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Written By Kris Brown.

Posted on December 26th, 2023.

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You may be familiar with Karl VonBerg’s blog, “Link to Karl's Blog on Wood Does What?” about the many uses for wood products. Our three cats use an amazing wood product every day, 3-4 times a day. I’m talking about wood pellet cat litter.

Cats Buddy and Bo looking out the window

Specifically, we use Okocat Mini Pellets Unscented Clumping Wood Cat Litter from the Healthy Pet website. We like it because it keeps the smell to a minimum. Wood fiber prevents enzymes from bonding with liquid and waste, which reduces ammonia odor. Wood pellets are highly absorbent, which makes scooping easier.

Box of Okocat wood pellet cat litter.

Okocat wood pellet cat litter in a litter box.

Despite what the advertisements might say, I don’t think any kind of litter is low-tracking. I mean, when our cats jump out of the box, wood pellets go a-flyin’! But to me, the pellets are no different than the bark and dirt I bring in with the firewood. No problem, I just sweep it all up from the hardwood floor.

As stated on their web site, “Healthy Pet is part of the J. Rettenmaier & Söhne Group, a family owned and operated global leader in natural functional fiber processing for use in pet care, life sciences and a broad range of technical applications.” Apparently, every year the company upcycles millions of pounds of unused paper and wood fiber that might have gone to the landfill. *Note that Wikipedia defines upcycling as “the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products perceived to be of greater quality, such as artistic value or environmental value.”

The company claims their fiber supply is sourced via suppliers that comply with third-party regulators and sustainable policies, such as the Forest Stewardship Council, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification.

I don’t know what tree species the wood pellets are made from, but the primary manufacturing and distribution center is in Jesup, Georgia, USA. I would say loblolly pine sawdust is a good guess.

Hopefully this blog helped you learn a bit about another creative use for wood. In this case, a form of wood waste (e.g., sawdust and paper). In my area, I know of one example of wood waste being made into pellets for heating at Catskill Craftsmen in Stamfors, NY. Perhaps other manufacturers might consider an upcycling strategy that makes wood pellets for cat litter. I know there are lots of cats at the Catskill's Heart of the Catskills Humane Society that would be happy to use them.


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