Less smell, less mess and less to store . . . Tidy Cats Breeze system might be the answer for "cat boats"

Cat Litter on a Boat

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.

Less smell, less mess and less to store . . . Tidy Cats Breeze system might be the answer for "cat boats"

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.

Below is the company’s video describing the system.  You can buy the system at large pet stores and many supermarkets, as well as on Amazon.

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  • Ellen Baird
    Posted at 27 November 2013 Reply

    I think I will try this system out, thanks. Has anyone een successful training their cats to use the toilet?

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 27 November 2013 Reply

      I’ve heard that some people do, but I don’t actually know anyone who has. Great idea, though!

  • Tammy Nielsen Joeright
    Posted at 27 November 2013 Reply

    perfect timing for this post. i was on my way to pet smart today. thanks

  • bette
    Posted at 27 November 2013 Reply

    I live aboard with my feline and the most difficult aspect for the feline – finding litter to her liking that would not absorb moisture. I use clumping litter and purchase in jugs not bags. Much to my surprise the cheap stuff at $2.15 for a 15 lb jug is the best. Feline has her own locker with food, treats, bottled water, first aid kit, new toys, and litter. Most important with the cat is to clean the box often to avoid odor. Pet Smart sells liter box deodorizer, which works well. Don’t laugh – ran out of the deodorizer so used lavender spray to make it smell fresh. Cat blew a gasket turned the litter box over and proudly sat atop looking down the nose at me. The feline, also, has her own ditch bag just in the event it is needed.

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 27 November 2013 Reply

      I can just see the cat telling you what she thinks of the lavender! Pets may not speak English, but they communicate VERY well.

    • Sheila Campbell
      Posted at 13 October 2016 Reply

      We’re cruising with two cats on board Full Monty. We use “World’s Best Litter” for multi-cats. It’s great at odor control, but it does take up space. Haven’t had any issues with it ‘clumping’ in the bag. But this sounds worth checking out. Just not sure how they would respond to a change in litter though. Anyone have experience with this?

      I’m curious about your ditch bag for the cat? And how would you take the cat off the boat. We bought 2 extra ditch bags to hold the cats – can hold up to 15 pounds and float 8 – 10 inches out of the water, with heavy duty tethers. Cats weigh 8 and 9 pounds respectively, so they should be able to not drown in them for a few minutes. We leave them out and they will jump in and sleep in them, so they’re getting used to them. Any other suggestions would be very welcome.

  • steve b
    Posted at 27 November 2013 Reply

    …weve been using one of these for about a year now. It definately smells less than the old cat box did & is easier to clean. We ended up buying 2…one for boat one for house.

  • Suzanne
    Posted at 13 December 2013 Reply

    I bought one on Amazon after reading this post about it. It’s been a little over a week and I think it definitely smells less and is much, much easier to clean. I was so sick of litter being tracked on the cabin sole right at my nav station. The light weight and small bags for the litter were a big selling point, too. The clumping litter is very heavy and takes so much space to store aboard. I had tried other lightweight litters (e.g., corn-based, pine-based) but the cats didn’t like them and the boat smelled awful! It would be nice to follow all the instructions on transitioning the cats from their old litter box to the Breeze system, but I simply didn’t have space to do that aboard. There was some vocal complaining and one “out-of-box incident” but now they seem to have happily adjusted to the change.

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 13 December 2013 Reply

      Thanks for the report and glad to hear that it’s an improvement on several fronts.

  • Georgi Wellington
    Posted at 01 November 2014 Reply

    My cats refused to use it, they went so far as to poop on the floor next to it to show how much they liked it.

  • Jim Gillmore
    Posted at 02 November 2014 Reply

    We have lived in an 18 wheeler and on board. We used feline pine. People could not believe there was a cat aboard. When cat urinates feline pine disintegrates into saw dust which then falls through a grate into a collection bin.
    Tiger loved it as does Jeter our new master at arms.

  • Sue Labate
    Posted at 02 November 2014 Reply

    We use Ultra Pearls in a regular covered litter box… Two cats and NO smell. Absolutely the best litter aboard or at home on land.

  • Cheryl Bular
    Posted at 02 November 2014 Reply

    Absolutely the best cat liter system! Used it for 3 yrs with no transition issue. So much less to store aboard.

  • S/V Dos Libras
    Posted at 02 November 2014 Reply

    We just started using the Breeze about a month ago. Luckily we have ours inside a larger plastic storage bin type box, because the urine has escaped the pads. We have also purchased Safflower seed (eyes on natural alternatives for our Bahamas stay) to use in the Breeze box. They do not absorb liquid and the cats can “bury” better with the seeds. We had to shop around to find seeds that were large enough to stay in the box and not go through the grate. Will let you know how that turns out.

  • Sherie Lynn
    Posted at 02 November 2014 Reply

    Our four cats transitioned to the Breeze fairly easily. We only use the pee pads when on land. During cruising season our box is put inside a rubbermaid tote. We remove the pee pad tray entirely. Urine passes through the pellets into the rubbermaid tote. For awhile we just lifted the litter tray out of the tote and dumped it overboard. Then my husband glued a plastic spigot to the tote so i can just drain it over the head. I’ll try to post a photo.

  • Ted Reshetiloff
    Posted at 02 November 2014 Reply

    Were using this to eliminate the box entirely and have the car use the head just like us. http://www.citikitty.com

  • Sherie Lynn
    Posted at 02 November 2014 Reply

    Here’s a photo of our modified version (in a rubbermaid tote, with pee pad tray removed). I took the clay pellets out for the photo. The spigot makes it easy to drain the urine out. Would have been better to put the spigot on the corner of the tote but my hubby didn’t think of that!
    Modified Breeze System

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 02 November 2014 Reply

      Thanks for sharing — I added it in the comments on the post. Hope that’s okay — if not, let me know and I’ll remove it.

  • S/V Rhode Home
    Posted at 13 July 2015 Reply

    My cat only pees in one place, so to make the pad last longer, after two or three days I turn the tray around and she gets a fresh dry spot to go in.

  • Denali Rose Sailboat
    Posted at 26 April 2016 Reply

    We use this on our boat, and the transition was done gradually.

  • Walt
    Posted at 26 April 2016 Reply

    Going to look into one of these.
    We have had our cat, Mr. Biggs, on our gemini 105Mc a number of times.
    He makes a mess with the cat litter. We have tried all different places, and find it is a mini shop vac exercise every day to collect the litter. Also, we found that we sleep better when we put him on his leash in the main cabin, where he can get to his litter box, food and water and not roam around at night. We have a video of him on our YouTube site. Waltsailing2009. It’s mostly gemini related boat videos.

  • Lynn Duggan
    Posted at 13 October 2016 Reply

    What are the demensions of the box.. HT, li
    Length and width?

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 13 October 2016 Reply

      The Breeze litter box measurements are 20.3″ long, 15.2″ wide, & 11.8″ high.

  • Steven Burke
    Posted at 13 October 2016 Reply

    I actually used this system for around 18 months. It works pretty well. Key is to clean it every day and dont use the pee pads for more than about 4-5 days for one cat. Best price by far was at chewy.com free delivery.

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