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What was the first time you can think of when Stinkerbelle expressed her displeasure for kittens? I assume there was hissing and smacking involved.

You know, nothing really sticks in my mind. Stinkerbelle’s never been a fan of other cats (except her Tommy, of course), and has always warned them off with a growl and a hiss or two if they get too close. Kittens are usually pretty good about respecting the growl, and the only cat she has any problem with at this point is Jake, who is weirdly obsessed with her. She’s so rarely on the floor that when he sees her I’m pretty sure he thinks she’s a completely new cat, and he goes running after her to be friends. Stinkerbelle rarely has to unleash the wildcat scream these days, but when she does it’s a sure bet that Jake is involved.

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Look what I stumbled across!!!! 🙂

Oh, da STOMPIES! Doesn’t his sweet face kill you?

I love Love Meow!

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My old man Atticus is 15 now – a diabetic, although doing quite well, with a touch of peripheral neuropathy in his hind legs. As a result, he more often than not ends up stepping in his clumping litter after he’s peed – he can’t tell what he’s stepping in. And of course, this usually occurs within 15 mins of me walking out the door for work. He ends up with clumpy legs and paws, and I end up having to bath his legs in the sink, which as you can imagine, is the highlight of both our days. So, my questions – any suggestions as to what I can do to prevent this from happening with clumping litter, and secondly, is there any alternative any one can suggest, even non-clumping? I have 4 cats, and although they have no issues using the one box when it’s clumping litter, I don’t know how it would be using non-clumping for all of them.

Two suggestions came immediately to mind – first, maybe try a litter that clumps faster? I mention this option because I recently switched from Fresh Step to Cat Attract, and I’m surprised at how much more quickly the Cat Attract clumps than Fresh Step did. Whereas with the Fresh Step it seemed that the pee kind of soaked into the litter before clumping, the Cat Attract clumps right away – with Fresh Step, I had kind of flattish clumps, which sometimes stuck to the bottom of the litter box (no matter how deep the litter was), but the Cat Attract gives me round balls. I fear I’m not explaining it very well, but my theory is that if you have a litter that begins clumping (and clumps harder) right away, then there won’t be wet clay for Atticus to walk through. (Also, I should mention that Cat Attract is way more expensive than the other brand of litter that Dr. Elsey’s carries, Precious Cat. I imagine – someone can correct me if I’m wrong – that Precious Cat and Cat Attract are the same litter, only Precious Cat doesn’t have the attractant in it.)

The other option (and I haven’t tried this kind of litter, so hopefully someone who has/does can jump in) is maybe try crystal litter. As I understand it, the urine sinks into the crystals, and thus (hopefully) Atticus wouldn’t be stepping through wet litter on his way out of the litter box.

Y’all have suggestions, thoughts, recommendations? Please chime in!

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Now I’m all curious about your Fresh Step cliffhanger.

I wish it was more exciting! I’ve been using Fresh Step for years, buying the big 42-pound bags at Sam’s for $13. Recently they either changed the formula or Sam’s started carrying a different variant of Fresh Step (I don’t know which, because honestly I never paid attention to the type of litter I was buying, just that it was Fresh Step clumping), and the dust is beyond belief. Now, Fred has complained about the dust from the litter in the past, and I’ve told him to just suck it up (I am a kind and loving wife) because it was inexpensive and worked so well. So when even I am complaining about the dust, then that is some REALLY dusty stuff. Every time I scooped the litter boxes, dust billowed throughout the room. It was horrifying. I had to vacuum every day (never mind that I probably ought to vacuum every day ANYWAY), otherwise the floors would constantly be covered in dust.

So I began the switch to Cat Attract litter a couple of weeks ago, and I’m finding that the Cat Attract clumps better and harder than the Fresh Step did, AND it’s 1000% less dusty. I’m probably going to try switching to Precious Cat in a few more weeks, because as I mentioned above, I assume it’s the same litter as Cat Attract, only without the attractant. And Precious Cat is around $10 cheaper per 40-pound bag, so that seems worth trying it out.

