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…

 

Upcoming Reviews

Happy Fall! The leaves are turning here in New England and it is so pretty out!

Lots of stuff coming up here on PetMomma soon!

I received my first shipment of Pretty Litter. I filled one of our four boxes with it yesterday. I didn’t bother doing a half and half kind of thing with our old litter because we have so many boxes. If the cats are hesitant to try it, they can use one of the other boxes, but within minutes of me putting it back, Martin (my son’s cat) had already tried it out.

This morning, it wasn’t tracked all over yet, so either they aren’t using it, or it really doesn’t track much. It’s very different than anything I’ve tried before.

I’ll be posting a full review in a week or two when the cats have really had a chance to check it out.

I’ll have another review coming soon… as you may know from reading here, I’m obsessed with pet fountains. I really think they encourage my pets to drink, and they have become mandatory around here.

This unit will be set up here soon and I’ll be posting the review. Curious to see how it compares to my current Pet Safe brand ceramic fountain.

Does anyone use a Pet Camera? New product to me, but I’ll be trying it out around here soon and of course posting a review when I get a feel for it. Puck and Bean are very curious to see if it will dispense cat treats as well as dog treats!

Happy Fall! Check back soon for the new reviews!

Sh*t Show – or My Pooper Scooper Review!

 

 

No one enjoys dealing with poop. It’s just part of life, and dog owners know it’s just something you have to deal with.

I’ve tried to teach Cali to poop in the woods, but apparently that’s just for bears, and she’s not into it. She likes a nice patch of grass, usually right in a path where we want to walk around in our yard.

So I scoop the poop, because poop happens.  I’ve been using a connected scooper thing that I guess I should have taken a picture of, because I’m not finding pictures online. My old one was pretty beat up and dirty so I thought I’d spare everyone the pictures. It was just two wooden handles attached to a rake and a flat scoop. You separate the handles, use the rake to push the poop unto the flat part, then you can hold it closed with one hand and bring it to wherever you need to dump it.

I just bought this scooper set  to try something a little different. I thought having two pieces might be a nice change, and I really like it. Instead of fighting to make sure the pieces line up properly to scoop like I used to have to do with the old one, now I just put down the little scoop part and use the rake to push the poop into the scoop and carry it off to be dumped.

Cali is little, so she doesn’t make giant poops. I’m not sure this little set would work all that well for a Great Dane, but for a little Morkie it works great. I can even pick up a couple of piles at once with it.

The surface is non-stick or lovely slick coating that rinses clean very easily. The rake part clips to the scoop part so they are easy to store together. Another bonus is that the scoop part has a flat bottom, so it sits nicely near the wall.

The unit went together easily. Each part was well marked and they just screw together. I saw some reviews that people said the parts kept coming unscrewed, but I’ve used mine about a dozen times now, and haven’t had any problems.

I can’t say that this new scooper has made me enjoy cleaning up the yard, but on a nice Spring day when the sun is out, it definitely isn’t the worst chore.

Another Pet Fountain Review!

This is Bean in a holiday sweater. It has nothing to do with this post.

For someone who spent years having pets without ever using a pet fountain, I feel like I’ve become a little bit obsessed. This new one is my third. My other two still work fine, but I actually lost a part for my ceramic one recently.

Pet Safe’s website had the part for me. I had to buy it as part of a kit for $6, then I would have had to pay $5.74 to ship it. I hate that. So I went to Amazon to see if they had the part. They didn’t, but I did find a stainless steel fountain for $29.99. I’ve been wanting a stainless fountain for awhile. It’s supposed to be much easier to clean, but they are usually pretty expensive. So instead of paying $11.74 for the part, I just bought the Stainless fountain.

I found this fountain happened to be on sale. Today the price is back up to $45.99, so I’m happy I didn’t wait and I just bought it when I did.

It’s a super simple setup. I literally didn’t need any directions. Very few parts in the box. You get the bottom dish, the filter/motor, and a top cover.

