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Litter Robot III Open Air: Lets talk about the elephant in the middle of the room. That's right. You know what I'm talking about. The litter box. It's awkward, not very attractive, there is no convenient place for it, and lets face it, it can be smelly! It is easily the most important piece of equipment you will purchase for your cat or kitten. Yet, it is probably the least thought about when first contemplated. When it comes to your fickle feline, the right equipment is imperative. Think about it for a moment. Would you want to use an inferior stinky loo? I thought not! Some of you might be thinking a traditional litter box is fine for me. I completely agree. For many, once you find the right style for you, it's easy peasy, lemon squeezy. But for some of us, manually scooping multiple boxes EVERYDAY (Yes, you read that right. Litter boxes should be cleaned DAILY. AND you should have one litter box for EACH cat PLUS one .) is not only time consuming but impractical. In the D.C. area, it can take two hours to drive around the beltway to get home from work. The last thing some people want to do is clean the litter box! For people who have limited mobility, electric litter boxes are a dream come true. But hey, if you have time or kids to help then this is probably not the article for you. But if you fall into the the earlier category read on! When setting your sites on a new litter box, remember that kittens grow into cats. While they are cute and tiny now, your Siberian will most likely get to be between 12-18 pounds depending on bloodline and gender. A small litter box is just asking for trouble. Kitties also have some peculiar habits. Many like to scratch around before or after they use the facilities. Some tend to scratch hard enough that it seems a litter tornado had touched down in your home. Some kitties like privacy, a few prefer wide open spaces. Oh my goodness! It's enough to make a human guardian go cross eyed! When I first started researching an electric litter box that would last, litter robot's name came up again and again with positive reviews. But the thought of paying $300-$400 for a litter box at the time was enough to cause mild apoplexy. However, having already tried several different types of electric litter boxes that quickly died or couldn't handle the work load, I was determined to find one at a price I could afford. Imagine my surprise to find a lightly used litter robot on craigslist for $100! The kitty gods were smiling on me. (Would that be Bastet?)

After getting this monstrosity home; because lets face it, the litter robot is no small, delicate flower; I wrestled the it into the house. I was pleased to find it was very intuitive and quickly had it set up. I was afraid my cats might not take to it. To prepare for this eventuality, I had purchased "Dr. Elseys Cat Attract". (This is recommended for kittens when you first get them home if they have a problem finding the litter box.)

This turned out not to be necessary for me as the cats took right to it. To help with clean up and odor, I put a layer of baking soda in the bin w/ a slight bit of aquarium charcoal. This is completely optional, but we think it help. Then we put a litter liner in the bin. How often you will need to empty the bin will depend on how many cats you have and what you feed them. (Yes, what you feed your cats makes a difference. Raw food means less waste and less odor!)

It has been many years now since our first Litter Robot. We have tried each model and can honestly recommend them ALL! However, we love the new Open Air the best. The spacious opening, the optional timer, the full indicator just makes this model the perfect fit for out cattery. The kitties love it. And so do we!

Thanks Litter Robot!

Planned breeding is VERY important to us here at Serendipity Siberians. Breeding Queens more often than is prudent, is detrimental to the health of our Queens, the kittens, and the overall quality of these pets. But Siberians are incredibly smart with an uncanny way of getting what they want. Sometimes, things just happen.

For example, we have occasionally awoken in the morning to find the Queens have worked together to spring "Big Daddy" from the Big House so that they can all commune together as a family and experience a night of free love complete with glow light from the turbo chaser and aquarium for mood lighting. Mama Cass croons in the background about California Dreaming as a reminder that Serendipitys family roots are not to far from Berkeley. A laptops plays cat videos on loop from behind the aquarium water in a distorted psychedelic ripple. Inevitably, the catnip stash has been found and remnants litter the beds, the cat tree and various trails through out their den. The advocates of free love are all curled together in a big pile of fur, basking in their excesses. (Which luckily makes it easy to restore order and send "Big Daddy" back to his private digs. As he is carried to lair, a paw comes up over my shoulder with two claws raised in salute to his bohemian babes saying, "Peace and Love my Beauties. Peace and Love."

Undoubtedly, after a night of debauchery such as this, the cattery will be inundated with multiple litters of unplanned kittens in about 9 weeks time.

(Photo courtesy of Annie of

What Now / Bringing your Kitten Home:

You've done your research. You've spent hours trolling the net looking for just the right breed of kitten. You finally decide on a Siberian Forest Kitten. You've looked at so many cat breeders that you can't remember who you talked to and who you didn't. After many weeks or months of searching, you have found the cattery you want to adopt your new baby from. You understand the difference between no allergen and low allergen. You have talked to the breeder and understand their contract, how their cattery works. You understand that reputable breeders use what is called "Planned Breeding" and do not allow their cats to produce whenever they would like. Therefore there is probably a wait list and unfortunately you have to wait awhile for your kitten. THE WAIT BEGINS......

One day you open your e-mail to find it's time to select your kitten from a selection of photos. You have made your selection and sent in the required pet deposit to hold your kitten. About every 1-2 weeks you get an update from Serendipity letting you know the progress of your kitten. As the pick up date approaches you and your family are getting more and more thrilled with the prospect of your knew kitten and bringing them home. And then it hits you; you are bringing a new kitten home. What should you do to prepare? After sending off a slightly frantic e-mail to your favorite Breeder, Serendipity Siberians, you get this timely replay:

Hello New Kitty Guardians!

