Hector Turns 30! And Quick Updates

Hector D. Byrd hatched 30 years ago today! I feel so lucky to have her in my life. Her cage is in the center of our living space, halfway between the kitchen and my desk space, so I spend a lot of time with her every day. She’s sort of become my therapist. She’s always there for me to talk to, and she’s a great listener. She’s not a cuddly bird, but she loves to whistle, destroy anything made out of cardboard, and eat nuts! Her happy chirps and whistles have become part of our home. Love my red tailed Jungle Chicken!

 

My Logan girl has had a rough couple of weeks. About two weeks ago, she jumped on the back of the couch and peed a couple of drops, yikes! The boy cats had been chasing her, so I thought maybe they had just made her really nervous and I didn’t worry too much about it. Then I found a cat bed covered in pee. Hmmmm something wasn’t right. That night, Logan went over to scratching toy, climbed up on it, and peed a couple of drops again. The next morning I took her to the vet. Poor baby has some kind of urinary infection. The good news is that we caught it. A simple antibiotic shot seems to be clearing it right up, and she is back to her old grumpy self.

Since I got the CatLink boxes, I haven’t been using Pretty Litter, but I do have a couple of bags of it. When I had to confine Logan for a couple of days, I used the Pretty Litter in the extra litter box for her. I have to say, the crystals were turning red, a sign of infection. This morning, a couple of days after her antibiotic shot, the crystals are back to normal yellow. I guess they do work! 

Speaking of the CatLink boxes. I still love them. It is truly life changing to not worry about cleaning cat boxes all the time! About once every five days, I open up the bottom, take out the waste litter in its easy little bag, throw it out, and put in a new bag, so easy! When I change out the bottom, I usually add some more clumping litter, and that’s it. Worth every single penny we spent on those boxes! With the optional step in front of the box, there is even very little litter tracking. Truly cat owner heaven!

Time to bring Hector more nuts and some new cardboard boxes, a perfect birthday for my feathered friend!

It’s here! Pretty Litter, and the New Fountain

My new CatLink Pro arrived yesterday. First impression? It’s BIG! The footprint is probably only 6″ bigger than a “regular” litter box, but it’s tall. Set up was a little finicky. We had to play with it a little to get it on our Wifi, but it wasn’t that bad. I read that any type of clumping litter works in it, but I don’t think the OXO Cat litter that I prefer is going to work out. It seems a little too light weight. The box is supposed to say when the litter is full, but ours kept saying it needed more litter. Eventually I realized I had over filled it, had to empty out some litter, reset it, and eventually we got it set up properly.  I think a clay-based scooping litter will work better, and I plan to try that.

It has only been set up for one night. So far the cats haven’t used it. Bean is curious and stuck his head in, but that’s about it so far. I may spray a little catnip spray in there to encourage them.  I’ll keep you all posted.

In other news, I’ve been using Pretty Litter for about a month. It definitely different than the traditional clumping litters I have been using.

I like how lightweight it is. Easy to fill and dump the box.

I’m not sure how well the “health monitoring” really works. My litter was just brown/yellow all month, so I guess that means regular healthy cats which is great. I don’t think my cats have any health problems, and nothing showed up with the litter, so I can’t tell you how well the health monitoring works or not, but I like the idea of it.

The cats took to it right away. We went from OXO Cat wood clumping litter to the Pretty Litter in one box. The cats had no hesitation in using it at all. They actually seemed to prefer it. I’ve got two boxes upstairs and tried the Pretty Litter in one box. While they continued to use both boxes, the Pretty Litter box definitely had more frequent visits.

As far as tracking, I do think it tracks less than regular litter, but I think part of that is because it is such tiny grains so it isn’t as noticeable. It did track some for me, but definitely less than my regular clumping litter. There was a little worry about my wood floors. The tiny grains of litter feel really gritty, and I’m not sure if they would actually scratch the floor or not, but I was careful to sweep it up and not find out.

Martin and Bean enjoy hanging out on the new rug

Odor control is good. It dries out the poop quickly so the smell doesn’t last. I definitely noticed when the litter box needed to be changed. Urine should get mixed in when you scoop the poop. Those urine spots dry out when they are mixed in with the litter again.

