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Pine Pellet Litter Transition

alandsim

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So I have begun gradually transitioning Sim from clay clumping litter to pine pellet litter and I thought I'd share the process here!

My dream future litter situation is: 1 box upstairs and 1 box downstairs of pine pellet litter, scooped in the morning and at night. I have the catit litter boxes and someday I'll work on teaching Sim to use the door on each. Not a priority right meow but it will be nice to have both be covered. The REAL dream would be being able to compost or burn the used pine litter, but my city isn't really down with that :p

When she came to my house, I started her on the same clay litter (tidy cats) her previous owner used, and didn't mess too much with it. She had a litter robot so I thought transitioning to a normal covered litter box would be enough of a change and we had ZERO problems. She was peeing and pooping in there as soon as she came home.

The things I don't like about clay litter are:
  • Price
  • Smell
  • Dust (allergies and yuck)
  • Environmental impact
  • Scattered litter tracked all over the bathroom, not all caught by the litter mats because Sim likes to SPRINT out of there after she goes!
Pine pellets, the way I am using them are nice because:
  • They cost less than 8 dollars for a 40 lb bag at Tractor Supply!
  • Smells great when totally fresh, even after use doesn't have a strong cat waste smell- pine neutralizes it or covers it up somehow
  • It doesn't get tracked out. When it rarely does they're big pieces and easy to pick up
  • You use less litter
  • Trees are a renewable resource and it's a more natural product even if it ends up in a landfill just like clay litter
  • It's more fun in my opinion to scoop (I am a weird person who thinks scooping litter is satisfying, like a poopy zen garden). You scoop out the solids first and then sift through the pellets and remove the sawdust that is left at the bottom (When urine hits the pine pellets they turn to sawdust for anyone who doesn't know how it works!). It's like panning for gold.
The Transition
Disclaimer: I'm lucky that Sim is not very picky about her litter situation. I am still choosing to gradually transition, but I have it easier than some people who try to switch.

From what I have read on the subject, you are supposed to make two litter boxes available: Box A with 100% Old Litter, Box B with 100% New Litter and observe for a few days whether your cat shows a clear preference.

If they refuse to use Box B, you keep Box A available, and you empty Box B and fill it with 75% Old Litter, 25% New Litter with the hopes that they will use both. Then gradually up the ratio of New Litter in Box B. Once they reliably use Box B as much as Box A, you can start filling Box A with 25% New Litter and transition until both boxes are 100% New Litter.

Sim is a champ, and when I did this she was the ideal case where she was using both boxes within 24 hours. At first she was peeing and pooping in Box A but only peed a few times in Box B, but on day 3 she was peeing and pooping in both, but definitely doing it in Box A more often.

IMG_5842.JPG

The pine litter during the first week, day 3 when she has peed and pooped a few times. Bad quality but you can see that almost NOTHING is tracked out onto the floor!

IMG_5843.jpg

IMG_5844.JPG

Old Litter Box area. This photo was taken 3 days after I completely cleaned and vacuumed this bathroom, the litter mats and the litter box. I tend to vacuum up litter throughout the week, so what you can see tracked is only one day's damage. She tracks it behind the toilet on her way out and sometimes jumps up onto the toilet and I'll find litter on the toilet lid. I hate it! Also, ignore the paint job in this spare bathroom, it's under construction. :)

Because she was using Box B I could just start with transitioning Box A out. After a week I started putting some pine pellets in Box A. I'm not really measuring exactly, but maybe right now it's 10% New, 90% Old because I figure the more gradual of a transition, the better.

I'm super excited for when we're all pine!!
 
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Sheldon13

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Great summary and great plan! How do you scoop out the sawdust?


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alandsim

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Great summary and great plan! How do you scoop out the sawdust?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
Thanks! I am overly enthusiastic about it and it's nice to have a place where it's appropriate to talk about it this much. :0 I'm a litter geek I guess!

Step one, scoop out solids. Step two, I scoop up a big pile of pellets and sawdust, hold it inside my baggie and shake/sift the sawdust through my scooper into the bag so I can dump the good pellets back in the box. I have a huge metal scooper so I only have to do this like 5 times to get through all the litter. It doesn't get ALL the sawdust out of the box but it gets almost all of it and I empty and scrub out the box every two weeks as normal anyway. Some people have a different system with a sifting litter pan, but I just really love my catit boxes and this is the simplest solution I can figure out without having to buy a bunch of gadgets or do extra steps every day.
 

Anita Eccleston

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So I have begun gradually transitioning Sim from clay clumping litter to pine pellet litter and I thought I'd share the process here!

