Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Litter Box Affair

There is always an Affair in the Litter Box

There are many ways one can approach the litter box duties. Some leave it filled to the brim with litter and then dig around with a scoop looking for "treasure," others try to teach the feline better manners with toilet bowl training. I admit that each approach has its merits and suit various lifestyles of the humin folk and there are many variables involved. Today I want to share my own approach, which may inspire you to invent your own!

I decided on the most basic litter box there was - initially due to the cost (being on a modest student budget I was in no position to experiment), but I have slowly discovered other benefits that came along. This has lent itself to a nice simple system.

A while back, growing up in a third world country with no notion of fancy litters, boxes and odor absorbtion, we made do with what was around. That was sand and newspapers. Living in an apartment building made it difficult to have access to ample amounts of sand and it was stored in a bucket sand toy and used rather scarcely in combination with patiently ripped paper. Naturally this made the litter box (old fridge drawer) a single-use only - hey, nobody said living with a cat is easy!

This past experience has taught me a few valuable things. Aside from always being on the lookout for things that could have a second life, I realized that kitties don't need a lot of stuff in their box and they are quite content as long as there is something that feels like you can dig into.

The upside of this is that I get to save a lot of money. To compare, you should be filming the litter box to at least 2" deep and clean it out completely every week or so to prevent foul odor and bacteria. Instead I use about a handful per day, which translates to those 2" in well over a month!

The downside is the obvious inconvenience of having to clean the litter box twice a day. But even though those 10-15 minutes in the morning I could spend sleeping, one must remember that this helps prevents the spread of bacteria. I flush the dirty litter down the toilet - hence the biodegradable, flushable, natural litter - and use the water to wash everything out. I even have my little brush to make sure nothing sticks. Just imagine going to un-flushed washroom - I couldn't let my sweetie live like that. And another benefit of changing the litter is not only the bacteria that accumulates but also smell - even though the pieces clump, thrown out, the ones that remain do absorb the smell (hence the need to clean it all out every now and then).

As I post my future reviews on various litter brands I try out when my stock of the favourite runs out, it is important to remember that everyone has their own way of dealing with the smelly mess and thus various litters will have benefits in different situations.

Have your own litter story? Drop the word in the comments!

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