One other thing I did, when I made the switch, was to add about a cup of activated charcoal (I bought this stuff, but feel free to let me know if you see it for less elsewhere) to each litter box, and so far we’re pretty stink-free.

So, that’s why we’ll be Fresh Step Paws Points-less from here on out! I wish there was more drama and intrigue involved in the story. 🙂

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I know y’all don’t have enough places for the cats to get some much needed rest

I know, right? I love that tiny daybed SO MUCH! And the Lotus Cat Tree (but lord, is that thing expensive!) And… well really, I’ll just take one of everything. If only we had more floor space… Fred says another 5 years in this house, and it’s going to be wall to wall cat beds. Like that’s a bad thing?

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Do you think Jon Snow’s eyes are gonna stay blue?

I think they very well might! Arya, Brandon, and Hodor have all gone through the eye color change, but Jon Snow’s are still blue.

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Ok, two things about that blue ham-mick, 1, it’s clearly melting the kitty! and 2, if the kitties lay on top, why is there so much fur on the underside?? Or is that just sticking through as he melts into it?

Isn’t that terrible? I suspect that it’s a combination of the fur moving through the fabric as Sugarbutt moves around, the kittens playing underneath it… and maybe it attracts dust bunnies as they roll by? Also, possibly I missed washing it at the beginning of last month. I usually get all the cat beds/ Ham-micks in the house, but occasionally I miss something. Probably that’s more than one month worth of fur on that fabric. 🙂

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14 Tips For Taking The Perfect Cat Selfie

HA – that is awesome!

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The turkey comments reminded me of this, which makes me laugh like a fool every time – not because of the turkeys themselves, but because of the guy who’s gobbling and laughing and totally losing it. Enjoy.

YouTube link.

That guy is having WAY too much fun! (And also, I watched it like three times, laughing like a maniac each time.)

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Robyn – another story for you. One of your cats has a tiny little speck in his eye, right? After you posted about that, one day I noticed the same thing in Frank. It’s so small it’s barely noticeable, but it’s there. I mentioned it to the vet at the end of Frank’s yearly exam and she couldn’t believe I had found something so tiny. Turns out it appears to just be a cyst, not the other (worse) option. I’d have never known to look for that sort of thing while looking into their pretty eyes without your post! Your blog not only makes me really happy each morning, it’s quite educational.

Yes! Tommy has a speck in his eye that is, basically, a freckle.

Who says you can’t look at kitten pics AND be educated at the same time, right? 🙂

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I saw this on the internet and thought the wonderful world of kitty lovers needs to know about this. It is good for keeping the dog out of the “kitty treats”, diabetic or special diet felines out of the regular food for the other cats, keep the dog out of the cat food, etc.
You can get versions that are magnetic (attached to collar), a little RDIF tag, or via your pet’s microchip. Can be programmed to allow in one cat or multiple.

It might look pricey at first, but cats live many years and you can also use it for many cats throughout your life.

YouTube link.

That’s really neat.

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After seeing how much Sugarbutt loved his ham-mick these last few years, I thought it would be fun to order a couple for my new kitten, DaisyBug. OH YES, she loves them so… She sleeps and plays on them every day. I highly recommend them. The Forty Paws web design updated just recently and it’s really spiffy… and my little DaisyBug is there posing on her new ham-mick! 🙂 Here is the updated address.

Thanks to the wonderful advice from you and your readers regarding adopting kittens in pairs, I adopted a little brother for her to grow up with. So now I have a sweet little six month old gal who was lovingly bottle fed by her wonderful foster Mom at the local humane society and a spunky, lovey little five month old guy who was also lovingly raised by his foster Mom at a local no-kill animal shelter. You foster moms are THE best! Thank you for generously giving your time & love to these furry little kittens and their kitten Mamas.