Pretty Litter lasts like they say it does. I have to say that I was impressed the litter went a full month before I felt like I had to change it. I was using it in one of my four boxes, so I wasn’t sure how long it would last. There wasn’t any doubt when it was time to change the litter box. The Pretty Litter was no longer white, it was yellow, and it started to smell. The urine spots no longer mixed in and they started sticking to the bottom of the box. 

Positives – it definitely makes the box easier to clean than regular clumping litter. I only had to scoop the poop, and the litter is small, so I didn’t have to shake out the litter scoop forever. I can honestly say it probably took me less than half the time to clean this box versus regular clumping litter. Other positives, good odor control, less tracking, easy to maintain the box. Another positive is that the cats took to it right away. No transition stress. It’s also lightweight and easy to refill and dump the litter box.

Negatives – it’s gritty. I worry about it scratching wood floors. And my only other negative was the price. Two cats the cost is $44 per month. You can’t buy it on Amazon, and it seems like the only way to buy it is with a recurring subscription.

My take? Overall I like it. If I only had one or two cats, I’d probably keep using it. For me with four cats it isn’t economical. I do have a couple of bags left, so I’ll keep using it in one box, but I can’t use it in my new automatic box because it doesn’t clump. Anyone else tried it? What did you think? Leave me a comment and let me know.

I finally found a pet fountain that I LOVE! Review soon…

 

Super Quick Review – Sift Ease

I’ve been searching local pet stores and of course Amazon lately in my quest for the perfect litter box. During one of my Amazon searches, I came across the SiftEase.

Seems like a really interesting product. You don’t need to use any special litter box, but in theory, it should help save time scooping.

Here’s the idea, a big scooping tray, with a bin underneath so that you just pick up your litter box and pour the litter through the sifter. The sifter catches the clumps (clumping litter obviously required) and you throw them away. The bin underneath catches the clean litter and you can just pour that back in the box.

Here’s the giant sifter. It sits on top of the grey bin shown in the first photo. I have to say that I really like the idea of this product. I’ve tried litter boxes with built in sifting devices and I’ve never had much luck with them.

Unfortunately, this product just didn’t work for me. First of all, dumping a litter box into the strainer/sifter is much harder than it seems. I tried to be careful, but litter spilled onto the floor. While I tried to scrape clumps loose in the pan before I dumped it, there were still clumps in the box after I dumped it into the sifter.

Puck had to check it out

Next problem, the holes in the sifter didn’t let all the litter through. Maybe that’s my fault, and I’m sure there are other types of litter that might work better than the OxoCat litter that I prefer, but I have enough issues with litter boxes right now, and I’m not changing my litter.

So I have a sifter full of dirty cat litter. I tried shaking it, but it only helped a little. I had to get my litter scoop and push the litter around in the sifter until I could get most of the clean litter through the slats and dump the clumps. I ended up wasting a lot of litter between the spills on the floor, and the litter that was thrown out because it didn’t sift well.

Finally removed the sifter from the base and dumped the litter back into the box. Time to sweep up the giant mess  before I was done. All this hassle, and I only cleaned one box. Four more to go? I don’t think so.

Once I finished sweeping, I cleaned out the SiftEase and folded it back up. I put it back in the box, and told Amazon to come pick it up. This is not a product for me. As much as I hate scooping. This product didn’t save me any time or hassle at all.

I’m going to continue my dreams of having a LitterRobot. There have been many times I’ve been tempted to just spend the money and try one out, but I know I would need at least two of them, and I’m not convinced it would work out for my big Maine Coon, or whichever cat likes to use two boxes to take care of business. I have heard they have a 90 day money back guarantee, so maybe I’ll give it a try one of these days. The joys of cat ownership do not include litter boxes!

Kitty Stuff

Martin is still visiting

I love my kitties, but I definitely hate litter boxes. With four cats in the house, the little box seems like a constant struggle. I’ve been using cement mixing trays from the hardware store for two of my boxes. I like that they are big, cheap, and relatively easy to scoop because there are no hard edges in the box, the sides slope in.

Currently, I have two, double-sized (cement mixing trays) litter boxes downstairs, and one covered box upstairs. It had been working out pretty well for a while, but lately things have been messy. I have litter mats in front of all the boxes to help with tracking, but lately the cats have been using the mats as boxes. First there were random poops on the mats, now it has been getting more regular and I can’t stand it. I also found urine on the mats recently which is definitely NOT OK.

