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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy, all. :)

I recently moved from a large-ish apartment to a single, small, rented bedroom in someone's house. The landlord let me bring my two cats with me, provided I keep their litter box in my room.

I've had them here with me for less than a week, and the smell has already gotten to me so much that I'm considering giving them up. Nothing I try works. Here's what I've been doing:

- I bought a $100 self-scooping litter box. It does its job when I'm out of the house, but with two very large cats, it's not usually enough, so I scoop a couple of times a day too to be sure to get whatever it misses.
- I clean out the collection tray from said litter box once a day.
- I use Arm & Hammer Multi-Cat litter, which I use to refill the box once a day after scoopings.
- I sprinkle the bottom of the litter tray with Arm & Hammer Odor Control baking soda. I also sprinkle it on top of the litter itself a few times a day.
- I feed the cats only dry food -- some kind of indoor cat formula. I don't time their meals; they have a bowl always full of food to eat from at any time they wish. I've tried different foods, but this is actually the best I've found; the others I've tried make them smell worse.

I keep the window open constantly and spray the room with Febreze, but all that ends up doing is making the place cold and smelling like perfumed cat poo. I really don't know what to do! I can't take the fact that my only private place in the world smells like feces, all the time. If it isn't positively reeking from fresh droppings, the air is still heavy with the smell of slightly deodorized feces. It's so bad that it wakes me up at night. I don't want to give my cats up -- I've had them for five years, since they were kittens -- but I can't live like this.

Help!
 

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Everclean litter...expensive, but the best stuff I've ever used.

A high quality wet food diet will reduce the amount of waste and improve the stool smell...Wellness, EVO, Natural Balance etc. A raw diet will improve it even more.

You can also find natural food additives that will help reduce odor. Digestive enzymes and probiotics should help. Or check out the gastro products on this site, I'm sure some of them will help with odor:

http://www.onlynaturalpet.com/
 

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(1) IMO the automatic boxes are a huge waste of money. They do NOT get every little bit, they break up clumps and leave the dregs there to fester, etc. I recommend getting a plain, LARGE, uncovered box, like the Biddy Cat box:

http://www.biddycat.com/

(2) Use clumping litter -- I prefer Dr. Elsey's ultra: http://www.preciouscat.com/precious-ultra-p-2.html
(Yeah, shown in the pic w/ an auto box, but still don't use one!!!)

(3) Be sure to scoop your box twice a day. Keep a container full of cat litter, a scoop, baggies in which to put the waste, and a whisk broom right near the box to make it easy on yourself.

(5) DO NOT USE LINERS. They just make the box smell b/c you cannot get EVERY little piece of soaked clump out.

(6) Dry cat food is not only not good for cats (see the sticky at the top of the Health and Nutrition forum for all the reasons why), but, being high in carbs, it means MORE poops and SMELLIER poops. As carnivores, cats are supposed to get a LOT out of every bite of their food and should have infrequent, almost scentless poops. My raw-fed cats poop on average once every TWO DAYS and these poops are small and smell-free b/c they contain very little waste material. If you at least switch to a grain-free canned food, such as EVO 95% meat formulas, and feed 2 meals a day, you will find that your cats produce less waste and that it smells less.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the suggestions, you two!

Do you have any recommendations on how much wet/raw food to feed a 25-pound cat? He's a Maine Coon, and that weight is actually healthy for his size. I don't want to feed him too little. Should he have 3 meals instead of the 2 I'll give my more normal-sized cat?
 

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I don't believe a 25# cat is at a healthy weight--sorry. IMO many Maine Coons and Ragdolls are grossly overweight. 18# is a HUGE cat and I've really never seen an 18# MC I didn't think was on the hefty side. I very much bet your kitty needs to lose weight.

Twice a day is plenty often for an adult cat. I'll let others address how much, as I feed raw and no longer have any idea about how far canned goes. But IMO you need to help your cat lose weight. You should be able to feel bones, including ribs.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'd be concerned if I heard "25 pounds" on a forum, too, but he was just at the vet this past Thursday, who confirmed that his weight is healthy for his size. He's magnificently large in basic structure, even for a Maine Coon.

I'll keep reading up and maybe talk to said vet about feeding frequency.
 

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I know a lot of fat cats that the vet says are "just fine." Coated cats can be hard to tell by looking, but you need to give him a good feel.

And don't bother asking the vet about food. They really know very little about nutrition!
 

