Author Topic: Litter box liner experiment  (Read 5791 times)

Offline Middle Child

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Litter box liner experiment
« on: December 02, 2012, 12:27:15 PM »
I recently read a review of a different form of litter box liner, made from paper. Frustrated with scraping cement off the bottom of litter boxes, then a long soak to remove the rest, before I can wash them, and since I had a promotion, I decided to try them, though I chose a less expensive brand than the one being reviewed.  The promotion was not directly related to the litter boxes, but it saved me $10 which made the boxes almost free.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000MD3MDW/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00

As is my habit, I didn't use them right away.  I had to mull things over for a few weeks.  They seem a bit small and...well I don't like to mess with their litter boxes too much, but I am getting desperate to make life, including litter box clean up, easier on myself.

I've been told that the reason the bottom of my boxes get so dirty is because I don't put the litter in deep enough.  But since I am compulsive about a weekly dump and scrub, I can't bring myself to go deeper than 3 inches, and even that gets lower as the week goes on. I just can't see throwing away so much litter.

Anyway back to the liners. So as I was ruminating on the paper liners, it occurred to me why can't I use cardboard?  Goodness knows I get enough of it, since I order all my cat food, and many other things, on line.

So today is the day.  When I put down the fresh litter boxes, in the large high sided sterilite container I put in a portion of a cut up box.  It fits tight in the bottom, with one flap going up one side.  I may eventually keep the flaps on both side, but I want to start slow.  In one of the regular litter boxes I put one of the liners.  The other regular litter box I left unlined.

The plan is to see how long each lasts, as far as odor starting up.  The cardboard, since I have a never ending supply of it,  can be changed out as often as needed, just dump out the litter, put in fresh cardboard, then put the litter back. The pre-shaped liners could be used the same way, but of course, they cost me (though are eligible for subscribe and save).

I will be reporting on this as it goes along.

Does anyone else use any kind of litter liner?

Offline Lola

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Re: Litter box liner experiment
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2012, 02:34:19 PM »
We have a few different brands of litter boxes.  The ones that are "infused with Microban for resistance to mold, mildew and odor-causing bacteria" ... never have issues with the cement situation.  

The other boxes, I put 4 or 5 inches of litter in them...rather then the recommended 3 inches.  The cats can't scratch to the bottom to make cement.

I also think Precious Cat litter contributes to less cement issues.  

I rotate cleaning boxes.  I keep records, and all boxes are numbered.   ;D  Example; Boxes 1 and 2... I allow the litter to get lower than the norm.  I then pour the litter into boxes 3 and 4.  Boxes 1 and 2 get completely scrubbed and washed and all new litter.  The following week, I do the same with 2 other boxes.  I next to never have to throw out any litter.  

Okay, so I didn't answer your liner question... just explained why we don't need any.  :)




« Last Edit: December 02, 2012, 02:44:52 PM by Lola »
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Offline Middle Child

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Re: Litter box liner experiment
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2012, 06:46:45 AM »
Things are moving along here.  The cats apparently LOVE the boxes with the liners. The unlined boxes are hardly used, (well, the fourth one, under the platform is never used) they really like both lined boxes.

The one lined with cardboard was getting kind of soaked on one edge so I dumped out the litter, had to wipe out the box, because I hadn't left a high enough edge and pee and litter was on it's way to forming cement, then I put in a new box liner with higher edges.

 The paper formed liner is starting to stick a little in this, it's second week of use. I may continue to use a combination of both the paper bought ones and plain cardboard, I do like those formed ones, and the cats do too. The unlined boxes are getting very little use. Well the fourth one never gets any use at all (it is under the platforms), but the middle one on the platform usually gets used a lot.

Cardboard in high sided (tote) box


bought formed paper liner in regular sided box

Offline Middle Child

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Re: Litter box liner experiment
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2012, 06:47:31 AM »
We have a few different brands of litter boxes.  The ones that are "infused with Microban for resistance to mold, mildew and odor-causing bacteria" ... never have issues with the cement situation.  

The other boxes, I put 4 or 5 inches of litter in them...rather then the recommended 3 inches.  The cats can't scratch to the bottom to make cement.

