Monday, May 1, 2017

Ökocat Natural Wood Clumping Cat Litter Review

With cats, comes responsibility. With responsibility comes things like litterboxes. Mostly unavoidable, litterboxes can make households messy. If you’re a fastidious neat-freak (who has a lot of cats) like me, you will need durable litter and litterboxes that can remain clean without wasting litter. And I’ve found a great new litter that I’d like to tell you about.

During my entire life, we have always had cats. And I can only recall that we have changed the brand and type of litter we use rarely. I’ve known Tidy Cats clay litter most of the time – but clay is not the best litter as it kicks up quite a large amount of dust. And that dust travels everywhere in the house. Especially when you have eight cats who use the bathroom on the constant.

Here is a picture of Piper rather than a dirty litter box!

 I’ve tried to use newspaper pellet litter, which my cats refused to acknowledge as useable litter. It sat unused for a month. Since we were seeking to move away from clay litter, we also tried walnut litter. Words cannot describe my strong dislike of the walnut litter. It barely clumped and it just made a bigger mess scooping and cleaning than when my cats used the litterbox.

Eventually we found a wheat litter, that at the time, did not produce nearly any dust. And for a few years, we were very happy with the wheat litter. But apparently, all good things must come to an end and we started disliking the litter. Now, I don’t fault the litter itself, because there were many factors that could’ve contributed to it not working. It could be that having eight cats, heavy use of the litter required way more scoopage (yes I’ve dubbed that a word) than we could adequately provide; it could’ve been that the formula of the litter changed and we weren’t aware. We ship litter to our house was having issues with their packaging –because many of the bags came expanded with air, which changed the texture of the litter. Or lastly, and probably most likely, the company that shipped and delivered the litter was somehow letting air into the bags causing the litter to expand and not absorb urine.

So, when I got a sample of ökocat Natural Wood Clumping Cat Litter, I was game for trying a new litter. In fact, we were so desperate at that point, after only a few uses of the litter – we decided to order a few more boxes of litter and change out a few of our litterboxes completely.

It is safe to say that not only did our cats quickly take to the new litter, but it made scooping about ten times easier! Not to say that I (or my family) enjoys scooping cat litter, but the wood litter made scooping an easier task.

ökocat claims that their wood litter has a “proven performance as best in class, has seven-day odor control, absorbs 500% its weight, superior clumping, naturally lightweight and biodegradable.” Now, those are big claims but I feel confident stating that those claims are well met. Their litter is even flushable! Though, I have not flushed it myself and cannot vouch for the effectiveness of that. Even the boxes of the ökocat litter are environmentally friendly. The boxes are compostable and come with an easy to carry handle.

Our litter stockpile. 
Ökocat wood litter is made from “100% sustainable and renewable wood fibers found in nature.” They typically start with “naturally fallen timber or unused lumber materials that would otherwise go to waste. The wood is then chipped and pelleted along with proprietary plant-based binders that improve the finished product.” Ökocat takes it one awesome step further and complies with the policies of the Forest Stewardship Council, Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Forestry Preservation/Promotion Act. Ökocat is one of a kind because their “sustainable litters come from the earth, and can be returned to the earth and won’t sit in landfills for 100+ years like clay litters do.”

Ökocat’s most important component, in my opinion, is their odor control. Their litter traps the liquids and odors but does not use chemicals, scents, dyes and does so while not using any harmful materials. The wood pellet litter lasts so much longer than any other litter that we have used for our cats. It’s really quite impressive. And Ökocat litter lasts and reduces mess and waste which is a time and money saver.

Ökocat offers other varieties of litter including super soft clumping wood cat litter, long hair clumping (for long hair breeds), cracked pine, and featherweight clumping wood cat litter.


Before we go, we just have one reminder about transitioning your cat to a new letter. It is best to slowly start a litter transition and not completely shift over to the new product. Here is a suggestion from Ökocat on how to switch - https://www.healthy-pet.com/okocat/Easy-Tips-for-Transitioning-To-a-New-Cat-Litter.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

6th Anniversary of Sandpiper Cat Blog! And an update.


