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Cats and Litter Boxes
Old 08-20-2007, 10:30 AM   #1
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Cats and Litter Boxes

As some of you know I lost my Lab the middle of June to cancer, neither DH or I want another dog right away, the scars are too fresh but the house seemed very empty. We discussed the situation and agreed on the possibility of a kitten to fill that void. Our rational was a cat would be a little easier for my parents and sister to take care for while we are on vacation. Rabbits and ferrets were discussed but quickly dismissed by dh.

Dh found an ad in the paper for the local feline rescue, they hold adoption nights at two local pet supply stores on Thursdays. He will forever regret showing me that advertisement. When I left the pet supply store it was with not one kitten but two brothers, one black and white short hair domestic and a long hair tiger, both are about 4 months old now, all shots, debugged and neutered. I didn't intend on adopting two but they really didn't want one to go without the other, translation - they saw a sucker and took advantage of it LOL. The one I picked (Dillon) was very friendly as all black and whites usually are, his brother (Jake) on the other hand was very shy and didn't quite know what humans were all about. Both of these little boys were trapped ferals and only in captivity for two weeks before they went home with me.

I spent the next week befriending Jake and making him feel comfortable, I'm happy to say he's done exceptionally well and in some ways has become more friendly than his brother Dillon. The two different personalities are very obvious, Dillon is the one that gets into everything, he is afraid of nothing including the vacuum, actually climbed in the fridge yesterday while my back was turned. Dillon is also more vocal, lets you know when he's hungry, will greet you with meows and other sounds. Jake is curious but also standoffish, while Dillon will chase his own tail Jake stands there watching with that "I can't believe you're doing that" look on his face, very aloof. Jake very seldom meows but does purr when patted, I'm guessing he's letting his brother do the talking for him.

Now comes the part I didn't think too much about...... cleaning the litter box....UGH!! After about two weeks of 2+ times a day cleaning I decided there MUST be a better way so I started researching litter and automatic litter boxes. In my search I found this forum Automatic Litterbox Central • Index page as well as going through customer reviews on Amazon and other sites.

What I found was a lot of products out there that just don't work, cats won't use, that break after 3 to 4 months or on going costs are outrageous. The two that most people like are the Litter Robot or the Cat Genie, the LR was too big for my home and I didn't like some of the problems encountered with it. The Cat Genie would be great but again the space needed just isn't there and this one also has issues. Along with the performance issues is the cost, both the LR and CG run in the $300 area with the CG needing cartridge replacements once a month or more.

The one I decided on is the Petsafe Simply Clean ( PetSafe® Official Website - Pet Containment Systems - Radio Fence and Other Pet Safety Products ), only $96 on Ebay, a little more at Amazon. This is a newer product but seems to be gathering a loyal following including me.

In a nutshell this unit cleans continuously, the waste is sifted out and travels up a conveyor to a bucket which you line with old grocery store bags. The box is turned by a gear reduction motor which takes an hour for one complete rotation. The cats are not supposed to notice the movement, as of yet mine don't seem to care.

I've had this unit 2 weeks now, the adjustment period was just a weekend, I probably could have switched it out immediately but I didn't want to take the chance of them getting upset and going somewhere else in the house. I put the unit on a timer to run 3 times a day but if I see it needs cleaning I can over ride the timer. I'm using Worlds Best Cat Litter which seems to work just fine and fits my natural product issues. The fact that I haven't had to fish through cat litter for the past two weeks is making me very happy, the fact that it's always clean is making dh VERY happy. Is this litter box perfect? No, it would be nice if there was a dome or higher sides to keep the litter IN the box (both boys are diggers). There are two sensors the forum posters suggest be disabled and I soon found out why and have made those adjustments. Sometimes litter gets between the box and the base which makes a grinding noise, that hasn't happened yet, taking the box a part (two screws) and cleaning between the base and the box solves this issue. It's also easy to take disassemble for cleaning with just the two screws to deal with.

