Is feline pine biodegradable? (5 components of cat urine)

This article shall answer the biodegradability of feline pine.

It shall also cover other areas such as:

  • Chemical cat urine removers.
  • Process of urine cat removal using chemicals.
  • The components of the cat’s urine.
  • The toxicity of cats’ urine.
  • Eco-friendliness of feline pine.

Is feline pine biodegradable?

Yes, feline pine is highly biodegradable because it is made up of particles made up of pine tree sawdust.

The pine tree sawdust is made up of natural cellulose polymer which is susceptible to microbial degradation.

Cellulose polymer is made up of glucose monomers interlinked with glycosidic bonds. Cellulose is broken down by fungal and bacterial enzymes to form small particles that are harmless to the environment.

To understand better the degradation of cellulose, let’s take a look at the biodegradation process.

Biodegradation.

Biodegradation is the process by which organic or natural products are broken down by various biotic and abiotic factors such as:

  • Water.
  • Sunlight.
  • Temperature.
  • Bacteria.
  • Fungi.

Water.

This causes biodegradation by carrying the materials and causing mechanical breakdown.

Sunlight.

Some light wavelengths cause the mechanical breakdown of organic materials into smaller particles.

Temperature.

Temperature causes the expansion and contraction of organic materials.

This causes the material to experience stress which in return results in mechanical breakdown.

Bacteria.

Bacteria break down organic material through the process of respiration to form small particles which they use to acquire energy.

The most common and active bacteria include:

  • Pseudomonas.
  • Bacillus.
  • Mycobacteria.
  • Aspergillus.
  • Penicillium

Fungi.

They break down organic matter into small particles which they then assimilate into their body systems.

They include:

  • Yeasts.
  • Mushrooms
  • Molds.
  • Mildew.
  • Lichens.

Types of biodegradation.

Types of biodegradation include:

Aerobic biodegradation.

This entails bacteria and fungi breaking down organic matter by the use of oxygen.

The end products include water, carbon dioxide, small particles( small biomass), and energy.

This process is faster than anaerobic biodegradation.

Anaerobic biodegradation.

This entails the bacteria breaking down organic matter in the absence of oxygen.

The end products include water, methane gas, small particles ( small biomass), and energy.

This process is slower as compared to aerobic biodegradation although it is more efficient.

What are the steps of biodegradation?

Biodegradation occurs in three distinct steps:

  • Biodeterioration.
  • Bio-fragmentation.
  • Assimilation.

Biodeterioration.

This is the first stage of biodegradation.

Organic materials are mechanically broken down by light, water, and temperature into smaller particles that are easily acted upon by bacteria and fungi.

Bio-fragmentation.

This is the second stage of biodegradation.

Organic matter is broken down by bacteria and fungi, either aerobically or anaerobically.

Water, carbon dioxide, methane gas, energy, and small biomass are produced depending on the type of process.

Assimilation.

It’s the last stage of biodegradation.

Involves the uptake of biomass produced into the body system of the bacteria or fungi to be used in various biological processes.

What is feline pine?

Felines pine is an organic cat urine remover that is made from kiln-dried pine lumber.

The pine lumber litter is processed and compressed into clean, sterile pellets.

The feline pine pellets are spongy and absorb the cat’s urine, putting away the ammonia smell from the cat’s litter box. After absorbing the urine, the pellets disintegrate into sawdust.

Feline pine is organic, unlike the chemical cat urine removers.

Chemical cat urine removers contain enzymes that break down urea in the cat’s urine into carbon dioxide and ammonia, these gases evaporate very fast, leaving the cat’s box and the entire house fresh.

The disadvantage with chemical cat urine removers is that they exhaust very easily and need to be replaced now and then, let’s say daily.

Feline remover can take up to two weeks without replacement depending on the number of cats in a box.

Why does cat urine emit such a strong odor?

Cat urine does not have stronger odors than other animals’ urine, but the strong odor is because of unattended urine which decomposes under the action of bacteria to produce ammonia which emits the strong odor.

The components of cat urine.

Cat urine is a waste product from the body and it contains the following chemicals.

  • Urobilinogen.
  • Creatinine.
  • Uric acid.
  • Sodium chloride.

Urobilinogen.

This is a colorless chemical that is released through the reduction of bilirubin.

The urobilinogen is reabsorbed to the liver, where it enters the circulatory system and is taken to the kidneys to be excreted in the urine.

Urobilinogen is the component in urine that gives urine its characteristic yellow color. Urobilinogen is also reduced in the intestines to form stercobilin which is excreted through the feces, giving feces the characteristic brown color.

The levels of urobilinogen in the human urine may indicate the following scenarios.

