While the world has been in chaos and disarray, I haven’t had a whole lot of time to spend pondering the smaller issues in our household: namely, Apollo and his marking. But I have been passively conducting an experiment with the litterbox, otherwise known as the Litterbox Buffet.
When you are trying to make your cat’s bathroom the Happy Place, one of the key questions you need to ask is “What kind of toilet do you like?” It would certainly make it easier if you could simply present the cat with a catalog and let him point to the Toto, the Kohler, or the Dagobert Throne.
Let’s hope the Throne is not the potty of choice.
Alas, we lack catalogs and so we have to resort to a more primitive mode of communication: namely, put some boxes out and let the cat pick. The usual recommendation when creating a litterbox buffet is to have 4 boxes total, consisting of 2 litters and 2 box types. This allows you to figure out not only what type of litter the cat prefers, but also whether he cares whether the box is high or low, covered or uncovered.
So if we have Litters A and B, and Boxes 1 and 2, your four boxes would consist of: A1 A2 B1 and B2.
While individual tastes vary with the cat, in general cats seem to prefer the following:
- Unscented, clumping litters
- Uncovered, big boxes (1.5 times the length of the cat, and 4 inches of litter.)
Like many of you, I simply didn’t have the space for 4 big boxes, so I had to resort to two. Box A was a low box that I filled with Cat Attract litter based on Dr. Yin’s recommendation. Box B was my big wide box that I filled with my current favorite litter, World’s Best.
Day 1: Equal usage of both boxes. Apollo is getting the lay of the land.
Day 2: Apollo pees in Box A and poops in Box B.
Day 3: Seeing a gradual migration towards Box A.
Day 4: Everything in Box A. Box B remains pristine.
Day 5: I forget to scoop the litterbox. Apollo ventures into Box B when Box A is a little overused.
Day 6: Back to Box A, where he has remained ever since.
I’m not ready to throw in the towel on my World’s Best, since I really do love the stuff- so I’m holding out hope that maybe Apollo’s preference is to the box type and not the litter. He’s 13, maybe he is a little arthritic and prefers the low profile box. When the boxes get fully emptied I will switch litters and report back.
In other news, the Zero Odor really is as good as promised! I’ve been spraying the marked areas with it after cleaning with vinegar and water. It’s odorless and has done a great job getting rid of that awful kitty stink.
Plus I saw it at my local Petco, which makes it easily accessible. Exxxxcellent.
I recently asked my Facebook friends to tell me their favorite cleaning regimens. Caroline over at the Happy Litterbox was kind enough to compile them, so if you’d like to see what other people have had success with, check out the list there. If you have something else that you find is tried and true, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
The marking has reduced in frequency since I started this regimen, though I’m still finding some spots here and there, and I haven’t even resorted to the tinfoil yet. I have a pretty strong suspicion as to the reason for his marking- but I’ll save it for another post.
Lisa W says
I’ll stick with doggies, thanks! 😉
Tabitha W says
I would LOVE LOVE LOVE some zero odor, but its not sold in Canada. Anyone want to ship some to me? LOL
My poor cat has peed on the couch i dont know how many times and I am running out of options. Right now its covered in plastic. :s
Anti-Icky-Poo and Nature’s Miracle work really well, too, if you can find those. (I haven’t tried either of them but they come just a recommended as Zero Odor by behaviorists.)
Yay! I’m so glad Zero Odor is now at Petco. I got it at a lecture by Dr. Dodman, and I LOVE it, but I thought it still only online. I LOVE how it doesn’t have a fragrance, and it seems to work better than the other anti-odor sprays we’ve tried (Mycodex and some other enzymatic one I can’t remember right now…)
It’s especially helpful when we have a particularly stinky tomcat come in, and no matter how much you clean you still smell his “essence” in the cage!
The only one I haven’t tried is Anti-Icky-Poo, which people also swear by, so I don’t know how it compares to Zero Odor.
the cat guy says
I like the idea of the World’s Best Cat Litter. I did a similar test between three types of litter. The problem was I have a cat that always thinks he is hungry. He decided the corn based litter was a snack option. After seeing him chowing down on the litter several times I had to mix in some other litter to get him to stop. So, back to clay, which, thankfully, he doesn’t eat.
Maybe Apollo is thinking, “Hah, after all this time she gets it! I need a litter box buffet to make me truly happy.” 😉
Carrie V says
Just started using the senior version from the cat attract line of litters. So far, so good (with the addition of 2 new boxes also-1 is lower but one is covered to keep the dogs out of it).
Zero Odor is awesome for hard flat surfaces. For carpet, I swear by Cedar detergent. A dab on a wet cloth, rub, rinse, done. It’s magic.
Dr. V says
Oh, did you try the Zero Odor? Do you like it for the tile?
I love Unique Odor and stain eater! It works amazingly well on every type of fabric and flooring and I don’t have to pre-clean. I was into pet sitting, and it is the only one that works all the time. I have tried Natures Miracle and Zero Odor and Unique Odor works way better.
We recently switched from World’s Best to Cat Attract. For some reason, our cat just stopped using the World’s Best and preferred our carpet. We took her to the vet and she checked out as healthy. So far she likes Cat Attract. Keep your fingers crossed.
I too have tried Worlds Best & love it – BUT I would have to say that as much as I liked WB (the multi-cat formula – not the original as I feel it it waaaaay more dusty & trackable) I LOVE Nature’s Miracle clumping corn litter. I’m not sure why more World’s Best lovers have not caught on to this one as it is less trackable, has almost 0 dust and they have their special Nature’s Miracle enzyme in it, which helps to control odor way better than World’s Best does. I strongly recommend trying it.
Pat Deuel says
Love Love Love Anti Icky Poo, have used for years. Originally recommended by a cat vet for a apartment of a hoarder who owned 7 sevens and one box. After cleaning up solids (in every corner of every room and removing cats, we sprayed 50/50 solution/water on all soiled areas -several times and could not believe after two weeks of drying time the urine smell was gone. I also used in the basement area of a home we purchased where the owner had locked his cat in the winter time – no box – the cat picked an area of the basement that was a cropped out rock ledge -crawl space – for his box duties. After a thorough cleaning/sweeping/vacumning I sprayed full strength AIP one gallons worth. Let dry and then 50/50 solution on whole area including the walls/ceiling area. 6 months later during a humid Aug I noticed a punky order again so I sprayed the whole area againl. Now there is no order even on the most humid days. Because of the enzyme activity of the product it is eating all the protiens from the fecal and urine , not masking the smell.
For cat urination outside of box area – I have added Feliway pheromone plug ins and it cured the aggressive behavor of the male cat to the female, and she has gone back to using her box, he is less antagonistic to her.
Thanks so much for these ‘chronicles’. Having had cats for, gosh, seems like FOREVER, I’ve learned some new tricks from you that I’m putting to use. WILL try the ZERO odor as I’ve one saved stray that is ruining my home. Hardwood floors are now ruined – heart break. Sigh. Just can’t dump the cat as he’s really sweet and loving; vet says it’s simply ‘bad behavior’. Again, thanks for your brilliant ideas and sharing!