I’m seeing a lot of reviews and manufacturers of self-cleaning litterboxes for your cats. This article will attempt to explain the world of self-cleaning litterboxes. With our busy lives these days, cleaning the litterbox is a job that most cat owners, including myself, don’t want to waste their time doing. There is a growing demand for this kind of convenience. Analysts forecast the global automatic self-cleaning cat litterbox market to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 7.3% during the period of 2018-2022.
I’ve used them in the past, but many changes have been made since I used mine. What is a self-cleaning litterbox? What features can you expect to find? How much money are you willing to spend? What lies ahead for this technology? Are you contemplating getting one of these to cut down on your litterbox maintenance while reducing the odors your cats produce in your home? If you are, this article is for you.
How Do They work
Self-cleaning litterboxes are specially designed litterboxes to remove cat urine and feces from the box without the need for manual scooping.
Manual self-cleaning litterboxes use a rolling type action that sifts out the large clumps of cat waste into a receptacle bin for dumping. The principal and their operation are simple but the rolling action for cleaning is a manual process. These boxes take some of the work out of this unpleasant task if you’re on a budget.
Most automatic self-cleaning litterboxes work by using electric motors to move a rake across a bed of cat litter. The waste is scooped into a waste bin at the edge of the box. The lid closes after removal to eliminate odors. The Litter Robot performs the rolling type action used in manual self-cleaning litterboxes with a strong motor.
There are products available that takes automatic litterbox cleaning to a new level by adding automatic waste disposal and self-cleaning to their abilities. This keeps litterbox maintenance to a bare minimum. These systems requires AC power, simple plumbing to water and access to a toilet or washer drain for waste removal. As you can imagine, they’re not cheap, but the trade-off is virtual elimination of a dirty and unpleasant task forever.
Self-cleaning litterboxes have proven to be a valuable aid in automatic odor control of cat waste. You’ll quickly realize that there are many different types of self-cleaning litterboxes available. Here are some things to think about as you determine the best choice for your home.
- Price Range – Prices can range from $49 to $1,670 depending on the features you want. You can score some nice discounts if you do some careful shopping.
- Ease of Operation – If you don’t mind doing some manual operation, the manual rolling type litterbox may be a good fit. There’s less that can go wrong, and prices are generally lower for these models. The truly automatic litterboxes contain programming capabilities and are suitable for frequent unattended maintenance. They’re not as simple to operate as the manual self-cleaning litterboxes, but litter removal is automatic and at a scheduled time you specify.
- Cat Friendliness – Consider your cat’s interaction with your present litterbox before deciding. There are hooded and non-hooded variations available in different sizes. Does your cat like an open top litterbox? Do they want privacy when using the litterbox? If so, the hooded type might work out better for you and your cat. Your cat will need to adjust to using your new self-cleaning litterbox. This process will be easier for them if they have the type they’re used to using.
- Big cat, Little cat – Measure the size of your cat before purchasing. The self-cleaning litterbox should comfortably accommodate their body when they’re doing their business while the hooded type should ensure they have sufficient privacy. If you have small kittens along with larger cats, a self-cleaning litterbox that is easy for them to climb into would be a wise choice. This will help them get them used to a self-cleaning litterbox.
- Multiple cats – If you have more than one cat, they’re using the litterbox constantly. Be sure to choose a self-cleaning litterbox designed for multiple cats. These litterboxes are designed with more rugged components which last longer through constant use. They also have larger waste receptacles.
- Cat Litter – You need to be sure of what kind of litter will work with the litterbox you’re planning to purchase. This information should be specified in the manufacturer’s literature. Some self-cleaning litterboxes will only use a special formula of litter. Your cat will need to adjust to the new type of litter for the self-cleaning litterbox. Be sure to factor in costs and availability of litter replacement if specialized litter will be required. You should also factor in costs and availability of other supplies your new litterbox will require.
- Size & Location – Be sure to measure the size of the area where the self-cleaning litterbox will be used. Some of the self-cleaning litterboxes are fairly large. Knowing this ahead of time will eliminate any unpleasant surprises by ensuring your new self-cleaning litterbox will fit correctly in its planned location.
