Friday, November 21, 2014

Pioneer Pet SmartCat all natural clumping litter - a review


This is not a sponsored post.  I won a 20lb bag of this litter recently and I was very interested in this product for what it says it is, so I was pretty excited to try it.


Amusingly the box that it came in was a HUGE favorite for Jack so sit on, so I left it in the box for a very very long time so this review is being done quite some time after I won it. I got a a couple of sample packs at BarkWorld so I thought it was high time I got to this.

So, the claims by the company are that there is 'No Smell - Can't Tell,  Breathe Clean 99% dust free. Chemical FREE, clay FREE, Fragrance FREE.  Made in the USA.

NEW SmartCat All Natural Cat Litter is not only all natural but designed to make everything easier! Easier to carry, easier to scoop and easier to clean. On top of that we are made from 100% USA farmed grass, with no added chemicals or fragrances. Our product will biodegrade after disposal as a renewable resource. We are very soft on paws and can be used for younger cats.

Sounds great doesn't it!

This sample isn't going to go very far!
Kit being impressed at how dust free it was.
Apparently a line is forming.. my cats really do love an upstairs litterbox
I pulled Kit's urine ball out of the box and I was very impressed with how well it clumped up. I let it sit for a while to see what the urine clump would look like/act like after a while since most fresh urine clumps in clumping litter are not very sturdy.





I do have to say the ball felt very interesting when 'crushing' it... almost as if it had gelled as there was some give before it broke apart.

I went and scooped the box the next morning and was a little disappointed there were no additional balls in the box. That is not to say the box was not used, just that the urine in the box were in bits. Now I know Jack tends to move around when he pees so he forms lines in litter boxes (yes, my boy is 'special') but he is the only one. One thing I found very interesting about this litter was the smell. They claim there is no smell, but there very much was to me and it reminded me a lot of my hamster and rabbit cages when I would change them out. It was not unpleasant just earthy... but there was a smell.

Got to love the Litter Lifter

I scooped the box again that night and the same thing. I then promptly forgot about the box because it is not part of my normal routine and when I came home two days later the smell in the hall was nearly overwhelming. I immediately panicked thinking that Jack was peeing outside the box again and that we were having a severe issue because of the overwhelming smell. I looked all around the hall and we didn't see anything, so I went to check out the box - which is on the far side of the room at the end of the hall.


The litter is so lightweight that my cats tossed quite a bit of it out of the box. They do this with regular clay scooping litter but not nearly this much. I do not know if the cat peed on the floor because there was so much litter there or if someone thought they were in the box and missed, but I'm going for the former since this hasn't happened with the previous litter box in this room but it could be the latter because Jack does tend to stand up and move around when he pees and occasionally will hit outside of the box, but never this much - it soaked not only the litter on the ground but under the box and was starting to seep into the wood on the floor. Now a lot of this isn't really the fault of the litter.. but it is something that happened while I was using this litter. If you use a box with high sides, the litter being flung out of the box when the cat digs might not be an issue.

But to me, it was an issue... that and the smell. My cat's urine smells like urine but my cat's urine in this box smelled very strong - the urine under the box wasn't that smelly. What really really got me was that gelling reaction from the litter. Once it got wet it gelled and stuck the the ground a bit like cement. Trying to clean it up was difficult because the dry litter started getting wet and started gelling. I ended up having to wipe up what I could, sweeping up what was around, vacuuming up the small bits then soaking it all in cleaner and waiting for the litter to become so saturated again that it would come up off the floor. I was so frustrated I swore I wasn't even going to bother using the rest of the bag and I'll be taking it to the shelter. Chances are another foster home will take it and use it or one of the staff will use it since they don't use clumping litter for the adult cats.

So.. bonus points to this company for making pretty much dust free that is not clay which some cats do have issues with. More bonus points for making it from grass which grows quickly and is a pretty renewable resource. This product is also biodegradable so long as you don't throw it into a landfill because as we all know nothing really biodegrades in a landfill. There is a place for this litter in some people's lives, and I am very glad the company is making it, it just unfortunately doesn't work for me and my seven cats.

15 comments:

  1. We got that sample too. Ma was wondering what she was supposed to do with that tiny sample. When she opened it to see what it smelled like , she didnt like the smell either. We don't care for that earthy smell.
    Thanks for doing the review. It helped to know how the litter worked or didn't work in your case

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  2. I appreciate the review too. I don't know if it's in Canada yet, but I wouldn't be tempted, as I don't think it would suit Nicki, who does fling out litter at great rate, no matter how high the box. He also scrapes away the litter from the front right corner of every box (and mine are all giant containers) and pees directly on the plastic side. At least it's inside the box. LOL.

