How To: Care For a Newborn Kitten

 

Caring for a newborn baby kitten

Warning: 5 start cuteness rating

 

Video Transcript:

Hey, Amy here from Clean Litter Club. It is kitten season right now, the time of year when kittens are left abandoned on the side of the road or left with their mama and you might find a kitten or a batch of kittens that you might not know how to take care of. So our local San Antonio Animal Defense League takes volunteers to foster baby kittens like this and we have volunteered to foster this year. So I wanted to make this video to show you what goes into taking care of a baby kitty like this. Ours name is Vincent and he is 2 weeks old, we’ve had him for a week which makes him 3 weeks old now, but he’s pretty easy to take care of. We have 3 cats of our own so the biggest thing is just making sure that our other cats aren’t stressed. So we don’t bring the kitten around our other cats we keep him separated completely. We feed him every 3 hours, we make sure that he sleeps on a warm heating pad with some towels on top, and we just bottle feed him and we also stimulate him to go to the bathroom after feeding. He sleeps through the night so we don’t have to feed him every 3 hours throughout the night so that’s also good to know. Hopefully this video where I’m showing you these tips will help you if you happen to encounter a baby kitten that needs to be taken care of.

Some things that you might need when taking care of a newborn kitten are right here. We have first the formula, KMR. This is what makes the bottle of milk. And what we do is we take two of the small scoops of this and we mix it in this little container. You could really use a cup or anything that works for you. We put two scoops and then we fill it up with water to about here and then just shake it up. You want the water to be room temperature so that its safe for the baby. A good way to check that is to put a little dot on your wrist and make sure that you can’t really feel anything so you moms out there will know how to do that. This is a nursing kit to kind of show you what you can get to be able to bottle feed a kitten, and then the wipes are used to stimulate them to go to the bathroom after you feed them. And then just a bottle cleaning brush.

Over here we’re prepping the bottle, you can keep the bottle in the fridge throughout the day, this is what the bottle actually looks like. In the beginning you have to cut a tiny hole in the top of the nipple. In a minute we’re going to go feed the kitten so you can see how the kitten kind of suckles onto this nipple. We just take warm water and put it in the microwave and then we set the bottle inside of there and leave it sit for a few minutes and then we’re able to test to make sure you know you put that little droplet on your wrist so you can make sure that its good. Our kitten is 3 weeks old and this morning this bottle was full up to the 45 cc line and already today we feed every 3 hours and already he’s pretty thirsty. He wasn’t drinking this much in the beginning but now he’s drinking a full line every feeding.

This is Vincent our baby kitty, he’s very excited to be fed. I’m gonna let Vincent out let him walk around a little bit. Vincent, where are you going? He’s very noisy. Rashied’s about to feed him, but here he is. Some other things that you might need are a towel, folded up several times on top of a heating pad. And you can see this is just a small pet carrier and we have the towel on top of it to prevent drafts. So you want to make sure that the towel that you have inside of here is fully covering the heating pad so that your little baby doesn’t get burned. But you put it on medium and you can just leave it on all the time and that way the baby stays warm when you’re done feeding him. Rashied here is about to feed the baby. He’s the one who got us into this foster volunteer mess. He’s the cat whisperer. There he is, “hey Vincent”. So we’ll show you how we feed Vincent.

You want to take a towel, because these little guys are squirmy. You just take a towel and wrap them up so they feel nice and warm and safe. You want to make sure you don’t hold them on their back like a baby even though you might want to do that when you bottle feed. But you just kind of hold them upright and then as he’s meowing pretty soon he suckles right on and he starts feeding. Their first instinct if you can’t get them to suckle right away what you can do is act like their momma and pet them right between the eyes because that’s where they’d kinda lick them. You can see that he will just grab the bottle just like he would be making muffins of kneading biscuits on his mama while he’s drinking. It’s really sweet, they’re super cute. In the beginning we had trouble feeding Vincent he wouldn’t take the bottle. So we ended up making sure we stimulated him a lot and pet him in between the eyes and made sure we tried to act like his mama as much as we could. In the beginning we could barely get him to drink just a few cc’s and now he’s a little pro. Sometimes they’ll need a little break and that’s ok. You just try again.

