If you are thinking of switching to pine litter, but need more information, well look no further because you are in the right place.
We have been using pine litter since 2017 and we are so glad we made the switch. We have tried your traditional clay litter, corn litter, and even crystals, but pine is by far my favorite. Pine litter is wallet friendly, environmentally friendly, and easier to clean up.
First, I would like to address the biggest problem with pine litter because that is probably the reason why you are here. It’s all natural, so what’s the issue here? Pine oil. Cat liver is missing an essential enzyme to help process and detoxify certain toxins. Exposure over time to toxins can lead to a build up in the liver and cause liver failure. The greatest concern for cat parents about pine litter is that the litter contains pine oil. Well, I’m glad to report that there are pine pellets that are processed to remove the oil. These pellets are kiln-dried or rotary-dried. A lot of people have said only kiln-dried is suitable to use around cats, but I believe both methods should be effective in oil removal.
Pine oil has a boiling point of 383ºF. Well what the heck does that mean? Boiling point is the temperature at which a liquid changes to vapor (i.e. water to steam). The kiln dried method heats the pine to a temperature of 1000-3000ºF while the rotary dryer method heats to a temperature of 800-1400ºF. Both methods reach beyond the boiling point of pine oil, which should mean pine oil has evaporated from the pellets.
Now that the greatest concern has been addressed, I would like to discuss how pine pellets can be used at cat litter. How pine pellets work is that moisture is absorbed into the pellets and the pellets will expand and crumble into saw dust. As for poop, the pellets do not stick to it like clay litter, unless it’s diarrhea. In addition, I would like to be clear that the pine pellets does a wonderful job at removing urine odors, but does not do anything for the poop stench. This may deter some cat owners from ever using pine, but in my experience most litters never conceal the poop stench completely even if you use scented litter (which you really should not). Pine pellets can be purchased from a variety of places such as Tractor Supply Co., True Value, and pet stores (though it is much more expensive at pet stores). We purchase pelletized equine bedding at our local Tractor Supply Co. at 40lbs for $6.00. One bag will last us about two months for two cats.
To clean the litter box, you sift out the saw dust and scoop any poop present. Originally we had your average plain litter box. We basically just scooped out the saw dust onto a colander sitting on top of a bucket, sift, and return any pellets back into the litter boxes. This was tedious, messy, and time consuming. I found this Arm & Hammer litter box ( https://amzn.to/2YftbRX) that has your regular litter box but also includes a sifter “box” that fits perfectly over the regular litter box. This litter box has made our new cleaning routine much more streamlined. Keeping the sifter stacked on top of the regular box, we put a nice layer of pine pellets in the litter box unit. When it is time to scoop, remove any poop, then all we need to do is lift the sifter “box” on one end and push the pellets around until all the saw dust falls underneath to the regular box. We collect the saw dust for about three days before emptying the bottom litter box. Although this cleaning process is easy to do, it isn’t the easiest thing to describe and I tried my best, but if you still need clarification please check out our video above.
I hope this was helpful for those who are looking for more information on pine litter or clay litter alternatives. We have used this litter for years and this is by far my favorite litter box method.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert in the manufacturing process of pine pellets. I do have a degree in biology and have taken a handful of chemistry and I am comfortable with my belief that kiln-dried and rotary-dried pine pellets are safe for my cats. Please use pine pellets at your own discretion.