My Problem with Pine Pellets

Bobsk8

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I adopted my Rescue 9-month-old cat, back in February. The person at the adoption agency told me that the cat was using Pine Pellets for the litter, so when I got home, I checked YouTube videos on Pine Pellets and started using them. All went well for a couple of months until I went into the hospital for Covid.My daughters came to my Condo every day, and one of my daughters said that my cat had pooped outside the litter box, which she had never done. I attributed that to the fact that I wasn't around. Upon returning from the hospital weeks later, I discovered that my cat was not covering her poop in the litter box anymore, and about every 4-5 days she would poop right next to the litter box. This went on for a few weeks and didn't seem to be resolving itself.

What got my attention, is the fact that she made zero attempts to cover her poop with the pine pellets. She covered her pee, with no problem in the pine pellet litter boxes ( I have 2 boxes), but never the poop. I started thinking that maybe she didn't like trying to cover the poop with pine pellets. I got a 3rd litter box and filled it with Arm and Hammer Clump and Seal, and set it right next to one of her other litter boxes. She immediately started using the Clump and Seal box, totally ignoring the Pine Pellet boxes. Whenever she pooped in the Clump and Seal box, the poop was totally covered up and buried. Since then, no more problems with pooping outside the box. She just doesn''t like the Pine pellits for burying poop. .

I suspect that the adoption agency used Pine Pellets for the economy of it, but my cat was probably on a clay type litter prior to that.
 

She's a witch

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That’s one of the reasons I’m not trying pine pellets, one of my cats don’t like pellet type - he would use it but would loudly let me know he’s displeased. However there are other, natural kind of litters, not only clay, with fine texture that most cats have no problem with. I’m currently using grass seed litter and I’m happy with everything but tracking. There’s no way I’m using clay, it’s too scary to me.
 

EmersonandEvie

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I transitioned all three of mine to pine pellets because I was so dang tired of stepping on litter and clay litter/alternatives to clay litters are so expensive. Their boxes were in a CARPETED room, and to get out, had to walk over 8-10 feet of carpet, and I would still find clay litter on my laminate floors. It drove me crazy. I do not have the same issue with the pellets. Additionally, I can spend $10 for 2-40lb bags of pellets and be set for almost 4 months. That's some good savings, considering I used to spend about $20/month prior.

Now that you mention it, one of mine (unsure who) doesn't bury the poop either. Whenever I go to shake the box down, I find that it's almost been...dehydrated?...by the pellets, so there is no odor unless it just came out of the cat. None of mine have ever pooped outside the box, either (well, one time, but it was my fault). It could just be that your cat doesn't like the texture of the pellets.
 

ladytimedramon

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I just switched back from pellets to fresh step myself. I was using pine pellets for about 2 months. Scooping it was difficult and sometimes I found it easier to use a 2 scoop tongs type approach. Delilah didn't always bury her solids with the pine. Plus I just didn't seem to see as many clumps. Sometimes one or 2 giant ones, and then whatever clumped in the disintegrated pine at the bottom. The last straw was coming home from work (started back on campus teaching) and noticing a smell.


Someone suggested the side by side method so I did that as well. Delilah gravitated right to the clay. The one I picked up had a larger granule but when I scoop the solids are buried and she has 4 or 5 tinkle balls, so I'm sure she's drinking and going like she was when I adopted her.
 

klunick

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I just switched back from pellets to fresh step myself. I was using pine pellets for about 2 months. Scooping it was difficult and sometimes I found it easier to use a 2 scoop tongs type approach. Delilah didn't always bury her solids with the pine. Plus I just didn't seem to see as many clumps. Sometimes one or 2 giant ones, and then whatever clumped in the disintegrated pine at the bottom. The last straw was coming home from work (started back on campus teaching) and noticing a smell.


Someone suggested the side by side method so I did that as well. Delilah gravitated right to the clay. The one I picked up had a larger granule but when I scoop the solids are buried and she has 4 or 5 tinkle balls, so I'm sure she's drinking and going like she was when I adopted her.
:lol: Tinkle balls :lol:
 

tarasgirl06

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I adopted my Rescue 9-month-old cat, back in February. The person at the adoption agency told me that the cat was using Pine Pellets for the litter, so when I got home, I checked YouTube videos on Pine Pellets and started using them. All went well for a couple of months until I went into the hospital for Covid.My daughters came to my Condo every day, and one of my daughters said that my cat had pooped outside the litter box, which she had never done. I attributed that to the fact that I wasn't around. Upon returning from the hospital weeks later, I discovered that my cat was not covering her poop in the litter box anymore, and about every 4-5 days she would poop right next to the litter box. This went on for a few weeks and didn't seem to be resolving itself.

What got my attention, is the fact that she made zero attempts to cover her poop with the pine pellets. She covered her pee, with no problem in the pine pellet litter boxes ( I have 2 boxes), but never the poop. I started thinking that maybe she didn't like trying to cover the poop with pine pellets. I got a 3rd litter box and filled it with Arm and Hammer Clump and Seal, and set it right next to one of her other litter boxes. She immediately started using the Clump and Seal box, totally ignoring the Pine Pellet boxes. Whenever she pooped in the Clump and Seal box, the poop was totally covered up and buried. Since then, no more problems with pooping outside the box. She just doesn''t like the Pine pellits for burying poop. .

