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Critique my cat litter plan...

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
So... here's the scoop on my litter plans. I currently live in an apartment and have one cat, but in less than a month, I'm moving to a house and adopting another cat. Also, I hate changing the cat litter (as if anybody truly enjoys it ). So, I've come up with an idea that will make my life a lot easier.

First of all, I'm going to build a cat run attached to a window with a little kitty door in the window so the cats can go out there whenever they please. I'm only going to have a litter box there, reasons being: 1) I don't like the smell of cat litter. Even one poop is more stinky than necessary 2) My house is fairly small and there's not really a place to put it out of the way. There's no basement or anything. 3) I have a toddler and I want to keep him out of the cat litter.

Also, I'm going to use wood stove pellets. They're essentially the same as feline pine, only cheaper. My cat has used feline pine and doesn't seem to have a preference, hopefully the new cat feels the same way.

And finally, I'm not a fan of scooping, so when it's time for fresh litter, I'm just going to toss the whole thing in the compost bin, rinse out the box, and add fresh litter.

So what do you think?

P.S. I anticipate that some of you might say "cat poop isn't safe for composting" although I assure you, I've looked into it and I'm not worried. I'm going to compost the dog poop, llama poop (there's a llama at my new house), and I'm even going to be using a composting toilet. I will have a system in which I ensure the compost reaches thermophilic conditions and then cures for two years, which is scientifically proven to kill pathogens.
post #2 of 23
I don't know anything about composting. If it works for you then great
post #3 of 23
You mentioned tossing the whole litter box instead of scooping... The litterbox should be scooped out atleast once every two days, right? To keep it pleasant for your feline companions. You wouldn't want to go to the bathroom in a toilet that hasn't been flushed for 4 days, would you? So it seems to me that you would be wasting an awful lot of litter... Nobody truly enjoys scooping, but it's not that time-consuming and disgusting, really...
post #4 of 23
Yeah I agree on dumping the entire box - you'll either waste a lot of litter (no matter how cheap it is) or your pan will be "loaded" and if it is, most cats will NOT want to use it.

Besides, IF the cats have any worms, etc., they can incubate in poop and reinfect if its not cleaned out every day or two.

IMO if you have that much of an objection to litter/litter boxes, why own a cat? Its part of the package. And if you can deal with cleaning up dog poop and llama poop, then surely you can deal with a little cat poop!
post #5 of 23
I agreed that the pan should be scooped at least once a day... I know Oliver usually hops into the box right after/while I'm scooping every day just cuz it's much nicer to go in a clean place.... if you're really against scooping, why not invest in the littermaid - does the dirty work for you, you just gotta empty the compartment.... also, is this outdoor aread going to be protected from the elements? I sure know Oliver would be holding his poo/going in inappropriate places if his box was outside and it was say raining or snowing....
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuzbyJLC10 View Post
I agreed that the pan should be scooped at least once a day... I know Oliver usually hops into the box right after/while I'm scooping every day just cuz it's much nicer to go in a clean place.... if you're really against scooping, why not invest in the littermaid - does the dirty work for you, you just gotta empty the compartment....
I was thinking the same thing. And it probably costs less than a home construction project.

My cats would certainly not appreciate having to do their business outside in the winter when it's cold.
post #7 of 23
I think your cats will tell you how much they don't like it by doing their business in the place they want to, regardless of where you put the litterpan.

I know how it is to live in small places, Zissou's litterpan is in my bedroom closet because there is nowhere else to keep it (bathroom's too small and I am not putting it in the living room!)

I do like your idea of the enclosure for them outside though (unless they can be outside free-reign-- I can't tell I guess I don't know what a run is).

And you'll hate me for saying this, but with two cats you need more than one litterbox, especially when you're first introducing them.
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolenta View Post
I currently live in an apartment and have one cat, but in less than a month, I'm moving to a house and adopting another cat. Also, I hate changing the cat litter (as if anybody truly enjoys it ). So, I've come up with an idea that will make my life a lot easier.
Right now, we live in an apt w/ 2 cats, and 1 litter box (small apt)...and the litter box is in the bedroom (sniff! I know, but again, small apt -- bedroom vs. kitchen, so...& bathroom is too small to fit it). We use Tidy Cats Crystals or Fresh Step Crystals...and the smell is minimal (ex/c right after a fresh poo).

Schedule: We scoop 1-2 times per day to stir up the crystals & dump the poo (brown paper lunch bag, then into the hallway trash chute). Maybe this would work for you, even when you move into a house.

Or, you can try to ScoopFree auto litter box that uses crystals...tempted to try that myself -- best price is $89 + $25 shipping (on eBay). The crystals really take care of the smell around here. The box gets changed every 10-14 days, and the crystals are pricey, so that might be an issue for some (for us it's $15.99 per month for litter).
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
I think your cats will tell you how much they don't like it by doing their business in the place they want to, regardless of where you put the litterpan.


