Our review of a new litter box — Van Ness Corner Enclosed Cat Pan

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Today I’m reviewing a recent purchase — the Van Ness Corner Enclosed Cat Pan.

cat litterbox

By the way, that adorable pawprint mat is from Dollar General. It was only $4, and I’m planning on going back and grabbing a couple more to put under the pet’s good dishes. It looks nice, its inexpensive and it has little grooves to catch things, like kitty litter and dry cat food.

But the main review is, of course, the litterbox.

I bought it on Amazon.com. It was $18 (free shipping) for Prime members, which I am, so I liked the price.

I also like the look of it. I got the silver and large version. In person, it’s nice and shiny and definitely big enough for my cats.

Another plus is that it is sort of triangular in shape, which makes it really easy to place in a corner. I put in the bathroom, which is small, and I like that it can be pushed pretty close to the wall and cabinet so it doesn’t take up more space than necessary.

It does come with a plexiglass shield ‘door’ to cover the entrance, but I currently have it off because my cat, Motor, is still getting used to this new litterbox (her previous ones didn’t have covers). I think she has a little trouble with her eyesight because she spends a lot of time starinng at anything new, ready to run in case its dangeorus and tries to attack her, and this litterbox was no exception. But, she did finally “slow walk,” into it and use it. I think the lure of new kitty litter was probably attractive to her.

Once she is using it on a regular basis, I will probably put the cover back on.

One warning I would give to anyone purchasing this litterbox is to either place something in front of it or make sure there’s a  lot of litter inside to keep it weighted down.

I discovered after Motor used it for the second time. As she was coming out of the box, it started to tip over with her weight and the litter she had just used spilled onto the floor. Motor is a medium-sized cat, and probably a couple of pounds overweight, but not superheavy, so I figured this might happen to other cats as well. At first, I didn’t put a lot of litter in it because I was running low when I first set it up, but, after the tipping over incident, I made sure to put in a lot more.

Overall, I like the look and the price. For a litterbox, it’s about as attractive-looking as a litterbox can probably get. It’s also less expensive than most covered litterboxes that I Iooked at. I definitely recommend it and will probably get a second one so the cats don’t have to share it.

If you’re interested in more information about this litterbox, you can click on the following Amazon product link.


Related:

Our review of Nature’s Logic 100% All-Natural Cat Litter

Company offers plant-based cat litter

 

How to keep your house clean when you share it with a furry friend (or friends)

Reading Time: 3 minutes

For many, there’s no greater joy in my life than having pets – but trying to rid one’s home of pet hair, dander and odors are a different story.

With that in mind, guest author Tyler Evans of dogzasters.com, did some research and found some of the best budget-friendly advice out there to help dog and cat owners keep their homes clean.


Keeping your house clean when you’re on a budget can be a challenge with furry friends. It may seem like all your options for maintaining a spic and span living environment all call for spending a fortune. Fortunately, you can keep things under control if you implement some of these helpful tips.

Dealing with pet fur

When it comes to your pet’s fur, giving them a good brush can help to prevent the shedding of their hair all over your house. Cleaning your fabrics can be easier if you avoid the ones, such as cotton and wool, that attract pet hair.

When cleaning, be sure to vacuum carpets and rugs, and use a moist mop on the floor to remove fur. Rubber gloves and lint rollers can be essential tools for picking up pet hair, and don’t forget about your pet’s bedding when you’re washing.

dog in bathtubYou can also minimize shedding by bathing your pet regularly and giving them supplements. Once you’re done bathing your pet, make sure you dry their fur thoroughly and brush it again to avoid heavy shedding.

Dealing With Pet Dander

Pet dander is made up of tiny pieces of your pets’ skin, and cats, as well as dogs, are some of the worst offenders. Pet dander is especially troublesome for persons who have allergies, as it can cause itchy eyes, sneezing and coughing.

The fact that dander sticks easily to furniture, bedding and fabrics makes it that much harder to get rid of. As different as cats and dogs might be, dealing with their dander has some similarities. You should make sure to groom your pet because if they have been cleaned and trimmed, they are less likely to spread dander. Washing your pet’s bedding frequently and keeping them off the furniture will go a long way to keeping dander in check.

