What’s new in jumbo-sized pans and dust-free litters for felines
One of my biggest complaints about litterboxes has always been that they are too small, especially if you have a large cat or multiple cats. Even if you have one box per cat as per the recommended guidelines, they do tend to use any box in the home. And if the boxes are small, it is difficult for them to avoid stepping on fecal matter and urine litter clumps.
And then, of course, there is the problem of litter being kicked out and going everywhere.
Recently, I was researching jumbo litterboxes with high sides in an attempt to take care of both of these issues. I was pleasantly surprised to find a growing selection to meet these needs.
Most behaviorists suggest open boxes so that cats have a clear view of anyone or another cat approaching— and possibly trying to ambush them—while they are doing their business. As such, a high-sided box is a good choice because it offers relative privacy and a view.
A word of warning before you shop online (where most jumbo high-sided boxes can be found). Check the measurements to determine whether they denote the pan’s dimensions or the box’s overall size. I was interested in a litterbox that turned out to be 5 inches smaller in both width and length because the measurements included the box’s extremities—handles and the extended lip at the access point.
Among the high-sided jumbo litter pans I found worth considering is the Petmate Jackson Galaxy Giant Litter Pan, which has a high back and sides and a lower entrance area (about 7 inches), for easy access.
“Cats need to feel a sense of space in their place; that is, room to turn around, to cover what they’ve eliminated, to choose one corner over another,” said Galaxy.
Another box I really liked is the Catit Cat Pan with Rim; it has a generous 22.4 in. x 15.3 in. pan. The rim of the Catit is great to keep litter liners in place and it also has a lower entry point. For single- cat households with a small feline, there is the circular Booda High-Back Cat Litter Pan with a ramp. It’s ideal for placement in a corner.
One of my biggest gripes about litter is the dust that permeates the air when you fill the box or the cat scratches around. It’s not healthy for both human and animal residents. The new Cats Incredible Cat Litter from Lucy Pet Products has proprietary non-toxic technology that prevents any ammonia smell from building up in the box and the packaging claims its 99.9 per cent dust free—and it is. Plus it comes in a bag with a pouring spout that makes it very user-friendly.
Another excellent dust-free and environmentally friendly choice is the Okocat Soft Step Clumping Wood Litter, which is also biodegradable and flushable.
Silica crystal litters are also dust-free. The latest version of the PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Litterbox uses crystal litter cartridges that only have to be replaced weekly now comes with an Amazon Dash button so that reordering cartridges is quick and simple. This smart litterbox can be set to scoop at different time intervals so as not to spook your cat and also has a health counter to track how many times your cat uses the box.
The latest litters also include a variety of diagnostic litters designed to alert pet parents to potential health issues, such as kidney disease, urinary tract infections, diabetes and food sensitivities, and allow effective monitoring the situation on a daily basis so that this detailed information can then be referred to a veterinarian.
Most diagnostic litters use assorted pH indicators that react to the introduction of urine and change color alerting to a potential problem. Diagnostic litter brands include Dr. Elsey’s Health Monitor™ Everyday Litter, LifeMate Clumping Cat Litter with Health Alert from Pestell Pet Products and Monthly Monitor from the Ultra Pet Company and Pretty Litter. And just like jumbo litterboxes, diagnostic litters are sold online and delivered to your door.
About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as MSNBC.com, MSN.com and TODAYShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Catster, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats