Cats on the cheap

I’d originally thought about calling this blog “My Buy-Nothing Year,” but I knew that title would be disingenuous at best. Yeah, I could commit to not buying any durable goods for a year, and I might even be able to commit to buying no food for a year – there’s always plenty of good bread to be found in bakery dumpsters. But what about cat litter and toilet paper? These things don’t just fall out of the sky. So why commit to buying “nothing” when I really mean I’m buying “very little”?

There’s this thing called The Compact where people can pledge to themselves (and to others) to abstain from buying new items, except for food. You can also come up with a personalized list of exemptions, if you have trouble with the idea of buying used underwear or can’t find a good source for used drywall screws. So I could have signed onto the compact and exempted kitty litter from my pledge.

But as I alluded to in my first post, I don’t need to take a break from buying just new things. I need to take a break from buying and collecting used things, as well. And, given that I’m unemployed, I need to save mucho dinero on the consumables, as well.

Which brings me to my cats. Yesterday I bought a bag of the World’s Best Cat Litter. That’s not my personal opinion (at least not yet); it’s the brand name. The World’s Best Cat Litter is a corn-based flushable, clumping litter that promises all kinds of greatness, from non-smelly litterboxes to happy cats.

I got hooked on flushable litter while employed, but I’d been using Swheat Scoop because it was the cheapest of the flushables. It’s nice not to have to lug out trashbags full of used litter every week, although I suppose doing so was good for my muscles; those things are heavy. Now I only have to lug out one trashbag full each week, from the cat whose still on clay litter (her litterbox is in the basement, far from any bathroom, so what’s the point of using the flushable stuff?); the boy cat’s used litter goes down the toilet.

I’m trying the new brand because I got a rebate coupon that covers the purchase price (minus sales tax). I added a handful to the Swheat Scoop litter box and my cat hasn’t taken any notice of the difference, which is a good sign. I’ll let you know how it goes, and whether the lure of free cat litter turns me into a loyal customer.

The true tightwad victory yesterday was a new cat toy. I was over at my neighbor Haley’s house and she presented me with a cat toy that used to belong to her cat Azi, before Azi had to move into a house where people didn’t have cat allergies. It was the fishing pole kind, with a fake mouse at the end that was actual mouse size – about an inch long.

I brought it home and decided to try it out on boy cat first, although with little hope for a reaction. Boy cat has been depressed for the past six months since his littermate and companion of 6 years died of heart disease. It’s been a hopeless task to get him interested in anything but going outside and rolling around on the sidewalk. (In fact, he is whining to go outside right now as I type.)

But he likes the toy as much as chasing a real. live, squealing mouse. Watch this fascinating video for proof.


Maybe he is on the mend.

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