claim it’s safe to use.

As with anything else, you can decide based on your comfort levels and knowing your cat’s behavior.

Cassava (yuca) leaves
Cassava (Yuca) Leaves

If your buddy tends to eat food-based litters or digs excessively, creating clouds of dust, you may want to err on the side of caution and use low dust clay or silica litter.

It’s best not to use cassava litter for young kittens since it’s a clumping type.

Kittens will eat litter and can get intestinal blockages and/or dehydration from it.

Both are life-threatening situations!

Yuca is Not Yucca

Yucca plant
Yucca Plant

Yucca (YUHK-a) is “a genus of perennial shrubs and trees in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Agavoideae44“Yucca”, Wikipedia.

It has long, stiff, spiky leaves and is commonly in desert and semi-desert landscapes.

yucca flower

The yucca flower is the state flower of New Mexico.

You can’t eat the root of the yucca plant, but the flowers and stem tips are edible.

Its main use is in landscaping as an ornamental plant and is not related to the yuca (cassava) plant.

Brands & Reviews of Cassava Cat Litter

Here are some brands that contain cassava, whether mixed with other ingredients or on its own.

All brands and products mentioned on this page are for your convenience and information only.

I make no money from them.

Almo Nature

cat licking lips, eating grass; cat litter



Almo Nature cat litter uses only cassava fibers with nothing toxic added.

It absorbs instantly and liquid stays trapped in a thin clump on top, keeping the box and remaining litter clean.

The majority of reviewers are happy with this litter.

They say it’s lightweight, flushable, easy to scoop/top up, and stays clean quite a while.

cat jumping down onto grass- cat litter



They like that it clumps well and doesn’t stick to the box, is soft, easy on paws, and has good odor control.

It tends to be dusty and track everywhere since it’s fine grained. Mats help with this problem.

You can find more helpful information at the Almo Nature website.

Dr. Bales One Source Clumping

yuca (cassava) root peeled

Dr. Bales litter is from Brazil and is 100% yuca bark.

The claim is that it absorbs 7 times its weight, so it clumps well and doesn’t use as much litter.

It’s also lightweight, low dust, soft and unscented.

tabby cat under furry blanket

It’s available on Chewy and has mixed reviews..

One concern is that people are getting inconsistent results when re-ordering.

One bag can have almost no dust, while the next bag is very dusty.

This is a problem that can happen with smaller, less established companies.

tabby cat squatting in litter box

Another problem is that the products can quickly come and go.

You can have a situation where your cat likes the litter, but now you can’t get it and have to start acclimating your cat to another one.

Check the description and reviews carefully to see if this litter is what you want.

Cassava & Corn Litter

rows of corn plants

“Corn, (Zea mays), [is] also called Indian corn or maize, [a] cereal plant of the grass family (Poaceae) and its edible grain.”5Corn – History, Cultivation, Uses & Description“, Encyclopedia Britannica

See “Corn Cat Litter” for more about corn and cassava and two litters currently available, Garfield Clumping Cat Litter and Sustainably Yours Natural Cat Litter.

Cassava & Coffee Cat Litter

coffee beans with mug, saucer

A newer combination of ingredients for cat litter is cassava and “upcycled” coffee.

Alfred Cassava Black cat litter is a mixture of cassava, decaffeinated coffee grounds, seaweed extract and cornstarch.

Discover more at “Coffee Cat Litter“.

cat watching other cat in litter box

Curious about other types of cat litter and boxes? Discover more at “Supplies for Cats“.

Having trouble with your cat peeing or pooping outside the litter box?

Find some answers to fix the problem and clean up the mess at “Behavior“.


Sources

Sources used on this website are either primary or secondary.

Primary sources are always preferable and have the most reliable information because they’re original and directly referenced.

Scientific abstracts and data are good examples of primary sources.

Secondary sources are weaker because they usually consist of opinions or articles that give no sources of their own.

However, sometimes they refer to primary sources.

When I use secondary sources, most are those with some authority, such as veterinarian or cat behaviorist books and articles.

List of Sources

“Cassava”, Wikipedia

Corn – History, Cultivation, Uses, & Description“, Encyclopedia Britannica

“Cyanide Poisoning and Cassava”, by Ms. Joey Kwok, Scientific Officer, Risk Communication Section, Centre for Food Safety, The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Food Safety Focus (19th Issue, February 2008)

“What Is It? Yuca (Cassava) Root”, Lakewinds Food Coop, March 29, 2016

MicFood

“Yucca”, Wikipedia

Updated November 13, 2023

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