TJ’s Premium Pine Cat Litter


I haven’t reviewed pet products offered at TJ’s before. I’ve only written about things for humans but Trader Joe’s does carry some great products for our furry friends too! As a cat owner, one product I’ve started buying on a regular basis is TJ’s PREMIUM PINE CAT LITTER.

If you’ve only used clay type litters till now, pine litter is a bit different. This is made from All Natural 100% pure pine sawdust compressed into pellets roughly 1/2 ” long.

pine pellets

Pine Litter of course has a pleasant natural scent that is helpful for odor control. When this litter gets wet, it disintegrates into a powdery sawdust. Even the used litter sawdust does not develop a very strong ammonia odor if used correctly. As pine is a natural disinfectant it seems to keep odors down, obviously a plus in a kitty litter. Again, a Pellet-type litter such as this is a change from clay-type litters, so obviously both you and your cats will need to get used to the change.

Instructions on the bag tell you to switch to the Pine Litter gradually over time, by putting a layer of this down, then your normal litter on top of the pine litter, until your cat accepts the pine litter on its own. I have tested this with many cats over the years, and all of them accepted the pine pellets within about a week. Of course every cat is different in their behavior and hygiene, so you will have to try this and see if your cat will get used to it. Hopefully they will, as this is a decent alternative to clay litters. Its cheaper than many litters and seems to my nose at least does seem to be effective at cutting down odor. I am not saying it eliminates any odor but basically I rarely smell any terrible odors – unless I go into the bathroom immediately after they’ve just pooped. Even the used wet litter has fairly low ammonia / urine odor, as the pine tends to neutralize odors. However I still use a sprinkle of Baking Soda, every other day or so, which also neutralizes ammonia and suggest using that.

I like the fact that this litter is made out of a recycled waste product: pine sawdust leftover from wood mills and lumber production. So this is kind of “Eco”. TJ’s pine litter is cheaper compared to similar pet store products like Feline Pine which is similar. The TJ litter bag is 3.5 lbs and says “one bag is a 4 week supply”. That’s about what it lasts for my one cat (Maya) if not a little more. Using the pine litter, I don’t have to buy (and lug!) a huge 25 lb. bags of clay litter as I used to. This is a major plus especially for us car-less, city folks. It also has no bad chemicals. Some websites claim that the clumping agents in clumping type litter are not good for cats, as they lick their paws later and these can accumulate in the stomach over time.

USAGE: Without getting into too many yucky details my clean up method is basically as follows: I use two tools to clean up (important tip): A regular litter scoop PLUS a cheap large plastic spoon, the kind you can get from a dollar store or Target. Therefore you have a scoop with holes and a spoon with no holes for the sawdust and using the two, you maneuver as to not throw away as many still good unused pellets.

The way I clean is I balance half the litter box over the toilet leaving a little space to get to the bowl for disposal. I scrape away the pellets with the scooper, then target and remove any “solids” with one or the other tool. I first get the dried poop out while trying to toss out as few still OK pine pellets as possible. I dump the solids in the toilet. Then I brush the clean pellets on top aside, and look for the slightly dark wet “sawdust” that the pellets turn into when they get wet and fall apart. These are usually at the two ends of the box as my cats face one way or the other. I sift with the slotted litter tool with a little side to side motion so any unused pellets remain in the scoop and the sawdust falls below. I use the spoon to remove wet/dark sawdust. Then I give it a little shake and sprinkle on some clean Pine Litter plus a sprinkle of baking soda. What I don’t do is dump a whole bag of pine litter in at once when I start out. I find it lasts longer if I start with say half a bag and remove and add litter on top as needed.

This technique is a bit different from doing regular clay or clumping litter but this stuff you can probably flush down the toilet, unlike clumping litters as the wet sawdust is very light and flushes easily down my toilet (shh!). If you have a garden the directions say you can use it as compost. If you don’t want to do this of course just bag up all the waste, the way you do with clay clumping litters and dispose in your normal way.

I have found that the pine litter does keeps smells mostly under control especially with the baking soda, and a bag lasts about a month (I have 2 cats) and I don’t have to change the whole box as much as when I used clay litter. As the litter is bigger and feels different to a cats paws, only trying this with your cat will let you find out if they will adapt to this product. If you are patient and do it gradually as the bag says over a week or two, they probably will accept this litter, so you can try it. Disposal: I confess when I clean daily I flush all the waste and its not a problem, its very flushable. I live in a apartment in a NYC . If you live in the country you can compost the sawdust as the bag’s directions says it can be used as mulch after use.

Even if you have to use it with combined with clay litter forever, by putting a layer of pine pellets on the bottom then clay litter on top, the pine litter will still be effective in odor control. Of course your cat(s) will mix everything up together but it still works this way too, just may be a bit messier to clean. There is no 100% perfect litter product but this one is quite good. A 7 lb. bag costs $3.50. A better deal compared to Feline Pine, which sells for about 14 lbs for $10-16 at Petco…

*TIP 1: For cleanup, be sure to get a cheap plastic spoon (dollar store) to use together with your regular slotted litter scooper, as the wet sawdust will just fall through that. Of course you try not to throw out “good” unused pine pellets as much as possible…

TIP 2: While you are at the dollar store, also buy a cheap door mat to place under/in front of the litter box. It will help cut down on material migration / tracking. I dump the dust they track out of the box down the toilet doing my daily cleaning routine.