Dealing with pet saliva

Motor on arm of couchPet saliva can be hard to avoid if you have a particularly drool-heavy dog. Orvis suggests protecting your furniture by using washable protective covers. Even when you take the necessary precautions, though, you’ll still need to clean up pet saliva.

One of the easiest ways to remove drool from your upholstery includes the use of paper towels and dishwashing liquid in warm water. Just make sure you tackle the clean up as quickly as you see it because saliva can really seep into materials and cause a near-permanent stain.

Dealing with pet odor

Pet odors can come from a number of sources but some particularly troublesome ones are pet urine. Whenever your dog or cat has an accident, it’s best to clean it up quickly as it might soak into the area and require a professional clean.

When you’re cleaning up, you should avoid bleach and ammonia-based cleaners as the former isn’t pet-friendly and the latter can make odors worse. Cat litter box furniture is also a great way to not only keep your cat’s litter box hidden away, but they can also subdue the odor that comes from your cat’s waste. To make sure you’re finding the best cat litter box furniture for your needs, shop around, and look at online reviews and recommendations.

Dealing with selling a home

All of these suggestions are especially important when you’re selling your home. Although you may care deeply for your pet, potential buyers may not. In addition to finding ways to remove your pet from the home during showings, stay on top of cleaning to help triggering allergic reactions from people viewing your property.

The better your home looks and smells, the better the chance of finding a buyer who’s eager to take the house off your hands.

Your cats and dogs are an irreplaceable part of your family, and just like family, there are times when you’ll have to make some changes to your routine to keep your house in order. Whether you have cats, dogs or both, make sure you’re staying on top of your cleaning activities to keep your house clean while sticking to your budget.

Article by: Tyler Evans / tyler@dogzasters.com / www.dogzasters.com


Related:

How to keep pets safe from hand sanitizer and household cleaning products

Shedding some light on pet fur: Hacks for getting it off furniture, some unusual uses, and how shedding can signal pet health problems

 


Review of Ameritex Loveseat Cover

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I purchased a small loveseat a couple of weeks ago, and almost as soon as I had it, one of my kitties decided the armrest was a wonderful new place to sharpen her claws.

Armrest my cat Motor thinks is her new scratching post.

So, I new I was going to need to buy a cover quickly.

I looked at all kinds, but I wanted something pretty inexpensive that would still look nice.

I decided on Ameritex Loveseat Cover Water-Resistant Quilted Furniture Protector with Back Nonslip Paws Slipcover for Dogs, Kids, Pets Loveseat Slipcover Stay in Place (Pattern1: Green, Loveseat (Oversized)).

Unfortunately, this item, which I paid $12.99 for with Amazon Prime, is now currently out of stock. But the very similar one, which is pretty much the same thing, only is measures 54 inches, is available for $13.99 as shown in the small ad below.

 

 

Because the price was so low, I really wasn’t expecting a whole lot from this cover. I wasn’t even planning on reviewing it. I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised and would buy it again in a heartbeat!

First off, as soon as I took it out of the package it came in, I liked how nicely made it was and how soft yet strong the material it’s made with is.

It’s definitely something that will be nice and comfortable to sit on.

As for the fit, it’s a little longer than I thought it would be, but that actually worked out because it covers most of the couch as you can see from the picture below. Instead of using the elastic band on both sides to secure it as shown in the ad picture above, I just slid that down a bit and pulled that over the buttom of the loveseat arm, which should keep it nice and snug.

Loveseat cover

Two other things I like about this slipcover are the non-skid material on the back, which should help keep it in place. That’s an especially important feature for the arm covers (which are attached to the rest of the cover) because I know my cat, Motor, is going to continue to see if she can get away with a quick sharpening on the arms before “Mommy” catches her and I don’t want to have to always be moving the armcovers back into place.

non-skid backing

Notice that the non-skid backing has acute, little paw print pattern on it — another touch I like.

I was also happy to find out that the arm part has a remove control/magazine holder area on the bottom of both sides. I wasn’t expecting that feature, but it’s very nice to have.

holders on side of cover

Overall, it’s well made and looks good. The green isn’t only color, by the way. I chose that because it goes with my color scheme. It’s also available in Beige, Chocolate and Burgundy. If I order a replacement in the future, I think I will likely get the Burgundy one because that would probably also be really pretty.

