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Pine Pellet Litter Transition


Mar 14, 2019
I know this is an off topic update, but funny and gross and tangentially related to litter:

Sim and Jo were roaming the house with Jo in a muzzle. When we're doing this I keep her door to her quarantine room cracked so she can still get in but I *thought* Jo would at least be deterred or make enough noise for us to notice and stop him from going in.

Guess what? He got into her clay litter box, got some poop all enmeshed in his basket muzzle, then beelined to the living room and put his face in my lap :sick:

So I learned my lesson to watch him like a hawk in the future!

At least Sim was nowhere near him and they're keeping their distance from each other! Clothing, muzzle and sofa cover were all washed and disinfected and Jo got his face washed and teeth brushed :sick::sick::sick: No kisses for a while!


V.I.P Lairian
V.I.P Lairian
Jan 8, 2018
Uh oh, poop face does not sound like fun!!!


Gold Lairian
Notable Member
Sep 2, 2014
Eww eww eww!!!

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

Toa and Ross

Staff member
Jan 23, 2015
Jo had the time of is life I’m sure. And I think this helps Jo and Sim to bond:). But for you...yuck!


Nov 27, 2019
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!!
So hoping to get my Jack Jack to switch over to pine eventually. He absolutely makes a crazy mess with the clay when he jets out of his box, even with the litter mat. I feel like I am at the beach with it all over my bathroom floor. Thank you for detailing the steps you used so far. Really hoping to find a cheaper option, and so I will be dreaming of pine until I am out of my current litter.