My dream future litter situation is: 1 box upstairs and 1 box downstairs of pine pellet litter, scooped in the morning and at night. I have the catit litter boxes and someday I'll work on teaching Sim to use the door on each. Not a priority right meow but it will be nice to have both be covered. The REAL dream would be being able to compost or burn the used pine litter, but my city isn't really down with that :p

When she came to my house, I started her on the same clay litter (tidy cats) her previous owner used, and didn't mess too much with it. She had a litter robot so I thought transitioning to a normal covered litter box would be enough of a change and we had ZERO problems. She was peeing and pooping in there as soon as she came home.

The things I don't like about clay litter are:
  • Price
  • Smell
  • Dust (allergies and yuck)
  • Environmental impact
  • Scattered litter tracked all over the bathroom, not all caught by the litter mats because Sim likes to SPRINT out of there after she goes!
Pine pellets, the way I am using them are nice because:
  • They cost less than 8 dollars for a 40 lb bag at Tractor Supply!
  • Smells great when totally fresh, even after use doesn't have a strong cat waste smell- pine neutralizes it or covers it up somehow
  • It doesn't get tracked out. When it rarely does they're big pieces and easy to pick up
  • You use less litter
  • Trees are a renewable resource and it's a more natural product even if it ends up in a landfill just like clay litter
  • It's more fun in my opinion to scoop (I am a weird person who thinks scooping litter is satisfying, like a poopy zen garden). You scoop out the solids first and then sift through the pellets and remove the sawdust that is left at the bottom (When urine hits the pine pellets they turn to sawdust for anyone who doesn't know how it works!). It's like panning for gold.
The Transition
Disclaimer: I'm lucky that Sim is not very picky about her litter situation. I am still choosing to gradually transition, but I have it easier than some people who try to switch.

From what I have read on the subject, you are supposed to make two litter boxes available: Box A with 100% Old Litter, Box B with 100% New Litter and observe for a few days whether your cat shows a clear preference.

If they refuse to use Box B, you keep Box A available, and you empty Box B and fill it with 75% Old Litter, 25% New Litter with the hopes that they will use both. Then gradually up the ratio of New Litter in Box B. Once they reliably use Box B as much as Box A, you can start filling Box A with 25% New Litter and transition until both boxes are 100% New Litter.

Sim is a champ, and when I did this she was the ideal case where she was using both boxes within 24 hours. At first she was peeing and pooping in Box A but only peed a few times in Box B, but on day 3 she was peeing and pooping in both, but definitely doing it in Box A more often.

View attachment 92745
The pine litter during the first week, day 3 when she has peed and pooped a few times. Bad quality but you can see that almost NOTHING is tracked out onto the floor!

View attachment 92746
View attachment 92747
Old Litter Box area. This photo was taken 3 days after I completely cleaned and vacuumed this bathroom, the litter mats and the litter box. I tend to vacuum up litter throughout the week, so what you can see tracked is only one day's damage. She tracks it behind the toilet on her way out and sometimes jumps up onto the toilet and I'll find litter on the toilet lid. I hate it! Also, ignore the paint job in this spare bathroom, it's under construction. :)

Because she was using Box B I could just start with transitioning Box A out. After a week I started putting some pine pellets in Box A. I'm not really measuring exactly, but maybe right now it's 10% New, 90% Old because I figure the more gradual of a transition, the better.

I'm super excited for when we're all pine!!
I use the wooden pellets , I thought the clay would hurt their little feet , and I thought the crystal one may cut their little feet ... I have two boxes for Cleo and Mr Bagins now Cleo does her poop and wee wee in one litter but fuss pot Reprobate Mr Bagins does wee wee in one and poops in the other ( he just likes giving me the run around cheeky chappy ) now shushhhhhh don’t want embarrass her but Princess Cleo does have a smelly bum so instantly the litter needs cleaning but her poops ( she would die of embarrassment if she read this I swear ) are always solid .. now Mr Bagins who by the way as no shame what so ever and wouldn’t mind me discussing his potty habits he always as a soft poop still the sphynx smelly bum but not quite as bad ... both of my litter trays ( well not mine I don’t actually use them but you catch my drift ) both have had the doors removed as my babies don’t like to feel trapped and Mr Bagins is very vocal whilst using the potty lol
Xxx❤❤❤Xxx
 

Yoda mom

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@alandsim great info
Thank you for sharing

I have the same catit boxes..

My only teeniest feedback would be to keep the door flaps off

Sim may not like it amd start bad litter habits and bolting in and out “sprinting “she can get stuck or scratched up o mthe door plastic


Ps wow I just drove by tractor supply today ! Thanks for sharing it’s pellet info!
Way cheaper than the yesterdays news litter I used years ago

Keep an eye out for any skin irritations over time as some kitties we find sensitive to pine and walnut litters.

Head smooches sent!
 

alandsim

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@alandsim
My only teeniest feedback would be to keep the door flaps off

Sim may not like it amd start bad litter habits and bolting in and out “sprinting “she can get stuck or scratched up o mthe door plastic

...

