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Topic: kitty litter buckets  (Read 6329 times)
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« on: March 19, 2008 09:26:22 AM »

Hi, it's been a couple of years since I posted, but do poke around here regularly, and just wanted to say thanks so much for the inspiration.

My husband and I bought a fixer-upper in Trenton, NJ, and while we're in a pretty good neighborhood, it is still Trenton, and so, it can be a challenge, at times. One of the most heartbreaking issues we've encountered directly is the problem with the stray cats. It's endless here, absolutely endless. We've been here a few years, and have taken in/adopted out/trapped-sterilized-released a large number of cats, and there are days I wonder why the hell I'm doing it, because it seems to never make a freakin' dent in the problem. And I'm not specificallly cat person by nature or by birth, though I do love animals: the cats came to me, perhaps knowing more about me than I knew myself. Anyway, I'd like to say we currently have 5 cats inside, as pets, but it's a lie, or will soon be one. My sister asked us to watch her cat for awhile, last year, and now, he's lived with us longer than he lived with her. So that's 6. And then -- I am not making this up -- a stray kitten we call Garbage Juice walked in my back door last month, and basically demanded a better life. We got her fixed last week, and she's disease- free, and enjoying the good life in my office. We'd love to get her adopted, if you know anyone who's looking for a spirited tortoiseshell kitty, but I suspect she will join my indoor tribe, as she's very curious about my gang outside the office door. And yesterday, we trapped Sophie, one of our more social ferals, and she too (hallelujah) was disease-free, she had a tough time with the spaying, and needs to recuperate comfortably for a few days before we can release her again. So that's, what, 8 cats currently in my house? Sophie will go back outside, here, if we can't find a home for her -- she would make a lovely barn cat/mouser, if you need one. In the meantime, there are at least 8 more cats outside who come to us for food every day, and one by one we try to catch them, fix 'em up, but it seems for every one we catch, another two show up...sigh.

Anyway, you can imagine how much we spend on food and litter and vet bills...it's crazy (though we just found a fantastic agency who will pay for the sterilization and testing and basic vaccines...what a godsend!). We tried, when we were just at 3 cats, to use more environmentally friendly litter -- it's important to me -- but we have a couple picky cats, and I'll be honest, it's expensive tending these sweet monsters, so we look for deals, and often wind up relying on the 30 pound litter buckets. And some of the food manufacturers started selling kitty chow in the same buckets as well. As a result, we have a zillion litter/food buckets. Their recyclability is questionable here in Mercer County, so I've been repurposing them: they make handy garbage pails; they're great in the yard while weeding; they're great for bird seed, fertilizer, etc. And I've been able to give them to neighbors and friends to repurpose as well. But I still have a load of these things, and will likely always have a load of them.

So. I'm crafty, you know? Why have a "Fresh Step" bucket when I can paint it, mosaic it, glue beads to it, and so forth. So, a couple of months ago, I made a fancy-schmancy bucket to match our new bathroom, and got to use up some extra paints and do-dads, which makes me happy, because I have way too many supplies!

Anyway, here's the image:

If you have trouble viewing it here, click here:

If you have some of these cat litter buckets around, I'm sure you can do whatever you'd like to them, but just to give you an idea of what I did, I used a wee bit of dark primer to cover up the litter logo and info; I chose a dark primer because I knew I wanted to paint it a rich golden orange to match the bathroom, and figured I'd wind up using fewer coats of paints with the dark primer (I ultimately went for a distressed look with the paint, though). After priming it, I used my glue gun to "draw" a bunch of swirls and squiggles all over it. When the glue set, I painted it orange with some copper highlights. When the paint dried, I gathered up my little mirror pieces and mosaic gems and used E6000 epoxy to randomly attach them to the bucket. And at the end, I took a yard of bead fringe and wrapped it around the perimeter at the top (I used the E6000 to attach it, but I'm not sure if that was necessary...it holds though!). I was short by about an inch (dammit!!) on the fringe, but used a big pink flower to hide the gap.

I went back and forth on whether or not to paint the inside, and opted, in the end, not to bother, since usually, it has a garbage bag in it anyway.

If you need any of these buckets (they hold approximately 30 pound dry weight, and 5-8 gallons of liquid) and live in the area, I am more than happy to spread the joy. If you happen to be in the market for a kitty, I can help you out there as well. Of all the outdoor, visiting kitties, we have a huge assortment: male, female, fluffy, tabby, gray, orange, black, so there's quite the choice. I try to tell myself when I wonder what's the point, that at least for every single individual we bring in, fix up, get adopted, our efforts mean everything. Hope that doesn't sound pompous...just hoping to bring some attention to this dilemma!

Thanks for reading and best wishes to you! I look forward to your feedback and/or other ideas on what to do with the multitude of buckets.

« Last Edit: March 20, 2008 11:22:23 AM by Ottseetotsee » THIS ROCKS   Logged

the way to create art
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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2008 09:45:00 AM »

You are certainly a cat person! How do you not step on a few when moving about? I love your bucket makeover.  The hot glue makes a great texture and the paint job is great. I'd love to see you sell these. I hope you get a few "takers" for your kitties.
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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2008 10:09:13 AM »

i wish you could let me know the contact info of the "fantastic agency who will pay for the sterilization and testing and basic vaccines", because a friend of mine has a no-kill cat shelter (website under construction) and they could sure use the help.  she has like 100 cats in there right now, and is trying to support the whole place on just her and one other volunteer's efforts and her own salary...

creative criticism always appreciated!
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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2008 10:15:28 AM »

What an inspiring project! I love all of the details on it and I especially love the beaded fringe! Great job!
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2008 10:20:20 AM »


I have a friend with 5 cats who saves the very same buckets, cleans them thoroughly, and uses them to store homemade laundry detergent.  She makes it in big batches, and it lasts her and her husband a long time. 

I know she's given her detergent away as a housewarming gift before too...which would be lovely in your fancy schmancy decorated bucket.

« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2008 10:36:17 AM »

What a great idea.  I have bought that same brand and never thought to decorate the buckets.  I keep my gardening tools in it.

« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2008 10:57:14 AM »

if you need another idea, I'm a girlscout leader and we use them as sit- upons (little campfire seats) you glue a covered cushion to the top and you can keep what ever you need on the inside (smore ingredients, songbooks, ect) It would work for gardening too because they're low to the ground and its more confortable than kneeling. then you can keep your tools in it.
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2008 12:14:23 PM »

Awe I think that its amazing that you're helping out the feral cats!


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« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2008 02:00:28 PM »

flower shops will usually  take the empty buckets for flowers and such.  p.s.  thumbs up to  you and you're HUGE heart for helping all those kitties!

Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.
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« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2008 03:53:40 PM »

PS: these are some really good ideas.  and that decorated bucket is wild...

oh i just had another cat-related idea...

if these buckets are as big as i imagine them to be, i wonder if you could build cat-cubbies.  you know, the things that are like little tree-houses made of carpet, for the cats to hang out in.  you could cut entry holes in them and add floors, and use several of them attached together...  Or maybe just line them with carpet scraps and use them horizontally?

ok maybe this is goofy, and my cat never likes any cat-accessories that i get her anyway, so i probably won't even try it... but i thought it might work for someone...

creative criticism always appreciated!
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