Archive for the ‘Cat LItterbox’ Category

Tora The Super Cat

July 13th, 2015

One of a Kind Cats Who Loved Humans, Animals, and Car Rides!

After fighting with a very aggressive cancer for about six weeks, Tora took his last breath while my husband and I were beside him. He was so brave, strong, and courageous, and he never showed any wimpy attitude toward his illness. It was about “living” for him, and not “dying”.


My absolute favorite picture of Tora taken by my friend, Johnny, the cat photographer! Fall 2014

He was able to walk (slowly though) and get wherever he wanted to until the very last week. He has been a very active cat his whole life, so we were so thankful that he had good quality of life right up to a couple of days before his passing. He enjoyed going outside through a cat door, sat on a shelf watching the world go by, and Mikan (his rambunctious sister) literally goes by chasing lizzards, moths, and baby snakes. Even after he partially lost his balance in walking in his last week, he attempted and succeeded to move from where he was to where he wanted to arrive by taking short three steps at a time. He even managed to go upstairs alone to rest up until three days prior. I need to mention this, five hours before he was ready to leave for a cat heaven, he hovered on the floor to get in the litterbox! Although nothing was coming out, he “did” it by lowering his butt briefly. He was such a fastidious and clean kitty. It was so amazing to see his determination and dignity behind these actions!

A mobile vet who offers euthanization had been arranged for Monday, but he completed his life cycle by his own on Sunday. He stayed laying down in his bed as if he was taking an exceptionally long nap. He looked very calm and peaceful.


“Does anyone want to pick me up in the box?” He enjoyed the box-ride daily with a special song along with it.

Tora was my first cat. He taught me so much about cats, inspired me to be the best cat care taker for any cats on earth, having fun with cats in life, and make strong loving connections with cats. His typical day consisted of a regular super-chase with Mikan starting from the backyard through the cat door and the living room up to stairs to the second floor bedrooms, “sharking” walk around the kitchen counter at the feeding time, hide-and-seek play in the kitchen cabinet (he wanted us to call his name to look for him while he’s hiding behind the cabinet door), a couple of daily mutual grooming sessions with Mikan, and at night, a long lap time with Jeffrey, and when we were all ready for bed, he would come up on our bed, flopped down next to my shoulder to tuck me in for the night.


“Give me belly rubs, please!”









“I love sitting in my daddy’s lap while he’s driving. Not to worry, I didn’t attempt to drive.”

He was a very rare cat in that he loved a car ride. When his cat carrier showed up in the living room, he voluntarily went in and waited in there for us to close the door because he knew he would get a fun ride every single time, including a trip to the vet. He was also an official greeter to everybody who came in from the front door. He especially loved the house parties. He would sit down in our conversational circle and enjoyed the company. In fact, our most recent house guest came and stayed for several days before his passing. Despite that I had told her that she might not see Tora much this time since he had difficult time walking, she told us in the next morning that he came to her room to say hello to her by meowing and walking wobbly, let her pet him, and lied down on her computer/electrical cords. He had been always a great host and polite to all the guests over the years. He did his last assignment as a chief cat greeter so beautifully and completely. I am so proud of him.


Tora taught Mikan how to properly play-fight with him, but Tora lost some games… His sister has been grown up!

When Mikan came to our house three years ago as an orphan cat, he LOVED her from the day one – he started licking her as if he was her mother cleaning her. Well, Tora didn’t know Mikan had ringworm (we didn’t know that either!). They were a match made in heaven. They play together, eat together, sleep together, and groom each other for three years! She got lots of lessons from her big brother. I’m sure she has every skills needed by now to take over his role.

We miss terribly not seeing Tora physically because he was always around us, and pretty talkative on top of that, but when I go outside and being open to nature, he comes with the wind – I feel him immediately surrounding my body so gently with love and peace, sometimes, with playfulness.

Tora & Mikan August 2014 together

“Selfie with Mikan and Mom.”


Lots of great memories…










In next blog, I will talk about my learning from taking care of Tora, and share the resources I have used and were very helpful dealing with the challenging time of caring a very sick cat.


“Selfie with Mom and Dad in my favorite car.”



My Litter Choice

August 21st, 2013

I talked about my favorite litterbox in my last blog.  It seems like a natural flow to talk about my choice of litter today.  How many different types/brands of litters do you think there are on the market?  There are more than 30!  No wonder I kept buying the same one over and over because it is so confusing.  On top of that, our finicky kitties do not like changes.

In the past, I used scented clumping litter only once because I couldn’t stand the strong perfume it contained.  I could smell the perfume hours after I scooped the litter.  That was just too much.  Then, I switched to an unscented clumping litter (Tidy Cats) and used it for a long time, but I was always wishing that there was less dust in these litters.  I know I inhale them, so  my cats must be, too.  When other alternatives became available, I tried finely-milled corn litter (World’s Best Cat Litter).  Tora and Mimi had no problem switching to it, and I felt good using eco-friendly, bio-degradable product.  However, when summer arrived, something hatched inside the litter bag and the box.  They were thousands of tiny dark-brown bugs crawling inside the litterrrr!!!  “It was creepy”, my husband said.  It happened again this summer, so that was the end of the corn-litter for us.  We tried pine pellets also.  Tora didn’t like the feeling of the pellets on his paws.  Mikan started playing with it rather than using it as a litterbox, so that was a no-go.