Keep an eye out for any skin irritations over time as some kitties we find sensitive to pine and walnut litters.
I can actually see me never having to put the door flap all the way on if pine is a success because the smell is so much better!

I just need to make sure the dog won't go in and eat anything once he and Sim are both in gen pop full time, but we all know a door flap wouldn't stop him so I'll most likely have work out a creative solution when the time comes.

And I will keep an eye on skin, that's good to know!
 

alandsim

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Random tidbit/PSA that I just remembered and I think should be shared about litter: Putting a litterbox in the same room that your furnace is stored is a really bad idea.
My parents had been keeping their litterbox in their unfinished basement for years. They had to replace their furnace and thought nothing of it because it was old. They had a new one installed, and within a year it inexplicably stopped working. The furnace company installed a brand new one at no cost to my parents, and when THAT one started having problems, they found out that the litter could be a culprit.

Here's an article that I think explains how it corrodes the ducts or whatever.

So now, their cats' litter boxes are still in the basement, but in an enclosure built by my dad with a cat door which has a laundry vent going right outside and that solved the problem!
 

Sheldon13

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Random tidbit/PSA that I just remembered and I think should be shared about litter: Putting a litterbox in the same room that your furnace is stored is a really bad idea.
My parents had been keeping their litterbox in their unfinished basement for years. They had to replace their furnace and thought nothing of it because it was old. They had a new one installed, and within a year it inexplicably stopped working. The furnace company installed a brand new one at no cost to my parents, and when THAT one started having problems, they found out that the litter could be a culprit.

Here's an article that I think explains how it corrodes the ducts or whatever.

So now, their cats' litter boxes are still in the basement, but in an enclosure built by my dad with a cat door which has a laundry vent going right outside and that solved the problem!
I never would have thought...


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naomi

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I also use this. I find you can start to reduce the amount in the box over time as well. I use just one cup per day and dump the whole box out into the yard scraps bin every evening rather than scooping. Frida is perfectly happy with this arrangement. We keep the box in the laundry room downstairs and just have the one box.
 

alandsim

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I also use this. I find you can start to reduce the amount in the box over time as well. I use just one cup per day and dump the whole box out into the yard scraps bin every evening rather than scooping. Frida is perfectly happy with this arrangement. We keep the box in the laundry room downstairs and just have the one box.
Nice! Do you burn the yard scraps?
 

Condo commando

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@alandsim @naomi - how much pine pellet litter does one cat use in a month?

For now I have about 6 months worth of my favorite litter (it was 50% off so I bought a lot) but I'm interested if I can save money. I have 3 cats and they eat all wet food so we go through a lot of litter :(
 
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alandsim

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I’m less than a month in and not using all pine yet- I will definitely update and let you know when I have more of an idea but @naomi can probably offer better info since she’s been doing it longer!
 

naomi

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@alandsim @naomi - how much pine pellet litter does one cat use in a month?

For now I have about 6 months worth of my favorite litter (it was 50% off so I bought a lot) but I'm interested if I can save money. I have 3 cats and they eat all wet food so we go through a lot of litter :(
Takes me about six months to go through 40lbs
 

naomi

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Nice! Do you burn the yard scraps?
In my city they pick up green bin every week (compost and yard scraps) and compost everything together in the city facilities. Composted dirt is then sold to pay for this and other city programs and keeps these materials out of the landfill
 

Sheldon13

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In my city they pick up green bin every week (compost and yard scraps) and compost everything together in the city facilities. Composted dirt is then sold to pay for this and other city programs and keeps these materials out of the landfill
That is such a great idea!!!


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Condo commando

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I’m less than a month in and not using all pine yet- I will definitely update and let you know when I have more of an idea but @naomi can probably offer better info since she’s been doing it longer!
Takes me about six months to go through 40lbs
Is this the product?
www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/tractor-supply-pine-pellet-stall-bedding-40-lb?cm_vc=-10005

At $6 that is $1 per month, per cat. Great deal. Only issues I see would be #1 my cats being OK with it and #2 I wouldn't be able to lift a 40 lb bag without killing myself so it would need to come in a lighter bag.

I've had my eye for a while on rabbit grass because our current litter is made from grass. A 25 lb bag of rabbit grass is $15 which is about half the price of our current litter. I actually like our litter a lot except for the price. It's even biodegradable (although how I have to dispose of it is put it in a plastic bag and then in the regular trash which kind of defeats the purpose....at least they do pick up paper, glass and plastic containers).

Hey @Sheldon13 I know you like the grass litter so maybe you should look into this too....heads up.
 
