Best Sifting Litter Box For Pine Pellets (Don’t Always Follow The Manufacturer’s Instructions)

Here are the best sifting litter box for pine pellets:

Many cat lovers are making the switch from standard clay litter to pine pellets. This is for several reasons, including being much more eco-friendly, and for superior odor control. 

The pellets dissolve into sawdust when exposed to liquids. Then they settle on the bottom of the pan, while unused pellets stay on top. So how do you get the sawdust out of the bottom of the pan and leave the unused pellets inside?

Different methods of using sifting litter box

You can scoop out the used sawdust, though it doesn’t clump as well as typical litters. Or you can sift the unused pellets away from the sawdust. Sounds like a pain, but there is a fabulous type of litter box that makes the process a snap.

Sifting litter pans are wonderful when used with pine pellets. Depending on the system you use, all the used sawdust is lifted away, leaving only fresh pellets. Some systems have two trays, while others use three. But each system uses a tray with small holes cut into the bottom. When you lift this tray up, the used sawdust falls out, leaving the clean, unused pine pellets. 

You might wonder if you can flush pine pellet litter. Personally, I don’t advise it in most cases. First, cats can harbor the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which can hurt animals downstream. Plus, your municipal water system may not be equipped to handle it. 

If you decide to flush it, only do small amounts at a time. Remember, wood pellets expand when exposed to liquids, so they might damage your pipes. 

Like other liters, clean out solid waste daily. Once every couple of weeks toss out the litter and deep clean your litter box system with warm water and fragrance-free detergent. 

There are a couple of options for disposing of used pellet litter. Obviously, you can toss it into the trash like other litters.

If possible, use biodegradable bags for this. This way both the bag and its contents will break down in the landfill. You can also compost the litter yourself and use it in your garden. Keep in mind you shouldn’t use this compost for edible gardens.

What to look for when choosing a sifting litter box

Here are a few things to consider when choosing the best sifting litter box for pine pellets. 

  • You need the right sifting hole size. The sifting holes must match the size of your pellets. Otherwise, the clean pellets will fall through the holes with the sawdust. This could be an issue if you switch brands of pine pellet litter in the future.
  • The sifting tray needs to be sturdy. Pine pellets are heavy, and a flimsy plastic tray might sag or warp.
  • If you use a three tray system, you must be sure there is enough space between the trays to hold the small granules as they build up.
  • Make sure the handles on the trays are strong and durable. Weak handles might break when cleaning and sifting the litter trays.

Our recommendation for the best sifting litter box for pine pellets

To narrow your search for the best sifting litter box for pine pellets, we’ve tested a few out. Read on to learn my top picks for sifting litter boxes.

They made the following sifting litter systems for clumping cat litters, so you must adjust how you work with them. You will still need to scoop out solid waste. When you sift, you want to keep the clean solid pellets, not the sawdust. 

So Phresh Lift-to-Sift Cat Litter Pan

The So Phresh system is perfect for large cats. It is super simple to use. Every day I scooped out solid waste as usual. Every second or third day I would lift the sifting tray up, allowing the used sawdust to fall through the holes.

I poured the sawdust into a biodegradable bag and tossed it out. Then I poured the solid pine pellets from the sifting tray back into the pan and topped it up with more pellets.

This is an affordable sifting system that is sturdy and gets the job done. I noticed some solid pellets escaping through the holes of the sifting tray, but not enough to discourage me from using it.

The other minor issue I had was getting a good grip on the sifting tray so I could lift it out. Once I put too many pellets in the box and it was too heavy for me to get the two trays separated. I slid a metal nail file in between them so I could pull the top tray out. 

Overall, this is a great large sifting litter tray system that’s easy to recommend.

Van Ness CP5 Sifting Cat Pan

If your cat kicks litter out of the pan, consider this sifting litter system with tall sides. It would also work for cats who occasionally pee outside of the box by accident.

This system uses two solid trays and one sifting tray. Place the sifting tray on top of a solid tray and fill it with pellets.

When you clean, lift the sifting tray out and let the soiled sawdust fall into the solid tray below it. Then place the sifting tray with the clean litter on top of the other tray. Voila! You’re done.

This is another affordable option that performed well. The sifting tray clogged up a little bit, but I just scraped it off. I also noticed some urine-soaked sawdust stuck to the bottom of the pan, but other than that I was pleased with the Van Ness sifting system. 

Pet Mate Arm & Hammer Large Sifting Litter Pan

They make the Pet Mate system for clumping litter. They make it from durable plastic, and the trays are easy to separate. 

