Archive for the ‘Litter training’ Category

h1

Mythicbells’ feline Pampers solves cat pee problems

18 February, 2011

Despite the zookeepers' efforts, Leo just wouldn't keep his nappies on ... (photo from http://www.theblogofrecord.com/tag/lion-spray-warning-at-the-san-diego-zoo/)

When my queen was in heat she had this delightful habit of announcing her availability by spraying the house with her cat pee. 

A breeder I know told me how her queens had spray that could reach 4 feet high.  She found out when she heard her daughter’s screams and found out that a dress she had hung up on had been annointed.

Research indicates that an average 10 lb cat will produce approximately 3.5 oz – 6.5 oz of urine in a 24 hr period.   That’s a lot of disaster potential for furniture and furnishings.  And a lot of cleaning.

So what’s the solution? 

Isolating the cat is one.  Most breeders who have stud cats have dedicated quarters for them.   But if you want to allow your cat to roam, a far better solution is to use cat diapers (aka stud pants).

Yes, that’s right, now you can give your cat the equivalent of feline Pampers so that it can roam the house and socialise with the family and other cats.

Mythicbells Stud Pants and Princess Panties

Stud pants are not a new invention. Versions already exist for dogs. The ones for cats tend to be based on a human diaper model, with standard sizes and velcro to hold it on.  While the intention was good, cats are not engineered like humans:  Picture yourself holding down a cat with one hand.  With the other hand, you’re trying trying to work a pair of panties in the wrong direction up its tail. Picture the cat squirming.  Now see yourself repeating this twice to three times a day.  See the velcro get balled up with fur.  Yes, quite.

These issues led Molly Barr of Mythicbells Persians to hunt for a better type of stud pants.  She found a photo of a pair on the internet that used a harness instead of velcro to hold the pants on.  However, because they were no longer being made she designed her own.  And because they worked so well, she was asked to share them by other cat owners.

Demo of putting on Mythicbells Stud Pants

Mythicbells stud pants are easier to put on because they have a buckle that fastens with a snap.  The waist is adjustable via a slider.  The pants can be lined with human incontinence pads or panty liners.  They are also made-to-order by a professional seamstress in snazzy material.  They are machine washable.

Photo from Mythicbells Persians

Please note that the effectiveness of stud pants will depend on the individual cat.  If your cat is a heavy hoser, than you may wish to consult Molly about whether these pants will work.  And if your cat doesn’t use the litter box to poo, then you’ll need the cat diaper version that fastens around the tail.

If you have any questions, Molly will be happy to answer them (persians@mythicbells.com).  Please also check out her page on stud pants.

This is a labour of love!  Any money from the sales of the stud pants will go towards covering the expense of producing them, and any leftover is donated to the cat charity The Cat House on the Kings.

[NB – stud pants are available only in domestic cat size!!!]

Advertisements
h1

You know you’re a Cat Breeder when …

6 May, 2010

… you receive a photo of a kitten in a litter tray and his owner tells you it’s the first time he’s used it properly, and instead of going “ack!” you and his owner both glow with pride and make happy noises.

This adorable little fella is Mittens who was last seen in a previous post (his mother had been waking his owner up at 4am in the morning). 

Naomi, his owner, had been informed that the mother cat would teach the kitten to use the tray.  So when accidents started happening, she asked me for tips on litter training. 

I told her that contrary to what she’d been told, some mother cats don’t consciously teach the kittens how to use the tray.   Instead, they teach by example, by using the litter tray when the kitten is around.  I, myself have observed my mother cat squat in a kitten tray that’s way too small for her and do a wee, just to show her kittens what to do.

Anyway, here’s the standard advice I sent Naomi:

  • no bedding in the box
  • don’t use bleach to clean up mistakes (because bleach contains ammonia which smells like pee)
  • confine kitten to a small space
  • don’t let kitten wander far away from a litter tray
  • encourage kitten to use tray after meals
  • praise kitten if he’s used the tray successfully.

For a few days, it looked as though nothing was working.  And I didn’t dare tell Naomi that I’d had kittens who took weeks to master the art of using a litter tray.

And then … oh, the relief of it all!  As you can see from the photo above – one clever kitten and from Naomi and myself, sighs of relief!

(fyi – this is one very smart, very clever kitten – and he was about 5 weeks’ old when this photo was taken.  It took him less than a week to figure out what the scratchy stuff was and why mom made such a fuss when he peed outside the tray.)

h1

Litter-training kittens … the key to success?

9 July, 2008

I think everyone who’s read my posts of previous years on litter training will have realised that coaxing kittens to use their litter trays has not been my strong point.

(consider this is the equivalent of a whisper because I don’t want to tempt fate, but …)

I think that I may have finally got the hang of it with this litter of kittens.

The difference this year is that I confined them to a kitten enclosure from the time they had to start litter-training for about two weeks, only letting them out under supervision, or until they learnt to scale the pen).

The enclosure was quite large, about 4 feet square, with space for a bed, a cat scratching post and two litter trays. 

