Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A Litter Box That Finally Works For Us

I don't often do product reviews. I'm not a popular-enough blogger to warrant PR emails that offer me free products to try out and blog about. My popularity doesn't concern me. I've withdrawn (on purpose) from the race for more readers. If people find me, great. If they don't, that's fine. I blog for my friends and my family, but more importantly, for myself.

Once in a while, I'll find a product I just have to write about.

Today, it's the Tidy Cats® Breeze Litter System. About two months ago, we saw this product on the shelves in Walmart. We were going to replace our old litterbox since we found that it was leaking, even with plastic liners. Ick. The basement grew very smelly, and since it was Chris' chore to clean the litter box, it was rarely done, and the old clay litter reeked. Maisie became very sensitive, and she started to pee outside the box and poo in remote corners of the basement. It's a concrete basement floor. Ick.

Even after changing the litter every week, the smell remained. So when we saw the Breeze® on the shelves, we did the math. The start-up supplies are certainly more expensive than a standard litter pan and clay litter, but we had open minds about price. We'd pay money to not have a smelly house. Even the fancy and oh-so-expensive LitterMaid® systems with the motorized rake failed my tests in the past (the poo would still be wet because neither cat would bury her treasures, and it would cake on the rake). But we were willing to try something new again. Within a month, the Breeze® system would pay for itself, essentially.

We followed the instructions for the transition, setting up the Breeze® next to our old litter box. She used it right away, but we forgot to remove the old box in the time period, so she reverted, and eventually, a slick stream of god-knows-what flowed from under the box. In one hour-long session of rubber gloves and sweat and swear words, I threw out the old litter box, wiped up the icky stuff, then scrubbed the floor with hot water and soap, followed by a vinegar rinse and then a water rinse. No more smelly floor.

The Breeze® system works like this. What seem like not enough pellets are sprinkled over a plastic crate at the bottom of the top tray. A pull-out tray is seated below this. In the tray goes what is basically a gigantic maxi pad. When Maisie pees on the pellets, it slips through the pellets onto the pad below where it is instantly absorbed. When she poops, the feces rest on top of the pellets, where you scoop them out with a standard plastic scooper. We purchased a some plastic garbage can with a swinging lid, and I taped some charcoal smell-no-more pads to the lid and lined the can with double garbage bags. When we scoop out the poop, it goes right into the can. Weekly, we change out the pad, and it goes in there as well. The pellets need to be replaced every month.

It works great. No more smell. No more "accidents" when the clay litter doesn't smell right to Maisie. Just perfect wonderfulness. And now Maisie gets to keep living with us.

Note: The pad is very full after a week. It must be changed. We didn't do this for the first three weeks of owning the system, and the tray was filled to the brim with cat urine. Disgusting. But if you remember to change it every week, there isn't a problem.