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toxic cat litter?

Need some info here.

Is clay cat litter toxic?  If so, why?

I have been using Arm & Hammer scoopable, but I don't want to toxify my cat.

I have been looking at Feline Pine.  Has anyone used this product?  If so, how did it work?  I want a variety of views.  So far, I've heard both sides.  What other non-clay products are out there and which do you recommend?

Thanks in advance.

Hey Chocsoymilk,
I've been using Feline Pine for my kitty Farrah for about 4 years. It's safe and it's totally biodegradable (I can dump it in my woods). I highly recommend it!


I like feline pine but feel that you must be more diligent with scooping, depending on how many cats you have. I just find that it does not clump as weel but i love the fresh pine smell over the perfume smell of others.
I would also recomend getting one of the covered cat pans if you don't already have one. I found the pine to be a bit more dusty.
Overall I give it a thumbs up and would recomend it.


I like Swheat Scoop. It's made from wheat. You can even flush the stuff, as long as you don't flush too much down at once  :o


i've had really good experiences with Feline Pine. my cat seems to like it and i do not think it smells bad at all. plus it is easy to scoop. it doesn't clump but basically you just scoop it once a day and then shake the litter so that the disintegrated pellets go to the bottom. dump it every week or two weeks. i've also tried Yesterdays News and Country Cat Organic but i like feline pine much better.


My votes for swheat scoop too!

One trick someone told me (or maybe its written on the side of the bag?) is to lightly oil the litterbox after its been washed.  The "wet" litter won't stick to the bottom of the box and makes it way easier to clean.



Oh my good god Kava DID NOT just run over the keyboard and erase my entire post.


Okay.  I'll try again.  I just wrote an incredibly lengthy, fully cited reply.  Ommm (that is my attempt to get over the loss  ;)).

When Kava first arrived two months ago we tried out pine, they had been using it at the shelter, so I thought I should continue with something familiar to the babycat.  Although the smell was nice, I was upset to learn that pine litter harbours potentially dangerous aromatic chemicals, harmful to a cat's respiratory tract (I got the warning from a fellow VegWebber, find her comment and some litter recommendations here:  I phased out pine and moved on.  Here are some articles to back up the anti-pine argument:

My only concern about this was that pine is one of the woods that contain resins and other aromatic chemicals that have natural insecticidal and bactericidal properties that can kill insects and the bacteria that cause odor. These same chemicals can also damage the respiratory tract, causing chronic respiratory disease, and asthma. In pine trees, the primary irritant is abietic acid, also known as sylvic acid. While abietic acid itself is relatively harmless, a number of compounds formed by air oxidation of abietic acid are potent allergens.

  The author goes on to mention how the manufacturer states that the aromatic hydrocarbons are processed out, however my pine litter came with no such statement or guarantee--be wary.

An extremely informative and helpful review of pine litter:

because pine doesn’t clump, we kept getting perfect, wet pyramids of pine. This upset the others as outside the pyramid perimeter, the bin was always bare and they hated peeing and getting wet, and pooing and not being able to bury. Output decreased dramatically, so we started worrying that they may be choosing to hold it instead of relieving, and that may lead to all sorts of other health problems.

We decided to change brands , but no, we still wheezed, our eyes watered, and our noses ran.

As for the verdict on Swheatscoop: it is, imo, over-rated. It doesn’t control odour all that well, and because it behaves like a pine/clumping litter hybrid, as in it doesn’t clump as much as clumping litter, but neither is it as disintegrative as pine, our burier boy still overworked, and offended everybody with his pissy paws, aside from upsetting every other cat with his pyramid tendencies. Also he also had watery eyes and runny nose, though not as bad as on pine. I think this is, again, caused by the powdery state of the material.

The author ultimately decided to use a clay litter again, but just you wait--there are still other alternatives.

So, pine is not only potentially dangerous, it doesn't clump and denies your poor kitty the chance to dig.  I think Kava was feeling a little shortchanged by what was hanging out in her litterbox.  How do you dig and bury things with pellets?  Having given up on pine I made the trek back to the pet store for another look.  What I found was "World's Best Cat Litter" (, a corn-based, clumping litter which stays true to its title.  It truly IS the best.  Controls odour, clumps beautifully, flushes without a hitch and pleases Miss Kava--oh to be burying and digging again!  When I went home for the holidays, however, I had to choose another brand--as corn litter wasn't available at the particular store I was in.  I chose Swheat Scoop, pleased that there was at least one other brand out there suited to my needs/restrictions (I have fairly strict criteria, I want something that: flushes well, exercises the kitty's natural desire to dig, clumps and is safe for both kitty and the environment).  I was none too impressed with wheat, however.  It doesn't control odour as well as it claims to, nor does it clump well at all---when scooping the clumps fall apart into a crumbly wet mess, making it near impossible to properly scoop out wastes.  I felt bad having had to betray my beloved corn litter!  I am still phasing out the wheat, and cannot wait to be back to 100% corn litter again.

