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Maintaining a clean litter box is an important part of sharing your home with a cat. Cats are naturally clean animals and are about as fond of clumps of poop and pee as you are. No, really. Leave it too long, and many will find other spots in your home to take care of their business. Before that happens, let’s take a look at some mechanized and automatic cat litter boxes that improve life for you and your cat.
Everyone Loves a Clean Litter Box
Rover‘s cat behavior expert Mikel Delgado recommends scooping every litter box in your home one to two times a day and doing a full litter change every two to four weeks (if you use an unscented clumping litter). Of course, daily scooping can be a real pain if you work long or irregular hours, have a busy schedule, or clean up after multiple cats. What to do then? Many cat owners have turned to automatic and mechanical litter boxes for help.
If you’re thinking about converting to an automatic litter box, there are a few things to keep in mind. Although automatic litter boxes make maintenance easier, they still require your attention and should be checked and cleaned regularly. Also, the fully automated ones are not safe for kittens. PetMD recommends using those only for cats 6 months or older.
One last thing: consider your cat’s personality when considering fully automatic cat litter boxes. If your cat is spooked by loud noises or moving parts, select a model that delays its automatic cleaning until several minutes after your cat has left the box. Or choose one of the mechanized litter boxes that you operate yourself.
Checking Out Automatic and Mechanized Cat Litter Boxes
Ready to remove one more thing from your daily task list? We’ve rounded up the best automatic cat litter box options below. We start with the fully automated boxes and get into the human-powered mechanized boxes in the second half of the list.
This self-cleaning litter box has sensors to detect when your cat has done their business and rakes away the mess. The ScoopFree Ultra comes equipped with disposable litter trays for easy clean-up, but reviewers recommend investing in the reusable tray for a more durable and affordable alternative.
- Adjustable rake delay can be set for five,10, or 20 minutes after your cat last used the litter box
- Uses odor absorbing crystal litter that’s lighter and doesn’t track outside the litter box
- Included health counter tracks how often your pet uses the box so you can keep track of changes
Ever wished your cat could use the toilet? This self-flushing litter box is the next best thing. The CatGenie connects to the cold-water line in your bathroom or laundry room with an included T-Adapter, liquefies your cat’s solids, and disposes of them into your toilet or washing machine’s drain pipe.
- Ideal for one to two (but no more than three) average-sized cats that are at least 6 months old
- Washes and dries reusable litter granules
- Uses water and a cat-safe sanitizer solution to flush waste and wash granules
- Reviewers warn there can be a dry poop smell after granules have been washed and dried
Another automatic raking litter box, the LitterMaid rakes waste into a carbon filtered disposable waste receptacle until you’re ready to dispose of it. Reviewers recommend putting a plastic bag around the waste receptacle to make it last longer. Some warn that the unit is quite noisy.
- Designed for a single cat under 15 pounds
- Scoop-free for up to seven days
- Also available in a multi-cat model
- Paw-cleaning ramp helps remove excess litter and reduce litter tracking
The Litter-Robot 3 Connect is an ultra-deluxe litter box that automatically sifts and separates your cat’s waste, no manual sifting required. The box is WiFi enabled and comes with a phone app that tracks both the cleanliness of your litter box as well as your cat’s bathroom routine. This raised box may not catch on with arthritic cats or cats that don’t like enclosed litter boxes, but it’s likely to be a great fit for most kitties.
- Great for multiple cats
- The waste drawer is fully enclosed, carbon-filtered, and can use a regular kitchen garbage bag
- The cycle timer is adjustable so you can delay the sifting to best fit your cat’s preferences
- Works with any clumping litter
This automatic litter box is one of the quietest available. It rotates slowly (at a rate of one rotation per hour), which is perfect for cats who are easily spooked. Your cat’s waste is carried up a conveyor belt and into the waste container for easy and economical disposal.
- Use with your favorite clumping litter
- Not recommended for use by more than two cats
- You can line the waste container with a plastic bag for easier disposal
The Smart Scoop sweeps away your cat’s waste by moving its metal rakes across the unit 15 minutes after your cat has left the box. The delayed raking and quiet-yet-powerful motor make it a good choice for jumpy cats and cats who prefer an open litter box. Reviewers do warn that it’s better at picking up poop than pee.
- Good choice for homes with multiple cats
- Uses any clumping litter
- The waste-collection bin is lined with a bag for easy disposal
This unique litter box has a patented sifting grate that catches your cat’s waste when you roll it on its top and back again. The sifting grate separates the waste from the litter and places it in a convenient pull-out tray.
- Works with your favorite clumping cat litter
- Has line measurements inside for easy use
- Some purchasers warn that the sifting grate can sometimes slip out of place
The Litter Spinner’s unique barrel design collects your cat’s waste in a drawer, making cleaning a breeze. Simply put litter in the bottom of the Litter Spinner, wait for your cat to use it, then rotate the barrel one full rotation to sift away your cat’s waste. Best for cats who are willing to use an enclosed litter box.
- Recommended for small cats up to 10 pounds
- Unique design reduces odors and controls dust
- No batteries or power cords needed
This mechanical litter box is constructed so that you can tilt it to filter out your cat’s waste. Fill it with your favorite clumping cat litter, tip the box back so all the litter goes through the grates, flip so clumps go into the tray, and then lower to refill with clean filtered litter. Note: Your cat must be willing to climb up to use this one.
- Will fit up to an 18-pound adult cat
- Removable tray lets you easily discard waste
- Reviewers warn it doesn’t have the sturdiest base
This isn’t exactly an “automatic” box. But it’s not a traditional box, either. Instead, this multi-pan sifting litter box uses two normal trays and one sifter tray to easily collect your cat’s waste and conserve litter. This option works like a regular litter box, except that instead of scooping, you sift the waste through the sifter tray into a clean tray to remove waste and get clean litter. (Of course, you still need to dump the waste out of the sifter tray into a disposal container.)
- Good for multiple-cat households
- No shaking or scooping involved
- Works with clumping and non-clumping cat litter
More Tips on Automatic Litter Boxes
Your cat may need some encouragement to try out an automatic or mechanized litter box. Experts recommend keeping the old box available but placing the new box next to it. Let the old litter box get a little dirty so your cat will seek out the clean litter in the new box. At first, keep the automatic functions of the new litter box turned off. Once your cat is using the new litter box regularly, turn on the automatic cleaning cycle and enjoy a life of significantly less scooping.
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