- Services – Be sure the location is in close proximity to an electrical outlet. Automatic self-cleaning litterboxes will need to be plugged into a wall socket to operate their cleaning mechanisms. The flushable and self-cleaning litterboxes will also need hookups to running water and waste. A laundry utility room or the bathroom would be suitable for close proximity to these services. Make sure there is enough room to accommodate the litterbox.
- Maintenance – All the self-cleaning litterboxes will require some form of maintenance to ensure trouble free operation and an odor free home. How difficult and how often is waste bin removal for dumping? How difficult is litter replacement? How easy is cleaning the waste removal mechanism? How is support from the manufacture if you have mechanical issues with that expensive self-cleaning litterbox you’re planning to purchase? Consider your comfort level with the routine maintenance required and where to get help in case of more serious problems.
As self-cleaning litterbox technology develops, better mousetraps (pardon the pun) are becoming available. I discovered a company that is taking self-cleaning litterbox technology to new heights. The Catboxpro company in Prior Lake Minnesota is offering a flushable and self-cleaning litterbox system for a reasonable price. I was really fascinated by their method. They offer this flushable and self-cleaning litterbox with an enticing incentive.
This system uses a two-belt method of replenishing used litter with clean litter. Clumping liquid waste and feces are moved into an area where powerful water jets and an impeller mechanism work to grind and reduce the waste to a flushable consistency.
This unit requires regular electric, water, and waste hookup. Meeting these challenges should overcome a lot of the hassles of self-cleaning litterbox maintenance. The hookup is similar to your washing machine hookups. The size of this unit may allow it to co-exist nicely in your laundry room or bathroom, close to the required plumbing and electrical services.
They’re offering this self-cleaning litterbox for $189.95 as a Beta Tester Release. They will give you the opportunity to offer your thoughts and insights through your experiences using this item. Now here’s where it gets enticing; Beta testers will receive a coupon code for a FREE Catboxpro once they start regular production and release of an updated version in a few years. So far, there’s 17 sold. I bet that with further improvements, these self-cleaning litterboxes will cost more once they’re in regular production.
This offer provides a unique opportunity to help pioneer the development and improvement of a flushable, and self-cleaning litterbox that is reliable and sure to help cat owner households deal with this unpleasant task at a very reasonable price.
Is a Self-Cleaning Litterbox in Your Future?
I hope that I revealed some things for you to consider. I can say that they do work as advertised, but I strongly encourage you to do your own research; visit manufacturer’s websites, read many reviews, especially YouTube videos from owners. Shop very carefully and compare prices before deciding on the best one for your situation.
Download and study the instruction manuals from the manufacturer’s websites to understand all of the operating and maintenance requirements of your prospective litterbox choice. Whether it’s routine waste bin emptying, occasional litter replacement, or periodic cleaning, it’s a good idea to take stock of all of the required maintenance associated with owning and operating the self-cleaning litterbox and your comfort level performing these duties.
I mentioned that I owned a self-cleaning litterbox. I ran a LitterMaid (seen in the top photo) for about six months. It sounded like a good idea at the time. It was Christmas and I wanted to get something for the house. I had money, but I didn’t bother doing the research as I suggest outside of comparing prices. So, I just went out and bought one in the Christmas spirit!
I set it up OK and it worked for a while. Oftentimes, I would find that the waste container was filled over its capacity, leaving the lid open and the motor still running. The waste container receptacles were difficult for me to replace. I got discouraged and after a while, I realized that a self-cleaning litterbox wasn’t going to be practical in our household. The good news is that the LitterMaid still faithfully serves us as a manually operated litterbox.
So, is a self-cleaning litterbox in my future? We own seven cats and have five litterboxes in three different locations in our home. I have to say that for now, the answer is No. Me and my wife share litterbox maintenance and general odor control work and have this routine down well. We need to stay on top of this every day to keep odors down. I told my wife before that if I ever win the lottery, I’m never scooping another cat litterbox again!
Maybe someday I’ll try again to enjoy the convenience of an automatic self-cleaning litterbox with what I have learned, and the improvements made since I got mine long ago.
Please share your experiences and comments about self-cleaning litterboxes with me. Inquiring minds would like to know.
I’m here to help,
sources: verticalresponse, petlifetoday, researchandmarkets, catboxpro