One thing they did differently from other companies is they coated the plastic with an antimicrobial substance. If your kitty creates the occasional stink bomb, you might really appreciate this sifting litter box. And speaking of controlling odors, pine pellets are outstanding at neutralizing odors.

As far as performance goes, it did a decent job. It is a three pan system, two solid and one sifting. I noticed more clean litter falling through the sieve with this litter system, but I never had an issue with the holes clogging.

It was a little wasteful, but other than that I loved it. This litter box system really cut down the amount of time I spent cleaning the litter box.

The only other reservation I have is that it isn’t very big. I think they should take the word ‘large’ out of the name. Other than that, it worked well and I recommend it.

Petmate Sifting Corner Litter Pan

The Petmate sifting corner litter box is fabulous. If you have an older fur baby or kittens, they will be able to easily climb in and out of the box. The entry is very low, which surprised me considering it has three trays.

It is also an excellent choice if you live in a small apartment or tiny home. It fits right into a corner and takes up little space.

Another wonderful thing about this sifting litter box system is its high walls. If your kitty likes to fling litter around, this will help minimize scatter. The plastic is very durable, and it was easy to separate the three trays. Cleaning was also a breeze, and it takes much less time than regular litter pans.

Now, the only issue I had was the holes in the sifting layer were larger than I’d hoped. This meant some clean pellets were sliding through. Other than that, this is a wonderful sifting litter pan system, especially for older cats and kittens. 

Luuup Litter Box

It’s not often I gush about litter boxes, but this sifting litter box system is amazing. It’s comprised of three trays, and every one of them sifts.

Yes, all three trays have holes in the bottom, and it really works. When you place any two of them on top of one, they become solid. When you lift whichever tray is on top, the used sawdust falls through the sieve.

It is very well made, and easy to clean. It has an anti-microbial coating to keep smells at bay, plus they added a non-stick coating. Taking it apart once every couple of weeks for a deep clean was a snap. Plus, I never had to scrape gunk off of it. It also has a detachable spill guard to keep your cat from kicking litter out of the box.

This is my personal favorite because it works so well, plus it is attractive for a litter box. The only issue I had was the holes would clog up occasionally. This happened with all the sifting litter systems to a certain degree, so I still think this litter box is the cat’s meow. 

If you want a sleek litter box that cuts down on your cleaning time and performs great, give this sifting litter box a spin.

How does a sifting litter box work

What is a sifting cat litter pan: This type of litter box is a cinch to keep clean and is easy to use. It usually consists of three pans, and is typically made of plastic. One of the pans has small holes in the bottom and acts as a strainer. The other two pans are solid litter boxes. All you do is lift the sifting pan out of the solid pan and, like a giant scoop, it removes solid waste, leaving the clean litter behind.

How to use a sifting litter box

How to use pine litter with a sifting cat litter box

Place the pan with the holes in the bottom in one of the empty solid boxes. You can place the other empty box underneath the two of them. Afterward, fill it with your fur baby’s favorite pine pellet litter.

How to use a three part litter box with sifting

When it’s time to clean waste from the cat litter box, all you need to do is lift the top pan out, and the clean pellets fall into the solid box underneath. The solid waste remains in the sifting pan. I recommend doing this step slowly to insure all the clean litter falls out. Afterward, dispose of the solid waste.

Place the now clean sifting pan in the empty third litter box. Then pour the clean pine pellets from the second pan into it. This type of litter box system is wonderful and is much faster and easier than scooping out waste by hand.

Are pine pellets better than clay litter?

I hadn’t heard of pine pellets until recently, and I was eager to give them a trial run. One of my concerns was safety. Are they safe for my kitty, or toxic? 

Well, I did my research and learned they are a very safe and natural litter for cats. But just to give you a heads up, they are toxic for rabbits. Here are a few reasons to consider switching to pine pellets.

  • Pine pellets tend to be less expensive than clay clumping litter. You can buy them at your local feed store or on sites like Amazon.
  • It’s an eco-friendly option. Pine pellets are made from wood fibers, and most brands do not chop down trees to make them. The fibers are usually sourced from shavings created as a byproduct of the lumber industry.
  • If you really want to be green, compost your pine pellets. They are totally biodegradable and make excellent fertilizer. Do not use composted pine pellets in vegetable gardens, only in flower beds.
  • They are very absorbent
  • Pine pellets are excellent at neutralizing odors. They still have a woodsy smell, but many people prefer this scent over artificially scented litters.
  • Less tracking. Because pine pellets are large, they don’t fly as far out of the pan or stick to their paws as much. I did notice a little sawdust on the mat I keep under the litter box whenever I cleaned it, but it was nothing compared to some clay litters I’ve used.

