Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2017-04-28

I Need to Tell You About the Tidy Cats Breeze Litter Box System

I have always been so annoyed with cat litter and have tried SO many kinds over the years. I used Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat for Older cats and the formula for long hair cats for a few months when my beloved boys ALF and Bear were still with me. (I did one box with that and one box of clay litter. They appreciated the variety.)

I really appreciate that I’ve inherited all of my Grandmother’s cat stuff. She had a Persian cat throw pillow!

I tried the newspaper litter. I tried one bag of the “World’s Best” cat litter which I immediately hated because of the smell and it almost clogged my toilet. I pretty much never use the toilet for cat litter but it said it was safe on the bag!

There was the regular clay stuff, the clumping clay stuff and it always ended up with bits of litter everywhere. Oh man, one of my biggest pet peeves is being barefoot and having litter stuck to my feet. My Persian Princes would sometimes get the litter clumps stuck to their paws and then there would be weird clumps on my floor. Cat litter is as insidious as glitter but NOT as cute.

The best I found with ALF and Bear was lightweight cat litter. It was a mix of clay clumping litter and the cedar stuff and was a miracle as far as I was concerned, at that point carless in Brooklyn. I had to buy it at Petsmart on Atlantic Ave and take the bus home, with many pounds of cat litter in my granny cart. Let me tell you, lightweight litter made a huge difference in the schlep and in scooping.

When I was pondering Biscuit Reynolds and waiting for the right moment to bring him into my life, I saw an ad for Tidy Cats Breeze on Petfinder.com. I want to support businesses who support pet rescue organizations and websites. I went down the internet rabbit hole researching it months before we adopted Biscuit Reynolds. I knew the litter system I wanted to try before I even had a cat in mind.

It’s been over six months of cat litter dream life–I do not say this lightly, I LOVE MY CAT LITTER SYSTEM.

Here’s how it works. You have a litter box, but instead of tiny pieces of clay litter, it’s got bigger pellets made of some kind of sustainable material (I can’t find it while writing this article but I remember from my internet rabbit hole that it was plastic and foam). The pellets are about the size of a piece of rabbit food. You don’t use a ton and they last for about a month, with regular refills from your stash.

The pee goes through the tray through small slats into an absorbent pad (puppy pads in a specific shape for the box), which is supposed to be changed once a week or more depending on how many cats you have. Biscuit Reynolds drinks A LOT of water because of his Urinary Tract Diet food, and I still only need to change it once a week. When you forget to change it, you will start to smell it and the tray gets soggy and needs to be drained in the toilet before you toss it and rinsed. When I do it just once a week I don’t need to rinse the tray. I use the plastic sleeve from unsolicited newspapers/advertisements that end up on my doorstep to throw away the pads. They’re the perfect size.

Cat poo hangs out in the top amongst the pellets and you are meant to scoop it daily. I didn’t like the scoop (Biscuit Reynolds gets mushy poos every fourth turd, and it makes the scoop messy) so now I use plastic grocery bags and pick it up like I pick up Macy’s poo when she goes on a walk. Dara hates poo so I have a pledge that I will try to immediately remove poo. Biscuit Reynolds LOVES to immediately poo once I’ve grabbed the last poo.

Since we live in California there’s a law against plastic grocery bags, they cost 10-15 cents and aren’t the cheap disposable kind and are more sturdy. I import them from Dara’s mom in Las Vegas who generously supplies us with a huge stash when we see her.

Other than his smelly mushy poos and when I’ve gone longer than a week without changing the pad, I have never had a smell from the box. It is pleasant, the pellets are easy to throw back into the box and I’m dealing with 90% less litter outside of the box than I ever did before.

I change the whole box of pellets out monthly and give the litter system a full scrub inside and out with all purpose cleaner during that change.

I think the cost compared to what I was paying before in conventional litter (where I would have to scoop pee out constantly, and change the whole box at least weekly) is roughly the same. The pads and the pellets aren’t cheap. I buy it on Amazon 100% of the time and have done a lot of math to figure out cost per pad and cost per pound of pellets. Buying in bulk is the way to go. (Here’s a link to a listing for 10 packs of 4 pads each, which is 40 pads, for $61–which is just over $1.50 per week for the pads.)

