Can I tell you about my cat litter?
It can be easy sometime to take the little things for granted. For example, I had no idea how important gourmet cat litter is to me.
Here's the scoop (get it? Scoop?) - this cat litter costs about $16 per week to accommodate facilities for my two wee cats. I've heard other people brag that it can last effectively for twice as long, or even up to one month for a single cat, but we don't roll like that at my house.
Compared to the $3.99 I paid for the
crap clay litter I was forced to implement this past week when The Snow kept me from my usual litter-shop-stop, the markup might seem sketchy, but I am here to tell you that this crystal stuff gets the job done and is worth the boutique prices.
Those white crystals really do soak up liquids. The pretty blue crystals (which also match my bathroom, but that's beside the point) really do release happy little fresh smells. The crystals, they are magic. You scoop out dehydrated "stuff," flush it down the human toilet, then give the crystals a quick stir each day (especially if you have a cat like Roxie who pees in the exact same spot every time). That's it until next Friday when you dump the contents directly into the garbage and disinfect your pan to start over again. Because all the liquid has been absorbed, you don't get nasty bits clinging to the pan or sludging around your bathtub - just give a quick shake and all the icky slides right out into the garbage bag. The silica crystals are essentially sand and/or clay, so pose no particularly evil threat to the environment.
The big crystals rarely stick to kitty paws, so tracking is minimal and, on the rare occasions when tracking does occur, those crystals are far easier to sweep away than other tiny-grained annoying litter bits that climb between your toes like the pesky reminder of a day at the beach, but with poopy smells instead of the sun and fun. The containers of silica crystal litter weigh much less that equivalent volumes of other litter and are a snap to carry home.
The regular clay stuff I reluctantly used last week reeked of dirt and other "earthy" things from the second I opened the bag. "Ditch" is not a fragrance I pursue to at my house. Neither is "Gutter." I won't even go on about how the smell evolved through the week (and certainly not in a good way), how the clay pellets did nothing to soak up any liquids (think: pee-soup in the bottom of the pan) or about what a high-class pain in the arse it was for me to scrub that nasty pan clean of the layer of accumulated mud and pissy poop this morning. That's it, the end of the normal clay litters. Moving on.
I know a lot of people send praise to the gods of cat poop for scoopable litter, but, even if you put aside the protracted debate that scoopable litter may lead to increased incidents of upper respiratory, urinary or paw infections and other ailments, scoopable doesn't hold a candle to crystals when it comes to ease of use and odor control.
So for those of you unfamiliar with the "scoopable" stuff, what you are supposed to do is pour about 2" of fine sand-like litter into your pan. The litter solidifies around liquids, theoretically making it possible to scoop out not only solid waste, but also chunks of potentially stinky liquids (yuck) that have adhered into gross little pee-balls. After each scoopy session, you add a little more fresh litter to the pan and keep riding out that scooped litter for a month or more, at which time you empty the pan, disinfect it and begin again.
Keep in mind, this is all highly theoretical. It never works out like in the commercials. My biggest complaint is, no matter how careful you are when scooping those solidified liquid pee-ball clumps, some little pieces are inevitably going to break off into the pan. That leaves you with free range, pee-saturated sand hanging out in your litter pan for a month or so, mixing it up with the clean litter and stinking up your house. If you are one of the lucky people who can heft an intact pee-ball from the pan and manage to maneuver it all the way to the toilet before it disintegrates all over your bathroom floor (think Egg/Spoon race) you probably also scored big time playing Operation as a kid and should have been a surgeon so you could afford to hire someone else to scoop your cat's poop.
There's also the problem of the litter basking in the smells of the not-so-lovely stuff that's dumped into it (so to speak), then sitting there like a big old box of foul potpourri wafting eu do piss into the air (and onto your cat - their fur absorbs smells just as easily as your hair does, and if you remember those days of smoke-filled bars, you know what I'm talking about.)
What absolutely sets my teeth on edge and sends me scrambling for anti-bacterial gels and fresh bullets for my cat-gun is when that very fine clumping sand ends up tracked all over the house five minutes after you've vacuumed. I don't care how many cute little tracking trays you pile around the cat pan, the crud travels. That pee-saturated sand sticks to cats like glue and ends up cuddled as a feisty surprise for you to discover when you start folding your next pile of fresh white laundry.
Then there are the people who don't replace their clumping litter every month like they are supposed to do. I've unfortunately seen people take this to the extreme, waiting up to six months (or more if they lied) to actually change scoopable litter and wash the pan. They seem to be proud of this "thriftiness." I think a lot of these people assume that you just keep adding more and more to replace what you've used - yo, this only works for a limited time before the stench takes over. However often you clean your toilet, you need to clean your cat's toilet at least that much. (Which leaves me very frightened to think of the state of some people's toilets.)
I've also found that many people barely manage to keep a thin coating of this scoopable litter in the pan, far shy of the recommended 2" required for the cat to kick around and bury the offending crap underground as nature demands. Some of this might be an effort to keep the litter bill down, but if you can't afford cat litter, you can't afford a cat.
As for me, forget the bread and milk. I raided the grocery store and bought three weeks worth of magical crystals to get me through any possible weather-related emergencies that might arise through the rest of this winter.
Note to readers: have fun choosing your own litter ~ poop isn't very enthralling no matter how y0u contain it. This is just my ranty little opinion about my vast litter experiences. I've heard some people use newspapers, others use rice. This is a decision you and your cat need to make together. Whatever floats your boat, man (but there will be no kitty-confetti rice at our house, thank-you-very-much).