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 -

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!