Author Topic: Cheapest cat litter solution!  (Read 16012 times)

Perpetual_Student

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Cheapest cat litter solution!
« on: July 19, 2012, 09:29:27 PM »
So you know Feline Pine litter?

http://www.felinepine.com/

It does a good job.  But for 40 lbs, it's about $31.58 through Amazon, and more in stores.

But LITTLE DID YOU KNOW, Feline Pine has a secret life.  A past it wants to forget.  You can find it serving as stall pellets for horses and other livestock.

Stall pellets! 
Check it out!

http://www.tractorsupply.com/horse-stall-tools/equine-fresh-trade-pine-pellet-stall-bedding-40-lb--2181006?zoneMarketInfo=2-45&reqUrl=%2Fhorse-stall-tools%2Fequine-fresh-trade-pine-pellet-stall-bedding-40-lb--2181006&langId=-1&storeId=10551&storeCity=city%2C+state&catalogId=10001&storeZip=80501&ddkey=http:LocationBasedPricingCmd


Yes, that is right. Feline Pine cat litter is stall bedding marked up about 450%.

If you are lucky enough to live in a rural-ish town like Longmont, where both I and MMM live, you can get this at your local feed store.  If you are not so lucky, try looking around or asking a buddy who may live closer to a feed store.

I use mine with the Breeze litter system and it works like a charm.  Good food makes for dry poos and the litter stays fresh for a long time - you just sift out the sawdust and pick out the poos.  I do NOT buy Breeze refills.  I just dump and rinse the trays after I scoop.

With 4 (!) litterboxes, a 40 lb bag lasts about two months.  So let's see, that's a litter cost of about $84 a year.

How much do you pay for litter? :)

Another Reader

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2012, 09:39:00 PM »
Been doing this one for years.   Several local shelters also use this.  It controls odor and you can scoop solid matter.  As it is "used," it breaks down into sawdust.  At Tractor Supply here, it's about $7 a bag, $6 on sale.  The brand name is Equine Fresh.

Even cheaper are fireplace pellets, which are made out of the same compressed pine shavings.  However, the pellets are composed of larger chips, and I get splinters handling the product.

Perpetual_Student

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2012, 09:46:50 PM »
Yes, I hear you :)

I know I'm not the first one to do this, not by a long shot.  But surely some people have not heard of it...way to go AR!

I do highly recommend the Breeze boxes, though.  They make it very, very easy to clean the litter and get the maximum use from it.

daizy744

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2012, 09:56:20 PM »
Wow! Thanks for the tip! I have 2 cats and spend about $10 every 2 weeks on clumping clay litter. There's a couple of equine/saddlery stores in my area, so I'll see if they carry pine pellets and if so will give them a try.

I read on one of the vendor sites that when you change the litter, you can place the used pellets in your compost, or as a mulch. Do any of you do that?

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2012, 10:11:42 PM »
I've actually been meaning to post this one for a few months now and just keep forgetting to, as we actually switched to compressed oak pellets a while back. Fireplace pellets are fine too so long as there's no propellant included.

The key if you're going to use pine, however, is to ensure that they're fully kiln cured so as there's no phenols from the pine tar left over. Otherwise, the stuff is actually highly toxic to cats and will eventually cause liver failure, respiratory distress, cancer and death. If it smells like pine, don't use it.

Edit: Forgot about cedar and inks from newsprint as being phenol laden and toxic to cats, too. Basically, use hardwood pellets or washable smooth gravel.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 10:19:03 PM by I.P. Daley »
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arebelspy

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2012, 10:19:03 PM »
The litter we buy currently (cheapest one at the grocery store) is $4 for a big bag that lasts ~3 weeks.  Which works out to a per year price of ~$70.

I'm debating if the switch is worth it (driving out of the way to get that litter several times a year versus grabbing it at the grocery store).  Plus our place is pretty small (about 400 sqft.) and I just don't know I'd have room to store it.  Maybe if we lived in a bigger place with a garage.

I'll check it out though.  Thanks for the tip!
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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2012, 10:27:47 PM »
The litter we buy currently (cheapest one at the grocery store) is $4 for a big bag that lasts ~3 weeks.  Which works out to a per year price of ~$70.

I'm debating if the switch is worth it (driving out of the way to get that litter several times a year versus grabbing it at the grocery store).  Plus our place is pretty small (about 400 sqft.) and I just don't know I'd have room to store it.  Maybe if we lived in a bigger place with a garage.

