Can You Use Horse Pellets For Cat Litter?

There is no doubt that cats make wonderful pets with their independent yet affectionate personalities. Felines are relatively low-maintenance and generally considered clean animals, with a natural instinct to groom and maintain their coats. Additionally, cats only use the litter box for one thing: eliminating their waste, and are quick about covering it up.

As proud cat owners, you definitely want the best for your pet but let’s be real, no one likes the cat’s litter box. It is dirty, smelly, and a pain to clean. And somehow, no matter how good of a job you do at cleaning the litter box, there is always that unpleasant lingering smell. 

As times are changing, more and more cat owners are increasingly turning to unconventional forms of litter that are not only more environmentally friendly but lighter on the pocket. In recent years, horse pellets have gained considerable traction for being one of the best alternatives to traditional cat litter.

If you are wondering whether horse pellets are a safe and effective replacement for your branded cat litter, the short answer is yes! We have all the information you need about the use of horse pellets for cat litter as well as the pros and cons.

What Are Horse Pellets?

Horse bedding pellets are a natural solution for horse stables and habitats. They are made from compressed wood fibers and are designed to absorb moisture, preventing odor in horse habitats and barns. These pellets are a great way to soak up unwanted moisture and ensure that horses sleep in a dry and comfortable area.

What About Horse Pellets For Cat Litter?

Horse pellets are designed to be highly absorbent and make an effective alternative to traditional cat litter. The pellets absorb moisture (water or urine), stick to cat waste, and help keep your litter box cleaner and dryer for longer. They break apart easily when refreshed, which makes them easy to manage and clean. Their large size helps reduce tracking and contains odors better, keeping your home smelling fresh. They offer a safe, economical, and environmentally-friendly option compared to other types of litter.

Problems With Traditional Cat Litter 

Commercially produced cat litter is a life-saver with its wide range of options. Litter manufacturers are continually innovating and improving their products- claiming more effective odor control, a lighter formula, or eco-friendly materials and manufacturing processes.

However, many mass-market-produced cat litters have been found to contain significant amounts of silica dust that have been linked to upper respiratory issues in cats and humans. Likewise, the chemical scents in many cat litters can also be toxic to cats. Traditional cat litter has a dust factor that can spread and cling to your cat’s fur and paws.

Your cat may ingest some of this dust while cleaning or grooming itself and can also inhale it while using the litter box. Inhaling fine grains of this litter can cause allergies, and ingesting it in excess can be harmful due to the presence of sodium bentonite in the clay litter. 

Commercially produced cat litter is manufactured using methods that can be damaging to the environment. Not only is the resulting clay litter heavy and hard to manage but also non-biodegradable. This means that when the litter gets thrown away, it does not supply any nutrients to the soil and will eventually end up sitting in a landfill for thousands of years.

What Are Horse Bedding Pellets Made Of?

Horse bedding pellets are usually made from pine wood and are an eco-friendly choice. The wood shavings used to make these pellets are sourced from excess wood which is a byproduct of the lumber industry.  Out of all the natural litter materials available, wood may have the best inherent odor control. It is absorbent, anti-bacterial, and has a scent that most people find pleasant.

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Pine has a mild natural scent, so there is no need for chemical fragrances to cover up any unwanted odors. Wood pellets are growing in popularity as cat litter due to their impressive ability to absorb moisture, control odor, naturally suppress bacteria and affordable prices. Not only are they biodegradable and a natural product usually made from recycled wood but are also compostable. This means that wood pellet litter lasts longer than your typical cat litter, so you do not have to change it out as often.

Is Wood Pellet Cat Litter Safe for My Cat?

Wood pellets have no dust factor, and when moved around in the litter box, it does not create a dust cloud like typical clay litter. It saves you and your furry friends from allergies. Since pine litter is made from natural wood fiber, the pellets and shavings are also safe for kittens and cats who are prone to infections.

If your feline accidentally ingests one of these wooden pellets, rest assured that they are not a choking factor. Upon ingestion, these pellets will break down to sawdust and pass through your cat’s system with no problems caused. While instances are rare, the dust of pine or cedar-based litter can irritate your cat’s respiratory system and may exacerbate symptoms if your cat has asthma. The only concern that some cat guardians have is phenol in pine wood. Phenol is a compound that gives pine wood its distinctive scent and is toxic to cats.

However, you can rest assured knowing that phenol is completely removed from the pellets after they are kiln-dried during the pellet-making process. This makes the product absolutely safe for use for your feline.

