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Choosing an Automatic Litter Box

The automatic litter box is a match made in heaven for cat owners who want as little contact as possible with the litter box. Or perhaps, you're the proud owner of multiple cats and you are tired of scooping the litter box all day long....

Whatever your reason may be, you may find yourself a bit overwhelmed with all the litter box choices. "Which is the best, the least expensive, will it last?"... are some questions that might concern you.

They certainly are valid since the average self cleaning litter box costs around $80-100! Yikes.... So how do you choose one that your cats will like?

First, you'll need to decide a few things:

  • Do you want the freedom to use your favorite litter or change it whenever you find a sale?
  • Is your cat picky about using a particular type of litter?
  • Are you okay with buying refill cartridges every month?
  • Are you aware that even though the boxes are automatic they still need routine maintenance such as cleaning or replacing cartridges?

If you'd like something more traditional looking, there are boxes with rakes such as the Littermaid that are designed like a typical litter box. They have built in sensors to detect when your cat exits the box.
The sensors will then set off the cleaning cycle 10 minutes after your cat leaves the box. Some boxes, such as the ScoopFree Ultra have a timer that can be pre-set by you.

Because chances are... if there's something smelly in the litter box, you won't want to wait 10 whole minutes to be rid of it!

With the ScoopFree, you are limited to a certain type of litter (Fresh Step Crystals recommended) so if you like to bargain hunt for the cheapest litter this may pose a problem. Of course, you'll also need to keep your furry friend's needs in mind... she may not like using crystal litter!

The ScoopFree, has received some very good reviews with only minor complaints about purchasing refill cartridges frequently.

However, the great benefit of the disposable cartridge is that you can change out the litter easily by covering the cartridge and disposing it in the garbage. You simply replace it with another, no washing required.

For best results, the disposable cartridge needs to be replaced every 20-30 days for one cat and more frequently for multiples.

The ScoopFree Ultra, is an upgraded version which allows you to set the timer to 5, 10 or 20 minutes after your cat leaves the box, it also comes with a hood for privacy and a "health counter" which tracks your cats litter box visits.

There are some self cleaning boxes that have a unique design such as the Litter Robot which takes the shape of a round globe with an entryway for your cat. Once your cat enters, the built in sensor will count down from 7 minutes and start the cleaning cycle and rotate the globe upside down to then sift the litter and dispose of any dirty litter in the storage compartment below.

It also has a weight sensor to detect if another cat has entered the box and if they do, the timer then resets itself, so you won't have to worry about your cat being trapped.

With the Litter Robot, you have the freedom to use the litter of your choice. There are no other extra refill cartridges to purchase, however, it is not the least expensive box available if not one of the most expensive.

This self cleaning box has also been raved as a good investment and some owners claim it has lasted them many years.

Before making an investment in a self cleaning litter box, be sure to research the user reviews on each one and be mindful of complaints that warrant attention. It is also important to find out the return policy of the manufacturer and what you should do if you have a box malfunction.

Read more automatic litter box reviews from cat lovers (and their cats).
Please also visit Cat Litter Critic for more cat litter and box reviews.
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