I’m so glad that DaisyBug loves her ham-mick! She is one cute little cutie pie. 🙂

I’m pretty sure that I can speak for most other foster moms when I say that getting a tiny kitten and doing all the work of getting it healthy and happy is so very much worth it when they go on to great homes like yours!

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Here’s a question for you, Robyn, (and perhaps other fosterers): Is it considered bad form to work with more than one shelter/agency as a fosterer? The agency I currently foster for often has me fostering a single, well-mannered, adult cat for several months at a time. We have no other cats or indeed other animals to care for, and in many of these cases could easily take on kittens at the same time. (Or, for example, there’s a shelter that needs fosterers only for a few weeks at a time that could easily fit between fosters from the other agency.) Is it “cheating” on one or the other?

I don’t believe it’s considered bad form or cheating, and I think that you should go for it! 🙂

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Norbert, Ember, and Ruth pile up for an afternoon nap.


I love how Ember’s draped over Scorch. There’s nothing cuter than kittens all curled up together.

“Not sure I care for your new comforter, lady. Is kinda busy.”

Ruth takes a moment in the sun to decide what to do next.

“Who, us? Fighting? We’d never!”

As long as you’re comfy, Scorch…

I think it’s safe to say that they’ve hit their long and lanky stage.

Oh, these kittens crack me up.

Try to calm down and chill out, Ruth. GOSH.

I forgot to mention this yesterday – the Dragons are 3 months old! Awww, can you believe it’s been three months since this happened?

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Arya loves a Mylar ball.


Arya thinks that ceiling fan is somethin’ special, for sure.

Ever notice that it’s the instigator who complains the most when the one he started the fight with gets the upper paw?

“Okay, you go that way! And I’ll go THAT way! Let’s meet up by the cat tree!”

So the thing is…

I’m starting to think…

That Hodor’s back feet just never touch the floor.

Maybe he’s got an invisible balloon tied to his tail?

Yep. That must be it!

The Starks hit their own milestone – Brandon’s over two pounds and Arya and Jon Snow aren’t far behind! (Weight chart here.) They’ll be 8 weeks on Monday (and two months next Saturday), so they’re well within normal range. Hodor’s a few ounces behind, but he’s always been smaller. Maybe that’s why he’s always got his back feet off the ground, because he’s so light!

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Corbs, beautiful Coooooooorbs!

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2012: “Oh, lady, is so so so hot. The only thing that make me feel better is cookie. COOKIE. You has?”
2011: “Maybe I’ll cut this bratty little Spice for flipping over the Ham-mick.”
2010: “I disapprove of this behavior.”
2009: No entry.
2008: No entry.
2007: Really, here at Crooked Acres, it’s sometimes best to just look the other way, and not ask aaaaaaany questions.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



8-2-13 — 35 Comments

  1. It’s nice but also a little sad that Puff seems to be growing into his big ol’ head now. But it’s great to see Ember & Norbs aren’t growing into their ears yet! 😀

  2. I’ve used crystal litter before. The thing is, they say it’s good for a month, but that’s for ONE cat. I had 2 at the time and I have to change it twice a month. So for 4 cats, changing the whole litter once a week, it’ll get expensive, but if Atticus’ mom can afford it, it might solve her problem. I think at the time, I was trying the crystal litter because I was tired of finding pieces of clumping litter in my bed. So instead, I had tiny yellowed balls rolling on the floor. Nice.

    Anyway, I’m going to try to find Precious Cat, I hope it’s sold in Canada. If not, does anyone else know of other brands of clumping litter that form hard clumps? I have one cat and scoop once a week. I know I should scoop more often but I’m lazy!

    So Jake is weirdly obsessed with Maxi AND Stinkerbelle? Basically, any cats he doesn’t see very often?

    Ember is getting so gorgeous!! Also, are we going to see Dragons visiting the Starks?

    • Hi Laney,

      I’m in Canada, and I found it at Pet Smart – they carry most of the Dr Elsey line.

