In 30-plus years of sharing my home with pet birds, mess management has been a major priority. I’ve been through countless electric brooms, several air cleaners, numerous and elaborate mess-containment systems, poop-cleaning preparations and tools, and several of my own housekeeping inventions.
One of the most enduring and helpful items in my bird-keeping inventory is the Mess Catcher™ from the PETButler Company. I’ve used the Mess Catcher since its inception in 1991, and it’s one of those things I can’t live without. It’s not high tech, but it works beautifully to contain cage-generated debris, proving that often the simplest solutions are the best.
The Mess Catcher is made of clear, unobtrusive PVC (similar to that of a soda bottle, but thicker) that doesn’t dominate the cage landscape or clash with its color. A variety of sizes are available to accommodate cages up to 24-inches by 24-inches square. The slanted apron portion of the device extends at least 31/2 inches on all sides from the base.
The Mess Catcher is versatile. Use it for cages, T-stands as well as playgyms. I use one under the open door of my African grey parrot’s cage. When the bird perches on the door, droppings and debris fall into Mess Catcher instead of all over the floor. It’s so much neater than spreading newspaper on the floor below!
It’s great for travel, keeping cage fallout contained instead of all over your vehicle. Do you bring your bird to bird club meetings or outreach events? A Mess Catcher will make your pet’s visit much more welcome! Vacationing with your bird? Relatives and hotel owners will appreciate the Mess Catcher, too! It’s seamless, so even if your bird dumps its water dish, the liquid will be contained!
Maintenance & Care
Cleaning is easy. Simply dump the contents of the Mess Catcher into the trash, and wipe it clean using warm water. Strong cleaning products are not advised, as they might cloud the plastic or make it vulnerable to deterioration. I’ve used OxyFresh Cleansing Gelé, however, with no adverse effects. The Mess Catcher is a convenient place to park your bird’s cage when you’re cleaning its base, too. Set the bottomless cage and its occupant temporarily inside a Mess Catcher to thwart escape and contain debris.
Should you line the Mess Catcher with paper? I don’t line mine because it’s so easy to clean, but you can certainly use paper on the bottom if you like. This might be especially desirable when using the product with a stand or perch.
What size do you need? Measure your cage from front to back and across the front where the wire meets the base, and compare with Mess Catcher dimensions and style numbers. For instance, the PB1624 is suitable for cages up to 16 by 24 inches. Is your cage larger than 24 inches by 24 inches? Check out Pet Butler’s Marraco Cage Skirt, a hard, ABS-plastic apron for cages up to 72 inches by 72 inches.
Good To Know
- The Mess Catcher is very lightweight and easy to move. This saves on shipping, too. You can purchase up to five Mess Catchers and pay the same shipping charge as you would if you purchase only one. Unfortunately, due to increased overall shipping costs, the product is only shipped to the contiguous 48 States. Price range is $28 to $36, plus shipping.
- Because the Mess Catcher is made of new material, it’s recyclable, just like plastic soda bottles are!
- Do you have a hanging cage? No problem! Just attach the Mess Catcher to the bottom of the cage using self-adhesive Velcro™ strips!
Mess Catcher FYI
- The Mess Catcher has a tendency to shatter or crack if it’s stored in extreme cold and you bump into something with it. Don’t store it in an unheated garage or shed. If you do store in a cold area, handle it carefully and allow it to come to room temperature before use. Cracks can be easily patched with transparent tape.
- The Mess Catcher will eventually discolor when exposed to strong sunlight. It takes several years, but the product gets a “suntan” and becomes brittle when exposed to direct sunlight, even through glass.
- According to Roger Lindsey, owner of PETButler Co., the average life span of a Mess Catcher is about three years. “Some last six to eight years,” he said. “A lot depends on keeping them out of the sun.”
- It’s not always easy to find this item in pet shops; order direct from PETButler or other online or catalog source. Visit www.petbutlerco.com or call 888-801-3084 for information and resources.