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Zab

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Just read the thread. I am a fan of pellets too and got all of mine to like it within a couple of weeks. I wasn't as thorough as you are though... I just started increasing pellets to their litter boxes and within two weeks it was done! I have to say that it smells more (so we scoop more) but I do like the environmental friendly aspect and my babies don's neeze and I get a litter-free bed!
 

alandsim

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Is this the product?
www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/tractor-supply-pine-pellet-stall-bedding-40-lb?cm_vc=-10005

At $6 that is $1 per month, per cat. Great deal. Only issues I see would be #1 my cats being OK with it and #2 I wouldn't be able to lift a 40 lb bag without killing myself so it would need to come in a lighter bag.

I've had my eye for a while on rabbit grass because our current litter is made from grass. A 25 lb bag of rabbit grass is $15 which is about half the price of our current litter. I actually like our litter a lot except for the price. It's even biodegradable (although how I have to dispose of it is put it in a plastic bag and then in the regular trash which kind of defeats the purpose....at least they do pick up paper, glass and plastic containers).

Hey @Sheldon13 I know you like the grass litter so maybe you should look into this too....heads up.
That is the exact product I buy!

Don't have any recommendations for the weight, we just deal for now!

I would be very interested in hearing about grass litter!

Since I have had Sim I've realized my normal plastic grocery bags aren't as plentiful (yay for shopping at aldi!) and often have holes in them so in addition to using those I also save smaller paper bags that you sometimes get from takeout (chipotle!) and shopping to scoop litter into. For me, the size of a "lunch" paper bag is plenty big enough for one cat scooping twice every day, so if I had a way to naturally dispose of my litter I would probably just start buying paper bags.

For those of you who compost cat waste, are you afraid of dangerous stuff getting into the ground or groundwater? I have always heard toxoplasmosis (I know it's a heck of a lot less likely in indoor cats, but I still worry about it!) can't be composted out.

I would composte dog waste with a doggie dooley compost system because they have the right enzymes to break it down but I could only see me burning cat waste (when I can move to the country!)
 

alandsim

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Just read the thread. I am a fan of pellets too and got all of mine to like it within a couple of weeks. I wasn't as thorough as you are though... I just started increasing pellets to their litter boxes and within two weeks it was done! I have to say that it smells more (so we scoop more) but I do like the environmental friendly aspect and my babies don's neeze and I get a litter-free bed!
I am only worried to make too sudden of a change because even with both boxes, Sim still uses the "old" one so much more often than the pellets. Weirdly, she quit burying her poop in either bin, though!
 
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Condo commando

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I am only worried to make too sudden of a change because even with both boxes, Sim still uses the "old" one so much more often than the pellets. Weirdly, she quit burying her poop in either bin, though!
I read somewhere that cats bury to not attract predators but that some cats feel like that's their territory and they don't care who knows. So Sim must be feeling pretty good about herself lol.
 

Zab

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I am only worried to make too sudden of a change because even with both boxes, Sim still uses the "old" one so much more often than the pellets. Weirdly, she quit burying her poop in either bin, though!
One of mine is like this too. It's like "check me out, smell me, I rule".... then one of the others hurry there and buries it for her...
 

Condo commando

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I would be very interested in hearing about grass litter!
I really like it because it's biodegradable, no allergens, and it's lightweight. The biggest bag of grass cat litter is only 20 lbs but the dimensions of the bag (height, width, depth) are the same as a 40 lb bag of clay litter. You can see it's half the weight. However it does track and it's expensive. With 3 cats I run through a lot of litter. This is why I'm gonna look into the rabbit food, but for now I have enough litter to last the rest of the year.

PS - y'all don't know how much my cats pee. I make their food so I can put a lot of water in it. And believe me, I do. They get 10 ounces of water per day added to their food IN ADDITION to the water that is already in the meat.
 
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Sheldon13

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Is this the product?
www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/tractor-supply-pine-pellet-stall-bedding-40-lb?cm_vc=-10005

At $6 that is $1 per month, per cat. Great deal. Only issues I see would be #1 my cats being OK with it and #2 I wouldn't be able to lift a 40 lb bag without killing myself so it would need to come in a lighter bag.

I've had my eye for a while on rabbit grass because our current litter is made from grass. A 25 lb bag of rabbit grass is $15 which is about half the price of our current litter. I actually like our litter a lot except for the price. It's even biodegradable (although how I have to dispose of it is put it in a plastic bag and then in the regular trash which kind of defeats the purpose....at least they do pick up paper, glass and plastic containers).

Hey @Sheldon13 I know you like the grass litter so maybe you should look into this too....heads up.
I do! Thanks for the tip!


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alandsim

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PS - y'all don't know how much my cats pee. I make their food so I can put a lot of water in it. And believe me, I do. They get 10 ounces of water per day added to their food IN ADDITION to the water that is already in the meat.
That is smart!
 
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