You put the filter on the marks inside the bowl and it suction cups to the bottom. There are two different spouts for it. One makes a small arch of water aimed up, and the other just spills the water into the top.

This is the underside of the top piece. The little plastic area to the right opens and you insert a filter. The white spout on the left side of the picture goes into the bowl over the filter and locks in to suck the water up into the top.

This is the top piece. The white plastic slit on the right is the top of the filter. The water circulates from the fountain, the white nozzle on the left, and gets filtered as it falls back into the bowl through the filter on the right.

Pros, it’s super simple design that is easy to clean. I love that it is stainless and just washes right out. The filter is one piece, easy to swap out as needed. They say it only needs to be replaced every couple of months.

I am using the fountain nozzle, but I like that there is another option. If you have a timid cat, using the nozzle that doesn’t spray the water up might be more appealing to them.

Another Pro is that the majority of the water stays in a covered bowl. Less chance of junk getting into the water, and a better chance of the water staying clean. The basin is a little shallow, but it does seem to stay cleaner that way.

After using this for over a week now, the biggest con to me is that I’m not sure when it needs to be filled. Yes, the pump shuts off automatically when the water level gets too low, but with my other pet fountains I could see into the bowl so I knew when the water needed to be refilled. This one I have just been refilling every couple of days. With three cats and a small dog, every other day is about right for us.

Puck had no fear and checked it out immediately.

It didn’t take long for Bean to come over and check it out himself.

I’m really happy to have a stainless fountain to use. I’m not a big fan of plastic fountains and wouldn’t get another just because of how hard they are to clean. If you are looking for a fountain, this one works out great and is reasonably priced, especially if you can find it on sale!

Bird Mister Review

Ok, so this product really isn’t for birds. It’s for human hairspray, but it is by far the best sprayer I’ve used for my African Grey.

Hector doesn’t like baths. I’ve tried the kitchen sink, the bathtub, shower perches, floor of the shower, spray with different bottles, etc. I had an old spray bottle that she came with that sprayed a light mist that she would tolerate.

I mist her pretty regularly, and then give her good soaking baths in the kitchen sink every couple of weeks. It isn’t her favorite, but she tolerates it, and as bird owners know, they are necessary to help keep her healthy.

Recently I saw an Amazon ad that caught my attention for a fine mist sprayer. It’s for hairspray, not birds, but it’s just an empty sprayer so it can really be used for any liquid you chose. I fill it with some warm-ish, water, not too hot, not too cold, and it sprays a lovely fine mist.  The more you use it, the less you have to pump the sprayer as it builds up pressure and just sprays. Hector showed her delight by flapping her wings, spreading them, stretching, and preening.

This little wonder sprayer:  is amazing. Hector actually seems to enjoy the sprays from it. For $8, definitely worth a try if you have a bird that doesn’t love baths.

Review: Bird Street Bistro Parrot Food

Got a bird? If you do, you know they aren’t easy pets. They require a lot of attention, cleaning, play time, more cleaning, and feeding. I’ve owned birds off and on for as long as I can remember. I posted about my history with birds in the “Before Hector D. Byrd” post if you want to read more.

Every bird I’ve owned has taught me something. With Maverick, my amazon, I started to learn a lot about feeding parrots. I also came to the conclusion that I wasn’t happy with any commercially made parrot foods. I feed commercial parrot pellets, but mostly as a supplement. My birds have always had homemade food. It took Hector some time to get used to my food, but now she devours it. She anxiously waits by her bowl for her breakfast every morning. If breakfast doesn’t come fast enough, she whistles and bangs her bowl.

A Jar Of My Homemade Food

My feeding routine for Hector is that she always has a fresh bowl of pellets in her cage. I’m currently feeding her Zupreem Fruit Blend. Not only does she eat these pellets, and not just throw them, but she also likes to sort them. They pellets are different shapes and colors. Sometimes I’ll check her bowl and find there are only orange pellets left. Other times, she sorts out a different color. Food and entertainment, all in one bowl!

Just recently, I discovered Bird Street Bistro, and it seems to be the first food that can replace my homemade mix. I’m so excited! No more special shopping trip to get all the ingredients, and no more setting aside a couple of hours each month to mix up a batch.

Bird Street Bistro mixes are all natural, no added fillers or preservatives. They have about half a dozen different recipes to add variety to your birds diet. Prices are reasonable. When I first checked out their page, I was thinking their mixes were a bit pricey, but when I started to price out my own grocery list when I buy products to make my own recipe, I realized how reasonable their prices are.

I started with the Parrot Food Sample Pack. Knowing Hector isn’t a big fan of beans, I asked if I could swap out the Cajun Bean Feast flavor, and received their AppleBerry flavor instead. Different formulas need to cook for different amounts of time, but it seems that all can be done in about 20 minutes, and some take much less time.

Knowing that Hector LOVES cinnamon, CinnaSpice Delight was the first flavor I tried. Making this food could not have been any easier. I simply added water and some of the dry mix to a pot, brought it to a bowl, covered it, and let it simmer for 15 minutes. The whole house smelled so good while it was cooking! `The ingredients are wonderful, rice, millet, split peas, barley, couscous, currants, carrots, oats, barley, apples, etc. I love the different grains included in this mix.

After cooking, I let it cool to room temperature, then watched Hector devour it. Since Hector is already eating a similar, homemade version of this food, she had no trouble converting to it all all. I had some of my homemade food available, so I could mix the two foods if needed, but Hector was happy with the new food right away.

For birds that are converting from a different diet, they may need a little encouragement to eat a food like this. It took me MONTHS to get Hector to eat my homemade mash when I first started out with it. Patience is key with parrots. Don’t give up, be persistent, eventually they will give it a try.  Don’t stress over wasted food. I always used to remind myself that the cost of vet bills for bad diet in the future would be WAY more than the cost of the food Hector was wasting. There are tips on the back of the bags to help get you started.

The next flavor I tried was the Southern Feast. My favorite part of this one is that it cooks in 3 minutes! Just add the mix to boiling water, stir for 30 seconds and remove from the heat and let sit. Hector also approves of this flavor. This one has couscous, wheat, millet, oats, carrots, peppers, quinoa, almonds parsley, cayenne pepper, basil, cumin, and kelp.

Mixing up one batch of Bird Street Bistro according to their directions gives me about a mason jar full of food, plus another meal. It works out well for me to make it, feed Hector, then store the mason jar of food in the fridge and I have fresh food for 4-5 days.

Instead of Hector having to eat the same batch of food for a month plus, now I can switch up flavors for her every time I make a batch, so she is getting a new flavor every few days. Bird Street Bistro comes in resealable bags, so I can make a batch, then I just put the rest of the dry mix into the freezer for storage. It’s so convenient! I also like that I have less stuff in my freezer since I don’t have a month’s worth of mason jars, I just have a bag of Bird Street Bistro, and the fresh mix in the fridge.

I will be trying the other flavors soon, and I expect that I will definitely be ordering more. With a product like this on the market, I see no reason to go through the time and hassle of making my own food.

The only negative I have about this product, is the veggie content. I feel that my homemade blends contain more veggies than Bird Street Bistro blends that I have tried so far, but it is hard to tell by looking. My homemade blends had bigger pieces of veggies for sure, but I’m wondering if Hector will actually eat more veggies with the new blend because she can’t pick them out. I’ve always supplemented Hector with fresh veggies on top of her homemade mix, so I will continue to do that while using Bird Street Bistro. I also need to check out their Viva La Veggies flavor and the Hearty Veggies. I have Viva La Veggies, but haven’t made it yet. I’ll also check out the Hearty Veggies next time I need to place an order. Based on the pictures on their website, it looks like both of these flavors have more veggies than the flavors I’ve made so far.

Another thought I had on the veggies was to add another product I use which is a chop from a company called Texas Natural Freeze Dried Products. They make a variety of freeze dried foods for parrots and humans. I like to keep some of their Freeze Dried Chop on hand for a quick breakfast for Hector if I forget to make or defrost her normal food. Their chop is a great product that contains a ton of veggies: kale, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, sweet peppers, yellow squash, red cabbage, apples, and strawberries. I can easily add a bit of this freeze dried mix to the Bird Street Bistro if I want to add some extra veggies to the mix.

I’m really excited about Bird Street Bistro foods. In the long run, it will save me time and money. I’m impressed with the high quality ingredients and the ease of use. I like the convenience of making up a batch that lasts a few days. I like the variety of grains in the product which not only help balance the birds diet, but also give it different shapes and textures to pick out of the food. Something I know Hector enjoys.

I know a lot of people think of birds and think they eat seeds. In the research I’ve done, I’ve grown to believe that seeds are not a healthy diet for captive birds. They are too high in fat and can cause liver disease and other problems later in life. Hector doesn’t eat seeds. She does get sunflower seeds as a very rare treat, but never as part of her regular diet. Mostly for treats she gets almonds(in the shell), cucumber slices, sometimes a whole grain, unsalted cracker with a little bit of almond butter, carrots, peppers, etc.

 

 

Review: Stella & Chewy’s Surf ‘n Turf Dinner Patties

Hector Supervising While I Write
Hector – She has nothing to do with today’s article other than she is hanging out with me while I’m writing it!

What do you do with your pets when you travel? For me, the dog goes to a friend’s house. The cats, parrot, and dragon stay home with daily visits from a pet sitter. I like to make things as simple and easy as possible for everyone that helps out with my pets.

For the dog, that means making feeding time as simple as possible. At home, Cali gets a spoonful of canned food mixed with some dry food. This works for the pet sitter, of course, but it’s a bit of a pain for her to have to keep canned food in the fridge, measure everything out, and mix it up. I started making mason jars with the food all set and she just had to put it in a bowl, but the jars had to be refrigerated because of the canned food, another hassle.

For my last two trips, I discovered Stella & Chewy’s Dinner Patties, and they are exactly what I needed. The patties are freeze-dried raw, and grain-free. At the advice of my vet, I don’t prefer a fully grain-free diet, but I feed a dry food that has grain along with these patties to balance it out. Since they are freeze-dried, they are shelf stable.

With the Stella & Chewy’s patties, I can make up mason jars, pre-measured for each meal. They don’t need to be refrigerated, and all my pet sitter has to do is add water, shake, and pour in a bowl. Super easy and convenient!

 

What do I like about this product? The convenience is definitely what brought me to this product, but I’m also really impressed with the quality. These dinner patties are offered in 13 different varieties. I chose the Surf ‘N Turf variety with Beef and Salmon. Cali has allergies, so I find that fish based foods help her with her itchiness. The ingredients in this food are impressive: the first ingredient is beef, and the second  is whole ground salmon. Each bag contains 14 ounces which lasts me a LONG time with one 10 pound dog.

 

Recommended feeding is 3 1/2 patties per day for a dog Cali’s size, but I supplement with regular dry food. For this last trip, Cali was fed 1/2 of a patty, plus a handful of her regular Halo Salmon dry dog food per meal, two meals per day. Two weeks of travel meals and I still have almost half a bag of the Stella & Chewy’s left over. One bag is priced at about $29.99.

If you are interested in a convenient raw diet, or if you want to do what I do and supplement some raw foods, I definitely recommend this product.

