Archive for DIY and Crafts

Pine Pellet Litter and a DIY Litter Box

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Pine (Wood) Pellet Litter and a DIY Litter BoxAs a pet sitter, I see and experience lots of different pet products, from food and treats to toys and even litter. Yes, litter.

I try to go green whenever possible so I prefer biodegradable litter which is available in pine pellets, recycled newspaper pellets, and litter based on corn, wheat, walnut shells and safflower seeds. The litter I personally have been using for almost a year is corn based and you can buy it here. A 9-pound bag easily lasts as long as 30-pounds of clay litter and, in my opinion, controls odor much better.

Biodegradable Litter

  • Comes from a renewable, sustainable source
  • Virtually dust free
  • Weighs about half as much as clumping clay litter
  • Superior odor control
  • No silica dust so healthier for your cat
  • Safe if ingested during grooming

Biodegradable litters can be composted if you are so inclined. I wrote about that, well, actually my cat wrote about that, here. Even if you use biodegradable litter, it still stays in the landfill pretty much forever if you dispose of it in a plastic bag.

Clay Litter

  • Strip-mined
  • Non-renewable
  • Non-biodegradable (it sits in a landfill forever)
  • Heavy
  • Contains silica dust which can cause health problems for your cat when inhaled
  • Dust gets all over everything
  • Doesn’t control odor very well
  • Can build up in your cat’s digestive system

Pine Pellet Litter

Recently, I began caring for some cats who use pine pellet litter. I am always glad when I find a client using biodegradable litter.

While I was cleaning the litter box, I remembered that I had tried pine pellet litter once many years ago and quit using it because it is so hard to scoop. Unlike other types of litter where you scoop out the clumps, the pine litter falls apart as it absorbs liquids. The litter needs to be sifted rather than scooped and this is very time consuming in a traditional litter box.

Special sifting litter boxes are intended to remedy this. These double boxes allow the wet litter to fall through an insert which holds the intact pellets. I tried one of these, too, many years ago and found them somewhat unsatisfactory. Mostly, they were just plain too small and the sides were too low, which is the case with litter boxes in general.

DIY Pine Pellet Litter Box

What actually prompted me to write this post is a pin I saw on Pinterest. The blogger at Meow Lifestyle created her own wood pellet litter box. She used plastic storage boxes, similar to the ones I’ve used for my litter boxes for years, so I really like the project. The boxes are large and the sides are high which gives your cat plenty of room and keeps more litter in the box. Click on the link for complete instructions.

Pine Pellet Litter and a DIY Wood Pellet Litter Box

Photo courtesy Meow Lifestyle

 

What type of litter do you use? If you use biodegradable, do you compost it? If you try this project, let me know how it works for you.

If you are not up for making your own box, here are a few suggestions.

 

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Homemade Grain-free Dog Treats

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I haven’t had dogs of my own for a while now but I have friends and clients who do. Most of them are pretty savvy and try to do the best for their dogs by feeding them healthy food. These grain-free dog treats are a perfect gift for them.

Healathy, homemade, grain-free dog treats in DIY treat jar

At the holidays, I am better at giving gifts to the pets I know than their human caretakers. When I make treats, I want them to be as healthy as possible so, this year, I developed these grain-free treats.

The dough can be a little tricky to work with but all my taste testers unanimously give paws up for the finished product.

Just 5 healthy ingredients: coconut flour, applesauce, nut butter, eggs and coconut oil

Just 5 healthy ingredients and a few supplies is all it takes.

Mixing ingredients

Stir all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl.

Ball of dough

Form the dough into a ball and chill for about 10 minutes.

Patted out dough

I pat the dough out quite a bit before I start rolling

Rolled out dough

Dust with coconut flour and roll out the dough. I do half of it at a time. That usually fills one cookie sheet.

Dough cut with dog bone shaped cutter

Cut out the dough with your favorite shape cutter.

The finished grain-free dog treats on a cookie sheet

Bake until golden brown and thoroughly dry.