      I’m fostering a very nervous cat who’s had some litterbox issues. My rescue contact gave me the Dr. Elsey Precious Cat attractant (can only get it at vets), but that didn’t work when I added it to her regular litter. After trying a softer one (she’s declawed), I went to Pet Smart where I found Precious Cat and all the other varieties. I got the Cat Attract version – it’s been magical – she went straight to it and did her business, no problems. A couple of hiccups since then, but mostly fine. Yes, it’s expensive, but I’m so relieved to find something that works.

  3. I got one of those 40 lb Fresh Step bags at Costco. Finally used it over the last couple of months and the dust!!! Oh my. It clumped pretty well but also turned the litter into cement on the bottom of the box. One suggestion I have for Atticus’ mom is to try a bigger litter box or change the orientation. My elder statesmen was having the same issue with backing out of the litter box and getting his feet in the wet clumping litter. I got a box with a lower edge and moved the boxes around a little so he could walk forward into the box, do his business, and then walk out forward without having to turn around or back out. does that make sense. It seemed to help him.
    And the turkeys? OMG I laughed til I cried. I think it was more the guy than the turkeys but I did start thinking about the idiot turkeys you guys had a while ago.

  4. Ok, I thought I was losing my mind that the litter had become crazy dusty (it was alway pretty dusty). My 10 year old cat Murphy has also started sneezing all the time since I had noticed the increase in dust. It may be time for a change. I have to do some pricing of my own.

  5. Oh dear. My ham-micks are in the front window. Behind the drapes. Behind the sofa. Out of sight, etc. But NOW I have to go get those furry things and DEAL with them.
    Insert long tortured sigh here.

  6. Re volunteering for more than one rescue group – in Grand Rapids, several of the rescue groups have kind of divided responsibilities between them. One does adult strays, one does owner surrenders, a couple do TNR and rescue kittens and friendlies, etc. There is a lot of cross-volunteering between groups, especially for people who need a kitten fix. However, I would let the groups know because there may be a few concerns, as far as unvaccinated kittens coming into contact with immuno-compromised adults etc.

  7. What is it with cats & ceiling fans? The cat I recently adopted/took in, is very comfortable with everything in the house — except the ceiling fan. He always gives it a cautious look, but is beginning to not be nervous about it. I wonder how a cat SEES a ceiling fan, certainly different than humans.

    THREE months, time is flying — like Hodor’s talent for flying!

    Love this blog, and getting to see kittehs every day. Thanks.

  8. I sang the Corbie picture caption to the tune of “Food, Glorious Food” when I read it – Corbs, beautiful Coooooooorbs! I think this should be his theme song.

  9. I used to buy the Costco brand of clumping litter because it was a good price, but it also sent up clouds of dust.

    Happily, I discovered that Petco sells its own brand of clumping litter for a reasonable price that is very low dust. The 40-lb bag is $12.99 (just checked my last cash register receipt). You can also buy the 30-lb tub and then just bring it back and refill it, so the cost is a little cheaper and of course, you are helping the environment by re-using the tub.

    By the way, I’ve read that the dust can cause respiratory problems for (some?) cats, so apart from it causing a housekeeping problem, the excessive dust could be a health issue too.

    The other thing I like about the Petco litter is that it is non-perfumed. I don’t like the scented litter and I always think, If this smell bothers me, how much more must it bother the cats who are so much more sensitive to smells than we humans are? I find that by scooping AT LEAST once/day and using a good clumping litter, there’s no smell problem (except in the immediate aftermath of a cat taking a dump, especially if said cat is one of the ones who doesn’t cover up his poop).

    One other comment, that I hope will encourage those who scoop less than daily to try to do it more often. I lived in Asia for many years, where sanitation facilities are, shall we say, somewhat inferior to those in the Western world. Going to a public bathroom that maybe gets cleaned out once/week or once/month (when I say cleaned out, I don’t mean, wiping the toilet seats, I mean, removing the waste) is disgusting and gag-inducing and makes you want to hold everything in until you can get to a clean Western-style bathroom (like back in your hotel or in your own apartment). I imagine that’s kind of what it’s like for cats when they have to face a litter box with a lot of poop and pee.

