10 February 2010

Reviewing Natural Cat Litter: Pros and Cons

I review four different cat litter brands: Feline Pine, Swheat Scoop, Yesterday's News and World's Best Cat Litter and discusses pros and cons for each, and I announce the winner!

In the video, I did not discuss the impact of mass producing each brand (pine, wheat, newspaper and corn) in detail. If you know more about how the company collects and processes each type of litter, please share.

Out of the four, it appears old newspapers makes the least (possibly zero?) impact, however it is known that the company, Purina, that produces Yesterday's News is owned by Nestle, one of the worst companies when it comes to the environment.

Another topic I did not discuss in my vlog: Packaging is also important. Swheat Scoop, Yesterday's News and Feline Pine usually comes in paper (with plastic inner sheath) bags, while World's Best Cat Litter comes in a 100% plastic bag. Since they are natural cat litter companies, I find it very ironic that none of them package their litter in biodegradable paper printed with alternative/natural inks to lessen their impact on earth.

Of course, the best type of litter may simply just be the outdoors. That in itself opens up another package of eco-dilemmas (e.g. impact of cats on bird/reptile/amphibian populations and the food chain).

I think the most ideal solution would be to toilet train cats. This way you cut down on the transportation and manufacturing impact of shipping the litter to the store to your home. You also save a good 5 minutes per day cleaning litter. You also save the little bags that you use to put soiled litter in. You also save your time cleaning the litter boxes out every month or so. The downside is the discussion that bacteria from cat feces can contaminate and kill sea otters!

Stepping off my box. Your thoughts?

P.s. The software I used to edit this movie is called ScreenFlow 2.0. This is my first attempt (not a very good one at that, I haven't learned how to use transitions/action video). User friendly software with plenty of possibilities! Hat tip to Matthew Malzkuhn.


  1. Great vlog!

    Nestle, in which Yesterday's News is made from, is also known for its animal testing practice other than its lack of consideration for the environment.

    Because all of my pets -- cat, dog and ferret -- use the same litter, which is feline pine, I'm staying with it. Nice to get one litter for all of them. My concern is my dog might eat the one with corn if I try that. I understand that clay based litter is not safe for cats to breathe so it can't be safe for people as well.

    Did you know about pet waste composter that you can use? Throw all the poops in there! Go to:


  2. Forgot to mention about tracking with feline pine. I don't see that as a problem except near the litterbox.

    People tell me this often that clay based litter is cheaper. I explain to them feline pine lasts longer where I do not have to throw out the old litter until a good period of time. That does save us money in the long run. When the pine wears off, they are still usable! I bought 40 lbs for 18 bucks or so over a month and still have left.

  3. satchmo is thrilled to learn that you agree with him. he *kiss-fist* the corn thingies for some time. :-)

  4. mmmm. my next project!

    "That said, you can compost your catbox contents! Use a separate container from your other compost. It doesn't need to be fancy -- a small trash can with holes in the bottom and a tight lid will be fine. Just put the soiled litter in, and after all the poop has been in there anaerobically composting for over a year, spread it on your ornamental plants. Or you can bury fresh feces in a foot-deep hole, though not within 100 feet of a water source. Do not put fresh or composted cat poop in your vegetable garden. And if you have kids playing in your yard, I wouldn't do any of this."


    also, i know someone who simply shreds her own newspaper for the litterbox, and she says it works just fine. free litter. hmm.

  5. katherine, you use feline pine for your dog? why? and dogs can use "litter boxes"? I didn't know that! :)

    haha, charm, glad satchmo agrees with me... you know, these who actually use the litter box are the best judge of what's best... so taz, seymour, sky, stinky and crusty agrees with satchmo ;)

  6. With Marley's liver disease, she sometimes goes more frequently. I have a doggie litterbox although I do still take her out :) I tried feline pine and it seems to work. Corn and wheat have edible taste so don't want my dog trying
    to eat that as she's bored with liver diet only.

    Last week, I went over a friend's for dinner with Marley. I realized that Marley was missing for a while, so we went to check on her and found her doing her business in his cats' litterbox (smaller than a doggie one) ha! I was so proud and he was impressed.

    Most dogs in general don't use litterbox though. They need to be taken out for a walk daily for some fresh air and exercise.

    Now my question is, are dogs or ferrets feces bad for the otters as well or just cats?

