Helpful Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

This page provides information based on what  we’ve learned from taking care of cats and their owners for over a decade, as well as specifically addressing the most common questions. Our goal is to provide concrete solutions and helpful tips to help you  save money, time and get the most out of your Forever Litter Tray and Just the Crystals.

These tips are reviewed and updated regularly — however if you encounter something and see no solution here, please contact us and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.  If you have any trouble with your tray or litter at all (or if one of these tips doesn’t seem to be working) please contact us.

WE’RE HERE TO HELP!

Forever Litter Trays

RAKE TIPS

If you find you’re getting “stuff” stuck to your rake (or that it may be starting to rust) we suggest a good cleaning (including possibly a ScotchBrite pad or light steel wool). Be careful not to bend any rake tines, as they bend easily. Then spray a light coating of non-stick cooking spray after cleaning. It will help prevent rust, will make the rake more “slippery”, and won’t harm your cat! Re-apply the spray periodically to prevent further rust and keep the rake slippery.

WHAT'S THE PURPOSE OF THAT BARRIER NEAR ONE END OF THE TRAY? NOT WHAT YOU THINK!

Notice that little barrier at the back end of the Forever Litter Tray? Many people think it’s “the poop compartment”.

It’s one of the most common misconceptions about the tray design.  The purpose of that barrier is not to define the poop compartment or waste storage area, but rather to reduce the sliding of the crystal litter as the rake pushes things in that direction under the purple cover. The actual waste storage area is the entire area under the purple cover, although as the time to change the tray gets closer you will definitely tend to see more waste pushed over the barrier.  So don’t be concerned if you don’t see all the poops deposited over the barrier — as long as they are under the purple cover everything is working as it should.

For a more visual illustration please view the Basic Box Maintenance video on the How to Use page).

CONTROLLING ODORS

It’s no mystery that everyone wants to find that magic solution for controlling odors and for getting at the same time getting the longest life from their litter with the least effort. In fact as always the answers are things we already know, and often quite simple:

  • Choice of litter: As with so many other things, quality is important. Cheap crystal litter won’t absorb as well as premium litters and so won’t last as long. A good quality crystal will last much longer and perform better. Scented brands only mask odor for you as a human, but not your cat. They smell a lot better than we do.
  • Rake and Stir: Very important!! This takes minimal effort and reaps huge benefits for you, your cat, and your pocketbook. (See the dedicated “Rake and Stir” section below).
  • Choice of Food: Our cats are no different from us in this regard. Certain foods will produce some horrible smells — but there’s no reason you can’t find a good, healthy food (see “Food Tips” below) that can also help in this regard.
  • Regular box cleaning: This seems like a no-brainer, but many people neglect the box and don’t understand why it stinks. If you use all the above tips and then learn when “it’s time” to change the box, everyone will be happier. Your cat smells a stinky litter box way before our noses detect it. Please also see “Cleaning your Tray” below for more specifics.
  • Baking soda: Many people find sprinkling a light dusting of baking soda in their trays at changing time helps keep odors down.
  • Ventilation: Put the box in a well vented area.  An ideal room is one with a vent fan and a window that you can open to the outdoors.  Fresh air is your friend, especially in allowing your crystal litter to release moisture (see “Moisture and Your Crystal Litter” below for more details). You and your cat will appreciate a well vented litter box area.

CLEANING YOUR TRAY

While the plastic in our trays contains anti-microbial agents, they do need a good cleaning now and then. One of the best (most natural, cat and eco-friendly) ways we’ve found to clean and deodorize trays is by giving the bottom a good soak in a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water. Soak for several hours (or even better overnight if you have a spare tray) and then scrub gently with a scrubbing sponge and it should come squeaky clean and odor free again.

You may experience what appears to be some staining and odor in a particular spot on your tray. This is due to the fact that cats prefer to urinate in the same spot, and is actually not a stain in the plastic but rather a buildup of urine solids on the plastic. This is quite easily removed using the method described above.  Our latest tray design incorporates a newly available formulation of anti-microbial plastic that prevents this happening for most cat owners however if you experience the buildup this easy tip can help give you many years of trouble-free (and odor free) use.

WANT THE BEST RESULTS FROM YOUR CRYSTALS? RAKE AND STIR!

As mentioned in our Basic Box Maintenance video and elsewhere here at the website, choice of litter and some basic maintenance steps can make a huge difference in performance. Using a good quality crystal and doing an occasional “rake and stir” will extend the life of your crystals and reduce odor noticeably. This is a very important point that can make a huge difference in both extending the life of your crystals — so important that it is emphasized on the side panel of every top quality crystal supplier. Stirring them around will allow them to release moisture to the air (not urine, but water vapor) and will generally allow them to then absorb more, smell less.

Extra tip: One of the aspects of the Scoop Free (whether you use one of the many brands of cardboard cartridges or the Forever Litter Tray) is that invariably some “cleaner” crystals will accumulate behind the rake when it’s in the “rest” position — and as most cats urinate in the center of the box the crystals along the sides will be less used. It’s a good idea to manually cycle the box every once in awhile and using you pooper-scooper mix in those fresher crystals, as well as the ones along the sides of the box.