I'll check it out though.  Thanks for the tip!

Nice thing is that between sifting out the wet sawdust and scooping, the stuff lasts near forever with the added bonus of being compostable/biodegradable if you're into that sort of thing. Less to haul off to the dump.
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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2012, 10:38:47 PM »
It was hard enough to get them to use pine.  Some cats don't like it and that can tempt them not to use the box.  I have never seen the oak pellets, but I do recall toxicity issues with pine oil and cats.  I figured since they were only in the box for less than a minute, it was probably ok.  Where do you get oak pellets?


arebelspy

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2012, 10:39:48 PM »

Nice thing is that between sifting out the wet sawdust and scooping, the stuff lasts near forever with the added bonus of being compostable/biodegradable if you're into that sort of thing. Less to haul off to the dump.

If we had a backyard (live in condo), we'd totally compost.
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I.P. Daley

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2012, 11:04:10 PM »
It was hard enough to get them to use pine.  Some cats don't like it and that can tempt them not to use the box.  I have never seen the oak pellets, but I do recall toxicity issues with pine oil and cats.  I figured since they were only in the box for less than a minute, it was probably ok.  Where do you get oak pellets?

We get our oak pellets from the local general, feed and tack store - can't remember the brand off-hand, but the stuff is technically pellet fuel and supposedly propellant free despite the "not for animals" claim on the bag. 40lbs for $6. Unfortunately, fuel pellet brands can be kinda regional, so you'll probably just have to see what's available locally and just contact the manufacturer and ask if they use propellants in their product.

It's been far cheaper and the cat doesn't seem to mind, but the oak dust is actually starting to aggravate my allergies. Ironically, we switched from the clay to the oak to begin with because the cat apparently developed allergies to the zeolite dust. We're now debating possibly just going this route if we can find a place with a yard or a laundry room with utility sink next couple months when we move, because it's not really an apartment friendly system. Worried a bit about odor control, too.
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Perpetual_Student

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2012, 11:23:01 PM »
IPD - the process of heating and extruding the pine litter really cooks out the phenols and volatile oils.  When you bust a bag open, it has a faint, faint pine aroma, but nothing like pine needles or fresh-milled pine wood.  Because the cats are in and out, and the dissolved sawdust filters to the bottom where they are less likely to track it and ingest it, I'm comfortable with it.  Additionally, with all my searching I wasn't able to find any hard evidence for heat-treated pine litter toxicity.  For things like Pine-sol, sure - don't use that shit on your floors! - but not the heat-treated litters.

Sorry to hear about your dust allergies.  Strangely enough, we originally started looking for new and better litters because my fat white atopic cat started getting sores between his pads from the wheat litter we were using.

arebelspy and daizy744 - I wish I could compost it!  I live in a 700sf apartment with no dirt anywhere close.  I have windowboxes :)  The nice thing about the pine is that you can flush it in small amounts, though I generally chuck it.  Little cat turds can be flushed even if they have pellets stuck to them, which isn't true for clay litters.  If I could I'd compost in a heartbeat, though.  The general rule is equal parts green matter and brown matter like sawdust, etc.

Also, for my post I was using the price I found online.  At my local feed store, a 40lb bag goes for more like 5 or 6 dollars.  So that's in the range of 60-72 dollars a year.  And seriously, you cannot beat the odor control if you sift regularly.  I tried about five kinds of litter before I found one that didn't PISS ME OFF every time I opened the front door coming home.  GROSS!




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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2012, 11:25:09 PM »
We're now debating possibly just going this route if
we can find a place with a yard or a laundry room with utility sink next couple months when we move

I like that!

Then I realized... who gets a paper newspaper anymore?!
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I.P. Daley

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2012, 11:40:04 PM »
We're now debating possibly just going this route if
we can find a place with a yard or a laundry room with utility sink next couple months when we move

I like that!

Then I realized... who gets a paper newspaper anymore?!

Cloth towels, my friend. Treat it like a diaper load in the laundry.
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Nephi

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2012, 12:19:15 AM »
I really like the Green pee cat litter system idea. Any idea where I could get some pea gravel? Costco, Walmart? I actually seem to have a never ending supply of free newspaper. Ever since I moved to my current apartment we get newspaper ads in the mail.

