Automatic Cat Litter Boxes, A Boon For Those Who Do Not Have The Time To Scoop The Poop Daily.
Automatic self cleaning litter boxes save you the trouble of cleaning out the litter pan each day, and for those of us who despise this chore, self cleaning litter pans are heaven sent.
Many find that odor is reduced by the use of these robotic trays, even in homes with lots of cats, however the waste container must be emptied when full or the odor can be quite strong.
Many folks love the fact that they can leave their cats all day,
or perhaps for a weekend (with food and water of course,) and come home
to a fresh litter box.
There are several brands and models on the market, each have their own features.
Let's take a look at five of them.
When people think of automatic cat litter boxes it is quite probable that it is the LitterMaid that springs to mind.
The LitterMaid has been around, in one guise or another, for some time now.
Cat walks up a ramp and into a rectangular litter tray. Cat pees or poops on clumping litter, cat exits the box. Ten minutes later a rake automatically pushes the poop and clumps of litter into a waste receptacle and seals it. Job done.
The plastic waste receptacle can be dumped when full and a new one put in its place. However, it seems most owners of this self cleaning litter box prefer to line the container with a plastic shopping bag and dump that when full. They simply clean and re-use the receptacle. Makes sense, doing so would save on constant replacement.
The container is not that well made apparently, so replacement now and then is still necessary. How often you have to empty the waste receptacle naturally depends on the number of cats you have and how frequently they use the box.
You may also not want to wait until the container is full, for example emptying it when you arrive home from being at work all day.
Carbon air filters are incorporated into LitterMaid automatic cat litter boxes that go some way in reducing litter box odor.
There are several models of LitterMaid automatic cat litter boxes. The differences between them seem to be size of the tray and the height of the sides. The higher sided models are good if you have a cat that likes to kick out the litter.
Some models feature a sleep timer. You can set this so the box does not operate when you are knocking out the zzzz's. Yes automated litter boxes make a certain amount of noise when operating.
So what do purchasers think of the LitterMaid?
Reviews on Amazon.com are rather mixed. Some reviewers are delighted with the product, say that it does its job as described and their cats are happy to use it.
As can be expected, there are stories of cats that are intimidated by the noise and action of the LitterMaid and so refuse to use it, the same cats could possibly have the same reaction to all automatic cat litter boxes.
Some purchasers complain about the fact that you can only use clumping litter with the L.M. There are reports too, of the product working well for a month or two then struggling to cope with large clumps of litter or poop.
One model, the LitterMaid LME9000 Elite Mega Advanced gets quite a bashing from the reviewers. At the time of writing it has far more thumbs down than thumbs up.
The complaints seem mostly about its poor construction compared to other models. Reviewers say it is made from flimsy plastic, the parts don't fit together well and the rake is liable to get stuck.
Many say that they have owned other LitterMaid models in the past and been quite satisfied with them but were very disappointed with the LME9000 when they tried it as a replacement.
With the other L.M. Models the reviews are more balanced between favorable and unfavorable. Many love the LitterMaid and would not consider any other brand of self clean litter box.
The ScoopFree uses a similar 'rake' type system as the L.M. In this case though the rake operates twenty minutes after your cats have done their business.
However ScoopFree automatic cat litter boxes work with crystal litter, which many folks find combats the litter box odor problem better and cuts out the tracking and dust problems of clumping litter.
The rake does not have to work so hard pushing through crystals as it would pushing through clumped litter, so less problems with getting stuck etc. But that's not all folks, ScoopFree automatic litter boxes use a disposable litter tray.
You do not empty a separate waste container, you do not refill the tray with litter. You simply replace the tray with a new one, pre-filled with crystal litter. A cleaner system with less mess and a reduced need to clean the box.
The manufactures recommend to replace the disposable tray once every twenty to thirty days for a single cat, ten to fifteen days for two cats and . . . well you get the idea.
So all in all cleaner, more hands free, automatic cat litter boxes system which should keep everyone happy? No, unfortunately there is no such thing as something that pleases everyone.
Read the user reviews on Amazon.com and you will see that the ScoopFree pleases a lot of cat loving folks, they love, love, love the system. But along with the praise there are a few grumbles.
The biggest downside is the ongoing cost of those disposable trays. The cost of replacement trays depends on the quantity that you buy, ranging from around $15 to $19. Assuming that one tray last your cat three weeks, that works out at around $260 per year! That's not chicken feed. Some reviewers complain that the trays don't give them the expected millage.
If you've many cats that poop and urinate a lot . . . you are going to be spending and awful amount on trays. Still, there are reviewers that say no matter what the cost of replacement trays, they are so happy with the way the ScoopFree works they wouldn't part with it.
As for the quality of the disposable trays, most seem happy enough with the standard type.
There are alternative trays available, made from recycled cardboard and filled with 'scent free' litter. These alternative trays are not so well liked. Reviewers complain they do not hold their cat's urine so well as the standard trays.
