Do Cats Actually Like Wood and Pine Pellet Litter?

Most cats will like, or at least accept, wood and pine pellet litter. There will be some cats who have trouble adjusting to wood pellet litter because of the coarse texture. If so, a wood fiber litter will provide the softer, fine-grained texture that your cat may prefer.

Do cats prefer clay litter or wood pellets?

Most cats won’t have a strong preference between clay and wood pellet litters. A majority of the time, your cat will like either and be perfectly content. If your cat prefers a softer, fine-grained litter, a loose wood fiber litter may be the perfect compromise.

Gray tabby cat laying on wood pellet cat litter

It’s no secret, wood pellet litter has several advantages when compared to traditional clay cat litter.

Wood pellets are better for the environment, healthier for you and your cat, naturally manage the odors of urine and ammonia, and make less mess. As a result, many cat parents prefer wood pellets.

But what do our cats think?

Realistically, most cats won’t have a strong preference either way.

Sometimes, cats may prefer wood pellets because of the mild, natural scent. Which is much more pleasant than the overpowering artificial fragrances of clay litter. Other times, your cat may be hesitant to use wood pellets because of their coarse, sometimes uncomfortable texture.

In either case, the best way to find out is to simply give wood pellet a try. Just be sure to make the transition to pellets a slow and comfortable one for your pet.

If your cat seems to prefer a softer, fine-grained texture, a loose wood fiber litter like Okocat’s Wood Clumping Cat Litter is a good compromise.

Does my cat hate wood pellet litter?

In most cases, your cat doesn’t hate wood pellet litter. Most often, you’ve just made the transition too quickly. Other times, your cat may find the coarse texture of the pellets uncomfortable or painful on their paws. In rare cases, cats may dislike pellet litter because they’re sensitive to allergens contained in the wood.

Cats may not like wood pellets if they’re transitioned too quickly

Cats can be picky animals, especially when it comes to their litter. Many cats aren’t very enthusiastic about new things and often take some time to adjust. If you’ve recently switched from a traditional clay or clumping litter, and your cat doesn’t seem thrilled, you may have just made the change too quickly.

When it comes to trying a new litter, the slower the better.

Displeased cat laying in litter box peeking over the side

Wood pellets are drastically different from the granular litter your cat is probably used to, both in terms of texture and scent. They’re also drastically different from the dirt or sand they’d use in the wild, making the transition tricky for some cats.

That being said, most cats will adapt fairly easily from a traditional litter to a wood pellet litter if they’re transitioned gradually. If you want to try wood pellet litter, start slow and don’t force it.

Some cats will find wood pellets uncomfortable to walk on

Your cat may not like pellet litter because of the texture.

Pellet litter has a much coarser texture than other types of litter, which may be uncomfortable or even painful to your cat’s paws.

Heavier cats (whether overweight or a large breed), senior cats, and cats who have been declawed, in particular, may experience pain or discomfort when walking on pellets.

Fluffy and overweight cat laying belly-up on chair

If your cat seems hesitant to use the litter box after switching to pellets, and they fall into one of the above categories, a pellet litter may not be a good match.

The good news is that there is an easy alternative. Wood fiber litters share many of the same benefits while being much easier on your cat’s paws.

Wood fiber litter, like wood pellet litter, is excellent at suppressing the smells of urine and ammonia while being naturally antibacterial, dust-free, free of any potentially harmful chemicals, and more environmentally friendly.

Some cats may be allergic to certain types of wood

In rare cases, wood litter may pose risks to your cat’s respiratory health, sometimes causing respiratory inflammation, allergic responses, or asthma.

Cedar naturally contains plicatic acid while pine contains abietic acid, both of which can be irritating or harmful to some cats. Most will be unaffected, but those sensitive to these allergens should avoid using wood litter altogether.

Common symptoms of respiratory distress include panting, rapid, shallow breathing, an exaggerated rise and fall of the chest, and/or faint wheezing while exhaling. If your cat develops any of these signs or symptoms, stop use and contact your veterinarian immediately.


While most cats won’t have a strong preference either way, a majority of cats will like wood or pine pellet litter enough to use it without issue. But remember, cats, like people, have individual preferences. If your cat seems to hate wood pellet litter, don’t force it.

There are plenty of other healthy, eco-friendly options available that your cat may prefer. Litters made from loose wood fibers, walnuts, wheat, corn, and paper, just to name a few.

About Matthew Alexander

Matthew lives in Maryland with his two cats, Puff and Pancho. He’s been caring for and fostering cats with various special needs for more than fifteen years. He hopes to pass some of the insight and knowledge that he’s gained on to the readers of Pawmore.