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Old 04-23-2012, 04:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default feline pine or wood pellet litterboxes

hopefully this is the right forum, it's such a big board, but i saw a couple of other litterbox threads here so . . .

i have been using tidycat clumping litter for a few years now but i really dislike the dust plus several other things about it, (TRACKING--one cat demands that i have a litter box in my bedroom or he will pee in my bed, nowhere else but there and the box, so i had to give in to that condition . even thought that means kitty litter ends up IN MY BED, that's still better than pee lol) so i've decided to try to use wood pellet litter.

there's a place here called newgreenearth wood stoves and the owner turned me on to a 40# bag to try (how could i say no to free haha) and it's working well, except that i have two booda domes and not the felinepine litter boxes. i would have no problem buying the box except that they aren't covered and i've always used covered litter boxes and i don't want to change.

i was looking at other "sifting boxes" and one person will say it's great for the pellet sawdust and the next person will say it's a complete disaster, so i'm leery of buying one sight unseen online. i bought a clever cat top entry to cut down on tracking and it's sitting in the corner here. i never had to change the litter once. the kitten used it for a short time but only for pee, the middle one got in it a few times but must have decided he didn't like it, and my 15-year-old has arthritis and it would have been tantamount to impossible for her to get out of it, although she did like it when i put her on top so she could look down inside it lol. i cleaned it with bleach and air-dryed it so someone else could probably use it second-hand, right? (i always use liners anyway and i bet it was used maybe 10 times, tops). at the end, the kitten just abandoned it because i guess he figured if no one else wanted to use it, he didn't either.

so does anyone here use feline pine/wood pellet litter and what do you use for a litter box? some people say tidy cat breeze is a workable option, others don't like it, but i don't think it has a hood/cover on it either, and that's something i really want. i'm trying to figure out if i could make some kind of sifting device with an elasticized border to slip on the ones i have, but i'm not sure what i would make it out of.

i had a couple of extra scoopers so i just took box cutters and cut every other bar out of them and the scoopers work great now.

this is a pretty busy board so i'm hoping a lot of you have experience with this special needs litter
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Old 04-23-2012, 11:23 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I use wood pellets as kitty litter (the 40lb bag I got from gardening department). I never tried a sifting box. Love to, but all sifting boxes available on market are too small and low sided. I need a large one with high sides because my Meatball likes to do her business in corner and Metoo needs lots of space to turn around and bury her stuff. So I just got a regular large litter box. Not the sifting kind.

So far (for a year and half) it has been working great. When cat pees, the liquid runs to the bottom part of the box. So on top there are always whole pellet pieces and saw dust are at the bottom. But sometimes when my Metoo burries her poop, she will dig up quite a bit dust. I just sprinkle some new pellets to cover it. Every week I sift the box with a huge litter scoop, saving whole pieces and throw all dust. Then I wash the box. Every month I throw everything in the box and put new pellets.

I really have no complain. The maintainance is minimal. I only need to scoop the poop out and flush them for once a day. There is no smell at all. Because my cats don't really touch the dust, there is no tracking. With the high sided box, they cannot kick pellets out either. And for two cats a bag last for 2 month. So the cost is less than $3 a month. My cats are very happy too
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Old 04-23-2012, 03:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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thank you so much for replying! i wonder if there are really so few people who use wood/pine litter? i guess maybe so. personally, i tried feline pine years ago but it seemed more expensive at the time. i guess it was, i was just using plain tidy cat clay which comes out to about .26 a lb. i switched to clumping a few years ago which is about twice as expensive but more convenient. i didn't factor in the cost of zeolite crystals i was using with the non-clumping litter, either.

the way they market feline pine, it costs about .65 a lb in the grocery store but wood stove pellets (they are exactly the same product. exactly. little pellets made from scrap pine--no additives. fp costs more because of advertising ) are a whopping .12-.13 a lb. i haven't used it long enough to say for certain that you need less, but i've heard you do. so at 4.97 for a 40# bag, i think it's hard to go wrong. plus if you meet a nice store owner who will hook you up with a bag to try, you're not losing anything.