    This is not meant as a criticism of anyone. I know that we all are busy and have many, many demands on our time and it’s hard to juggle everything and we all do the best we can. The comment was just to help highlight what the cat’s perspective might be and how uncomfortable it might be for them.

    Well, that’s my two-cents worth to the discussion.

  10. Robyn: I need an attitude adjustment today. (Feeling angry and mean.) So if you would huff a couple of extra kitty bellehs for me by proxy today that would be appreciated. 🙂 I know you do it daily, but a couple of extra snorgles on whoever will allow it. (They say that taking deep cleansing breaths is very helpful to calm you down, so I figure if you take those deep breaths on a kitty belleh you get extra benefits!)

  11. One late-arriving comment on the banners… I didn’t realize some of them have the names on them until today. When Dorothy came up. Which happens to also be MY name. Robyn, at first I thought you were a technological genius who managed to code something to add the reader’s name to the banner! I know the calendar says Friday, but dang if it doesn’t still feel like Monday to me! 🙂

  12. I love Ember! She is growing up to be quite the gorgeous young lady. It’s a good thing I live nowhere near Alabama…

  13. I really like Precious Cat and have been using it since my girls were kittens. They had conjunctivitis when they were little – not really bad, but bad enough that I worried that flare-ups would be a lifelong thing. I really liked Fresh Step and used it when I had my previous cat, but it was way too dusty for the girls. I did a lot of research, decided on Precious Cat, and never looked back. The girls have had no flare ups of their conjunctivitis (except for eye boogers that I clean each morning.) And it has all the good stuff that Fresh Step has – good clumping, good odor control, and no odor of its own. I wish it came in a bucket or a bag with a handle because those 40-lb bags are awkward to carry, but other than that, I’ve got no complaints.

    Here’s a really great review from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/review/R19VD5DVOES3G0/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B0009X29WK&nodeID=2619533011&store=pet-supplies

  14. Re: litter
    I really liked the crystal litter. We switched to something else when we fostered kittens, and now we use something different again–our current foster’s poop is so stinky and gross, it really needs a litter that covers it if I’m to scoop without gagging (sorry, tmi?)–but if the crystal litter is an option, I do highly recommend it, and can’t see the litter sticking to the cat no matter where he steps.

  15. I’m definitely going to have to try the Precious Cat stuff. I just can’t deal with the smell of Swheat Scoop, which I’ve been trying, or the dust of EverClean. Does Precious Cat have a scent? I’m guessing not, but I think I’d have to order it online (our local pet shop doesn’t carry it) and it’s such a pain to return stuff that way (I know, I’m lazy)…

    I don’t know what I thought would be the drama surrounding your Fresh Step switch. Cat litter isn’t that dramatic. But I’m always looking for a better and not too expensive litter to switch to, so thanks for the explanation!

  16. If I ever get to have another cat, I will be going the cedar litter route. I remember the dust, etc of the clumping and that was awful. Also having to keep ridged rubber mats under the box to force their wee toes to spread and drop the litter before tracking throughout the house… aw, well – my fur babies were worth it. Cedar litter, and a covered box.

    • I would recommend staying away from the cedar litter.. it contains volaital oils that are harming to the cat’s liver over time. Cats lack the enzymes to properly break them down and it can do harm over time.

      This is even more of a problem with rabbits and small animals, but yet you still see cedar bedding for small animals because people like the smell of the cedar..

  17. Atticus would do very well with World’s Best corn litter. When my older cat had balance issues, he also would step in a pee clump and get it all on his feet. Then he would try to lick it off which caused constipation. Not good!! World’s Best is not sticky like clay clumping litter. If it gets on Atticus’ feet, it will crumble off almost instantly. And if he licks it, it’s just corn! And it clumps very well. Try it…it’s worth the cost!

