We’ve all been there: The last thing you want to deal with when you get home from a long day at work is the cat’s litter box. Sure, we all love our friendly four-legged friends, but the never-ending waste disposal ritual of scooping litter, tossing it in the trash, and throwing it in the garbage bin never was much fun.
Fortunately, self-cleaning cat litter boxes exist. They can take the pain out of constant cleanings by taking care of some of the work for you, including flushing the litter into a drain or toilet. That can save you time and remove offensive odors from the home an order of magnitude faster than manual scooping.
Read on to learn more about some of the key benefits of automatic cat litter boxes and how you can find the right one for your home and cat!
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The Advantages of Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Boxes
The main selling point for self-cleaning litter boxes include ease of disposal, odor prevention, and configurability. Unlike normal litter boxes, self-cleaning boxes can automatically scrub and sanitize the litter box and even drain it through a hookup to your sewer or septic tank system. With proper maintenance and by following the user manual, you’ll be able to save more time and avoid dealing with messy litter.
Choosing the Right Self-Cleaning Litter Box for Your Home
Before you embark on your automatic litter box journey, you’ll want to keep a few different factors in mind:
- Waste Disposal
- Number of Cats in Your Home
- Compatible Litters
- Affordability / Price
We’ll examine at each of these points to help you determine which type of litter box is right for you and your feline friend.
Choosing the Right Waste Disposal System
The more sophisticated self-cleaning litter boxes not only scoop litter, but also flush it out of your home via a hookup through a T-adapter to your sewer or septic tank system. There are major advantages to this approach as you not only gain the environmental benefits of avoiding landfill disposal, but also the removal of material before the odors can propagate around your home.
Other automatic litter boxes will scoop litter into a special compartment where it can be stored for a certain amount of time before you will have to dispose of it in your garbage or down the drain (for compatible litter types). These systems tend to sit on the more affordable end of the price spectrum, though you do lose the convenience and benefits of self-flushing systems.
In the end, the choice depends on whether you’re ok with manually disposing the litter, or if you want the machine to simply hold on to it for you for a little while so you don’t have to dispose (or smell it) of it as often.
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Make Sure Your Chosen Self-Cleaning System Can Accommodate
Self-cleaning systems offer a major benefit when it comes to a multi-cat household: Since they clean themselves within a quick timeframe, other cats may be more likely to use the box since the odors of the previous cat will have already washed out of the unit.
However, some manufacturers recommend limiting the number of cats that can use the same box. Be sure to consult the user manual to make sure you’re following the recommended guidelines. You may want to purchase additional boxes if necessary to accommodate all your feline companions.
Choosing the Right Litter for an Automatic Litter Box System
Each self-cleaning litter box system will have its own required or recommended litter. Some systems, such as the CatGenie Self-Flushing Cat Box, make use of their own name brand litter product to accommodate the special features of the product itself.
For instance, the CatGenie system markets itself as flushable and safe for septic tanks and sewer systems, so it uses a special kind of litter that’s compatible with the special requirements of these waste disposal systems.
What’s Your Budget? Which Litter Box Is a Great Match for Your Kitty – And Your Wallet
Not all self-cleaning litter boxes are made equal, but it’s equally important to consider the effect that a system will have on your wallet. Some systems that offer more features end up being more expensive at the time of purchase, but they can offer some real tangible benefits in terms of hours saved on cleaning and improved cleanliness and comfort in your home.
Other systems may come in at a lower price point but require more manual work such as more frequent disposal and cleanings. The other factor to consider from a price point of view is the amount of maintenance and upkeep that a system will require. Some systems may have more in-depth maintenance schedules due to the amount of moving parts present to properly function.
Which Self-Cleaning Litter Box Is Right for You?
Ultimately, you’ll need to make the right decision for your specific needs and household. Multiple cats can certainly use the same automatic litter box, but there may be special instructions around the frequency of cleanings and an upper limit on the absolute number of cats that should use it.
Other factors include ancillary benefits like manufacturer guarantees and warranties, pricing, the cost of maintenance and refills, safety mechanisms, ease of installation, and special requirements such as electrical and water hookups. Some systems are easier to install than others, so if this is a factor for you then it may be wise to consider automatic litter boxes that offer easy installation as opposed to buying one based on the sheer number of bells and whistles it provides.
Read on to see the top 5 list of self-cleaning litter boxes!
CatGenie Self-Flushing Cat Box Check Price
If you’ve always thought that our feline friends should have their own toilets, the CatGenie Self-Flushing Cat Box is the answer to all your cat waste disposal prayers. It’s a remarkably innovative system that automatically cleans and flushes cat waste directly out of your home. With a combination of water and so-called “SaniSolution,” the CatGenie automatically cleans, flushes, and dries itself so that you no longer need to worry about scooping and disposal. With plenty of features and configuration options, you can tweak the CatGenie system’s settings to function on the right schedule for your household.
