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What Is the Safest Litter for Cats? (And Humans)

Gone are the days when cat parents filled the pet’s litter box with sand. Today, the market offers numerous litter granule options that vary in size, material, and scent. There is such a massive selection of cat litter that it can be overwhelming and confusing for an owner to choose the best one for their pet. However, the most significant factor when selecting cat litter is health.

The safest option for cat litter would be types made of solely natural products and materials. There are multiple organic litter choices, but the best is pine pellet litter. Avoid brands that contain silica dust since it can be toxic to the respiratory system of a cat and its owner.

Please read on to learn more details about choosing the safest and best cat litter. I’ll also recommend a brand and tell you how to save yourself some money as well.

Why Pine Pellet Cat Litter Is Best

Our Cat Standing Next to His Litter Box That Has Pine Pellets in It
Oscar has never complained about pine pellets.

Feline pine litter is the best choice because it consists of 100% recycled and biodegradable material. The tiny pine pellets are highly absorbent and reduce the nasty urine odor. Pine litter is gentle to the human and cat touch. It is easy to maintain and lasts longer than other similar cat litter brands.

Natural pine litters are great at minimizing odors and locking them in, leaving only a natural woody sawdust-like aroma. Unlike clay, silica, and crystal litters, the pine one does not use synthetic perfume additives to hide strong odors. Pine pellets trap ammonia, and urine smells inside them when they come in contact with the pine pellets.

The pellets are easy to maintain and last longer than other litter alternatives. The reason for that is that pine pellets are soft, natural, and small, so they do not form large and heavy chunks. Pine pellet litters create a soft clump that can be easily flushed and disposed of without causing damage to the surrounding environment. You can forget the old days when cleaning the litter box and scooping out big clusters of compressed litter was a hassle on its own.

Pro Tip: Although pine litters come in different forms and sizes, cats usually prefer the smaller and finer-textured litter due to how gentle they are to their paws. There are softwood and hardwood pellets in the timber industry. Pine is the softwood one which is why wood cat litter is often associated with this tree.

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Is Pine Litter Safe for Cats?

Pine litter is the safest option for cat litter. It does not contain chemicals, toxic additives, or synthetic perfumes like litter types made from silica gel or clay. It is low-dust, so, as a cat parent, you do not have to worry about its respiratory system and the toxic chemicals found in dust clouds.

Pine pellets are also a more hypoallergenic option of litter, provided your pet is not allergic to pine resins, unlike some other organic types of cat litter. They do not contain sodium bentonite, like mass-produced clay litters, yet this chemical is dangerous if ingested by the cat.

Our feline companions love licking their paws, and this is just one of the ways the chemical can end up in your pet’s system. It can result in a fatal outcome. Sodium bentonite is also the cause of extreme clumping in cat litter.

If you or your cat is sensitive to dust, pine pellets are also low on dust and do not form dusty clouds when poured into a litter box. Processed pine pellets are sterile and clean, perfectly safe even for kittens and cats undergoing surgery recovery.

Inhaling too much dust from litter is dangerous for humans and cats, as dust can cause grave lung problems, and with time there will be a possibility of death. Dust contains toxic chemicals that can severely harm your cat’s health.

Unlike some natural litters, such as wheat and corn, pine pellets are less likely to cause an allergic reaction. The low level of dust produced by pine pellets will improve the feline’s well-being if it is prone to allergies.

Pros and Cons of Pine Pellet Litter

Pros of using pine pellet litter:

  • Safe, organic, and does not contain chemicals and toxins
  • Eco-friendly and natural
  • Excellent absorbent of a strong urine odor
  • Low-dust
  • Low maintenance and long-lasting
  • Compostable and biodegradable
  • Gentle to cat’s paws

Cons of using pine pellet litter:

  • Not all cats will like it
  • Cats will need time to get used to it
  • Not as good at hiding poop odor

What Is the Best Non-Toxic Store-Bought Cat Litter?

The safest purchased cat litter should be free of chemicals and additives, low on dust, leave no unpleasant odor in your house and be harmless for you and your cat. The best store-bought cat litter that provides all of these advantages is the Feline Pine Original Cat Litter (Click to see Amazon listing).

Apart from being the most non-toxic choice, it is also lightweight, unlike clay litter. Each pine pellet absorbs odor and liquid like a sponge, leaving a slight fresh scent of pine and wood.

The package contains several pounds and will last you much longer than the clay packages. FelinePine Original Cat Litter bag is usually a little more expensive than some other similar alternatives. Still, the price is worth it when it comes to choosing the safest option for you and your feline companion.

Pro Tip: Another great option is to buy pine pellets made for horse bedding in bulk. It comes in 50-pound bags. It’s basically the same thing you’d get in the “feline pine” litter and is usually substantially cheaper.

Pine pellets sitting in our garage.

What Is the Most Environmentally-Friendly Cat Litter?

Although clay and crystalline cat litters are popular grocery store options, they are nowhere close to being environmentally sustainable. The only cat litters made of natural organic materials can be considered eco-friendly. However, even the natural ones result in waste. Out of all the sustainable cat litters, pine pellets litter is the one that appears to be the most environmentally-friendly choice.

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Pine litter is an organic product made of wood pulp and nothing else. It is pine sawdust leftovers from various manufacturers, so no new pine trees are cut to create this cat litter. The wood pulp is sanitized, pressed, and processed into pellets. It is a 100% natural, sustainable, compostable, and biodegradable product.

Pine Pellets in a Child's Hands With a Small Plant Growing
A safe, natural option.

The pine sawdust is kiln-dried and steamed under high pressure, so it turns into tiny pellets. When a cat uses it, the urine liquid turns these pine pellets back into sawdust. There are no extra ingredients or components used in the process. Pine pellets are safe for kittens, humans, adult cats, post-surgery feline patients, and our planet.

Bottom Line

Sorry for the blur- Oscar doesn’t stand still much. 🙂

We have never used anything but pine pellets for our cat (shown above), who is ten years old as of this writing. He was a rescue cat, so we were unsure if he’d take to them. However, he has never complained to us, and the cleanup is easy. We’ve also noticed that there has never been an odor problem along the way.

I hope this article has been helpful. Thanks for reading!

For more, check out Do Animals Like Music? (And How They Are Affected by It).