    • Another World’s Best fan here — it does track and is expensive, but it’s not at all dusty. I tried Fresh Step once and literally burst a blood vessel in my eye trying to remove a clump from the litter box. (And I mean literally, not figuratively.) Also, the dust was monstrous. To the person above whose poor foster was declawed and has had some issues — a pox on those who declawed her and kudos to you for working with her. You fosters are so great. Chiming in, too, on cleaning habits — my two love their boxes to be pristine, and so do I. Lazy people like me find it takes far less effort to clean them at least twice daily. And this makes the fortnightly big clean far easier too. But back to the cats and kittens. Stinkerbelle may disagree, but I do wish that friend-of-the-world Jake could somehow pass along his openness and generosity to all those in power across the universe. And while we’re at it, Ruth could relay her relaxation chops and Hodor could give levitation lessons.

  18. Those turkeys were mocking the rude human. You can hear them saying “Yuk it up, asshole!”

  19. No one has mentioned Feline Pine? I’m shocked. We’ve used it since day one with our first cat because i HATE the smell of litter, and we love it. We change it once a week, never scooping unless he has a particularly fragrant contribution. And it’s so easy, just dump the box and fill it up again. Now, i’ve never bought regular litter but I get this at the grocery store for 3.99 for a bag big enough to just dump into the box whole, or else I can get the 11.99 bag at walmart and it lasts a little over a month. And once every couple of weeks our supermarket has the small bag on sale for 1.99 and we definitely stock up. I swear I read about it here back in the day, but maybe I’m mistaken since it’s not been mentioned. but anyway I figured i’d put it out there.

  20. Good to read what you are experiencing with litter. I like the Arm & Hammer one that is made from corncob (not home and can’t check my litter bag!). It is not dusty, smells kind of piney and it shouldn’t stick to the kitty’s feet. It does track, but on a par with sandy litter. I have noticed that it doesn’t clump as well as it used to, but it’s a good alternative if someone doesn’t want to/can’t use clay clumping litter. I use it in one of the litter boxes and regular clay clumping litter (current fav is Scoop away…could change next time I buy!) in the other.

    Glad to know of one that is not scented, daughter’s new kittens didn’t know what to make of the scented variety, we had to mix it with the outside sandbox that had traces of ‘use’ to get them to “get it”…she’s switching over but can’t handle the perfume herself. And yes, two kittens are definitely better than one on many levels!

  21. Yikes! I went on Amazon to get some Perfect Cat (my 19 year old has the same problem stepping into wet litter) and it looks like Love&Hisses may have started a run on it! I saw that there was 18 lb bags available, but then got distracted as I always do on Amazon. When I got around to ordering, it was out of stock! (through Amazon w/Prime shipping) I ended up ordering a 40 lb bag (that’s how much I trust you guys!) Will report back if this helps.

  22. I think the crystal litter might be well worth a shot. I haven’t tried ti myself but from what you’re describing, it seems that it would alleviate the problem that Atticus is running into when he visits the box.

    Hope other suggestions give you an idea or two of what to try – good luck!

  23. I commented (lengthily, as usual!) late last night, recommending the crystal litter as well. My cats love it, I love it, no odor, no 40-lb box to throw my back out (or sit in the trunk of the car until I can get someone to come over and lift it for me) – well worth it IMO.

  24. You may already know, and i don’t read all the comments every day, but I saw a Baby Stark photo over on Cats, Beavers and Ducks. It’s credited to you, so that’s good.

  25. Something worth noting about fostering for multiple rescues, though: make sure they all know and are okay with it. I fostered for two different agencies at the same time a year or so back, and when one of them found out, they took their litter of kittens back. They didn’t want their cats catching anything from the other rescue’s litter, and vice versa. (Even though each litter was in a separate room, on opposite ends of the house. But I digress.)

  26. Hiya Robyn, I’ve been using Fresh Step, same problem. So on the Precious Cat – “Classic Premium,” “Ultra Premium,” have you tried either yet? Definitely ready to start the big switch over here.