“ Brand: Bob Martin / Type: Cat litter freshener „
There are some significant disadvantages associated with doing my grocery shopping online, and one of these is that my selected item(s) are occasionally out of stock. The supermarket in question will nearly always try their best with providing an alternative item which is usually not to my liking, it has to be said. There are occasions, to be fair, when a far superior item is sent in place of the one I selected 'virtually'.
This is exactly what happened a couple of months ago, when I selected a cat litter freshener product from the Bob Martin range, online at Asda's website at www.asda.com. The selected item was out of stock, and so a seemingly superior product from the same brand was sent in its place. I say it was seemingly superior because the item I had originally selected cost around 80p, but the replacement item cost over £2. It is down to Asda to make up the difference however, so I was not out of pocket at all.
* PRODUCT INFO & DETAILS *
The item that I received is the "Bob Martin Stay Fresh Litter Freshener" in a "Lavender" fragrance. The product is presented in a robust rectangular bottle made of white plastic. There is a red-coloured 'flip up' lid on top of the bottle that opens and closes easily, even with limited mobility in my hands. When the outer cap is lifted, it reveals five large holes, through which the product can be shaken from the bottle. The bottle's label is quite attractive I suppose, although it is quite plain. This is helped a little, thanks to the attractive image of a pretty puss-cat among some lavender plants.
I believe the Bob Martin brand has recently launched a few alternative varieties of the Stay Fresh Litter Freshener, which includes a "Baby Soft" variety as well as the lavender variety I am reviewing here. I have only ever seen the lavender variety available in supermarkets however, so I do think this is the most common fragrance available within the range.
The price seems to vary quite a lot for this product, so I do suggest shopping around if you wish to try it for yourself. Prices can vary from around £1.50 right up to nearly double this amount. The bottles are all the same size which is 500ml.
* WHAT'S THE POINT..? *
The idea behind the Litter Freshener is that it can be added to your cat's litter tray each time the tray is washed out and the litter has been replaced. By doing so, you can expect your litter to be fresher and of course to smell better with the use of the product.
Regular readers of my reviews will be aware by now that I share my home with a very elderly feline, who unfortunately has several health conditions to deal with in her old age. One of these is renal failure, which has a variety of horrible side effects and as a result of this condition my girl drinks a huge amount of water daily, resulting in a need to urinate more frequently than other cats.
As a result of this unfortunate side-effect, her litter tray of course becomes soiled rather quickly, much quicker than it did prior to her illness, and certainly more than other cats that I have owned in the past. I have tried and tested a variety of products to help with the unpleasant aroma that can quickly accumulate in the cat's litter tray and surrounding area.
I find that adding a Litter Freshener product to my girl's litter tray works reasonably well at providing a little 'deodorant' to the litter tray. I have used various such products over the years and have found most of them offer a little respite from smells and whiffs that can easily build up in the cat's trays.
* HOW DOES IT COMPARE..? *
Firstly, I have to say that I was rather surprised to notice that the Bob Martin Stay Fresh Litter Freshener comprised of some small 'granules' rather than being a powdered substance, mainly because any other litter freshener product that is purchased regularly has the form of being a powder. In the case of the Stay Fresh product however, the substance looks more like a 'detergent', thanks to the tiny white 'granules' that are slightly rounded in shape.
There is no real noticeable aroma evident whilst the granules are being sprinkled over the surface of the cat litter within the tray. There IS an aroma evident upon sniffing the bottle's lid, and although this smells fairly pleasant, I can't say it is something that has blown me away. During the application process however, this fades so much that it is non-existent.
The application process is quick and easy to undertake. A thin layer of the freshener's granules should be sprinkled over the cat litter and I find that this process is not at all difficult to do, and neither do I find it difficult to control the 'flow' of product from the plastic canister whilst I am sprinkling it into the litter tray. I tend to find that 'Less Is More' with products like this one, mainly due to their fragrances and scents and I do tend to exercise a little caution with the amount of product added to the litter tray at one time, for fear of putting my girl off from using her tray mainly..! In my experience, cats are not overly fond of strong fragrances, so I do find that a little goes a long way with a product like this one.
I find that the product 'sits' on top of the cat litter, so once it is applied to the litter tray I usually give the tray a really good shake from side to side to allow the white granules to mix in with the cat litter in the tray. I find that this process is ample to allow the two products to mix together well, and I do not feel the need to mix them together any more than this. Afterwards, the granules are near invisible, mainly because my cat's litter is a bright white colour and so the small white granules of Freshener are easily merged into the tray.
In terms of coping with unpleasant whiffs and smells within the litter tray, well, I have to be honest and say that I am really quite disappointed with the performance of the Bob Martin Freshener. Whilst the brand's 'powdered' fresheners have proved to be quite absorbent when used in the tray, helping to absorb unpleasant whiffs that can accumulate quite easily as a result of my cat's need to urinate frequently, I find the 'granules' within the "Stay Fresh" product don't seem to be nearly as capable as coping with this problem.
In addition, I find the powdered freshener products can go some way to helping to 'mask' any unpleasant odours that are lurking in the tray, as their scents are generally more 'robust' than that of the Stay Fresh product. I have found, in comparison that the granules' aroma is simply not strong enough to cope with such an acidic smell as cat urine.
These results are very disappointing, particularly as Bob Martin is perceived as being quite a popular brand when it comes to pet care items. Not only that, but the whole purpose of the product is that it is designed to combat odours that accumulate in cat litter trays, and really it doesn't do anything of the sort, in my experience.
I have tried using the Stay Fresh Freshener with assorted varieties of cat litter too, as I though perhaps that it's poor performance was down to some rather poor quality litters that I have been trying out lately. This proved not to be the case at all sadly, and even with a premium cat litter such as Catsan, the product proved to be extremely ineffective and quite frankly, a waste of time.
In summary, I would NOT recommend the Bob Martin Lavender Stay Fresh Litter Freshener and I will not be repurchasing it. I have actually given up with using the product altogether and have given it to my friend for her to try with her young kitten. For my old mog, the product's deodorising properties - or it's fragrance - are just not up to her needs and I found it rather useless as a result.... I may as well have sprinkled basic, unscented talcum powder into my girl's tray as this would no doubt have proven to be as effective as using this product.
I will be sticking to the powdered litter freshener products from now on... not only are they cheaper, but they actually work!
As @ the time of writing (October 2012) the 500ml bottle of Bob Martin Lavender Stay Fresh Litter Freshener costs £2.04 in Asda. It is also available to purchase online on sites such as www.amazon.co.uk where prices start at around £2 plus postage costs, or www.ebay.co.uk, where prices start at around £1.50 plus postage costs.