A couple of Amazon reviews offer some cheap solutions about cleaning the pellets, but I find that because of mushy poos I have a lot of natural attrition and can’t clean (nor do I really want to do that work). Someone suggested using airsoft pellets for airsoft rifles which are waaaaay cheaper. I might try because they come in fun colors.

Anyway, I am truly obsessed with my Tidy Cats Breeze Litter System and have recommended it to at least 10 friends. Try it out, there’s a money back guarantee. It’s $29 for the first month’s supply of pads and pellets and the box, which is a mighty bargain for a cat box.

I will always disclose when I’ve received compensation for a product review and I am just an honest fan of this litter system. If you try it let me know how it goes for you!

Femme Stoner hotel room party with crafts, snacks and squishy faced muppet pets. Katy’s arm makes an appearance.

As an aside, if you find yourself moving and you have a cat, keep your whole supply of litter accessories with you when you go to the hotel. I kept two weeks worth in the car with me when I moved but I still haven’t found the box that has the Tidy Cats Breeze pads in it so I had to buy more prematurely.

2017-03-13

Introducing Our Rescue Persian Biscuit Reynolds

When I first saw the Harry Potter movie that starred Crookshanks the cat, I became singularly obsessed with getting a squishy faced orange cat like him and the lasagna obsessed Garfield comic from my youth. When it came time to get a cat (in 2007) I was on the hunt for rescues that had a squishy faced orange cat, which in cat speak is known as a “red Persian” or an “exotic short hair” depending on the texture of hair you want to deal with. My second choice cat was a Himalayan, the same kind of cat my friends Becky and Christie had. Himalayans are a cross between a Persian and a Siamese, which I now know to mean extra loud.

Fate stepped in and I got the goldmine. Two cats were available for adoption from a woman whose daughter was allergic to them, they were older boy cats (my fav because boy cats are more snuggly and older cats are more mellow). One was a red Persian and the other was a Himalayan.

A Family portrait I had done by Kelsey Dickey the day before Bear POTSA. They were totally fine with me picking them both up at the same time.

I had eight beautiful years with ALF and Bear and I still miss them a lot. I had a hole in my heart after they left. I learned that cats and dogs provide really specific energy work—apparently purring cats heal via specific vibration. The first time I felt a cat purr was at bookstore a few months after ALF passed and I burst into tears, not out of sadness but more of a release of something pent up.

To say Biscuit Reynolds was planned is an understatement. As soon as I knew we were thinking about moving to LA (we started the “thought process” over a year before we left NYC) I had to suspend my only recently begun search. It wasn’t fair to get a cat knowing that I would have to move him cross country. I also was having no luck finding Persians in NYC rescues and there is a Persian cat rescue here in LA so I figured I’d just hold out til we got here.

Our adoption photo.

Of course, even after we found our house, it was months before we were finally ready to get a cat. Honestly, we still weren’t ready I was just in need of special cat bonding and healing. My friend had just taken her life via suicide and I decided we would just go to the next adoption event Dara was in town for and see if there was a cat we bonded with. She travels a ton for work, and the one time I went to an adoption event without her I didn’t get the cat I applied for, partially because Dara wasn’t with me.

It was the day of the Dolly Parton concert at the Hollywood Bowl, not the most ideal timing to schlep to Santa Monica (it’s 40 minutes without traffic), but I was determined. We got there just as it opened and they were still decorating the crates the cats were in. The abundance of gorgeous Persians was so wonderful and most of them were boys.

Biscuit Reynolds is named for a favorite Southern food, reminiscent of a few folks I’ve lost, and one of Dolly Parton’s leading men with a strong mustache.

You guys, the politics of rescue orgs is really interesting. There was one cat that was already spoken for. After interacting with all of the rest of the cats available for adoption we both really liked this orange and white Persian on the end of the cages. We hung out with him and talked to his foster mom and the rescue owner about adopting him and they were so weird about it. They didn’t like him with a dog simply because they didn’t know how he would interact with a dog. Our dog Macy is the ideal cat companion dog because she defers to cats to set the boundaries. This was not a selling point.

Anyway, we went out to grab a coffee and talk about the cat situation and came back and he was already adopted by someone else. We found out that it was someone who was a friend of the foster mom. I don’t understand why they didn’t just say, “We’re saving him for my friend.” It would have saved us from certain heartbreak about losing that cat!

