Meet Amber. My feline companion and friend. She came into my life early 2019. She's a quirky, nervous, petite cali/tabby mix. I just love her. I post a lot of images of Amber on Facebook and Instagram, perhaps I take and post too many, but she's become rather beloved.
If interested I made a calendar with images of her to raise money for the Humane Society where I found her. It's for sale through December 2019.
I wanted to write a post about using pine pellets as cat litter because to me it's like the discovery of the century. I am very happy with this method
When preparing to have a cat again I began researching alternatives to cat litter.
I wanted to avoid a plastic litter box.
I wanted to reduce the expense of litter.
i wanted something higher performing, but not a clumping product.
I came across a variety of folks that use pine pellets.
and thought i'd try it.
When I saw that the humane society used pine pellets and metal pans I knew I would be able to transition her seamlessly. I also found that detail affirming.
I absolutely love this method!! How is it I never heard of it before?
Below are the details of how I use pine pellets for cat litter.
I bought this stainless steel full steam pan online. it's 4 1/2 inches high. they come in 2" and 6" depths. IF I had the clearance for a 6" one. I would have gone that route.
The image you see of it here is after I dumped the pine pellets from a week of use. see how clean and dry it is? I didn't clean it. I just dumped out the sawdust. the pan carries not an ounce of odor.
I purchased two of these large stackable storage bins. I knew I'd be buying both pine pellets and dry food in bulk. These bins are amazing. They are pleasant to look at. They stack. They keep bugs out. The twist off lid is easy to work with. They hold 30 lbs. One bag of pellets fits inside perfectly. This means that I am dealing with the management of this rarely. I bought 4 30 lb bags when I got Amber in Jan 2019. I have one bag left. It's almost October. Each bag was $4.99. ( that price is NOT a typo ) That basically means that it cost me $20 for a years worth of pine pellets. WOW!! I keep one bag in the storage bin and the rest are stored in my car. I live in a very small alcove apartment. Storage is challenging.
I also bought a big scoop. I experimented quite a bit with the sweet spot re: how many scoops to use. I use 2. If you are use to using regular cat litter you think you need to have a depth of product. Thats not so with pellets. When a cat urinates onto the pellets they turn into sawdust. so, the pellet matter expands. what started out as 2 cups of formed pellets doubles once it becomes sawdust.
If you google about others using pine pellets there is this sifting process. I followed that methodology in the beginning. It was a real pain. Sifting helps separate the formed pellets from the sawdust. This way you don't waste any pellets. People were doing this by hand. I searched online and found a video sharing how someone made a sifter from two plastic bins. How could i do that with stainless steel? I began to experiment. I sourced a 2.5" full steamer pan, the kind with holes in it. I placed this inside the 4" full pan. This worked in theory in that when she used the box, the saw dust filtered to the pan below through the holes. But a 2.5" pan was not deep enough and sometimes she would pee over the side of it. Also after a few days the sawdust matter would touch the bottom of the pan with the holes in it. this meant when you pulled the pans apart to clean it. you needed to have a spare pan to place it in - otherwise you got cat pee sawdust everywhere. This made for more clean up than i wanted. I have specific restrictions to the space where I could place her box. So, I completely nixed the sifting idea. Not really necessary.
IF I didn't have a space/height restriction I would buy two 6" full steamer pans and one 4" steamer pan with holes in it. I'd stack the two full ones and have the ones with holes on the top. When it came time to clean. I'd unstack the empty bottom full pan. I'd put the pan with holes in it and remaining pellets on top. I'd dump the saw dust. and add that pan to the bottom of the stack. I found a restaurant that let me source all these different stainless steel pans.
The image below is a weeks worth of sawdust. The matter is perfectly dry. I remove her solids daily and flush them down my toilet. By the time a week goes by the saw dust trail is a bit messy. it's time to clean the box. There is a small hint of odor, but nothing like how the cat box would smell from other cat litters.
Here is my set up. This is all in my bathroom. The box is set up against the short wall that houses my linen closet. The door of the linen closet needs to open unencumbered. I am still messing around with the rug. but so far this positioning is the best. I have to laugh. All my other cats had to christen a fresh box. This was the first time that Amber did and I was taking pictures of my process. Too funny. Perhaps she knew her picture was going to be on the interweb. "look mom, we uses pine pellets!"
You can see the moist spot after she used the box and how it alters the pellet.
Photography = a never ending opportunity to capture visual celebrations.