Living With Cats—elim·i·nate

What goes in must come out, through the mouth—as described in a previous post—or into a litter box. Cats are meticulous in keeping themselves clean. It would be fair to say that cats appreciate a CLEAN litter box, sans poo, otherwise, it might end up somewhere else in the house.


  1. The mile high pile.
  2. The uncovered gem.
  3. The dig to Cambodia.
  4. The Tripod poop. All 4 feet clinging onto box edge. Must’n get feet dirtied!
  5. Just on the paper outside of the box, never inside.
  6. The treasure hunt. Small nuggets buried throughout the litter box.
  7. The puddle. Seen the next day after binging on tuna fish liquid.
  8. The dangling preposition. Usually only seen on long hair cats.
  9. The Protest. Placed on your pillow as a gift, awaiting you after that two week European vacation.

The best way to dispose of cat waste, kitty litter. SF Chronicle Nancy Davis Kho, Sunday, November 20, 2011:  Because of the concerns about pathogens, cat waste should never be flushed down the toilet; both the East Bay Municipal Utilities District and Recology in San Francisco recommend bagging cat waste and putting it in the garbage can.

Ideally, cats should not be allowed to do their business outdoors, or, if they must, the owner should bag the waste and throw it away. “With outdoor cats in cities, it’s even more likely that they’ll go on a hard surface and it will get washed into the storm-water system,” says Hoover.

When it comes to the litter-box material, Hoover recommends staying away from clay-based litter in favor of biodegradable choices like recycled newspapers and sawdust.

“The biodegradability is a moot point if it’s going to a landfill, where it won’t break down,” Hoover says. The same could be said about the bags used to corral the cat waste before it’s thrown away. “But there is still environmental savings on the production end if it’s made from sustainable materials, or from material that’s being recycled.”

Gaia doing you know what

From feline fur to fashion statement

I submitted this article in December 2010, 6 months later it was printed.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011—The Chronicle’s Pet Tales by Eileen Mitchell

It’s a well-known fact that cats love to play with balls. But how many cats play with balls made from their own hair? And how many cat guardians wear hair-ball necklaces? Flora Davis is a jewelry designer who observed her creative kitty, and then mined her cat to come up with a most unique idea.

Gaia is a flame point ragamuffin, whose luxurious fur is long, thick and white with a salmon accent. His hair is more similar to rabbit than cat and needs to be combed at least once a week or it starts to mat. When Gaia was a year old, I discovered that a rolling comb delivered mounds of fluffy hair. Ordinarily I would have thrown the hair into the compost, but it felt so soft in my hands, I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away. As I examined his beautiful hair, I started rolling it into a ball and then, on impulse, I threw it to him. He loved it!

We now play “get the ball” with Gaia’s very own personalized hair balls. I toss a ball and he chases after it, batting it around the apartment like the most expensive toy from PetSmart. He even plays on his own, chasing after it in his mouth, tossing it, and then running after it again.

All of Gaia’s grooming sessions now result in a new hair ball, and I have perfected the technique. I begin with a small handful of fluff and mold it into a starter ball. To this I mold more fluff around the edges, puff some wet breath onto it, which felts the hair, and then using both palms, I roll it back and forth until a tight solid ball forms. Over time, I discovered that Gaia preferred to play with smaller size balls. Voila! Production was under way.

But Gaia is a serious shedder and over time, the balls began to accumulate around the apartment: under the couch, behind the stove, in the closet, as well as in his sleeping basket. Awash in hair balls, I gathered a bowlful and placed them on top of the piano. Surprisingly, the balls had a lovely appearance that reminded me of oversized white pearls. This was my inspiration for using Gaia’s “toys” in another way that would display my love for this special cat.

I’ve been making jewelry for about three years and wondered: Could I string the hair balls together to create an interesting, unique piece of jewelry? Whatever the outcome, I figured the result would be a portable reminder of my soft, furry creature.

And so, I gathered the numerous balls together and pierced and strung them with fine copper wire into a necklace with an asymmetrical focal point. The result was an overwhelming hit at the 2010 San Francisco Open Studios reception where I wore the necklace with a black V-cut blouse. Amidst compliments galore, everyone was astonished to learn that the stunning work of art was made from – of all things – cat hair.

I just smiled, grateful not to have allergies. And I paid silent tribute to my vendor, companion and love, Gaia.

Gaia wearing a necklace from from his hair