Litter Boxes – the Continuing Saga

Does anyone with cats not hate their little box? If so, let me know your secret!

Don’t get me wrong, I love my cats, but I HATE litter boxes. They smell, litter scatters everywhere, it’s dusty, the cats don’t want to use the box, etc. Depending on the day, I have all these complaints and more.

With three indoor cats in the house, litter boxes are always an issue. Most recently, I’ve kept two large boxes downstairs, and a third up in my laundry room. It has worked out pretty well, except that for some reason, the cats were peeing in the upstairs litter box, but pooping just in front of it, and not in it. It drives me absolutely crazy. I’ve tried different boxes, various kinds of litter, even different trays under the litter box. No matter what combination I chose, pee goes in the box, poop goes in front of it.

Yesterday, the clouds parted, the sun shone through, and I realized something! With the two boxes downstairs that are side by side, the cats usually poop in one and pee in the other, not always, but most of the time. Upstairs, they only have one box. Maybe that is why they pee in the box and poop in front of it? Could the fix possibly be that simple? Two litter boxes in my laundry room is definitely not ideal, but it’s better than cleaning up poop from the tray in front of the box all the time.

My garage stash had an extra litter box, so I put it upstairs next to the other box. Imagine my surprise when I checked it this morning and there was poop IN THE LITTER BOX!  Woot! Small victory for me. Also, win for the cats, because now they have two boxes upstairs which is apparently what they wanted. Does anyone else have cats that poop in one box and pee in the other?

I’ve given up on fancy boxes. Downstairs where I have plenty of room, the litter boxes are actually $7 cement mixing trays from the hardware store. They work great! Cheap enough to easily replace them when they get gross. Deep enough to help contain the litter, and the insides are rounded, so they are super easy to scoop. Upstairs I’m just using two plain plastic litter boxes.

My new favorite litter is OKO Cat brand. It’s made from wood, there’s no noticeable dust. With my old clay litter, I realized I would cough when cleaning the box, not good. No coughing with the new litter. The switch was very gradual, I mixed a little of the new litter in with the old and just kept adding more of the new litter until there wasn’t any more clay litter. The cats don’t seem to have any problems with it. I found this litter by accident. Although I’m usually well stocked on pet supplies, I ran out of cat litter a couple of months ago. The local hardware store only had the OKO Cat brand, so that’s what I bought. It’s been great! I did try their long haired cat version, but it was more like a pellet, and while it did track a little less, the pellets were harder to suck up with the vacuum, the cats didn’t like it, and I seemed to go through a lot of litter.

For the moment, there’s peace in my litter box world. I do want to try one of the fancy robotic litter boxes one of these days, but I’m not sure one of them would be all that helpful, and I’m not buying 3-4, $400+ litter boxes. My $7 boxes work just fine!

Anyone have any good tips for litter boxes? Types of boxes or litter that you really like? How about the LitterRobot any thoughts? Like it? Worth the money?

Gone Gliders

Puck doesn’t like the cold weather. He spends most of his time these days finding a cozy spot to cuddle up. It definitely took him a few days to adjust to not having Marty around. They really became good buddies! I wish I could explain to Puck that Marty will be back to spend the summer with us, but of course he doesn’t have a clue. He just knows his friend Marty is gone.

The sugar gliders moved to their new home a couple of weeks ago now. It’s taken me that long to adjust to not having them. For the first few days I would head to their cage to check on them and realize they weren’t here. That was happening a couple of times a day. I hadn’t really realized how often I checked on them!  I do miss the boys, but I’m also realizing that finding them a new home was the right choice.

I hate giving up pets. I definitely adopt pets with the plan to keep them for life, but I also understand that things can happen. The Gliders just didn’t fit here at my house. The cats constantly wanted to hunt them which kept me from taking them out as much as I would have liked to. 

When I first got the gliders, I put them in their bonding pouch and kept them with me while I worked almost every day. Unfortunately, it didn’t take the cats long to figure out what was in the pouch, and they would climb all over my desk and body trying to get the gliders.

The gliders needed a home with a glider-experienced home. I found a woman in a Facebook group that had three gliders and was looking for more. She knew about their weird diets and how noisy and smelly they could be, and she already understood what they were like as pets. I didn’t want them to go to a new glider home as I felt that the chances of them having to find another home one day was more likely. I charged a fee, not enough to get back the investment I had made in the gliders, but enough to make sure the person taking them was serious about it.

After the gliders were picked up, I realized the batch of food I had made to go home with them had been forgotten. While it wasn’t on purpose, it was nice to have an excuse to reach out and check in. The woman seemed very happy with the gliders, she had been spending time with them and was enjoying getting used to them. She did stop by a couple of days later to pick up the food I had made, super happy it didn’t all go to waste.

Things here are settling back in to “normal,” Hector is busy destroying boxes, the dragon has been brummating off and on. She hid out in her cave for a week or so, came out and ate, and hung out for another week or more, and now she’s back in her cave. It was nice having the gliders around to help eat her live insects when she isn’t eating!

Happy Winter! Stay warm.