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Old 11-27-2019, 10:36 PM
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Let’s talk kitty litter.


I’m curious what other Dopers do about kitty litter and litter boxes. I have 2 cats and 3 sifting litter boxes. I keep them in the laundry room. I usually use Fresh Step clumping for multiple cats. I got unscented the last time and hated it. It quickly smelled like cat pee.

So what’s your strategy for litter boxes, kitty litter, etc?

I’m also curious if anyone has ever tried one of those self scooping boxes. They’re expensive and don’t seem to get that great of reviews. If they actually worked, I’d fork over the money because I hate sifting the litter.

And now, I’m accordance with the immutable laws of the Straight Dope, here are my cats Boo and Boz. Boo is the black one. https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...ad4dab3892.jpg
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  #2  
Old 11-27-2019, 10:45 PM
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I have 2 cats as well. 3 boxes. My male cat actually uses the toilet in the 1/2 bath downstairs. (Sorry guests, I keep it clean, I swear)
I use the cheapest litter I can find. It all smells bad when over used. I'm kinda anal (heh)about scooping and changing litter. I buy lots of kitty litter. Usually the Walmart brand. I like Tidy cat, original formula, as well. Not a fan of the scented stuff.
People are always surprised I have cats. They ghost guests. No odor is what I aim for.
Good luck.
  #3  
Old 11-27-2019, 11:00 PM
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yes, we used the littermaid boxes and it was expensive because you had to buy the containers special litter and the little scent things for the containers ....

if you leave it where it cleans up after every visit the motor wears out too fast for multiple cats ..but if you just turn it on to clean it once or twice a day it lasts longer

although this was about 15 years ago ... heres their website http://www.littermaid.com/
  #4  
Old 11-27-2019, 11:03 PM
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I have 2 CatGenies (the ones that wash themselves, they need a water hook up and a drain and I seriously love them), a Litter Robot (self cleaning, but you have to remove the bag when it’s full) and 1 regular box with pine pellets. My herd also has access to a cat-proof-fenced yard, about 100 ft x40ft.

The CatGenies have their own permanent litter pellets that get cleaned, they only need to be topped up every 6 mo or so. The Litter Robot uses clumping litter, and my preference is TidyCats unscented. I like the pine pellets for the regular box because I can just scoop the solids, give the rest a stir, and then dump the whole thing when all the pellets are expanded. The pellets absorb the urine and expand, and that dries out the urine so it doesn’t smell at all.

The CatGenies to me are worth every penny, but you do have to set them up carefully. If you ignore the directions about how to set the drain hose you’re going to be unhappy. It’s not hard, it just needs a little rise to it to prevent back flow. The new LitterRobot (it’s my 2nd) is also worth it. It’s quiet, it keep odor down, and it tells you when the drawer is full.


I have 12 house cats, so to me the things are a HUGE benefit. And frankly, now that I’ve had them I would probably still use one kind or another if I only had one or two cats.

https://www.catgenie.com/
https://www.litter-robot.com/
https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/pr...1&cm_vc=-10005

Last edited by saje; 11-27-2019 at 11:08 PM.
  #5  
Old 11-27-2019, 11:10 PM
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I have two cats and three boxes. One box has cheap unscented clay. Another box has "sweatscoop", which is a clumping litter made of wheat. The third is a self-scooping thing with blue crystals.

I would never have gotten the last one, because I'm sort of conservative and I didn't expect it to work and it looks weird. But a friend had Amazon send me a starter kit, and I gave it a try. And my cats love it. Before we used the blue crystals, the third box had "Yesterday's News", a compressed newspaper-based litter.

Here's the stuff my cat's like
https://www.amazon.com/PetSafe-Scoop.../dp/B00JT3XZF6

Ironically, my friend's cats have decided they like clay better.
  #6  
Old 11-27-2019, 11:16 PM
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We have four cats and three boxes. We use the bulk litter they sell at PetSmart and scoop every day. We used to use Swheatscoop, but it was really expensive (we had up to seven cats and six boxes at one time; three have since passed away) and made a ton of dust, so we switched.

