Welcome to The Cat Site
your cat community
Interact with our community

Is Feline Pine Dangerous? Alternatives?

Discussion in 'Cat Health' started by cpignatelli, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. cpignatelli

    cpignatelli Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

    Jul 18, 2006
    I've read a few reports on the internet (mostly about pine litter and bedding for rodents) which claims that pine can be very dangerous for small animals, mainly because of the oils or phenols in it which can cause respitory problems and liver problems when inhaled or ingested. Feline Pine claims to remove the oils and toxins by kiln drying. However, I've read that kiln drying is not as effective as some claim and that when dried pine becomes wet again (when a cat urinates for example) it can again release aromatic toxins. I also found a few "horror stories" about Feline Pine killing a few cats (but you can usually find a few of those for every litter out there.) Has anyone had a bad experience with Feline Pine? Does anyone know anything about Feline Pine's toxicity? Has anyone used Feline Pine long term? If so, how long? Are there any healthy alternatives? Many of the rodent websites recommend Aspen pellets as Aspen is supposedly non-toxic.


  2. sharky

    sharky TCS Member Veteran

    Jan 30, 2005
    Plain wood pellets used for pellet stoves would work ... I dont think feline pine is dangerous ...

    world s best and sweat scoop are also natural

  3. scamperfarms

    scamperfarms TCS Member Top Cat

    Dec 23, 2004
    i dont think feline pine is dangerous.

    And ih ave been useing Wood Stove Pellets for Wood stoves for a year now. And have had no problems, other than a few kitties forgetting to cover their poo *lol*

    otherwise no problem at all and i Adore the wood pellets.

  4. fatkitties

    fatkitties TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Aug 8, 2005
    I use "Equine Fresh" from Tractor Supply. Same thing, but costs about $6 for a 40-lb bag. Haven't had any problems. I wouldn't be as worried about the aromatic oils because cats don't spend much time in the litter box. If they were living on the pellets, I'd wonder.

  5. emma's friend

    emma's friend TCS Member Top Cat

    Jun 8, 2004
    The only "danger" I'd warn against is a cat who didn't like the scent of the litter. I tried Feline Pine and Mac quit using the box! He started peeing on the couch instead.[​IMG]

  6. annasmom

    annasmom TCS Member Super Cat

    May 31, 2006
    The only complaint I have about Feline Pine is that its really stinky when being used by 6 kittens. I can't wait to be able to switch back to clumping! [​IMG]

  7. momto3cats

    momto3cats TCS Member Super Cat

    Aug 1, 2006
    I know that a lot of people use it (or stove pellets) with no apparent problems. I don't think it's dangerous. But, I tried it and none of my cats would touch it.

  8. ocicat_steph

    ocicat_steph TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Aug 3, 2006
    my cat is allergic to it. she got really bad itchy ears and weepy eyes and a horrible coat. [​IMG] we use yesterdays news with Cat's Best clumping.

  9. zissou'smom

    zissou'smom TCS Member Top Cat

    Jan 11, 2006
    If Feline Pine has phenols in it, I would be vaguely worried, depending on if it's trace amounts or not. Is there anything besides rumors substantiating this? It sounds like maybe it got mixed up with "Pinesol" somewhere in the internet rumor mill.

    I personally prefer clumping litters. I like scooping often and not having to dump the box much. If they made a natural litter that clumped as well as Freshstep (including pee) I'd be all up on it.

    I don't prefer litters like Feline Pine, but I find the claims that cats have died from it dubious. There are too many facts sort of like it, that have all been seemingly blended together here, for me to believe it without more substantial proof (such as, cats have become sick and possibly died as young kittens from ingesting hard-clumping litter, PineSol is toxic to cats, etc).

  10. jen

    jen TCS Member Top Cat

    Dec 27, 2001
    Hudson, OH
    I LOVE Feline Pine. My cats love it too. Whoever said earlier that it smells with 6 kittens, well you need more boxes! I have 7 cats using 7 boxes full of Feline Pine or ExquisiCat. They all poo in some and pee in others. Occationally one will do the opposite. But I love it. I just scoop the poop as they go and then let them urinate all they want because it turns to sawdust. When I see a lot of sawdust I remove that and leave the whole pellets. I am going to be making a litterbox that sifts out all the sawdust into the garbage.

    But ya, I love Feline Pine, smells so good too. When I buy a new bag it leaves my car smelling like fresh pine for a few days afterwards. Plus, PetSmart has it on sale right now.

  11. hdizzy

    hdizzy TCS Member Adult Cat

    Jul 31, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I used it with the kittens because the wheat litter just wasn't cutting down the smell with all those babies. Only 1 of the kittens really used the box with pine litter and he only peed in it. I had 1 box with pine, 1 with wheat, and momma's covered box with clumping at the time. It got to the point that I dumped the pine because they preferred the other types. By that time the kittens where getting into mom's box anyway, so I switched all boxes to clumping.

    I did like the pine litter b/c I only had to scoop the "solids" as they say. It really did control the odor. It's pretty cool how it turns to dust.

