Last Updated on: November 9, 2020
If you have a few fuzzy faces around the house, you are well aware of the “box battle”. In fact, you are most likely waging a war against it as we speak. And, when we say waging a war, we primarily mean the never-ending quest to make your home smell like there isn’t a litter box on the premises.
Now, if you are strategic about this, you have also probably tried many different types of cat litter. Finding a good option that will clump, is easy to clean, won’t track through the house, plus eliminate and reduce odors, can be difficult. Interestingly enough, there is one litter option that tends to fall below the radar, and that is pine litter.
So, today we are going to dig deep into this particular kind of cat toilet filler, and figure out if it is worth the hype or not!
What Is Pine Litter?
First, the basics. Pine litter is a natural product that is made of wood pulp. The wood (typically pine) is ground down, pressed, and sanitized. It is then made into pellet form which is what you will get when you purchase this type of litter.
When your tabby uses the box, the moisture breaks down the pellets which absorb the liquid. The natural pine scent and absorbent material of the pressed wood also help reduce ammonia odors and other unpleasant smells.
This litter is very lightweight, plus some brands can be flushed down the toilet. Due to the consistency of the wood pellets, it is easily broken down. You will not have to worry about clogs or blocks in your plumbing system, or a backup your septic tank.
Pros and Cons of Pine Litter
Is It Eco-Friendly?
Compared to other types of litter, pine is a very environmentally friendly option. Take clay for example, as it is the most popular type of cat box filler. Although clay is technically natural, it is derived from strip mining, which is essentially cutting through our natural resources; and it is done at an alarming rate. If you consider how much cat litter a one puss home goes through (close to 500 pounds per year), the overall effect on the planet can be intense.
Pine litters, as mentioned above, are made of wood pulp (otherwise known as sawdust) which is a bi-product of wood. Therefore, we are not wasting any resources from the planet, but instead, we are multi-tasking them.
What’s more, as a natural product, the pine pellets are made with renewable materials and are biodegradable. They are also usually made with renewable energy and come in recycled packaging.
Is It Safe for My Cat?
To quickly answer this question, yes, it is safe for your cat. It is important to note, however, that If you have a fussy feline, you know they will not always be down to try new things, including litter. For the most part, cats seem to be okay with the pellets, especially if you start them on it as kittens. Nevertheless, you will inevitably find a tom that won’t put a single paw on a pellet.
Pine is a safer option than other litters such as clay, however. It is not unheard of for cats to accidentally ingest some of the matter, or even eat it on purpose. If you happen to have a dog as well as a cat, we probably don’t have to tell you they consider the cat box a snack shack. Clay litters can cause an issue called “impaction” in your pet’s stomach that can be very serious. This is especially true for kittens. Luckily, this does not happen with pine.
The Effectiveness of Pine Litter
Now that we have covered the basics, we can move on to the important stuff which is the overall effectiveness of the product. We will go over its odor protection, clumping action, and all the other good stuff that is important for a litter brand.
Let’s start with the most important aspect, the odor control…
Pine Litter Odor Control
Keeping the smell of ammonia, urine, and feces as low as possible is important—essential, even. Not only does it make for a more pleasing home experience, but a smelly cat box is a leading reason why your tabby may find an alternative spot to use the bathroom.
Pine litter does not use any artificial fragrance to mask odors. Instead, the wood pulp formula does an excellent job of neutralizing and reducing the smell of ammonia and urine. That being said, it does not always do the greatest job of stopping the smell of poo.
Another factor, however, is the natural pine smell. Depending on your personal preference, you may like or hate the woodsy fragrance. Keep in mind, though, the brand you pick can make a difference in how strong the smell of pine is, but it usually has more mellow and warm notes than say-Pine-Sol, for example. The pine scent will also help mask poo-pourri.
What About Clumping?
Clumping litters are great as they make less work for you. Instead of having to clean and replace the entire contents of the cat box every five to seven days, you simply have to scoop out the hard clumps that are formed by moisture combining with the litter (again usually clay). Not only that, but the harder the clumps, the more odor control you will have, as well.
Pine litter is notorious for not clumping, BUT the cat litter gods have come a long way in perfecting their formulas. You can now find some pellet litters that will dissolve and turn to clumps. Unfortunately, they are harder to find, and they are typically more expensive than the average pine litter.
As this type of cat box filler does not clump, the general procedure is to shift the litter box so the dirty sawdust falls to the bottom, and the fresh pellets move to the top. In a one cat home, you can go about twelve to fourteen days without completely changing the box without any noxious odors.
Pine Litter Dust & Tracking
Ah, the dust. If you or your furball has any respiratory illnesses or you have allergies, a dusty litter can be a big problem. Even if you don’t suffer from anything, it can still coat your lungs and nose. What’s worse, dust that has silica in it can cause lung cancer.
When it comes to pine, however, there is little to no dust from the pellets. Another tough thing about dust, though, is it can track throughout your house and cause a mess. Litter is known to get stuck to your pet’s paws and track all over the place in its questionable sanitary condition. Pine has a lower track rate (accidental pun), but the wet sawdust can stick to your pet’s feet.
As we mentioned in the last section, it is important to sift the box which brings the clean pellets to the surface. When this is done, you are less likely to have paw prints on your furniture.
One aspect of this litter we have not touched on yet is the cost. Interestingly enough, most cat owners spend more money on cat litter than they do on kitty food. As a matter of fact, you will generally spend about $1,000 in your first year of cat care.
With that being said, it is no wonder people like to opt for an affordable cat litter. When it comes to pine, it is actually pretty affordable on the natural litter spectrum, but it is slightly more costly than the average clumping litter.
In the long run, though, pine typically lasts longer than other natural options. Approximately seven pounds will last for about a month. If you want an eco-friendly option, pine is the most affordable choice.
We hope you have enjoyed these reviews and they have given you a better perspective on pine cat litter. In our opinion, this is a great option if you want an eco-friendly litter that has good odor-fighting power, plus it is affordable. Not only will it last you a long time, but you will not have to worry about dust and a lot of tracking.
Featured Image: Pedro Candeias, Unsplash
Roland has been an animal lover all his life, with cats holding a special place in his heart. He is owned by three felines: Wheely, KitzKitz, and Nugget (all rescues) who bring all the laughter and mischievousness one can expect from the feline master race. As the creator of ExcitedCats, his mission is to assist in the search for the best gear to help improve the health and wellbeing of cats everywhere.