Friday, November 21, 2014

Pioneer Pet SmartCat all natural clumping litter - a review

This is not a sponsored post.  I won a 20lb bag of this litter recently and I was very interested in this product for what it says it is, so I was pretty excited to try it.

Amusingly the box that it came in was a HUGE favorite for Jack so sit on, so I left it in the box for a very very long time so this review is being done quite some time after I won it. I got a a couple of sample packs at BarkWorld so I thought it was high time I got to this.

So, the claims by the company are that there is 'No Smell - Can't Tell,  Breathe Clean 99% dust free. Chemical FREE, clay FREE, Fragrance FREE.  Made in the USA.

NEW SmartCat All Natural Cat Litter is not only all natural but designed to make everything easier! Easier to carry, easier to scoop and easier to clean. On top of that we are made from 100% USA farmed grass, with no added chemicals or fragrances. Our product will biodegrade after disposal as a renewable resource. We are very soft on paws and can be used for younger cats.

Sounds great doesn't it!

This sample isn't going to go very far!
Kit being impressed at how dust free it was.
Apparently a line is forming.. my cats really do love an upstairs litterbox
I pulled Kit's urine ball out of the box and I was very impressed with how well it clumped up. I let it sit for a while to see what the urine clump would look like/act like after a while since most fresh urine clumps in clumping litter are not very sturdy.

I do have to say the ball felt very interesting when 'crushing' it... almost as if it had gelled as there was some give before it broke apart.

I went and scooped the box the next morning and was a little disappointed there were no additional balls in the box. That is not to say the box was not used, just that the urine in the box were in bits. Now I know Jack tends to move around when he pees so he forms lines in litter boxes (yes, my boy is 'special') but he is the only one. One thing I found very interesting about this litter was the smell. They claim there is no smell, but there very much was to me and it reminded me a lot of my hamster and rabbit cages when I would change them out. It was not unpleasant just earthy... but there was a smell.

Got to love the Litter Lifter

I scooped the box again that night and the same thing. I then promptly forgot about the box because it is not part of my normal routine and when I came home two days later the smell in the hall was nearly overwhelming. I immediately panicked thinking that Jack was peeing outside the box again and that we were having a severe issue because of the overwhelming smell. I looked all around the hall and we didn't see anything, so I went to check out the box - which is on the far side of the room at the end of the hall.

The litter is so lightweight that my cats tossed quite a bit of it out of the box. They do this with regular clay scooping litter but not nearly this much. I do not know if the cat peed on the floor because there was so much litter there or if someone thought they were in the box and missed, but I'm going for the former since this hasn't happened with the previous litter box in this room but it could be the latter because Jack does tend to stand up and move around when he pees and occasionally will hit outside of the box, but never this much - it soaked not only the litter on the ground but under the box and was starting to seep into the wood on the floor. Now a lot of this isn't really the fault of the litter.. but it is something that happened while I was using this litter. If you use a box with high sides, the litter being flung out of the box when the cat digs might not be an issue.

But to me, it was an issue... that and the smell. My cat's urine smells like urine but my cat's urine in this box smelled very strong - the urine under the box wasn't that smelly. What really really got me was that gelling reaction from the litter. Once it got wet it gelled and stuck the the ground a bit like cement. Trying to clean it up was difficult because the dry litter started getting wet and started gelling. I ended up having to wipe up what I could, sweeping up what was around, vacuuming up the small bits then soaking it all in cleaner and waiting for the litter to become so saturated again that it would come up off the floor. I was so frustrated I swore I wasn't even going to bother using the rest of the bag and I'll be taking it to the shelter. Chances are another foster home will take it and use it or one of the staff will use it since they don't use clumping litter for the adult cats.

So.. bonus points to this company for making pretty much dust free that is not clay which some cats do have issues with. More bonus points for making it from grass which grows quickly and is a pretty renewable resource. This product is also biodegradable so long as you don't throw it into a landfill because as we all know nothing really biodegrades in a landfill. There is a place for this litter in some people's lives, and I am very glad the company is making it, it just unfortunately doesn't work for me and my seven cats.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The kittens are feeling well enough to wrestle

Toys are still a bit of a mystery to them, but they are enjoying each other and getting some exercise.