Where to put the, um, cat box scoopings

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

We get some great questions in email (have one? email us!) and occasionally comments. These questions came from the comments.

Commenter Jane writes:

I used to use very expensive cat litter (I have three cat boxes), but realized that using the cheapest cat litter and emptying the whole thing every couple of days is the most economic way to go. Does anyone out there know of a litter that is flushable, doesn’t track on the floor?

I was just mulling over the cat litter issue this morning over at Animal Shak.  I use Arm & Hammer Super Scoop, but after finding out about the strip mining issue with cat litter, I’m thinking about using something different as well. Whaddaya think, Home Eccers? Do you have a good answer for Jane? Do you have a good answer for me?

Commenter Liz writes:

This is a little off topic, but the problem I always have is the garbage can. Since I scoop into the garbage can, I change it pretty frequently, but it still reeks. Anyone have any good ideas about how to manage this? It always smells awful in this part of the house, and it isn’t the litter box.

You could try to find a litter that is flushable, but if you live in an area where water conservation is a must like I do, that may not work for you. Here’s what I do. I always use plastic bags that I get from the grocery store* to scoop the cat boxes into. Then I take the tied up bag out to my outside dumpster.

I’ve also seen this litter locker at my local PetSmart that looked like a neat idea. The only  problem I can forsee with that is that you have to buy the bags that are used with it, and that seems a tad on the wasteful side to me. Not to mention expensive. However, it does look like it would do an excellent job of keeping the smell away.

And to prove we don’t talk about poop all the time at Home Ec 101, commenter Karen wants to know:

I’ve been reading your blog for weeks now but I just now noticed that both of your names are names of plants. pseudonyms?

That’s an astute observation, Karen! I never even noticed that myself.  Heather is really Heather’s name. Ivy is not actually my real name, but it is the name I have been using online since 1994. My real name is a name I really don’t dig for myself**. I have gone by nicknames for most of my life, and when I started going online, my dad told me to come up with a fake name because he claimed only crazies, stalkers, perverts, and us were online. So it was Ivy, and I’ve been Ivy ever since.

Eventually, I intend to legally change my name to Ivy Hogan, but I’m afraid it will hurt my mom’s feelings. Mom says she wanted to name me this name since she was a little girl. I still hate the name. Sorry, Mom.

And no, I won’t tell you what the name is. Some things are just for me. 😉

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*I use my cloth bags about half the time when I go to the grocery store and I get the plastic bags the other half of the time for this very reason.

**It is a very, very common name for women my age. It’s fine for other people, it’s a pretty name with a nice meaning. It just has never, ever suited me.



20 Comments

  1. Heidi @ Carolina Dreamz on June 2, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    I don’t know if feline pine has changed, from the past… but its quite interesting stuff.

    I have to use two different types of litter, right now, because my cat’s roll that way.

    We have three boxes. I added the third box, with feline pine, in my hallway, leading to my cat-box-bathroom, because one of my cats thinks its better to pee out there!

    As far as I know, only one cat uses it.. and “they” only pee in it.. so I only see it break down to saw dust.. and it doesn’t smell!

    I haven’t taken it to the garden, though. I’m just not feeling that…

    I really enjoyed this post and learning everyone’s different options, as I hate my options right now.

    It looks like I need to go to the local PetSmart now, though..



  2. Jane on March 28, 2008 at 9:55 am

    It seems that when you ask, you will receive. The day that I sent my question to you, I happened to go to Pet Smart, and a lady was demonstrating a product called Worlds Best Cat Litter. Sold at Pet Smart and Vitamin Cottage. http://www.worldsbestcatlitter.com. This stuff is made out of corn, is biodegradable and flushable. And probably edible; the demonstrator tasted some in front of me, as I was a little skeptical. It clumps beautifully, doesn’t track, doesn’t smell. I guess if you run out of breakfast cereal, a little milk and sugar on it would get you through the day.



