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Products I Recommend

– from Doug Hines, publisher,

I’m not in it for the money…

Doug’s note: I make no money by promoting the products on this page. I do so because I use the products daily, I believe they are worthwhile, and I want to pass the information along to you – my fellow cat lovers.

Do-It-Yourself Litter Box

If you have a litter box problem maybe Size is the real problem (as it may be in other areas of life). lol Imagine if you had to use a miniature toilet each day!

I think that, for the most part, people choose litter boxes which are way, way, way too small. After all… the cat needs a little room in which to work and not be confined to one little area. Think — The Big Outdoors!

Bottom line (pardon the pun) – Bigger is Better. In my search in real life, and in my search of google, I have not found one litter box manufactured today that is big enough.

Go to one of the big box stores (pardon another pun… I just can’t help it) and get a plastic storage box with HIGH sides and plenty of room inside. Cut a notch out of one side for the cat(s) to jump in and out of. You may have to deal with scooping through a little extra litter each day, but your cats will love you for it! My super-duper litter box is 18″w x 31″L x 13″h.

This box’s high walls are an asset too as sometimes kitties like to ‘shoot’ a little higher than expected. They are also less able to toss litter out onto the floor as they cover their stuff.

Here’s a Litter Box You Can Buy

As in the description above this one… Size Matters. While it’s not as big as the litter box I describe above, this one is better than most.

“Keep your kitty’s litter under control with Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats Advanced High Sided Cat Litter Box. The high walls help to keep the litter contained and exactly where it should be—in the box! The high sides keep your feline friend’s litter from finding its way out, while the non-stick antimicrobial surface reduces litter caking, buildup and makes cleaning fast and simple. Big enough for multiple cats, this spacious litter box is perfect for families with one cat or more!

  • High wall design keeps your kitty’s litter from finding its way out of the box.
  • Non-stick surface eliminates litter caking and buildup and makes cleaning fast, simple, and hassle-free.
  • Antimicrobial coating prevents bacteria from forming inside your cat companions litter box.
  • Large enough for multi-cat households but can also be used by a single furry feline friend.
  • Open litter box design makes spot cleaning easy and is purr-fect for cats who prefer easy access to the litter.”

Available from Chewy, it measures 17.8″w x 22.8″L x 11″h.

The Ultimate Flea Trap

It’s not enough to treat your kitty for fleas. You have to get them out of your living area as well. If you don’t address the flea problem in your place, the fleas will just hop back onto your cat.

I use a product which I think is excellent for ridding your home of fleas. The Ultimate Flea Trap by Victor is a non-poisonous, odorless flea trap that has a flea attracting light and a glue pad for encouraging fleas to stick around (on the pad). It attracts fleas from 30 feet away in every direction. And it really works!

I do, however, have one bit of advice about this flea trap. Place it in an upside down plastic milk crate (the kind with the holes all over it) so that your cats don’t get into it. I have a cat with a bushy tail, and she liked to sit beside the flea trap because of the warmth from the light bulb. You guessed it… twice she got her tail caught on the flea trap’s sticky paper. Putting the milk crate (or some other thing like a wire basket) over the flea trap keeps the cat out but allows the fleas in. Problem solved!

You can find it at Home Depot, Walmart, Amazon

Do-It-Yourself Vertical Scratching Door Mat

One thing is for sure… You are NEVER going to stop your cat(s) from scratching things. That’s the way they are. They stretch, and they scratch.

Want your cat to stop scratching your furniture? Provide an alternative scratching area in a major traffic area of your home. A scratching post is nice, but I have something my cats like far, far better than a post.

Go to your local hardware store and buy a tightly woven, sisal door mat that measures about 2-1/2×3 feet. Attach the mat vertically to a wall or the side of stairs or anything vertical. Attach to the vertical surface using heavy duty staples, and cover the staples with a heavy duty tape so that the critters don’t get their claws caught in the staples.

It is especially good to mount the mat vertically where you can wrap it around a corner. Cat’s really like scratching at the corner.

Anyway… my cats Bubby, Mindy and Grady LOVE IT! They scratch it many times a day, and sometimes they just run along and jump up onto it, hanging there in mid jump. The Vertical Door Mat works far, far better than any scratching post I have ever had.

Solve the problem of your cat(s) scratching your furniture. PROVIDE AN ALTERNATIVE scratching area.

Cozy Products Electric Foot Warming Mat

Well, now you’re going to find out that I am a genuine cat-father nut case. 

I use a heated foot-warming mat for these things:

  • I have one under my cat’s favorite padded mats sitting on their window shelf. My cats sit there in warm comfort and look out the window at the falling snow.
  • I also have a mat adjacent to my cats’ food bowls so they don’t have to stand on the cold floor in the winter time. My cats aren’t spoiled very much are they?


THIS IS IMPORTANT… the low heating level on the mat is still too hot to do the job correctly. Go to Home Depot or Lowes and buy an in-line rheostat (a corded dimmer switch). It’s rated to handle the voltage/amps. It’s actual purpose is to plug in a table lamp. Anyway… with the rheostat you can LOWER the heat to a minimum and still keep the cat food warm.

Two Sizes: 36.5″L x 16″W at Amazon    21″L x 14″W at Amazon

Tractive GPS For Cats and Dogs

I have the Tractive GPS with Real-Time LIVE Tracking. 

This s a little bigger collar unit than I would like, but it’s the best I could find. I’ve been using it on my cat Bubby for three years.

One thing does annoy me however. There are a lot of false notifications that my cat has left the safe area. Sometimes I will get notified that Bubby is miles away when he is, in fact, sitting right beside me. The problem may be with my local area. I don’t know, and the Tractive people really haven’t given me a satisfactory answer. Now having said that, I will tell you that the Tractive gps has literally saved my cat several times. 