Healthy, Grain-Free Dog Treats

Nutty Biscuits

Ingredients

1½ cups coconut flour
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup peanut butter (or any nut butter of your choice)
4 eggsJust 5 healthy ingredients in these grain-free dog treats
½ cup coconut oil

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. Combine all ingredients and form into a ball. Dough will be soft but not sticky.

3. Roll out between parchment or on a silicon mat to about ¼ inch or a less. Thickness will determine baking time.

4. Add a little coconut flour as needed to prevent sticking. Chilling for about 10 minutes will also help prevent sticking. I roll out half at a time and leave the other half in the fridge.

5. Cut in desired shape(s) with cookie cutter(s).

6. If you are lucky, they will stick in the cutter and you can pick them up like that. If not, lift up bottom paper or mat and let cutout fall into your hand one at a time.

7. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silicon mat.

8. Bake 30-45 minutes or until hard. Gently press the center with your finger to test. Adjust your temperature if necessary. Better to cook them long and low rather than over-brown them before they are dry.

9. Turn every 15 minutes or so for even browning. They should be very lightly browned. Dough is still very fragile so turn carefully. I use my hands.

I like to turn off the oven and leave them in until they are completely cool. The drier the treats are, the longer they will keep at room temperature. If they are not completely dry, they should be stored in the refrigerator. Remember, these treats contain no preservatives.

This recipe made about 50 pieces using a 3″ bone cutter plus a dozen 1″ pieces.

Put these yummy, grain-free dog treats in a homemade treat jar and you have a fun gift for a special pet.


This post contains Amazon Associate links which means we will receive a small commission if you click from our site and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!


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DIY Pet Treat Jar — Repurposed Plastic Container

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DIY Pet Treat Jar finishedI try to be green whenever possible. I recycle, compost and try to reuse whatever I can. When I have an especially cool and useful-seeming plastic or glass container, it makes me crazy to put it in the recycle bin. So I have a collection of glass and plastic containers that I try to find ways to reuse. This DIY pet treat jar is a fun way to use them.

I like to give my clients a little something at this time of year and many of my saved containers are perfect for holding healthy, homemade pet treats. If you aren’t into making treats, you can always fill them with store bought treats for the pets in your Flourworld.

This square plastic container is one of my favorites. The ones I have came from Costco with shredded cheese in them. I use them to hold things like partial bags of baking chips, small amounts of flour, etc. They are also a good size for treats for a medium to large dog or cat treats for a multiple cat household.

DIY Pet Treat Jar Instructions

1. Remove the label from the container by running it under hot water for a few minutes then gently pulling it off. If you are going to cover the entire area with another label like in this project, you don’t even need to worry about getting the residual glue off. If you are going to decorate in another manner, you can get the glue off by rubbing it with cooking oil. It may take a little while, but it should all come off. Wash and dry your container.

2. Measure the area for your label. This container’s label is 7½ inches by 3¼ inches. I created a document in Photoshop with those dimensions. I always take a lot of pictures of my clients’ pets so I had plenty of photos to choose from. I laid out the design and added the text. If you are artsy, you can simply draw your design on the label which would probably be even more appreciated by the human recipient. I’m not an artist so I stick with Photoshop!DIY Pet Treat Jar project laid out

3. I printed out a test on regular paper and cut it out to see how the placement worked. I made a few adjustment to the layout and printed on a full sheet of label paper.

4. I used a rotary cutter to cut it out so the edges would be nice and smooth but scissors will work just as well.

5. Carefully place the label and smooth out any air bubbles.DIY Pet Treat Jar lid

6. The lid also has a label that you can leave on if you are going to cover it up or remove as above if you are going to embellish the lid in some other manner. I cut out a circle the size of the lid and used a rubber stamp and embossing powder to decorate it.

7. You can continue embellishing with raffia, ribbon, stickers, tags or whatever else strikes your fancy. A gift tag will be my finishing touch on this DIY pet treat jar once it is full of homemade treats.

Left side of pet treat jar
Right side of pet treat jar

Now I’m off to the kitchen to make those treats. Look for the recipe next time along with a roundup of my favorite treats on the internet.


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