For more information about the Ameritext Loveseat Cover on Amazon, click here.

 

Related:

Chicken statue find: Our review of Darice Country Blue Hen Decoration

Our review of Soft Velvet Safe Cat Bell Collar, Adjustable Mini Collar Bling Diamante

Our review of Milk-Bone brushing chews

Me and my cat, Motor, review free apps for cats

 

Making a chicken feeder from a recycled soda bottle

Reading Time: 3 minutesToday, I’m re-running a story originally published on Oct. 8, 2018. Looking back, I can’t believe how much the grandbaby has grown. The chickens have pretty much stayed the same size, however. LOL.

boy with chickens

The grandbaby out playing with his glider airplane near the chickens, who are free-ranging in the background.

 

 

 

Anyway, I had forgotten about this story until I went back into older posts and then I remembered how much fun it was to put together. I also think it’s timely now because, around here anyway, it’s been raining cats and dogs. Not literally; the chickens wouldn’t like that! But, if you have chickens and a lot of rain, you might appreciate this inexpensive way to keep your chicken’s feed fresh and dry.


Making a Chicken Feeder from a Recycled Soda Bottle
Soda Bottle Birdfeeder

We found this Soda Bottle Feeder for $3.50 at the Gift Shop at River Park North in Greenville, North Carolina, although we noticed you can also find it on Amazon.com for $5.99 and similar items for what we paid and upward.

Although it looked like it was for regular birds, we thought maybe it would work for our chickens, who are in the market for new bird feeders, so we decided to try it out. After all, the price was right.

To assemble:

We washed out an empty soda bottle and then waited to make sure it was all dry inside so they chicken feed wouldn’t clump and go bad.

The outer part of the black plastic shown above in the photo snaps off very easily.

We then poked two small holes in either side of the bottle, which was not as easy as we thought it would be because bottles are a lot more flimsy nowadays.

Once we got the “handle” inserted into the bottom of the bottle, we went on to filling the bottle with the feed. Our chickens prefer crumbles to pellets. We kind of expected getting the crumbles into the small bottle opening to be a laborious process, but, it was really simple.

We used a plastic pitcher (shown below) and poured the feed into the bottle while holding it over the bag of feed. It only took a couple of minutes to do this part.

plastic pitcher and bottle

Grandbaby helping with filling feed bottle

Our grandbaby, pre-bath, helping with the last few crumbles.

Then we just screwed the feed part onto our bottle and viola!

Finished bottle feeder

Time to test it out!

Our final step was to find a place to hang it up (we used an old shoelace).

Then, we waited to see if it would work…

You can see below, it takes Roo, our rooster, a few seconds to figure out how the feeder works. But, once he gets the hang of it, everybody starts getting in on the act.

We’re really happy with this experiment, especially given the fact that we it only cost us $3.50 and we recycled a bottle in the process!

chickens with feeder

Our review of Citrus Magic Odor Control Pods, and a handy, free litter change reminder sheet

Reading Time: 3 minutes

So, I was  doing some shopping recently and came across these:

 

As you can see they are “Odor Control Pods for Litter” from Citrus Magic Pet. With two cats, keeping the litterboxes fresh is a challenge, so I picked some up.

The pods aren’t very large. They’re about the length of an pinky finger, but they definitely individually pack a wallop when it comes to smell.

They come in different scents, including Fresh Linen and Ocean Breeze. I bought the Outdoor Fresh pods. It’s sort of hard to fragrance to describe but it is pleasant; kind of like a fabric softener or a laundry detergent aroma but very concentrated. 

Anyway, what you do is put a pod into the cat litter and it’s supposed to absorb odors for up to a week. According to the directions, If you change litter, throw out the pod with used litter after a week. If you scoop your litter daily, scoop out the pod after a week and replace it with a new one.

So, back to the scent. I have two cats and two different litter boxes. About five minutes after I put the pod in one of the litterboxes, I could smell the pod’s scent in the corner of the kitchen where the litterbox is kept. About ten minutes later, I could smell it throughout both rooms that had litterboxes.

