I’ve used lots of different types of cat litter in my home’s litter box over the years. Some have clumped. Some have not. Some have smelled worse than others. Some have been tracked all over the house or kicked around by my overzealous kitties. Some have been easier to clean out than others. Each type of cat litter has things I love about it, and each type has at least one thing that annoys me. I recently experimented with pine cat litter, in a bid to be a bit ‘greener’ with a natural litter.
Kinder for the Environment?
Pine cat litter (aka pine pellet cat litter) is promoted as being better for the environment, as many types use by-products of the wood industry. If you’ve not seen pine cat litter before, it’s like little pellets of wood instead of the clumping clay cat litter that many people are accustomed to. The wood pellet cat litter crumbles when exposed to moisture (read: cat pee). The pellets are made of shavings from lumber yards and similar, which are dehydrated and formed into pellets. So, it’s great to know that these waste products are being used for something useful.
However, I noticed that I had to use a large amount of the pine litter to fill the tray to a level my cats found ‘useful’. Because the pellets are so big, and my cats like to dig, they couldn’t cope with a thin layer. This meant I found myself using more of the wood-based litter than I would of a clay or crystal-based litter. Also, as the wood kind of turned into a weird, wet mush once wet, I wanted to empty the whole tray rather than just taking the lumps out. Ultimately, I would have had to buy the litter more frequently. This means more trips to the store, or more deliveries to my home, thus increasing my carbon footprint. I can’t help feeling that’s going to negate the beneficial impact of using a sustainable product.
Kinder for my Nose?
I will say this for pine cat litter: it smells better than clay-based litter and does a decent job at odor control. When dry, it has a pleasant, sawdust-like aroma that’s reminiscent of a good pet store. When wet, it does a really good job of keeping that acrid ammonia odor of cat pee tamped down. However, another smell becomes apparent, which is more reminiscent of a farm! It’s definitely a very organic smell, and a pretty unpleasant odor.
I have nasal allergies, so anything dusty (aka regular litter) is no good for me. This is why I’ve moved away from clay-based cat litters, as they tend to be dry and dusty; even the clumping cat litter varieties. Pine cat litter is kind to my nose in this way, as it doesn’t seem to generate much dust. I wouldn’t choose it over a crystal type litter though, because of the weird, farmyard smell. The odor control and dust control of silica cat litter is the perfect combination for my needs.
Kinder for my Home?
Cat litter gets stuck on cats’ paws and dragged around the home to a certain extent. It’s unavoidable. I’ve found that clumping, clay-based litters are the worst for this, and crystal type litters are better for keeping a clean home. Pine cat litter falls somewhere in between. If you keep the tray regularly clean, it’s not so bad as the natural pine pellets can’t stick to the cat’s fur. Once the pellets get moist and crumble, they can be tracked around a little, but it’s easy to clean.
The worst thing I’ve found is that the consistency of the wooden pellets encourages my cats to dig like crazy and kick the wood litter it all over the floor! Maybe that’s just my weirdo cats though.
The sustainability of pine cat litter is a big selling point, but for me, I’d much prefer to have a product like PrettyLitter where you simply don’t have to use as much litter, and don’t have to change it as often. That, in my mind, is much better for the environment.
What’s been your experience with pine cat litter? Did it work for you? What made you change? Let us know in the comments!
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