I'm With Stupid: Organic Cat Litter Could Destroy Mankind

I ran into an old friend at a memorial service last week, and she told me a story about cat litter that she thought was perfect for "I'm With Stupid." I was intrigued immediately. You see, cat litter is a very sensitive subject with me -- well, not so much cat litter as my cat's failure to use it, but you get the idea. If the subject was cat litter and there existed a chance that it could help me change my cat's peeing habits, I was all ears.

The story concerned an accident at America's only nuclear dump, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico. Back in February, a 55-gallon drum of radioactive waste that had just arrived there from Los Alamos National Laboratory suddenly burst open and spilled. At first, investigators were baffled as to the cause. Turns out, as they now believe, that someone had been buying the wrong cat litter.

Boy, do I know how that feels.

Cat litter, apparently, has been used for years as filler in drums of nuclear waste. If you dump it into the sludge, it soaks up radioactive chemicals and prevents them from reacting with the environment. At least it does if it's made the old-fashioned way, with clay.

Think of the nuclear waste as liquid fire, which is what I've decided to think of it as even if I'm wrong. If you added clay to a drum of liquid fire, it essentially would put the fire out or, at worst, become hot clay. It wouldn't, however, create more fire the way adding wood or some other organic material would.

Now think of the choices you have when it comes to cat litter: You can pay very little and buy a bag of inorganic clay, or you can pay a lot and buy a bag of stuff made from recycled wood chips, wheat, corn or some other flammable material. Sure, it would be stupid stuff to add to a drum of liquid fire, but it would be "organic," so at least you could feel proud of yourself for going green.

Well, someone at Los Alamos National Laboratory can feel proud of himself or herself for going green because someone decided to buy organic cat litter. It wasn't the wisest choice, but I'm sure it was well-meaning

Once it was dumped into the drums, rather than put out the fire of the nuclear waste, the litter just burned right along with it, smoldering away on the trip from Los Alamos to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant until finally it burned right through the side of the drum and leaked out.

How many times do I have to tell you people? When you buy organic stuff, you're not just getting ripped off; you're also a serious threat to our national health. Stop it right now, or one day you'll kill us all, you mad fools.

There are supposedly more than 500 drums packed with the organic litter, meaning there are 500 potentially lethal time bombs out there waiting to rupture and spill their deadly contents. And while most are safely underground in the dump, some are still in Los Alamos, where their mere presence could, in my imagination, trigger a chain reaction leading to meltdowns, global thermonuclear war and the end of civilization as we know it.

If it seems like I'm overreacting a little bit, it's only because I know how serious the consequences of cat litter not soaking up toxic chemicals can be. I've smelled what can happen. Trust me, my friends; I have no idea what radioactive waste does to the stuff it's spilled on, but it can't be any worse than the smell of feline urine. Short of getting sprayed in the face by a skunk, almost nothing's worse than cat pee.

So how can I use this anti-organic knowledge to my advantage? How can I take what I've learned and apply it in a way that makes my cat fall back in love with his litter box?

Sadly, I don't know if I can. I've tried both organic and inorganic brands of cat litter, and neither seem to work. But perhaps I can do something similar to the Department of Energy, which has put the affected drums in heavy containers for added protection.

The equivalent for me, of course, would be to make my cat wear a diaper. That's going to be a little tricky, I'll admit, but I think I can make it happen.


Todd Hartley prefers Gritty Kitty cat litter. Remember, if it doesn't say Gritty Kitty, it stinks. To read more or leave a comment, please visit