Ok so Vincent’s all done eating. We know because when we try to put the bottle back in his mouth he’s like “nope, I’m not doing that”. So you might wonder you don’t need a litter box when you have a baby kitty this little (2-3 weeks old) because they don’t really go on their own unless they’re stimulated or after a little while of stimulation they probably do go on their own a little better. But there’s no need to litter box train them when they’re this little. What you do is you just take a standard wipe and you hold them and what you want to do is just like their mother would clean the back of their private parts to make them go to the bathroom you’re doing the same thing with a wipe. And they’ll actually go to the bathroom right in the wipe. So it’s good to have a towel or something on your lap to prevent you from getting wet and messed up. You just wipe really gently along their back and they will go to the bathroom right into the wipe and then you can just throw the wipe away and you’re good to go. So no need to litter box train them the only thing you’ll need to take care of is every time after you feed them maybe let them walk around a little bit until they, you don’t want them to get cold, then just throw away the wipe, wash your hands, put the bottle back in the refrigerator, a bottle is good for 24 hours, and everyday make a fresh bottle. We feed them every 3 hours and then they go right back in, really they are just like baby’s they eat and they sleep. They go right back into their little house. We’ll let him run around for a bit and put him back in the carrier and he’ll go right to sleep. And in a few hours when he’s hungry he’ll get up and want to eat again. Alright Vincent say goodbye to Clean Litter Club. BYE!!

Thanks to San Antonio Animal Defense League for their tireless work in saving and caring for animals. Subscribe and find us on social media @CleanLitterClub

How To Turn an Idea Into a Product

One of the hardest processes of becoming an entrepreneur with a new product idea is getting that idea all the way from your head into an actual finalized production worthy prototype and then from a prototype through manufacturing, packaging, shipping and into retail. 

When I tell people about my invention, they get so excited and seem to think that I can just go on Shark tank and my product will magically appear on the shelves of every retailer.  I also constantly get the question – is your product available yet? I will NEVER think of this question in a negative light because that means people are thinking of my product!   However, its hard trying to explain even a small part of this process and get people to understand it.

Therefore I’m going to blog about it. Here is the journey I’ve taken thus far.

Step 1. You have an idea, make sure no one else thought of it first –  

So you suddenly (or over time), have this bright idea and you think if this were on the market, it would sell! The first step is to make sure this idea isn’t already available on the market! You wouldn’t want to spend all your time creating something that’s already available for retail sale and use.  Turn to your friend Google and search for everything that describes your idea. I once had this idea to make a “knife-pal” product that had a handle with prongs that would go into your fruit and assist with knife cuts and chopping. I thought this would be great for people with arthritis and kids to more safely learn to cut.  I couldn’t find anything like my idea on the web but then when I searched for the description (handle with prongs for chopping) Amazon.com returned an onion slicer that looked very much like my great idea.  So I purchased one and we love it! We use it for all kinds of chopping, not just for onions.  But, someone else made it first so I became a customer.

The second place to search is the patent database on the USPTO website. Someone may have patented this idea already but not put it into retail.  In this case if you wanted to use their patent to go to retail you’d have to pay them to license their idea to you.  Again, search for description words, not a product title.  When looking for SiftEase I searched “sifting litter box”, “sifter”, “litter box”, etc. Within each patent, read the claims and look at the drawings to ensure they don’t cover what you’re trying to invent.  Claims in patents are meant to be very broad in language to make sure no one can change one small part of an invention and create a knock off without penalty.  Does this prevent people from creating a knock-off? No, but it does allow the inventor to sue them for any profits or losses if they do.