I was little worried about the strong smell. Although pleasant to humans, I thought it might somehow scare the cats away from their litterboxes, but that didn’t happen. The pods smell very strong the first day of use, a little less so the second day, and then I don’t notice them having a smell after that.

I also wondered about the safety of the product, since I tend to be cautious when it comes to what I use to clean up around my pets. On its website, Beaumont Products, Inc. describes its pet product line as “a safe and natural, yet effective alternative to using harsh chemicals around those beloved members of any family.” In addition, I looked up the ingredients listed on the product packaging and nothing seemed terribly hazardous, although I would like to know more about what they use for “fragrance,” which is listed as one of their ingredients.

In addition to whatever “fragrance” consists of, the product is also made of water (main ingredient), sodium stearate, glyceryl stearate, glycerin, sodium chloride and sodium bicarbonate.

Of course, the pods are not a substitute for regularly scooping and changing the cat litter, just sort of an added way of helping with odor prevention/masking.

And, by the way, another resource you can use is free: I previously created a free, printable sheet that can be used to keep track of when it’s time to change the kitty litter, which you can access — simply click here.


Related stories:

Wow, my pet needs a bath! E-commerce site sells ‘skunk ready kit’ pet owners can have on hand in case their dog has a close encounter with one of these critters and their strong-smelling spray

Company offers plant-based cat litter

 

How to save on care for an aging pet

Reading Time: 2 minutesby guest author Penny Martin

According to the ASPCA, your first-year costs for a dog can be more than $2,000, and if you are planning to adopt an older animal, you might have to spend even more. Even if you already have your pet, veterinary bills, supplies, and general upkeep can get very pricey. When you are on a limited budget, these expenses mean pet parenthood can take a toll on your finances. Fortunately, there are many ways to save on caring for your aging, furry best friend.

Save on Supplies

Supplies are one of your biggest expenses. There are a few ways to save. The first is by shopping at your local Dollar Tree or similar dollar store.

Great scores at these discount retailers include puppy training pads — the AKC recommends using these to help senior dogs avoid unnecessary trips outdoors — and pet treats.

Dollar store toys are not recommended buys,however. Even the tennis balls and ropes available in these types of stores are cheaply made and will shred easily, meaning you have to replace them often and that they are a choking hazard. Instead, shop for these at stores that cater to pets — Petsmart comes to mind. Although these specialty outlets are higher-priced, they offer better quality, and you can almost always find online codes for cashback and discounts for Petsmart at Rakuten.

Keep Your Pets Safe

Veterinary bills can get expensive, and fast. Because of this, if you really want to save money and avoid a sudden negative financial impact, spend some time ensuring that your home is a safe haven for your pet.

Start in the kitchen, and remove access to chocolate, garlic, coffee, avocados and raisins. You also want to make sure they don’t have an easy way to get to small items, such as twist ties, that they might accidentally ingest and become injured.

The Bark also recommends moving things like medications and laundry detergent out of your animal’s way.

To further pet-proof your home, keep things like shoes, batteries, and rubber bands off the floor or in a closed closet.

If you want houseplants in your home that won’t threaten your pet’s health, there are many pet-friendly options to choose from.

Pamper Them Without a High Price

Your pet certainly enjoys pampering in their golden years, but it’s likely that you like the idea that they are happy more than they actually understand indulgences. Cater in both of your needs by looking for ways to show your pet some love that don’t involve crazy expensive accessories or a trip to the doggie spa. You can do this by simply setting aside time each day for exercise and one-on-one time; go for a walk followed by a little snuggle time on the couch.

As an added benefit for you, Salon points out that petting your pup for just 10 minutes can help lower stress levels, which is crucial when you worry about finances.

Owning a pet does come with some expenses. And while you can’t get around things like food and veterinary care, you can save in other ways. Don’t overspend, but also don’t choose the cheapest option for things like toys. Sometimes, it pays to spend more in the beginning to save money over the long term.

Featured image: Public domain photo


For a related article, check out:

A great way to save money on pet supplies

Dog treat gift bottles: make homemade dog treats and recycle bottles into beautiful gifts!

