Littering

Those of you who don’t have cats can probably skip this post. Unless you like theoretical problems in waste disposal, you’re probably better off leaving this one to those with practical experience.

As you might expect, with nine cats–counting MM–and eight litter boxes, we go through a lot of litter.

The catio box gets the old standby, clay-based litter. Not because it’s cheap, although it is, but because the box and the storage cabinet are outside. See, the clay stuff comes in a plastic jug, which keeps it dry even in wet weather. Handy. It clumps fairly well, making scooping the box simpler, and most importantly, MM is comfortable using it.

Matters aren’t so clear-cut indoors.

We used to use corn-based litter, either World’s Best or Pet Food Express’ house brand equivalent. It has advantages over clay. It clumps better and produces less dust.

On the down side, it’s not so great on odor control–a major consideration for us–though no worse than clay. And it’s getting more expensive and harder to find. WB raised its prices recently, and the PFE “Smart Litter” has vanished from the stores.

One might have expected the opposite, given what the current trade war with China has done to the price and availability of corn. But history shows that logic bears only a passing relationship to economics.

But I digress.

Lately we’ve been trying Nature’s Miracle. It’s also corn-based, though the packaging emphasizes that it uses corn cobs, rather than dried kernels. It’s loaded with “bioenzymes” (type not specified) and judging by the scent, a certain amount of evergreen wood.

The piney scent does help with odor control. The biggest problem with the NM is that the particles are smaller than the other varieties we’ve tried. Smaller pieces means more mobility, i.e. more litter migrating out of the box. That’s annoying but manageable: the stuff does vacuum up easily. What makes it a problem is that the litter doesn’t clump well–or rather, the clumps tend to fall apart during scooping. So used litter accumulates in the box, migrates out of the box, and makes the nearby floor unpleasant for humans and felines.

We’ve had some luck mixing litters. Get the proportions right and you wind up with the best of both worlds: good clumping and good odor control. Unfortunately, figuring out the correct ratio and thoroughly mixing the hybrid litter are non-trivial problems. Get the balance wrong or fail to properly integrate the two types, and you get non-clumping litter that doesn’t do diddly to suppress odors.

We can’t be the only people facing this dilemma.

Any feline caretakers out there who’d like to offer advice? We’d love to hear what varieties of litter work well or what tricks you use to improve the performance of what comes out of the bag.

Boxed

Did you know that rabbits are susceptible to Maru’s Syndrome?
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“If it fits, I sits,” indeed. There were several bunnies at the county fair who had more extreme cases of the disease, but this one was the cutest.

Speaking of boxes, I went to clean the litter boxes a few days ago and discovered that someone had left a message.
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That’s not a casual comment or accident. The scoop normally lies on the artificial grass mat visible at the lower left. Whoever it was had to pick it up and carry it into the box.

And no, I don’t think the message was that the box needed cleaning. Despite what it looks like in this picture, it actually had less mess in it than usual.

Nor has the message been repeated. Maybe it was just “I’m bored and this looks like a toy.”

I don’t know who left the message either, but odds are good that it was one of these guys.
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They may look cute and innocent when they’re curled up on the bed together, but I’m fairly sure that the more innocent they look, the more likely they are to be plotting some fresh deviltry.

And, speaking of deviltry, Sachiko wanted to know when I was going to put her on the blog again.
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Never let it be said that I gave her an excuse to bury the litter box scoop. Not that she’d need an excuse if she thought of it.