Thursday, August 28, 2008

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Accidental Afficianado: The Sequel

Alternate Title: Cat Litter Post...

wait for it...

Number TWO!

Sorry for the toilet humor. It can, at times, be somewhat unavoidable.

So. When last we checked in on the cat litter saga, I had relented and turned to the of-questionable-safety, but preferred-by-one-cat-out-of-seven option of clay in one box. The rest were filled with Feline Pine.

Well, guess what? Feline Pine got stupidly expensive for a lumber industry by-product, was still rejected by at least one cat and my success was taking a very sharp dive into... nah...

In addition to six young and healthy cats*, we also have a very old, VERY particular fellow whose cat box record is, shall we say, not spotless. For years I have blamed his inconsistency... and incontinence... on urinary tract infections. There is some accuracy to my hypothesis, but I'll get back to that in a minute.

So, our quest for the perfect cat litter was resumed, much to our dismay, in conjunction with our pursuit of a superior accident-clean-up product. We found "Anti-Icky Poo" (Yes, that is its real name. Don't blame me. I know it's stupid) and a silica-based cat litter that I now can't even find online anymore to show you.

Both products work great. Both are so maniacally overpriced that it would be cheaper to fill your cat box with actual gold nuggets.

The Anti-Icky Poo is totally worth it, though it can only work so well for so long. When the poor Old Guy is saturating the bathroom carpet before you realize what has happened... the product's efficacy is bound to suffer.

In an attempt to help the Old Guy not fall prey to the "He's FIFTEEN YEARS OLD and stinking up the bathroom! How long do you expect me to let him live?!" argument, I took him to the regular vet... three times... for UTI treatment (which they confirmed) without ANY results. I finally turned to a naturopathic vet who immediately informed me that dry food was possibly the worst thing I could feed him next to, oh, I don't know... asbestos! "It's dehydrating him by sucking up what little moisture he's getting from drinking... which, by the way... cats in the wild DON'T DO! They get all their 'water' from their prey."

What the...?

His issues had many layers...

First: He was so dehydrated that "going" was painful and had very bad associations with The Box. Not that going anywhere else was more fun, but it sure didn't make him want to squat in a pile of wood shavings... or in a bed of silica pellets either, for that matter.

Okay. I'm REALLY digressing here.


The silica litter worked great, but with seven cats, it doesn't last the two months touted on the bag. A couple of weeks, MAYBE so that means going through a LOT of fifteen-dollars-a-five-pound-bag litter.

Much to my very temporary glee, I found big, square buckets of something very similar at the feed store for a fraction of the price! There is a reason... the bargain product is what's left after they punch out all those nice, smooth little pellets... and it's sharp as freakin' GLASS... not kitty-pad friendly! Nor is it very nice to bare feet that stumble across the random shard in the carpet.

The packaging was also EXTREMELY WASTEFUL.

I went back to the slightly-more-economical-than-what-I-found-online version... "Litter Pearls." It does work really great. Most of our cats were fine with it... but not all.


On yet another trek to the feed store I was met with a new and intriguing option in the cat litter aisle... a NEW, healthier and fantastical variety of clay litter! Can it be?

For five bucks, I can afford for it to tank.

I put it in the Old Guy's personal potty and, what do you know... HE ACTUALLY USES IT! He hated all the other litters AND was having health issues that weren't helping matters.

What happened next?

ALL THE CATS were using HIS box. They completely rejected the fancy stuff once they had access to this much better clay product.

"Wundercat," as it is so adorably named, is a combination of clays. It doesn't produce much dust at all and it REALLY does NOT STINK!

I switched the two boxes in the house to Wundercat and left the two boxes in the garage with the Litter Pearls. No one has stepped foot in the garage boxes since the Wundercat appeared. Interesting, 'eh?

The critics have spoken!

So, to finish my story about the Old Guy... He now gets mostly very high quality canned food and sometimes I make or buy raw food. He has access to the occasional bit of kibble and still prefers to drink running water from my bathroom sink. The change in his diet has made a new cat out of him. For literally years he has barely emerged from our bedroom (hence, he had his own box in our master bathroom to encourage its use.) He almost never went outside. He regularly vomited and, the older he got, often had such dry stools... well ... we'll leave it at that, shall we?

As I type, he is sitting in the other office chair with Grace. He rarely vomits except to do "maintenance" and he recently even spent an entire night outside by choice. That hasn't happened in at least ten years! He is much healthier and happier thanks to the naturopath's brilliant information. What's more... he is now so energetic that I have been able to successfully move the cat box out of our bathroom and into the laundry room with the other one. That, folks pretty much constitutes a bone fide miracle!

*As for the SEVEN in Lucky Seven Cat Ranch... I'm afraid we are now down to a Fortunate Five. Boo, our super-friendly 20-poounder, went missing a couple of months ago followed shortly by little Midna. Losing two cats in the space of a month for us is unheard of. Cats are wandersome creatures, though. I hope they mosey home from their walkabout some day.

My sister-in-law's cat returned after five months, so here's hopin'.

If they are gone for good, though, I hope it is somewhere plentiful in fat, juicy mice and "crunchable birdses."

... And miles and miles of fresh, clean, scratchable sand, of course.

That, Dear Readers (Marty!), concludes the "highly-informative post" I promised you back in June! ;)

I hope you are all enjoying this gloriously much cooler Monday!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Real post coming soon...

While you're waiting for my gray matter to issue something of reasonable pertinenance, here's an awesome quote I found on the NYT humor page:

"Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid."

— John Wayne

Truer words were never funnier, Pilgrim.

Happy Friday, People!