It's hard to believe that it has been six years since Piper came into my life on March 13, 2011. I feel like everyone says that about their pet's "gotcha day," but I think it is pretty different for us. Piper came to us half way through her pregnancy and she ultimately miscarried her kittens that night. She was really only a kitten herself, about 7 months old. And I was 18 years old.

Piper had a busy summer watching the Olympics. She was a big fan of Katie Ledecky, Michael Phelps, Nathan Adrian and Anthony Erwin. She even tried to knock over Usain Bolt!

She and I are in such different places now. Piper is now about 6.5 years old and I'm 23. I was a senior in high school when we rescued Piper and now I am a college graduate and working in New Jersey. Yes, that's right - I don't even live with Piper right now! Which is really hard and sad for a lot of reasons because I have never been without a cat (with the exception of vacations). I miss her a lot and I get to FaceTime with her. I'll see her again in a few weeks when I go home for some dental work. But it is difficult not to live with any cats.

Piper did have some health issues in November and December 2016. In November she went in for her regular dental cleaning and they found a heart murmur. They took her back to the cardiologist and she was cleared to have her dental surgery, but she peed herself. She had a urinary tract infection and could not safely have her dental. 

A few days after the weird blood episode.

We took her home with pain medication and antibiotics, to get her healthy again. Maybe a week or so later, we had a very scary incident. I came home from shopping and saw blood all over the kitchen. I'll spare you any more details (and definitely no pictures), but as soon as I saw her bloody paws, I knew something was terribly wrong.

Piper with Henry.

My dad and I checked the other cats and decided it had to be Piper since she had blood matted in her fur. We scooped her up and rushed off to our closest emergency vet. They took her back right away to examine her. And to our surprise, they came back out and said they could not find any possible wounds or anything external - and could we bring back our other cats to see if it was one of them? Now that's all good when you have maybe two or three cats. But when you have 8 cats total...not so much. Plus we have a few who we have trouble even catching to go to the vet for their regular check up.


So we took Piper home, put her in isolation and started tracking down and examining all the other cats. After an hour of chasing around the other 7 cats, it appeared that no one had any wounds.


The best we can deduce is that Piper passed a blood clot in urine and the two diffused together to look a lot worse than it was. But still, walking into that scene in the kitchen will be an image that sticks with me for a while.

My mom took these beautiful pictures of Piper in the sun.

Piper did finally get cleared for a dental in December (only about a week before I had my wisdom teeth out, irony anyone?) and she did great. She does have resorption disease and they had to do some extractions. Hopefully, she will not need more in the future, but it is possible. 

And currently Piper has been isolated in my parents' bedroom since all of these occurences...she hasn't really wanted to leave. Especially because Bobby has been agressive towards her. So we have had some unsettled issues, like anyone with mulitple cats might expect. Piper does tolerate the other cats coming in the room, but she tenses up. We are working to try to get her back out in the general population, but it is taking some time.

Thank you to all of our followers for an amazing six years, and here is to more years of blogging! It wouldn't be possible without your support!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Review: Purrball Meets Burrball in Brazil by Anne Zoet


Every once in a while a children's book falls across my to read pile and it is refreshing. As someone who is typically reading novels, it is always a great change of pace when I can read a quick story that even reminds me of the books I read while growing up.

When I heard about Purrball Meets Burrball in Brazil, it sounded like a book that I would've read growing up. My parents were always buying great children's books that featured cats. The first book I ever read on my own was a book about a cat!

Purrball Meets Burrball in Brazil is a wonderful children's book by Anne Zoet. It tells the story of Darryl and his cat Purrball, who move to Brazil. But something goes horribly wrong, Purrball gets separated from his family during an earthquake. 

Purrball meets a sloth who he names Burrball, who shows him around. Purrball had his mom's phone and cord attached around his leg, and he realizes Burrball's sloth toes were better to type with than cat paws!