Macy and Biscuit are on instagram as BiscuitandMacy.

We hung out with a couple other cats, this white Persian who I recognized from the Facebook feed for months who had a lot of special needs. Dara was pretty adamant that my time with ALF and Bear in their last three years—subcutaneous fluids for kidney failure, sundowning, peeing in the hallway—was enough special needs and we needed an easier cat. Plus she wasn’t feeling him.

Enter Biscuit Reynolds. I hadn’t considered him because I misunderstood which cat was spoken for. He looked just like the original cat who went to the friend of the foster mom. He was super snuggly with us and really sweet. The thing I wanted most in a cat was a good snuggler. He was supposedly 4 or 5 years old, had been surrendered by a previous owner who had adopted through the rescue. The owner was a touring musician whose roommate let Biscuit get out and he got lost for a few days.

He was on special urinary crystals preventing diet and he “peed differently than any other cat” the rescue owner had ever seen and I might have to give him a bath once a week. I didn’t see that as a red flag. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time and I didn’t think through the lifestyle requirements of a cat that needs regular bathing, and honestly, most Persian cats need regular bathing and grooming to help with their maintenance.

He is so chill about wearing outfits which is a major plus for me!

Once I had him in our home I realized a lot about Biscuit Reynolds. I could tell he was in a LOT of pain based on the way he was sitting and how he never cleaned himself. If your cat stops cleaning himself, you need to take him to the vet, you’ll notice when they develop an uptick of knots in their fur. I wish I had noticed that about ALF, I would have caught his kidney disease sooner and he wouldn’t have collapsed.

I could also tell there was definitely something wrong with how Biscuit Reynolds pees (if you watch, it comes out in just tiny drips, not a stream). He also pees a lot more than a normal cat because his special food makes him more thirsty. His butt is basically a longhair trap for pee and he walks around with wet “pee butt.” The wet pee butt makes his skin really tender on his hind quarters.

We asked the rescue to pay for a trip to their vet to work on his pain and his pee butt. Cat pain meds for chronic conditions are hard because they have sensitive livers. After a couple of trips and a lot of tests, we know he has a pinched nerve in his back (no idea how he got that). We found out he’s actually 7 and that he was in such bad shape when returned to the rescue from his life outside he needed blood transfusions! Their vet had no idea what to do about his peeing other than to keep him shaved. I was grateful for the help with his pain management and the full testing workup we got but not super satisfied about the pee butt situation.

We finally found a medicine that helps somewhat—Gabapentin, which is usually used to prevent cat seizures in a higher dose. We give it to him along with Vet CBD oil with an oral syringe. This is just simply a way of dosing liquids to a specific measurement and then squirting in his mouth. I can tell he is feeling better because of how he acts, the variety of positions he lays in and that he now grooms himself.

Biscuit Reynolds is basically a small friendly monster. He makes these incredibly loud snorting noises when he grooms himself. He excretes gross stuff on his face from his eyes (standard for Persians), he dunks his whole face into his water so he ends up looking really weird and a little scary until it dries, and he has a pee butt. We try to bring levity into the situation by calling him Mr. Peebuddy (pronounced like Peabody) and giving objects like papers we didn’t put away or the floor a daily Peebuddy nomination.

Monster face. We’ve since started cutting the extra floof off the sides of his face because it gets matted and knotted from the water.

He’s the weirdest cat I’ve ever had. He doesn’t eat anything but his food. No treats and no chicken! What cat ever rejected chicken?? He also doesn’t like catnip and is not motivated by it, which is great for me as I have two blends of Bevin’s Tea with catnip in them, since it is soothing for humans. But hard to get him to want to use a scratching post by putting catnip spray on it.

He is just as snuggly as we hoped but I had forgotten to affirm that I wanted a cat that smelled great and was self cleaning. We now have blankets to provide a safety barrier between us and the cat. I have to mop the living room and bedroom floor all the time, use disinfecting wipes on the couch and recliners (thank goodness for wipeable furniture) and use cute towels or doilies on the other furniture he sleeps on. I make a DIY febreeze with essential oils, vodka and water. We clean soooo much more often, which is probably a net positive given how much I hate cleaning but hate the idea of pee butt more.

