Monthly Archives: July 2015

Cement troughs make great litter boxes

With multiple cats, finding anything bigger than the standard size litter box is a problem. So you are stuck with cleaning a lot of boxes!

One day, we were in line at Home Depot and spotted a large – what we thought was a litter box (at Home Depot??) in a customer’s cart.  “Ma’am where did you find the litter box?” we asked. She started laughing and told us which aisle to go to for the “cement trough”!

It never would have occurred to us.  But there they were – a bunch of them — in the cement aisle.  Now, granted, you are not going to find a lot of pretty colors – they come only in basic black.  And there are only two sizes –at least at our Home Depot – medium and large.  But this was good enough for us. We got one of each.

Not only are the sizes of the cement troughs perfect for accommodating multiple cats – about 40 inches by 30 inches for the large and 30 by 24 for the medium —  but how they are made makes them the PERFECT litter box! Instead of being squared off, the sides are curved – to make cement – or in our case, litter — removal easy.  No more corners to have to scrape out!

Another plus was the price. We paid about $12 for the large trough and $7 for the medium one. Scooping just got a lot easier!

cement trough

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Litter box alternative to clumping litter – soft wood pellets

There has been a lot written about the toxicity of clumping cat litters.  Yes, they are convenient – but the risk they pose to pets – and to humans — isn’t worth it.

The clumping agent, sodium bentonite expands when wet so if cats lick their paws and ingest it, it can cause internal obstructions.  Kitty litter dust can lead to human and feline respiratory problems. Quartz silica (sand), an ingredient in most clumping litters, is a known carcinogen.

So it was an easy choice to steer clear from these products. Plus, we were growing tired of the excessive tracking of litter particles all over the house.

Instead – for our multiple cats — we have opted for a natural product called Condensed Soft Wood Pellets by Wayne Davis Quality Bedding.  This product was originally created as bedding for horse stalls. Made in Michigan, it comes in a 40-pound bag that retails for about $6.  We have been unable to find it at any big box pet supplies store, and get ours at an area feed store.  If you call Wayne Davis customer service, they will tell you if and where to find it in your state.  The bag includes their phone of 800-806-0733 and email of mcfitz35@aol.com.

wood pellets close upWhat do we love about this product – besides the price?

  • The fresh wood scent – much better than any of the artificial litter product scents.
  • The absorption – the product turns to a sawdust when wet – so you just scoop out this part and leave the fresh pellets behind.
  • It’s natural – condensed softwood pellets –nothing more, nothing less.
  • The way that the company puts all of their contact information clearly on the bag. They are easy to contact – AND they pick up their phone!

How do the cats feel about  this litter?  We transitioned by placing some of the soft wood pellets on top of the old clay litter we used to use. We did this for about a week – and then switched to all soft wood pellets.    It was an easy transition.  We have found with the soft wood pellets that solid waste is more likely to be deposited on the surface – so we scoop every day.  We like this better knowing that we are keeping the litter box as clean as possible.

wood pellets

5 questions to ask about pet safety at a spay neuter clinic

Magnet - Prevent LitteringWe get asked a lot about low-cost spay and services.  One of the most frequent questions we get has to do with the level of care a pet will get at a low-cost clinic.

Keep in mind that many low-cost clinics are nonprofit organizations and therefore, they are getting grants and donations that help them offset their costs. This is a good thing since it means that they are NOT cutting corners when it comes to your pet’s care – they are just bringing in other forms of “revenue” to supplement their lower service fees.

Still, you want to make sure that the clinic you choose is going to provide your pet with the best care possible. Questions to ask:

  1. Who is doing the surgery?

Find out the name of the veterinarian and number of years of experience he/she has. You might also ask how long the vet has been working at the clinic.

  1. Will your pet be given pain medication before and after the procedure?

There is no reason for your pet to be in pain. Ask about clinic protocols when it comes to giving pain meds.

  1. What protocols are in place for monitoring your pet during the procedure? Monitoring your pet’s vital signs – like heart rate and blood pressure — during the surgery is done to signal any distress while under anesthesia.  Make sure that your pet will be monitored during the procedure.
  1. What does the clinic do to identify any pre-existing conditions that could make surgery risky? Pre-existing conditions such as a heart condition — can cause complications – and even death – during surgery.  Ask the clinic how they identify any pre-existing conditions or health issues that your pet may have.  In many cases, it’s a good idea to have blood work done as well as an echocardiogram before any type of surgery.  Low-cost clinics do not typically offer either of these – so you may want to ask to see if they recommend that your pet be checked first by your regular vet.  Your pet’s age will also be a big factor.
  1. Who should I call if there is a problem after the surgery? Does the clinic provide you with emergency contact information in case there is a problem following the surgery? Can you bring your pet back –and what should you do after regular hours?

Unaltered-pet-pyramid

4 Ways to check out a pet spay/neuter clinic

nooters-low-cost-spay-neuterNOOTERS Club® is an advocate for pet spay and neuter.  You knew that.  But because of the position we take, we are often asked about where to go for affordable pet spay and neuter.  That’s why we created our online directory.  We ask each pet spay/neuter clinic to provide standard information about its services along with contact information.  But it’s up to each pet guardian to decide whether or not a particular clinic is right for his or her pet.