Nephi

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2012, 12:27:47 AM »
Also, any suggestions for cheaper cat food? Currently I think I get somewhere between a 40-50 lb bag at Winco for around $25. If we could get our cats to eat the Winco dog food, it would be cheaper. ;)

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2012, 07:32:26 AM »
Costco has cheap, good dog food. I can't seem to find the prices online to know how they compare to Winco, and I haven't been in mine for a few weeks, but their website says they offer cat food too so it's worth looking in to.

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2012, 05:16:42 PM »
Thanks for the tip.

I've been using Feline Pine.

Fortunately, as long as Chairman Meow has access to the outdoors, he prefers not to use the litter box.
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cdttmm

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2012, 07:29:45 PM »
Chairman Meow

ROFLMFAO!!!

My cats now have new nicknames.

Thank you.

mustachecat

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2012, 08:01:14 PM »
Daaaaaaaaamn, this is an amazing tip. I'd never heard of this before. Thanks, PS!

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2012, 09:10:15 PM »
Also, any suggestions for cheaper cat food? Currently I think I get somewhere between a 40-50 lb bag at Winco for around $25. If we could get our cats to eat the Winco dog food, it would be cheaper. ;)

You really don't want to cheap out on cat food - especially dry cat food. Cheap dry cat food has too many carbs and will result in alkaline urine, which can result in expensive urinary issues, especially for the male cats. Combine that with the fact that cats often don't drink enough and often go around slightly dehydrated, which is also bad for the kidneys and urinary health.
Pretty much any cheaper canned food is better than any non-premium dry food due to the water content. Though it's best to avoid canned foods with the fake meat chunklets, which are usually soy or wheat. The pate or flake ones are better. I'm a vet tech so I've seen more than my share of cats with urinary blockages that were on solely dry foods, even sometimes pet store brands.
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Perpetual_Student

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2012, 09:24:24 PM »
Nephi, I agree with Kestra.  To avoid expensive vet bills and give your pets the best life possible, food is not an area you can cheap out on.

Especially if you seek an odor-free life with easy-to-clean litterboxes, I highly recommend commercial homemade diets (http://www.felineinstincts.com/) or a frozen raw diet (http://www.naturesvariety.com/InstinctRaw/).  The diets have sufficient water and offer a more natural balance of nutrients.  You'll notice the difference immediately.  Your cat's coat will become so soft as to almost melt under your hand, and they will start forming the almost odorless, hard, dry poos that are natural for a desert animal (which cats are, by the way - domestic cats evolved from small desert cats).

My only recommendations: don't feed a monodiet if you make your own, or risk creating food allergies in your cat.  I made a chicken diet and several years later, my atopic cat began vomiting constantly and lost weight.  A trip to the nearby Vet Teaching Hospital revealed that he perhaps had IBD or a food allergy.  Switching foods, I soon realized that all poultry caused him to become ill.  Shame really.  Because...

...the frozen raw diets are more "sticky" and can gum onto their teeth, which will cause dental problems down the road.  The raw meat off the bone helps them keep their teeth clean, so maybe a mixture of raw frozen and raw meat and/or raw bones would be best.

Hope you find that helpful!  And mustachecat, you are WELCOME :)

Perpetual_Student

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2012, 09:28:17 PM »
We're now debating possibly just going this route if
we can find a place with a yard or a laundry room with utility sink next couple months when we move

I like that!

Then I realized... who gets a paper newspaper anymore?!

Cloth towels, my friend. Treat it like a diaper load in the laundry.

IPD, I thought about doing that with my Breeze system instead of using their inserts.  Do you personally already do this?  I'd love to hear your experience!

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2012, 12:08:03 AM »
Cloth towels, my friend. Treat it like a diaper load in the laundry.

IPD, I thought about doing that with my Breeze system instead of using their inserts.  Do you personally already do this?  I'd love to hear your experience!

We have yet to do so, as a system like that requires (at least for my own OCD-like Howard Hughes tenancies) a home that has a place other than the bathtub to wash the whole mess, and ideally a washing machine on site for the towels. We have neither, currently, so we're running oak pellets and sifting sawdust. Wish I could tell you more, but it'll probably be a few months before we have the opportunity to give it a go. Logically, it should work though.
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pka222

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2012, 05:18:23 PM »
Fuzz nuts solution is to meow at the door and head outside to take care of his biznass. He and the dog have a working relationship to keep the yard free of other cats and dogs and it seems they are even taking there waste out side as well- I have yet to see any in the yard.  We live next to a plantation so I figure they are fertilizing the crops ...
In the developing world context in which we live the animal food issue is easier to address; dog and cat get leftovers, bones, kitchen scraps and when those are in short supply canned fish.  They eat better and more protein than a lot of people, and probably cost me 40$ a month to feed.

