What Exactly Are Cat Litter Pellets Made Of?

Wood pellet cat litter is made from dehydrated, compressed wood fiber — most often pine, but sometimes cedar or mixed varieties are used. Paper pellet cat litter is generally made of recycled newspaper, recycled paper, or wood scraps from other industries.

What are wood cat litter pellets made of?

Wood pellet cat litter is made of dehydrated, compressed wood fiber. Pine is far and away the most common type of wood used, but cedar and mixed-wood varieties are becoming increasingly more popular. Because no new trees are cut down for production, wood pellets are an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional litter.

Picture of wood next to picture of wood pellet cat litter

Wood – whether in the form of sawdust, lumber mill scraps, branches, or full trees that were unsuitable for lumber – is collected. Much of the wood used to make pellets are scraps from the furniture industry, thus making use of wood scraps that would otherwise be wasted.

These wood scraps are then ground down into wood fiber by a hammer mill.

This wood fiber is then heat-treated, by a process called kiln-drying, which dehydrates the wood until only around 6% of its original moisture content remains.

Kiln-drying is also the process that makes wood pellet litter safe for use by cats, as a majority of the potentially harmful phenols are evaporated.

Next, the treated wood fiber is forced through small holes at high pressure, forming the shape of the pellets. Heat is used to make the newly formed pellets secrete lignin, an organic polymer that helps form key structural and support tissues in many plants. Lignin acts as a natural bonding agent, allowing the pellets to maintain their shape.

Finally, the hot and still-soft pellets are allowed to cool and harden in a cooling tower, then stored to await packaging.

What are paper cat litter pellets made of?

Yellow trunk dumping large pile of newspapers to be recycled

Paper pellet cat litter is generally made from recycled newspaper or recycled paper. Sometimes wood scraps from other industries, leaves, sawdust, and other biomass may also be used. In any case, no new trees are cut down for production, making paper pellets an eco-friendly alternative to traditional clay cat litter.

The process of making paper pellets at an industrial level is very similar to that of making wood pellets.

Recycled paper will often be soaked in a mild detergent to remove ink and adhesives. Then the cleaned recycled newspaper, paper, and other scraps are pulverized and pelletized in a mill identical to that of a wood pellet plant.

Paper pellets can be made at home, though the process is fairly complex and requires some specialized equipment — a hammer mill and pellet mill.

What are Tidy Cats Breeze pellets made of?

Tidy Cats Breeze pellets are made of zeolite — a naturally occurring, though often synthetically-made mineral.

As a result, Breeze pellets share few of the benefits of wood or paper pellets. 

Unlike wood and paper, zeolite isn’t biodegradable. Like clay litter, when sent to the landfill, it will remain virtually forever.

Which type of pellets are best?

Pine is the most common type of wood used for pellet cat litter, though cedar, oak, and mixed-wood pellets are also common. While any type of wood pellet will do the job, softwood pellets, like cedar and pine, have a few minor advantages over the hardwood varieties.

Softwoods generally have a stronger natural scent, which can help mask unwanted odors.

Pine wood and pine needles atop pine pellet cat litter

Pine in particular is great for managing odor, as pine has natural antimicrobial properties. Which can help to suppress odor-causing bacteria.

Pine pellets are also more readily available. Feline Pine can be purchased at most big box stores and grocery stores.

If choosing between wood and paper pellets, each type has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Wood pellets are great at controlling odor, while paper pellets do very little to control odor.

Both types of pellets are lower-tracking than clay litter, but the sawdust from dissolved wood pellets can still track to an extent.

Paper pellets, on the other hand, swell and absorb moisture rather than dissolve. Whole pellets will rarely track, making paper pellets arguably the lowest-mess variety of cat litter.

Like clay litter, Breeze pellets are best avoided for the environmentally conscious. 


Wood cat litter pellets are most often made of pine or cedar scraps which are pulverized, dehydrated, and compressed into pellets. Paper pellets are generally made of recycled newspaper, recycled paper, and sawdust which are soaked and pelletized in a similar process to wood pellets.

Wood and paper pellets have a variety of benefits, especially when compared to clay cat litter. They’re better for your cat’s health, better for the environment, and generally create less mess.


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.