Reading Time: 4 minutesThis post started with us wondering what to do with the massive amount of Starbucks Frappuccino bottles we have collected. They are very nice bottles, so we don’t really want to throw them out, but they’ve been sitting on our shelves for awhile and we feel guilty whenever we get a new one.

So, we decided to combine two projects we’ve been thinking about — decorating the bottles and making doggie treats.

First, we’ll show you the end result.

Homemade doggie treats ready to give as a gift! (And in a recycled bottle.)

 

We also want to create labels for the bottles that we’re going to print out with the words “Dog Treats” and probably a cute little logo that we make up or some other artwork. We’ll place those over where we removed the Starbucks label because, no matter how well we washed the bottle, the glue where the old labels used to be is still really sticky.

You can use pretty much any kind of empty and clean food container that you have a lot of. (We also have empty Folger’s Instant Coffee bottles, for example, for holding larger treats.)

Next, we’ll tell you how we did it:

Like we mentioned, we peeled the labels from the bottle.

We then washed the bottle well and let it dry well.

We used some ribbon that we had to wrap around the neck of the bottle and some more to make a bow.

For the future, we’d like to get some round stickers that we can simply put over the Starbucks logo on the top of the bottle lid, but, for this one, we cut out a round piece of shiny green wrapping paper and glued that on. We used a glue gun to glue the thinner (dotted) ribbon around the edges of the lid of the bottle.

After that, we made the dog treats.

The recipe:

1 can of pureed pumpkin

1 jar of peanut butter (we used chunky for some extra crunch)

Flour

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix 3/4 can of the pumpkin (if you have chickens, you can give the leftover contents of the can to them; they will love it!) with two eggs, 3/4 cup peanut butter, 3 1/2 cups flour in a medium bowl.

You can use a blender, but we were able to easily mix the ingredients by hand.

dog treat batter

 

Spoon the mixture onto baking sheet in rounded balls approximately 3/4 of an inch apart. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, depending on how large the treats are. We made snack-sized treats so they would fit in the bottle.

Note: If you want to use a cookie cutter to cut the mixture into shapes, you will likely need to add more flour and also let the dough chill in the refrigerator for a few hours at least before cooking.

treats on cooking sheet

We cooked two batches of treats. The first batch was smaller and we let them cook hard all the way through, like a round biscuit.

For the second batch, we made the balls a little rounder and bigger and didn’t cook them as long, so that they stayed soft, like a cookie.

After letting both batches cool down, we let the dogs try them. All five dogs liked them a lot and seemed to really appreciate getting something that was freshly baked. In fact, within a very short period of time, almost both trays of the treats, except for a few we set aside, and the ones we put in the sample jar, had been consumed.

Here’s Terra, our older chihuahua, sampling one of the soft-baked treats:

Fortunately, the recipe yields a lot of treats if you make them in smaller balls or small-sized like we did. We made four tray-fulls all together.

The next day we made more treats and we did use one of the empty bottles from instant coffee to make a treat bottle to send to our sister, brother-in-law and nephew, who recently adopted a dog named Meadow from a shelter on Long Island.

Instant coffee bottle recycled as dog treat holder.

Soon after, Meadow got our treats in the mail and loved them! Plus she has a keepsake bottle for treats from now on. 🙂

Meadow eating a biscuit


Creating a free pet portrait online

Reading Time: 3 minutesCommissioning an artist to paint your beloved pet can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars — more than the average pet owner might be able to pay.

There are some great artists out there who will create your pet’s picture in a variety of styles for much less though. Check out deviantart.com as one site where numerous uber talented digital artists can be found, many of whom are offering their services at budget prices.

But, we wondered if those on no budget or who just want a trial portrait could get a free one using one of the online photo-to-painting apps. So, we tried some out using the picture of Trent and Sweat Pea below:

white peahen and turquoise peacock

 

The results:

1. Photo to Painting Converter (our best result from this site is shown below) was quick and easy to use. It allowed for changing the hue, saturation, brightness and contrast and for strengthening/softening as well as boosting the colors with easy to use sliders.

We weren’t overly impressed with the results, but, hey, it was free.

