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Diabetic Kitty Litter Box

Say hello to Young Jeff.

"Keep effing with me. If you want to die."

Also known as Jeff, Jeffrey, Jefferson, Goob (short for "Good boy"), Goobs, Gooberson, Dood, Dooderson, and so forth.

Young Jeff is a gimp like me, only he's got it worse. He's a diabetic, has been for six years. The biggest hassle, of course, is having to give him his insulin shot twice a day. As part of monitoring his sugar, you are supposed to "dip urine" -- i.e., use test strips like Keto-Diastix to discover the amount of sugar being dumped into the pee -- and that's the second biggest hassle.

It's easier now that I only have the one cat, but even so collecting pee from a cat is a pain in the neck. The vets tell you to start with a clean cat box, sprinkle just a bit of litter in it, then wait for the cat to use it. The problem is that the cat will often end up standing in his own pee (nice!). Then, for extra fun, his little wet feets track his pee around the house after he leaves the box.

If you have a cat with a scientific mind -- smart enough to understand that pee flows downhill -- you might be able to get away with putting something under one end of the box to tilt it slightly. This can lead to the cat either squatting at the uphill end of the box, in which case the pee flows away from him (assuming he hasn't squatted such that his downhill foot is in the path of the pee), or squatting at the downhill end of the box so that his feet get soaked.

So, eventually, I invented a better way for me and Jeff.

We went to the vet today. He was there for his check-up and I was there to get fleeced. I mentioned my diabetic kitty litter box invention to the vet and she thought it was a brilliant solution to the eternal problem of collecting cat pee, so I decided I would share it.

First, if you don't already have one, buy one of those "lift & sift" cat boxes. The set will have two pans, plus a sifting-insert.

Where I live, they are about $20. In fact, you really need two of the sifting-inserts. If you can't find one at a yard-sale, or if you don't have an extra one around, you might have to buy two "lift & sift" cat box sets. Maybe a neighbor has an extra one? You won't be buying cat litter anymore, so if buying a second "lift & sift" set seems like a waste of money, think of the bags of cat litter you won't have to buy anymore.

Second, get some sort of fine mesh screen -- like what's used in a screen door. I use the nylon stuff just because it's easier to work with, and I think it probably survives the ordeal better than the metal screening does. The piece needs to be big enough to fit inside one of the cat pans and have a little left over.

Third, buy some aquarium gravel. I find 2 or 3 of the 5-pound bags is sufficient. Where I live, it's about $4 for a 5-pound bag.

Okay, so, building it:

  1. Put the first sifter inside one of the cat pans.
  2. Press the netting down into the sifter.
  3. Press the second sifter down over the netting to hold the netting in place.
  4. Trim away excess netting.
  5. Pour aquarium gravel into pan until the top sifter is covered by, I dunno, an inch of gravel. Whatever seems right for your cat. The two sifters with the netting sandwiched between them is now called the "gravel unit".
  6. Place cat pan with the gravel unit inside it in your cat's usual peeing place. Eagerly await his verdict.

If the contraption passes muster and your cat actually pees in it, lift the gravel unit out of the pan (shaking it a couple of times to remove excess drips of pee) and set the gravel unit into the second (unused) cat pan. Now kitty has a fresh box to use and you have a pan with plenty of pee in it for dipping. After testing the pee, just dump it in the toilet and flush, then rinse the pan out using hot water with a few splashes of bleach in it. Set the pan aside to dry and await its turn back in the saddle.

To clean the rock, once a week or so prepare a two-gallon solution of water & ammonia (I use the "sudsy" type of ammonia). In the bathroom, pour half the bucket into the litter box, over the gravel unit. Repeatedly lift the gravel unit out of the water, then dip it back in until the water seems plenty dirty. Lift the gravel unit out, set it aside (bathtub?), and pour the dirty water in the toilet, then put the gravel unit back in and repeat procedure with the rest of the ammonia water. I usually repeat the whole process again, using a two-gallon bucketful of clean and fresh rinse water.

Make sure you do the hot ammonia-wash cleaning once a week. Otherwise, eventually, you get little Evil Things growing in the rock. Not to mention the smell.

For poop, get one of those hand-scoops with spaces big enough to let all the gravel fall through. Because of my guy's diet, he hardly ever has runny poop, so it almost always scoops out clean (rattle the scoop to get rid of all "clinging" rock). If the poop is rockless, I just flush it down the toilet. Don't flush poop with rock clinging to it down your toilet. Dispose of it in some other way.

Change the rock out completely whenever it seems necessary to do so.  Every few months? I dunno. I've been doing this for about 9 months and I've changed the rocks once.

A visiting friend who has his own (not diabetic) cat remarked that he might adopt my system even though he has no particular interest in collecting his cat's pee. He calculates my way is better for the environment. I suppose that's possible, but I haven't exactly commissioned a study on it or anything.

Anyway, HTH.


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