TJ’s Premium Pine Cat Litter

pinecatlitterTill know I haven’t posted on pet products at TJ’s, rather I’ve only written about things us humans eat. However Trader Joe’s does carry some great products for your furry friends too! So heres my first pet stuff review: 

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 before, a pine litter is quite different from clay litters. This is made from All Natural 100% pure pine sawdust – which has been compressed into little pellets roughly 1/2 ” long.

pine pelletsPine Litter of course has a nice natural pine scent that is extremely helpful for odor control. When this litter gets wet, it will eventually disintegrate into a pine sawdust. Even the used sawdust I find does not develop a strong ammonia odor. As pine is a natural disinfectant it seems to keep odors down, basically so not very noticeable which is obviously a major plus for kitty litter. Now 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 now 5 different cats over the years. Every cat accepted this pine litter 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 to be EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE ON CUTTING DOWN ON 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 very little ammonia / urine odor, as the pine sawdust this becomes, tends to neutralize odors. I do like the fact that its made out of a recycled waste product: pine sawdust leftover from wood mills no doubt. So this is kind of “Eco”.

This TJ product is much cheaper compared to similar pet store products like Feline Pine. 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 may gross details my cleaning up method is basically as follows: I use two tools to clean up (important tip): A regular plastic litter scoop PLUS a large cheap plastic spoon you can get from a dollar store. Therefore you have a scoop with holes and a spoon with no holes, and using the two, you maneuver as to not throw away as many still good pellets. The way I clean is I balance the plastic litter box on the toilet leaving a little space to get to the bowl for disposal. I scrape away the pellets and target any “solid waste” with the two tools and focus on getting the (dried) poop out of the box while trying to toss out as few OK pine pellets as possible, by doing a little flicking back and forth action with the serrated scoop. 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. I sift with the slotted litter tool with a little side to side motion so any unused pellets are rescued and below falls the wet sawdust material. The leftover sawdust that falls through I spoon out and dump. Then I give it a little shake and sprinkle on some clean Pine Litter.  I also throw on top a small amount of baking soda, always a good way to cut down on smells. What I don’t do is dump a whole bag in at once. I find it last longer if I 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: 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 a she was about 1 years old! She is missed!)maya2

9 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

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