Montmorillonite Clay Benefits, Uses in Cat / Dog Food, Structure & Properties

What is montmorillonite clay and what are the benefits of using it? What is the use of this clay in cat and dog (pet) food? What is the structure and chemical formula of this clay? What physical properties does this clay exhibit? Is montmorillonite the same as bentonite clay? Read on to find answers to these questions.

What is Montmorillonite Clay?

Montmorillonite, a phyllosilicate, is a soft type of mineral that exists in small crystals which accumulate to form clay. Phyllosilicates or sheet silicates, are a group of minerals that include the micas, chlorite, serpentine, talc, and the clay minerals. The clay is named after Montmorillon (France) where it was first discovered.

Sodium and Calcium Montmorillonite Clay

There exist two types of montmorillonite, sodium and calcium. Sodium montmorillonite is commonly known as sodium bentonite. The presence of sodium as the predominant exchangeable cation can result in the clay swelling to many times its original

Montmorillonite Clay

volume. Sodium montmorillonite has most of its uses in the industries whereby it is used in : oil well drilling mud, plaster, cat litter, ce


ment tiles, lubricating grease, dynamite, matches, paints, copy paper, shoe polish, concrete, cleaning agents, wall boards, and crayons. Most of these uses are attributed to swelling property of sodium montmorillonite.


Calcium montmorillonite, is also known as “living clay”. Why is it called living clay? It is called so because it majorly consists of minerals that improve the production of enzymes in living organisms.

Terramin clay is calcium montmorillonite processed by California Earth Minerals. Terramin is a premium high-grade edible Calcium Montmorillonite clay that is made up of a combination of more than 60 macro, micro and essential trace mineral elements that are purely natural. Generally, calcium montmorillonite clay acts as a catalyst to improve growth, healing, digestion and detoxification in both humans and animals.

Sodium/Calcium Montmorillonite Clay Benefits

What are the health benefits of using montmorillonite clay? Living clay is used both internally and externally by human and animals with a myriad of beneficial effects. A recent survey study has shown that proper use of montmorillonite clay augmented with informed dietary intake leads to prevention of common human and animal illnesses by 40-60%. When used by humans, montmorillonite clay has various effects that directly improve health. These include;

  • It is healing clay for stomach. It improves the speed and efficiency of the digestive system.
  • Strengthening both natural and acquired immunity thus sealing off preventable infections
  • Reducing allergies to foods and drugs
  • Eliminating heavy metals and other toxins from the body
  • Hastening pelotherapy (mineral clay therapy)
  • Keeping the liver healthy for proper detoxification
  • Promoting the presence of normal flora and other beneficial bacteria in the small and large intestines

Montmorillonite Clay in Dog and Cat (Pet) Food

Montmorillonite in Pet Food

What is Montmorillonite clay used for in dog or cat food? In pet foods, montmorillonite clay works as a natural anti-caking agent. It facilitates high-quality foods of pets to remain free of harmful chemical and man-made agents.The clay acts as a great detoxifier and is gaining popularity with veterinarians.

Research has shown that montmorillonite clay can help to bind and remove toxins from the body. Initial findings from Texas A & M University stated the clay confiscated aflatoxins. However, scientists pointed out that further study was needed. As source of natural minerals, it boosts your pets’ immune system and brings with it other health benefits for instance it strengthens bones and joints of both dogs and cats.

Montmorillonite Clay in Cat Food

If you have a cat, you must have heard or are probably going to hear about montmorillonite. Many practitioners of veterinary medicine are prescribing this clay to pet owners due to the rise in chronic health problems among cats. Veterinarians believe that the root causes of these problems are environmental and man-made poisons.

These problems can lead to allergies, kidney, diabetes and urinary disorders in cats. When ingested, the clay naturally clings to internal toxins and flushes them from the cat’s system through the colon.

Montmorillonite Clay in Dog Food

Just like in cats, veterinarians have recommended montmorillonite clay to help dogs with specific health issues. This clay has been prescribed to help dogs with diarrhea caused by radiation and chemotherapy cancer treatments.

According to evidence from studies, the clay can be an effective alternative to other anti-secretory agents which can cause serious complications ranging from nausea to anemia, including neurological issues.

In most cases, dogs had normal stools within 48 hours of being administered the clay… healing clay for stomach indeed! Other reported benefits from montmorillonite clay include improved weight gain, better utilization of food, glossier hair coat, and improved hoof condition in horses. [source: Natureslogic]

Montmorillonite Clay Structure, Properties & Chemical Formula

What is the structure and chemical formula of montmorillonite clay? What are the properties of this clay? Read on to find out.

Structure of Montmorillonite.

The structure of montmorillonite is quite an interesting one. The illustration or image below can explain it more than plain words can.Montmorillonite-Clay-structure

Montmorillonite Clay Properties

  • In terms of color and appearance, Montmorillonite appears dull, and it is a massive mineral, which is usually white, but at times pink, grey or tinted with yellow or green. The additional colors depend on the concentration of the minerals that the clay is made up of.
  • In terms of texture, montmorillonite clay is soft. In fact it is one of the softest clays mainly because of the extreme concentration of small mineral particles.
  • Montmorillonite clay is earthy, with a low luster, due to the fine grained minerals in its composition. Luster is the way light interrelates with the montmorillonite.
  • The clay’s transparency quality (diaphaneity) is translucent to opaque however this is highly influenced by the type of crystals that make up the material. Generally it is not fluorescent but when it contains autunite, it may glow in the dark.
  • Montmorillonite swells when added to water however, the swelling depends on the composition of the clay and the molecular spaces between the layers.
  • Crystal symmetry is monoclinic prismatic

Montmorillonite Chemical Formula

What is the chemical composition and formula of montmorillonite? The clay is composed of Sodium, Calcium, Aluminum, Silicon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. The chemical formula is (Na,Ca)0.33(Al,Mg)2(Si4O10)(OH)2·nH2O. (hydrated sodium calcium aluminum magnesium silicate hydroxide)

Is Montmorillonite Clay Same as Bentonite Clay?

what is the difference between montmorillonite clay and bentonite clay? Are these clays the same? If you have been learning a lot on clays, you will realize that the names calcium montmorillonite clay and bentonite clay are used interchangeably by some individuals or publishers. This creates confusion to newbies in the world of clay. Well, are these two clays the same?

According to Perry, author of Living Clay: Nature’s Own Miracle Cure, they are NOT specifically the same but they are similar in terms of properties and abilities. They are both smectites meaning that the difference between them is minor. Most smectite clays have montmorillonite properties.

Clays are often named after the place they were first discovered.  Bentonite was originally named for Smectite clay found near Fort Benton just like montmorillonite was named after Montmorillon. Most Smectites are now referred to as Bentonites or Montmorillonites. has some interesting information in regard to calcium montmorillonite vs bentonite. The similarities or possible differences between these two smectite clay minerals have been discussed to some detail.

Suggested Further Reading

More on Clay-Bentonite

Aztec Healing Clay

Multani Mitti (Fuller’s Earth) Clay

Rhassoul (Red Morrocan, Ghassoul) Clay

Kaolin (China, White Cosmetic, Kaolinite) Clay

Other Clays-French Green Clay & Dead Sea Mud


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