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Confused About Tractor Supply Equine Pine Pellets As Litter

Discussion in 'Grooming & General Cat Care' started by czari, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. czari

    czari Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Oct 19, 2005
    Central Florida
    I came across a YouTube video by a woman who runs a cattery and states she found a better, and safer, litter. She purchases Equine Pine Pellet Bedding from Tractor Supply Co. and uses the top portion of the Tidy Cat Breeze system (the part with the slats in it) on top of a larger litter box that is lined with a puppy pee pad. When cats urinate on the pellets, they apparently turn to sawdust and go through the slats into the bottom box. The solid waste is scooped out and about once a week the pee pad/sawdust from urine is discarded. This woman states that not only has this significantly reduced the amount of money she was paying for cat litter she states it is safer for cats. Purity and safety of a product are very important to her, which I appreciate, but she also states that pretty much every other type of litter, from clay to any type of clumping litter, is toxic. Among these she mentioned litter made from corn due to the GMO factor. (I've used World's Best Cat Litter for years and is great for reducing odor and very easy to clean.)

    Since World's Best litter is approximately $9.00 for an 8 lb. bag that barely lasts a month, I was very interested in the pellet idea. A 40 lb. bag of the Tractor Supply Horse Bedding pellets is $6.00 and, according to the cattery woman, will last approximately 6 months for 2 cats. This woman said other places sell the horse bedding pine pellets if one doesn't have access to a Tractor Supply store but to be sure the pellets are kiln dried. The assumption in this statement is that the Tractor Store brand IS kiln dried. I headed to our local Tractor Supply store, located the product shown in the video, but didn't see anything on the bag about the pellets being kiln dried. I asked the Tractor Supply employee who helped me if there was another version of this product that was kiln dried and told her it was to be used as cat litter. She said a lot of people had been purchasing the pellets for cat litter and there wasn't a different version of this product.

    I did purchase a bag but was still concerned about it since "kiln dried" had been stressed so much in the video. I sent a message to the woman from whom I saw this tip, told her the above, and asked if her bag indicated the pellets were kiln dried. She said I needed to call the Tractor Supply Co. phone number on the bag, give them the manufacturer's number listed on the bag (I'm assuming that is the bar code since the only other number on the bag is the SKU #), find out who manufactures that product for them, then call that manufacturer and ask if they are kiln dried. If this was an issue ie. the same product, sold by the same store, had different properties, this should have been indicated in the video, imo.

    In the meantime I've seen many other videos of cat owners using pine pellets (some from Tractor Supply, others from various places) - all very satisfied with them and no one says anything about the drying process. Since it's the weekend, I sent an email to Tractor Supply CS and promptly received an answer, the two main points being that (1) the product I purchased is either kiln dried or rotary dried but (2) it is meant as horse bedding and they do not recommend it for any other use and take no responsibility if the purchaser uses it for something else. Peachy. I found a web site that one can enter the bar code (UPC) of a product and get the manufacturer. I did so and Tractor Supply was identified as the manufacturer.

    I again contacted the woman in the original video with the above info to which she replied I couldn't take "short cuts" and needed to call Tractor Supply and ask for the name of the manufacturer, etc., etc. I certainly haven't been taking short cuts since I've been trying to research this all weekend and many cat owners are using all manner of horse bedding pellets as litter with no reported ill effects (many of these videos go back to 2106).

    Checking in here to see if anyone uses the Tractor Supply Co. Equine Pine Pellets and, if so, did you "find the manufacturer" as I keep being told to do? I've been looking for a less expensive cat litter that works as well as the one I've been using but I don't want to use something that could harm my cats; although, according to the woman I referenced, she thinks my litter is toxic as well. Arrrgggh!!
     
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  2. GoldyCat

    GoldyCat Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think I'd take what the woman in the video says with a grain of salt. Some products are better for cats than others, but not everything is toxic.

    If you do a search for "horse bedding" you'll find a number of threads here about people using it.
     
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  3. czari

    czari Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Oct 19, 2005
    Central Florida
    Thank you for responding, GoldyCat. Over the last 25 years of having cat companions I've use a wide variety of litters, all of which this woman states are toxic, and have cats who live long lives.
     