I've been happy with the stuff we use now. My only complaint is when the spouse fills it up too far because the stuff is kind of heavy and hard to scoop if it's too deep.
  #7  
Old 11-27-2019, 11:18 PM
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I started using the Breeze system when it was first introduced in the US over a decade ago. I love it and my cats have never avoided the letterbox, not even the ones who switched over mid-life. My current cats have never known anything else, really.
  #8  
Old 11-27-2019, 11:18 PM
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We use Blue Buffalo Naturally Fresh litter, which is made from walnut shells. Pretty much odor-free.
  #9  
Old 11-27-2019, 11:23 PM
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I have two cats and two boxes, and use Tidy Cat multiple cat litter. It works for them.

I DO NOT like clumping litter. It tracks all over the place, even worse than regular litter, and I don't like the smell either. One box is in my bathroom, so I can keep it clean quite easily, and the other is in my second bedroom/storage room and I try to scoop it every day. That one isn't used as much as the "main" one in the bathroom.
  #10  
Old 11-27-2019, 11:46 PM
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I have used LitterMaid for years. It's been a real lifesaver. I also use a ScoopFree automatic box, and I like it even better. It's very quiet, and keeps odor down very well.


I'm curious about the Cat Genie and Litter Robot. I may try the Litter Robot next.
  #11  
Old 11-28-2019, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
I started using the Breeze system when it was first introduced in the US over a decade ago. I love it and my cats have never avoided the letterbox, not even the ones who switched over mid-life. My current cats have never known anything else, really.
Three cats, three Breeze litter boxes. My experience is the same, the cats have never had any problems with it.

Here's my twist on it, though: instead of pellets, I use pinto beans. They are just the right size to fit through the sifting scoop, but big enough that very few get kicked out of the box. Every day I have to pick up maybe five to eight pinto beans off the floor and toss them back in the boxes. That's five to eight beans total, between all three boxes.

The beans do start to get a bit ripe after a while. I replace them every six weeks or so. A 25 pound bag of pinto beans is about $15 at Costco, and is good for two cycles - three months. Way cheaper than the pellets, and cheaper even than kitty litter. I buy the Amazon brand pee pads, which are just as good as the official Breeze pads, but costs like $20 for 40 of them. Which, again, lasts around three months. So, totaling up the cost of the pinto beans and the pads, I'm spending less than I would be on kitty litter.
  #12  
Old 11-28-2019, 01:04 AM
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Two cats, one box( used to have two, but they basically ignored the second one ). I use variants on silica gel, unscented. Because of its efficiency as a desiccant nothing controls odor better IMHO. And I dislike the smell of perfumed litter almost as much as the smell of cat pee.

BUT...I burn through the stuff quickly, because I don't rake and wait for it to saturate as is often recommended with silica litters. I usually use a non-slotted scoop and remove a fair amount of extra litter along with the waste. The rapid turnover keeps the smell down, but it is an admittedly expensive way to go.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 11-28-2019 at 01:05 AM.
  #13  
Old 11-28-2019, 02:30 AM
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We've been using World's Best Cat Litter for eight years or so. Scoop the clumps daily and it doesn't smell too bad, as litters go. We keep the litter box in the basement. I've liked it because it's not dusty, doesn't really track around much, and lasts a long time before it needs changing.

The only bad thing is that I've gotten a couple of batches that had grain weevils, (it's a corn-based litter), and these sex-crazed weevils took over part of the basement.
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Old 11-28-2019, 09:11 AM
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A few years ago I got 3 containers of lightweight litter in return for doing a survey (and getting some bucks as well).

Loved it. Been using lightweight ever since. It makes it so much easier to scoop.

The particular brand I use is Tidy Cat lightweight with the red on the label. ("24/7")
  #15  
Old 11-28-2019, 09:24 AM
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3 cats, 5 boxes--two up in the top-floor bathroom, two in the cats' room also on the top floor, and one downstairs in the corner of the entrance behind the front door. The last is there because, when Charley was a baby she peed in that corner once or twice rather than climb two flights of stairs, and even though it doesn't get used much these days I'd rather keep it there just in case and avoid any unpleasant accidents in the front hall.