Ok, so you’re pretty sure this is your idea first and you are ready to put it into action.  The next rule is to keep your idea a secret. I know you’re so excited about your idea and you want to tell everyone about it.  It has nothing to do with whether or not you trust someone to keep your secret, if you disclose your idea to someone before filing a patent application they are free to use your idea however they like.  Therefore you need to ensure you only work with people you trust AND they first sign a confidentiality agreement before any discussion ensues.  The website IP Watchdog has a great article here about why this is necessary along with some free confidentiality agreement templates.

Step 2: Put your idea on paper –  

Now is the time to put your idea into action.  put your idea on paper. Start sketching out the parts and pieces of your idea.  It’s recommended by the patent experts to do this on a bound notebook so you can keep everything together and later prove all of the sketches are your own.

SiftEase early concept sketch

You don’t have to know for sure right now what a part will be made of you just need it to function. Left is an example of my first sketches of SiftEase.  You’ll want to draw your invention at many angles and get an idea of the general shapes and functions of each part.

Step 3: Build a prototype

From your sketches you should have a basic idea of the parts of your invention and the shapes of those parts. Now go to the nearest hardware store and look for materials to make those parts.  Alternatively, if your invention is electronic or technical you would look online to enlist the assistance of an engineer to help make your design a reality.  If you are an engineer you might put all the electric pieces together and enlist the help of a 3D printer to design and print out the outer frames for your electronics.  There is an awesome television show on the History channel called Million Dollar Genius which shows inventors going through these processes from start to finish.

When making the first SiftEase prototype, I first found a waste bin for the lower bin in my design.  I picked out what turned out to be way too large in the long run, but was great for facilitating my first prototype build.

SiftEase first prototype

I also needed some type of mesh. In the gardening section I found hardware cloth.  I then enlisted the help of a store associate and asked how I could attach the hardware cloth to this bin in a removable fashion. I didn’t discuss the utility of what I was making, just that I wanted help with a means to attach this hardware cloth to a frame which fit over this waste bin.  We walked through the store together and came up with a wooden frame with some corner brackets, handles, and a snipping tool to cut my cloth.  I brought all this home and built what you see here.

Step 4: Refine your prototype

Now you need to refine your prototype to its final version which you will use for injection mold design (more about this later).  The process of refining your prototype can be a long one. You need to use it, ensure it works the way you want it to, and if not, change it slightly and try again.  When I used my first prototype, I was getting litter everywhere! I needed a way to prevent this. So I went back to my sketches and sketched some sides into my sifting basket.  Since I had no means to build solid sides on my own, I enlisted the help of an engineer who could turn my drawings into 3-D printable designs.

SiftEase 3-D print design

 This process is called rapid prototyping and you can turn to google and search for “rapid prototyping near me” and find an engineer who can help you in this process.  Before discussing your idea with anyone, send them a non-disclosure agreement and have them sign it and send it back to you. You can accomplish this via email and any reputable design or engineering firm will want to do this to prevent any problems. If not, just move on, this is not a reputable agency.  It took a few months of re-printing and re-designing before I had a prototype that did everything I imagined and more. I even had amazing animated pictures of my design that come from the 3-D design software.

Step 5: Injection Molding Design

What is that? I’m glad you asked. Most products you see in retail are created using injection molds.  Injection molds are giant hunks of steel into which your design is carved.  They then insert the materials needed to form your product, for example, SiftEase will require the metal mesh to be inserted into the mold, then the mold will be closed up and plastic material poured in to create the sides of the basket. This is then quickly cooled off and hardened and the product is removed as one unit.  Can you imagine me having to manually assemble every single product? This is necessary for some electronics but it is much easier to use a tool for larger plastic pieces.  For example, the waste bins you see in the stores are made using injection molds. The plastic is poured into a mold and a final product is almost instantly created.  Here’s a youtube video on this process.

3D CAD example

In order to create an injection mold your design must be finalized in 3D CAD by an engineer who specializes in manufacturing.  Every detail of the design must be executed in a way that works for manufacturing your product in a cost effective manner. For example, each plastic piece must be hallowed out on the back side to reduce cost and be molded. Left is an example of my product going through this process. You can see there is a difference between this and the above 3-D printing design.  This may take weeks. You want this to be done right because once they make a mold out of steel, there’s no going back.  You’ll also need to find a manufacturer who can create your injection mold.  Again, a search on google for “injection molding near me” can help or your designer may have some useful contacts.