Nephi

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2012, 10:10:13 PM »
Thanks for the recommendation. I didn't know there was anything wrong with dry cat food. I'm now looking into having our cats make the transition to that raw diet you recommended. It looks like it'll be very good for them. :)

arebelspy

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #25 on: July 30, 2012, 08:35:12 AM »
Fortunately, as long as Chairman Meow has access to the outdoors, he prefers not to use the litter box.

I mentioned this name to my wife the other day, and today she asked me where I heard it.  I said, "The MMM forums, why?" and she informed me that the article on Get Rich Slowly today was written by a guy with a cat named Chairman Meow.  I stopped reading it months ago, but she still does.  So I thought "Hey cool, maybe some Bakari Wisdom" so I asked her what it was about.

Then I laughed and laughed.

http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2012/07/30/saving-for-a-big-purchase/

I'd wager lots of monies that Bakari does not have $200 jeans.
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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #26 on: July 30, 2012, 09:22:45 AM »
Well, no, but I have a couple that cost about $180 (after shipping), and "The jeans I had before them cost the same, and I wore them until they got holes in them, and then I got those patched up, and then the patches got holes in them... and I decided to move on."
http://www.dragginjeans.com/category.aspx?categoryID=1
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Perpetual_Student

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #27 on: August 02, 2012, 05:16:53 PM »
Bakari, dragginjeans are awesome.  I just sold my motorcycle and my jeans with them...they were a little off-size, so not worth keeping.

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« Reply #28 on: August 09, 2012, 01:11:21 PM »
Also, any suggestions for cheaper cat food? Currently I think I get somewhere between a 40-50 lb bag at Winco for around $25. If we could get our cats to eat the Winco dog food, it would be cheaper. ;)

Dogs are omnivores (like human and pigs) while cats are strict meat-eater. If you feed your cat dog food, long term, it will kill it. Don't do it. The main thing is about taurine deficiency but there are also problems with the amount of fiber and other vitamins.

Don't feed your dog cat food either, unless it is given as a treat. It is too heavy in calories.


Nephi

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2012, 08:22:26 PM »
As of today I have given up on the green pea cat litter system, and am now using a wooden bedding type litter. They had a huge bag of it at Walmart for less than a regular thing of kitty litter that's less than a third the size. Also, thanks for the suggestions to change cat food. We got  box of cat food cans from Costco and for now it's working well just using one can for the two of them. They meow a lot now since we don't have dry cat food available to them 24/7 but they are hopefully going to be more healthy now.

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #30 on: November 12, 2012, 03:02:23 AM »
Fuzz nuts solution is to meow at the door and head outside to take care of his biznass. He and the dog have a working relationship to keep the yard free of other cats and dogs and it seems they are even taking there waste out side as well- I have yet to see any in the yard.  We live next to a plantation so I figure they are fertilizing the crops ...
In the developing world context in which we live the animal food issue is easier to address; dog and cat get leftovers, bones, kitchen scraps and when those are in short supply canned fish.  They eat better and more protein than a lot of people, and probably cost me 40$ a month to feed.


Agreed on all points. Our kitten buries her waste in our garden by instinct, and is perfectly happy and healthy with human food leftovers.

Btw, we've had several long-lived dogs on the same human leftovers diet, which is why I have a hard time seeing the merits of purchasing separate food items for pets. I mean, what did pets use to eat before the advent of industrial pet food??

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #31 on: November 13, 2012, 07:33:14 AM »
This also works great for small animals like rabbits!  Rabbits can't have cedar litter or use cat litter, so wood pellets are an inexpensive and nice-smelling alterantive for house-rabbits.

kdms

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #32 on: November 14, 2012, 09:33:22 AM »
Btw, we've had several long-lived dogs on the same human leftovers diet, which is why I have a hard time seeing the merits of purchasing separate food items for pets. I mean, what did pets use to eat before the advent of industrial pet food??

