Powder Room Perfect

Not all litterboxes are alike. Learn the features of each, then choose the one that's best for your pet.

By Peggy Scott | Posted: Tue Mar 6 00:00:00 PST 2001

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The Catio Indoor/Outdoor Kitty Litter Box is part litterbox and part sunroom. One side holds the litterbox and the other can be used as Kitty's personal getaway. Cats enter and exit through a flap door. The enclosure mounts in a window, much like an air-conditioning unit. It reportedly virtually eliminates odors - the box is outside and the fresh air provides circulation - and offers cats "the best place for litter and leisure," according to the manufacturer. The unit costs $259.

The Purr-fect Privy might be more to your cat's liking - and more to yours. Designed by a cat breeder, this litter containment system looks like furniture with its light oak or white laminate exterior. Its patented grid system is designed to solve scatter and tracking problems. kitty enters, walks across a grid on the second level, then down to the box on the first level. As the cat climbs back out, the grid cleans the litter off its paws and the particles fall back into the pan. The system also prevents nosy household canines from getting into the litterbox. Prices range from $139.95 to 199.95, depending on the model. Call (800) 434-1919, or visit www.pfprivy.com

A Litter of Litters
If you think there is a wide variety of litterboxes, wait until you go shopping for litter. We've come a long way since the days of Lowe and Nelson. Last year, litter generated more than $950 million in sales and the industry produced 400 billion pounds of the stuff. Litters fall into four basic categories: traditional clay, clumping, natural/alternative and silica sand.

Clay litter is known for its low cost, easy availability and simple disposal (just toss it out with the trash). Unless it contains deodorizers, odor control may not be as efficient as with other types of litter, and it can be dusty and trackable. The dust may bother asthmatic cats.

"Cats like dirt, and clay is basically dirt," says Kimberlie Teel, whose San Clemente, Calif., based K.A.T. Co. manufacturers Kat-Lite, a clay/pumice litter. "Clay has an earthly smell they like; it's not some foreign matter.

Clumping litters make for easier cleanup because the soiled litter forms clumps that are easily scooped out. Some varieties are even flushable. Cats tend to like the texture of this type of litter. On the downside, ingested litter can cause tummy irritation or obstructions, and it is trackable. "Clumping litter is so much easier for cleanup, whether you have a manual system or not. And its clumping action surrounds the waste, controlling odor," says Kristen Verrati.

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