When you are a cat owner, you have two major hurdles in your life. One is the litter box, the other is the joy of shared pet hair! Here are a few tips to help with both concerns, based upon years of life with cats. This issue will mainly deal with…
Litter boxes are a necessity. Whether you live in Vegas, like we do, or you live elsewhere in the world, it’s a fact of life, and a not-so-pleasant fact for many of us. Those of us blessed with more than one furry “child” have even more delightful adventures.
Litter box woes may include issues such as dust and tracked litter, odor, whether to scoop or discard and cats who think outside the box.
Dust and tracked litter can partially be eliminated by using silica or wood shavings/natural litter. This helps keep tracking from taking place. Having a litter box “mat” underneath can help as well, since the problem is mostly caused by cats leaping from the box or shaking off the excess after they land. This can be as simple as a “welcome” mat that extends past the length of the box, to a more plush plastic bath mat that will trap some of the debris. Dust happens, and the best you can do is have a small dustpan and brush available to sweep it up. Having the box in a partially enclosed space, such as a space under a bathroom counter, can also help, since there will be less scatter.
As long as we have kept domesticated cats, odor has been an issue. There are many good litters available at your local supermarket or pet store that help with odor for “multiple cats.” Changing litter or scooping more frequently, or using a good “sifting” litter bag can also help. A light layer of baking soda underneath litter can also help soak up some of the more objectionable scents, tho you may get a bit of tracking if your cat is an energetic “scratcher,” “Stones” are also available that are supposedly good at soaking up odor. I haven’t tried this product, so I can’t comment on it. But I do know of many people who have trained their cats to “go” on the toilet, and even have the cats “flush” after themselves.This would be the ultimate solution! (Just watch out that your dog doesn’t “flush” the toilet for them at the wrong time, like Irecently saw in a cartoon!)
Whether to scoop or discard has been a debate for years. So many people prefer the convenience of simply packing up the whole pan liner and disposing of it a couple of times a week. Others prefer to use a scoop to get rid of the solid waste and simply refill the box as supply gets low. We discovered the “sifting bag” a couple of months ago (after having been confirmed “disposers” for years) and haven’t looked back since! It’s a matter of minutes to gently shake out the loose litter before stuffing the sifting liner into a grocery bag and disposing of it. We probably add a partial container of clumpiing litter every couple of changes, and also have two bottom bags under all the sifting ones, so we can lift everything up and place the clean litter that seeps through back into the top sifting bag for our cats to reuse. We find this costs far less than constantly purchasing new clay litter, and the bags themselves cost less than $4 for 10 sifting bags and 1 regular bottom bag. Our cats took right to it, and have started “telling us” when things start getting a little crowded in the box. Clean up has been a breeze since we started using this sort of product and it far less affects my allergies.
Elimination outside the litter box: when kitty “thinks outside the box,” it may be time for a medical exam. If there have been no considerable life changes – moving, a new arrival, a new pet, guests, stress, changing placement of or a new box, or new litter that cats may not like – then the problem could be medical rather than emotional. Our cat had a urinary tract infection which we didn’t discover until she was producing pink spots and straining on the living room carpet! Watch your cat for cues and act accordingly. Don’t wait as long as we did!
For a different kind of “cat in the box,” please take a look at the following hilarious “Simon’s Cat in the Box” video from YouTube. I am sure we can all identify! http://youtu.be/EKvNqe8cKU4
The next article will deal with the issue of shedding.