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We had ourselves a bit of snow Sunday night into Monday. We got about 7 inches here, and I understand other parts of the state got more snow than we did, bless their hearts.

I find this snow business utterly ridiculous, as if I wanted to deal with 7 inches of cold white snow, I’d still be living in the Northeast. You will please note that I am NOT. Of course, it apparently only does this about once every 17 years or so, so I don’t suppose I should complain too much, should I?

None of the cats were at all interested in going outside except for Joe Bob, who was just all kinds of unsure of what was going on.

Even he eventually gave up and came inside and settled on the heated cat bed on the couch for the rest of the day.

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Last week, I stopped at Petsmart to look at their selection of litter. I’ve used Fresh Step for years and I like the way it clumps and I like the way it (mostly) prevents my house from smelling like cat poo all the time, but the dust is absolutely horrific, especially in the past few months. Every time I scoop the litter boxes (and there are currently 8 of them in this house) a great wave of dust goes through the house, and Fred reels around and gags and coughs and acts like a great big drama queen. In the interest of not having to listen to the coughing and gagging, and also in interest of not dying from a condition so rare that it’ll likely be named after us (Anderson Litter Lung), I decided it was time to see if I couldn’t find something that clumps halfway decently without the overwhelming dust.

I bought a bag of Precious Cat Litter, a bucket of Fresh Aire Litter, and a bucket of ExquisiCat Scoopable. I wanted to try the Cat’s Pride litter, but they didn’t have it at Petsmart or at Target either. Supposedly Walmart carries it, but I checked this weekend at Walmart, and nada.

Three days after I changed out the litter boxes and refilled them with the new litter, I can tell you that Fresh Aire is a nightmare – I didn’t think it was possible for litter to be dustier than Fresh Step – and doesn’t clump worth anything. The ExquisiCat is less dusty than the Fresh Step, but still too dusty. The Precious Cat appears to be the winner – clumps well, and hardly any dust at all.

(I had considered crystals, but don’t feel it’s safe to use with kittens. I don’t like the smell of World’s Best Cat Litter, and I did try Swheat Scoop, but the kittens immediately started eating it, so that went right out the door. I don’t care if it’s safe for them to consume – every group of kittens that comes through here has coccidia, giardia, or both, and I don’t want them eating potentially infectious litter.)

I don’t like that the Precious Cat costs more than the Fresh Step, but when weighing the cost against the dust, I’m willing to make that sacrifice.

(But I’m sure Anderson Litter Lung will still get me in the end. I’ve been inhaling that dust for years now.)

The other thing I like about the Precious Cat litter – it’s unscented.

That said, if you have a litter you absolutely love, I’m all ears!

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The Bradys seem to spend a lot of time with their little mouths wide open.





“They’re skeery.”

“You come here, Lady, I bite you on your face.”

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Two videos today. The first, the Bradys hanging out in the foster room (with a visit from Corbie), shot sometime in December.

YouTube link

The second, Alice caught in the act of, well – just go see yourself (try not to fall asleep during the fascinating conversation Fred and I have.)

YouTube link

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One thing the snow did was bring out the birds, who emptied our bird feeders in no time flat. Fred resorted to tossing a scoop of bird seed onto the ground every couple of hours to appease the birds.

The cats spent all day long in front of the side doors, watching the birds. Those birds drove them CRAZY.

Elwood and Corbie.

L to R: Tommy, Sugarbutt, Jake, Elwood, Corbie, Rhyme.

Jake, Elwood, Corbie, Rhyme.


2010: Hydrox blew them out of the water at a hefty 5 pounds!
2009: No entry.
2008: No entry.
2007: Poor Cosette – she runs from us now because almost every time we go into the kitten room, we grab her up and shoot stuff down her throat.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



1-11-11 — 34 Comments

  1. Love the photos of Joe Bob trying to be a snowcat! Also, I’m glad you and Fred have trouble telling some of the Bradys apart, because I sure do!

  2. OMG…the pic of the kitties lined up at the door watching the birds….LOL!!!!!!!

    Ok, I use Fresh Step also. Best cat litter…BUT…you are right….the DUST is terrible!!! I tried Swheat Scoop in one of my boxes, but they hated it and wouldn’t use that box. I think I will give Precious Cat a try. Please continue to post any litter finding that you may come across! Thank you so much.

    P.S. I thought it was going to be called GD Litter Lung….