Anyway--that's my story, long-winded and wordy as it might be.  I hope you find the right litter for both you and your kitty--sometimes it requires a little research and experimentation.  However, if you can trust someone on the internet, I highly recommend corn litter, and as you can see I did all my own research and experimentation already.  Good luck and kudos to you for being concerned about your kitty's health!  You must be a wonderful kitty-mum.  :-*


Thanks Idioglossia!
I have never heard from anyone that Feline Pine was dangerous. But... they do sell both of the products you mention at the Natural Petfood store I use. Which one does Miss Kava actually like better? (I actually just put out fresh Feline Pine for Farrah this morning). I know that Farrah has been healthy the whole time I've had her, but one never knows of long term effects building up. I'm actually going to mention it to my vet this morning when I take "what's his name" there. I know she recommends Feline Pine to all of her patients.


Dave:  I would be interested to know what your vet says about pine litter!  Let us know when you find the time.  As for which little Kava prefers, it's definitely the corn litter (World's Best Cat Litter).  We're both more than pleased with it.  I forgot to mention the one problem we did have with it however.  Initially, Kava thought she might like to eat it (she was very young at the time, maybe 12 weeks).  To remedy this, I just sprinkled a little urine-saturated pine dust over top and she quickly figured out it was a bad idea.

I did a little more research on different types of litter, and here's what I found:

Feline Pine claims that there are virtually no aromatic hydrocarbons left in their product after processing:

Because Feline Pine®, Feline Pine Scoop® and All Pet® are fired at high temperatures (380 degrees F) most of the aromatic hydrocarbons (dangerous oils in aromatic woods) are burned off before it reaches the final processing stage. In the final stage, the wood is compressed to 1/9th it’s original size and heat-treated again. This final stage squeezes out and burns off any residual chemicals which may have been missed. The results are less than 1-part-per-billion of these dangerous chemicals, a standard that far exceeds government regulations to be considered safe and free of hazardous chemicals.

  As I previously noted, the brand I used did not mention anything about chemicals--so be careful if you choose pine.  It sounds like Feline Pine might be the best if you choose to go that route.

The Stanford Cat Network says many cats are actually repelled by the scent of pine:

Litter. We recommend either clumping: World’s Best Cat Litter, Swheat Scoop or non-clumping: any plain non-scented litter like Johnny Cat. Avoid clay clumping litter (Scoop Away, Tidy Cat, etc.) and silica bead litters, as they may be toxic if ingested, never use scented litter or pine litter, many cats are repelled by the smell.

An article for Feline Pine, against silica clumping litters:

Two positive consumer reviews of World's Best Cat Litter.  One reviewer mentions she was skeptical at first, but loved it in the end.  She also mentions her experience with Feline Pine--which seemed to be a negative one:

Tons of stuff on the subject of cat litter, from the Holisticat website:
One poster provided a list of natural litters.  It's 8 years old, so I'm not sure if all the links are active:

    * Swheat Scoop - wheat/grains 1-800-SWEATS
    * Dr. Kenaf's - plant fibers 1-888-536-2323
    * CatWorks - grain by-product 1-800-242-2287  eval(unescape('%64%6f%63%75%6d%65%6e%74%2e%77%72%69%74%65%28%27%3c%61%20%68%72%65%66%3d%22%6d%61%69%6c%74%6f%3a%61%62%73%6f%72%62%73%40%61%62%73%6f%72%70%74%69%6f%6e%2d%63%6f%72%70%2e%63%6f%6d%22%3e%61%62%73%6f%72%62%73%40%61%62%73%6f%72%70%74%69%6f%6e%2d%63%6f%72%70%2e%63%6f%6d%3c%2f%61%3e%27%29%3b'))
    * Wheat Litter - wheat 1-800-437-4780
    * Cat Country - grass fiber pellets 1-800-752-8864
    * Yesterday's News - newspaper  1-800-267-5287
    * Little Tigers - pine wood pellets 1-770-919-9150
    * Feline Pine - wood pellets 1-800-749-PINE
    * Gentle Touch - wood and bark  1-402-371-3311  available in KV Vet catalog
    *  Clump "N Flush - corncobs The Andersons

Various positive reviews of World's Best Cat Litter, because I love it so much. (:

The concensus seems to be that it's a great product.  The only disadvantages reviewers seem to have noted are (1) It can be expensive and (2) Some people find it tracks around the house more easily than other litters.  I find Swheat Scoop worse for this, and I have no experience with clay litters that do the same.


How are these vegetable-based cat litters for odor control?  Since Pepe has gotten lax about burying anything, it takes a little extra "oomph" until I get there to bury it for her...  ::)

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