In summary, investing only about 30 seconds per day will result in tremendous improvements and make you, your cat, and your wallet a lot happier.

FOOD TIPS

Cats are family. We love them as much as we love our children, or we have cats instead of children. We shelter them, play with them, talk to them, cuddle them and feed them. But what, exactly, are we feeing them?

When you buy that colorful package of cat food, are you really getting what you think you’re paying for? Or are you being steered in the wrong direction?

If you have questions about the food in your pet’s bowl, you might be inclined to do a little research. We’ve found two great links to help you make some informed choices:

ConsumerAffairs.com

Reviews.com

Just The Crystals

MOISTURE AND YOUR CRYSTAL LITTER

The biggest variable in odor control in cat litter is your choice of crystal litter. Using a premium crystal such as Just the Crystals and doing an occasional “rake and stir” will extend the life of your litter significantly and at the same time reduce odor. This is a very important point that can make a huge difference in both extending the life of your crystals and in reducing odors. Stirring them around will allow them to release moisture to the air (not urine, but water vapor) and will generally allow them to then be able to absorb more liquid and odor.

“Reality vs. advertising”: While crystal litter is very, very good the best way to get the most of it is to do an occasional stir of the litter and and at the same time rake out excess dried feces.  The operative word is “occasional” — maybe once every other day is ideal. It really helps, and is still less trouble and smell than any other litter you have used. Cats tend to always urinate in the same spot, so what we mean by “stir” is to rake up the crystals from this dampest spot and distribute (really mix them in) with the dry crystals. This allows them to release moisture to the air (called “off “gassing) and extends crystal life significantly.

Remember, moisture is the enemy of your crystal cat litter. Placement of your litter box in a dry, well ventilated area will pay huge dividends in getting the most out of it.

A great tip from one of our customers to help you extend crystal life:

“My tip on making the litter last longer: good air circulation. Silica gel absorbs liquid fairly quickly, and releases it as water vapor fairly slowly.

When used as litter, it absorbs urine and desiccates solid waste. Unless the silica gel itself can dry out (by releasing water vapor), it won’t last long at all in a litter box. So, it works better in the summer than in the winter, and better on dry days than rainy ones.

If you can place the litter box where there’s a breeze, the litter will last a lot longer. Or, you can try what I’ve recently done: put a small fan above the box, so that it constantly blows air down onto the litter.

During the winter and spring, the litter has been lasting only 10 days with two cats whereas in the summer it was stretching out to 14 days). With the fan in the spring, the litter was still OK after 15 days.

The litter still needs to be stirred every few days, especially towards the end of its useful life.”

— Chuck

CONTROLLING AND REDUCING DUST

Sadly, dust seems to be a component of just about all cat litters, some worse than others. Clay litter has a particularly bad reputation for dust, and crystal litter isn’t completely immune from producing dust. There are several variables in what causes dust on crystal litter, the two chief ones being the manufacturing process and the other being handling during shipping. Even the top premium brands (Just the Crystals included) if handled roughly will develop a certain amount of dust in the bag. (Just picture all those little crystals being jostled around and grinding against each other during transit).

The time when the dust is most noticeable is when pouring into the litter box or tray. The way you can significantly reduce this is to try the following:

  • Sit the unopened bag in the box or tray
  • Cut off the top and gently lay the bag down
  • Slide the bag away from the litter, instead of pouring it out
  • Gently spread evenly in the tray or box

What you’ll find is that this will most significantly reduce dusting and after the litter is in the tray (and gets one or two “uses”) dust won’t be a problem!

ODOR CONTROL TIPS

FOOD – Beyond doing the suggested regular “rake and stir” the largest single part of controlling odor is what goes into your cat. The right cat food can make a huge difference between a miserably stinky environment and one that’s odor free. Just as in humans, you’ll need to do some experimenting and research to learn what foods work best for your cat (and is the least offensive smelling), however as cats are oblige carnivores, a good rule of thumb is to feed your cat as little grain as possible and as much raw food as you can.

The best all-around resource we’ve found to date is www.catinfo.org — totally worth a browse!

MORE MISCELLANEOUS TIPS

Jim from Hawaii dropped us an email with his solution for a bit more odor control: he sprinkles a light layer of baking soda in the box just before pouring the crystals in. (Thanks Jim)

DISCLAIMER
So that no one is confused or misled, the Forever Litter Tray is not made by or affiliated with Scoop Free or PetSafe in any way, and as such is not condoned by them for obvious reasons. Even though the Forever Tray is a proven, reliable alternative to the disposable cardboard cartridges in all Scoop Free versions (and has been for years now) Scoop Free will not honor their warranty if they learn you are using anything but their product. Rest assured that the Forever Litter Tray is designed to give you many years of trouble-free operation, not to mention huge cost savings as well as helping slow the growth of our ever-increasing land-fill.