Steve’s Best Cat Litter
Our dear departed Bus, scornfully staring at a bag of our former litter.
we lived on land in the States, we were well paid and the cat litter
options were many. Our choice was a litter touted to be made from
milled corn, very environmentally friendly. For being a
substance for an animal to poop and pee on, it was ridiculously
expensive, but we felt good about using something so biodegradable and
safe. And anyways, it worked well. We packed the boat with lots of
it before we left.
the Bahamas, we were happy we’d stocked up: it was a rare
store that stocked cat litter, and when it was available it cost a
king’s ransom. Bahamians, as with lots of cultures,
generally allow their animals to roam outside, so to them the idea of
keeping a box of cat poop in one’s home is both ridiculous and
unnecessary. Any boats with ship’s cats planning to
cruise the Bahamas would be wise to bring lots of litter from home.
When our stash
finally ran out, we were in the Dominican Republic. Dominican
cats use a litter box as seldomly as their Bahamian counterparts, and
so litter was not available in town. We brainstormed other
substances we might try to use instead. Shredded newspaper?
No. Newspaper quickly gets damp and gross on a boat. Beach
sand? No. Too messy and critter-filled. We even toyed
with the idea of trying to toilet train Steve. In the end, we did
what anyone with a bizarre problem does these days: we got online
and tried some artfully worded Google searches.
told us to go to an animal feed store. The Dominican Republic
being a highly agrarian country, feed stores are everywhere. In
Luperon, the feed store is important enough to occupy some prime real
estate on the main drag of town. We sauntered in and bought
ourselves ten pounds of baby chick food, leaving the quizzical
shopkeeper to wonder if these crazy gringos were starting a chicken
farm on their boat.
The obliging feed store man weighs out some chick feed.
Back onboard, we
dumped the chicken feed into the litter box, and right away
Steve began the consumer testing process. He emerged looking
relieved and pleased. Verdict: chicken feed, specifically
feed meant for baby chicks, is an excellent cat litter! It
clumps, absorbs odors, doesn’t track all over, and being meant
for food, it’s perfectly biodegradable. We can attest that
fish will even actually eat it when you’re tossing the clumps
overboard, a fact that is both gross and conscience-soothing. It
looks and performs very much like the expensive, corn-based cat litter
we used back in the States, for which we paid about $1.42 per
pound. For our new Dominican cat litter, we paid about
$0.28 per pound. Hooray! Just in case chicken feed
isn’t so easy to find in our other cruising locations, we bought
lots and lots.
possible drawback we can foresee would be the unwanted emergence of
weevils, so we recommend careful inspection before purchase, and using
all the usual anti-weevil tricks. We've stored ours in some old tonic bottles with
plenty of bay leaves. Bang the bottles as you're filling them up
to make the litter settle well and stick the bottles out in the sun to
heat up all afternoon. When you seal them tightly and bring them inside at the end of
the day, the change in temperature as the bottles cool down will create a
slight vacuum. Sounds crazy, we know. But then again,
weevils are evil and we want to make things really hard for them.
"Keep those bugs out of my toilet!"