    However, I'm always on the lookout for a low or no dust clumping option that ISN'T made with pine, corn, etc, etc. because of his asthma. Haven't found a thing yet, though I've tried Dr. Elsey's respiratory litter and NOT been impressed with the cost or the size of granules (larger, not fine). Plus the last bag I tried was so dusty that I couldn't even use it.

    So it looks like this one will be a pass too!

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  3. When it comes to litter, more options are better than fewer. I wouldn't mind an earthy smell, but would not like urine smell. Perhaps they will improve it as they get feedback?

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    Replies
    1. I agree. There are people out there who LOVE several of the different options that are out there like this, WBCL and what not, and I haven't liked any of them. Every cat is different, every person is different, and I'm happy they are making this litter and I'm sad it didn't work out for us.

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  4. Except for the litter and pee on the floor, we had pretty much the same experience. We kitties use WBCL, and so far we haven't found any other litter that my human likes better. (No, she does not use it, but she's the one who messes with it for us. We kitties are not all that picky about what goes in the litter box for us to use.)

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  5. Thanks for the honest review! We have some litter kickers here, too!

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  6. We won two bags of this litter. We used one of them. Well, me and Zoey did. Wally refused to use it. We thought it was okay...though it did smell like something you would use in a hamster's cage. And after a few uses, we thought the urine smell got too bad. So we went back to our old litter, Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat, which we really love. The bag that we didn't use will probably get donated to the shelter. ~Ernie

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  7. My bag hasn't arrived yet, but I had planned on donating it to the shelter. We have litter kickers here as well so I'm sure my hubby wouldn't appreciate having to clean that up.

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  8. Hmmm... with my seven cat househould, I guess you answered any questions I might have had! Purrs from the Zee and Zoey Gang!

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  9. Thanks for the honest review. Truffles is very neat in her potty, not a litter kicker at all, so we could probably use it.

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  10. Debbie pretty much told us the same thing. I mixed the samples in with the WBCL and didn't notice a smell, so maybe using it as an add-on would help minimize the smell issue. because even in the basement - UGH.

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  11. When Dad was fostering he tried several types of these non-traditional litters. The corn and wheat stunk. The pine had big chips in it that would be dangerous for young kittens who may eat them (he actually took one out of a mouth and that was that for this type litter). He ended up just using newspaper with a handful of non clumping on top. The kittens got used to litter and it was just fold up a dispose for morning and evening clean up.
    Then Dad found out there have been no, repeat no reports of kittens being injured by eating clumping litter which kind of ended his thinking on a need. He stuck with the newsprint for Einstein and our boy has never missed the pan since 5 weeks old.
    Thanks for a good review.
    Timmy and Family

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    1. I did the same resarch you did Timmy, and I use clumping litter for foster kittens except for orphaned kittens during that mess stage where they end up rolling in everything so they end up 'tared and feathered' in clumping litter..

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  12. I am pretty surprised at any negative review of this litter. I have been using it now for a year and dearly love it. I have 3 large cats (2 Siberian and 1 Rag doll) and one electric litter box. I am super picky about my litter box. I would dump and clean the thing with bleach several times a week to keep the order out of my house. This litter changed my world. Instead of going through 20 pounds of litter a week, I now go through 20 pounds every 6 weeks. I dump the clump box daily, add 2-3 cups of litter to the box, and that is it. I totally dump and clean only when necessary and that was after 8 months of use before the first dump and bleach ever happened. I have ZERO smell in my house. People do not even know I have cats. I have turned on several cat loving friends to this litter because of my success. Now, maybe because I have a self-cleaning box that makes a difference. I do not know. My friends do not have a self-cleaning box and they love the litter as well. Yes, it is light weight and does have a tendency to get thrown out. But that happened with clay litter, too. The smell reminds me of oatmeal, and I only smell that when I dump the bag of clumps. My personal opinion of the litter is that it is the best out there. It clumps better than any litter I have ever tried. It controls the odor far better than any litter I have tried, and it does not cause any health issues with my cats. All and all, this litter is a winner. I won't use anything else and if for some reason my local store stops carrying it, I will order it online and pay shipping. It has saved me hassles, headaches, and above all, work.

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    1. I am so glad it is working for you. There is so much about this litter I do like that it bothered me that I didn't love it in practice.

      I gave it a second go after this review, and I ran into many of the same problems. My cats sunk down through the litter so the litter was right up on their body while they were peeing, it tracked heavily as they left the box, and they would often try to stand on the side of the box because they sunk into the litter and it would cause the box to tip over.

      I wish it had worked for me, I really really wanted it to.. but every cat is different.. I have cats who fling, and cats who stand up to pee, which is probably why it didn't work for me.

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