    You know you have issues when you just said that cat litter was cool...[​IMG]

  12. ognstub

    ognstub TCS Member Young Cat

    Jun 16, 2006
    Red Lake, Ontario, Canada
    i havent tried the feline pine yet or yesterdays news.
    i did try the swheat scoop and man did it ever stink!

  13. fatkitties

    fatkitties TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Aug 8, 2005
    If you go ythrough a lot of Feline Pine, get the horse stuff at Tractor Supply! It's called Equine Fresh, and the only difference is that the pieces are a little bit bigger. But it works exactly the same in every other way. My cats didn't notice the difference (although they didn't notice a difference between scoopable litter and Feline Pine, either, LMAO!). I pay about $6 for a 40 pound bag of it. WAY cheaper! I think a 10 (or is it 20?) pound bag of Exquisicat is like $8 isn't it? Tons of savings there.

    Feline Pine does make a scoopable litter from pine but I haven't ever used it. There's also a litter, I've seen it at Petsmart but don't know if other places carry it, called Pa-Purr and that comes in a plain litter that LOOKS like scoopable but isn't, and in a scoopable, that is made from recycled paper. It would be a good bet if your cats are used to scoopable clay and won't use the Yesterday's News pellets.

    But my favorite is the Equine Fresh pine pellets.

  14. naturestee

    naturestee TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Jul 21, 2006
    Sheboygan, WI
    I use a similar product for my rabbits, but I get the less expensive stuff from a local feed store. $5 for 50 lbs! I don't know if I'll try it with the cats though, because my brand has large pellets and it doesn't dig well. It's the best stuff ever for rabbit litterboxes, though. I wouldn't put it all over a cage like with a hamster or other rodent because it's not comfortable.

    As for the phenols, check the packaging and see if it says something about being "kiln dried." The drying removes most of the phenols and makes it quite safe. I don't really trust woodstove pellets because of reports of very strong smells (from aromatic oils=phenols) in some of the types that have been tried.

  15. reddicequeen

    reddicequeen TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Nov 16, 2005
    SE Michigan
    I love feline pine and i am afraid to try the wood pellets because the pine stuff works so well! Do the wood pellets turn into sawdust and drop into the bottom of the pan?
    I bought the feline litter boxes and they make it a breeze for clean up...i have two.

  16. sharky

    sharky TCS Member Veteran

    Jan 30, 2005
    Yup ... they just dont have the smell of pine as most are a different wood...

  17. pntdldy

    pntdldy TCS Member Kitten

    Oct 27, 2013
    Use of Pine, Cedar, Lysol, Pinesol, and other Phenol containing products

    In my career I was certified as a Laboratory Animal Technician, vet tech, and shelter manager for a Humane Society as well as 17 years in Laboratory Sciences.  I have worked extensively with both large and small animals for the most of my life (including being a wrangler on a cow/calf operation) and currently have two cats.  My mother now has only three but within the last six months has had to euthanize two cats and a dog. She has been using Exquisicat Pine Litter and I also found Lysol Toilet Bowl cleaner which her house cleaners had been using in her bathroom where the pine containing litter box was located.  The other three cat boxes use a scoop-able litter.

    My background and training teaches that phenols (ingredients in pinesol, lysol, pine, and cedar products) are deadly toxic to cats, rabbits, and other small animals.  Like chocolate and grapes for dogs, I have found that this does not affect ALL the animals in a specific species, however phenols are linked to kidney, heart, and liver failure and may occur within 24 hours of using a product containing this chemical.   It is also linked to allergic response (predominantly respiratory) in domestic animals as well as humans, especially those who work in wood related jobs (sawdust).  If your cats are healthy and fine with your use of pine products, consider yourself fortunate.  Personally, I would not chance it.  My two boys are middle aged (9 and 13) and I want to keep them around as long as possible.  They are my best friends and strangely enough for cats, they love traveling with me.  We just completed a 2100 mile trek from NM to NC.

    I would recommend using a commercial scoop-able litter (i generally use Pet Pride or whatever's the least expensive as I'm on a fixed income) although this does have a tendency, like all litters, to track.  I keep my boy's litter boxes in a larger cardboard box and have placed plastic underneath the cardboard so once a week I can move the boxes, pick up the plastic, and dump any extraneous litter back into the litter box.  I do not have an issue with smell, but I also have a Litter Genie which is next to their boxes (two cats, two boxes, cleaned daily) which is, IMO, one of the greatest items on the market.  It's a plastic bag within a hard plastic container.  You scoop the litter, lift the lid, and dump.  Close the lid, pull the slide, and the litter drops into the bottom of the bag.  There is absolutely NO SMELL.  Between my two cats, I change the bag once a week.  That entails opening the hard container at the middle, pulling more bag from of the top, and using the built in cutter.  I put a knot in the top of the full litter bag then dump it in my regular garbage. The next step is a simple knot in the newly cut plastic.  I pull it tight for a good seal, and pull more of the bag to reach the bottom, then close the container.  I then open the top, pull the slide, put my hand in the bag to make sure there is enough of the bag to reach the bottom.  Seriously, I have never found a better product and cannot recommend it highly enough!!!

