Okay, we’re a dog boat, so I don’t have first-hand experience with having a cat on board. Luckily, though, many of The Boat Galley’s readers who have cats send me tips to pass on to other cat boats.
One of the perennial issues with having a cat aboard is the litter box — where to get litter, how much to take if you’ll be in places where it’s hard to get, storing litter without having become a solid clump in the humidity, cats tracking litter all over the boat, and the litter box stink in the heat and humidity of the tropics.
I didn’t have answers for any of questions until Debbie left the following comment on the Cat Aboard post that I wrote (a round up of info):
We have just moved aboard with 2 cats, I used the Tidy Cat Breeze system in our home and now on the boat. It has hard litter pellets (so no dust or litter tracks around the box). It allows the urine to pass through to a absorption pad that is underneath. You can scoop the fecal matter very easily. I add litter pellets as needed only a few times a month. I change the pad once a week or as needed. It really has cut out the litter box smell. I don’t have to worry about litter clumping with the humidity on the boat.
The Breeze system has a special litter box with a grate in the bottom and a urine pad in a drawer under it. As Debbie says, urine passes through the litter and is absorbed into the pad (which, I’m sure, contains odor-blocking materials). I’ve read more “real person” reviews of the system than I care to admit, and the consensus is:
- Breeze takes far less litter than conventional systems — one 3.5 pound bag per cat per month. This makes it easy to figure out how much you’ll need on an extended trip (always take one or two more bags than you think you’ll need) and takes a lot less space to store.
- While you still want to store unused litter in a dry place, it’s not nearly as likely to clump or disintegrate.
- There is a lot less litter to have to dispose of!
- Until you know how often you need to change the pad for your cat(s), allow 1.5 to 2 urine pads per week. In the close quarters and warmer weather that’s typical on a boat, you are likely to change it more often than once a week.
- Most — but not all — people think there is far less smell and mess.
Note that it can take a bit of doing to transition cats to the new system, but Tidy Cats has a great deal of information on their web site on how to do it.
The only real disadvantage that I’ve heard of with the system is if a cat gets diarrhea, it is very messy to clean.
If you’re in a remote location and can’t find the pads, look for puppy pads, adult incontinence pads (the ones called “bed pads” are flat with no elastic) or even baby diapers (cut the elastic off so you can lay them flat). We used all in place of puppy pads when Paz was young and can’t imagine why they wouldn’t work for a cat.