Your Kitty (and the Earth) Will Pine For This Alternative Litter Box Filler

Brenda Malinics, for the Shuttle

Cat litter. It’s dusty, heavy (unused and especially, used) and not earth friendly. What’s more, it’s treated with chemicals (for scent and dust control) and it’s expensive. Yet, it’s a necessary part of cat ownership.

Litter disposal is especially challenging when you are running a cat rescue and have many, many cats using litter boxes throughout your house. My trash cans were so heavy that they often would not be collected on trash day, leaving me with no choice but to add my used litter to friends’ garbage on a weekly basis. I was at my wit’s end — until I discovered pine litter.

Pine pellets are all natural, have superior odor control over clay litter, and have no artificial fragrance. In addition, they are 100% biodegradable, chemical free, dust free, and are a recycled product that can keep on being recycled. Still not convinced? They’re flushable, get lighter when used, and are cheaper than clay litters.

Cats’ first preference for a litter surface is a sandy texture, but they will adjust to the texture of pellets. In my house, half my litter boxes are clay and half are pine pellets. I use pine pellets at our adoption center inside the PetSmart at the Metroplex in Plymouth Meeting, and the odor and dust control is unbelievable.

It is important to clarify that when I say pellets, I am not including the ones made from paper. I think that those actually hold odor and do not compare to pine pellets.

Scooping pellets differs somewhat from how someone cleans a regular litter box. When cats urinate onto the pine pellets, the pellets “explode” into a powdery texture, unlike clay litter that becomes a concrete brick when wet. By placing your scoop under the mound of “powder”( which no longer looks like a pellet), you can shift the mound which contains the cat’s urine powder into a separate container.

I always first remove the solid waste before I begin shifting out the used pellets. When you first scoop up, the scoop will contain both the powder and the pellets in it when shifting begins. But the powder falls out of the scoop as you shift the used powder into a separate container. Only clean pellets remain in the scoop and they can be put back into the litter box.

You will have a container full of acidic powder (it really does not smell like cat urine), and you can use this as mulch around your acid-loving plants, or on pathways to keep weeds down. In the wintertime (remember that season?), I put the exploded/used pellets on my slippery driveway and on my sidewalk for better traction and ice-melting action.

Since I started using pine pellets, my cats are happy having clean, fresh-smelling litter and I am happy with the lack of dust, lower expense, ease of disposal and performance. Best of all, my back doesn’t hurt, and my trash is collected each week.

Editor’s Note: Eight-pound bags of Arm & Hammer Feline Pine Litter are available in our Across the Way store in Mt. Airy for $11.15 each.