If you are considering using horse bedding for your cat’s litter, it is always best to contact the pellet manufacturers. You can double-check to ensure that these pellets contain no potentially harmful additives or chemicals and are kiln-dried to remove phenol. The safety of your pet always comes first!

How Does Wood Pellet Cat Litter Work?

As mentioned earlier, wood has one of the highest absorption rates of all the different materials used in cat litter. Many types of wood, like pine, can absorb as much as four to seven times their weight in liquid. They also do an impressive job of neutralizing any lingering unpleasant odors. Wooden pellets sprinkled with a spoon or two of baking soda make an effective concoction for odor control. To add clumping capabilities, some companies include natural additives like plant starches in their formula.

The finely ground wood shavings that are compressed into absorbent pellets work by expanding when wet. Water causes these pellets to expand and breaks them down into their original state of sawdust. When wet with urine, these pellets turn into a sawdust clump for easy removal. If you shake the litter, the sawdust will naturally filter down to the bottom of the box, leaving unused pellets at the top. This ensures that the solid waste is easily separated and can be scooped out of your kitty’s litter. The removed clumps of wood pellets can be composted. This makes wood pellets a simple but effective green alternative to clay cat litter.

Wood bedding pellets can last for a very long time when stored correctly by protecting them from moisture and U.V. light. You can prevent any damage by storing them safely in a clean, dry, and cool place away from sunlight.

Pros Of Using Horse Pellets For Cat Litter

On the whole, switching to wood pellets is a smart choice if you are looking for an affordable, environmentally friendly, and effective alternative to traditional cat litter. 

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100% Natural & Free Of Chemicals

These pellets are made exclusively from wood shavings. Conventional wood pellets do not contain any additional fragrances or toxins. They are perfectly natural and safe to use for your felines.

Low Moisture Content & Extra Absorbent

The super absorbent nature of these wood pellets ensures that urine is absorbed more quickly than traditional sand or clay litter. This makes it perfect for removing the odor of ammonia and keeping your cat’s litter dry.

Biodegradable & Environmentally Friendly

Wood pellets are ecological and easily disposable. Most of their varieties can be recycled or flushed directly into the toilet. Many of these pellet varieties are made from a renewable resource- reclaimed wood from the lumber industry. This means that no new trees are cut down for production.

Easy To Use & Discard

Wood pellets have natural antimicrobial properties which help suppress odor-causing bacteria. Pine pellets especially give a pleasant, fresh, and rustic smell that aids in air filtration. Wood pellet litters are more lightweight than the ones made of regular clay. This makes them easier to lift, pour, and discard. Typically, wood pellets only need to be changed about once a month. 

Ideal For Families With Respiratory Problems

Wood pellets are usually dust-free. They are perfect for felines and cat owners with sensitive respiratory systems.

Less Tracking

As well as being dust-free, wood pellets also create less mess because they track less than granular litter. Your feline will not be uncomfortable due to items lodged in her paws since wood pellets are too big to get stuck in between kitty toes. 


Natural cat litter made from wood or corn is more expensive than regular clay brands. However, wood pellets are generally the least expensive plant-based litter and horse bedding is cheap, especially when bought in bulk. Horse pellets are also lighter by volume than clay litter, so a bag of wood pellet litter will last longer than the same-sized container of clay litter. 

Cons Of Using Horse Pellets For Cat Litter

Here are some downsides to using horse pellets for cat litter that you should keep in mind if you want to make the transition. 

Not All Cats Like It

Cats are fussy animals and like perfectly-grained texture in their litter. They need a slow transition from their traditional litter to wood pellets. Some cats may outright refuse to use any wood-based litter and will avoid the litter box. 

Odor Control

While wood pellets work great at minimizing the odors of urine and ammonia, they do not work as well with cat poop. Therefore, if you use wood pellets for your kitty’s litter, it is best to scoop solids as soon as possible.


Some cats and owners can be allergic or sensitive to the type of wood used in horse pellets or its distinctive fragrance. It is best to be on the lookout for breathing problems or any unusual changes in your cat’s behavior.

Less Clumping Power

While wood litter absorbs moisture well, it does not clump waste as well as regular cat litter. Instead, wet pellets dissolve into sawdust. To clean the litter, it must be sifted to separate the unused pellets from the sawdust. This makes it a little harder to clean, especially if you put it off for a few days. 

Wood Pellets May Attract Insects

As certain bugs are attracted to wood, you may notice more insects in and around your litter box after a switch to wood pellet litter. This can be prevented if you keep the litter box in a clean and dry place.

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Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!

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