    But back to the pine....  I would honestly hesitate to use ANY product which may contain cedar, pine, or creosote with cats, rabbits, and small rodents.  If you wish to use a wood based product, let me suggest Aspen as it's relatively allergen free and is used for bedding for all laboratory animals as well as personal pets. 

    I hope this helps clear any confusion.  Even kiln dried, once the litter becomes saturated it can release the toxic phenols (aromatics) which is what induces the organ failure.  Plus it's difficult to clean compared to scoop-able litters.  I have my own health issues (asthma, allergies, and Fibromyalgia) so I tend to find the litter without scent.  The perfumes aggravate my asthma and for me there's no worse combo of perfume and stinky cat poop. 



  18. remmysmom

    remmysmom TCS Member Kitten

    Aug 12, 2015
    I've used Feline Pine & Exquisite Cat which are both pine pellets, just different brands for over 5 years with my cat and I haven't had any issues with it.  My vet actually recommends it.  Petsmart and other pet stores that adopt out cats utilize Feline Pine and Exquisite Cat pine pellets in their litter pans.  For someone with Asthma like me it works great because there is no dust or smell omitted.  I clean my cats litter box out every day dumping the whole pan and cleaning the pan with a Lysol or Clorox wipe to disinfect and letting it completely dry before filling the pan again.  Unlike pine pellets, regular non-scoop-able & scoop-able litter (excluding the crystal and wood pellets) has dust that is lifted when the cat scratches or digs in the litter and can get into the cats urethra and cause an infection.

    I hope this helps.

  19. furkids2

    furkids2 TCS Member Kitten

    Mar 12, 2016
    My Furkids are now 12 yrs. and 11 yrs. - They've had only Feline Pine (original pellets) for the last 11 yrs. now - they LOVE it, and yes, their "Mom" loves it too! If it weren't for the cat toys in my living room (inside the front door), all of my guests say they wouldn't have a clue that I had A cat (my lil' 11-yr. old girl always hides from everyone but me, thus the reference is made to A cat!)) much less 2 cats, because there is NO cat smell (unless I'm just coming home and nature called with desperate No. 2 while I was gone, which of course is not THEIR fault!) LOL!

    Seriously, my 2 cats are very healthy (only routine vet visits - and their vet thought the Feline Pine Pellets was a great litter!)  I've always just had one litter box for the 2 of them, being I'm disabled and home most of the time with them, so the litter box is checked and taken care of every time I go to the bathroom, where the litter box is also. 

    I use a plastic  liner under the sift pan (10 per box, 1.00 a box at Dollar Tree!) which I change 1-2x's per week, (catches the sawdust when I sift after each urination).  Dollar Tree liners are so great (& fit in my small budget so well!) and saves so much work for me!  I just sift back and forth a few times, then set the sift pan on the floor, gather up the ends of the plastic liner and tie it, then put it in the garbage - then I put a clean/new liner in the pan, followed by the sifter pan on top. 

    I only dispose of the 'used' pellets (which sift as they turn into sawdust) and I just use folded toilet paper to 'pluck' out the solid waste - the rest of the pellets are 'clean' and remain in the pan.  I add about 1/2 -1 cup of new pellets daily - AND I don't use the 3"-5" of pellets that are 'recommended' because they keep digging and scratching til most of them are on the floor!  I learned that about an inch of pellets is plenty, mainly just make sure there are enough pellets to just cover the bottom of the pan completely - this makes all of us happy! LOL!  Other wise my 'clean' little girl Squeakers will keep digging til they are all on the floor, if there were several inches of them in the litter box! Ha!  My boy Quincy, he doesn't bother  to cover it up!

    Doing it this way, there is very little to clean up on the floor - a few pellets may end up on the floor, from getting stuck

    between the pads on their feet, but so much better than all the dust and sand with traditional litter!  I just keep a small dust pan with brush (that snaps into the handle of the dust pan) nearby to pick up the few stray pellets and dump them back into the litter box.  I am SO glad (& they are too!) that I happened to see an infomercial on late night TV for the Feline Pine (only had the pellets back then!) - I ordered the pan from them, and bought the pellets from my local WalMart (who has since quit carrying the pellets, so I get them from a WalMart in a neighboring city who carries them) - we only go through about 60 lbs a year (about 12.00 per 20-lb bag)  for the 2 cats - so it's also MUCH cheaper than traditional litter for sure!

    Kinda got long and rambling here - I seldom write reviews or answer questions online, but couldn't resist this one as it's made our lives much better, human and feline!

  20. cindy donaldson

    cindy donaldson TCS Member Kitten

    Jul 18, 2016
    Seriously?!  You're using ONE litter box for SIX kittens?  You shouldn't be raising young animals you know nothing about.  A minimum is one box for two kittens=THREE separate boxes.  If you have grown cats ONE box for EACH cat in the household.

    I've used this type litter with my cats for decades.  But the same rule applies for any type of litter:  one box for each adult cat.  The boxes don't have to be huge, just separate.  You may (probably will) find some have a favorite and it is used by several of your brood.  The point is to give them choice, scoop solids daily, and don't ever think you can just leave it and forget it for days on end.  You are responsible for these feline lives; they need and deserve love and respect and owe you nothing toward your own convenience.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.