  3. We also suffered from Litter Lung from Fresh Step so we tried a bunch of stuff and the one we like most is World’s Best. I like that it’s corn, and doesn’t coat the house in dust but it does have a distinct smell. Our kids (cats) have their own bathroom so the litter smell stays in there, but we only have 2 cats (and plenty of bathrooms!) so we don’t mind. Technically you can flush Worlds Best but we don’t (it makes me nervous!).
    I absolutely LOVE the pictures of cats watching birds. 🙂 I love when they try to “hide” from the birds by staring at them out of a window with their ears folded down. Just because your ears aren’t standing straight up doesn’t mean that the birds can’t see you! 🙂

    • Oh yeah, I LOVE it when they put their ears down to the side, it cracks me up every time. 🙂

  4. In the past I used tidy cat, but hated the dust. My vet recommended Precious Cat litter and I absolutely love it. Hardly any dust and it really clumps well. Both my cats like it. It is expensive, but I did notice that it does keep the smell down.

  5. We use Precious Cat as well and love it to pieces. We’ve tried Swheat Scoop and World’s Best, but the cats won’t use it. They like the clumpy clay litters. If you buy it in bulk at Petsmart it’s not too bad, pricewise.

  6. I saw the Cat TV picture on your photostream last night, and my friend and I were playing “Name Those Tocks”.

  7. Tidy Cats is my favorite. Usually I can find it on sale somewhere. I think that I have used Cat’s Pride and found it dusty but cannot be sure; Arm & Hammer was also too dusty for me. And for what it’s worth, I do NOT like the crystals—great idea, but for the inevitable litter box scatter, those little guys travel far and are SHARP! plus I feel like it smells pretty quickly. Usually to be cost efficient I get some of the cheap stuff and Tidy Cats and mix it half/half to cut down on the dust.

  8. Amazing to find this topic, we’ve just been through the same thing here. I used to mix Special Kitty and a more expensive brand with pretty good results, but the clumping factor deteriorated. So, switched to Scoop Away, clumps hard. But the Litter Lung danger was high. You could “litterally” (sorry, could NOT resist) tell from the perfumey smell wafting thru the house when one of the cats had been in the cat pan. Can’t be good, let alone the swirls of fragrant dust that happen when scooping. So I decided to try another one in bulk quantity from Sam’s, I know it’s not Fresh Step but maybe Tidy Cat multi-cat (left the heavy bucket in the car and now we’re getting dumped snow on…it’ll get in the house sometime today!!). I hope it works as well as the Scoop Away but isn’t as dusty and pretty-smelling. I mean, it’s really nice NOT to smell cat poo and urine, but the perfume is almost worse, and we’d found that with Arm & Hammer as well. I had the World’s Best going in a pan beside the clay stuff and it hardly got used enough to figure out how it worked! Cracks me up thinking of having to stop using a litter because the kittens would eat it…it IS wheat tho, right?!
    So if this kind (the brand I can’t remember…it’s a big blue bucket) doesn’t suit I will try the Precious Cat and figure the extra cost makes up for the no dust/perfume!! Really relieved I didn’t go for the Fresh Step, I think that’s why I quit using that one too.
    We call it turning the TV on for the cats when we open the blinds in the morning so they can sit on the window and stare longingly at the window feeder! Most of the birds are immune and it keeps the cats busy. It’s comical when they get carried away jumping at the feeder and fall off the sill and try to look like they meant to (no harm done of course, wouldn’t laugh in that case). It means many refills when we get snow like you have now and what we are getting today.
    Thanks again for the fascinating blog posts!

    • I’m glad to know I’m not the only one in a mad search for litter that clumps well, isn’t super dusty, and doesn’t perfume up the house!

      Sometimes Sugarbutt tries to jump up at the feeder, and then ends up hanging up the door, off the window dividers, twitching his tail. I always want to get a video of it, but he always does it when I’m least expecting it!

      • On my way out the door I had to get a snow brush out of the trunk, and checked the bucket: Tidy Cat multi-scoop. Might go back to mixing with Special Kitty…we’ll see how it does.
        I love how the cats make that little “ack-ack” sound at the birds…scary thing is Ellie (the youngest) does it to me sometimes and I wonder if I’m like Big Bird to her!!

  9. I too use Fresh Step and find myself gagging on the dust as well. I use a Littermaid automated litter box and have a challenge of finding some good clumping litter that doesn’t break up so much or have so much dust. I am going to order a 18lb bag to see how it works and my cats and I both like it, then I will pick up the 40lb bag at my local Petsmart.