I also think Precious Cat litter contributes to less cement issues.  

I rotate cleaning boxes.  I keep records, and all boxes are numbered.   ;D  Example; Boxes 1 and 2... I allow the litter to get lower than the norm.  I then pour the litter into boxes 3 and 4.  Boxes 1 and 2 get completely scrubbed and washed and all new litter.  The following week, I do the same with 2 other boxes.  I next to never have to throw out any litter.  

Okay, so I didn't answer your liner question... just explained why we don't need any.  :)



What kind of litter boxes do you use?  I mean, specific brand? I like you system. :)

Offline Lola

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Re: Litter box liner experiment
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2012, 09:18:22 AM »
The ones that I like, that have non-stick issues, are these:  http://www.petco.com/product/104878/Petmate-Deluxe-Enclosed-Litter-Pan.aspx?CoreCat=MM_CatSupplies_LitterBoxes


Made in the USA.
I remove the door flaps.  
Jumbo size.

I don't like the thought of having used litter hang around too long.  It looks and smells clean, but...
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 09:26:33 AM by Lola »
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Offline Middle Child

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Re: Litter box liner experiment
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2012, 10:16:42 AM »
The ones that I like, that have non-stick issues, are these:  http://www.petco.com/product/104878/Petmate-Deluxe-Enclosed-Litter-Pan.aspx?CoreCat=MM_CatSupplies_LitterBoxes


Made in the USA.
I remove the door flaps.  
Jumbo size.

I don't like the thought of having used litter hang around too long.  It looks and smells clean, but...

Wait a minute...but if you do as described above, you always have some used litter in the boxes, right? Or am I misunderstanding what you mean?

I can't stand not dumping all the litter and putting in fresh every week.   This going two weeks is a major trial for me.

Offline Lola

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Re: Litter box liner experiment
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2012, 01:31:25 PM »
Wait a minute...but if you do as described above, you always have some used litter in the boxes, right? Or am I misunderstanding what you mean?

I can't stand not dumping all the litter and putting in fresh every week.   This going two weeks is a major trial for me.

I'll use last week as an example.  All litter was dumped into two boxes.  All the other boxes were cleaned and totally new litter was put in.  One (or two, depending on the amount of use) box will pretty much always have used litter. 

I next to never add new litter to old.  The few times I have...using Precious cat litter, I can't tell the new litter from the old. With other brands of litter, I could DEFINITELY see (and smell) the difference between old and new litter.   

Like you, I used to throw out all used litter when I cleaned the boxes.  I couldn't stand the thought of used litter hanging around for more than a week.  Since using Precious Cat Litter... it is such a huge difference... I no longer have issues keeping old litter from one week to the next.  AND the cats don't prefer new over used either.  I don't think the cats' paws are any dirtier (using litter boxes) than the dogs' paws... when they go outside to go potty and come back in. 

I have had people come into my home, and say they are shocked that 7 cats live here.  I think if my house stunk, people would say nothing... rather than go with a compliment that is a lie. 
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Offline Middle Child

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Re: Litter box liner experiment
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2013, 09:57:17 AM »
Time for an update on this.

I have tried two different brands of formed recycled paper liners, the Nature's Miracle brand large, and the Kitty Wonder Box, medium. Though the Nature's Miracle size large is $10 more (for the same number) and claims it's sides are 6.5 inches high, the fact is the NM size large boxes are only 3.5 inches high, and a half inch narrower than the Kitty Wonder Boxes. So I will stick with the Kitty Wonder Box medium, for my regular sized litter boxes for now, though I will keep looking.

For the large tote litter boxes I needed something else. I had tried just lining them with cardboard (boxes, cut to fit) but this was only partially successful.

The sides of the box pieces I was using were sometimes shorter than was practical, meaning when the girls do their stand up and pee routine in the high sided box the pee and subsequent litter would get behind the edge of the liner, making a mess and smell underneath. Also, there was some overlapping of box edges, the between of which, again because of the stand up pee-ers, would get wet and smelly.