It seems there is, or rather was, a 'permanent' tray available (not made by ScoopFree ) that you could re-fill and reuse. This was known as the Forever tray. Unfortunately at the time of writing it appears that it is not available. That's a shame, a permanent tray could be quite a money saver.**
If the ScoopFree system sounds to you like it could be an answer to your litter box problems.
The answer is – when it's an Omega Paw Roll Away Self Cleaning Litter Box.
This litter box does not plug in and it needs no batteries. It removes the clumps and cat's waste and leaves cleaned litter for your cat to use the next time she needs to.
But it is not an automated process, you have to operate it. So if you need a litter box that clears away the waste when you are not at home, the Omega Paw Roll Away does not fit the bill, although it is self cleaning.
However, the Omega does have thousands of raving fans. They love the fact that they do not have to scoop. When their cat uses the toilet they don't need to scoop out the waste or clumped litter. They simply roll the box, yes roll it.
Here's how it works.
The bottom right edge of the Omega is rounded, this makes it easy for you to roll it to the right. When you do, the litter, the clumps and the poop hit a mesh screen.
The clean litter can pass through the mesh, the other stuff can't, and gets diverted into a removable tray.
When you allow the box to come back to rest, just move it upward a little to the left and the clean litter falls into the litter tray ready for your cat to use again.
You simply slide out the removable waste tray to empty it.
Fans of the Omega Paw Roll Away say that it is easy to clean, the inside only needing the occasional wipe. Be aware that this is a covered litter box, some cats refuse to use covered boxes. Comes in two sizes, most users recommend getting the larger size, even if you have only one cat.
Priced considerably lower than most fully automatic cat litter boxes, the Omega Paw is a self cleaning system that you could become a fan of too.
We are going to start by revealing that we have no first hand experience of our cats using a PetSafe Continuous-Clean Litter Box.
This review is based upon various customer reviews on Amazon and around the web.
Automatic cat litter boxes do come in some rather surprising shapes. This one struck us as looking somewhat like a giant cake mixer, the kind that has a bowl and stand! Take three eggs, one and a half cups of clumping litter and a good sized cat, mix well . . . no don’t do that. :0)
Seriously though, the concept of the Continuous-Clean seems interesting. The litter tray is round like a shallow bowl and it continuously rotates very, very slowly.
Lumps and clumps are taken towards a conveyer where they are carried up and into a plastic container.
And where does the cat do what a cat has to do? The cat sits in the rotating litter tray, yes that’s right – the round tray is rotating even as the cat uses it!
Before you cry “My cat ain’t going to sit in a moving litter box!”
It must be emphasized that the tray rotates slowly, so slowly the cat does not realize it is moving. Not however as slowly as it says on Amazon. At the time of writing it says these automatic cat litter boxes take 24 hours to make one revolution! That’s a mistake.
We have it on good authority that the Continuous-Clean takes one hour to make a revolution. So, not so slow that it would mean the poop remaining in the tray all day before the conveyer deposits it into the waste receptacle, but slow enough that your cat does not know it is moving.
That very briefly is what the PetSafe Continuous-Cleaning Litter Box is and what it does. Hey it’s a self cleaning litter box, no surprise there, but it does the job in a rather novel way. But what is the verdict of the reviewers?
As you would expect, there are those that say they and their cats are very happy with this litter box, some that are reasonably happy and those that are not happy at all.
One thing that surprised us. There seems to be only a few complaints that the tray is too small for a large cat, to us it seems it could be a problem for a cat that is larger than average.
The reason why there are so few complaints could simply be because people have taken heed of PetSafe’s warning that their automatic cat box is suitable for cats up to 12 pounds.
There are comments that a cat can all too easily kick litter out from the tray and these folks recommend the use of a litter catching mat.
Most purchasers seem to find the Continuous-Clean operates quietly, so it is not annoying if you are in the same room with it and there is no noise to put your cat off using it. However some reviewers complain that after some months of use the box has started to ‘click’ and make other small noises.
From the purchasers that are really unhappy the biggest complaint is that this automatic litter tray doesn’t self clean sufficiently well.
Others say that the box lasted less than a year before needing replacement. Some bemoan the fact that they have to dismantle the Continuous-Clean every now and then and deep clean every part.
The purchasers that are happy say the self cleaning litter tray works well, it works quietly, uses very little litter (clumping litter must be used,) and that their cats are happy to use it after a period of adjustment.
Many applaud the fact that you can use plastic grocery bags to line the waste container, thus saving on buying special bags.
Those with more than one cat say this system is better than the conventional rake system such as the LitterMaid uses. That’s because it operates continually, one cat can use it after another cat without waiting for a cleaning cycle to finish.
Without any experience of the PetSafe Continuous-Clean we would say that it’s probably worth a try, unless your cat is very large. It’s not overly expensive as automatic cat litter boxes go and many purchasers seem pleased with it.
The price of this self-cleaning litter box might take your breath away but people who have made the leap are happy with it. It can accommodate more than one cat and the bag doesn't have to be changed more than once or twice a week depending of course on how many cats you have. It even has an automatic night light.
People who have purchased this automatic litter box say their cats adjusted to it easily.