the way you are using it is about exactly the way i am right now. even with the large booda domes, someone (i suspect one of the males--i can't be sure because i don't watch them go) is managing to dribble between the cover and liner. it pools a little on the outside of the liner but doesn't go all the way to the floor.

i don't think people believe there is no odor. of course if you just left it there certainly would be, but completely changing it once a week or however often we do eliminates the sawdust. i've heard that if you have a sifting box, you don't need to change the pellets because once they're urinated on, they just disintegrate back into sawdust. if that falls through to the bottom, the other pellets would be fine. i don't think i'd never change them though, even if you scoop the poop daily (or twice daily) you'd still get little fragments of it left behind. plus, cat urine in strong enough that i think old pellets would probably start to smell after awhile. pine is a good deodorizer, but not THAT good lol.

plus for people who have yards, the sawdust (minus poo) is compostable/mulch. because of the cat urine, i'm not sure i would put it on a garden where fruit or vegetables grow, but for just trees and shrubs, i think it would work well.

people are probably also suspicious because of the low cost, but this is one of those things that really isn't too good to be true. of course it does require extra effort in the beginning unless you have small kittens. you can't just throw the litter in a pan and expect them to use it. you have to start out mixing some with their old litter and phase out the old stuff in a week to two weeks, depending on how fast the cats adjust. i know some people who are really unhappy with it because they didn't give their cats a choice and they went outside the box, and once they do that, you know the drill. so if someone wants to change, you have to keep a back-up box with the old litter so the cat(s) won't be cornered.

i noticed you live in toronto. i love it there. i went to caribana in 2010, and i was going to come back this year but i'm going to vegas for my birthday instead it's a beautiful city and i haven't been there to just sightsee for a long time, so that's what i'll do next time. caribana is fun, but if you don't do masquerade, there's not a lot of point in going again.
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Old 04-23-2012, 05:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I got the idea of using wood pellets from my Metoo's breeder. I think on this forum we have an Ocicat breeder who also use wood pellets. If you have many cats, the price advantage is so obvious. I have also converted almost all my cat-owner friends (including Meatball's breeder) to wood pellets user. So far I didn't hear anyone switch back to what they used before.

Many ppl don't use wood pellet because they never heard of the idea. For ppl who do, many think non-clumping litter are just bad and inconvenient. I was in the latter group -- always wanted clumping litter. But I decided to give wood pellets a try, since it's irresistably cheap It turns out so good and the maintanance work is even less than using clumping litter. With clumping litter before, I need to scoop 2-3 times a day to remove the "urine ball", but now only once a day (so sometimes even 1 1/2 day) to flush the poop. Also you cannot flush clumping litter. Yes I know there are some litter marketed as "flushable", but I had 2 friends who actually got their toilet clogged by flushable litter. Also cat urine is toxic for beavers and some other marine animal, so I would feel guilty doing that

You can throw away the entire box of litter every week, since it's so cheap. But I do sift the box to safe the whole pellets. Those are not touched by urine so they are clean. It's like 15 min extra work but reduce the pellet consumption by almost half I do that not for saving extra buck though, just because here in Toronto wood pellet is seasonal. I can only get it at a gardening store during summer. So I buy the whole year's worth once. And these stuff are heavy! So I try to reduce the usage to buy less bags
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Old 04-23-2012, 05:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
i noticed you live in toronto. i love it there. i went to caribana in 2010, and i was going to come back this year but i'm going to vegas for my birthday instead it's a beautiful city and i haven't been there to just sightsee for a long time, so that's what i'll do next time. caribana is fun, but if you don't do masquerade, there's not a lot of point in going again.
I lived in many places before and I consider Toronto to be one of the few cities that are excellent to live in. I have no complaint of Toronto aside from the cold winter and high tax But I don't think Toronto is a good choice for sightseeing. Not too much to see IMO. If you have a few days to spend in Canda, I think Quebec city is an excellent choice. Vancouver not too bad either
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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if people haven't heard of it, i want to spread the word. it's so much better on so many levels, but i will admit that what sold me was price. i'm just one of those people who buys the cheapest toilet paper (for myself haha) available because i don't like spending money on something i'm literally going to flush down the toilet. i feel the same way about cat litter, just didn't find away around it before now.

