You've heard the stories that people tell about their cats. They usually include something like this, "Little Whiskers is so smart. He thinks he's a person. He knows how to make me coffee (2 pumps caramel, 2 sweeteners) and fetches my newspaper every morning." And you're just sitting there like, "riiiiight."
People love their furry friends like they love their children. These exaggerated cat stories are the equivalent of the "My son is an honor roll student" bumper stickers.
If you're a cat owner you have to admit that you've been guilty of gushing over your four-legged fur-ball of joy a time or two. It's ok, it just means that you're smitten with your kitten--you're a good mama to your babies.
Let me tell you a few stories about my feline friends.
My long-haired, lion-cut cat named Dudley thinks he's a dog. He does, I swear.
Dudley also thinks he's a person. I mean, he can open a door by reaching his paw up and turning the knob. I kid you not. Dudley is also a genius--the Einstein of felines.
And then we have Daisy. She's all sass and 100% cat.
She does not think she's a dog. She does not think she's a person. She acts likes a cat, thinks like a cat, and meows like a cat. She's comfortable in her own fur. She's persistent--annoyingly so.
She's a princess and she knows it.
When Little Miss Sunshine was born, I was so afraid to have Dudley and Daisy near her because I was nervous they would try to hurt our beautiful baby girl. It didn't take long before I realized that Dudley and Daisy are the ones who need protecting from the wild-child that hubby and I created.
Can you see the look of fear when they hear the toddler coming?
These two cats of ours are with us for better or for worse. They often drive me crazy, but I'll be sad when they're gone. Pets are sneaky like that--they find a way into your heart and become a part of the family.
Cats are easy to take care of because they do most of the work themselves. One of the few responsibilities a cat owner has is to provide a litter box and to keep it clean. Don't worry if you don't have a good litter box set up--cats are resourceful and they'll find somewhere else to do their business. No biggie, right? Eek!
Many of us probably didn't even think twice when we set up a space for the litter box, but it turns out that cats are very sensitive to such things and will let you know if the litter box is not up to their standards. And rightfully so, you wouldn't like doing your business in an uncomfortable space either.
Here are a few tips for the purr-fect litter box set up. Your cats will thank you for considering their litter box needs.
Make sure the litter box is large enough for your cat. It should be about the length of your cat and wide enough for him/her to turn around in. If the litter box isn't big enough, you may find your cat missing the box. Make sure the sides are easy to step into, especially if you have an older cat or a kitten. On the same note, the litter should be anywhere from 2-4" deep, and less for kittens.
No Lids Allowed
A litter box with a lid is the equivalent to a hot and stuffy port-a-potty for humans. Just, Ew. Cats have an extremely powerful sense of smell and a lid simply traps the odors inside, making it un bearable.
Here's the Scoop
I'm not a fan of cleaning the litter box, but I don't know anyone who is. The best practice is to scoop the litter box twice per day. Keeping it clean makes it more comfortable for your cat and also ensures he/she can find a spot to do their business in the box instead of elsewhere. While it may be tempting to use a plastic liner or garbage bag, cats do not like the noise and may avoid the litter box because of it.
Give it a Good Scrubbing
At least once a month, empty the litter box and scrub the box with mild soap and water. Don't use soap with a strong scent as it will be bothersome to the cat's senses.
Location, Location, Location
Picking the perfect location for the litter box is key. There should be at least one box on each level and it should be easy and convenient to get to but also provide your cat privacy.
Be sure to keep the litter box location separate from the eating area-- you wouldn't want to eat in the bathroom. On another note, the location should be relatively quiet and away from any loud noises (think appliances).
The location of the box should give your cat a maximum visual advantage so he/she is not ambushed by an opponent (i.e. another cat, dog, toddler). The corner litter box (shown above) is perfect for this reason.
Do Yourself a Favor
Nobody wants their house to smell like cat poo. One way to avoid this is to keep the kitty box away from any heat source (like the furnace). The heat will cause the odor to become stronger.
Another great way to keep the odors down is to use Fresh Step Total Control with the Power of Febreze because it contains Borate Technology, which prevents the growth of odor-causing bacteria. This doesn't mean the litter has a strong "scent" either, it just has the odor controlling properties of Febreze.
I found Fresh Step Total Control with the Power of Febreze in a 42 lb. bag in the pet supplies aisle at Sam's Club--which is the only place it's sold. It's resealable too--making it easy to store. From 5/11 - 6/5, a $3.50 off coupon is automatically loaded on your Sam's Club card if you're a member.
Pick a litter box location with a floor surface that's easy to clean. Obviously, it's not a good idea to put the litter box on carpet or a porous surface.
A Plus One
The general rule is to have one litter box per cat, plus one more. This rule applies to each level of the home too. If you have multiple cats, they may or may not use the same litter box. Some cats prefer to use one litter box to urinate and a separate litter box to defecate. It's important to provide options for your cat.
Thanks to Sam's Club, I was able to donate $100 to Last Hope Animal Rescue--a non-profit animal rescue organization in Cedar Rapids, IA which provides foster homes and adoption services for cats and dogs. What a great organization!
Go ahead and brag about your cat in the comments! What does your little whiskers do that's special?