Self Cleaning Litter Box – Is it Worth It?

For years I had the usual run of the mill litter box. I’d seen the ads for the self cleaning cat box, but I didn’t pay much attention to it. I didn’t think scooping the litter box was a big deal. And I didn’t see the point in spending the extra money for an automatic one.

self-cleaning litter box

Choosing A Self-Cleaning Litter Box

I recently purchased one, and then a second box a month later after I let my cats try it out. I started researching them around the beginning of the year. I thought I had decided on the Litter Robot. I figured if I was going to splurge for a self cleaning cat box, I might as well go all in and get the best. After all, my cats are very spoiled.

I read a bunch of reviews and articles. I tend to research practically everything I buy and will do more digging the higher the cost of the item. The Litter Robot had great reviews. The reason I didn’t buy it was something I read about when it turned on.

My cats can be a bit obnoxious and not always the brightest. I was afraid they may try to get in the Litter Robot when it was in clean mode, and the pod was moving. I decided I didn’t want to pay the high price tag and take a gamble on it.

The Decision

In the end, I decided on the Littermaid LM980 Mega Self-Cleaning Litter Box. I bought it in March, set it up and waited to see if my cats would use it. They got in it right away.

Now I just had to wait to see if they’d use it as a litterbox or a sandbox. I also wanted to be sure that when it turned on to clean the box, the noise and motion wouldn’t scare my cats from getting back in it. The Littermaid was a hit. I started to notice them using the regular boxes less, which was great.

Once the experiment was a success, I bought a second one. I still keep a couple of hooded litter boxes in another area. The cats do use their old boxes but not as frequently as before. I don’t have to scoop or change them as often now.

Benefits of the Automatic Boxes

  • Less scooping
  • Don’t have to dump it and wash it out as often as a regular box
  • Little to no cat box smell

Drawbacks to Expect

  • It does need to be dumped and cleaned. Taking it apart and cleaning the bottom and rake mechanism takes longer than a regular box but you don’t have to do it as frequently. Taking that into account, it probably takes less time overall to clean it out.
  • You still may need to scrape and scoop some, but you have the convenience of just scooping directly into the bin.
  • The waste receptacles that come with it are small and need to be replaced often. There are a couple of options to remedy this issue. The first is to line it with a grocery bag so you can reuse the plastic bin. The second and better choice is to put the Littermaid on top of a wooden box and use a larger plastic bin under the lid to collect more waste.

Final Outcome

Although the boxes worked well for awhile, in the long run they became more work than I wanted to deal with. Over time, the boxes didn’t run as smoothly and required a lot of extra time cleaning. Trying to get clumped litter out of crevices was a pain. Even though it means daily scooping, I have gone back to a more traditional litter box.

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