Biscuit Reynolds is OBSESSED with outside. Persian cats aren’t great indoor/outdoor cats because they have high maintenance coats. ALF and Bear didn’t give any fucks about going outside and they were very easy. We take Biscuit outside on a harness and leash and let him roam around. I tried walking him with Macy one time and that was not so successful since Biscuit Reynolds doesn’t like to walk in a linear fashion and mostly wants to crouch in the grass and chew on it.

I bought him some grass to eat in the house, he refused it. Outside grass only.

We are now getting him groomed as short as possible with no frilly cat stuff like puffy paws so that he’s easier to keep clean. We keep his water bowls small but numerous so he can’t quite dunk his whole head. Our groomer gave me this spray to help neutralize the pee smell on his hindquarters. We are trying a custom diaper next to see if it keeps him dry and still enables him to poo in the litter box.


Biscuit Reynolds turned out to be a lot more maintenance than we thought. If we knew going into it how much care he would require Dara would have easily talked me out of it. However, since my experience caring for my Grandmother while she POTSA (Passed On To Something Awesome) I am rethinking how I feel about “care.” Caring for her was an incredible bond that I’ll never forget. I am rethinking the care I provide my pets as bonding. I wanted to snuggle with a cat but in my tender care it gives me and Biscuit Reynolds a sweetness that is more intense than just having cats, feeding them and scooping the litter box.

I feel like given how much we tried to not get a special needs cat and still ended up with one, it’s like this special lesbian cat work we were called for. We’ve already given him energy healing with Syd, our healer. I also give him Reiki all the time. And on the docket when our money situation is more abundant, we want to seek out a specialist to do a surgery on his urethra to try to correct how he pees. We also got a message from our healer about seeking out essential oil therapy for him so if anyone knows a healer in the natural/herb arts for pets please let me know! Or if you’ve had a similar situation with a cat let me know!

I know the care intimacy is working because within a month I genuinely felt love for him, and it keeps on growing. I’m also kind of obsessed with him because he’s so weird, so sweet and so handsome.

2012-10-19

New Episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket: Sleep Tea

First of all, if you are a subscriber to the blog on a blog reader, I’m sorry to say the RSS feed was out of commission for a couple of weeks. My friend Bridget is a hero and has fixed it. Thanks Bridget!!

In this episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket I talk about my cat ALF’s near death experience and how this has amped up my anxieties and how I’ve been having trouble sleeping! And so I bought some Sleep Tea from my favorite tea dealer The Herb Shoppe and I do a little experiment about whether it will actually help me sleep.

I didn’t have this list of ingredients while I was filming but I just called the Shoppe and they are so helpful. Here’s what’s in it. You can totally order it from them maybe not on the website but you can call the Portland store and get them to ship it to you. I love local indie businesses!

Sleep Tea: Lavender, rose, chamomile, peppermint, spearmint, hops, valerian and passion flower.

****

I’m excited to welcome a Blog Benefactor who is a pal of mine. Jonah, whose candlemaking I detailed on my Road Trip Recap from the Bay Area, is back in business this Fall making holiday candles.

menorah burning with hand.jpg

In the words of Jonah:

Hanukkah is rapidly approaching, beginning on
25 Kislev/Friday December 8th!

Narrow Bridge Candles is a Jewish Ritual Candlemaking Project in support of the full Palestinian Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).
www.bdsmovement.net
Profits go to support the Stop the JNF Campaign.
www.stopthejnf.org

havdallah burning 2012.jpg

100% Beeswax, hand dipped candles from hives in Oakland and Berkeley, CA. No dyes or perfumes.

Go to www.narrowbridgecandles.org
to order your candles today!
$24-$44 Hanukkah Candles (45)
$16-$32 Shabbat Candles (4 pairs)
$4-$8 Havdallah Candle

Early Ordering Deadline: 17 Cheshvan/Friday November 2 (I’ll put an extra Havdallah candle in your box to thank you for your timely order.) Final Ordering Deadline: 2 Kislev/Friday November 16 (I may take orders after this date but reserve the right to decline based on my capacity!)

dip3.jpg

Support awesome anti-zionist candle making!

Powered by WordPress