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Do those electronic self-cleaning litter boxes work?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Or more specifically.. How hard is it to convince a cat that one of these is "worthy" of their bodily functions? I've always imagined that cats would be a little scared by the mechanism that combs the litter.. I'm thinking of making the investment.. But they're so bloody expensive that I'd need some positively glowing reviews to go for it.

Opinions, please?
post #2 of 14
I review "reviews" at a product review site, for pet products and I'd have to say it's about 80% negative to 20% positive on reviews of all models of automatic litter boxes.

Cons: range from too noisy, too fussy (have to have the right kind of litter and just the right amount or the rake gets stuck), inefficent, rake needs frequent cleaning as cats didn't cover up their poo, pee and poo clumps go both into the container and around it so their is spillage on the floor, cats didn't like it so they stay in a corner to do their business and rake misses it, rake not strong enough so it grinds away trying to move a clump and then quit, expensive to get the throw-away containers, needing replacing too soon, broke easily...this was the general kind of complaints.

Pros: cats adjusted fairly quickly, worked well when right litter and litter level used, some still scooped out the poop, containers can be washed out (ugh!!) and re-used or lined with a tiny plastic bag and just that discarded, some felt it saved time and was great if one had just one or two cats.

post #3 of 14
I really wish it would have worked for me, but it didn't.

My cats used it readily enough, but I ran into the problem mentioned in Pat & Alix's reviews that my cats would urinate in the corner, and the rake wouldn't be able to catch it, so I just ended up with dirty clumps in the corner. Also, it requires use of the really fine-grained clumping litter, which my cats scattered all over the house. I went back to the ordinary litterboxes with low-track clumping litter after a couple of weeks.
post #4 of 14
If you have one with more than 2cats ((like I made the mistake of doing)) then you will find that it fails to clean the box properly. Not only that but onces I came home to find one of my long haired calicos stuck in the machine ((her tail got caught in the rake)).

~ Salem
post #5 of 14
I have reviewed them as well. I had two. If you have one cat, they are good to use. Initially the noise startles them, then it intrigues them (sometimes to the tune of getting something caught in the moving parts) It does not cover the entire pan, some cats catch on to this and seem to use the area it can't cover. Solid waste can and does get caught in rake tines, loose stools are a nightmare to clean as well. I ended up giving both units away to people who only had one cat. Two of my cats got their tails caught in the mechanism and one almost got his paw caught, he kept swiping at the darn thing when it was in motion. I do it the old fashioned way now, bend, and scoop, and scrub and refill.
post #6 of 14
I use one with my cat - have done for the last 5 years. Up until very recently the littermaid was for 2 cats.

In many ways it is a pest, you absolutely have to have the right litter. And, "stuff" can and does get stuck in the rake...they key is not to leave the thing unattended for day(s) at a stretch which of course is probably the feature the littermaid folks are "selling" you on most.

Now we're at a stage where it works fairly well most of the time, it's not 100% reliable, but most of the time they cat-businesses is tidied away and the litter is raked clear. However it looks like I'm in the 20% (positive_ of the population that's had success.
post #7 of 14
I had 2 Littermaids. After the initial shock that I would have to scoop the litter wore off, I found them ok. I kept a close eye on them, topping off litter daily and removing clumps I had learned would cause the unit to jam. It was a nightmare to clean. When they were broken during my move last year, I decided not to purchase new ones.

I switched my 6 kitties to crystals and 3 jumbo boxes. Recently I decided to try another automatic box. The crystals available locally are too dusty, and spending $90 a month on litter is a bit much. I purchased the Performa by Petmate. That box is nothing but a piece of junk. It never worked properly and should not be on the market. I got my money back.