When my next order of liners came they came in a box that seemed to almost fit the large litter box. My brain got to whirling a bit.....I wondered if I could wet the box and re-shape it, you know-mold it to the litter box shape.

doesn't quite fit


once wet, (with the flaps torn off) it was made to fit


because of the 'gap' between the two flaps on the bottom of the box, I cut another piece of cardboard just the right size and inserted it, also wet, in the bottom.  I don't know yet whether this will be dug up by the cats when in use or not.  I will report when it is used.

Final result


As you can see above, one end kind of..buckled, and doesn't fit flush to the box side.  This also might be a problem, as Jennie is an avid side scratcher.  So next time I do it, during the molding step, I will put a stack of other litter boxes in it, to keep the sides pushed back.



  OR, I just realized, I could get one more of the high sided tubs, and use it as the top of the mold. But I'll try the stack of litter boxes I already have first.  No point in buying another box that I really don't need, limited space being what it is in this apartment.

Any other ideas about helping the cardboard mold to form are welcome.

So I will use the formed recycled paper liners in the regular sided boxes and the home made cardboard liners in the large boxes, and my days of back breaking rinsing scraping, scrubbing, drying and airing are over.

PS I've discovered that those pre-formed paper liners can go a whole month without any odor starting. bananamiddlechild  Time will tell, on the home made liners. Plastic boxes start stinking in about 10 days.

PS the savings in amount of litter used (with fewer dump and scrubs), not to mention the bleach, soap and vinegar used to clean and rinse them, I think may even out or even over-compensate for the cost of the liners. Let's see, the liners, if I only have to change them out once a month, will cost $6 a month.

Since, in my old method,  I was going through a jug of litter a week (at $6.99 a jug), and the new method, with only starting new litter once a month, just topping off the boxes when needed,  I am using only a jug every two weeks, yep, there is savings!

Old method:  Litter used = $28 a month, and back breaking work every week.

New method: Litter used = $14 a month, liners =$6 a month. Total monthly cost $20 total monthly savings: $8. (not counting soap, bleach and vinegar use, not to mention hot water)  And no back breaking work. Whoo hoo!

Offline Lola

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Re: Litter box liner experiment
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2013, 11:10:13 PM »
I assume the cardboard doesn't stink, or you wouldn't be doing it.  But I can't figure out why it wouldn't stink.  Doesn't urine soak in right away?

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Offline Middle Child

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Re: Litter box liner experiment
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2013, 11:32:47 PM »
I have a friend who works in a box factory and he told me that most shipping boxes are treated with moisture repellant (it is non-toxic, has to be, because they don't know if the boxes will be used to ship food, when they are made).  My first two tries with cardboard did not start to absorb urine or smell until about the 2 week point.  (The pre-formed paper boxes last much longer that that.) which is still longer than the plastic litter boxes.  I can smell the plastic ones in 10 days, or less.

  BUT I didn't think of this until my cardboard knowledgeable friend mentioned it, soaking the cardboard to shape it would wash off much of (if not all) the moisture repellant treatment. I haven't used that liner yet.  But that would simply mean that I would have to change out the home-made ones more often.  It still will be less work than dumping and scrubbing those boxes every week.  That job has really become brutal to me in the past year or so.  I'm just not as young as I used to be.

If I could find a size of those pre-formed paper boxes to fit the large tote litter boxes, I would find a way to afford them. But I have to keep one tall sided box for the girls who like to stand up and pee against the sides.  They do it only in the high sided box, not the low sided ones, the considerate things!

Offline Lola

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Re: Litter box liner experiment
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2013, 09:29:10 PM »
NOT saying I am right... I know we both have some quirks.   ;D  BUT... I'm thinking I would prefer keeping litter around for two weeks, rather than cardboard. 
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Re: Litter box liner experiment
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2013, 09:41:36 AM »
Well, don't lose sight of what I am trying to do.  It's not about how much litter is used or for how long it is used before it is replaced.  I'm trying to reduce my work load.  Plastic litter boxes start to stink in 10 days.  At least in my house they do.  So I am compelled to dump and scrub weekly.  This is really hard work. Now that I use clumping litter, the crusts that form on the plastic boxes are extremely hard labor to remove, even with a weekly dump and scrub. So now, while the clumping litter reduced the amount of work involved in the scooping part of the chore, it has made the dump and scrub job even harder.