OK, here is my litter choice!!  Dr. Elsie’s Ultra Precious Cat. 

"Dr. Elsey's Ultra Precious Cat Litter"


This litter is a clumping type, unscented, and almost no-dust, and my cats approved.  Also, there is a sister product called, Cat Attract by Dr. Elsie’s brand.  It has been proven by my clients that it works for cats who eliminate outside the litterbox (if it is a litter issue and not territorial or medical issues).

By the way, here is an interesting article about litter types from ASPCA.  It talks about Clay v.s. Clumping.  

Here is my favorite litter mat from 3M/Scotch and it really keeps litter trapped inside the mat, and it is easy to clean.  Check it out here.

As a cat sitter to many cats, I scoop a lot of litterboxes.  It may sound counter-intuitive, but it is so easy to scoop with a small scooper.  It is light-weight, gentle to your wrist, and easy to maneuver corners of the box. 

Most importantly, let’s scoop the litterboxes every day for your beloved kitties!  The litterbox is their precious private space to leave their piece of identity.  Keeping it clean is really makes a difference for them!  They will thank YOU.


Litterbox that Works!

August 9th, 2013


Cats have their own preference as to what type of litterbox they like.  It is a finicky business for cats.  I wish they could talk and tell us what type of litter, litterbox (covered/uncovered), and what shape of the box they prefer.   It seems to be a very personal, sensitive, and even emotional relationship going on between cats and the litterbox. 

In our household, we have used both covered and un-covered (open) litterboxes for our two cats.  Tora seemed to like open litterbox slightly better, but the problem was that he is often a “stand-up pee-er”, so when he stands up peeing, the pee goes over the edge of the open litterbox.  I researched a lot and even took measurements to pet store to check the height of each litterbox.  None was tall enough for Tora’s butt-height.  I decided to go search for covered litterboxes.

It was so difficult to find “the one” which passed all the criteria I was looking for with good quality.  First of all, the bottom of the box has to be completely flat for easy and clean scoops.  Second, litterbox’s top cover part and the bottom part have to be tightly closed when the side clips are down, so that it ensures no leak from between the two loose parts.  A few brands failed my test on the tight closure.  Finally, there has to be an enough space inside the box for a cat to easily turn around and to stand up inside it, and not hitting the head/tip of the ears.

Roomy & Secure!

Well, here it is – this is the litterbox that works! 

It is a Petco brand called, Petco Enclosed Pearl Cat Litter Box “X-large”.  I removed its door for better ventilation and easy access.  It was around $35 when I bought it, but it looks like they have a sale going on right now on their site for $29.99.  I have two of them using inside the house, and one for “stand-by” in the garage. 

Mikan likes to use open-air backyard as her preference of elimination. She uses the litterbox when it rains.  She loves her cat-fenced backyard so much and she is currently enjoying her youthful life by chasing innocent critters in the yard between her bathroom breaks.

"I love a 'nature call' in real nature!"


A Doghouse for A Cat? Why Not?

March 29th, 2012

Cat doghouse being constructed

My two cats can enjoy the backyard whenever they want.  We have a cat door leading to the backyard where there is a cat fence all around our backyard for their safety (keeping them inside the yard).  It is great to see the cats just “being cats” outside.  They love chasing small creatures such as geckos in summer months, just sitting outside under the bush, and snoozing on the chair.

What I didn’t know until my husband put up the cat fence four years ago was that the cats started doing their “business” outside.  By the end of every summer, there were a couple dozen “very green patches” in our backyard.  They help fertilizing the grass – I say, “Thank you, kids!”

The downside of having them use backyard as a giant litterbox is that I cannot keep track of their health status by watching their daily specimens.  So, I decided to put a litterbox again on the back porch.  I placed a high-sided big litterbox without a cover there a few weeks ago.  Both cats now actually use it regularly and I am so happy and excited to see their “products” every morning!

However, there is one problem.  Although our back porch has a roof, rain often hit the litter directly and it gets messy.  It doesn’t seem pleasant to the cats’ precious paws.  Well, I would not go in there if I were a cat!!  The solution – getting a doghouse that is big enough to put the litterbox inside.  For the record, I googled “cathouse”, but there were no hits.

Tora - "I want to hang out in here"

So here it is.  Doesn’t it look cute?  My husband is not quite a handyman, but he is willing to do anything for our kitties.  He is so sweet.  Tora is a curious kitty, and he was the first one to check it out.  We placed the litterbox inside of the doghouse.  In order to have them get used to a doghouse-cat-litterbox, I partially open the roof part of the doghouse, so that the transition would be gradual.

Oh, by the way, I recently switched their litter from clumping type to pine pellets to be eco-friendly and all natural to cats.  I have been using a corn-based clumping litter inside the house, but it gets moldy outside.

Mimi - "What is this thing?"

Maybe I should buy another doghouse for the cats to just hang out in…  Then, I might as well get two doghouses for each cat, so that they don’t get fight over it…  My crazy momma syndrome continues…


February 5th, 2011

SNOOOWWW!!  We had a whopping one inch accumulation of snow this morning in Austin, TX!!  If I remember correctly, last Sunday was a 78F degree day.  All day today, our cats stayed inside and cozily snuggled up with their own favorite blankets – except going to the outside litterbox.  We have another litterbox inside the house, but the both cats still like to use the outside box even in this freezing weather!  Read the rest of this entry »