Once I got a notification alert, and I checked my computer (you can get notifications on your phone also) and I found that Bubby was heading up a local highway at about 40 miles-per-hour. He had obviously either been taken by somebody, or he had hopped in the back of someone’s pickup and was heading northbound. I immediately got in my car and went after him. About 5 miles up the road he suddenly started wandering in nearby woods. Either they had let him out of their vehicle or Bub had jumped back out himself. I got him back home again thanks to the Tractive gps.

Another time Bub walked about a mile away into a farmer’s corn field, where the corn stalks were standing tall. The notification alert went off, and I went after him. I had lost a lot of weight at the time, and my pants and belt were loose. When I finally caught up to Bubby, I grabbed him to return home. On the walk back through the corn rows, while struggling to hold onto Bubby, my pants fell down! LOL LOL LOL True story.

Anyway… I think the Tractive gps is a valuable part of keeping my cat safe.

Go to the Tractive website here.

The Perfect Cat Dishes

After searching the internet, and after purchasing several cat food dishes which turned out to be unacceptable, I have found the ideal cat food dishes at Target.

I was very definite in my specification requirements for a cat dish. My dish had to be what is commonly called, a ‘whisker relief’ dish. Shallow ‘whisker relief’ dishes eliminate the painful condition caused when a cat is forced to pull back his or her whiskers for an extended period of time while trying to keep them from contacting the bowl’s edges. So I was clear I didn’t want a dish with deep sides. That eliminated ‘bowls’ for the same reason. Bowls are usually too deep for ‘whisker relief.’

I also knew I didn’t want a dish, even if described as a ‘whisker relief’ dish, that was little more than a concave surface. In other words, I wanted a shallow dish which did have slight edges to it. Cats often push their food off the sides of a  traditional ‘whisker relief’ dish which has no edges.

Sold in various sizes, a company called Threshold makes white, porcelain, rectangular and square ‘serving platters.’ These dishes have a slightly raised rim to keep the cat food in place. They are both dishwasher and microwave safe, and because they are porcelain, they don’t have the microscopic pores or tiny surface openings one might find in plastic. An additional benefit of porcelain is that it is heavy enough that a cat can’t easily move it about while dining.

There are different sizes available (depending on the size of your cat(s) – lol) online at the Target website:

  • The 15.2″ x 9.6″ platter is here.
  • The 8″ square salad plate is here.
  • The 6.5″ x 12″ here is good for two cats, side-by-side (product code: 92000 11045)
  • other sizes available

Avid Armor Ultra Series USV32 Chamber Vacuum Sealer System

There are two types of vacuum sealers – channel (the FoodSaver type machines}, and chamber.

I spent an entire week comparing and reading reviews about the two types. So which, in my opinion, is best? Which one did I finally purchase? Read on.

Consider what I have to say here, but, before you buy, also do your own in-depth comparison of the various products on the market. If you only do occasional sealing of dinner leftovers, then you may settle for a less expensive, channel type vacuum sealer. If, however, you expect your vacuum sealer to perform well under almost continual, constant use, a chamber sealer is the way to go. I prep for feeding my cats raw meat, so my chamber machine is in use multiple times daily.

Do They Suck?

  • Many of the channel type vacuum sealers do not remove all of the air from the bags leaving the possibility of freezer burn. The chamber vacs remove all of the air. Enough said.

Do They Seal?

  • Most of the channel type sealers produce automatic seals, i.e. the user cannot adjust the seal time. Having the ability to adjust the seal time is important because a successful seal may vary proportionate to the plastic bag mil thickness. You can set the ‘seal time’ on a chamber machine.
  • Some of the less expensive channel type sealers only produce one seal line across the bag resulting in a greater possibility of seal failure. Other machines produce two seals, which are obviously more secure.


  • I found that most channel type vacuum sealers got horrible reviews. Channel sealers frequently broke down and needed replacing. They might be good for sealing leftovers from dinner, but they sure couldn’t handle the repetitive task of preparing cats’ meals over and over again.
  • The chamber machine I chose got ZERO negative reviews. That fact was loud and clear to me.


  • You could buy 4 or 5 of the channel machines for what you would pay for a chamber sealer. It is not unheard of that commercial, industrial, chamber sealers can cost up to $7,500 US. You can get one for home use for far less money.
  • At first I said to myself, I’ll pay the lower price, buy a channel sealer, and just replace the machine as needed. Then I thought… who wants to go through the hassle of a poorly built machine breaking down right in the middle of processing cat food? Who wants to endure the hassle of the warranty/service repair process? Who wants to deal with replacing the machine multiple times?
  • I opted to pay more money now and (hopefully) get a machine that will last (almost) forever.


I chose the Avid Armor Ultra Series USV32 Chamber Vacuum Sealer System.

The Avid Armor costs $599, and it is available from only two sources – both for the same price. You can either order it direct from the manufacturer, or you can order it through Amazon. You can find links below.

I’m not going to list or discuss the machine’s features here. You can find out about it on the linked websites. I especially urge you to read the product reviews on Amazon, and take a look at the video reviews on YouTube.

I am completely satisfied with the Avid Armor’s performance. While I do enough sealing that I would wear out a less expensive machine, I don’t need a sealer that would be under constant use such as in a restaurant or food manufacturing setting. Although a stretch for me financially, the Avid Armor is toward the lower end of the price continuum for chamber vacuum sealers. It’s best for me.

It has a small countertop footprint, and it’s even more quiet than the FoodSaver type sealers I’ve had in the past.

  • You can find video reviews of the Avid Armor Vacuum Sealer USV32 on YouTube here.
  • You can find it on Amazon here, and
  • you can find it on the manufacturer’s website here.

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