actually the biodegradable aspect is awesome because i always felt guilty about the huge amount going into landfills. not to mention that clay is strip-mined which is hard on the environment.

i've had the bad experience of clogging my toilet like an idiot because i flushed poop. it didn't happen right away, i thought if i only dumped the tootsie roll it would be okay, but little pieces of litter stick to that and after several months, it built up in the u-joint. so i was scolded by the plumber. after that i don't think i even would have trusted "flushable" litter.

now, as far as cat feces causing toxoplasmosis in sea otters and cat urine being toxic, i'm a little confused. surely sewage treatment works at some level on these things? i mean, hospitals flush everything, and even though biohazard waste is supposed to be separate, we both know what happens when hypodermic needles are washing up on the santa monica shore. i know that flushing cat waste is illegal in california for exactly this reason, but i would imagine some of their plumbing empties directly into the ocean. i don't know any of this for a fact, i'm just speculating. but there are cats who are toilet-trained as well, so i wonder about that. it's something i'll research before i stop bagging the poo and disposing of it in the dumpster. sort of an interesting topic. (sort of haha)

oh, i think toronto is beautiful. lakeshore drive, otherwise i know there isn't a lot but i like it there. i've been to montreal and toronto several times, never quebec city. i've been considering vancouver as well. it's quite a bit closer to denver. i considered moving to toronto but the winters are worse than denver. and it's a little more humid. considering how much snow the mountains get, people always think we have bad winters but not really.

i stayed at the sheraton downtown centre so i was only a few blocks from yonge street where all the restaurants are, but there was a sandwich place i ate lunch at all week because i liked it so much. i want to say it was "the lunch box" but i think that's a sushi place. it's vegeterian, and they just have sandwiches but instead of serving them with fries, they give you salad which i think is great. but i never got to eat any poutine, which i've heard doesn't exist in toronto anyway (it does, but people in montreal will say, "oh that isn't REAL poutine.) it doesn't look like it's great for you, but i wanted to try some.

Last edited by marie73; 04-24-2012 at 02:19 AM.
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Old 04-23-2012, 07:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I know Equine Pine for horses also comes in big bags and is cheaper than Feline pine. I haven't tried it yet but I have been thinking about it. I also ned a bigger litter box. These two kitties came with a Petmate "large" litterbox.... I would like to see what they consider small. They share, so I think a bigger box is in order.
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Old 04-23-2012, 11:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I too use wood pellets. I've used it for years. I did try to go to regular litter, but I couldn't take the dust and tracking. I also sift once a week using a regular scooper and wash out the litter boxes. I started using it for the expense, but now I just think it is more sanitary. The boxes are easier to wash out and clean because the dust pellets don't stink to the box. Unfortuately, I go through 2 40lb bags a week since I have 7 cats. Sifting help conserves buying and lifting those heavy bags. I'm really surprised more people don't use them.
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Old 04-24-2012, 03:32 AM   #9 (permalink)
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kty78: i think what is sold as horse bedding is the same thing. i read on one website (i can't even remember which, i've been to so many) that it is more crumbly or doesn't last as long as the wood stove pellets but DO IT haha. i think you'll be so happy. i know i was--happy to cut my cat litter cost from $70 to less than $5 a month. plus the added bonus, honestly, if you keep the box up normally, there is NO urine smell. i have a really sensitive sense of smell, and i always wanted to change the entire box about two days after i had completely changed it. i don't care how much deodorant or whatnot the mfr. puts in litter, even when you scoop twice a day, it starts to smell. but with the pine, there's just like an earthy scent, sort of like in the forest. i know the cats appreciate it too. cats don't like artificial perfume. now two of mine are playing in it hahaha--not all wild but the kitten and the grandma cat get in there and toss the pellets around. mr. ledbetter the bedwetter doesn't play in it, but he's using it, and he's the one i was really worried about (see the wit's end cat wetting the bed post).