Bear in mind that a litter tray should be in a place that's convenient for the cats and easy to reach, ie fairly central to their living space if there's only one tray. If they don't like it in the enclosure they simply won't use it, or they will go elsewhere as well. Unless your house is extremely small I would definitely go for 2 trays - I think the number of trays is dependent on the number of cats and the space available. I get away with one large tray for 2 cats but I live in a 1 bedroom flat so they're never far away from the tray. If I lived in a house with an upstairs I would have a tray upstairs as well as downstairs even with the same 2 cats who are currently happy with one tray.

Same goes for the type of litter you want to use - that's fine if they like it. But if not you'll have to use what they like!
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
I know how it is to live in small places, Zissou's litterpan is in my bedroom closet because there is nowhere else to keep it (bathroom's too small and I am not putting it in the living room!)
Ah! Someone else who has a litter box in the bedroom ...I was starting to think that we're gross-weird-alone in this

Bathroom's too small for us, too, and we don't a have a dining area, so we eat in the living room, so no box there, either. Ours is near the closet, too. I've got a sensitive nose, but the crystals really take care of the smell (except when they decide to leave a fresh poo right when you're going to bed...whew !)
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiskerynature View Post
Ah! Someone else who has a litter box in the bedroom ...I was starting to think that we're gross-weird-alone in this
hey, you're not alone! i actually have TWO boxes in my bedroom closet, plus one in the hall closet, & a teensy one currently in the bathroom for the baby.... altho that'll be changing once she's big enough to use the 'big cat' boxes. mine [except for the bathroom one] are all littermaids. i'm seriously considering buying a 4th... if i do, it'll also be in the bedroom closet, because i have nowhere else to put it! it's a nice sized closet, altho i wish it was a walk-in. BTW - my clothes are in a different closet - only cat boxes & supplies in the litter closet!
post #12 of 23
I have two closets in my bedroom and one has clothes and the other the cat box, boxes of crap I don't need, suitcases, an 8-person tent that has lost its waterproof...

I know how everyone hates covered boxes but it really is a necessity if you're limited in space, because I have to keep it on carpet in a rental and Zissou kicks litter everywhere.

It is the first thing I see in the morning. Blech.
post #13 of 23
I have one box, two cats. The box is in the utility room which is off the kitchen and I scoop twice daily. Its a large covered box and I am currently using Tidy Cat. I'm in a small town house, L.R & Kit. dwn and 2 B.R. up. No problem with the cats sharing. But I think you should scoop at least once a day.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiskerynature View Post
Ah! Someone else who has a litter box in the bedroom ...I was starting to think that we're gross-weird-alone in this
We have a 1-bedroom apartment. 2 boxes are in the bedroom. And 1 box is in our living room/dining area. It works fine for us. I keep them very clean, so no one ever smells the cat boxes when they visit.

I don't use covered boxes, but the rubbermaid/sterilite tubs I converted only have litter spill out the front, where they get in and out. It's as tall as the Van Ness Xtra Large covered box is at the top of the cover. NO ONE can pee over the side of our boxes.
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
Well... I'm not worried about them sharing because it's a very large litter box (originally intended for my 20lb dog, but I decided it was easier just to take him outside). My current cat is very small and the new cat is average size. Current cat likes the pellets... we'll see about the new cat.

Anyway, I'm building the run regardless of the litterbox situation because I want them to have a place outside. By run I mean an outdoor enclosure which is closed on all sides but has lots of perching and playing places and attaches to the house.

I guess the main test is to see if it works. I guess scooping a few poops every day isn't the worst thing in the world. I mean, I pick up after my dog on walks and those are fresh. Pee-oo!
post #16 of 23
Please do take photos of the run when you have it done, or even in progress. I know many of us dream about the day when we'll be able to do something like that. Its nice to see what others are doing
post #17 of 23
I can join the "litter box in the bedroom" club too!

I actually just moved out of a studio apartment (ie: the living/dining/sleeping area is like one big room, plus small kitchen and a bathroom)... in that apartment I had the box in a small ultility closet/room in between the living area and bathroom... I also have a covered box, but I take the doors off cuz Oliver just refuses to use it with the door.... since moving back in with my parents (ah, I'm a college grad, haha) I've got one box next to my desk in my room and one in the basement... I have to have one in my room because Oliver is confined in here with me at night since my mom is semi-allergic and we don't want any chances of him getting into my parents' bed.... I use the sam's club clumping litter - very little dust and does pretty well with the smell
post #18 of 23
We got a Litter Robot recently (a reconditioned one from the manufacuter) and so far, it has been great with the odor! (ours is in our master bathroom). We have 4 cats, and one had been peeing on the bathroom rugs, and so far, the rugs are back down and clean ! I had high hopes for it, and I am very pleased. Scooping the litterbox is on the very bottom of my "want to do list", and now I don't have to!

We also have an "emergency box" in the sunroom in the other end of the house, but it appears they prefer the "continuously clean" Litter Robot. (No, I do not work for the company!).