  7. you're right, dogs would eat the corn/wheat based litter. not worth it. i'm surprised u don't have a problem with tracking from the pine. it was soo bad for mine, my friend's and another friend's litter boxes, we all quit and switched to something else cuz' we couldn't stand how it'd end up all over the house.

    that's soooo cute about marley doing her business in someone else's litter box. thank god your friend seems to be understanding lol

    no idea about dog/ferret feces dumping down the toilet.. i'd research this on google. good luck!

  8. This just came to mind. It seems feline pine has the least impact of all four. If people really like feline pine, they could get litterbox mat to reduce the tracking. The mat is a better solution than leaving carbon footprint as we're unsure about where corn and wheat come from.

    As for corn, I am not too sure if they use leftover because there's always a need for corn to feed livestock. I worry that when the industry see the more people buy World's Best Litter, they would grow more corn as it's profitable.

  9. i already tried that :( my friend, and another friend did that too. no luck. it spread so much that it even ended up on my comforter upstairs! guess that's what happens when you have multiple cats (i have four, my friend has two, and another friend has four).

    i emailed feline pine, swheat scoop and world's best inquiring about how they collect their materials for their litter. will post their replies here as soon as i get them.

  10. Like I said, I do see the tracking nearby the litterbox but not all over the place.

    Are you aware of feline pine's self cleaning litterbox? That would solve the problem with tracking as the sawdust will fall through the holes to the bottom while the pellets stay on the top. Check this out:


    Some time ago, my friend misunderstood me and went to buy this another litterbox for his feline pine litter:


    However, it did work great. He shakes the litter and the sawdust fell through the holes. The disposable pad and tidy's litter aren't needed.

    These two kind of litterboxes are likely not to have much sawdust that give your cats the opportunity to track them.

    I checked about dogs feces and doesn't look like they're safe to toss in the toilet. I would guess the same for ferret. Wonder how their and human poop differ :) For members with dogs, check it out:


    I am curious what you find with these companies' response.

  11. interesting about the felinepinelitterbox, yes i can see how tracking would be greatly reduced by using that type of litterbox. awesome :)

    got two responses to my email asking about how they manufacture their litter, and suggesting that they use a biodegradable bag:

    Feline Pine: "Feline Pine is a byproduct of the lumber industry; new trees are not cut down in the manufacture of our wonderful product. We are investigating feasible, alternative packaging."

    Swheat Scoop: "We get our wheat from right here in Minnesota. It is a secondary wheat that is non-food grade. The bags are also recyclable. Even though the outer shell is clay coated, we have it on good authority from the bag company that it is biodegradable and will break down in landfills or be recycled."

    i asked swheat scoop to clarify their first sentence - if they respond, I'll add here. waiting on the other two.

  12. swheat scoop clarification update: "No, the wheat is grown in regular fields in the hopes of being food grade wheat. What happens is when they bring it to the elevator and it is tested, that is when it is graded. If it does not meet bakery standards, it is classified as secondary wheat. That is the wheat that we buy."

  13. The World's Best Cat litter doesn't smell like food. My dog has never shown interest in it.
    It's also my favorite litter! Thanks for this vlog!

  14. " The downside is the discussion that bacteria from cat feces can contaminate and kill sea otters! "

    depends on what you feed your cat.

  15. marisa, yeah... it also depends on whether if your cat is an indoor cat or an outdoor cat. outdoor cats give each other that bacteria (or get it from the food outside).

    people with 100% indoor cats can get their cats tested for the bacteria, if negative, then they can flush away their poop.

  16. That's definitely something I want to have checked for my pets so I could dump their poop in the toilet if their bacteria is negative :)

    I don't mind giving World's Best Cat litter a try, considering my vet says corn won't harm my dog if she tries to eat it. I need to also factor in the cost as with the feline pine, it's $19 for 40 lbs bag.

    The good thing about raw feeding with animals is that their poop has almost no odor. It is hard and dries up into white powder.

  17. world's best cat litter sent me an email the other day thanking me for my compliments and a $5 coupon for my next purchase. they never responded to my questions regarding where they get their corn and why they do not use biodegradable bags for their litter - i tried calling them at their customer service number the other day but there was an answering machine saying to leave a message and number and that they would get back to me. same result as beth terry with fake plastic fish and her efforts to talk to the company regarding their plastic bags.

  18. I guess I'll stick with the Feline Pine litter and not switch over. I like that Feline Pine, as a company, is exploring ways to have alternative packaging other than ensuring that the product doesn't have adverse impact on the earth. Its affordability is also a plus. $19 for 40 lbs. We can't beat the overall benefits.