10 September 2008

Welcome Home. Hope You Enjoy the Smell of Cat Urine

When my sisters and brother orchestrated a meeting here to give Georgia a new home in Biloxi only to end up adopting her for ourselves we put Edith in the basement for her safety as well as the four boxers and six humans occupying the house that weekend. For some stupid reason, I left her down there for months. Actually, it wasn't a stupid reason. We had an infuriating incident here one evening that involved a house guest not following my orders about the animals, where I came home from work to find Georgia with a bloodied eye and Billie's outermost toenail on her left front paw nearly ripped out of her arm. I ended up spending six hours with both dogs at the emergency animal clinic that night. Afterward, I figured the best thing to do was keep them separate until I could figure out something else.

So, weeks into Georgia's Monday night training sessions I have decided to put Edith behind a child gate in the guest bedroom nobody uses which doubles as my dressing room. I put a new $189 LitterMaid self-cleaning litter box, a treehouse with scratching post (with some stupid stuff hanging from it with which she won't play) and a tray with her food and water in this room.

Our friend Russ suggested many, many years ago that we buy a LitterMaid. I wouldn't at the time because one of our boy cats, Gershwin, liked to stand and pee against the back of the cat box -- if there wasn't a cover on it he'd pee on the wall. But, now that we only have Edith I thought I'd give it a try. And, if I was going to go all out to make her comfortable after her four-month stint in the basement I would find the best litter I could. The LitterMaid requires clumping litter, the type I stopped using years ago because of the tracking problem. I would find the crap in some of the most undesirable places. The night we found it in our bed was the camel's backbreaking straw that put me back on Fresh Step traditional clay litter. FreshStep's pieces were larger so they didn't stick to tiny feline foot pads and end up sixty feet away in my bed. Plus, the odor control was matchless.

The Best. Ooh, I can't wait.

After some research and what promised an epiphany-like experience with the whole cat litter debacle, I bought The World's Best Cat Litter at our local Petco. I was hopeful. As I'd read, it's more expensive, but it's all natural and made from corn and is supposed to be superior in clumping and odor control. It even states on their site "How can any product call itself the 'World's Best?," and goes on to describe the three years of testing and such that allows them the claim.

"You see, our scientists made a major discovery: the highly absorbent proteins and fibers found naturally in corn actually bind cat urine and odor molecules in the litter. So, we developed a patented process that turns corn into a natural litter. It clumps better. It controls odors without the need for perfumes and scents. It’s flushable* and more sanitary. And it’s virtually dust-free, which helps eliminate tracking."


Or, catshit, if you will. I am used to having people ask me in a surprised tone when they see Edith (or Ambrose and Gershwin in the past), "you have a cat?" This is because my house doesn't reflect the odor of a litter box. Unless she takes a really nasty dump. But now? Uh, it's very clear I have a cat. This is the worst litter product I have ever purchased.

The LitterMaid cleans the box within ten minutes of Edith leaving it, and puts the collected waste in a plastic bin with a carbon filter-fitted lid that contains the odors. So, either the "binding of urine and odor molecules" is failing or the clumping is failing -- allowing bits of the "bound" litter to remain in the pan and not in the collection receptacle. Oh, and did I mention that I'm having to vacuum the damned guest bedroom twice-a-day? Yep. The litter is everywhere. And, Edith isn't much for drama like some cats that will scratch the hell out of the litter slinging it all over the place before she uses the box. She is very discreet.

Suffice it to say, I will be going to our nearest pet retailer tomorrow and buying Fresh Step clumping litter and praying that the rubber mat I placed outside of the litter box collects anything that doesn't stick to Edith's feet since she ripped the carpet insert from the ramp the first day we had the LitterMaid.

And if that doesn't work, I'll go back to buy a new, domed Booda box, like the one I threw in the trash two weeks ago, and Fresh Step. Maybe I can clean the barely used LitterMaid with Nature's Miracle and sell it on eBay. Or, not. Dammit.

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