Four years ago, when I first married my wife Lauren, we adopted a beautiful little striped kitty we call Tiger to make our house feel more like a home. I love Tiger, but we've had a whole host of issues with his litter box. We used to keep it in our basement, but it doesn't have windows, and the smell would end up getting trapped and grossing us out. We must have tried 4 or 5 different litter brands, and while some were better than others, none of them really got rid of the smell. We ended up having to put the litter box in our living room next to the TV because the living room has lots of windows and better circulation. But now we've got a whole new host of problems. My wife is especially sensitive to the litter box smell (and I think she doesn't like the idea of what's going on inside it), so when she sees our catwalk into the box, she'll immediately go into the other room. When she made me pause the newest episode of Game of Thrones so she could hide out in the kitchen while Tiger did his business, I knew something had to change.
I started really doing my research online to see if there was a litter option that would fix our smelly cat problems. One that stood out was PrettyLitter, a subscription cat litter that is super lightweight (only 6lbs for a whole month's supply) and uses a unique formula that is supposed to be clump free and odor free. Everything we've tried in the past has claimed to be odor neutralizing, so I wasn't so sure this was any different. But there were a ton of 5-star reviews, so I figured I'd give it a shot.
When our first bag of PrettyLitter was delivered, the first thing I noticed was that it really was super light. I was used to lugging around 30lb bags, so when I picked up the 6lb litter I noticed the difference right away. I put Tiger's litter box back in the basement and hoped this time would be different. One thing that makes PrettyLitter different is that you only have to scoop the poop, stir the litter, and change it once a month, which I liked because it would cut down on mess and dust. I would come down at night to see if any scooping needed to be done, and after a week I noticed no smell at all. I convinced my wife to come check it out for herself, and even she had to admit that this time the odor elimination actually worked. I was just glad to get our Game of Thrones nights back again.
Since then, we've discovered a few more cool things about PrettyLitter that make it unlike any other litter we'd tried in the past. First of all, the subscription is more convenient than you'd think, and I really liked not having to make last minute trips to the pet store or trying to stock up on 6 months worth of litter at a time. Secondly, the formula has color-changing crystals that help you detect health problems in your cat. It gives us a lot of peace of mind because sometimes Tiger will be sleeping more than usual or her pur will sound pained, but we don't know if something's actually wrong. A few months ago, the crystals changed to a blue color, so we took Tiger to the vet the next day. It turned out she had a slight infection and needed antibiotics!
We love our smelly cat, my wife even dressed as Phoebe from FRIENDS last year for Halloween. But PrettyLitter was the only litter we've ever tried that actually eliminated Tiger's smell. Now, we can keep the litter box out of sight in the basement, and snuggle with Tiger without the smell.
UPDATE 06/01/19: PrettyLitter is offering our readers a special June promo! Follow this link and use promo code PRETTY2019 to get 20% off your first order of PrettyLitter today!
From ancient Egyptians worshiping cat gods to 16th-century folk associating cats with evil and witchcraft, myths about our furry four-legged friends have been around for thousands of years. We'll get into some ancient superstitions and fun feline facts below, but the most widely accepted modern myth? That litter boxes have to be gross. PrettyLitter is a super lightweight (like, 4 lbs for a whole month's supply) kitty litter that's odor-neutralizing, anti-dust and anti-clumping, so you only have to change it once a month. It's totally revolutionizing the way people take care of their cats and even has a delivery subscription so you can cut out trips to the pet store. Best of all, PrettyLitter's formula contains crystals that will change color to alert you to potential health problems. So you can rest assured your cat is healthy, or know when to take them to the vet if something's wrong.
While our feline friends have been able to shake off most of the crazy myths surrounding them over the years, here are 4 of the most common myths about cats debunked.
Myth - Black Cats Are Unlucky
Black cats have been the subject of superstitions for centuries, and while in some countries they are considered unlucky, in other parts of the world, the dark-haired felines are said to bring good fortune. In Japan, it is thought to be good luck if a black cat crosses your path, but in much of Europe and the US, the presence of a black cat is considered to mean that bad luck is on its way. If a black cat appears on your doorstep in Scotland, tradition suggests you could be coming into money, while in China, some believe black cats mean that poverty is in your future. Sadly, unwanted and abandoned black cats are notoriously difficult to rehome thanks to superstition, so this is a myth with deep-running consequences for adoption rates.
Myth - Cats Always Land On Their Feet
False! While cats do have what is called a righting reflex, meaning they're able to twist around very quickly in the air when falling, as well as flexible backbones, it is not guaranteed that your kitty will always land on their feet. Cats are agile creatures, but the truth is they can really hurt themselves if they fall the wrong way. Interestingly, a cat has a better chance of walking away injury free if the fall from a height of above 12 feet than a shorter perch, because the longer distance gives them time for their righting reflex to kick in.
Myth - Cats Do Their Business Outside Of The Litter Box If They're Mad At You
Cats don't go to the bathroom outside of the litterbox out of spite! If your kitty is having accidents all over the house, it could be due to the stress of an underlying medical issue. If your cat has a urinary tract infection or another type of bladder irritability, he may start to associate the litter box with pain, and therefore will seek other places to do his business. PrettyLitter can help alert you to potential health issues your kitty might be suffering from. The highly absorbent microgels trap the urine and will change color if they detect abnormalities, allowing you to catch a dangerous and painful health issue before it gets any worse.
