Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes: How They Work and Tips for Using Them

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If you’re hoping to get a little help around the house, there’s probably a robot for that.

Okay, I guess that’s kind of lofty. But there are quite a bit of automated things these days, like robot vacuums and virtual assistants.

In the pet world, you can have automatic feeders that perfectly portion your pup’s dinner on a schedule. Or, set up an interactive camera and treat dispenser, so you can still tell your pet how much you love them and toss them a treat while you’re away on vacation.

We’re living in the future, here.

So, why are you still scooping your cat’s litter box? It’s like… the least fun any pet owner can have.

These days, there are dozens of self-cleaning litter boxes to choose from. These high tech solutions can handle the unpleasant chore for you, for a price. Of course, if it’s one of your most-hated chores, or you simply don’t have time for it, these automatic litter boxes could be well worth the money.

How Do Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes Work?

Self-cleaning litter boxes require clumping litter. Some allow you to use your favorite brand of choice, while others require a specific type.

These boxes use sensors to detect when your cat has used it. Once your cat has exited the box, the cleaning cycle begins. For most of these self-cleaning boxes, a rake sifts through the litter, collecting any clumps left behind. It then deposits them into a receptacle at the end of the box.

Once the “present” is deposited into the receptacle, it closes — containing the clumps and their odors. A signal will alert you when it’s time to empty it.

These automatic litter boxes aren’t for every cat, though. They’re not well-suited for kittens, so you might want to wait until your kitty’s first birthday before purchasing one. You also need to take note of your cat’s size and weight, as these boxes vary in size.

Tips for Using Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes

If you’ve decided it’s time to try out one of these fancy self-cleaning boxes, you’ll likely have to get your cat acclimated first. Add a small amount of your cat’s waste from another litter box to the new self-cleaning one, to help your cat identify this new box’s use.

If your cat is a little skittish or easily started, it’s important to remember that the electric motor will create some sound. It might be best to leave the power disconnected for a few days and manually scoop it. Once your cat is comfortable with regularly using it, you can reconnect the power at let the box do its thing.

Once you’ve got your cat using the new self-cleaning box, make sure to empty the waste receptacle regularly. Also, occasionally clean and maintain the rake and other parts of the cleaning mechanism to keep it running smoothly.