I use swheatscoop; it lasts a long time and smells nice... until it doesn't and that's the time to empty the litter box and pour out fresh.
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  #16  
Old 11-28-2019, 09:28 AM
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Three cats and two boxes; we really don't have room for more boxes.
Quote:
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The particular brand I use is Tidy Cat lightweight with the red on the label. ("24/7")
Yeah, Tidy Cat lightweights are great; we typically get the Glade-scented (purple label). Some Arm & Hammer deodorizer mixed in when adding fresh litter keeps odors down.

This scooper makes cleaning the litter much easier and we do a complete change every 30 days or so.

Last edited by Skywatcher; 11-28-2019 at 09:31 AM.
  #17  
Old 11-28-2019, 09:30 AM
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I started using the Breeze system when it was first introduced in the US over a decade ago. I love it and my cats have never avoided the letterbox...
Sorry to hear that. Isn't that were you get your mail? Or do your cats bring it to you?
  #18  
Old 11-28-2019, 09:35 AM
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(Disclaimer: didn't read the whole thread.)

For the first time in 40 years, I have two cats who only go outside-- God bless them! So I only have one box in the house for emergencies.

The BEST cat litter is "The World's Best Cat Litter." Believe me, I've tried them all! This one is made from corn, it clumps, and YOU CAN FLUSH IT. Best to keep the litter box near a toilet. The first clumping litters from 20-ish years ago turned to a slimy concrete ball when wet. TWBCL clumps enough to hold cat pee together and then when you drop it in the toilet, it falls apart into tiny crumbles. Mysterious. I'm not sure if I'd use it with a septic tank. You don't need any deodorizer. It lasts forever and doesn't smell bad, even after a month or so. I used to just top it off and only redo the whole box every few months. Try it. You won't go back.
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Last edited by ThelmaLou; 11-28-2019 at 09:37 AM.
  #19  
Old 11-28-2019, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by ThelmaLou View Post
(Disclaimer: didn't read the whole thread.)

For the first time in 40 years, I have two cats who only go outside-- God bless them! So I only have one box in the house for emergencies.

The BEST cat litter is "The World's Best Cat Litter." Believe me, I've tried them all! This one is made from corn, it clumps, and YOU CAN FLUSH IT. Best to keep the litter box near a toilet. The first clumping litters from 20-ish years ago turned to a slimy concrete ball when wet. TWBCL clumps enough to hold cat pee together and then when you drop it in the toilet, it falls apart into tiny crumbles. Mysterious. I'm not sure if I'd use it with a septic tank. You don't need any deodorizer. It lasts forever and doesn't smell bad, even after a month or so. I used to just top it off and only redo the whole box every few months. Try it. You won't go back.
That sounds perfect but I have a septic system. I’ll do some research.
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Old 11-28-2019, 10:48 AM
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Unless the manufacturer/distributor claims (and provides proof) that their product is septic-system safe, DO NOT FLUSH IT. A septic system is not like a municipal sewage treatment plant, and damage is expensive to repair, not to mention that there is little to no warning of impending disaster to a residential septic system.
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Old 11-28-2019, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Beckdawrek View Post
I have 2 cats as well. 3 boxes. My male cat actually uses the toilet in the 1/2 bath downstairs. (Sorry guests, I keep it clean, I swear)
I use the cheapest litter I can find. It all smells bad when over used. I'm kinda anal (heh)about scooping and changing litter. I buy lots of kitty litter. Usually the Walmart brand. I like Tidy cat, original formula, as well. Not a fan of the scented stuff.
People are always surprised I have cats. They ghost guests. No odor is what I aim for.
Good luck.
I used Tidycat and I bought a couple of those big "litter box enclosures" from Amazon. I lined them with vinyl sheeting, and scoop them at least once a day. Those litter box enclosures are solid enough to sit or stand on.

I used to have one of those litter boxes you roll over to scoop out dirty litter but it scattered more litter than the cats do. (And what's up with that, cats? It's not an Olympic event.)


It's good to change out the actual litter boxes now and then. I get the ones that have high backs, but I'm going to get a see-through rubbermaid tote, cut a hole in it, and try that as a litter box. That way they can see out but not kick everywhere.
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Old 11-28-2019, 11:03 AM
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First, I will readily admit that I Am Not A Qualified Biologist, gardener, or sanitary engineer. So I could be wrong.

