Washing pet dishes isn’t exactly fun, but it’s no big deal compared with cleaning the other container we cat lovers must wash with regularity — the litter box. When sloshing soapy water around in the plastic containers my cats poop in, I’ve often wished I could just chuck the whole thing and start with a fresh pan, but two things stop me: Plastic litter boxes are pricey, and I don’t want to add even more garbage to the landfill.
That second point was somewhat put to rest when a company called Clean Healthy Bowls send me some samples of their disposable, recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable litter boxes and pet bowls.
I’m not typically a single-use product kind of gal, but the “earth friendly” promise of these boxes and bowls piqued my interest. The company says the bowls and boxes are recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable, similar to a lot of take-out containers. The packaging on the bowls states that they’re gluten-free (good if your kitty has an allergy) and the litter box is labelled as nonallergenic and nontoxic (which is a good thing, as my girl Ghost Cat started biting the litter box as soon as I took it out of the shipping box it arrived in).
While Ghosty was busy giving the litter box a taste test, I took a look at the sample bowls the company sent us. According to the Clean Healthy Bowls website, the bowls are made from wheatstraw fiber (the remaining plant material after the wheat grain and chaff have been extracted). Apparently the wheat stalks don’t have the same proteins and allergens as the wheat grain, so the bowls meet the standards for the gluten-free label.
The point of these disposable dishes is to protect your cat from the bacteria that can cling to dirty pet dishes. The Clean Healthy Bowls ring up at $4.43 USD for a pack of 25 (or $45.24 for a pack of 300). That might be reasonable if you have a cat who is eating once or twice a day. Mine eat more frequently, so I fear the cost would add up quickly in my household.
The company says the bowls can be used as liners or alone, so I tested them out as standalone dishes for wet food, kibble, and plain old water. The bowls stood up well, and the water bowl didn’t break down even when we left some water in it overnight.
I noticed the kitties seemed more interested in their water than usual, which is good, because I’m always trying to trick them into drinking more. They seemed to really like the idea of a fresh bowl for every watering. My cats gave the bowls two paws up, but I wasn’t sure they would feel the same about the disposable litter box.
When I first unpacked the disposable litter box (which isn’t yet available through the website, but will be soon) I didn’t think my kitties would use it because it is tiny. My larger kitty, Specter, likes her space in the box, and mostly prefers to use the largest of the four litter boxes in our home. I was skeptical that either of my cats would be able to fit their butts in this little box.
My girl Ghost Cat surprised me though, popping a squat as soon as I put the Clean Healthy Litter Box down. After christening the box with an quick pee, she did return to it a couple more times — which is more than I can say for Specter. My bigger kitty was interested in the box, but has never gone to the bathroom in it because she just doesn’t have room.
The good news is, the company is developing a new, bigger litter box called the Party Box. While my Ghosty was busy peeing and pooping in the tiny single box, I got an email from the folks at Clean Healthy regarding the new box, which is twice the size of the original. I’m thinking a Party Box would be more appropriate for kitties like my Speck, who needs a little more bum room and a little more kick space than the original provides. I understand these will hit the market in about six to eight weeks, and we’ll find out about pricing for the litter boxes then.
Overall, I don’t think these would be products I would be buying on a weekly or monthly basis, although I can certainly see using them in some circumstances. For example, kitties who struggle with acne and allergies to plastic food bowls could certainly benefit from bowls, and both humans and cats could benefit from the litter boxes (which can be used for a week or longer, according to the company). I personally would stock both products when hiring a pet sitter to stay with my kitties; that way the sitter wouldn’t have to worry about scrubbing cat dishes and could just toss the whole litter box instead of mucking about with changing the litter. For day-to-day use, though, I’m not sure I could justify the added expense.
Would you spend money on single-use or disposable cat products? Tell us in the comments.
About the author: Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but Specter the kitten, GhostBuster the Lab and her newest dog, Marshmallow, make her fur family complete. Heather is also a wife, a bad cook and a former TV journalist. Some of her friends have hidden her feed because of an excess of cat pictures. If you don’t mind cat pictures, you can follow her on Twitter; she also posts pet GIFs on Google +