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  4. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom TCS Member Top Cat

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    I've read that there are people who feel strongly about/against sodium bentonite clay which is the main component of clumping clay litter.
    In my opinion the main issue is the dustiness. I deal with that by mixing in corncob or littermaid's walnut litter which absorbs dust, and his sneezing has stopped which I love.
     

  5. Columbine

    Columbine TCS Member Staff Member Advisor

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    The kitty playground
    I'm in the UK, so obviously can't comment on the Tractor Supply pellets, but I've been using compressed straw pellets (my pony's bedding) as litter for the barn cat I care for for years now. She started using my pony's bed as a litterbox (before we switched stables, she literally shared my girl's stable a lot of the time), so it made sense to use the bedding as her litter when we had to set her up with a box.

    I have previously used compressed pine pellet (purpose made) cat litter, and it works great as a non clumping litter. I switched to clumping clay litter for my indoor kitties a long time ago, though, and they've been perfectly fine with it. It's their litter of choice too (I have trialled biodegradable clumping litters, but my guys all voted unanimously for the clay litter).

    Basically, I wouldn't put too much stock in that YouTube video's health/safety claims, , but pelleted horse bedding can make wonderful cat litter :)

    If you use World's Best now, you might want to look into trying Chicken Crumbles (I hope I've remembered the name right!) . I think @Draco switched to that as an economical alternative to World's Best, and it works well for her and her kitties.
     

  6. Margret

    Margret TCS Member Top Cat

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    Do not worry about point 2. It doesn't mean they think it will hurt cats; it's just a CYA disclaimer. The market isn't big enough that they want to do research to prove that it's safe for cats; therefore they aren't willing to warrant that it is. If it were actually harmful for cats it would probably be harmful for horses as well, and they don't worry about that, so...

    Margret
     
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  7. Draco

    Draco NOT Malfoy! Veteran

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    @Columbine is correct, I switched to Chicken Crumbles which is essentially the same as World's Best. For a 50lb pound bag, it's cheaper than a 15lb bag of World's Best. I don't see a difference with the two and my cats been on Chicken Crumbles for years without ill effects.

    I use "Layer Feed- 16% crumbles". Make sure to get Non-Medicated if you decide to try this!

    I haven't tried the pellet version- I can't comment on that.
     

  8. MeganLLB

    MeganLLB Accidental Ailurophile Top Cat

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    I tried gradually switching to equine pine and my cats hated it and peed on my couch in protest. So thats all i have to say about that. Wish it had worked for me.
     

  9. basscat

    basscat TCS Member Top Cat

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    I would think a person would have considerable trouble finding any type of wood pellets that were NOT kiln dried.
    My cat eats pine pellets, so, I use clay.
     
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  10. Willowy

    Willowy TCS Member Top Cat

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    I wouldn't put too much stock in what random Youtubers say :D. There are a lot of weirdos out there.

    You don't have to use the Breeze system with the pine pellets either. That just makes it last longer. If you use it like regular litter, just dump it once a week like any non-clumping litter. You'd probably use one bag a month and that would still be cheaper than what you're using now.

    My cats don't like the pellets either. Tractor Supply also has a corncob pellet bedding that has smaller, softer pellets, but the odor control isn't as good as pine. And I'm allergic to chicken crumbles :/. Sometimes it takes a little experimenting!
     
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  11. krystab

    krystab TCS Member Young Cat

    I use pine pellets but with giant Rubbermaid storage totes as litter boxes. You don’t have to dump everything. To clean boxes I just scoop out the poop and then use my litter scoop as a small sieve. Scoop up a bunch, hold it inside a plastic bag and shake gently. The sawdust falls into the bag and the pellets stay in the scoop (to then be put back in the box)
     
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  12. DatWormLife

    DatWormLife TCS Member Kitten

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    Sep 23, 2018
    I used it briefly because clay litter makes my 18-year-old cough, and also the pellets helped a little with his tracking problem. I never contacted the manufacturer about anything, but none of my cats had any adverse health reactions (although the two younger cats didn't much care for it and I eventually switched them back to clay). I still use it for my senior cat, who seems to do best with it. However, a bag lasting 6 months for 2 cats is absolutely bonkers. My old guy can go through a 40 pound bag by himself in a few weeks. Granted, he has renal problems and urinates a lot, but still.