I suspect that the adoption agency used Pine Pellets for the economy of it, but my cat was probably on a clay type litter prior to that.
Hello Bobsk8 Bobsk8 and "Cat"! I don't know what pine pellet litters cost, but some sources say pine is not good for cats, so I've never used it. In the wild, cats prefer sandy substrate material, which would correspond to scoopable clay litters. We have used SoPhresh from Petco.com for years and it has never let us down. Cats do NOT like perfumed litters, some of which can actually be dangerous for them. SoPhresh is unscented and contains odor-reducers. It's always been really good for us, and as I have a strict budget, I also like that it's very cost-effective. Everyone on the auto-delivery plan gets a discount, too. I get the 30# buckets auto-delivered to us, along with all of my cats' food and treats.
 

moxiewild

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I suspect that the adoption agency used Pine Pellets for the economy of it
The last line there is right on the money.

Pine pellets are very inexpensive. Many of the rescues we work with use them for that very reason. We personally routinely have up to 20 feline occupants in our home at any given time, so we utilize pellets as much as possible too to help cut expenses.

However, some cats frankly don’t like them. That goes with any and every litter, but pellets in particular really don’t satisfy the natural instinct of cats and can be uncomfortable to walk on (both physically and in terms of keeping balance).

So we have other litter options around too - primarily Okocat, as it is also a (non-pelleted) wood based litter (and reduces smell more than anything else we’ve tried).

That said, some cats also just don’t bury poop (or pee), or don’t do so all the time. Sounds like your kitty’s issue may have been litter related, though!

So sorry you had such a severe case of Covid! Glad you got through it!!!
 

Szewan

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I adopted my Rescue 9-month-old cat, back in February. The person at the adoption agency told me that the cat was using Pine Pellets for the litter, so when I got home, I checked YouTube videos on Pine Pellets and started using them. All went well for a couple of months until I went into the hospital for Covid.My daughters came to my Condo every day, and one of my daughters said that my cat had pooped outside the litter box, which she had never done. I attributed that to the fact that I wasn't around. Upon returning from the hospital weeks later, I discovered that my cat was not covering her poop in the litter box anymore, and about every 4-5 days she would poop right next to the litter box. This went on for a few weeks and didn't seem to be resolving itself.

What got my attention, is the fact that she made zero attempts to cover her poop with the pine pellets. She covered her pee, with no problem in the pine pellet litter boxes ( I have 2 boxes), but never the poop. I started thinking that maybe she didn't like trying to cover the poop with pine pellets. I got a 3rd litter box and filled it with Arm and Hammer Clump and Seal, and set it right next to one of her other litter boxes. She immediately started using the Clump and Seal box, totally ignoring the Pine Pellet boxes. Whenever she pooped in the Clump and Seal box, the poop was totally covered up and buried. Since then, no more problems with pooping outside the box. She just doesn''t like the Pine pellits for burying poop. .

I suspect that the adoption agency used Pine Pellets for the economy of it, but my cat was probably on a clay type litter prior to that.
Could very well be that you cat did not like the feel of walking on pellets. I adopted my first ever cat last year, and started with clay litter. But the dust and tracking was really killing me, so starting March this year I started my cat with pine pellets. I mixed clay and the pellets to start then in 2 -3 weeks or so completely switched him to pellets, I was very lucky - he never pooped or peed outside the box, although my sense is he ‘prefers’ clay :). I was ready to switch back to clay if pellets really didn’t work, but it turned out ok. At first my cat didn’t cover his poop too because I think he didn’t know how to - the pellets must have felt very different on his paws. But now 6 months in, I think he is getting very used to it. He now covers his poop fine.
It’s really cat by cat I guess. Whatever flies with your cat :)
 

tnrmakessense

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I'm surprised when I hear about a cat that WILL tolerate the pine pellets. It must be like walking on stones. And there's the fact that pine is toxic to cats.

For the last 6 months thanks to a post on this site I've been using chick feed crumbles as litter. It's half the price of clumping litter and has little dust. I get the "Purina Start and Grow Non-Medicated" crumbles from Tractor Supply, but there are other brands and outlets. Just be sure it's the crumbles because they're soft underfoot.
 

tarasgirl06

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I'm surprised when I hear about a cat that WILL tolerate the pine pellets. It must be like walking on stones. And there's the fact that pine is toxic to cats.

For the last 6 months thanks to a post on this site I've been using chick feed crumbles as litter. It's half the price of clumping litter and has little dust. I get the "Purina Start and Grow Non-Medicated" crumbles from Tractor Supply, but there are other brands and outlets. Just be sure it's the crumbles because they're soft underfoot.
I never tried crumble when I had a flock, but I do know that it smells very nice, very subtle, and it's much softer than pellets of any kind.
 

jcat

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It's likely to be the shape rather than the material she objects to. A lot of shelters/rescues use natural biodegradable litters because of the cost of disposing of clay-based litter and to protect the environment. IME, most cats don't like pellet litter, whether it's wood or paper, but like biodegradable litter in non-pellet form.

Our shelter uses Cats Best Öko Plus or a cheaper generic form of it. At home, we use a fine corncob litter (Siria, an Italian brand) which Mowgli rather likes. He's not as fond of the coarser corncob litters. He'll use them, but won't bury his waste like he does with the fine-grained litter.
 
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Bobsk8

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The scary part of this is that I was considering returning Misty to the shelter, thinking that this was going to be an ongoing problem. My daughter convinced me to try another type of litter, which solved the problem. I wonder how many cats have the same difficulty and it turns out the Pine Litter was the cause.
 

chrono

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Bought a big bag of pellets before and tried to use it. My cat refused, so now that bag of pellet is used as a door stopper lol.

Pellets suck!
 
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