I just pull the drawer out, pull the full bag out, replace it with a regular 13 gal trash bag, and it's ready to go! Time to empty the entire box, push the "empty" button; fill it up, push the "fill" button and fill it from the top! And I can either wipe it out with Clorox wipes, or take it outside and hose it down, whichever it needs.

I too would love to see your enclosure when you get done! My cats are getting older, and are indoor/outdoor, but the day is coming that they won't be allowed free roam...
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolenta View Post
Well... I'm not worried about them sharing because it's a very large litter box (originally intended for my 20lb dog, but I decided it was easier just to take him outside). My current cat is very small and the new cat is average size. Current cat likes the pellets... we'll see about the new cat.
The reason I said you would especially need two while introducing them is (unless you already know how they act together) they have to be separated at least for a little bit at first, so you'll need two for that (even a temporary one) and one of the problem areas for cats bullying is in the litter box. If one decides to have territory problems about the box and won't let the other use it, it could spell trouble with a capital t.

Just for your consideration.

And yes! I love the run! I second the call for pics.
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
The reason I said you would especially need two while introducing them is (unless you already know how they act together) they have to be separated at least for a little bit at first, so you'll need two for that (even a temporary one) and one of the problem areas for cats bullying is in the litter box. If one decides to have territory problems about the box and won't let the other use it, it could spell trouble with a capital t.

Just for your consideration.

And yes! I love the run! I second the call for pics.
I don't mind that temporarily, but I don't think I'll have long-term problems because I've seen how both cats act around strange cats and neither seem to mind other cats. My sister told me a story once of how Oskar was waiting by the door to get in and the neighbour's cat was a few feet away, hissing and swatting at him, and he just sat there very stoic, not even phased. She also says he likes to play with friendly cats in the neighbourhood.

I once had two strange cats in my apartment because my neighbour had abandoned them and I was finding them homes and she handled that really well. Also, I take her to my in-laws' house for Christmas and they have a cat, and my husband's sister brings her cat, too, and she gets along with those cats fine.

I think it'll be okay... but if they need seperate litter boxes, so be it. I've gone a year and a half with a litter box inside, so it's not like I can't handle it!
post #21 of 23
just because you don't like to scoop litter doesn't make it fair for your cats to have to step around their own poop and pee for a whole week. Even if it is a big box, they will have it full by the time you get around to dumping it. You're only asking for problems in the long run. If a cat doesn't feel like its litter box is clean enough, they could start going outside of the box, and sometimes its hard to get them to start going again. If you feed a good quality food, and scoop daily, there should be little smell in the box, and your cats will be much happier. I have 6 cats and 7 boxes spread out over both floors of my house and I cannot smell a thing unless they have just gone. Hey face it, poop stinks! But if I smell it, i scoop it.
post #22 of 23
I don't have any suggestions for your litter situation, except that during the winter I would advise you keep them inside. Your pan sounds large enough for two, hopefully, but if you get a smaller one you can put it under a coffee table or something.


I have a couple of suggestions for your run, however...

- make sure you're able to securely close that window. At night, during the cold in the winter, the heat of the daytime in the summer, etc I doubt you'll want that leaking into your house or your kitties outside in it. Pests also might find it an easy way to get in/out. a locking cat flap might be easier?

-Make sure you make the run out of something like chain-link, and make sure it's covered securely. My biggest worry is that something will get IN and get my kitties.. not that they will get out. If you use screen or something, larger animals (*cough silly puppies that the neighbors let run loose cough*) can barrel right through it without even noticing it, especially if they're in prey drive. We've had one of our screens busted through twice.. it was so bad the second time it had to be replaced.

-Make the run large enough that if there are wild animals near by, they cannot reach a paw in and get at your kitties, that the kitties have somewhere to go.

Okies, I'm done with my suggestions. I don't want to sound rude, lol. Good luck with your run--I do hope we get to see pics!
post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by noludoru View Post
I don't have any suggestions for your litter situation, except that during the winter I would advise you keep them inside. Your pan sounds large enough for two, hopefully, but if you get a smaller one you can put it under a coffee table or something.


I have a couple of suggestions for your run, however...

- make sure you're able to securely close that window. At night, during the cold in the winter, the heat of the daytime in the summer, etc I doubt you'll want that leaking into your house or your kitties outside in it. Pests also might find it an easy way to get in/out. a locking cat flap might be easier?

-Make sure you make the run out of something like chain-link, and make sure it's covered securely. My biggest worry is that something will get IN and get my kitties.. not that they will get out. If you use screen or something, larger animals (*cough silly puppies that the neighbors let run loose cough*) can barrel right through it without even noticing it, especially if they're in prey drive. We've had one of our screens busted through twice.. it was so bad the second time it had to be replaced.

-Make the run large enough that if there are wild animals near by, they cannot reach a paw in and get at your kitties, that the kitties have somewhere to go.

Okies, I'm done with my suggestions. I don't want to sound rude, lol. Good luck with your run--I do hope we get to see pics!
Those are great suggestions, thanks! You didn't seem rude at all, that's exactly the sort of constructive criticism I was looking for.
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