Cat parenting has its ups and downs. Though owners are rewarded with having cuddly companions for life, a drawback is constantly needing to provide for these four-legged creatures. Grooming them, playing with them (try making cat-approved DIY toys), and giving them nourishing food are just some of the things that need to be done regularly. Worse, scooping out litter must be done at least once or twice a day depending on how many kitties you have. This is where a self-cleaning cat litter box comes in!
But first… What is a cat litter box?
A litter box is defined by Wikipedia as “an indoor feces and urine collection box for cats… They are provided for pets that are permitted free roam of a home but who cannot or do not always go outside to excrete their metabolic waste.”
A cat litter box usually contains litter made of materials such as clay, recycled paper pellets, and silica-based crystals. These are combined with odour reducing elements such as baking soda and ammonia. The litter works to absorb moisture and odours after a cat urinates or excretes waste. After peeing or pooping, a cat instinctively uses her paws to bury her waste, and, at the same time, hide her scent. The litter makes it easier for a person to scoop out the cat’s waste and dispose of it properly.
How does a self-cleaning cat litter box work?
A self-cleaning cat litter box is an electronic device that detects when your cat has used the box and automatically puts together the soiled litter. Goodhousekeeping.com shares that for most self-cleaning litter boxes, sensors (either a pressure pad or an infrared light) detect when a cat has used the box. After a few minutes, an electric combing mechanism sifts through the litter to collect the clumps left by the cat. It then deposits the waste into a drawer or disposable bag, which holds the waste and odours.
Other self-cleaning cat litter boxes may use special granules, which are washed in a sanitising solution after the waste gets scooped into the bin. More advanced self-cleaning litter boxes may even be connected to the plumbing system of a home. It allows the box to immediately wash, cleanse, and dry the permanent litter pellets.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of owning a self-cleaning cat litter box?
- Foul odours are reduced since the litter box always sanitises itself.
- A household with multiple cats or those with cats obsessed with cleanliness will benefit from having a self-cleaning litter box since it’s always ready for use.
- You won’t need to monitor your cat and scoop out soiled litter every time she pees or poops.
- You won’t need to exert too much effort cleaning the litter box as it automatically places the soiled litter into a sealed receptacle until you’re ready to clean it out.
- Some self-cleaning litter box brands have light indicators to let you know it’s time to take out the waste.
- The reusable litter can last for months and help you save on money. Plus, you won’t need to do a complete litter change since most self-cleaning litter boxes use clumping cat litter.
- Some self-cleaning cat litter boxes come with hefty price tags. Plus, there might be some setup required before the box works.
- You’ll need to buy disposable bags, refill trays/filters, or specially formulated cat litter for the specific brand you purchase.
- Some self-cleaning cat litter box designs are bulky or oddly shaped, thus taking up more space in a room.
- You may need to buy batteries or connect the self-cleaning cat litter box to a power source. And since it runs on power, it may make noise as the mechanism cleans the litter.
- Though this doesn’t need to be done on a daily basis, you’ll need to devote some time to cleaning the shifting mechanism as well as the waste receptacle. However, they’re relatively easy to clean.
- Your cat may not want to use it, especially if she is a shy cat or one that is accustomed to using a manual litter box. As such, you may need to guide or train her to use it.
What are some self-cleaning cat litter box brands worth considering?
Now that you’ve weighed the pros and cons of owning a self-cleaning cat litter box and have decided that it’s something for you (and your cat!), you can explore these brands and see which matches your cat’s needs.
If you’re bothered by the amount of litter waste that you have to scoop up every day, you may want to consider purchasing a self-cleaning cat litter box (or two!) for your home. Speak with other paw parents about their experiences or get expert recommendations from your veterinarian. Also, consider a brand’s warranty and money-back guarantee when purchasing a self-cleaning cat litter box.