Saturday, April 17, 2010

Purina Maxx Scoop Week Two

As I mentioned last week, I was going to put on the hood of the ExquisiCat Cosy Corner litter box but without the trap door. Done!

I also mentioned that I had some concerns about it becoming a trap for Suzie since JD is overly protective of the litter spots. Up until this point Suzie hadn't bothered with the box and it was being exclusively used by JD.

Thirty minutes after putting the lid on the litter box, Suzie was in there digging up a storm and leaving her mark. Jeff and I were both shocked. I made Jeff take the picture. Don't worry, she's only digging.

Both cats have been using it all week intermittently with their regular boxes. I empty the litter box every day and I have to admit it is a bit of a pain to empty. I have to remove the hood, find a horizontal space to put it down, then put it back on when I'm done. I thought for sure the litter would become stronger with the cover on but it is still freshly scented.

The plan is to add the door this week but I really don't think it needs the door and I have concerns about it not being used as much. Time will tell!

Topic Links
* Week One
* Please do this Purina Maxx Survey after reading this blog post. It's really short. For every completed survey Matchstick will make a $2 donation to The Redwood Women's Shelter.

Closing in the Kitchen

For the last few weeks we've been hymning and hawing about what to do with the animals at feeding time. There's a whole bunch of crazy stress centered around feeding times mostly because of JD. He tries to steal the other animals food and is quite successful unless one of us is standing over the other animal. As you can imagine it is not convenient. For months we've tried different scenarios mostly involving moving Suzie around. Now we've decided on what we hope will be the last and perfect solution -- a closed in kitchen.

Today Jeff started the process of hanging a french door on each entrance. We picked them up this week at Home Depot for $69 along with hinges and handles (about another $20) that match the kitchen finials. They actually only had one door, the other is on order (more on that later).

Before the door can even be permanently hung there was some prep work that needed to be done. The door had to be shortened to fit the opening. Space had to be chiseled for the hinges (3), and a hole had to be drilled for the handle mechanism. Oh, and Jeff's favorite part, it has to be primed and painted.

The image here is Jeff doing a pre-hang to make sure the hinges on the door align with the space on the door frame. It did.

At the moment of this posting he has finished priming the door and it is drying in the basement. If he has time tomorrow he'll put on the first coat of paint. Why am I not painting you ask? Because I suck at painting. It would be all over me, the floor, the glass, the ceiling, the animals. It's just not my thing.

The fogginess you see on the glass is to protect it while it's being painted, no taping required. Jeff is heading up for a shower to wash away the work of today. He tells me he's decided to return the second door we have on order to get an already primed door instead (painted and pre-drilled holes). Apparently the little extra money is worth the time and effort he had to put into what we thought would be a simple project.

I think the door looks pretty cool though! I can hardly wait to see the project finished so we can work on getting the crew into a new eating pattern. And of course I'm looking forward to the first time one of use walks into one of the doors.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Purina Maxx Scoop and the Big Test

I was contacted by Purina Maxx Scoop to be apart of a small collection of reviewers whose cats test Purina Maxx Scoop litter and the ExquisiCat Cosy Corner litter box. Once accepted into the program they sent me a kit which consisted of the following:
  • Litter box
  • Rubbermaid scoop
  • Cat treats
  • Coupons for Maxx Scoop
For the first few days that we weren't able to make it to the store to use the coupons we had the litter box sitting in the living room. After day one both cats were easily introduced to the inside of the box. JD with some treats and Suzie because she was trying to hide from JD; ok, there might have been a little fanny push to get her the rest of the way in. Both cats were able to find their way out by pushing on the door no problem.

Here is one of our current kitty litter set up:

As you can see we use Special Kitty which costs about $8 for 18 kg. We get it from Walmart and have been using it since we got the second cat. We have a second box in another location because sometimes JD doesn't let Suzie do her "business" in this room which is the original "business" location. To the right is the Kitty Locker which we highly recommend for containing litter once it is removed from pan. Again we found the locker and the refills to be cheapest at Walmart (a lot cheaper).

Here's what the kitty corner litter pan will look when we use it:

When I first opened the Maxx Scoop container it didn't look as dusty as the special kitty and when I poured it into the base it definitely was not as dusty. I used one complete 7kg container to fill the base.

Because the kids aren't used to a sheltered potty space I'm started them off with just the base:

I brought Suzie kitty up and introduced her to the new box and litter. She sniffed it and walked over to the old litter and peed. Personally, I would have preferred using fresh litter first. But perhaps she was waiting for JD to do the first pee test.

On day two JD did the official doo and pee test more than once. He also did a good job of removing about a 1/2 cup of litter out of the pan. My little digger (this new kitten has so many nick names already: dust buster, swifty, bruiser, brat...).

At this point I wasn't sure Suzie would use the new litter as she is acting very sensitive to scent lately. And the Maxx Scoop has a subtle sent that I noticed when I was emptying the pan for the first time. It's actually find it kind of pleasing as I'm the one usually in charge of goody removal.

It has been a week and I still haven't found any of Suzie's business. But I have noticed that JD has been using the spare box we set up for Suzie less than usual which is definitely a bonus as it probably increases Suzie's comfort level in there.

I haven't had to top off the Maxx Scoop yet even with JD shoveling stuff out. I picked up back-up litter yesterday just in case. I wasn't the only one buying kitty litter and couldn't help chatting up the Maxx Scoop a bit.

Overall I'm enjoying the litter. The covered box however, I'm not so keen on. I'm currently reading Cat vs Cat by Bennett Johnson and she has dissuaded me considerably against using them exclusively. She explains how they are acceptable in a single cat household but not for a multi-cat household where the user can't see what is coming or may become trapped inside. And since we already have control issues with the litter box it's probably not even a good idea to encourage Suzie to use one. But if I can get JD to use one almost exclusive then I might have less litter to clean off of the floor.

The plan for the next week is to add the cover and have the door open. We'll see what happens.

Topic Links
* Week Two
* Please do this Purina Maxx Survey after reading this blog post. It's really short. For every completed survey Matchstick will make a $2 donation to The Redwood Women's Shelter.