My name is Yuki-Hime. As a founding queen of Serendipity and a Mother / Grandmother of many many kittens, I have many years of experience with the cattery. Having retired from production duties, I now spend my time supervising my fellow felines, assisting the new mothers to help lighten their load, and overseeing quality control. I often help my mistress at Serendipity Siberians by answering question from the que.

Thank you so much for asking how to prepare for your new kitten. We love to see that our kitty parents care enough to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible once a kitten is placed into it's new home. To ensure this, we have developed a take home process that we hope helps to ease the transition for all kittens, mommies, and new parents. You will also find a few things in your "New Guardian Kitten Kit" to help you on your way.

To sooth stress for ALL involved, we pick one date for all kittens of the same litter to be picked up. We then look at the home locations of all new pet owners and ATTEMPT to find a mutually convenient pick up location for all concerned. (Sorry odd many out. If most are in the NoVa area, we will not be setting the pick up in Annapolis.) Once the location is determined, you will be contacted to set an appointment time to pick up your kitten. Please remember there are multiple kittens being picked up that day, along with allergy visits and behavior modification appointments being made on this same day. Please be courteous to those who are set to come after you and arrive as close to your allotted time as possible.

Before you pick up your kitten have you: purchased a good litter box, litter, food, kitty treats, dedicated food and water dish, cat carrier, entertaining and challenging toys, a cat scratching post, bedding. To help you find what we like, Mistress has a pet store link on the website to help you out. Also,take a look around your home. Think of baby proofing your house for a toddler. Small items can be dangerous. Like rubber bands, cords from mini-blinds, jewelry, balloons, Lilys or Poinsettias are all hazards to be considered. Do you feel comfortable letting a 2 year old run wild? Then you're probably okay.

When it's time for you to picked up Kittenous Superious, you should have received a "New Guardian's Kitten Survival Kit". (Yes, you are a GUARDIAN. It's best you learn this now. If you treat us well, we claim you. You are privileged to be owned by a Siberian.) Inside the kitten kit you will find a small blankie which smells like us. I know, I know, I know. It might look a little manky. Trust me. It just means it has been well loved by us here. DON"t WASH it yet! The blankie now carries the scent of mommy, litter mates and home. The smell is calming to your little rascal. (It has also might have been sprayed with a tiny bit of catnip spray. BONUS!) There is also a little information packet with helpful hints on transitioning food, integrating your kitten, vaccine schedules and general info to help you out.

You will find a sample of the dry chow we use here at the cattery. (Blek!!! ) It's okay we'll eat it. But we are carnivores. Car-Ni-Vors! For you rabbit food eaters, that means we eat MEAT! It is what's best for our digestive system. The closer to raw, the better. You wont be finding no "Meatless Mondays" in this Cattery! (This translates to less waste in the litterbox, lower odor, more luxurious and silky fur. Who doesn't like and appreciate that?) The little mischief makers <cough> Kittenous Superious are use to having raw yummy goodness 2x per day, with free feed high protien kibble left out all day. If you want your wild one to grow up to be big and strong like me, buy the best food possible and skip the carbs. --- Sorry, I get a little touchy about my food. I'm a foodie, sue me. -- Anywhoo-- That sample I mentioned? You can use that to transition to the cat food of your choice. Here is a great link on how to transition: .

Next lets look at how you plan on picking up your furball, I mean bundle of joy. Kittenous Superious might be a wee bit stressed out the day you pick them up. While it sounds like a great idea to hold and cuddle your kitten on your lap for the drive home, we HIGHLY recommend you bring a true blue cat appropriate cat carrier. ( You might be tempted to purchase a cutesy less expensive carrier that is not kitty approved. Keep in mind if there is ANY gap in the closures bigger than a half small plum, your little rascal can probably get their head through it. And if they can get their head through it, they can get their whole body though it.) Have you ever tried to get a terrified kitten out from under a front car seat? Yeah, it's about as fun as it sounds. I watched Mistress do it once. ONCE. The amount of $ she had to put into the swear jar probably paid for one of our trips to Disney World. So take it from me, bring an appropriate carrier.

Once you have Kittenous Superious at home, you might be tempted to let them out to reign supreme over their new kingdom. Kittenous Superious will after all be ruler of this domain in no time flat. Please don't. It's a great big scary world with new sights, new smells and no familiar family. Yes, Mistress and I work overtime making sure the Kittlets are super affectionate and transition well. But sometimes new places can be scary. These little beasties are cuteness personified! The whole family are going to want to hold, cuddle and pet and worship their new sovereign. However it's best to set up a room with a bed, litter box, food and water (Not to close together. Do you want to eat next to your loo???) and introduce new family members one and a time. Take it slow and see how things go. Please do not use the laundry room. This is a dangerous place. Think about it. So many places to get stuck behind, tubes/vents to get caught in, loud noises that are so scary, and most likely small items that are choking hazards. Also, cats AND kittens have been known to climb into dryers AND washers for a quick nap. How undignified.

As always, Peace, Love, and Catnip


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