Do cats like wood pellet litter?

So you might be wondering if pine pellets are better than clay litters. From a human perspective, I think it is. It’s affordable, biodegradable, and does a fabulous job. With that being said, everyone has their own preferences and there are excellent clay litters on the market. 

All of the sifting litter box systems I tried work with clay clumping litter too. If you test drive pine pellets and decide they aren’t for you, the sifting litter box will still work.

From a cat perspective, pine pellets work just fine. I think my cat prefers finer granules, but that didn’t stop her from using the pellets. She had a harder time covering her waste with the larger pellets. But, she vastly prefers pine pellets over a tiny litter box. That’s a deal-breaker for most kitties.

My experiment with pine pellets and sifting litter boxes was eye-opening. Natural litters can do an excellent job, even outperforming top-selling commercial cat litters. And sifting litter boxes are fabulous. Easy to clean, and effective. Give them a try!

How to use Arm & Hammer sifting cat litter box

Like most sifting litter boxes, this is a snap to use. The boxes are durable, and Arm & Hammer coats the plastic in an antimicrobial agent to keep odors to a minimum. If you really want to keep smells down, use pine pellets instead of clumping clay. Pine pellets naturally deodorize, plus they are eco-friendly.

Place the sifting box in the other two solid boxes and fill with pine pellet litter. When it is time to clean out the waste, simply lift the sifting tray out. Hopefully, you are doing this on a daily basis. Add more clean pellets as needed.

How to use Omega Paw sifting cat litter box

This is a unique sifting cat litter box that’s a breeze to use. The Omega Paw system is possibly one of the best for keeping odors at bay, since it is a covered litter box. Perfect for kitties who love to kick and play in the litter, since most of it stays inside.

To use, take the cover off and fill it with litter. There is a fill line so you know exactly how much litter to use. The manufacturer recommends clumping litter, but pine pellets work great too. Replace the cover, and allow your cat to do its business.

When it’s time to clean the litter box, all you need to do is roll it the entire box over, until it’s right side up again. There is a sifting tray built in, and the soiled litter falls into a tray, leaving the clean litter behind. Pull out the tray and dispose of the waste. It’s that simple.

How to use Van Ness sifting cat litter box

Van Ness has several types of sifting litter boxes, including boxes with covers. They all operate in a similar fashion and are quick and easy to clean. The thing I love about this brand is they have various sizes, so if you have a large cat, Van Ness has a litter pan that will work for your fur baby.

Personally, I prefer the extra-large covered litter pan with a flap on the entrance. It also comes with a replaceable filter to keep odors down, and cleaning it is super easy. There are four main components, including the lid, the sifting tray, and two bottom trays. To clean, just take off the lid, then lift the sifting tray out. Give it a little shake to make sure all the clean litter falls back inside. Dispose of the waste, then place the sifting tray in the clean pan, and pour the unsoiled litter on top.

How to clean a sifting litter pan

How do you dump the waste from a sifting litter pan: Disposing of cat waste properly is very important, even if you use biodegradable pine pellets. Cat waste can be contaminated with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which can be toxic to other animals and fish. Personally, I don’t recommend flushing litter for this reason. Your local waste water treatment plant might not be equipped to handle cat waste either. Also, some litters may be harmful to your pipes.

You should clean waste from the litter pan daily. Ideally, you would dispose of solid waste in a biodegradable bag and toss it in the garbage. If you use pine pellets, or other biodegradable litter, you can compost it separately from other compost. Be sure not to use this compost in a garden growing edible plants. Once every week or two empty the pan completely and deep clean it with a fragrance-free detergent.

DIY: How to make a sifting litter pan

Extra large sifting litter box: There are some crafty people who prefer to make their own litter boxes. Making your own is very easy, and it’s economical. This is also a fabulous option for cat lovers who have large cats, since you can easily find extra large plastic boxes.

Purchase three plastic bins of the same size. Using a magic marker, draw a guide first where you want the holes. These should be spaced an inch apart. Drill the holes using a ¼ inch drill bit. Be careful not to crack the plastic while drilling. An easy way to do this is to have a piece of wood underneath while drilling and pressing the plastic box firmly against it.

This works great, and all you do is place the box with the holes inside the boxes without the holes and fill with the litter of your choice.