Even with the little issues I feel like I can go away and not worry if someone is there to clean the litter box or not. I also feel more comfortable asking my sister to stop in every other day to change the bag and add litter if needed but it could be left for 3 to 4 days easily. The cost was reasonable and with no on going purchases, other than litter, which is a big plus. The boys like it, I'm lovin it and dh thinks it's hysterical. Whodda thought one could get so excited about a litter box.

Carolyn
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Old 08-20-2007, 10:41 AM   #2
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A friend of mine with two cats has an automatic cleaning litter box. Hers has a motor than runs a few minutes after the cats leave the box. When the motor starts running one of the cats always darts over and watches the box do its cleaning thing. Weird.

One other thing they got when their kittens were young was a couple of those big scratching towers. The cats like it and it saves their furniture.
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:24 AM   #3
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If the boys notice it going they'll sit and watch but then get bored and go off to destroy one of my plants or drag the scatter rugs around the house. I have the scratching post and so far so good.
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:43 AM   #4
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We have 2 cats and one litter box. They wait for us to clean out the lumps then jump in and do their thing. Never gone with automatic though.
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:44 AM   #5
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Congrats on your two new charges! That is awesome! DH trapped two tiny kittens yesterday that he's been feeding for a week up by the "big road". I have to set the trap for him though, to what I call tiny kitten sensitivity--if he does it, they go in, eat the deli turkey, and stroll back out without tripping the door! We've got them in the bathroom for now, the solid black friendly and purring, the b/w is like keeping a tiny angry jaguar!

You will be very glad you got two. They will entertain each other and you won't feel so guilty when you go out of town, since they still have company. I love the newfangled litter box--thank goodness for my five, wait, no, seven, cats that we have a great big safe yard for them and don't have to use the boxes except for emergencies!

Good job on the new kitties!

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Old 08-20-2007, 02:01 PM   #6
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We have 2 cats and one litter box. They wait for us to clean out the lumps then jump in and do their thing. Never gone with automatic though.
Same deal here - it's like they thought we were hiding surprise gifts for them to dig up and find - shoot - they left stuff for us....

Was very happy when our old indoor grandma kitty went off to cat heaven and we could retire the litter box. I expect younger cats to exercise bladder control. Grannycat wanted to be good about that, but she was of an age that a box was real necessary.

"Cats don't have owners - they have staff".
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Old 08-20-2007, 02:51 PM   #7
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Another way of doing it that requires so much less cleaning is to slip the whole box inside a big trash bag. We use two bags. Put in the sand. Clean each day and add sand as necessary. When time to clean the whole thing, just slide the bag inside out and voila, clean pan and all sand inside the bag ready for the garbage. We usually clean the box with bleach twice per year but otherwise aok.

We have five cats. One that is the size of a big beagle and one boy who pees standing up so we use two big Rubbermaid containers as cat pans.

Another thing is to use premium cat sand. We always used Sams Club until we found white dust on everything. Now we use Tidy Cat Scoop for multiple cats for the big containers and the Small Spaces for the one upstairs. No smells the way we are doing it.
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Old 08-20-2007, 03:26 PM   #8
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We have three cats (lucky us). We have used litter maid for years. So long as you do not over fill them with cat sand and keep them clean you should have no problems. I know some people say they fall apart after a few months but I have had mine for several years.
A little preventive maintenance like taking them outside and hosing them off and brushing out the area near the motor keeps them running fine. Remember, cat sand can gunk up the works ( it does clump) so you have to make sure the mechanism is kept clear.

Another product is Zero oder, you can order this from their website. It is the best stuff out for eliminating pet orders. With three cats we do not want our home smelling.........well you know.

I have a box for each cat. No, they go where they choose but they always have a place to go that is easy to get to. We have found that hiding them in utility closets, mudroom and the like keeps them out of the way. I have a carry all to keep all on my supplies together when I have to preform "duty patrol" and I use disposable gloves. I find that if you put the litter maid containers in a plastic shopping bag before disposal in the trash you do not have to worry about the containers opening up. Hope this information helps.
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Old 08-21-2007, 10:04 AM   #9
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Thanks, we are very happy with these two little guys. Hopefully one day we'll want another dog, it should be fun introducing the two boys to a puppy. I wanted to post about the Simply Clean to give another litter box option for us people that want to travel a little. I wish we could let them outside but there is no way to keep them safe and away from the road.