- The CatGenie automatically scoops and flushes waste through a drain hookup into your sewer or septic tank.
- Specially-designed Washable Granules forgo conventional clay litter and provide a way to satisfy your cat’s inclinations to scratch and cover their waste.
- SaniSolution cleans the bowl during each cleaning routine and dries the granules to ensure that they’re ready for use by the next cat.
- Forget about scooping, cleaning, and dumping bagged litter – the CatGenie handles it all so that all you need to do is the occasional refill and maintenance.
- Some customers have complained about tracking issues with the granules – although this can be mitigated with a litter box mat.
- Sensitive cats may be frightened by the cleaning process and not respond well to the CatGenie as a result.
- Some customers have commented on the necessity for maintenance on occasion.
ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box Check Price
The ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box takes an alternative approach to automatic cleaning by avoiding the technical complexity of drain hookups and flushing systems in favor of a simpler approach: short-term storage. The system’s automatic rake system moves waste into a compartment that is specially designed to contain the waste and all its odors every 5, 10, or 20 minutes after your cat uses it. With an integrated health counter and privacy hood to keep litter in the box, the ScoopFree will probably do a decent job in keeping your home free of odors and all the other issues associated with more conventional litter box systems.
- The ScoopFree Ultra system automatically cleans the box after a pre-set time after your cat does his or her business.
- With a proprietary crystal litter formulation, the ScoopFree system can absorb urine and feces and all their odors with ease.
- Disposable litter trays allow for easy clean up.
- Excellent reliability with a 100,000-cycle testing protocol in the lab.
- The system saves you money by using approximately 5x less litter than traditional clay and clumping litters.
- You’ll want to make sure you know what you’re buying – the system does not dispose of waste, only store it. You’ll still need to dispose of it periodically.
- As with other litter systems, some cats may be afraid of automatic cleanings.
- The system is only compatible with the propriety crystal litter.
ScoopFree Original Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box Check Price
The original ScoopFree system is also an excellent automatic litter box. While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of its Ultra big brother, it still offers excellent odor control while providing a convenient way to save you time and money on litter and disposal.
- One tray lasts up to 30 days before needing replacement in a single-kitty home.
- As a more affordable alternative to the Ultra option, you’ll still get the same great benefits of an automatic raking system and storage compartment.
- Fast-drying crystal litter absorbs ammonia and other unpleasant smells.
- As with all systems, some cats may not take a liking to it.
- The system is relatively shallow compared to other boxes, and some cats may not appreciate that.
PetSafe Simply Clean Litter Box System Check Price
For a high-tech solution to kitty litter, the PetSafe system offers an alternative to the options listed previously. This system uses a conveyer belt and dedicated waste container to properly store waste prior to disposal without the use of an exposed moving parts. The lack of exposed moving parts offers a huge benefit – it’s less likely to scare your kitty. The system also makes significantly less noise than other competing systems so that your noise-sensitive cats are less likely to be scared off by it.
- An automatic conveyer system will transport litter from the bowl into a dedicated waste compartment. Your kitty will always have a clean, dry bowl to do his or her business.
- With no visible moving parts and minimal noise, kitties are less likely to be scared by its operation. This is the greatest advantage of the PetSafe system over its competitors for owners of easily-frightened cats.
- With a dedicated waste compartment area and a sturdy shopping bag (like those found at your local supermarket), you the system can easily store litter and waste until it needs to be emptied.
- Since the PetSafe system does not need a drain line to function, it’s more affordable than other options on the market today.
- Some cats may not be likely to use the system due to the sizing. You may want to consider your cat’s size in relation to the system’s dimensions.
- Issues with reliability were reported, though these appear to be sporadic cases for an otherwise reliable system.
- The system functions slower than other options on the market, although this is by design to ensure kitties aren’t as frightened by it.
Omega Paw Roll’N Clean Cat Litter Box Check Price
For an especially affordable option that forgoes the bells and whistles of more expensive competitors on the market, the Omega Paw Roll’N Clean Cat Litter Box offers a bargain-price substitute for the more expensive products available online. This system relies on a simple rolling movement to filter waste into the pull-out tray for easy disposal. No electricity or water hookups are required, making the Omega Paw Roll’N Clean the most affordable option in our list.
- Minimal maintenance required due to the lack of electrical and water/drain hookups.
- Easy to use and dispose of waste.
- Effective for multi-cat households.
- Less litter will be required in the long run due to the filtration process resulting from the rolls.
- More muscle may be required due to the lack of electrical processes for filtration.
- Some waste may roll back into the main compartment, so additional rolls may be required.
- You’ll want to make sure this unit is the right size for all of your feline companions.