Sunday, March 13, 2011

Adventures In Litter Box Maintenance: A Litter Saving Tutorial

Jasper Gaius
I doubt anyone cares, but I have come up with a litter box system that I am fairly happy with, and thought I would share. I am currently using Yesterday's News litter (there are currently BOGO stickers on most bags) save one box, where I am testing out the Tidy Cat Breeze Cat Litter Pellets. The system I devised is actually quite similar to the Breeze system, so when I saw it at the pet store, I thought I'd give the litter a go (I'll do a full review, eventually). 

I started using newspaper based litter, because I am allergic to pine*, I wanted a non-clay litter, I am an occasional environmentalist, and I prefer pellet litters. Now, there are many things I do that are not recommended by litter companies, or people in general, really. I flush cat poo. There are many reasons people will tell you not to do this, but I have weighed them, and am okay with my decision. In short, I use pellet litter, so am only smallounts of the litter go into the toilet, my cats are indoor only cats, and from the reading I have done on Toxoplasma gondii, it is nearly impossible that my cats are carriers, and I doubt very seriously that flushed cat feces is killing otters, and that large feral cat populations are far more likely to be the culprit.  

Also, I compost used cat litter, not the solid waste, just urine. I really don't understand the arguments against this, but if you find it icky, or if you compost in a program that forbids it, don't do it. With all of the animals that I'm sure will directly pee on my plants, I'm not concerned. 

That said, here is the box set up I'm currently using for most of my litter boxes, and what I  hope to have them all switched to in the near future. I start with two of the same litter boxes or plastic storage containers. I then drill several holes, about the diameter of the litter pellets, in one of the boxes. I place a cloth diaper (the kind that are actually meant to be used as diapers) in the un-drilled (bottom) box. Then, I put the holy box on top and add litter. I am able to scoop out solids, while most of the urine flows to the bottom box and is absorbed by the diaper, which is changed out daily when I scoop. Any used litter will disintegrate, and, ideally, fall through the holes with some shaking-- think panning for gold. I haven't perfected this yet, mostly because I forget to shake it out every day, and the accumulated litter becomes difficult to move through the holes. Still, the double decker boxes need changed out about half as often as the other boxes. 

Also, I clean the boxes by soaking them in a vinegar solution. I don't use bleach for anything, because I enjoy breathing and it makes that difficult for me. I will not think less of you if you use bleach, not that you should care what I think of you anyway. No matter how you clean and disinfect your litter boxes, please rinse them thoroughly for your cat's safety. They are very sensitive little critters. 

* When I got Jasper, I bought a bag of Feline Pine litter. I don't want to admit how long it took me to figure out that my increased allergy suffering was tied to the litter. 

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