Smart Cat Box
Probably one of the most important items there is to a cat caretaker is the almighty litter box. Choose one too small, and you have unhappy felines who will take out their displeasure on your favorite houseplant. Choose one too big, and you have more than one feline fighting for territory.
Choose a non-clumping litter and forget (just once!) to change it, and our finicky felines will refuse to use it, or worse, you will face the unpleasant fate of living at that infamous “cat house” in the neighborhood – you know, the one the neighbors always talk about whenever they amble by; crossing the street and mumbling under their breath. Choose a clumping litter and you are faced with the possibility of your favorite felines contracting upper respiratory infections from the fine dust that drifts upwards into even your own nostrils, despite the mask you wear when cleaning.
Litter boxes are far more complex than most non-cat people understand, and while it can be one of our most talked about subjects among cat caretakers, much like parents with young children talk about the best diaper for toddlers, it’s the subject that we most abhor.
There are other options to cat boxes, of course. We could toilet train our cats, and I know of many who have done just that. However, as one who resides with 14 cats and a husband in a two-bathroom house, I just have a feeling that I would never be allowed entrance to the bathroom again. Toilet training our cats is simply not an option for me. I could just picture Booger walking in on Ghost as he sat on the toilet, Ghost slamming the door with his little paw, which then hits Booger above the eye, necessitating a trip to the veterinarian in the middle of the night; only to have the same event repeated when we returned home late that evening, forcing us to return back to the emergency veterinarian for stitches (an event that actually occurred between my brother and I while growing up – my poor mother!). No – toilet training simply is not for this household.
Up to this date, being the savvy 21st century person I am, I have chosen to be automated in my life, and that includes my litter boxes. Over the past few years, I have been using several large Littermaid litter boxes, which I doubt I would ever trade in. The disadvantage to these boxes is, of course, the dust that is created from using the clumping litter. However, there are trade offs to everything in life, and as long as I stay on top of the situation, and take care of any allergies in my felines as they occur, things seem to be okay.
Once in a while, though, it is necessary for me to monitor a cat’s “output” for health reasons. For example, crystals (urinary tract infections) are a recurring theme in our household, and while we do our best to control these issue through diet and by encouraging an increase in water consumption, it is also important to obtain a random urinalysis from each cat once in a while. With large, fully automated, community litter boxes – which clean up the “output” within 3 minutes after a cat exits, monitoring each cat becomes an impossible feat.
And so, normally in order to obtain a urinalysis, I would have to take a very uncooperative feline into the veterinarian, allow said veterinarian to do many unpleasant things to my beloved pet, pay said veterinarian anywhere from $75 – $125 for making my cat (and myself) very unhappy, bring home a very irate cat who refuses to speak to me for several days, and generally go to the Emergency Room myself for a tetanus shot and antibiotics after “very unhappy feline” bites me for my efforts to properly care for it. Those days are behind me now, because I have recently been introduced to a product that allows me to obtain a urinalysis nearly for free, without any stress to my pets or my veterinarian, and which has completely eliminated any hospitalization time for me
The product is called the Smart Cat Box. This wonderful little contraption is a simple little litter box that uses a (get this) UN-absorbent litter, which allows urine to filter through a small network of boxes, and into a contained holding area. I can then either take that little box into the vet, or I can empty it into a plastic baggie, and take that into the vet, in order to get the urine sample analyzed for crystals. There are a staggering number of health reasons why this box is valuable.
Another reason I like this box is the environmental aspects. By emptying out the holding tray into the toilet, you can simply flush it down, and there is no waste to throw into the garbage, nothing to pollute our lands and irritate our neighbors. The waxy corn cob pellets can be easily sprayed once a week with a solution of lemon juice, alcohol, and water once a week, then mixed with a scoop and allowed to dry for 15 minutes or so to keep fresh. In this way, the box is self-cleaning. There is little waste, the urine empties into an enclosed holding tank, and the “movements” can be scooped and flushed.
However, being a lazy cat owner, I equate this product with the use of cloth diapers: If you have one, maybe even two, children in diapers at one time – using cloth diapers is a wonderful way to help save the environment. And the same goes for the Smart Cat Box. If you have one or even two cats, this is a fantastic full-time system for you. There is almost no waste as the pellets last several months without being replaced, it’s extremely economical and environmentally friendly, and it works incredibly well.
But, if you are the mother of say, quintuplets, and you are trying to feed a litter and change their diapers and get them down for naps, and all of those things that crazed quintuplet parents try to do, I’m not really sure I would use this system full-time. Would I buy one and keep it for health reasons? Absolutely – no questions asked. I would double my money back on ONE trip to the vet.
All in all – great system for the environmental, humane, economically minded person – which I’m sure we all are, or all aspire to be. The Smart Cat Box is something that I would recommend to all feline caretakers, and something that my own felines have shown more of a preference for using – if only their owner weren’t so lazy!
From the Cats
Hisses & Spits: If only our owner would clean it more often! Will you find a way to automate it?
Purrs: Purring contentedly… We love the soft corncobs!
From the Humans
Two opposable thumbs up! Find a way to automate it, and I’ll take four!
Drawback? While the tank is generous in its capacity, it just simply isn’t enough to accommodate a large household of cats. Treat it like you would any other litter box, and get one for each feline – keep it clean, and you’re set. Make sure you check the “holding tank” – I’ve not had any “overflows” but don’t know what would happen if it wasn’t checked often…
Litter change! The new non-absorbent litter now used by Smart Cat Box has all the ECO-friendly benefits as the corn grit. They use natural SAFFLOWER seeds, grown in the US. No dust, no odor, stays dry, long lasting, can be cleaned, and affordable!