Step 6: Creating and Shipping your Tool 

An injection mold is also referred to as a “tool” by manufacturers because its  a tool that makes your product. Once you find your injection mold manufacturer and submit your final design the real cost and time commitment begins.  Most molds are made in China either stay there for manufacturing or are shipped back to a local manufacturer for production.  The cost of the two molds (tools) required to make SiftEase is over $60,000 after creation and shipping. It will take 14 weeks to create the tool and another 4 weeks to ship it back.  It’s hard to explain this to your backers who may not understand how a product is made.

Step 6.5: Don’t forget to file your patent 

Intellectual property is what separates a small business from a large growing business. It allows you to create and sell something separating you from your competitors.  Work with a patent attorney to file your patent. They can explain the difference between a provisional and non-provisional patent, do a complete global patent search to ensure no one else has thought of this idea, and write claims that will stand up when the patent office reviews your application.  It would be terrible to go through the entire process of filing a patent on your own to have it rejected and all of your hard work and money wasted. Therefore pay a patent attorney to do it right the first time. I found my patent attorney on upcounsel.com.  I posted a job and got several offers and free consultations from attorneys and was able to choose the person I felt best fit my needs.  This will cost you around $2000-$5000 depending on your needs.

Step 7: Manufacturing

Once your tool is created 1000 units can be made very quickly and cost effectively.  For example, the manufacturer can make 1000 SiftEase in only 13 hours. This is pretty amazing.  Although you might be able to make each unit for a few dollars, you’ll need to use the “profits” made on each unit to pay for packaging, shipping, marketing, and any debt you might have incurred in paying for the tools. Make sure to calculate this into your cost of goods sold.  If you ever make it to Shark Tank they’ll want you to understand these numbers.

Step 8: Packaging and Shipping

How will you sell your product? Solely online, in retail stores, on your website? You’ll need to determine this and set up accounts with each vendor, apply retail packaging, and drop ship to the vendor or directly to your customers. Some manufacturers will also drop ship for you.  Again, turn to google and search for “drop shipping near me”.  Put some thought into packaging design. Work with a local packaging company to design your packaging for the type of sales avenues you’re entering. For example, if I’m just selling on Amazon, I might not need expensive packaging that would stand out on a retail shelf. A local packaging company can help you with inner and outer packaging.  You can then provide this printed packaging to your manufacturer and they can assemble and drop ship your product. There are many other methods to do this, its best to discuss options with the companies you’re working with.

Step 9: Business Filing, Banking, Payments, and Insurance

First you’ll want to register your business. The type of business filing and tax benefits should be worked out with a business attorney and trusted CPA. These are people you’ll want on your team to ensure your personal assets are protected separate from your business.  I was able to hire a local attorney to file everything for me and draw up all the necessary legal documents for around $1500 plus a very informative free consultation after which I could have filed on my own if I chose to.  I found my business attorney by attending free business classes offered by my local Small Business Association.  You can go to SBA.gov and find lots of free resources near you to assist you in starting or growing your business. Next, you”ll want to start your book keeping and find an accountant to assist you in filing taxes.  Most accountants recommend Quickbooks software and will help you set this up.  You’ll also need to have a means to accept payments and keep your business separate from your personal finances.  Find a local bank that works with small businesses and open an account in the name of your business. To do this you’ll need your state business filing and a EIN from the IRS.  You can apply for an EIN yourself in just a few minutes on IRS.gov.  Last, you’ll want to consider purchasing business insurance.  Business insurance is fairly inexpensive but protects you if you are sued by a customer or competitor by covering the costs to fight a legal battle. Your bank may have an insurance expert to help you. If not, Google is your friend.