  3. stacia daniel on March 27, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Swheat Scoop. (scoop often) And I use a litter cabinet so no odor problems. I use PAPER grocery bags. they’re biodegradable. and I take it right out the to outside trash cans. (I have old plumbing so I don’t flush)
    This system is all biodegradable. The litter isn’t ‘mined’. It’s as green as i’ve been able to find.
    Also, I have one of those old green door mats with the plastic daisy, and I use it for a little doormat at the cabinet. It totally helps with the tracking. 🙂



  4. AnnMarie on March 27, 2008 at 9:55 am

    I’m a SwheatScoop user as well. The smell another ocmmenter had is not the litter–it’s almost odorless just a faint smell like flour. They are both the same product after all. It does NOT have any added fragances to mask the smell of cat urine, however. To me, that’s an advantage–many cats can’t stand fragrances. And the humans in my house can’t stand them either. We accidently got one once and my husband reacted so badly we had to rush to the grocery store on Thanksgiving morning to find something else. And it’s all natural–it’s just wheat no fillers, additives, nasty ingredients.

    Anyway, cat urine isn’t terribly pleasant. (For most people–some people are apparently immune to it.) You probably will want to scoop more frequently. I do it every 2-3 days and probably should do it daily.

    I scoop into plastic bags used for our daily newspaper. Before that, I used cheap zip sandwich baggies. (They worked when we had two small cats and not much to scoop. Our current cats pee a lot due to health issues and a baggie wouldn’t even be big enough.) Regardless, we don’t keep it in the house–it immediately goes out to the garbage can.



  5. Jasi on March 25, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    It’s not even like you can wrap it in paper and plant it out back. Cat poo is so toxic and nasty. Poor little things are adorable, though. When we had cats we went with Swheat Scoop and used old shopping bags. Absolutely bad for the environment , but there’s not much that can be done about it.

    Attn: HomeEc readers who are also Chem majors- We need a solution to nullify the funkiness of cat poo. Get on it!



  6. dolphin on March 25, 2008 at 10:40 am

    I wonder if the pine litter has gotten better since I last tried it

    I was wondering that about the Swheat Scoop. Last time I used it, the odor when I went into scoop was so terrible I physically had to leave the room to catch my breath while scooping. Clearly with 2 recommendations here, it’s gotten better in that regard.



  7. jazzhands on March 25, 2008 at 9:15 am

    I use a CleverCat (http://www.amazon.com/review/product/B0002ZS20I/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?%5Fencoding=UTF8&showViewpoints=1) litter box and line it with cheap 30-gallon trash bags. Since the whole bag gets removed when cleaning the box, I just use the cheapest, non-clumping clay cat litter. The box is designed to keep litter-tracking to a minimum. Before the Clevercat, I was cleaning up litter messes every day!



  8. Rachel on March 25, 2008 at 7:40 am

    I wonder if the pine litter has gotten better since I last tried it (a few years ago). The brands that I tried just smelled strongly of, well, wet pine and cat urine.



  9. Karen on March 24, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    I use Feline Pine cat litter. It is made up of large “noodles”of pine sawdust that return to the very fine sawdust it is made of when it gets wet.

    I dispose of the solid waste in plastic grocery bags.

    I dispose of the sawdust in the far flowerbed where it acts like mulch and does not smell.

    Now, the cats do not prefer the large pellets, but they also do not track them all over the house. So, they’ve had to get used to it!



  10. Heather on March 24, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    You know, this whole conversation just makes me glad I’m allergic to cats. (This is why Ivy is the cat poo expert)



  11. Margaret on March 24, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    oh, and I meant to say, IVY, that I love your name!! (or the name that will be your legal name sometime, although I confess I’m dying of curiosity about your given name! I’m betting it’s some version of Christy or Kristin. . .)