  • Low urobilinogen may indicate one is suffering from complete obstructive jaundice, or one has been treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics such as azithromycin, which destroy the intestinal all-important flora.
  • Low urobilinogen levels may result from hyperbilirubinemia syndromes, or from treatment drugs that make urine acidic, such as ascorbic acid and ammonium chloride.
  • Excess urobilinogen may indicate an excessive breakdown of red blood cells, a condition called hemolytic anemia.
  • Other causes of high urobilinogen are overburdened liver, re-absorption, in the case of a hematoma, restricted liver function, liver poisoning, and liver cirrhosis.

Creatinine.

This is a waste product made by the breakdown of creatine phosphate in muscles and protein metabolism.

Creatinine is taken to the kidney where it is excreted in the urine. Creatinine is excreted by the body at a constant rate, and therefore, a change in creatinine concentration in the urine may indicate a defect in the kidneys.

Serum creatinine is an important test used to check on the normal functioning of kidneys.

Creatinine has shown some antibiotic properties and is therefore used to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Since Creatinine does not affect fungi and yeast, it can be used to culture them in a medium and separate them from bacteria.

Uric acid.

Uric acid is a chemical compound that is formed when xanthine and hypoxanthine; produced from purines, are broken down by the enzyme xanthine oxidase.

Purines are structural compounds that are found in DNA and RNA.

Uric acid is taken from the liver to the kidneys where it is excreted in the urine.

High concentrations of uric acid in the blood may lead to gout; a condition that involves the accumulation of uric acid in joints, and kidney stones and might also cause diabetes.

Urea.

This is an organic amide molecule with the chemical CO(NH2)2. It is also called carbamide.

Urea is the main molecule in the metabolism of nitrogen-containing compounds in animals. It is the molecule that is central to the synthesis of urine in mammals and uric acid in birds.

Urea contains the following toxic effects.

  • It irritates the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract.
  • Prolonged contact with skin causes dermatitis.
  • It can cause tissue damage when it is in high concentration in blood.
  • It causes algal bloom to produce toxins, its high nitrogen content also increases the blooming of toxic algae.
  • It breaks down under high temperatures to produce toxic fumes.
  • It reacts with nitrites, inorganic chlorides, and chlorides to cause fire and explosion.

Is cat urine toxic?

At first, cat urine is nontoxic because the components of urine can be degraded by bacteria into nontoxic compounds.

However, when there’s too much cat urine, the urea and uric acid break down to form carbon dioxide and ammonia gas.

Ammonia gas is harmless when it’s in low concentration, when the concentration rises and one gets exposed for long, ammonia becomes toxic.

Ammonia fumes may cause skin and eye irritation, and inhaling a lot of it causes respiratory infections like asthma.

Is feline pine eco-friendly?

Yes, feline pine is environmentally friendly because it can decompose into simpler particles that are not harmful to the environment.

According to a study, feline pine is one of the most biodegradable cat litter.

Utilized feline pine can also be used in gardens as mulch because it contains urea and ammonia which are rich in nitrogen, an element necessary for plants.

Conclusion.

This article has covered several areas that include:

  • The biodegradability of feline pine.
  • The components of feline pine.
  • The components of cat urine.
  • The eco-friendliness of feline pine.

For any questions or comments please use the comment section below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): is feline pine biodegradable?

Is feline pine toxic?

No, feline pine is nontoxic as it is made purely from organic products of pine lumber.

However, the feline pine should be replaced when it’s no longer effective to prevent ammonia odors in the house. 

When feline pine  can’t hold ammonia anymore, the ammonia gas can cause eyes and skin irritation as well as a respiratory infection like asthma

Can Feline Pine be composted?

Yes, feline pine is made from 100% percent wood fiber of pine lumber which is biodegradable and compostable.

Are Feline Pine pellets flushable?

No, although some people have successfully managed to flush it, the manufacturer label advises against flushing instead it should be discarded in a trash bin.

Citations.

Dr. Ernie Ward. Cat Pee 101: Is My Cat’s Urine Normal?.

Retrieved from:

https://www.pethealthnetwork.com/cat-health/cat-checkups-preventive-care/cat-pee-101-my-cats-urine-normal#:~:text=Normal%20cat%20urine%20should%20be,or%20difficult%20to%20see%20through.

Joe Schwarz, Ph.D. ( 20 March 2017). Why does cat urine smell so bad and what can I do about it?

Retrieved from:

https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/you-asked/why-does-cat-urine-smell-so-bad-and-what-can-i-do-about-it

Yang, P. J.; Pham, J.; Choo, J.; Hu, D. L. (26 June 2014). “Duration of urination does not change with body size”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 111 (33): 11932–11937. doi:10.1073/pnas.1402289111. 

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