I hope these attachments work
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File Type: jpg dillon.jpg (47.6 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg jake.jpg (73.6 KB, 1 views)
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Old 08-21-2007, 11:44 AM   #10
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What you need is this:
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Old 08-21-2007, 11:47 AM   #11
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Thanks for sharing about the auto-litterbox. I had never really considered one as I thought that it would scare them off, and I don't need that! I may try that, as we don't travel much because of our 4 aging cats. It seems like such an imposition to ask the neighbors to come over and scoop once or twice a day. Our 4 cats seem to really like it clean!

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Old 08-21-2007, 12:33 PM   #12
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Thanks for sharing about the auto-litterbox. I had never really considered one as I thought that it would scare them off, and I don't need that! I may try that, as we don't travel much because of our 4 aging cats. It seems like such an imposition to ask the neighbors to come over and scoop once or twice a day. Our 4 cats seem to really like it clean!

CJ
That was my reason for the auto littter box search, I didn't feel right asking my parents or sister to do that for me and especially with two cats. The dog was easy, feed him, let him out in the back yard, bring him back in, stuff a cookie in his mouth and he was happy.

I'm not getting rid of the manual boxes, I told dh they are the emergency supply, just in case we're away and the other one breaks. I have them stored in the garage along with the generator and extra sump pump.
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Old 08-21-2007, 04:08 PM   #13
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Congratulations on the new members of your family!
I have two tigers...Romeo and Casanova....and I just adopted a third one who is black and white....Shakespeare. All three of them are avide diggers and more than half the time, the litter is out on the floor.
I am going to get the covered ones.....the litter bags are awesome and the Tidy Cats Small Spaces for Multiple cats is phenomenal.
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Old 08-21-2007, 06:50 PM   #14
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Glad you made the leap to get more animals; I got a cat from the SPCA just a few days after losing one, no regrets. Filling the litter box too fast can be a sign of medical problems but probably is not the case for your new fellows. I use the method of scooping the box out once a day, kitty is only nine pounds so deposits are small. She enjoys playing a game with the silver scoop: it reflects the light and she chases after the moving reflections.
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:01 PM   #15
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The avatar is my bad attitude cat (bad catitude) letting me know how he feels about too hot weather and no AC. Tough beans - he's cata non grata in the house due to excessive tagging. To hear him tell it the world would be a better place with no other cats and just enough humans to feed, pet , and listen to him complain. sigh. He has issues.

Those are some fine looking young feline fellers!
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Old 08-22-2007, 05:09 AM   #16
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Hai,

I am Vino. I am Newbie to here.

We have three Cats in my home. I love my pets. I have "PET INSURANCE" to my pets. do you have?



Pet insurance can be availed without having to pay higher monthly installments can be as low as $10 depending on the type of policy and the insurer chosen. Veterinarians say that more than sixty percent of the pet owners make a claim one time per year. Pet health insurance is easy to obtain.The pet owner can meet a licensed vet in order to take advantage of thru policy. There are some problems too in the pet insurance policy. A pet insurance policy will not have coverage for pre-existing conditions.But the company will not reject a dog or cat only because it is old-aged.The policy will be in effect throughout the life span of the dog until and unless the owner wants to cancel the policy.



Are You Safe your Pet Life?

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Old 08-22-2007, 06:19 AM   #17
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Our friends are all surprised at us wanting cats, they thought we were dog people, I keep correcting them saying we are pet people. They all seem to forget that not only did I have a dog but a rescued cockitail that we had for 15 years, I raised zebra finches for a while, I have a betta fish named Blue and a large goldfish named Harry and I fostered a female cockitail for a couple years. Had they known me when I was a kid they would have found that we had horses, goats, ducks, geese, cats, dogs, rabbits, mice, several aquariums, snakes and racoons. The only thing that keeps me in check now is dh or I'd have a house full of animals.


CJ, I thought about training them to use the toilet but with only one bathroom I changed my mind, it's bad enough fighting for the bathroom with dh.

Vino, I wish I'd had insurance for my Lab, we spent more time at the vet with him than any other pet I've had. I don't know about the kittens, I'll have to check when I take them for their last distemper shot Friday.
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Old 08-22-2007, 06:31 AM   #18
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The only thing that keeps me in check now is dh or I'd have a house full of animals.

CJ, I thought about training them to use the toilet but with only one bathroom I changed my mind, it's bad enough fighting for the bathroom with dh.
Outtahere - 2 things: you are right about having a house full of animals - DH keeps me honest there, too. I volunteered at the Humane Society for 4 years, and it's amazing that I didn't end up with more than 4 cats. But after a while you realize that there is no way you can save them all. Ours have the life, but our youngest just turned 10, and I can't imagine what it will be like when they all start to really age.

We think sometimes that we'd like a dog - we both had dogs growing up - but cats are just so much easier. And they do have great personalities! Now with them all getting older and having never lived with a dog, we can't imagine bringing a dog into the mix. The obvious choice would be to adopt a docile, older dog, but I'll have enough geriatric pet problems on my hands soon enough.

And that's our cat Murphy on the toilet. She's actually not potty trained; she had a urinary infection and was having a hard time "going", and tried the bathtub, a sink, and the toilet (bless her heart). The vet gave her an anti-inflammatory and some anitbiotics, and she cleared up quickly and is now back in the litter box (thank goodness!)

Anyway, kudos from me to you, also, for adopting your guys from the shelter!

CJ
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Old 08-24-2007, 01:45 AM   #19
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Awwww...I had a tiger striped orange tabby, which is about so common as you can get, for 17-1/2 years. He truly was the third member of our little family of my son and I.
You cannot imagine how much I miss him to this day, and he has been gone for over 4 years now. He was dying of renal/kidney failure (the most common death to cats), and knew it...and just simply walked off one night to hide and die, I guess.
He was so cool of a cat we could:
Put him on a skateboard and shove it hard enough that it would go to the other end of the living room, which was 25 feet long, with him standing just like he was on a surf board. He loved it, and would only get off when we stopped.
I could put him around my neck like he was a neck scarf and hold on by his paws...and walk even in the yard with him like that. He was just so mellow.
He would sniff every person who came in the house, walk around them a few times...and literally fall--like he had been shot--flopping dramatically straight down on his side. That always was good for a laugh. He was just such a character.
Sure hope you get so much love and pure pleasure from your cats like we did.
I surely miss him alot.... And my macho son insists to this day that I don't say he died...but that he just found another family to live with. Hope yours are so wonderful as our Tigie. Again, sure miss him alot...
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Old 08-24-2007, 02:21 AM   #20
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Awwww...I had a tiger striped orange tabby, which is about so common as you can get, for 17-1/2 years. He truly was the third member of our little family of my son and I.
You cannot imagine how much I miss him to this day, and he has been gone for over 4 years now. He was dying of renal/kidney failure (the most common death to cats), and knew it...and just simply walked off one night to hide and die, I guess.
He was so cool of a cat we could:
Put him on a skateboard and shove it hard enough that it would go to the other end of the living room, which was 25 feet long, with him standing just like he was on a surf board. He loved it, and would only get off when we stopped.
I could put him around my neck like he was a neck scarf and hold on by his paws...and walk even in the yard with him like that. He was just so mellow.
He would sniff every person who came in the house, walk around them a few times...and literally fall--like he had been shot--flopping dramatically straight down on his side. That always was good for a laugh. He was just such a character.
Sure hope you get so much love and pure pleasure from your cats like we did.
I surely miss him alot.... And my macho son insists to this day that I don't say he died...but that he just found another family to live with. Hope yours are so wonderful as our Tigie. Again, sure miss him alot...
Hai,

I am Vino.

Don't Feel Ya. We also Miss my pet "Julie" (Cat). She died Aug-15th. We Miss Her Lot. You Know she is a 5-1/2 Months baby. She is very Knotty Kitten. We Miss Her Lot.......
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