    Also, you should not worry about corn. There is nothing "toxic" about "GMO" corn. There is zero evidence to support corn litter being harmful to your cat (or any other crops being harmful to you or your cat solely due to genetic modifications). On that note, I have no idea what "kiln dried" has to do with anything regarding the well-being of your cat, and it doesn't sound like this woman has provided any reasoning either.

    It's true that a lot of popular litters contain ingredients that are not great for your cat, but this lady sounds like the type of person who thinks everything is "toxic," is scared of anything she cannot pronounce without actually knowing its effects, doesn't understand that the dose makes the poison, and thinks that "natural" is perfectly synonymous with "good." Unless you can find several peer-reviewed studies demonstrating that non kiln-dried pellets pose a significant risk to your cat's health, I wouldn't worry about it at all.

    Try to avoid scented litters and silica crystals if you can, since those are generally the worst, but also keep in mind that if your cat is in good health, they will probably be okay using almost anything. My 1-year-old actually protested (see: started pooping on the bed) when I took her clay litter away, so I gave it back. I made the switch with her health in mind, but it is also important for her mental health to have a litter she feels comfortable with. She is young and healthy, so it's probably more important to prioritize her mental health by letting her have the texture she likes as long as it doesn't seem to be having any adverse effects on her.

    It's only with my 18-year-old that I really need to worry about having the most "stripped down" litter, since he has a very fragile immune system, and his skin and sinuses are easily irritated. Clay dust made him cough, and Swheat Scoop kept getting wedged way up between his toes, so pellets won out. The pellets are too large to get caught between his toes, and the sawdust is too fine. Sometimes the best thing is to let the cat try out different things and let you know what they feel the most comfortable with.
     
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  13. czari

    czari Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Oct 19, 2005
    Central Florida
    This thread just showed up in my email this morning (wonder why I wasn't getting the other responses - will have to recheck my profile settings) but (1) want to THANK YOU all who responded soooo very much and (2) provide an update.

    I called the phone number on the product bag and discovered that it connects to a call center that handles calls for many different companies. I was given the name/phone number for the manufacturer of the Tractor Supply pine pellets sold in my area and had a very pleasant and informative chat with the person from that company (Equstock). He said their pellets are rotary dried. When I relayed the info I'd received that only "kiln dried" were safe, he went into an extensive explanation, describing the difference between the two systems, which is mainly the type of equipment used, and assured me the pellets were safe to use as cat litter.

    He said their compExquisicat Naturals any also makes a product for PetSmart called "Exquisicat Naturals" that are the identical pine pellets packaged for Tractor Supply; the only difference is the price - $6.00 (inc. tax) for a 40 lb. bag from Tractor Supply and $6.49 (not inc. tax) for a 14 lb. bag of Equisicat litter. (Based on this website: Search Results | PetSmart) I now see that PetSmart offers three sizes of this litter; the 14 lb. is the smallest size.

    What I found interesting is exactly what Columbine posted - this gentleman said that the idea to use pine pellets as cat litter came when someone (not sure if it was his company or the first person in the horse bedding industry who noticed this) saw that barn cats were using the pellets in the horse stalls as their litter area.

    Bottom line - I've been using the pellets since late June for two cats. I'm just now at the point where I need to get a new bag (still have enough left for one more change) so that's approximately 3 months for two cats at a total cost (for the litter) of $6.00! Fantastic savings!! I use two of the Breeze boxes - one covered for my big male cat who loves to dig and threw regular litter all over the place and an open box for my 15ish year old little girl. I think they both use both boxes as I have them side by side. The change to the pellets was very easy - I began by setting up the covered Breeze box with only the pellets and kept the same litter box I'd been using next to it with the clumping litter and a handful of pellets. Over time I put more pellets and less clumping litter into the second box. It took maybe a week and a half to totally change over to the pellets.

    I'm still on the lookout for a litter box to place under the Breeze boxes so I won't have to dump the sawdust out as often. The large litter boxes I have are too small to fit underneath and the next size up looks too large. I did check out the plastic storage bins at Walmarts but didn't find anything to fit. Regardless - this system is WONDERFUL for cutting waaaay down on litter expense, I don't smell any urine odor at all, and no tracking; only a few pellets scattered around the boxes that are easy to sweep up.
     