  12. Margaret on March 24, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    When we had a cat a few years ago, we used recycled newspaper pellet cat litter (don’t remember the brand/name). It’s really pellets, so the cat didn’t track it anywhere – just kicked some out of the box, which I could easily brush up with my little dustpan & brush that I kept with the pooper scooper (far preferable in my mind to the horrendously mined clay litter AND the gritty dust throughout the house). If I smelled anything, which was rarely, I dumped some baking soda right on the smell in the box. Worked great and I’ll do it this way again when we get our next cat!



  13. Patia on March 24, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    I use the cheap Costco litter.

    I also hit my friends and coworkers up for their plastic grocery bags. I don’t get them myself, but I use them for trash, litter and cat barf. I figure I’m helping others re-use this way.



  14. Pam on March 24, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    If you have a septic system you should NOT flush the litter regardless of what is says on the bag. Pam, South Bend



  15. JayMonster on March 24, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    We haven’t had a cat in many years, so things may have changed a bit, and their might be more eco friendly alternatives, but we used a similar method Ivy. We had an old Diaper Champ *, that we converted for this use. We would scoop the litter into the smaller bag and drop it in the Diaper Champ for removal later. Since the “champ” was designed to hold diapers, obviously it hold odors quite well.

    * we considered the diaper champ better than the diaper genie because it required less use of plastic for diapers (one large bag, vs. lots of little bags), but this didn’t work quite as well for litter since we couldn’t just drop the litter into the diaper bin.



  16. Lesley on March 24, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    I use Swheat Scoop as well. I don’t flush it, though. About once a week (less often than recommended), I use a big ol’ spoon (that no longer gets used in the kitchen, natch), I scoop the poop and the pellets that have been reduced to sawdust. I put it in a plastic bag and dump it at the back of the property where it can return to nature and (I hope) ward off unwelcome rodents. I don’t use it as mulch near the house, but I don’t smell it where I dump it, either. And I re-use that plastic bag!

    And there’s no tracking of the pellets at all. And when the litter box smells, it really just smells like pine that’s been cut.

    There really is no perfect cat litter as far as the environment goes (in my mind), but this is the best I can do for now (to manage smell and cost).

    And I tellyawhut, one 7lb bag of Swheat Scoop does last about a month and that sure beats the heck out of trying to lug a 25-pound bag of clay out of the Target. Yep.



  17. freakgirl on March 24, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Swheat Scoop litter is flushable and biodegradable. It’s much more fine than regular litter, and doesn’t tend to track unless the kitty’s feet are wet.

    They carry it at Target and Petsmart:
    http://www.swheatscoop.com/home.html



  18. dolphin on March 24, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    I use a litter locker of sorts, but not some fancy store bought one.

    Just buy one of the brands that comes in the resealable plastic buckets (like “Scoop Away” though there are others). You only have to buy that brand once (you’re only after the bucket anyways, though you may as well use the litter, also you may want to buy one bucket per litter box so you don’t have to lug it around when it’s time to scoop). Then take a normal kitchen sized trash bag and place it in the bucket. When it comes time to scoop, scoop into the bag in the bucket and then reseal the bucket lid on top. The lid is airtight so it prevents the smell from seeping out. The kitchen trash bags are non-proprietary of course so they’re cheap and they hold quite alot of waste so you only have to toss them every so often so it’s really not that wasteful either.

    Here’s a tip. A full bucket of cat waste is HEAVY and may just rip your trash bag if you try to carry it too far. It’s wise to carry the entire bucket out to the dumpster and then take out the bag when you can put it directly into the dumpster. I had some close calls (Yikes!) trying to carry a bag of cat waste through the house before I learned that trick.



  19. chocolatechic on March 24, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    I use the cheapest clumping litter out there. I purchased the containers from a LitterMaid, and scoop the ‘treasures’ I go digging for into that. When that container is full, I empty that into a Walmart bag, tie it, and it goes out with the garbage. Those containers last a good 4-6 months. After awhile they get a bit smelly, so I just sprinkle a bit of baking soda in the bottom of them.



  20. CeeElCee on March 24, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    C’mon Gladys, give it up! Mildred? Madge? Vesta?