Today, I placed an order for the Litter Robot. It doesn't use a rake, but sifts instead. It is also round, which should help keep clumps out of tight corners. It was very, very expensive, but on all sites I've been to, owners have had nothing but good things to say. We'll see how good it is when it gets here.
post #8 of 14
A friend of mine has one and she said it works great
post #9 of 14
I did a search to see what other people had to say about these. I wish I had never gotten one! I got the Performa Plus b/c it's more attractive than the Littermaid and it was slightly more expensive which (wrongly) led me to believe it was better.

It has NEVER swept on it's own. It only sweeps when I turn it off and back on. Looser stools get stuck on the rake, and the rake doesn't go to the bottom, which leaves a layer of ew down there. The replacement plastic liners are over $5 a piece and you really need a new one everytime you clean. So it's over $20 +tax (and shipping for me) just for the liners. That's assuming you only clean once a week. The plastic baggies that hold the stuff last about 2-3 days. You get a pack of 4 for about $4.

I'm going to try to return it to the store, or send it to the company under warranty and get my money back. The frame has never fit properly either.

It's a piece of junk. I agree w/the poster who said it shouldn't even be on the market.

I looked at the Litter Robot, but I don't think my cat would get up in it and even if he could, it's be hard for him. I think I'm just going to get a normal box... maybe a sifting kind. I want to keep it clean as much as possible, so I don't want a hooded one b/c I won't be able to see if there's anything I need to scoop/sift out.

I wish I'd have read reviews before I got it!
post #10 of 14
When I first saw the Litter Robot (LR), I took one look, laughed, then proceeded to order the infernal Purrforma.First I would recommend you get your money back.I refused to buy Littermaids because i can't respect a company that refuses to improve obvious design flaws. I'll never touch Petmate because i have no respect for a company that is too incompetent or greedy to do sufficient product trials before dumping crap on the consumers. Then there's the robot.

I have had mine for several weeks and it is absolutely wonderful! It works even for 6 cats. Once it arrived I realized it was worth every penny.I suggest you visit their website and also check out this forum http://www.litterbox-central.com/forum/ at Litterbox Central.

I was afraid my cats would reject it. There are some excellent tips on the litterbox forum for preparing your cats to use it. The customer service is outstanding! I called with about 10-15 questions before ordering and received detailed information. Although there are some instances where this box is not appropriate (certain medical conditions)I am convinced anyone would be happy with it.
post #11 of 14
How high is it? Do you think a kitten could get up in it? Maybe I could put something in front to climb on. I wish it was more eye-pleasing (for me ) and less intimidating for kitties.

The website says that cats under 5 lbs. may not trip the sensors. Is there a way to make it 'go' when you want it to?
post #12 of 14
I purchased the black unit for $364 with shipping. I think the bone (white) is about $20 more. Most cats use the lip of the waste drawer as a step up.Here is the manufacturer's website http://www.litter-robot.com/ .The answer to any questions you have can be found there as well as a demonstative video. The sensor can be adjusted with the help of customer service and you can run a manual cleaning cycle at any time. The litterbox central forum is full of info about all kinds of automatic boxes, so check it out as well.

I conducted lots of research before buying and was prepared for possible problems other's had expirienced. I developed a plan for getting my cats to accept the box ahead of time.That is why I am so happy with it. The only problem I've had is I kept forgetting to empty the waste drawer and it would make a mess. I bought a dry erase calendar, put it on my fridge and every day at a glance I know when it needs cleaning.
post #13 of 14
Thanks for the info, and that's a good idea.
post #14 of 14
We have used one (LitterMaid) for years, with as many as three cats. Absolutely no problems at all -- none. They make a messy job a pleasure. We wouldn't be without one. A couple of years ago a feral kitten walked in and adopted us and our two Burmese, and she went directly to the box, never having seen a litter box before, and she has used it faithfully ever since. She is not frightened by the rake -- instead she is intrigued by it. We have seen her sit patiently after using the box for the 10-minute delay, so that she could watch it in action. Kitten curiosity! Perhaps we were just lucky, as we do realize cats all have their own ways, their likes and dislikes, as do people. Cheers, Jim & Ann
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