The most important step: Mentoring, counseling and learning

No one person can possibly understand everything about manufacturing, sales, production, patents, and business. Many businesses fail because entrepreneurs fail to seek the help of an outside expert when they don’t completely understand something. Maybe you feel you can’t afford an expert. I’ve had many people tell me to file my own business docs instead of seeking an attorney’s assistance. “It’s easy, they said, just pay the $300 and fill out the one page form”.  But if I had followed this advice I would have filed an assumed name for my business that was tied back to my own personal name instead of my business, and in litigation, someone could come after my personal assets.  Therefore the $1500 I paid to have everything done properly with my originating documents could protect me from losing everything I worked for in the future.

Also take advantage of the free expertise already offered. There are free business counselors and mentors available through the local Small Business Association that will help you along from start to finish. You need to have a solid business plan and update it often. Especially if you want an investor to help you financially. There are many free templates available through sba.gov.  Failing to plan is planning to fail.  Learn everything you can about sales, marketing, online presence, search engine optimization, business planning, and legal requirements and execute what you can but hire out what you can’t.  There are so many resources available to you, you just have to take advantage of them.   Some believe a good idea is enough to gain riches, this is simply not true. If you don’t have a plan or a means to sell your idea to the world, it remains just an idea.

 

Product Review: Arm & Hammer Naturals Cat Litter

 

Video Transcript

Hey, Amy here from Clean Litter Club, today we’re going to be reviewing Arm and Hammer Naturals Litter.  It claims to eliminate odors both urine and feces odors and also claims to absorb two times as much liquid, and that it’s a low dust formula. So we’re going to put it to the test. We’ve been using it for about 2 weeks. I wish this was a zip lock bag when you cut it off it ends up just being open so I’m not sure whether the cats would want to use this as a litter box. You can see inside the way the litter looks, it does have a low dust value.

The three things that we focus on when we review litters are: number one – odor, does it stand up to odor? Number two – waste disposal and clumping, how easy is it to remove waste; how much does it stick to the bottom of the litter box? And number three – the mess that it makes.

Odor – This bag claims that it is fresh scent, it smells like my grandmother’s house. It’s very kind of a strong almost like a laundry detergent smell and when the cats use the litter box I do notice that it doesn’t eliminate odors as well as some of the traditional clumping litters.

Mess – When it comes to mess you can see down here on my floor I’ve got stuff everywhere. And this is a top entry litter box, and you can see on top of the litter box, there’s a lot of tracking going on. I would say more so, I mean just look at that on the back of the box. My cats do use it you can see they did not have any issue using it from the very beginning.

Waste disposal and Clumping – So you can see it moved right on through the sifter which is nice and you can see what the clumps look like. And here’s what’s left in the litter box. It’s mostly clean. (Scraping clump off bottom of litter box) You definitely would not want that to be mixed in with your clean litter. So the clumps kind of break apart more so than other types of litter like standard clumping litters really stick together in those clumps and this broke right apart. So here’s what’s left inside of the sifter as clean litter, you can see it mostly cleaned through pretty well. (Return that to the box).

The odor is very strong and it mostly masks the odor instead of actually eliminating it so I would give that claim probably a 5 out of 10, and if you like that laundry detergent smell this is probably the litter for you. I prefer a very light scent instead of that such a strong smell. For waste disposal and clumping, the feces went through just fine but the urine came right apart when we scraped it. So that could contribute to the smell in the litter box so we don’t want that. And then for the mess, I don’t care for the mess, the cats track it everywhere. Although it’s easy to clean up its very fine and kind of tough to clean so back to a normal traditional clumping litter for me. Please subscribe to Clean Litter Club for future reviews.