The litter trays were small to medium-sized and filled with a double-layered sandwich of Yesterday’s News pellet litter and kitchen towels.  I find that the YN pellets don’t absorb pee quickly enough and sometimes kittens’ paws get sopping wet.  So the kitchen towels provide a surface to stand on that is a little drier.

Another trick I used was to wipe the litter trays with a bit of kitten pee so that they still retained the smell of urine.

Imagine my great pleasure when I found a kitten squatting in a tray, having its first pee. [BTW, kittens always scream when they first start peeing and pooing – it is quite alarming].  Imagine my even greater pleasure when most of the kittens started using the tray.

Sure, we’ve had accidents, but compared to previous years, they’ve been fewer.

But, to be honest, I think I got lucky with this litter of kittens.  They’re little bundles of cleverness, they’ve actually litter-trained themselves.

h1

The move downstairs – New kitten quarters

25 June, 2008

I moved the kittens downstairs about two weeks’ back, when they turned 4 weeks’ old, into the living room.  This was prompted by Mum Cat bringing them chicks to eat.  I figured that she knew when they were ready for solids.  But if I was gonig to start weaning them I had to make sure they had access to litter trays for that all-too important phase of their lives – litter training.  The bedroom, with its carpets, wasn’t the best place for litter trays.  So downstairs they had to go.

In previous years I used a kitten pen which the kittens always managed to get out of.  It was a large pen, but after I added a litter tray (small), box, water and toys, it got quite cramped and they outgrew it quickly.  So this year I built a makeshift enclosure out of whiteboards from B&Q.  Here it is:

As you can see, plenty of room for their kitten box, litter trays, water bowl and a corner for some vet bed and a cat-scratching post.  I placed it next to the cat tree so that Mum Cat could get in and out by jumping onto the top of the kitten box and onto the cat tree.  The sides of the enclosure are so far still too high for the kittens to scale.  The floor of the enclosure is made of 3 whiteboards taped together – such a dream to clean!

h1

What my cats think of Cats Best Nature’s Gold cat litter

26 November, 2007

(please note that the opinions in this post expressed by my cats or myself are in no way representative of the general usability of the cat litters mentioned.  Cat litter usage depends on personal preference – some cats prefer one type over another, and of course, you need to buy the one that suits your needs and lifestyle.  And judging by the variety of cat litter on the market, there’s one that will suit every cat and cat owner’s preferences!)

As mentioned in my post about the Supreme, I bought some Cats Best Nature’s Gold.  It’s a variant on their OKO plus which is granular, made from spruce and fir, but in pelleted form, so there’s less tracking, and it’s supposed to not stick to longhaired fur.  So far so good – it’s lived up to those two promises.

Up until then I’d been trialling Sainsbury’s Ultra Clumping which is clay-based.  Yes, I know what I’ve said about not using clay-based clumping because of how it sticks to innards.  I’d only bought some because my supply of World’s Best (corn-based) litter had run out and the supplier had messed up on the delivery of kitten packs to my new kitten owners [they’ve promised to rectify this – hope so].  Surprise surprise, the cats took to the clay-based clumping readily – it had a granular sandy texture which they loved.  My Maine Coon girl, in particular, is a digger and she loved flinging it around the tray and burying her stuff in it.  It also absorbed smells well.  It tended to track, but that was also the case with World’s Best.

Anyway, I switched the litter to Nature’s Gold on Saturday, and got worried because even though it was used for pee, there was no poo until today (Monday).  I’m grateful they used it though because changing litter wholesale isn’t easy on cats – you’re supposed to do it in stages, a bit at a time.

In terms of cleaning, Nature’s Gold is easy to clean.  The clay-clumping litter tended to stick to the bottom of the tray, so you had to chisel it off sometimes, and it made me uneasy not to be able to totally remove all the dirty residue.  Nature’s Gold’s clumps lift off easily and cleanly with no sticking to the bottom of the pan.

In terms of clumping, Nature’s Gold clumps well with fluids (i.e. urine), and you can’t smell the urine.  But when it comes to cat poo, it didn’t quite cut it – it tended to form a thin coating to the poo, but my cats couldn’t quite bury it deep enough.  So it didn’t quite contain the poo smell.  So today I changed one of the pans back to the clay-clumping version to see which the cats would prefer.

Nature’s Gold reminds me of Yesterday’s News (which is pelleted recycled newspaper), but it’s softer and lighter.  I might use it again if there’s another litter of kittens, in place of Yesterday’s News.

The problem with clay-clumping litter is that it isn’t very eco-friendly – you can’t dump it in the loo.  But, I’ve just found out that you shouldn’t dump cat litter in the loo, anyway, because of a parasite called toxoplasma that is possibly present in cat poo.  This toxoplasma isn’t destroyed by sewage treatment and can end up killing sea otters and other sealife.  This is something that the makers of environmentally-friendly cat litter manufacturers haven’t mentioned.  I wonder why.  Check out the article in the link below:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2007/11/13/petscol.DTL&hw=cat+litter&sn=001&sc=1000

h1

Cat Litter 2 – why not clay-based clumping litter for long-haired cats

23 August, 2007

The previous post on cat litter was meant to be a one-off, but now it seems my musings may become a series.