the booda boxes are really nice and big, they take over 14 lbs. of litter each, but they aren't sifting boxes and that's what i want. the ideal ones for pine litter have two bottom trays, one is a grate that separates the sawdust from the whole pellets, then instead of changing the whole thing, you just empty the bottom one into a trash bag. and it isn't heavy either, like wet clay litter. but until i can figure out how to rig them, i don't think i'll be buying the felinepinelitterbox.com one. i just don't like uncovered boxes.

i do have a caveat for you if you decide to change: a lot of people don't do this, it turns out badly so they get frustrated and don't do it. when you make the switch, mix about a quarter of the pellets to the cat litter they're already using. you can do it when you change the box but i was told if i mixed it with semi-soiled litter, they would take to it better. if possible, have two litter boxes. keep one with your old litter for just in case, so the cat has a back-up. if (s)he doesn't like the pine, and there's no alternative, (s)he'll use the floor, or your bed . . . or the laundry basket, etc.

then instead of adding clay litter as you scoop, put in about a cup of pine pellets a day until that's all you're using. some cats adapt quickly, but it's probably best to stretch it out ten days or so. if you have a really old cat, it might not want to change litters, but one of my cats is truly a fuss budget about litter and he likes it.

you have to remove the poo as soon as you can, and the pine does nothing for that odor, but i just scoop poops a couple of times a day, unless somebody drops a neutron bomb, and trust me, you'll know it haha.

valentine: seven cats! i can only imagine litterbox changing day. i whine and moan when i have to change mine (not really, the cats don't listen and no one else cares ). newgreenearth sells a TON (50 40 lb. sacks) for 198.00, which is about $45 off. but i don't have anywhere to store that much wood. i'm going to put up a note in the laundry because a lot of people here have cats, and i'll see if enough people want to make a co-op. we have storage spaces in the basement, but i only have room for about 3. if you buy a ton, they deliver it too.

to avoid lifting, i saved a few of the tidy cat clumping litter buckets with snap-on lids and i just distribute it immediately. two 27 lb. ones will hold about 40# of the wood stuff.

i got curious about the flushing cat poo stuff, and i found
http://www.cat-urine.net/cat_litter.html and
http://www.moderncat.net/2008/11/13/toilet-training-your-cat/

not that anyone wants to toilet train their cats--i did at one time when i had two bathrooms but at this juncture in my life, nah. basically it just says that sewage treatment doesn't kill the toxoplasma gondii parasite. then it sinks to the bottom of the ocean and is eaten by crabs. then sea otters eat the crabs (or whatever, it makes its way back up the food chain). so there's not really a law against it in california but they strongly warn people about doing this.

so flushing cat poo: maybe not a good idea. yes, the pine is biodegradable and it technically can be flushed, it just might be bad for marine life. but that's your business. i don't go around telling people to cut up their plastic can holders because dolphins get caught in them, i'm not going to tell people not to flush their cat's poo. especially if you have seven cats and you actually make the jump to biodegradable pine. that in and of itself practically makes up for your entire community's use of clay . (okay, not entirely, but you must go through a boat load of litter.)
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yingying View Post
I think on this forum we have an Ocicat breeder who also use wood pellets. If you have many cats, the price advantage is so obvious.
Yep that's me I've tried all kinds of litter, many breeders I knew were using wood pellets and once I tried them I'll never go back to other litters.
Plus it's completely safe for my kittens.

I do use the proper sifting boxes but also know people who's bought 2 large storage boxes and very carefully drilled holes in one and set them inside each other.

Valentine - 2 40lb bags a week is a lot. I have 10 trays and a bag lasts around 2 weeks
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