I sms’d A, Angel’s potential adopter, and asked how she and the cat she adopted from Foster Mum are adapting. Great news: they’re getting along better, and her only gripe is lack of litterbin etiquette.
I asked and found out the cat is a boy and has been named Garfield. So I sounded a friendly cautionary note about obesity. I also offered my commiseration on lack of litterbin etiquette among the slackers and offered our semi-solution for controlling sand-spray – a shield.
Going off topic for a moment, even though there’s conventional wisdom about litter bin choice, we advocate open bins. We do not use covered litterboxes, the seemingly obvious solution, for a few reasons, as succinctly described on this site:
For you, the litter box may rank in importance just below your deodorant; something to keep things smelling fresh that you don’t spend much time thinking about. But the litter pan and cat litter are two of the most important things in your kitten’s life — after his food, of course.
Your kitten has a list of desirable features that have absolutely nothing to do with what you want. He wants plenty of room to move around and dig in, and he wants a clean toilet just like you do.
Hooded or covered boxes
People like hooded litter boxes. Hoods reduce the amount of litter the kitten tracks or kicks outside the box. They also hold in odors and prevent your delicate human eyes from having to watch your kitten use the bathroom. These points translate into disadvantages for your kitten. A covered pan holding in odors may force your kitten to hold his breath while he potties. And if you can’t watch him use the box, you won’t see him strain to pee or find bloody poop. Another problem is that big cats in little covered boxes can’t turn around to cover their poop. That’s why you often see cats scratching the area around the box instead of inside. Later, your cat may just decide that getting into that tiny box is too much trouble and go in front of it.
So, back to topic. Assuming a litterbin tray of 40cm by 80cm, my shield involves 4 pieces of currugated plastic boards (available at Popular for $3.09/pc). I tape them together to make a 3-sided box. A variant design involves 2 more boards for the “roof”.
The box doesn’t solve the problem of tracking (where litter fly as the cat scoots off from the bin), but it sure does help control it somewhat. The box isn’t as ‘sexy’ as an off-the-self hooded litter bin, but it’s cheaper, serves 80% of privacy requirements, is cheeeeeap, and best of all, doesn’t trap odours nor does it prevent you from monitoring kitty’s toilet habits. I will put together detailed instructions if there’s interest.