Monday, March 21, 2011

World's Best -- I'm dubious, but I'll try

For those of you who don't know, my spouse is allergic to cats -- and to dogs -- and to dust, mold, beef, milk, various pollens... He's pretty much a walking histamine.

Now, sleeping with a cat on his face doesn't usually set him off. Sleeping with a cat on his face while spooning a dog is also often fine. But sleeping with a cat on his face, while spooning a dog with the windows open in early spring = sneezy, asthma mess that requires Advair (which he takes all the time), a separate inhaler, antihistamines and a couple boxes of Kleenex, just to get through one night.

The other thing that sets off these attacks? 1) Any mention of cleaning the house that he might have to partake in (so yes, they might be occasionally psychosomatic) and 2) scooping the litter boxes.

For years, we've used Scoop Away litter. My friend CB in D.C. used it with her multiple cats. It was cheap and easy to find around town. Plus, it did a great job of clumping and dealing with smells. It tracked all over the floor. But I scoop pretty regularly, so I just sweep as much as possible.

Then we moved to Illinois and a couple years ago, Meijer stopped selling Scoop Away in order to put out its own Meijer brand litter. Well, hell. I kind of got angry at Meijer, but I didn't want to start having to go to a different store to get my litter. So for the last two years, I've been trying various litters. I tried Arm and Hammer, Tidy Cat, Yesterday's News and Swheatscoop (which I found when you have a mouse problem is a POOR decision because the mice like to eat it and are attracted to it) and finally settled on, no surprise, the Meijer generic. It did the best at clumping to make scooping easy, but it does less well on the smell issue than Scoop Away.

Suddenly, a few months ago, all the Meijer cat litter disappeared from the shelves. Apparently there was a "quality control" issue. And while I still find it every once in a while in the Urbana store, it's not stocked as readily as it was before. So, after I picked up the last plastic container (and can I say how much I hate plastic containers, why can't you just use cardboard, Meijer?) I saw a brand that I had only seen at Prairieland Feeds in Savoy -- for mega bucks. "World's Best Cat Litter". I'm kind of dubious about anything marked "world's best." Maybe I'd get some sort of sad pleasure from proving them wrong? Or maybe they'd make my world a better place?

Mmmm. It's made from corn. So, if we still had our mice issue (thank you again Mousehunter Jim for rectifying that for us), I'd totally pass. But we seem rodent free, so I thought I'd get it and try it in a box. Supposedly, like the other "more eco-friendly" litters it's flushable, but the State of California would rather you just threw it away... so I'm guessing flushing really isn't all that great on plumbing somewhere in our water cycle.

Anyway, I'm trying it out this week. I put it in the cats' favorite litter box (a small blue one from Tidy Cat), even though the directions said I should slowly blend it with their current litter to get it used to it. (Please note that I did do this for other trial litters.)

The bag I purchased was 8 lbs. It was not the multiple cat bag, but if it works, I'll have to try the more appropriate kind for a house with 4 cats. My first observation is that it's a thicker grain than a fine clay litter. The claim on the bag is that because of its texture and absorption rate, you're supposed to scoop less of it out, meaning the litter lasts longer. On first scoop, this is true. It clumps like magic. But I think Nyssa's the only one peeing on it so far. It tracks as much as the clay litter, but is easier to find and sweep up on my gray tile floor.

It is more expensive, but if it lasts the 30 days it boasts than the price will be a few dollars less in cat litter each month. And its made from corn so it biodegrades more easily (per the web site) than the clay. But the smell is weird. I don't smell the ammonia from the urine at all. Instead, I smell a weird wet corn (like rain after harvest in the fields behind my house) kind of situation. It's not terrible, it's just different. It smells less how you would assume poop and pee would smell, even if covered in clay and baking soda.

And yet, you're sitting there wondering, "Why in the hell is Looseyfur reviewing cat litters today?"

Well, it's Monday. And I have a lot on my mind, and cat litter is a terribly safe subject, don't you think? And everyone else has pretty much already covered how much they like the weather or how cute their kids are. So, this is what I've got left today. And it's only 11:05 a.m.

Plus, if it makes my husband sneeze less and help scoop more, it's a win/win, right?

By the way, the best way I've found to not deal with tracking litter is to get a Clever Cat box with an entrance on top. My cats, for some reason, loved to pee in the boxes with the front open door and poop in the Clevercat box. But it really doesn't have any litter on the floor around it. Only on the top lid, which is oh so easy to just dump back into the big bin. I think if we didn't have a picky cat in our group, we'd replace all our boxes with the Clevercat, but my arthritic kitty wouldn't be happy with that choice.

1 comment:

The Fearless Freak said...

Although we only have one cat, I like the Aldi's brand litter. It is clumping but I will admit that we never ever scoop the litterbox. I bought a little scoop and had good intentions and did it about twice. I change the litter every week or two but don't seem to have much of problem.

Once I let it go longer (we had been gone and RF doesn't change the litter, at all, ever) and she peed on the floor in protest but honestly, I think if my bathroom were that dirty, I might pee on the floor in protest too!

For tracking, we have a little track mat right outside the litter box. It doesn't catch everything, but it catches most of it and keeps it contained. Of course, her box is out in the garage so even if she tracks some, it isn't like anyone goes into her corner, except to clean it up and we all know that doesn't happen that frequently at my house LOL