 

2. The Antique Oil Painting was super quick and didn’t require any input other than uploading the photo. We’re not thrilled about the photo mark in the lower corner, but, other than that, it came out pretty neat.

antique oil version of peacock painting

 

3. Snapstouch.com is a great place to go to experiment with your pet photos or other photos. Besides photo to painting, you can also get photo to pencil sketch, photo to drawing, and some other options. You can also customize each one somewhat. Just be sure to read the directions at the bottom for best results. We got two different painting versions at this site:

peacock painting from Snapstouch

second peacocks painting from Snapstouch

4. But we had the absolute most fun with Fotor, which lets you turn your photo into artwork similar to a variety of famous artists, including VanGogh, and styles, such as Cubism. The first (below) is in the Magic Cube style, the second is Metaphisics, the third is Realistic, and the fourth is Color Fantasy.

Generated for free online or not, the results are actually all images we wouldn’t mind having real prints of and framing!

peacock artwork

peacock impressionism painting

peacock realistic painting effect

peacock painting Color Fantasy effect

For more cool things you can do with photos of your pets, check out this post: https://wowmypetdidthat.com/what-can-you-do-with-your-pet-photos/

Fear not, advice about pet anxiety is available for free!

Reading Time: 2 minutesFear Free logo
Now, becoming a Fear Free member won’t cost a penny.

FearFreeHappyHomes.com, a website for pet owners, features articles, courses, and other content created by board certified veterinary behaviorists and other top pet care experts. Its focus is helping pet owners prevent and reduce fear, anxiety, and stress for their pets at home and in their daily activities.

When pet parents sign up at www.fearfreehappyhomes.com, they’ll have immediate access to a library of short animated videos covering everything from how to have a Fear Free vet visit to dealing with serious noise aversion or separation anxiety.

Below is a sample video available from Fear Free Happy Homes.

Other benefits include:

•Access to the Fear Free online directory to locate Fear Free veterinary and pet professionals.
•Articles, tips, tricks, and other resources, all reviewed by board-certified veterinary behaviorists or technicians
•Handouts to make their next veterinary visit Fear Free
•Discounts and deals on pet products and services

While basic membership was free, most of the courses and other educational resources were only available to those who paid for higher membership tiers. Now, all benefits are available at no cost for all members.

“Making Fear Free Happy Homes resources free to pet owners will offer better access to the program,” said veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker, founder of Fear Free. “As veterinarians or pet professionals, we might see pets a few times a year, but their pet parents see them every day. Sharing simple, science-based approaches to helping pets have happier lives is core to our mission, and this change will remove barriers and ease stress for both pets and their humans.”

Since 2016, Fear Free has provided online and in-person education to more than 50,000 veterinary and pet professionals on emotional well being, enrichment, and the reduction of fear, anxiety, and stress in pets. Both individual professionals and veterinary practices can become Fear Free Certified®.

FearFreeHappyHomes.com, the companion website for pet owners, was launched in 2017.

Source: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/bring-fear-free-home-for-your-pets–for-free-300886180.html


A great way to save money on pet supplies

Reading Time: 2 minutesWe stumbled across Wikibuy when we were surfing the Internet and read that it can be a great way to save money on pet products.

Wikibuy is a Chrome extension that finds coupon codes and discounts while you shop online.

It can be downloaded by going to this address: https://wikibuy.com/

You can then add it to your browser. We added it to our Firefox browser. After that, you fill in some basic information.

After that, whenever you shop through Amazon, BarkBox, PetSmart, Chewy and Petco, as well as a number of other websites, Wikibuy automatically applies  coupon codes or discounts at checkout.

Wikibuy also helps out on Amazon by searching for the best price on an item you’re looking for. We spend a lot of money on pet supplies, but we just today installed Wikibuy. So, we thought we would give it a try.

We did a search for Frontline for dogs, which we have been kind of putting off buying because it’s expensive.

When we clicked on the product, we saw the little Wikibuy search notice come up and then we got this message:

Wikibuy example

As you can see, Wikibuy found a less expensive seller that was offering the same product for $13.04 less.

We couldn’t pass that deal up, and we think the dogs will be happy about that!

Wikibuy isn’t just for pet supplies, by the way. It seems like you can use it to shop for just about any kind of product, including health, automotive and clothes.

Happy shopping! And happy saving! And if you get a great deal on a pet product that you want to share information about, please let us know.