Purrball and Burrball go on an adventure, trying to reunite Purrball with his family. They had to charge the phone at a coffee shop! Without giving the story away, there is a happy ending

Purrball Meets Burrball in Brazil was an engaging and adorable story, that will land with young readers. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it to everyone with young kids.

Visit purrballandburrball.com to find out about more adventures of Purrball and Burrball -- as well as finding drawings, mazes and download-able coloring pages!

Buy on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Author Anne Zoet is a freelance creative directior for both technology giants and countless startups in the Silicon Valley. Her passions are art, words, travel, the environment and animals - all of which came together naturally in the creation of Purrball Meets Burrball in Brazil. In addition to her human family, Zoet shares her home with three domestic cats (though sometimes she wonders if they're not just a bit wild). 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Exciting Top Cat Blogger News!

When I started my blog, it was supposed to be a chronicle of fostering Piper and her kittens. When she lost her kittens, I did not think I would be able to continue blogging because I was so distraught. However, nursing Piper back to health became my new occupation and I soon realized there was plenty to write about. 

That was March 2011, and now it is November 2016 - over five years later and still writing! Fostering and rescuing Piper changed the course of my life in better ways that I could have imagined. I've attended numerous conferences, workshops and have truly started my writing career.


So, it is such an honor to share with you that Sandpiper Cat Blog was selected as a Top 50 Cat Blogger by Thoroughly Reviewed.



In the same week, Sandpiper Cat Blog also was picked 87/100 for Feedspot's Top 100 Cat Blog! According to Feedspot, these are the top 100 cat blogs on the planet, wow!




Feedspot ranked the blogs based on:

  • Google reputation & Google search ranking
  • Influence on Facebook, Twitter & other social media sites
  • Quality and consistency of posts
  • Feedspot's editorial team and expert review

Sandpiper Cat Blog is honored to be on the Top 50 and Top 100 lists of Cat Bloggers and we are excited to share this title with many of our cat blogging friends. It has become a wonderful and supportive community and we are so very thankful.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

National Feral Cat Day 2016

Happy National Feral Cat Day!  For the last five years, every October 16 I write about NFCD for Alley Cat Allies. It is a great event that brings recognition to the feral cats that we share our neighborhoods with.


This year's theme, "All Cats All Communities" reflects Alley Cat Allies' belief that every cat's life in every community around the world is important. 

Alley Cat Allies' has even provided a fun NFCD 2016 coloring page that you can print out here.

Feral or stray cats have many names. They are also known as community cats, outdoor cats, alley cats, street cats, barn cats and even tomcats. Outdoor community cats and pet cats are the same species, Felis catus, the domestic cat.

Studies show that outdoor cats are as healthy as pet cats and can have the same life span. "Feral" describes behavior, feral cats are wary of people and live on their own outdoors. Community cats are not adoptable because they are not socialized to humans.

An eartip is the universal symbol to identify a neutered and vaccinated cat. The top 3/8 inch of the cat's left ear is removed during surgery. More than 40% of Americans have cared for an outdoor cat!

Cats live everywhere. Cats have lived outdoors alongside humans since before the pyramids. Outdoor cats live in family groups called colonies. Cats are bonded to their environments and colonies. 

More than 70% of all cats who go to a shelter are killed there. For community cats, that rises to virtually 100%. Removing community cats doesn't work. Catching and killing is ineffective, outdated and cruel. Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is the only humane, effective approach to care for community cats.

Community cats are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and eartipped and then returned to their outdoor home. To learn more about community cats, visit here.

Read last year's post 2015 & previous years: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011.



Information was provided by Alley Cat Allies. Sandpiper Cat Blog was not monetarily compensated for this post but did receive free promotional and informative items. 


