Litter Tales

Filed Under: CatsPet Products

Its amazing how much of my day is involved in discussing animals bodily functions, especially the nastier ones.  Its all part of life, and having a solution to deal with these matters that is better for customer and pet is part of the job.


Aja here has a t-shirt that says “Real friends poop outside”.  Love that shirt, and the sentiment that makes most dogs a lot easier to deal with, from a waste disposal point of view. 


Cats, on the other hand, can be a lot more of a challenge.  Very few go out for walks on a leash, or poop out in the backyard as we are not allowed to let them roam free in our fair city.  So its a litter box for most of our feline companions.


Choosing a litter box can be simple or complex, depending on how much technology or innovation you want to embrace.  You can find everything from disposable cardboard boxes that just get thrown away when full (expensive and environmentally unfriendly) to motorized self scooping units that actually grind up the feces and pump them to the toilet, and then wash the plastic pellet litter (expensive but quite the conversation piece).  There are even kits to train your cat to use the same toilet we use.  Sounds incredible, but many people have accomplished the feat.  Getting them to flush afterwards, well, we can dream, right?


Most people fall into the middle of those options, and while most use a conventional clumping or non clumping clay litter, there are a lot of new options available that address the environmental issues or saving time.  Even within each type of litter, there are some that work better than others.  Getting a recommendation from a knowledgeable source is usually the best guidance, but trial and error can work too.


Cats present us with two different products to deal with, one liquid and one solid.  They both have different challenges, and some types of litters address one better than the other. 


Liquid waste can be removed from the box if your litter clumps, otherwise it is either absorbed and retained or absorbed and evaporated.  Clumping litter is inexpensive, but requires daily maintenance.  Non clumping doesn’t require daily maintenance, but will require regular disposal of the entire contents of the box.  It is cheap per pound, but you use a lot of it.  Wood pellets, newspaper pellets, bamboo or even wheat/corn pellets or granules work the same as a non clumping, a little more environmentally friendly, but can be a lot more expensive.  Lastly, there is the silica gel litter.  The good ones soak up the urine, and evaporates off the water, locking behind the odour.


Solid waste can be scooped out of any box, and disposed of.  The silica gel has an added feature of being a dessicant, which means it removes the water from waste, and in doing so, reduces the “steam” coming off that we smell.  It is pretty amazing how well it works, I’ve been using it for years, and recently added a new type of litter box from Cateco that has a screen bottom that lets litter work even better. 


The actual box can come in many different shapes and sizes.  From a simple box, to ones with high sides, covers (with or without a door), or even a top that the cat enters through to eliminate scattering litter, you can find one that fits your needs and space.  There are even fancy, futuristic litter domes, and furniture pieces that house a litter box out of sight. 


Just like the saying goes, there is more than one way to skin a cat, and there is more than one way to take care of their bathroom needs.

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