    Thank you for posting your experience with the cat litter. Love the photos of the kittehs! Enjoy the “I keel you” photos too.

  10. Love the pics! And thanks for the tips about litter. We have 8 cats living with us for the moment (permanents and fosters). We go through sooooo much litter! We are currently using Arm & Hammer but we have to use unscented because one of our cats is allergic to scented litters. Her little paws get all swollen and red if we use perfumed. For the same reason (and the fear that they will eat it or lick it off their paws) we stay away from anything with crystals. We tried World’s Best, Feline Pine, Fresh Step, Tidy Cat, etc., etc., A&H is okay but if we can find something better that meets our health needs – like avoiding allergies and black lung – we’d switch in the blink of an eye. Looks like we’ll be trying Precious Cat on the next round. Ahhh the life of cat servants! Experts in pooh and litter. Who woulda thunk it?

  11. Precious cat is the only litter I will use! Hardly any dust and keeps the smell down pretty well, especially if you add some baking soda, also some baking soda at the bottom of the pan to keep it from sticking. A little secret is that if you email the guys at precious cat kissing up about how great their litter is, they will send you coupons for 2 free bags (at least they used to). Also, the website has a coupon you can print for a free bag.

  12. I also vote for Special Kitty in the green box from walmart. That’s worked well for us and our budget. I hate how litter gets tracked everywhere. The Special Kitty tracks less than anything else I tried.

  13. I’ve been using the Precious Cat litter for a couple of years now, after trying everything. With four cats, it’s the only one that keeps the dust and smell down while not being scented (I HATE scented litter and I’m sure the cats aren’t fond of chemical flower smells either). Can’t beat it!

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the wailing KEELERS

  14. I haven’t seen anyone mention Ever Clean yet, but I didn’t read all that closely, so I’ll take the risk of being redundant. No perfume, a little dusty (but not as bad as our old Fresh Step – or, at least, we don’t notice since there is no perfume!), awesome clumping power. All of our cats are adults at this point, so I don’t worry about them eating it.

    I’ve tried World’s Best and other organically-based litters, and while I’ve found that they work ok and I like that they are better for our health and our cats’, we live in an open loft-style apartment and they just weren’t passing the poo- and pee-smell test. We have a diabetic cat who, in spite of the fact that we are getting the disease under control, still pees an awful lot (the fact that she has cancer too probably doesn’t help), and thus far the Ever Clean has kept any questionable odors under control. Though Precious Cat sounds like it is worth a try! I’ll look for it next time I feel like experimenting…

    Good luck in your search!

  15. Do your cats chirp at the birds? Mine sits on the windowsill and chatters at them all day, like she’s going “look, I’m a bird too! Come over here and see me!”

    I use World’s Best. Have you tried the Multi-Cat formula? I found it to be a lot better at covering up odors than the regular, and it has a slightly different smell from the regular kind too. I don’t mind the smell at all. What I hate is the smell of most commercial litters, actually. They smell too chemical-y for me.

    The kitten room used to stink horribly whenever one of the kitties was having poo problems (using regular WBCL), but now that I’ve switched to multi-cat WBCL it’s MUCH better. Except for the little ones who aren’t very good at covering up yet 🙂

    • I do occasionally use the World’s Best Multi-Cat in the transition from plain clay litter (when they’re just learning the litter box) to scoopable clay. I just can’t stand the smell of it for some reason, though I’ll say that it works pretty well, and the kittens use it just fine.

      And oh yes, it’s a chirp/ chatter fest in here when there are lots of birds outside and lots of cats sitting inside watching them. 🙂

  16. We tried the swheat too last year, Curzon too ate it, but Jadzia refused to even pee in it! We ended up getting some stuff at petsmart that has wood pieces in it along with two types of clay. It REALLY cuts down on the dust big time, and the cats really like it. You just have to constantly clean up because the little pieces of wood don’t affect the cats but they sure do make good human splinters! OUCH!!!! Oh what I go thru for these cats… *sigh*

    TSB (usthreecoons’ hoomin)

  17. I’m sorry, i must have missed it, what was Alice caught in the act of??? I miss stuff, sorry!
    Love the “I keel you!” photos – funny, i don’t remember there being kittens in ‘the princess bride…’

    • She was caught in the act of bein’ nice! (And SNUGGLING with Bobby Brady. OH the horror!)

  18. I like the Precious Cat litter. It works better for me than the Swheat, Yesterday’s News, or the crystals.