It’s every cat owner’s dream: a litter box that scoops itself. But, how effective are these devices? Do they live up to the claims that they can save you time and hassle?
“A self-cleaning litter box is simply more convenient for pet parents,” says Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM, CVJ. “And if the box is cleaned more often, the cat is happier as well.”
The automatic litter box is a win-win situation for both the cat parent and their feline; you get a break from scooping, and your kitty can enjoy a waste-free toilet, every time. If you are considering purchasing one for your furry friend, keep reading to learn more about the benefits of arguably the best cat litter box around—the self-cleaning litter box.
Spend Less Time Scooping
An obvious benefit of the automatic cat litter box is that you can go for weeks without even looking at a cat litter scooper and still have a happy cat. Automatic litter boxes work by detecting when your cat has gone to the bathroom and then raking the waste into a special waste receptacle—which means you don’t have to scoop the poop yourself.
The ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box is one of the most self-sufficient litter boxes on the market. This automatic cat litter box takes the stress out of cleaning up after your kitty by doing the hard work for you. The rake system detects when your cat has used the box and will dispose the waste into a separate, closed and odor-controlled waste compartment. All you need to do is empty the waste container regularly and replace the special plastic litter box tray liners every 30 days.
For multi-cat households, try the LitterMaid Mega Series Automatic Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box, which has an extra-large basin to comfortably fit multiple cats. More cats means more waste, and the sealed receptacle with carbon filters is designed to absorb and trap strong odors. These can last for approximately three days, which means less time cleaning the litter box and more time cuddling up with your feline. Sounds purr-fect to us!
Encourages Litter Box Use
“For finicky felines, clean litter boxes are of utmost importance,” Dr. Wooten says. “A clean litter box helps to prevent toileting problems.”
When a pet parent is dealing with a cat who frequently eliminates outside of the litter box, one possible explanation is that the litter box is not clean enough for use. Cats will oftentimes choose to use the bathroom somewhere else if their litter box has too much waste buildup or doesn’t smell fresh.
A self-cleaning cat litter box makes sure you won’t have to worry about maintaining a spotless potty area, as the litter box will essentially keep itself clean. But this doesn’t mean you can turn it on and forget it—basic routine cleanings of the litter box are essential to keep it running effectively.
Effective Odor Control
Another advantage of the automatic litter box is its exceptional ability to control odors. With traditional litter boxes, your cat’s waste will sit in the box until you scoop it up and throw it away. Self-cleaning litter boxes typically will clean up after your cat right away, sealing any waste in a separate, odor-neutralizing receptacle. (You’ll still want to make sure to empty the waste receptacle regularly to keep odors to a minimum.)
One litter box touted for its odor-eliminating abilities is the Pet Zone Smart Scoop Automatic Cat Litter Box. This litter box uses a specialized carbon zeolite filter to absorb odors and eliminate them from your home immediately after use.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Self-Cleaning Litter Box
Self-cleaning litter boxes may not be for every cat. Samantha Bell DiGenova, the cat behavior and enrichment lead at Best Friends Animal Society, says pet parents should consider the needs and personality of their cat before purchasing an automatic litter box.
“Most self-cleaning litter boxes are enclosed, and some cats will not use a covered box,” she says.
Additionally, DiGenova notes that these types of litter boxes make noise when they clean, “which could frighten timid cats.” If you have an easily-frightened cat, be sure to check the litter box’s product description for the mention of a quiet motor.
Also, some cats are not the best at covering their waste. If that’s the case for your cat, a self-cleaning litter box may not be the best option.
“The feces will easily stick to the rake as it pushes through the litter box,” Dr. Amy Pike, DVM, says.
Another factor to consider is the cost. Self-cleaning litter boxes are typically more expensive than traditional litter boxes.
That being said, many cat owners have had a lot of success with automatic litter boxes. Now that you understand why self-cleaning litter boxes are so popular among the cat community, there’s only one last question to ask: What will you be doing with all the time you save from not having to scoop cat litter every day?
Samantha Schwab, Junior Editor
As an aspiring cat mom, Samantha Schwab can be found mining keywords, meticulously editing Pet Central blog posts or standing at her desk (usually all three!). An espresso shot and kitty cuddles are the only things that stand between Samantha and conquering the (pet) world!