Natural Zeolite as a Stall Freshener
Over the past three decades, researchers have examined how natural zeolites can reduce ammonia levels in environments occupied by horses and livestock. Veterinarians have linked ammonia levels to compromised respiratory systems because of the stress it places on reparatory tracts and mucous membranes (Ullman et al., 2004).
Ammonium (NH4+) in liquid and solid wastes is constantly undergoing conversion to ammonia gas (NH3). Zeolite controls odors and vapors by absorbing moisture from waste and adsorbing the ammonia produced by microbial activity on the liquids (Hogg, 2003).
In barns and stalls, “foul-smelling gases latch on to dust particles that have a positive molecular charge. Zeolite molecules have a negative molecular charge, so they act like magnets to attract dust particles, thus helping clear the air of odors as well as dust” (Hill, 2012, p. 46). Trainers have found that placing an open-topped container of zeolite near stalls helps to absorb odors and dust in the air (Hill, 2012).
Zeolite is nontoxic to cats; it does not cause harm if it is ingested or the dust inhaled, touches the skin, or comes into contact with the eyes (Hill 2012).
Because zeolite absorbs liquids, the minerals do not become slippery when wet, which is an important safety feature in any structure that contains wood floors or solid rubber mats (Hill, 2012).
Zeolite’s absorption capabilities also create efficiencies when cleaning out kitty litter boxes; it is not necessary to completely clean out the litter box when using zeolite. To control odors between cleanings, zeolite can be sprinkled on observed wet spots or excrement.
The mineral is “nonflammable, environmentally friendly, and can be safely handled around water and feed with bare hands, which is especially nice for those who suffer from chemical sensitivity” (Hill, 2012, p. 46).