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The key to keeping everything clean = keeping the litterbox clean

Hey Kitty Krafters!

Recently, I was searching around on Amazon for new kitty bathroom accessories. I was very unhappy with our current litterbox and our Fresh Step brand clay-based litter, which gradually had left a fine gray dust over EVERYTHING in our bathroom. The clumping and the odor fighting powers of Fresh Step are phenomenal, but I couldn’t help but feel like we were inhaling the dust each time we scooped, as well.

After some shopping, we ended up changing almost everything about our kitty litter setup, and I love it all!

BoodaDome

First off, I exchanged our old litterbox for the Booda Dome, which helps control some of the litter tracking. One little trick that helps lessen the tracking even more is to turn the entrance of the Booda Dome to the wall! Leave only a little space, about six inches or so. Kitty will have to make a few low-speed turns to get out of the bathroom, giving the tracked litter plenty of time to fall off their paws, either in the Booda Dome’s steps or right outside, where we keep our litter-tracking mat.

showOverlay('21645340168265P')Which brings me to our second change: a new litter mat! We just use a very basic foam mat. It’s soft and comfy on a kitty’s paws, and has little grooves that trap litter when they walk across. There are fancier ones out there that you can try too – I just find that the key to an effective litter mat is simply cleaning/vacuuming it very often. If it gets too full of litter, they will just track it farther and farther out of the bathroom!

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Finally: Are you aware of something amazing called the Litter Genie? I certainly wasn’t until Amazon recommended it to me. It’s basically a diaper genie, but for cats! Before we had one, we had to sacrifice one plastic bag every time we scooped the litter box. Sure, it was usually an old Safeway or Target bag, but we felt really bad just the same!

The Litter Genie has this genius ring containing a plastic lining that is fourteen feet long. When the litter genie fills up, you simply open it, cut off the existing bag of kitty waste, tie it up and throw it away. You then knot the bottom of the plastic and you’re ready to go!

The only problem: refills are expensive. But that’s when AJ sent over a bunch of pictures of her husband demonstrating how they quickly got around the refill problem, using ordinary 13 gallon garbage bags with drawstrings. Genius!

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This is what the Litter Genie (or Litter Locker II – they basically are the same product) refill ring looks like.

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Pull the garbage bag through the center of the refill ring.

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Wrap the outsides of the garbage bag over and around the ring, much like when you line a garbage can with a new bag. Try to tuck it in under the ring so that when you put the ring back in the Litter Locker, the ring is placed on top its own bag refill, keeping it in place.

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If your garbage bag has drawstrings this is very easy, as you can gently tighten the drawstrings and close the top a little bit, so that the bag is securely wrapped around the litter ring.

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This part can be a bit tricky but will come with practice – with one hand, open the litter locker divider (the one that seals away all the litter smells) and let the bag drop through the hole, just like the normal refill would.

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If you did it right, the ring should be snugly tucked back into its position, with a new bag ready to go!

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Recognize AJ’s tupperware litterbox and hand-cut litter mat? 🙂

And the final piece of my kitty bathroom renovation – the litter itself! Unfortunately this is where most people have to go through a bit of trial and error. Everyone has different preferences and are willing to make different kinds of sacrifices. As far as I know, there is no perfect litter. But I particularly like Blue Buffalo (also known as Blue Naturally Fresh). A bit of research online tells me that this brand might’ve gone through some rebranding in the past, but it looks like this in my local pet store:

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I use the multi-cat clumping formula – frankly, I don’t think I could deal with non-clumping litter because I live in a tiny condo and don’t have an outdoor backyard (or hose) where I could clean a litterbox or dispose of broken-down litter! Blue Naturally fresh is walnut based, has a very nice, natural smell, does a impressive job at odor control, a passable job at clumping, and is super easy to cleanup and does not track very much at all! Best of all, it’s almost dust-free!

I hope one (or two, or all) parts of this kitty bathroom renovation helps you generate some ideas on how to make one of the ickier parts of of having a cat a lot more manageable!  (Which really isn’t very bad at all, is it? Scooping litter with a shovel as opposed to picking up dog poop with a plastic bag, which would you choose?)

😀

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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in Informational

 

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D.I.Y. Litter Mat

Ah, the eternal struggle to find a good kitty litter mat! I’ve tried a lot of different litter mats over the years, and I think I may have finally found one that works for us.

We used to have one of the Petmate litter mats and actually, I would highly recommend it… if your cat doesn’t like to barf on it. It does a great job of keeping the litter down, and pretty much everything else that ends up on it too… including previously mentioned kitty barf. Ewww.

I really do appreciate that Yoyo thinks the place to make a mess is by the kitty litter box, but it meant that the Petmate litter mat got really gross and there was no easy way for me to clean it.

A couple weeks ago, I was surfing around, looking for DIY ideas to post here and I came across a blog post about a DIY kitty litter mat using garage tiles from a company called Swisstrax. The tiles are open profile so things fall through to the ground underneath and then the floor can be hosed down. Or in the case of kitty messes, the tiles can be lifted up and rinsed off, and the kitty litter can be vacuumed up.

It sounded perfect for what I needed, so I did some looking at their many options, and decided to go with the Swisstrax Ribtrax tile. I purchased their sample mat for $35 + shipping (which ended up being about $15 for me in California).

The sample mat includes 6 tiles of your color choice and border/corner pieces which we decided not to use.

Yoyo supervising the assembly process.

We then tried to put the mat into the shower stall where our litter box is (and yes, our cats have their own bathroom) and found that the mat was about 2 inches too wide.

So it was off to Home Depot where we purchased a cheapo hacksaw for $10.

We used a sharpie to draw a line for where the cut needed to go and went at it with the hacksaw. The tiles are made of a softer plastic so it didn’t take too long to saw through. I’m glad that we only had to do 3 tiles though! I then used some really coarse sandpaper to clean up the edges.

Sawed and sanded off edge.

And then the mat went into the bathroom.

It looks quite nice actually!

And the kitties approved.

Yoyo and Bobo checking out the new mat.

As a side note: In case you haven’t noticed, we use a giant tupperware bin for a litter box. We used to have one of those litter boxes with the lid on top, but Yoyo is a total “dig to china” kind of cat. Having a lid on the box meant that when he started kicking up litter, it would slam into the sides/roof and land on top of him and he would track it all out of the box.

We got the idea to use the tupperware bin from a cat behavioralist and it’s worked great for us. Plastic bins are cheap and come in many sizes and do just as good a job as the boxes you get at the petstore, so if you’re looking for a cheap alternative, check out your local Target or Walmart.

So we’re on week 2 of using the Ribtrax mat and it seems like it’s doing an even better job of keeping down the kitty litter than the old mat. I’ve already had to lift out one tile to rinse off and it was very easy to do.  I’m really happy with it so far!

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2012 in DIY, Informational

 

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