Wood pellet cat litter should be changed about once every four weeks. The exact timeframe will vary depending on the number of cats using the litter, the number of litter boxes in the home, and the frequency of use.
Just be sure to scoop solids as soon as possible and sift at least once daily. Fresh pellets can be added between changings if litter gets below the level recommended by the manufacturer.
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How often to change wood and pine pellet cat litter
Wood pellet litter needs to be changed less frequently than most other types of litter. On average, a wood pellet litter box should be changed about once every four weeks.
Wood pellets have a few unique features that allow them outlast most other litter varieties. First, soiled wood pellets dissolve when wet — making it pretty clear what has been soiled by urine and what needs to be removed. And second, the natural antimicrobial properties of pine help to suppress bacteria, keeping your litter box cleaner for longer periods.
But unfortunately, wood pellets don’t have a special way of managing feces. Solid waste remains in the litter box until scooped and discarded. As a result, your wood pellet litter box won’t stay clean indefinitely — trace amounts of bacteria and pathogens remain on undissolved pellets, even after scooping and sifting.
Your mileage may vary
Be careful not to let your litter routine get too routine. While four weeks is a good baseline, there are a number of factors that could change that timeframe. Sometimes significantly.
Your cleaning schedule should be tailored to you and your cat’s unique situation.
If it stinks, change it
If you notice that the litter box has a bad odor after sifting and scooping, it’s probably time to change the litter.
Remember, your cat’s sense of smell is about 14 times stronger than yours. If it smells bad to you, it smells much worse to your cat.
Throw out the litter and wash the litter box with water and a mild detergent. If the litter box continues to smell after washing, it may be the litter box itself. Because plastic absorbs odor, plastic litter boxes need to be replaced about once every six months.
In homes with multiple cats, you may need to change the litter more frequently.
More cats means more frequent use of the litter boxes. This effect can be partially offset by following the recommendation for the number of litter boxes in the home. One litter box per cat, plus one.
Cats with medical issues
The four week recommendation is based on cats who use the litter box an average amount. Certain medical conditions can make cats use the litter box more frequently or in greater volume.
Cats who suffer from kidney disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and cats who eat a urinary care diet are likely to urinate much more frequently and in a much larger volume than the average cat. Cats with certain gastrointestinal issues or chronic diarrhea may also use the litter box more frequently, and may make more of a mess while doing so.
If your cat’s bathroom habits aren’t average, you may need to change the litter more frequently.
Can you use wood pellets in a regular litter box?
Wood pellets can be used in a regular litter box, but it’s not as efficient. In a standard litter box, sawdust collects at the bottom and is difficult to fully remove. When this collected sawdust becomes re-soaked by urine, the litter becomes less efficient at controlling odor and bacteria.
To maximize the time between litter changes, a sifting litter box is recommended. Sifting litter boxes contain a slotted insert which can be lifted and shaken to separate unsoiled pellets from sawdust.
Keep in mind, not all sifting litter boxes are intended for use with wood pellets. Some are designed to sift granular litter to remove solid waste and clumps. Make sure the sifting litter box you choose is specifically designed for use with wood pellet litter.
Unfortunately, wood pellets can’t be used in an automatic litter box. The larger size of the pellets can block or damage the scooping mechanism.
How to clean and upkeep a wood pellet litter box
To keep your wood pellet litter box smelling good and to maximize the life of your litter, a consistent and thorough cleaning routine is needed.
Sawdust should be sifted daily. Solids should be scooped at least once daily, ideally as soon as possible after your cat uses the litter box.
As pellets dissolve, they’ll need to be replaced to maintain the level of litter recommended by the manufacturer. Most suggest somewhere between one and three inches of litter, though some cats may have their own preferences.
With each changing, thoroughly clean the litter box with water and a mild detergent. Cleaning the litter box itself is an often overlooked aspect of litter box hygiene.
Dispose of soiled wood pellet litter by trashing or composting only. It should never be flushed or dumped.
How often to change Feline Pine litter?
According to the packaging, Feline Pine’s non-clumping wood pellet cat litter only needs to be changed “as needed”. Four weeks is a reasonable average, depending on the number of cats you have, the number of litter boxes in the home, and the frequency of use.
How long does pine litter last?
Pine litter, both pine pellets and pine shavings, will last about four weeks. You can extend the life of your litter by scooping solids as soon as possible, sifting at least once daily, and topping off with fresh pellets as needed.
How often should you clean pellet litter?
Wood and pine pellet litter should be cleaned daily. Sift sawdust at least once a day and scoop solids as soon as possible after use. With a consistent cleaning routine, pellet litter should only need to be changed about once every four weeks.
With proper upkeep, wood and pine pellet cat litter can last for about four weeks. To maximize the life of your litter, scoop solids as soon as possible, sift at least once daily, and top off with fresh pellets to maintain the level of litter recommended by the manufacturer.
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.