Have you tried this product?  Let us know what you think in the Comments section!


UPDATE: Nov 2022 – Sad to find out today from my TJ’s Captain, “Vendor can’t supply for our price anymore. Item no longer available” !!!!!


UPDATE: 2019 – I now have two other cats. Both got used to the Pine Litter quickly. Even with 2 cats, a bag seems to last about a month.


(this was Maya, who I had at the time of this writing but has since passed away, after 16 years of looking like she was about 1 years old! She is missed!)


13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sherry Crosby
    Jul 07, 2017 @ 13:43:13

    would like to try this product but can’t find trader joe’s around here, i have been using feline pine, she likes it but it is expensive, do not think she would have trouble changing since they are almost the same



  2. Jen
    Jan 16, 2018 @ 16:31:33

    This is my favorite cat litter of all time. EASY, good-smelling, inexpensive, low on chemicals and my cat embraced it right away. Very often it is sold out so I always buy more than one bag.I use about a bag every month with changing it out totally every two weeks, maybe slightly more.I do not add fresh litter to it as I scoop out the solid waste and it remains to be plenty for my cat friend to do his business in. I love that rarely are there ever full pieces that make it outside of the box to step on. Yes, some of the pine dust will get out of the box onto the floor from the cat’s feet but I place a floor mat beneath it and just shake it off into the tub or toilet. Done! Awesome, awesome product. Let’s support it so they don’t ever discontinue it!!! Great post above, totally agree.



  3. Jared
    Apr 23, 2018 @ 06:53:30

    This is a great product, but even at trader Joe’s prices, there’s still an unnecessary premium you’re paying for a product marketed for cats. Look for pelletized pine HORSE bedding at a feed store or online. $6-$12 for 40lbs; the exact same thing



  4. Teresa
    Nov 17, 2018 @ 16:21:49

    You should look into flushing cat litters…. they often add toxic chemicals to water supplies and have been linked to disease in ocean critters…… most folks are saying NOT to flush these days due to environmental concerns.



  5. Al
    Dec 01, 2018 @ 18:52:15

    Remove the obvious wetted areas daily (as well as solids), replacing with a little more litter, and keep the discarded stuff in a plastic kitchen bag till week’s end,
    then dump rest of cat box contents into the bag, tie and dispose of wherever
    you dump your trash……..the trash pros DO NOT want such to be composted,
    just bagged and out with the regular trash. Just rinse the empty cat box with hot water or a small amount of ammonia with the water, swirl it around to dissolve the nitrogen smell of urine and feces, and pour down the center of your drain…….
    wipe with a paper towel and refill with FRESH LITTER……KITTIES DO HAPPY DANCE!!!…..trash pros happy, YOU have a cleaner home…..EVERYBODY WINS!!
    Only advantage of clump litter is MAYBE it’s a little easier to see where the
    wet areas are……but REALLY NOW, at twice the price???? TJ’s clumps well
    enough……this stuff is the bomb!! (you can even add it to yer smoothies
    for extra fiber!!!!!)………..KIDDING….KIDDING……juss KIDDING!!!!



  6. nomoreoutside
    Apr 26, 2019 @ 14:16:24

    Ultimate Secret Of Cat Litter You Must Know Before Buying
    Cat Litter Introduction:
    If you are a lover of cats, then probably cat litter is the first and foremost necessity in your home, other than cat food. Cat litter absorbs urine of cats and covers solid wastes while the cats use their bathroom or litter box. Cat litter is generally divided into two categories: non-clumping and clumping. Choosing the best cat litter is very important for a cat owner because it will beneficial for both cat and house member health. In this content, we will talk about the detailed information about cat litter that widely used by many homeowners all over the world. If you have wondered what can make the cat litter super-absorbent, then you have come to the right site. Here we broke down the topic of cat litter into useful information and gives you a better understanding of how to deal with your cats in a friendly way.



  7. Trackback: What Is the Best Cat Litter? • Dr. Jeff Werber
  8. Melanie
    Feb 25, 2022 @ 15:20:47

    OK- it seems Trader Joe’s Premium Pine Cat Litter is great for cats and the humans who live with the cat. But we are in the mist of a climate-change/global disaster so it’s MOST important to do what’s best for the planet! Your article was vague on what is important for our environment. Flushing the poop down the toilet? Or as Al says, putting the remains + urine flakes in a kitchen plastic bag and putting it out with the trash- and what happens to it then? Is it another filler in our landfills? The US is the top producer of municipal solid waste, in the entire world.
    Or will the urine filled pine flakes be good in my composts?
    Thanks for your article. I’m new to cats and at first I got the clay litter which was so expensive but worked well. Then I saw Trader’s premium lupine litter and switched cold turkey and my cat immediately went with it.
    What’s the best cat litter for our earth??



  9. Nancy Gage
    Aug 03, 2022 @ 17:04:18

    I just moved from a Cleveland, Ohio to N. Andover, Ma. and the closest Trader Joe’s in Peabody, Ma. doesn’t carry the pine cat litter that my cat has used for 14 years. Is there a place I can call to have it delivered? I would purchase many bags at once.



  10. Trackback: Trader Joe’s CHILI LIME ROLLED TORTILLA CHIPS are back on the shelf! | Trader Joe’s Rants & Raves (mostly raves, a few rants)

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