As the title of this post so succintly implies, clay-based clumping may not be the best choice for long-haired cats.  Or kittens, as the case happens to be.

If you recall, in Cat Litter 1, I was comparing World’s Best (a corn-based clumping) with Catsan clumping (clay-based).  Despite the fact that WB is more expensive, the kittens went for the Catsan.

I was on the verge of transferring my loyalties to Catsan.  [sigh of relief from bank manager]

Anyway, last night I changed my mind.  I got back to find the waft of cat poo in the house.  I couldn’t track down the smell until the little boy kitten started digging up a rug.  He only does that if the rug is dirty so I knew something was up.

I picked him up and ohno-ohyes, the smell of kitten bottom hit me.  Turns out that his poo must have been slightly squishy and stuck to his bottom and he’d tried to get it off by sitting in the cat litter.  Unfortunately it was the Catsan, and it was stuck to his bum and his furry pantaloons.

I tried cleaning it off with wet kitchen towels, but it only just set the mix so that it was like a plaster cast.

In the end, I had to plonk him into the kitchen sink and run the tap.  He struggled and lashed out and the resulting stigmata he inflicted on me has me running for a sainthood.  He did hold still for about 5 seconds when he felt his bum ease.  It was a nasty task, needing much fingernail work – best not read this if you’re eating.  Finally I gave up and dried him off and he scampered away without a thank-you.  Then I had to clean the kitchen floor which had suspicious paw stains on it, and the living room floor.

So … this is the last time I use a clay-based clumping litter for the kittens.  Seeing how hard it clumped and stuck to his fur, I can understand why the kitten was unable to clean his bum.  And thank heavens for that, because if the kitten had swallowed the litter, imagine what would happen to its insides.

h1

Cat Litter 1

13 August, 2007

Well, it’s happened again, Murphy’s Law of Multiples.  You bulk-buy something the cats like and then they decide something else suits them better.

 In this case, it’s cat litter.

World’s Best Cat LitterCatsan

I’d rWorld’s Best Cat LitterWorld’s Best Cat Litterun out of the staple, World’s Best Cat Litter and placed an order with my usually- reliable supplier on a Thursday only to be informed the the litter wouldn’t be delivered until the following Monday.

 I was tempted to wait until then, but I usually wash, bleach and totally change at least one of the trays weekly and hadn’t been able to do it for the past week.  What made it imperative to have a dump and total replacement of the litter was the Bengal – she walked into one of the trays and straight out again, holding her breath.

So it was off to the supermarket for a temporary stop gap and I bought 3 bags of Catsan clumping.

I don’t usually use clay-based litter having read loads of warnings about how it clings to cat’s fur and when they lick themselves, it clumps in their intestines and clogs up their insides.  So I decided to use it only in the adult trays.

Of course, what happens next is that the kittens stumble on the adult trays in their explorations of the house, and suddenly I hear this scrape-scrape and when I next clean the litter tray, it’s obvious from the size of the deposits that the kittens have used the tray filled with Catsan.

The following week, voila, 4 bags of World’s Best arrive but on Thursday, not Monday.  In the meanwhile even though they have 6 six litter trays in the living room to choose from, the kittens have chosen to hold their bladders and bowels until given access to the Catsan-filled tray.  (ooh, don’t you love the way cats love to keep you in a state of uncertainty?)

So, do I continue with WBCL?  Or should I switch to Catsan clumping?  With the latter I could afford to change ALL the trays every week, and still have change left over for a set meal at the local Japanese. 

 So far the odour control of Catsan has been passable, but then, the kittens are fed raw, so the poo doesn’t have that fermented commercial food pong that lingers.  Catsan is heavier than WBCL though, because it’s clay-based, not corn-based. 

It’s serious business, this thing about cat litter, amongst breeders.  We are conscious of the fact that we have to have whiter-than-white standards of hygiene when breeding, and all dream of the perfect cat litter that is 100% harmless and 100% cheap.

A study was done on the effectiveness of cat litter in providing a medium of growth for coronavirus (see my post on FIP) and apparently the cat litters that were most hostile to the coronavirus were Everclean (clay-based), a brand from Costco (clay-based) and Tesco (yep, clay-based).  And the problem with clay-based (or fuller’s earth litters) is that they’re quite heavy too and if you’re into saving the earth, you can’t just flush it down the loo like you can with World’s Best.  [Addendum 14/08/07:  aha – I’ve found the study – it’s on Dr Addie’s web-site.  I did google the site last night, but it wasn’t up-and-running.  Here is the link for the Cat Litter League table – you need to scroll down the page a bit.  Also please note:  Tesco’s Value litter scored high on the scale, but I’ve heard that it allegedly doesn’t control odour that well, and sticks to the tray etc.].

It’s a toss-up between what won’t hurt the cat’s insides and is easy to clean, and economical to use (especially in the lavish quantities that breeders have to use).

In the meantime, buy shares in World’s Best.