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  14. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom TCS Member Top Cat

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    Thanks so much for the update, that's really appreciated!
     
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  15. mbs

    mbs TCS Member Kitten

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    Oct 7, 2018
    California
    @czari - I recently saw that same YouTube with the woman who owns a cattery and she updated the first video with info for a litter box that fits under the new Breeze box. It's the SoPhresh open litter box, size large. I bought the Breeze system and SoPhresh size L from Petco and Pine Pellets from Tractor Supply.
    Guess I just have to call the Tractor Supply customer service number on Monday with the Vendor/Manufacturer Number and ask if the bag I purchased was kiln fired?

    Since they supply the PetSmart litter as well, is it safe to say that you don't have to call every time you buy a new bag? We also currently use World's Best Litter and was shocked when she mentioned GMO corn. I went to the PetSmart website and they have the standard California warning on the Equisicat Pine Pellets -"WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including wood dust, which is known to the State of California to cause cancer. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov" so there's really no winning when it comes to 100% safe anything... But I am excited to see if our cats take to the pine pellet litter, so I hope customer service tells me that the equine pellets are all kiln fired to the point that all the pine oils are gone.
     
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  16. krystab

    krystab TCS Member Young Cat

    Like everything in life there is some risk... but you have to take anything on YouTube with a BIG grain of salt. They put in excessive warnings so they don’t get sued. The GMO warning is total crap in my opinion - pretty much all corn we have in modern society has been modified. If you’ve ever seen indigenous maize you see it looks nothing like what you see at Safeway... clays are dusty and can cause respiratory issues, corn and wheat are common allergens... just figure out what works best for you.

    Personally I don’t have much choice- I’m allergic to the clay dust and I have celiac so I avoid the wheat litters. My cats have always tried to eat the corn and since grains aren’t good for them that’s out. Walnut shell litters are also very dusty and it ends up everywhere! I’m trying out a clumping pine with my new kitten since he still thinks the pellets are toys :p hopefully I can convert him as he grows up
     

  17. czari

    czari Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Oct 19, 2005
    Central Florida
    Hi mbs :)

    I did view the updated video as well. Does the Large SoPhresh litter box fit well under your Breeze box? We don't have a Petco in town but can likely order it online.

    Re: Tractor Supply - the phone number on the bag of pellets will connect you to a call center that handles multiple companies so give the manufacturer number to the person and tell him you want the name of the manufacturer and their phone number. I had to call twice - the first person I got said they didn't see a mfr. # on their info. I gave the number to him but he couldn't help. I called about an hour later and got a different person - said the same thing/gave the same info and that person gave the name of the manufacturer/phone # to me. Wanted to add that in case you run into the same situation. I had a long talk with the manufacturer and he said either kiln or rotary dried was safe. I said the person from whom I obtained this info insisted it had to be kiln dried and he explained the difference between kiln and rotary drying and said they both do the same thing and are both safe. Only have to call the manufacturer once to check.

    I'm VERY, VERY happy with the pellets - no dust, my cats had no problem transitioning - I mentioned how I did it in my post above - cleanup is so easy now. Here's to your cats transitioning well into the pellets. :)
     
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  18. czari

    czari Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Oct 19, 2005
    Central Florida
    Interesting you mention that as I was listening to a related radio program last night; the topic was that the fruit we buy in the supermarket has been "bred" with other strains of the same fruit over time with the result that it is much larger and has a lot of sugar in it. The man then related that fruit in the wild that has not been tampered with is usually smaller and not as tasty. He gave a lot of examples of certain types of apples and berries, etc. So, yeah...even organic fruit (and probably veggies) have been cross-pollenated.
     
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  19. mbs

    mbs TCS Member Kitten

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    Oct 7, 2018
    California
    Thanks! I called this morning and the person only asked for the sku#. I said you don't need the vendor number? And she said no just the sku? Then she looked up the sku and said oh yes the Equine Pine Pellets...are you calling to ask if it's kiln dried? I said yes. She said yes, these are kiln dried. Should I call back and ask for them for the manufacturer's contact info?
     
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  20. mbs

    mbs TCS Member Kitten

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    Oct 7, 2018
    California
    Oh, and the SoPhresh Size Large fits very nicely and snug under the Breeze Box. Petco.com sells it on line :)
     
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