Litter Robot

Rating: star_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_full (5/5)

The Litter Robot is a device that really does what the manufacturer says and just works. We’ve had ours for about a year now, and we are truly impressed. Visit the website, and give it a (90-day free trial) try. You’ll be pleased!

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The pros

Cats like it! Our three cats do not find the unit threatening, even when it enters its cleaning cycle. In fact, one of our cats will rush over from anywhere in the house as the cycle starts, hunker down near it, and stare at it with fascination as it works. We had wondered if our cats would have any problem with the “step up to enter” design, as you can clearly see in the picture. Not to worry. All of them immediately figured out how to get into the unit, and all of them enter and exit with narry a hitch.

It is extremely effective! The unit entirely solves the problem (especially in a multi-cat household) of “handling” dirty litter. After a cat exits the unit, the unit waits a short time and then starts its cleaning cycle. That waiting period ensures that the cat is truly gone, and it allows the clumping litter to clump solid. The cleaning cycle rotates the large drum on its base, which screens and filters the litter, catching clumps in a special “bin” that then rotates into position to dump the clumps into the large receptacle in the base unit. The drum then rotates back again, auto-leveling the cleaned litter. The unit then resets to wait for the next guest to arrive. With our three (very active) cats, we clean the base-unit receptacle twice a week, which consists of pulling out the drawer, lifting the bag of clumps, replacing the bag with a fresh one, and then pushing the drawer back in. It really couldn’t be much easier to deal with multi-cat litter. The unit is about as much of a “robot” as such a process needs.

It reduces odors considerably! Again, with three cats, we can speak to the “before and after” of litter management. Prior to the Litter Robot, our utility room did smell, even though we were quite religious about actively keeping the litter cleaned out. With the Litter Robot, the odor-causing clumps are quickly dumped into the lower bin, which is quite well sealed. Even with the unit in our study now (it’s too large to fit the spot in our utility room), the odor is not noticeable. Quite impressive.

It is easily “deep cleaned” now and then. Eventually (over months), the drum unit will need a deep cleaning to rid the screens and portals of residual clumped litter. This is easily and quickly accomplished by lifting the drum off of the base and dumping out any remaining litter. Then, just take the drum out back and hose it thoroughly inside and out. The drum is completely waterproof, so you cannot damage it with water. Then, just leave the unit in the sun to dry out. Once dry, place the drum back onto the base unit, refill with fresh litter, and you’re golden for more months of trouble-free litter management.

The sensors actually work. The unit uses sensors to detect when a cat enters and exits, so that it can tell when it needs to run a cleaning cycle. We have found that this system is flawless. The unit never starts a cycle with a cat inside, and it never fails to initiate a cycle within a few minutes of a cat leaving. Thus, this is a true “robot” in dealing with the cleaning cycle.

The catch bin is plenty large! The manufacturer conservatively states, ” If you have several cats, the Litter-Robot™ drawer may still need to be emptied daily, but you will never again have to scoop a dirty litter box by hand!” Well, we do have several cats, and they are, shall we say, active! But we have gone as long as a week between emptying the bin. This is not recommended, as ultimately the “ports” on the drum will get clogged via the rotating contact with the too-high mound in the bin. But we have exactly zero problems when we empty the bin even every five days or so. Twice a week is perfect, and that’s much less hassle than scooping litter multiple times a day!

The catch bin bags are industry-standard. You don’t have to purchase special bags for the catch bin. We have found that cheap, plastic, 30-gallon trash bags work perfectly. Emphasis on “cheap.” Just lift the full bag out, tie it up and discard, and secure a new bag in place (via the rubber grommets in the bin). The whole process takes about a minute.

No special litter is required. There are many “automatic” litter boxes on the market. Many of them require special (and very expensive) litter to operate correctly. In fact, with many you can damage the unit if you don’t use the correct litter. No so with the Litter Robot. We have used at least half-a-dozen different clumping litter types, and all work equally effectively. You want scented? Go for it. You want “hard clump?” No problem. The unit has worked properly with everything we’ve thrown at it.

 

The cons

Some sharp edges in the base unit. If you go too long without emptying the bin, the rotation of the drum will push the mound of litter out of the bin and onto the floor of the base unit. We have learned that this can affect the unit’s ability to sense when a cat has entered/exited, such that the cleaning cycle will not initiate. (The unit never cycles with a cat inside.) So, you’ll then have to pull out the catch bin and reach into the base unit to remove these droppings by hand. Inside the base unit are various edges formed of injection-molded plastic, and many of these are razor sharp! So, as you root around in there, do be careful! Cuts and used litter do not make a healthy combination! Better yet, clean the catch bin often enough to not have the problem occur in the first place, and you won’t have to be reaching in there.

The drum can take a long time to dry. On occasion you will need to spray out the main drum with a hose. This process is simple and quick. However, even on a warm day we have found that it can take hours for the drum to dry inside and out. And you’ll need to rotate it into different positions during that process. So, it is not “trivial” to deep clean the unit, only because you have to build in a multi-hour dry cycle before you can reposition the drum onto the base unit. Obviously, using clumping litter, if the drum is not thoroughly dry inside, you will “gum up the works” as soon as you fill the drum with fresh litter. So it must be very dry inside, and that does take some time.

The unit is very large! We were surprised at how large the unit actually is. We could not fit it where the old litter box had been in the utility room, and you must leave about an inch of space around the unit to allow the drum to rotate without rubbing on walls, etc. We did get the larger multi-cat unit. But even the single-cat unit is much larger than a typical covered litter box. This is not really a “con,” although you should plan accordingly. The thing simply will not fit where you might find it most convenient.

 

Summary

I don’t dole out five-star ratings trivially! This thing is about as close to a “litter miracle” as possible. It’s hard to imagine how the idea could be really improved upon, and it will revolutionize how you deal with the messy task of keeping clean and odor-free litter in your house. The unit is quite expensive, but we already feel that it has paid for itself and then some! Particularly if you have multiple cats, this thing delivers on its promises and will make your life much easier. Highly recommended!