We also get asked, “Where would you go?”  Here in Michigan – it’s an easy answer. (See who I go to here in Michigan in a later blog.)  But it’s more difficult when it comes to clinics with which we have no experience.

How can you tell if a low-cost clinic is reputable? You can ask the standard questions – like, “How long have you been in business??  Or, “How many procedures have you done?”  These answers should tell you something about a clinic’s experience and longevity.  But I would dig a little deeper.

  1. How does the clinic fare in reviews? Search online reviews just as you would for a restaurant or other business. For example, the clinic I work with here in Michigan rates 5 stars in many reviews and close to 5 in others. Good enough for me.  Read reviews carefully. Sometimes even a few negative comments – if they are serious enough – will be cause to go elsewhere.
  1. Are there any complaints filed against the clinic or its veterinarians? This is easy to find out but takes a little digging.  In each state, complaints against veterinary hospitals and veterinarians are filed with a state department of licensing and regulations.  Here in Michigan it’s called the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs at http://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-63294_27647-67393–,00.html.  The name could be slightly different in each state – check on your state’s official website – or call for assistance.  In any case, such a department posts disciplinary actions taken against healthcare institutions and professionals including physicians, nurses, dentists and veterinarians.  Locate these lists on your state’s website and search, by name, for the clinic and its veterinarians.  (Of course, you’ll need to obtain a list of the clinic’s veterinarians in advance.)  If your state’s like mine, you’ll be surprised at the number and nature of medical professional complaints!)
  1. Check out the clinic’s website. Is the website professional looking and does it provide useful information about procedures, preparation, post-surgical care at home, etc.?  If a lot of care and attention went into developing the site, this sends a good message about the clinic.  At the same time, do not trust JUST what you see on the site.
  1. How helpful are they on the phone?  Granted, many low-cost clinics have limited staff and may have a difficult time answering the phone.  For me, what I hear on the phone is a HUGE gauge of how I can except to be treated at the clinic, veterinarian’s office, physician’s office and so forth.  Clinics may be upset with me for suggesting this, but I would give them a call.  Double check hours, protocols for appointments and walk-ins, cost of services and so forth.  How they treat you on the phone will likely be similar to how you are treated in person.

The story behind NOOTERS Club® tank tops

H4NgirlsinshirtsOur tank tops have been a hit among dog and cat lovers from day one.  Certainly they can be mistaken for the tanks worn by the young ladies at the famous chicken wing place.  But when people discover they are really looking at a dog or cat in our design, they get the joke.

HootersforNootersShirt

Well, there IS a reason our tanks look so similar!  A number of years ago, NOOTERS Club® participated in the Happy Paws Pet Expo in Las Vegas.  The expo invited the local Hooters® girls to participate at the event –and they did – by selling raffle tickets and raising money for the Heaven Can Wait Sanctuary of Las Vegas.  The girls were wonderful—and we found out that a lot of them are huge animal lovers.HootersForNootersEventLasVegas

We asked the restaurant’s permission for the girls to wear NOOTERS Club® shirts at the event.  Hooters® said yes, but the shirts must be tank tops—and they must be identical – in style and fabric content — to the ones they wear to work.  We got a sample from Hooters and set out to find the same type of tank tops that we could imprint with the NOOTERS Club® logo.  We were lucky enough to find a supplier with the right combination of 90% cotton and 10% lycra.  So the girls were able to wear our shirts!  We had a great time at the event and raised more than $2,000 for Heaven Can Wait Sanctuary. Tank - Dog PM Tank - Cat PM

white tank topSo that’s the story behind the NOOTERS CLUB® tank tops.  They’re meant to be worn fitted, close to the body.  For ladies who prefer a looser fit, we added a SECOND STYLE OF TANK that’s 100% cotton and PROVIDES A MORE OPEN LOOK (cute with a sports bra underneath!).  Either style is perfect for showing off your NOOTERS® in the summer sun!

For a limited time, these tank tops are on sale for just $15 (regularly $20)! Get them while it’s hot!!

Facts about pet spay and neuter

Did you know…dog spay and neuter

  • Millions of healthy cats, dogs and other pets are euthanized in the U.S. each year.
  • On average, about 65% of animals that end up in shelters are euthanized.
  • Purebred animals account for about 30% or more of homeless pets at shelters.

“Fixed” pets are healthier.

  • They live longer, healthier lives.
  • They have fewer health problems, including some that are serious.
  • Females do not get uterine or ovarian cancer and have fewer occurrences of breast cancer.
  • Males do not get testicular cancer and have fewer occurrences of prostate disease.

“Fixed” pets are more sociable.cat neuter

  • They are more affectionate.
  • They are less likely to spray and mark territory.
  • They do not go into a heat cycle, during which females can cry and attract males.
  • They have fewer behavior and temperament problems.
  • They are less likely to roam, run away or get into fights.

You know what they say about rabbits…

  • Pet rabbits need “fixing” too!
  • Altering rabbits can reduce behaviors such as lunging, mounting, spraying, and boxing.
  • Spaying can prevent ovarian, mammarian and uterine cancers in females.

For more information, visit The Humane Society of the United States website at www.hsus.org and the ASPCA website atwww.aspca.org.

Click here for one of America’s largest directories of low-cost Spay/Neuter directories.