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Purrfect Together: Celebrate the Bond Between You and Your Kitty This October

Autumn covers both National Pet Wellness Month and October's Black Cat Awareness Month. There's never been a better time to show our cats some extra love. Recently, the cat lovers at Meow Mix ran the Purrfect Together Survey, which asked cat parents around the country about their special bond with their four-legged friends. Here are some of their meow-nificent results:


83% of cats take naps with their owners. Piper loves to keep me company when I take the rare nap. Recently I had a bad head cold and Piper was constantly by my side, my little kitty nurse. I think it's her way of thanking me for nursing her back to health after her miscarriage in 2011. We have to wonder about the 17% who don't get to experience the joy of napping with their cats!


80% of cat parents believe they can interpret their kitty's meows. Piper has this very distinct tonal meow, that says, "Let me into the laundry room!" She loves to hide in there after she was given treats by mom (who learned her lesson that giving treats to cats in rooms they shouldn't be, is not a good idea). Piper loves to hang out in the laundry room and also has a different meow for "Let me back out! How dare you lock me in here!"


72% of cat parents love to surprise their kitties with a treat! Like I said, Piper got treats in the laundry room one time but you may as well call it the treat room, because that's what she thinks it should be called. Our cats LOVE their bonito fish flakes, especially three of my black cats - PHolly, Charlie and Bobby.
Our three black kitties enjoying their nightly fish flakes. Photo by Harry Shubin.


Piper and I are purrfect for each other! We both anticipate each other's needs and she never ceases to make me smile. Piper was a true gift to me, because she comforted me in the difficult period of high school, graduation and then my transition to college. And now, I move from post college graduation to finding a full time job! My Pups has always been there for me.

My girl! <3
Visit Meow Mix's Perfect Together Website here. Just like Piper and I, you and your cat can enjoy the unique experience of converting your photo into a true meowsterpiece - a digital "oil" painting that helps express and immortalize your cat-love on canvas. 







This blog post is sponsored by MeowMix and some text and graphics were provided. Sandpiper Cat Blog was not  monetarily compensated for this post but may have received free promotional items.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

September is Happy Healthy Cat Month


 September is Happy Healthy Cat Month. There are many simple tasks pet owners can do to keep their pets happy and healthy. 




Happy, Healthy Cat Month Tips
Featured post by Dr. Danielle Bernal, Veterinarian with Wellness® Natural Pet Food
·         
     Instinctively, felines are natural hunters. Help your cat or kitten stay on top of their skills with plenty of play time together. Not only does this keep your cat active to support a healthy weight, it also keeps stress levels down and encourages bonding for a happy, purring kitty. Just be sure that you keep any laser pointers away from your cat’s eyes!

·         Cats don’t always like to drink water. While they may not have the same thirst drive as dogs, that doesn’t make hydration any less important. 

·         Due to their sedentary lifestyles, indoor cats are especially prone to weight gain, which can lead to a wide variety of health issues. It's best to pick cat food with wholesome ingredients, to make sure your cat gets the proper nutrition.

·         Cats experience boredom, too, and they can express it in ways you may not be so fond of, such as chasing other pets or shredding household items like curtains and furniture. Excite your feline friend by bringing a taste of the wild indoors, with perches by a sunny window or potted plants that are cat friendly. A few to avoid are tulips, lilies and English ivy–these are all toxic for pets!

·         Hairballs are unpleasant for cats and pet parents alike, but they can be managed with some extra grooming time and a proper diet.  Hairballs happen when stray hairs get stuck in the digestive tract as a result of self-grooming, and cats spend nearly 20% of their waking hours grooming. However, a few minutes of daily brushing can help catch those loose hairs before your cat does. 


·         Many pet parents love to treat their dogs with healthful snacks, but cats like treats too, and treating helps reinforce the bond between pet and pet parent. Look for recipes that are low in calories so you can treat them without feeling guilty. 


What do you do to keep your cat happy and healthy? Share your tips with us in the comment section!




SThis post was sponsored by Wellness, text and graphic provided. Sandpiper Cat Blog was not compensated for this post. Consult with your veterinarian for your pet's health needs.