Bo and MollyCredit: JestMe

There are many benefits to switching your cat to pine pellet litter including cost, dust, and health (for both you and your cat), but convincing kitty to make the change can be tricky.  The pellets feel funny to a cat that’s used to granules and your furred friend will likely refuse to use them without a very slow introduction. While most companies will tell you to change the filling of the cat box gradually to allow your cat to adapt, pine pellets require a very gradual change.


Step 1.  Sprinkle some wood pellets in your cat’s box on top of the existing sand. The idea is to start introducing the new smell first.  Don’t cover the litter, just start with a handful.  Add a handful each day for a week. Clean your cat’s litter box just as you normally would.

Step 2.  Dump out the old potty and put in about half the usual amount of your cat’s regular litter.  Cover the top with a layer of wood pellets.  Make sure your feline is using the box as normal.  If she refuses you’ll need to try again with fewer pellets.

Step 3.  As you clean the kitty box, try to add a handful of wood pellets equal to the amount of sand you remove. I’m assuming you are using clumping litter and are scooping out the clumps on a regular basis.  If you have the non-clumping kind, try to scoop out the wet sand daily to reduce the volume.  Your cat should never balk at using the litter box, if she does, add less of the wood pellets.

Step 4.  As the pine pellets get used, they turn into sawdust and increase in volume. This means that your litter box will start to fill with damp sawdust that doesn’t scoop.  When you can no longer effectively clean the box you’ll need to empty out all the waste and start with fresh.  Base your next step on how comfortable you think your cat has gotten with the pellets.  Do one of two things; either fill the box half way with pellets and sprinkle a little of the previous brand of litter over the top, or, go back to step 3, but start with less of the previous brand.

Step 5.  Just the pine pellets. Make sure your cat is using them for all potty events before you get rid of the old brand.


Tips.  Have at least two litter boxes (more for more cats).  Mine like the fresh hard pellets to poop in, but the softer, partly used sawdust for tinkling.  I scoop the poop as needed, and dump the sawdust litter pan when there are very few pellets left.  This then becomes the new pellets, and the other litter tray has already started to soften from use, thereby becoming the #1 choice for #1.


New pellet litterCredit: JestMe


Used pellet litterCredit: JestMe

The poop should be disposed of, but the sawdust is compostable.  I spread it around my trees in the winter, covering it with decorative bark in the spring.  Avoid putting it around anything less sturdy than a tree as you risk burning your plants from the nitrogen.  If you have a compost bin, this is a brown component and should be layered with grass or other green component.

Pellet litter is available at most pet stores, or online.  There are even cheaper solutions to buying cat litter, if you're willing to let go of the brand.

Feline Pine Original Litter, 40 Lbs
Amazon Price: $45.19 $4.99 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 3, 2016)
The price is reasonable when it's on sale, and having anything delivered to your doorstep is pretty nice.
Nature's Earth Feline Pine Wide Slot Litter Scoop
Amazon Price: $3.87 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 3, 2016)
The wider slots let the pellets fall through as you scoop the poop. You can use a standard scooper, but this one is a lot less hassle.