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I have tried many ways to make "the litter chore" easier and less smelly. I have purchased self cleaning, etc... and after all the time and money spent I have resorted back to the basic litter box....its just easier. However, I recently purchased the LitterLocker. This is awesome... You scoop out your standard litter box once / twice a day and dispose of it into the litter locker, twist the wheel and odor and litter is gone. Empty the bags once a week, the instructions say it can go up to two weeks but I don't let it go that long. The plastic bags apparently are the trick to this and eliminate the oder. Also, this product reduces the daily trips to the outside trash bin...I also use the Arm&Hammer odor neutralizer and have pretty good success with it

The LitterLocker is also pretty reasonable...$30 at PetSmart, however you get a much better deal on the refill bags through Amazon. Hope this helps.

http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.j ... 1&lmdn=Cat
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The LitterLocker sounds like an okay suggestion, except that I really have no problem taking the scoopings to the trash every day. It's just one trip down and up the stairs. Either way, though, despite my frequent scooping (sometimes 3 or 4 times per day), the odor just doesn't dissipate well enough. And it's especially bad at 1:00 in the morning, when it overpowers my body's desire to sleep and wakes me up, but I'm too tired to get out of bed and scoop, so I drift in and out of a doze, the smell waking me up every few minutes.

I'll also try using some of the high-quality litter. I don't care if it's more expensive; I'll do anything, at this point!

I think the best suggestion for now is to switch them over to a raw diet, or at least a raw-er diet. I've already begun the regiment of restricting their feeding to specific times of the day, rather than letting them free-feed. I'll head to the pet store tonight and pick up some canned food -- some of the high-quality stuff to get them started transitioning. I know they'll take to it; I just dunno how they'll take to actual raw meat. We'll see! Any suggestions on brand, aside from EVO, which has already been mentioned?

I'll keep folks posted on how this goes. I'm sure it'll be a slow process, but nevertheless, if it ends up helping me, I'm sure it'll help others. And if anyone has any more suggestions, please, keep 'em comin'!
 

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talashira said:
I think the best suggestion for now is to switch them over to a raw diet, or at least a raw-er diet. I've already begun the regiment of restricting their feeding to specific times of the day, rather than letting them free-feed. I'll head to the pet store tonight and pick up some canned food -- some of the high-quality stuff to get them started transitioning. I know they'll take to it; I just dunno how they'll take to actual raw meat. We'll see! Any suggestions on brand, aside from EVO, which has already been mentioned?
The best plan is usually to first get the cat used to eating canned food on a meal schedule (fed twice a day). Once the cat gets that, you can switch to raw if you wish to -- when you get to that point, come on over to the raw forum (sub-forum of the health and nutrition forum) and we'll help you get started.

IMO EVO 95% meat formulae are the best canned foods (there is also regular EVO -- the 95% meat ones are better). Other possibilities include Wellness CORE and I'm sure others will have suggestions as well. You want plain old MEAT to be the first few ingredients on the label (chicken, beef, etc -- not chicken MEAL) and for the food to contain no grains and as few other carbs as possible.

Ingredients in EVO 95% beef: Beef, Beef broth, tricalcium phosphate, natural flavors, carrageenan, minerals, potassium chloride, guar gum, vitamins, choline chloride, herring oil, salt, etc.

http://www.evopet.com/products/default.asp?id=1664
 

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General starting point is 5.5-6 oz per cat per day and monitor their weight. I believe EVO 95% comes in 12-13 oz cans, so if they will eat it after being refrigerated (some cats won't) that would be more cost effective. You can add a little warm water to bring it closer to room temp.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Wow. One can will feed both cats for an entire day? That's good news....

I'm sure I can run the bowl under hot water for their afternoon/evening meal after having refrigerated it. I lucked out and got un-picky cats.
 

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Oh wait a minute...I forgot that you have the 'big boy'. You can start with the amount I mentioned, but if he starts losing weight (more than a half pound per month) then you need to up his food. It's natural for a cat that's has been on all dry to lose some weight when transitioned to wet and it's not a bad thing for most cats. I have a 19 lb male (who's weight is fine BTW) and he's eating about 6 oz per day, I joke that he got my metabolism.

Cats are more satisfied with high quality wet food because of the protein and fat so they eat less. Carbs cause cravings for more carbs just like with humans, that's why many dry food, free fed cats are overweight. The water in the wet food also helps fill them up.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Okay. I'll keep an eye on him. He could stand to shed a couple of pounds, I would guess, but no more, and not too fast, of course.

One more question for now: if they take to the canned stuff right off the bat, should I feel okay stopping the kibble immediately, or should I still force a slower transition?
 

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The whole "slow transition" thing is largely a construct of the pet food industry, to make you think that changing foods is time-consuming. ;) If they'll eat the canned, go right to the canned. If they will not, try mixing it 50/50 and gradually reducing the kibble while increasing the canned. The harder transition is actually from free-feeding to meal feeding. They have to learn to eat their food up when it's offered.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Great! Knowing my kids, they'll inhale the wet stuff. ;)

Just so I'm prepared... do I have a lot of complaining to look forward to? I remember that the cats I had as a kid would become downright obnoxious around mealtimes.
 

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I recommend NEVER feeding as soon as you get up or get home. I feed my cats their brekky at least an hour after I get up. This keeps them from thinking that waking me up = getting fed. I feed around 7 a.m. and 7-8 p.m. so they are nice and full before bedtime. :)
 
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