It seems I have to keep two litter boxes upstairs. I’m not happy about it, but I’ve just ordered another box to go there. I have a standard, front open box up there now, and I’m going to add a Petmate Booda box which is supposed to help with tracking. I’ll review it in a couple of weeks when I’ve had a chance to check it out.

For the downstairs boxes, I ordered another regular, front open, covered box. I’m hoping I can fit it in the space I have with the two cement mixing tray litter boxes.

I’m still happy with the OXO Cat regular litter I’ve been using. I go through a lot of scoopable litter, and I find this one does well controlling odors, scoops pretty easily, and while I don’t think I’ll ever find a little that doesn’t track at all, this one doesn’t spread around quite as badly as others I’ve used.

 

Puck trying to tell me the water fountain is low

I made a trip to PetCo today to look at litter boxes to see if I was missing anything, but came home to shop on Amazon. I just can’t beat the selection and pricing on Amazon. While I was searching for boxes, I came across a system to sift litter. It’s separate from the litter box, so it works with any scoopable litter and any box. It’s a container with a sifting top, so litter is poured from the box into the sifter, chunks caught in the sifter get dumped in the trash, and the clean litter that ends up in the bottom just gets poured back in the box. I hadn’t seen a system quite like it before, so I bought one to try and I’ll post a review. It’s called the SiftEase Litter Cleaner. I’ll post a review in the next couple of weeks. Has anyone tried this sifter or anything like it? Let me know! I’ve tried sifting litter boxes and had some luck with them, so I’m thinking that I might like this.  I’ll let you know!

CatLoaf

Someday I dream of a house full of self cleaning litter boxes, but I always see mixed reviews of them, even the fancy LitterRobots. I just saw a company called CatLink that has some interesting looking boxes and water fountains. I’d love to get one of their boxes to review. Has anyone here tried this brand?

Labor Day weekend is coming here in the US, a sign of the end of summer for a lot of us. The weather here is already cooling off, but it did mean we got to take Cali for a nice hike the other day. She even went for a little swim!

Cali coming out of the river
Someone left a little surprise in this tree!

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?

WePet Litter Mat

With three cats in the house, one of them a Maine Coon with long hair, there is always litter everywhere. I’ve got four litter boxes. One is a Breeze box which actually isn’t too messy, but the cats don’t love it. They use it to pee, but that’s it. It has a pelleted litter in the top with a slatted bottom, so the urine goes into the bottom tray where there is an easy-to-change pad. The pelleted litter is great because it doesn’t scatter as much as grainier litter, but after months of using it, my cats still don’t love it.

I’ve tried a bunch of different types of pelleted litter, paper ones, pine ones, it doesn’t seem to matter, the cats hate it. They have some not-so-subtle ways of showing me their displeasure with the pellets. I’ve decided to let them win. I’ll have to find another way to stop the spread of the litter from the regular cat boxes, and just let them have their standard clumping litter.

I’ve got the three cat boxes in washing machine trays. They are great because they are big enough to hold the entire litter box, and have some room for the cats to step in and out of the box from on the tray. They are easy to clean up as well. The problem is the cats love to dig, and when they dig the litter flies. Even with the litter in the washing machine trays. The trays are just hard plastic, so the litter still scatters. The rug outside of the trays ends up feeling like a sandbox if I don’t vacuum every day.

The current set up

My next idea was to add litter mats to the trays. The ones I’m using now are by WePet. I had been using one of their mats upstairs, and now I bought two more for the downstairs cat boxes. So far they seem to be helping. There are a lot of features I like about these mats and I hope they continue to work out.

The WePet mat I bought was pretty inexpensive, about $11 on Amazon. The low price was definitely what tempted me to buy my first one, now I’ve purchased three! They are a good size, big enough to cover a decent sized area in front of the box for the cats to step in and out.

I also like the material they are made of.  It’s a soft mesh that seems like it would be comfortable on the kitty paws while still managing to help collect the litter. I’ve found the one I have been using upstairs easy to clean. I just shake it out, and occasionally run the vacuum over it. I haven’t had to wash it, but I’m guessing it would wash fine in the tub and I could easily hang it to dry.

The mats seem to hold litter well, they are slip resistant, making it easy for the cats to jump in and out of their boxes. For some reason, the cats like scratching at these, and so far they haven’t done any damage to the mats, so I guess that is another bonus.

I’ll make sure to post an update when I’ve had a chance to use these mats longer to see how they hold up downstairs with the three litter boxes.