Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Cats > Can You Use Horse Bedding Pellets for Cat Litter? Vet Approved Advice

Can You Use Horse Bedding Pellets for Cat Litter? Vet Approved Advice

granules of horse feed close up

Vet approved

Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Chyrle Bonk

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Cat litter can be expensive. It can also leave a smelly mess. On top of that, some cats track clay litter through the house, leaving pebbles and poop everywhere. All of this can be highly frustrating, but it is often accepted as part of owning a cat. Still, it has made many people wonder if there is an alternative to traditional cat litter.

The good news is that there is an alternative to traditional cat litter. Horse bedding pellets might not be the first thing on people’s minds when they are shopping for kitty litter, but horse bedding pellets can be the answer for people looking for an alternative to clay litter. Here is everything you need to know about using horse bedding pellets as cat litter.


Horse Bedding Pellets as Cat Litter

Horse bedding pellets are used in horse stalls to absorb urine and create a soft place to stand and lay down. Horses create a lot of urine throughout the day, so bedding pellets are designed to be highly absorbent.

It may come as a surprise to learn that horse bedding pellets can be used as cat litter, but it is true. In fact, horse bedding pellets actually make very good cat litter. Horse bedding pellets are natural, biodegradable, affordable, and absorbent.

owner cleaning her cat's litter tray
Image Credit: Yuliya Alekseeva, Shutterstock

What Are Horse Bedding Pellets Made Of?

Horse bedding pellets are made from compressed wood byproducts such as pulp and sawdust that are compressed into pellets that are used as bedding. Wood fiber is a great bedding material because it expands when it becomes wet and absorbs a lot of moisture. This makes it easy to clean up, and as an added benefit, it can be composted.

Do Horse Bedding Pellets Make an Effective Litter Substrate For Cats?

Horse bedding pellets work great for cats as well as horses. Despite being designed for horses first, you can use horse bedding pellets as litter for cats without any problems. Horse bedding pellets are natural, affordable, and highly absorbent. They have the ability to soak up cat urine and can provide a soft and voluminous place to hide cat feces as well. If you change the bedding out regularly, it will not stick to the feet of your cats, which is another positive attribute of horse bedding.

Another benefit is that horse bedding pellets are lighter than clay litter. Clay is much heavier than wood fibers. A full litter box can be very heavy. Scooping and taking out clay cat litter can be a hassle. Horse bedding pellets are easier to handle than regular cat litter.

Is Horse Bedding Safe for Cats?

Most types of horse bedding pellets are completely safe for cats. The most recommended type is kiln dried pine, although you may also find cedar and other types of wood products out there. Be aware that some cedar horse bedding can contain oils and fumes that can be dangerous to cats, so it’s best to avoid these when choosing your cat litter.

Is Horse Bedding Cheaper Than Cat Litter?

Horse bedding can be much cheaper than cat litter. You can get a bag of horse bedding pellets from a co-op or farm store like Tractor Supply for as little as $8 per bag. Since horse pellets are designed to be used for horses, one bag can last a cat quite a long time. Cat litter, on the other hand, usually starts around $20 and can easily be $30 or $40, depending on the type and brand that you use. That means that a cat owner can easily save money over the course of a year by using horse bedding pellets rather than traditional cat litter.

Young man cleaning cat litter tray at home
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Do Cats Like Horse Bedding Pellets?

Cats can be incredibly picky animals, even about their type of litter. Some cats will be turned off by the smell, size or texture of wood pellet litter.When a cat does not like its litter, they might not use the litter box. This can lead to cats pooping or peeing outside of the box, which can be frustrating.

Sometimes it will take a cat a few days to adjust to the new litter. You can help this transition by gradually mixing the pellets in with their old litter in increasing amounts until they are completely using the wood pellets. Keep in mind that some cats won’t adjust at all. If your cat refuses to use the litter box when it is filled with horse bedding pellets, you might need to return to traditional cat litter.

  • Extremely affordable
  • Natural
  • Highly absorbent
  • Easy to clean up and take out
  • Can smell better than cat litter
  • Doesn’t stick to cat paws as easy as clay
  • Lighter than traditional cat litter
  • Compostable
  • Not all cats will use horse bedding pellets
  • It can be hard to find horse bedding pellets if you don’t live in a rural area
  • Not as good at odor suppression as specialty cat litter



Horse bedding pellets can be used as cat litter in almost every instance. It has a ton of noticeable benefits over traditional cat litter. It is absorbent, affordable, lightweight, and natural. However, it can be hard to find if you live in the city, and not all cats will like it. Cats can be very particular, and not every feline will happily pee in wood pellets. If your cat will use wood pellet litter, it can be a huge upgrade over traditional cat litter if you are willing to make the switch.

Featured Image Credit: Ulianenko Dmitrii, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets