Tuesday, November 25, 2008

21st Century Technology Meets Kitty Litter

Things sure have evolved over the year in dealing with the dirty, unspoken matters connected with cat ownership. We all know that with pets, as with any creature, input = outgo. Back in the day, a cat did his business outside. Heat, cold, rain, snow – “Gotta go? Out ya go!" *boot* Never mind the neighbor really resented the "bonus gifts" amongst his flowerbeds, it was a call of nature, after all!

After a while, someone invented the cat box and, nature abhorring a vacuum, the 10-pound bags of chopped clay aka "cat litter" to fill it. Then, simple clay not being quite enough for the upwardly mobile feline, you started seeing varieties of cat litter, like "Multi-cat" and "Fast Odor Control" and so forth. Then came "clumping litter," where your cat could use the same stuff for months (oh pul-lease!) if you removed the solid bits. Then it was the clay or clumping stuff with extra-special additives, like enzymes, vitamins, booster packs, or sparkly crystals that, when a paw hit them, released a cloud of Eau de Rose Petals.

The latest in the matter of Dealing with the Unmentionable is the kitty restroom facility, like Littermaid, the Self-Cleaning Cat Box, or the ScoopFree System. The latter has the advantages of offering automatic poop scooping and attractive blue sparkly crystals! Your kitty does his/her thing and the machine takes care of the rest. Everything *ahem* is raked, removed, stored, and conveniently disposed of on waste pick-up day.

So help me, I was going to go with the traditional clay litter box, but this geek has a family with a similar level of geekiness, and that seemed to require we get the fully automated, crystal-enhanced, you poop/we rake ScoopFree system. Winston and Franklin, coming from a more-sane and less-geekly household, were quite off-put by the whole operation. Not content with a mere inch of sand—albeit with sparkly crystals—they attempted to excavate to China by defiantly digging through the outer tray. “Motorized cleanup? Who does that!?” they asked, as they eyed the rake machine and tried to figure out how to pounce upon and silence the ravaging beast.

At this point, The Boyz have become reconciled to the whole unseemly experience. But underneath it all, I suspect they’d easily give up 21st Century technology in exchange for having a go at the neighbor’s rose garden. :)

Kitty Tip: ScoopFree(tm)? I'm waiting for scientists to develop the best in genetic engineering: the PoopFree(tm) kitten!


At November 26, 2008 at 10:28 PM , Anonymous Alicia said...

You have taken away the fun part of using a litter box from them (the tossing of sand around the room bit).

At November 29, 2008 at 6:05 PM , Blogger Gaile Gray said...

Oh, no. Despite the special textured matching carpet, the colour-coordinated "hood," and the crystal-capturing "ramp," they're still able to do their fair share of room decoration. :)

At December 1, 2008 at 12:47 AM , Anonymous Lady Rhonwyn said...

I had one of those "modern" cat litter fillings once. Nice (big) round thingies which would absorp everything very well and would make nice big clumps. Poes never wanted the stuff (he just ignored the whole litter box), so I had a bag left. I decided to use it a few months ago (having other cats, who might not be so fussy about it). Never again will I use it! I found it all over the house, as those "balls" (for lack of a better word) were very good to play with....

In the end, my cats get a very fine grained clay filled litter box (almost sand), where they can dig whatever they want and they even have a mat in front of the litter box so they can even take the clay outside :D

At December 1, 2008 at 11:34 AM , Blogger Gaile Gray said...

Oh my, the visuals there! *snicker* In my mind's eye, I am visualizing one kitty calling out "Play ball!" as another prepares to lob "a little something" across the room. ;)

At December 8, 2008 at 6:48 AM , Blogger K said...

Both my sisters have multiple cats, and both use the corn-based World's Best Cat Litter. I've heard excellent things about Swheat Scoop, too. Both are clumping litters, with very low dust. If you have anyone in the house with allergies, low dust is important. Both litters last longer than clay. Additionally, since cats always ingest litter as a result of cleaning their paws after a trip to the litter box, the added benefit is that neither of these litters will produce the silica associated with clay litter, so your cats' lungs and digestive system will be healthier as a result. The silica isn't so great for you to breathe, either, while you're cleaning the litter box.

I've heard that cats can be trained to use the toilet, though I've never seen one who has been so trained and I'm not sure of the process. I imagine it might be a bit disconcerting to be a guest in the house and discover the toilet after the cat's been, lol!

At December 8, 2008 at 10:52 AM , Blogger Gaile Gray said...

Interesting info, K. Both of those products certainly seem to have advantages. The one thing I have a concern about is using foodstuffs for kitty doodies. I've seen the price of corn rise due to ethanol and biodiesel and I'd hate to pay more for tamales (corn masa) or bread or crackers (wheat) due to product being rerouted into non-food items. On the other hand, I guess clay isn't, technically speaking, a renewable resource and perhaps the wheat chaff and the corn husks are what make up the litter, in which case "Hooray for recycling!"


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