 

Pros: Convenient, Easy to Use, Good Ingredients, Raw food, Versatile (can be used as is or rehydrated,) Liked by my picky eater, great variety of flavors

Cons:  I don’t have any real complaints about this product. It is a bit pricey, but all high quality foods are. I don’t like that it is Grain-Free, but that is a Pro to others.

 

 

PetSafe Drinking Fountains

Do you use a Pet Fountain for your dog or cat? I started using one a few years ago, and I won’t ever go back to a regular water bowl, especially for my cats.

Bean loves the Fountain!


Years ago, I lost a cat to kidney disease. My vet told me it was very common because most cats don’t drink enough water. I switched to a diet of canned and dry food for my cats so they would get that little bit of extra moisture from the canned food, and I switched to a fountain.

I have two PetSafe fountains that I switch between. One is the Drinkwell Seascape Fountain, shown above with Bean, and the other is the Drinkwell, 2 gallon model. 

PetSafe 2 Gallon

Both fountains work great. I actually use them both and switch off between them. They both work in essentially the same way, they have a filter which circulates the water from the bowl, and then spits it out through the fountain. The 2 gallon model has a spout for the water to come out of, and the Seascape model uses a large ceramic globe or ball that the water comes out of the top and pours down over the sides.  I like to switch between the two fountains to keep the cats interest up. They seem to really like to lick the water off the ceramic globe of the Seascape, but they also enjoying playing with the water from the spout on the two gallon model.

Maintenance is easy. Each fountain contains a foam filter and a carbon filter. It takes me maybe ten minutes total for a thorough cleaning. The process is very similar for both. The foam filter fits around the pump and collects larger debris such as cat hair, and the carbon filter freshens the water. I clean my fountain about once every ten days, and usually change the carbon filter every time. There are times I’ve rinsed the filter and it has looked OK, so I’ve used it for a second cycle. The foam filter is very easy to rinse and reuse. I probably only change my foam filter once every three months. Both types of filters are easily and inexpensively available on Amazon. Here’s the insides of the Seascape fountain:

Seascape Fountain – foam filter and pump
Carbon filter and housing
Carbon filter assembled and attached to foam filter and pump
Ready to add the globe

The Two Gallon fountain is similar inside:

 

 

Pump and foam filter

 

Carbon filter and water intake

 

Housing goes over the pump and filters – the lever in the middle adjusts water flow
Cap covers the tower

The Seascape is slightly easier to clean, simply because of the material it is made from. We have lots of minerals in our water and they build up quickly on surfaces. I find it easier to clean the ceramic bowl of the Seascape than the plastic of the other fountain. As you can see in the picture above, I definitely get some mineral residue.

During the week, I simply add fresh water to the bowl as the level depletes. The nice thing about the plastic fountain is the bigger capacity. The Seascape fountain holds about 70 ounces, while the other, holds about 2 gallons. I’ve got three cats and a small dog, so the capacity of the Seascape works for me. I don’t mind refilling it daily. When I had my yellow lab, it was definitely helpful to have the larger fountain, and even then, I put out a large water bowl along with the fountain in summer because he would go through a lot of water. Honestly, I found my Lab preferred to just drink out of a bowl most of the time. The cats always seem to prefer the moving water from the fountain.

Aesthetically, I like the look of the Seascape better. The ceramic feels more finished. I also prefer the spherical design of the Seascape better than the spout design of the two gallon model.

Another small detail I like better about the Seascape model is that it is easier to pick up. The two gallon model has straight sides that go right to the floor, so it is harder to get a finger under it to lift it, and the sides are straight. The Seascape is a bit curved at the top of the bowl, so it is easy to pick up. It also feels sturdier than the plastic fountain when I have to move it with water in it.

Overall, I think they are both great fountains. If I had to chose only one, I would chose the Seascape because the capacity is enough for me, and I like the look of it, but if you need the bigger capacity, the Two gallon works just great.

Do you use a fountain for your pets? What features do you like? You can check out these two fountains at www.petsafe.com or look for them on Amazon.