Our customer Kit asked us this question recently and we thought everyone would like some insight (and a sale!).
The manufacturer says the diffusers typically function well for 6 months and after that they should be replaced. However, we find this is far from typical! Our customers report that most of their Comfort Zone with Feliway diffuser plug-ins are still going after years of continued use. Personally, we have many of the same diffusers we installed over 10 years ago.
You will notice on those older diffusers that residue collects on the white ball shaped portion. This is normal. It’s the oil which has migrated upwards. And it’s easy to clean off – remove the diffuser from the outlet and take a damp Q-tip to remove the oil and the dust which is clinging to it.
If your Feliway refill bottles are running out in 4 weeks time then your diffuser is still working perfectly. If your refill bottles take longer than 4 weeks then it’s time to replace the diffusers.
Bart’s inappropriate elimination ramped up. He is now 16 and hasn’t used a litter box for the past month. I don’t want to put him down for this! He is such a lover boy!
Diane in Minnesota
Sometimes when a cat gets to be Bart’s age the kidneys are starting to shrink and not function as they once had. Shrinking kidneys lead to various stages of renal failure, and it’s time to begin diet changes, and often sub-cutaneous fluids. But what we often aren’t told is that it can lead to behavior changes including avoiding the litter box. So have your vet examine Bart and run some blood work.
A few other medical conditions come into play as well. Arthritis is another big one for many cats as their back legs and lower backs become stiff and sore so that getting in and out of a little box can be painful – when that happens your cat might pee next to the box or on a surface like a bathmat. Or they can enter the box but they don’t squat – the urine flies out their back end and hits the wall or spills over the sides of the box.
The solution for this is easy pie: a box that’s shallower for easy in/out access. Or even better, get a large storage container and cut out an opening that’s low enough for easy entry. The high sides are tall enough to contain urine that might be sprayed out. See below – that’s some of our washable waterproof pads in front of the box opening. This box is from Rubbermaid. Another option is a semi-transparent box such as those from Sterilite – some cats may feel less closed in that way.
(click image to see it larger)
Another factor in renal failure is that cats often lose some or all of their hearing. This can lead to loud caterwauling both in the middle of the night and during the day. When a cat goes deaf their world can shatter and this can affect their behavior and out of panic or not understanding what’s going on with their body the cat could stop using the litter box. But the cat’s sense of smell is still very much intact, one of the many reasons we love Comfort Zone with Feliway so much. It works with your cat’s sense of smell. If your cat is feeling rotten from malfunctioning kidneys (it will feel like a hangover to your cat) or scared from not hearing well, Feliway will be soothing and comforting and allows that the negative behaviors can be corrected. You and your cat will be much happier with the smell of the Feliway pheromone wafting through the house. But don’t be concerned about the smell, only your cat can detect it.
Recently we got an email from a long time favorite customer who wrote to say that shortly after her beloved cat Puck died she went going through his things and found a few Comfort Zone with Feliway refill bottles for her diffuser. She told us that they had expired two years ago and wondered if she gave them to a friend if they would still work. She also asked us if there was any way expired bottles could be harmful.
Very good questions and we love these! The expired diffuser refill bottles will not be harmful. And because she had never taken them out of the box or removed the cap they will still work – but they won’t be as strong. In the name of being thrifty and being generous they’ll be of benefit to her friend’s cats.
To customer B.F., we are so very saddened to hear of your loss of Puck, we know how dear he was to you. We are pleased that his things will help other cats.
We are big on urging people to replace litter boxes annually for two big reasons. No matter how much you scoop and clean, even use Anti Icky Poo cleaner once or twice a month to help with litter odor control they still get stinky after awhile and this can bother the cat. And goodness knows we don’t want to do anything to cause a cat to develop “litter box aversion.” Another plus to replacing boxes annually, we help to ensure a nice neutral smelling home for all who enter it.
But, we also detest land fill and waste. So what to do with those old litter boxes? We posed this question to our Face Book fans and here are the replies. If you have a clever idea, email us and we’ll include it in a future newsletter. Please put “uses for old litter boxes” in the subject line.
Debra: “Use to establish seedlings.”
Tara: “A flower box”
Jody: “My partner uses them to store messy garage stuff”
Sandi: “I knew a man who used one when changing the oil in his car”
Brenda: “I use aluminum roasting pans, cheap. Dump out soiled litter, put pan in the recycling bin”
We wrote about this a few years ago. The other day a customer wrote to say that her cat sprays urine while in the litter box. We decided it was time to resurrect the photo of what we use for litter boxes.
When our cats started getting really old and unable to squat to urinate their pee would fly over the walls of standard pet shop litter boxes. So we bought two plastic storage boxes and cut out an opening (you can cut the opening low for cats with poor mobility as we did here or higher for younger cats). The sides are very high which prevents urine from hitting the floor. And the box’s depth is great, the cat get step inside, easily turn around and get in a good position to do their business.
The high sides are also great for cats who like to dig their way to China and who scatter litter everywhere.
These storage boxes will save your walls, floors, and your sanity!