We have a disposal problem with catbox waste. And we have a garden. Well, many people do.

I often see recommended additives to garden soil as gravel, sand, aerator-causing granules of sawdust, shredded paper, etc., as well as manure and manure derivatives. Better yet, the same ingredients made into compost. To me, those ingredients sound a lot like used kitty litter.

So why not dump it (and work into) your garden soil? Obviously there is a desirable ratio, and that should be determined and respected. But why not?
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Old 11-28-2019, 02:17 PM
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From what I understand cats can carry diseases, and cat litter itself isn't really something that composts quickly.
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Old 11-28-2019, 04:33 PM
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Too much nitrogen kills plants. So even if it's just a flower bed, and not a vegetable garden, it's risky to put raw waste in the soil. You certainly don't want to put it near food stuffs.
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Old 11-28-2019, 04:54 PM
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Unless the manufacturer/distributor claims (and provides proof) that their product is septic-system safe, DO NOT FLUSH IT. A septic system is not like a municipal sewage treatment plant, and damage is expensive to repair, not to mention that there is little to no warning of impending disaster to a residential septic system.
Amen. Just because something says "flushable" on the label doesn't mean you should.

If you're on your own septic system or on a sewer system, only put in the stuff that's supposed to go there: water and human waste (including TP). Most anything else is a bad idea.
  #26  
Old 11-28-2019, 09:46 PM
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I have one cat and one litter box. I use only unscented clumping litter, WalMart brand or from Petco. I scoop every 24-36 hours and completely dump and rinse the box every week and replace the litter. Her box never smells.
  #27  
Old 11-28-2019, 10:03 PM
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That sounds perfect but I have a septic system. I’ll do some research.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
Unless the manufacturer/distributor claims (and provides proof) that their product is septic-system safe, DO NOT FLUSH IT. A septic system is not like a municipal sewage treatment plant, and damage is expensive to repair, not to mention that there is little to no warning of impending disaster to a residential septic system.
Get a few rolls of dog poop baggies and scoop out the pan with those. Put your hand inside baggie, pick up poop and pee clusters, tie up the baggie and put in the trash. Less messy than sifting with scooper.
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Old 11-28-2019, 10:39 PM
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That’s actually brilliant.
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Old 11-28-2019, 11:01 PM
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That’s actually brilliant.


Awww, shucks.
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Old 11-28-2019, 11:04 PM
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I'm glad my male Siamese doesn't flush his paper, as we're on a septic system. (I'm kidding, haven't succeeded in teaching him to flush yet)()
  #31  
Old 11-29-2019, 12:08 PM
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My wife and I love cats. However, when our last child moved out 13 years ago, he took custody of the cat. This thread reminds me of why we now love having no livestock in the house.
  #32  
Old 11-29-2019, 11:21 PM
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I use the unscented clumping one from Wal-Mart or PetCo. The pieces are very spherical, though, and my cat has fluffy toes so she tracks that shit everywhere.

We tried the crystal kind several years ago specifically to combat the tracking issue. But that stuff was painful to step on barefoot, like tiny Lego pieces, so any bit that gets kicked out becomes an ouch moment.

I used Swheatscoop years ago, can't remember why I switched back to clay. I think it just didn't clump hard enough for my preference, IIRC.
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Old 11-30-2019, 03:02 PM
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I can't tell you which litter we use (changes occasionally), but we do have a very civilized cat. He will go outside in the back yard and spend two hours or so there, then when he comes back in he'll head directly for the litter box. This never varies.

Cats is weird.
  #34  
Old 11-30-2019, 10:07 PM
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Quote:
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My wife and I love cats. However, when our last child moved out 13 years ago, he took custody of the cat. This thread reminds me of why we now love having no livestock in the house.
I don't have a cat either, but I too have been reading this with interest.

A handful of kitty litter in the bottom of the garbage bin every week to keep it sweet.

I'm using the blue crystal. I'm liking it because it doesn't clump the way some of the other stuff does, but the real reason is because I got a couple bags of it free. A bag last me all year, so it will be a while before I buy more.
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