Myth - Cats Need Cows' Milk
When we think of our gorgeous four-legged female friends, we naturally associate them with a nice little saucer of milk, right? Turns out, cats actually don't need milk after infancy, and can even develop lactose intolerance in adult life. Cows' milk has little to no nutritional value for a cat, and while there is no problem using milk as a once-in-a-while treat, it can cause an upset stomach for those kitties who aren't used to it.
While your cat might be a legendary Instagram presence, don't believe the urban legends about them. PrettyLitter is busting the myth that litter boxes have to be gross by delivering super lightweight litter right to your door, with an odor eliminating and clump defying formula that eliminates the gross-out factor so you can get back to snapping that perfect Insta of Mister Whisker's cat nap in the sun.
UPDATE 3/26/19: The folks at PrettyLitter are offering a special promotion to our readers! Follow this link and use promo code PRETTY2019 to get 20% off your first order of PrettyLitter today!
The best way to minimize risk is to stay informed.
Modern medicine, especially vaccines, have drastically reduced the likelihood of getting infected by a deadly disease in first world countries.
But new strains, unvaccinated people, and other unforeseen factors can still pose a threat, and when an outbreak does occur, disease can spread like wildfire. This is especially true in third world countries, where access to medicine is lacking. These are just eight recent disease outbreaks you need to know about to keep yourself safe.
1. Yellow Fever - Nigeria
Yellow Fever, named for the yellowing effect it causes on skin, is currently spreading in Nigeria's Edo State. The virus is mainly spread through mosquitoes. This outbreak is unusually large in scale and severity, especially considering it's coming at a time of year when many travelers vacation to Nigeria. The World Health Organization (WHO) is not currently recommending any travel or trade restrictions, but they do implore any potential travelers to get vaccinated against the virus.
2. Ebola Virus - Democratic Republic of the Congo
An ongoing Ebola epidemic has been raging in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with 16 new cases confirmed between December 27, 2018 and January 2, 2019. Ebola is incredibly deadly, causing bloody vomit and internal bleeding, and spreads easily through saliva, bodily fluids, and contact with contaminated surfaces. Since there is no current accredited vaccine for Ebola, travelers are recommended to seek medical advice beforehand.
3. Measles - New York
In 2019, confirmed cases of Measles have hit record highs in New York, at least dating back for a few decades. Measles is the most deadly vaccine-preventable virus, mainly affecting young children and resulting in a red, blotchy skin rash. The virus, which had been mostly irrelevant for decades due to vaccines, has been experiencing a global resurrection propelled by parents not vaccinating their children.
4. Hantavirus Disease - Republic of Panama
Hantavirus disease has been ramping up in the Republic of Panama with 103 confirmed cases during 2018. Infection can progress to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), which is a fatal respiratory disease. The disease is primarily spread through rodents, and early treatment has a high success rate of mitigating lasting effects.
5. Typhoid Fever - Islamic Republic of Pakistan
A drug-resistant outbreak of Typhoid Fever has recently been reported in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Typhoid Fever is a very serious disease that causes high fever, stomach issues, and in rare cases can result in internal bleeding and death. The illness is primarily spread through contaminated food and water, and the WHO notes that this outbreak highlights the importance of public health measures to prevent such spreads.
6. Candida Auris - US
A type of yeast, Candida Auris is a relatively new infection that has proven difficult to combat. In 2018 there were nearly 500 confirmed cases in the US, and the trend seems to be continuing into 2019. Unfortunately the infection is largely drug-resistant, hard to spot, and prone to outbreak within the healthcare community.
7. Influenza - U.S.
This past flu season, over 80,000 people died from influenza, giving 2017-2018 the highest influenza death toll in 40 years. This was partially a result of the flu vaccine not being as successful as in previous years. People are still strongly recommended to continue getting their yearly flu vaccine to prevent future outbreaks of preventable strains.
8. E. Coli - U.S.
In June of 2018, an E. coli outbreak linked to contaminated romaine lettuce killed 5 people in the US. This strain of E. coli produced life-threatening toxins in the body which caused severe diarrhea, amongst other illnesses. 197 people were affected in total, but luckily the outbreak was contained. Yet another outbreak of E.coli linked to California-grown romaine lettuce ended on January 9, 2019, this time infecting 62 people. Unfortunately, E. coli and Salmonella poisoning is a relatively common occurrence now, especially considering how understaffed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently. The ongoing government shutdown has served to further this problem, making safe oversight of food a serious issue right now.
Ultimately, sometimes you can do all the right things and still get infected with a disease or illness. That being said, with access to modern medicine, it's important to take every possible precaution to avoid preventable outcomes. This means making sure you, your family, and your friends are properly vaccinated, as well as avoiding those who are not. It also means doing your research before traveling to prepare for any possible outbreaks. Should you follow those basic rules, your risk of infection will be at a minimum.