The cardboard is an effort to find an effective liner for the large tote box litter boxes.  The pre-formed paper ones, while smaller than I like, are working fine for the normal sized boxes. They don't absorb moisture at all, and stuff doesn't even stick to the bottom of them for the first three weeks, and there is zero odor from those boxes, even after three weeks. Cardboard, if I could find a method that I was happy with, could be changed out weekly if needed.  Just dump the litter, replace the cardboard, and put the litter back in.  The cardboard (if I don't soak it first) is quite moisture resistant actually, for about one week. 

But I can't find a way to make the cardboard fit in a way that doesn't just make more work.  I mean, there are always gaps or overlaps that litter and pee get stuck into, making even more work.

There doesn't seem to be a litter liner large enough to fit the large tote boxes. I am feeling very discouraged about the large box.  This morning I spent several hours working with cardboard and the litter box trying to figure out away to make an intact cardboard liner. I just can't come up with anything. So it looks like I will be continuing to dump and scrub the large box weekly.  And the plastic just smells so.  WHY doesn't one of these companies make a formed paper liner that fits large boxes?  There is one "jumbo size" made by Nature's miracle but it has odd indents in it that it seems would make them more trouble than they are worth.  I'm not going to pay a fortune for something that isn't perfect, and Nature's Miracle really gouges for their paper liners.

According to their website Kitty's Wonderbox makes a jumbo, but I haven't found it available anywhere.  Plus it is decribed as having a "fresh herbal scent" which causes me to be inclined to NOT use it. I don't like things with scents, and don't know why they would add a scent to it.

Their contact us form doesn't work.  So exasperating. PS the phone number doesn't work either.

Offline Lola

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Re: Litter box liner experiment
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2013, 08:02:20 PM »
Remind me why you use the plastic totes.  The reason I ask is... a change in the kind of litter and/or plastic tote/litter box could eliminate the sticky crusts you are having issues with. 
Also, I wash all the litter boxes, but I do so because I know they are dirty...not because I can smell them.  And I am extremely sensitive to smells. 

Just trying to come up with an easier plan for ya!  :)
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Offline Middle Child

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Re: Litter box liner experiment
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2013, 08:41:44 PM »
I use the large high sided totes for the stand up pee-ers.  Two of my girls like to stand up and pee against the sides of the box. Well, they used to stand up and pee...and the pee went everywhere.  Once I gave them the tall sided boxes, when they want to do the stand up routine, they use the tall sided box.  When they use the other boxes they squat normally.

I love the pre-formed paper liners.  If only they were a little bigger, even for the regular boxes.  And if only I could find one large enough to fit the tote litter box.

I use Cat's pride "natural" clumping litter.  No scent and no dust.  Clumps about as well as any other I would imagine, with the possible exception of Dr Elsey's Precious Cat, but I have no source for that, or I would try it. However I've heard it's dusty?  One of the reasons I love the Cat's Pride Natural is because there is NO dust.

Even constant daily scooping,  with weekly, or bi-weekly dump and scrub, rotation of boxes so each set has a week to 'rest' and replacing boxes once a year, those plastic boxes still stink.  At least, to my mind they do. It's not the litter that smells, it's the box.

Could it be my cleaning methods?  I use bleach and laundry detergent for soaking and scrubbing.  Then after the final rinse I soak them in white vinegar for a little while before one more rinse. Air dry.

Offline Lola

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Re: Litter box liner experiment
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2013, 02:14:44 PM »
I have one female that potties pretty high up on the sides sometimes.  She is what keeps me from buying the metal litter boxes.  The sides are pretty low. 

Noooooooooooooooooo, Precious Cat Litter is not dusty at all.  The non-dust factor was the FIRST thing that sold me on it. 

Your cleaning methods sound prettttty darn thorough.  I was thinking maybe it is the kind of plastic the totes are made of... maybe.   :-\  We have some plastic litter boxes that stink much faster than others.

By the way, I thought of you today... while I was scrubbing out a few litter boxes.   Bumpurr1
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