Self Cleaning Litter Box Buying Guide
What You Need to Know
There are several things you want to consider when it comes to choosing the right self cleaning litter box. You may not be sure if they are worth the extra money. We have listed several situations that you may find that this type of litter box works really well. Some of the more popular situations that they work really well for include:
- Owners who have an aversion to touching litter
- Owners that don’t have time to clean the box as much as it needs
- Pregnant cat owners
- Owners that have a weak immune system
- People with a high sense of smell
Types of Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes
There are several different models of self cleaning litter boxes on the market today in all price points. Before you choose one, make sure that you know the differences between the models so you can tell them apart and decide which ones meet your needs the best.
- Uncovered Automatic Litter Boxes – This is the most basic of all the self cleaning litter boxes. It has a standard, rectangular shape and offers the pet owner very simple operation. The sensor in these basic models activates the cleaning rake to do its job roughly 10 minutes or more after the cat leaves the litter box. Even the basic ones have charcoal filters to help with odor control. The owner will need to empty the waste receptacle which can be done very quickly into the biodegradable bags to reduce plastic waste. Basic automatic models can be used with any cat litter you choose.
- Contained Automatic Litter Boxes – This type is completely contained, giving the cat plenty of privacy which many cats need, and it reduces the amount of litter that gets tracked outside the box. A fully contained self cleaning litter box dumps the waste into a chamber underneath the pan. Owners can still choose the kind of litter they want to use. It is more costly than the basic model.
- Self Cleaning Litter Box w/ Optional Cover – Some self cleaning models have the option of purchasing a cover. They can be used either way depending on what the cat (and cat owner) prefers. The rake cleaning system does a good job of keeping the cat box clean as soon as the cat leaves the pan. The waste is dumped into a receptacle that the owner empties periodically.
- Flushing Cat Litter Boxes – This is a specialized kind of litter box that is self flushing, self cleaning and excellent for eliminating odors completely. The cost of this type of litter box is higher and it involves being connected to a cold water line and a waste water drain or toilet for it to work properly. Many people feel the sanitary aspects and the elimination of odor issues makes the cost and initial set up more than worth it.
Things to Consider
Below are some of the things you should consider when shopping for a self cleaning litter box.
- Size – The size of the litter box is an important factor to consider. Measure the space you think you will put the litter box and make sure that the models you are interested in will fit there without problem. You also want to make sure that you use a larger litter box if you have more than one cat.
- Frequency of Cleaning – Even with self cleaning litter boxes there is some maintenance involved and the waste receptacles will need to be emptied about once a week normally. The tray should be cleaned out once in awhile too. No more scooping several times a day.
- Where does the waste go? – Most models seal the waste that is raked away in an odor controlling waste trap that is covered. This helps to significantly reduce the odors that litter boxes usually cause. These traps should be dumped at least once a week although if you choose to dump them more that is okay as well.
- Warranties and Guarantees – Because there are working parts on these types of litter boxes, you want to make sure that they have warranties and guarantees of some kind. Especially the ones that is significantly more expensive. The normal warranty seems to be somewhere around 90 days for the money back guarantee and 1 year for the warranty. The more the better of course, but at least get the standard.
Features to Look For when Shopping
When you are comparing models and looking around, look for these features before you purchase.
- Cover or Hood for Privacy – Many cats love to have privacy when they are using the litter box. If your cat does better when there is privacy, look for litter boxes that have covers. Most models either come with them or offer them as additional purchases.
- High Walls – Look for litter boxes with higher walls if your cat is a litter kicker and scatterer. Many cats make a HUGE mess with the litter. Having a litter box with high sides will eliminate this.
- Adjustable Cleaning Settings – You know how often your cats use the litter box. If you get a self cleaning litter box that has adjustable settings you can set the litter box to clean according to what you need. The more cats you have the more often you will want the box to self clean.
- Motion Sensors – A litter box with sensors will be able to tell when a cat enters the box and when they leave it. These also are equipped with safety sensors that will stop the cleaning when it senses a cat in the box again.
- Battery Backup – This is a good feature to have whenever there is a power outage. That is the only reason a battery backup would be needed but if you are out of power for even a day, odors and waste can build up so it is a good feature to have just in case.
Self cleaning liter boxes take away one of the biggest deterrents to owning a cat and that is having to deal with a disgusting cat box. This type of litter box will take care of the dirty and unpleasant part and leave the enjoyment of having a cat in place.
With all of the models on the market, it helps to know what to look for so you have the best experience possible. The information in this guide is designed to help you choose the right one for your needs.