If your cat doesn’t care for pellet litter, there are several healthy, eco-friendly, plant-based alternatives available. Wood fiber and granular paper litter being the most similar to their pellet equivalents. With other natural materials like corn, grass, wheat, walnut, and tofu also making great alternatives.
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Wood Fiber Litter
If your cat isn’t a big fan of pellets, but you still want the benefits of a wood litter, a granular wood fiber litter may be the answer.
When a cat won’t use wood pellet litter, the issue isn’t the fact that they’re made of wood. It’s usually the texture.
Sometimes it may be because the coarse pellets are painful or uncomfortable on their paws (heavy cats, senior cats, and cats who have been declawed are especially prone to this). Sometimes it’s just because the texture is so different from the clay they’re used to, or from the dirt or sand they’d use in the wild.
Whatever the case, wood fiber litter is softer and more forgiving on sensitive paws. Plus it feels and behaves much more like a traditional clay litter.
Like wood pellets, wood fiber litter is great at managing the odors of urine and ammonia, naturally antibacterial, dust-free, free of any potentially harmful additives, and much better for the environment than traditional clay litter.
The one major downside is that wood fiber litters will track quite a bit more when compared to pellets. But that’s the case with any non-pellet litter.
Wood fiber litters come in a variety of woods, like pine, cedar, and mixed-woods, as well as clumping and non-clumping varieties.
For a non-clumping wood fiber litter, check out Cedarific’s Soft Wood Chip Cat Litter. If you prefer clumping, try Ökocat’s Clumping Wood Cat Litter.
Granular Paper Litter
Similarly, if you prefer a paper litter, but your cat doesn’t care for the texture of pellets, consider a granular paper litter.
Much like wood fiber litter, granular paper litter shares many of the same benefits as its pellet alternative, while being more forgiving to sensitive paws and having a more familiar texture.
Like paper pellets, granular paper litters are healthier and better for the environment than traditional clay litter.
But again, the main downside is that they’re much more likely to track than their pellet equivalent.
We recommend Yesterday’s News Unscented Clumping Paper Cat Litter.
Corn litter is likely the third most common plant-based litter, behind pine and paper.
For cats who dislike pellets because they are so used to clay litter, corn litter provides the most similar texture to clay, while still being eco-friendly and better for your cat’s health.
Corn-based litter is popular for its relatively low price and natural odor control.
Though there is some concern regarding aflatoxins, a naturally occurring toxin produced by fungus that can grow on corn.
If present and ingested, it can cause illness or even death. Though we haven’t heard of any confirmed cases from corn-based litter.
If you’re concerned, walnut shell litter provides the next most similar texture to clay.
World’s Best Cat Litter is our preferred corn-based litter.
Other Plant-Based Alternatives
If you’re looking for an alternative to pellets, there are more options than just wood, paper, and corn.
There are a growing number of plant-based litter materials available. And that number will continue to grow as pet parents become increasingly health-conscious and environmentally-conscious.
Grass, wheat, walnut, and tofu are a few of the other varieties that we’ve tried (yes we’ve tried a lot of different litters) — all of which are granular, good for the environment, and good for your cat’s health. With each having its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages.
Whichever you choose, all are better options than clay litter. And all will have a texture that anti-pellet cats are likely to prefer.
Not all cats will like pellet litter, and that’s okay. Cats have preferences just like we do.
Luckily, there are plenty of natural, healthy alternatives to pellets. Wood fiber, granular paper, corn, grass, wheat, and walnut shells, to name a few. All of which share many of the same benefits of wood and paper pellet cat litters.
- Simms, J. (2013, June 13). Aflatoxins and corn-based cat litter. 1800 Pet Meds. https://news.petmeds.com/news/pet-health/aflatoxins-and-corn-based-cat-litter/
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.