Product Review: Arm & Hammer Slide Litter

Video Transcript:

Review of Arm and Hammer Slide Litter for multiple cats.  Hello, Amy here from Clean Litter Club, and today we’re going to be reviewing the Slide litter by Arm and Hammer. Arm and Hammer claims that the slide litter does not stick to the bottom of the box and slides right off. We’ve been using it for about 2 weeks and we have rather large top entry litter boxes. I have to say compared to some of my other litter my first impressions, it does still stick to the bottom of the box but it slides off when you touch it with the scoop so it’s not so bad. So I’m going to be cleaning this litter box to kind of show you. I don’t really care for the consistency of the litter, it has these tiny little granules. The smell of the litter itself before you pour it in the box is very pleasant, however as my cats have used it, it is so fine it doesn’t clean as well as traditional clumping litter and therefore the odor kind of stays. Alright, so let me show you on top of the litter box here you can see that those little granules just get stuck in the tiniest of places which means those little granules are also all over my floor. So you can see on the inside of the litter box the bottom is pretty clear where the cats have scraped off so it doesn’t look too bad. (Pouring through the sifter). So here it goes, you can see the consistency of the clumps and that it goes right through the sifter which is nice. And let’s see what’s left in the box. Right here is what is left in the litter box and you can see the rest of the litter box is fairly clean. Let’s see if it is as claimed that it slides right off. I did have to kind of work at it a little bit but not too much, it’s pretty effective. So all in all I think that the Arm and Hammer slide litter works pretty well, but at the end of the day Clean Litter Club gives it a 5 out of 10 because it really just, the odor after use is not as good as some of the other traditional odorless odor-absorbing litters. Try it for yourself and see what you think and let us know in the comments. Don’t forget to subscribe because we will continue to provide awesome reviews. Find us on social media @Cleanlitterclub. Thanks for watching!

Why I Created SiftEase and How it Works


With the broad range of litter box options on the market, some might wonder why bother with another new idea? Hasn’t it already been done? For me the answer was no. I suffer from severe chronic migraines, and my headaches are triggered by lights, sounds, certain foods, and smells. The litter box was one of those smells.  

SiftEase solved this problem.

We have 3 cats and 3 litter boxes. We were cleaning our litter boxes twice daily, once in the morning and once at night. We’ve tried the robotic litter box, the sifting litter box, and the self cleaning litter box. All have the same flaw – clay litter clumps and waste get stuck to the cleaning apparatus and bottom of the litter box, and now you just have a complicated device to take apart and clean.  Like many others, we switched back to the simple top entry litter box and scoop.  The problem was no matter how many times a day I cleaned the litter box, I could still smell it.

The other problem with cleaning the litter box – it takes too much time and effort. First you have to dig around in the box looking for cat treasures and then attempt to get to a waste bin without getting litter everywhere. Even if you have a sifting or self cleaning litter box you’re still cleaning the box and sweeping up escaped litter! All of this takes too much time and effort. I was spending 10-15 minutes cleaning litter boxes every day. SiftEase solves this problem.

How does SiftEase clean a litter box in under a minute, prevent odors in the litter box, and nix litter escape?  

Well OK, I’ll tell you.  I can now clean all three litter boxes in about 3 minutes, without having to sweep up a mess afterwards. My litter lasts longer and I use less. Best of all, I no longer smell the litter box even if I’m in the same room!  

Here’s how it works:

  1. SiftEase is fast because it does the work for you  and it prevents litter box odors while it works. You pour the dirty litter from the litter box into SiftEase and it automatically separates clean litter from waste.  There’s no wasted litter and litter is being effectively cleaned so it doesn’t smell!! The problem with using a scoop to remove waste is that waste gets mixed in with clean litter leaving you a stinky litter box even after you’ve “cleaned” it. SiftEase solves this problem. 

  2.  SiftEase saves you money because there’s no wasted litter and clean litter lasts longer! When you pour litter into the sifting basket, ALL of the clean litter falls through to the bin below and only waste is left in the basket. This works better than sifting litter boxes because the wet clumps will not get stuck in the sifting slots.

  3. SiftEase saves the mess and prevents litter escape. Since the sifting basket is completely surrounded by a bin, litter stays put as you pour. When its time to get rid of the waste, tilt the basket toward the solid side scoop. All the waste is gathered there, where it can CLEANLY be poured into a trash bin or bag for easy disposal.

                                                                        

So there you have it. I created SiftEase to save time, money, mess and odor and most importantly, make light of cleaning the litter box.