Scraps, as you and others have said, or hunted wild game, I would imagine.  We've tried multiple times to introduce raw food to our three cats -- and they just sit there and look at it.  They've got no clue what do with mice, birds and other 'food' when they catch them.  For awhile (for budgetary reasons) we were using the 20lb bag of catfood from Costco...and while it was great for our budget, at $15 a month, we'd be picking up hairballs and other unmentionables every day when we came home, and they'd be eating all the time, trying to get what they needed nutritionally, and the food just wasn't doing it.

They did better on the Blue Buffalo grain-free food, at 35% protein and no by-products, but at $28 per 5lb bag it wasn't sustainable.  We've now moved to a brand called 'Taste of the Wild' that's got 42% protein content, no by-products, and no grain, and they're more active, have healthier coats, and are very rarely having digestive problems with it.  They're also eating a lot less than they used to.  This stuff is $17 per 5lb bag...but it'll now last almost as long as the 20lb bag for an extra $2 and clearly, it's doing better things for them.

If you can feed your pets table scraps, that's great, but if they won't eat it, you've got to feed them something....so might as well get them the stuff that's suited to their individual needs.  :)

Adventine

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #33 on: November 14, 2012, 05:26:31 PM »
Btw, we've had several long-lived dogs on the same human leftovers diet, which is why I have a hard time seeing the merits of purchasing separate food items for pets. I mean, what did pets use to eat before the advent of industrial pet food??

Scraps, as you and others have said, or hunted wild game, I would imagine.  We've tried multiple times to introduce raw food to our three cats -- and they just sit there and look at it.  They've got no clue what do with mice, birds and other 'food' when they catch them.  For awhile (for budgetary reasons) we were using the 20lb bag of catfood from Costco...and while it was great for our budget, at $15 a month, we'd be picking up hairballs and other unmentionables every day when we came home, and they'd be eating all the time, trying to get what they needed nutritionally, and the food just wasn't doing it.

They did better on the Blue Buffalo grain-free food, at 35% protein and no by-products, but at $28 per 5lb bag it wasn't sustainable.  We've now moved to a brand called 'Taste of the Wild' that's got 42% protein content, no by-products, and no grain, and they're more active, have healthier coats, and are very rarely having digestive problems with it.  They're also eating a lot less than they used to.  This stuff is $17 per 5lb bag...but it'll now last almost as long as the 20lb bag for an extra $2 and clearly, it's doing better things for them.

If you can feed your pets table scraps, that's great, but if they won't eat it, you've got to feed them something....so might as well get them the stuff that's suited to their individual needs.  :)

Funny, our pets have the opposite problem. They find Whiskas and Pedigree weird! Haha. I suppose you have to start them young if you want to get them used to a particular diet.

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #34 on: November 15, 2012, 09:04:07 AM »
Whiskas and Pedigree are weird....have you looked at the ingredients?  Bleagh.  (lol)

I suspect you're correct about having to start them young, but we weren't as informed about pet diets then as we are now, so....oh well.  Our oldest was a hunter until he was two (12 now); the other two have been indoors all their lives, so while we were disappointed, we weren't really surprised.  It was actually really funny watching the youngest catch a mouse and then sit there wondering what to do with it, all the while having the tail slapping him upside the side of his head, because he was just holding it.  The oldest eventually took it from him and killed it, but then brought it to me as a gift instead of eating it....

Adventine

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #35 on: November 16, 2012, 08:27:57 AM »
Whiskas and Pedigree are weird....have you looked at the ingredients?  Bleagh.  (lol)

I suspect you're correct about having to start them young, but we weren't as informed about pet diets then as we are now, so....oh well.  Our oldest was a hunter until he was two (12 now); the other two have been indoors all their lives, so while we were disappointed, we weren't really surprised.  It was actually really funny watching the youngest catch a mouse and then sit there wondering what to do with it, all the while having the tail slapping him upside the side of his head, because he was just holding it.  The oldest eventually took it from him and killed it, but then brought it to me as a gift instead of eating it....

Our pets bring us dead cockroaches instead of mice... I don't know whether to feel gratified or grossed out!

skandrae

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Re: Cheapest cat litter solution!
« Reply #36 on: November 16, 2012, 12:47:33 PM »

Our pets bring us dead cockroaches instead of mice... I don't know whether to feel gratified or grossed out!

Mine used to chase cockroaches, but never wanted to do anything with them beyond chasing. Same with spiders.