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Published on April 18th, 2011 | by Ruth

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Hammacher Schlemmer’s Beautiful Litter Box

Where to put a cat lit­ter box has al­ways been a bit of a quandary for us. No mat­ter how you slice it, they are sim­ply not at­trac­tive. Our of­fice cats are al­so a bit finicky about con­di­tions. They want an open­ing that is eas­i­ly ac­ces­si­ble, and vo­cal­ly de­mand dai­ly clean­ing, mak­ing a hid­den away cor­ner un­ten­able. We were thrilled, then, to try out the Cat­box Con­ceal­ing Cab­i­net from Ham­mach­er Schlem­mer. This ma­hogany ve­neer cab­i­net looks like a nice side table, or an en­ter­tain­ment cen­ter (Though our cats would prob­a­bly balk at too much noise di­rect­ly above them.). It looks so nice, in fact, that a few vis­i­tors have been star­tled to see a cat emerg­ing out of a hole in the side. The wood fin­ish is love­ly and smooth, and the front doors open to make lit­ter box cleans­ing sim­ple. It even comes with a stor­age draw­er for sup­plies.

A while back we tried out a lit­ter box at the op­po­site end of the spec­trum.The lit­ter­box robot looked like some­thing from an 80s movie about the fu­ture, while our cat­box cab­i­net looks like some­thing out of a pe­ri­od film set in the british coun­try­side. As much as we like robots, we have to say the wood fin­ish is a bit more at­trac­tive day-to-day. All good things have a price, and this one is fair­ly hefty, at al­most $300. It al­so re­quires a bit of a time in­vest­ment- not too much more than set­ting up IKEA fur­ni­ture (about 1/2 hour), but a few more tools.

The on­ly ma­jor com­plaint (from both us and our fe­line testers) is the smell. The prod­uct web­site men­tions that the cup­board “con­tains odors and the strewn gran­ules that some­times sur­round a box.” This is ab­so­lute­ly cor­rect, and fan­tas­tic when it comes to the nasty grit­ty lit­ter bits that we’ve bat­tled in the past. (Find­ing lit­ter bits on the bot­tom of socks is so icky.) How­ev­er, the smell doesn’t just go away- open­ing the doors to clean out the lit­ter box in­side, the smell hits in an al­most phys­i­cal wave. We’re con­tem­plat­ing try­ing out some in­te­ri­or air fresh­en­ers, or the like. In the mean­while, how­ev­er, we’re hap­py that at least the smell is thor­ough­ly con­tained. If you’re plan­ning on pur­chas­ing the cab­i­net, keep in mind that you’ll need to pro­vide the lit­ter box pan- this is just the at­trac­tive cam­ou­flag­ing hous­ing for it.

We al­so tried out Ham­mach­er Schlem­mer’s Dog Es­cape Pre­ven­ter.Though we are lack­ing in of­fice dogs (the cats hold a strict pol­i­cy on this top­ic), the res­i­dent cats are prac­ticed es­cape artists. The re­tractable vinyl screen mounts to a door frame, then has an ad­di­tion­al latch to put on the edge of the door. It’s ba­si­cal­ly like one of the 70s roll-up win­dow shades, turned side­ways. We were mixed in our feel­ings about it. It does lessen es­capes caused by un­wit­ting vis­i­tors open­ing the door for a bit too long, but it al­so adds an­oth­er step to get­ting in and out the door (un­less you have very long legs and can keep step­ping over some­thing tall enough to block a gold­en re­triev­er). At $70, we don’t think it’s quite worth it- but ap­par­ent­ly oth­ers did, be­cause it is now list­ed as out of stock, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives let us know that it will not be re-stocked.

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About the Author

The ampersand tattoo on her shoulder goes a long way towards explaining Ruth's outlook on life: there's always an "and." With TrulyNet, Ruth enjoys working on social media and writing... and editing... and... Ruth went to the University of Oregon, where she studied music, dance and cognitive psychology (and sleeping very little). While there, she designed classes and taught arts enrichment to talented and gifted grade-school students. After graduation, Ruth spent several years as a Market Analyst at a large law firm in New York. Feeling the pull back to the west coast, Ruth moved to San Francisco and worked for Stanford for a year before deciding to focus on her passion for the arts. Ruth spends more time on Facebook that she cares to admit. When not attached to the computer, working for TrulyNet, or dancing, Ruth rock climbs, knits, swims, obsessively plays Boggle, plays games, plays tennis, cooks, sips beer, wine and whiskey, and travels seeking adventure.



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