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Lorena Ávila has been a member since July 17th 2012, and has created 190 posts from scratch.

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7 Main Benefits of Using a Self Cleaning Litter Box For Your Cat

You can enjoy great benefits from using a self cleaning litter box for your cat. Let’s get to the point and check the following advantages of having one of these devices:

1. It Frees You From Scooping Every Day

This means you gain extra time! That’s the main reason auto litter boxes were created; to do the job for you so you don’t have to worry about this stinky task anymore. As cat owners we agree this is the number one thing we hate about having a cat, having to scoop the litter box at least once or twice a day.

Whether the self cleaning litter box uses a rake to do the job for you or a self flushing or rotating mechanism, the point is that these devices are designed to collect the waste from the litter box so you don’t have to do it.

All automatic litter boxes work with sensors that trigger the self cleaning mechanism once the cat leaves the litter box. Also, all of them feature a safety measurement in case a cat re-enters the litter box, resetting and delaying the auto cleaning process.

These machines are not perfect but effective when it comes to relieving the scooping task. The efficiency of this scooping action will depend on the quality of the electric litter box you choose.

2. Less Or Not Contact With Cat Waste

Everybody knows that the direct contact with cat’s feces and urine is not healthy. When you scoop the litter box once or twice a day, unless you use a mask every time, you are breathing lots of bacteria that could be harmful for you.

The level of contact with cat waste will depend on the mechanism of the electric litter box. If you choose a self flushing litter box like the CatGenie you won’t have contact with cat waste at all. With devices that feature a rotating mechanism like the Litter Robot you will only need to grab a bagged waste so the contact is minimum as well. Other machines that feature a rake also reduce the contact with cat clumps because they minimize the frequency of scooping, although there is still some scooping to do here and there, but they certainly reduce it by 70% or more, depending on how efficient the design is.

3. It Reduces Odors In Your House

If a cat litter box automatically self cleans it means there is not waste sitting in the litter box for hours. This self scooping action reduces the feces and urine smell dramatically. Nobody wants to have visitors that notice you have a cat in your house without actually seeing the cat.

An auto litter box can keep up with the cleaning of the litter box but to reduce the odors efficiently will also depend on how the self cleaning litter box’s design holds the collected waste and also the quality of the litter you use. For you peace of mind all automatic litter boxes can be cleaned, some of them can be submersed in water while other just wipe clean with a wet cloth. The frequency of cleaning the litter box will also help in controlling odors.

The last but not the least factor when it comes to odor control is paying attention to your cat’s diet. Cat foods made with by-products create more and stinkier feces. A factor to take into consideration.

4. Your Cat Enjoys A Clean Litter Box Every Time It Uses It

It is very important for felines to have a clean litter box every time they need to use it. It gives them a sense of safety and comfort, just as human.

Litter Robot just self cleaned ready for another use

In the wild it’s very important for a feline to cover its feces and urine smell for two reasons: to avoid alarming possible preys and also hiding from predators. The domestic cat even though is not living in the wild, its instincts still conduct its behavior of rejecting a dirty litter box.

Some cats are more finicky when it comes to accept a dirty litter box and they plain don’t use it even if having a very little use. Either way, if you want to make your cat happy, the best way to go is having a system that will keep your cat’s litter box clean at all times.

5. It Allows You Go On Trips Without Worrying About Your Cat’s Litter Box

This is one of the best benefits in my opinion. Me, as a cat owner, have enjoyed enormously the fact that I can go on trips and not worry about my cat’s litter box anymore. I still have a friend coming over to check on my cat but she doesn’t have to clean the litter mess anymore and that’s huge bonus.

How much you can relay on an electric litter box will depend on your choice. Personally, the system I use is the Litter Robot III Open Air which allows me to go on trips for a week without worrying about a thing. You can check my in-depth review of this unit here.

6. In Some Cases It Helps You To Save On Litter

You can enjoy this benefit when using a system like the Litter Robot. Due to its rotating sifting mechanism, the clean litter doesn’t have much contact with the waste so it doesn’t get dirty.

The main reason the litter needs to be changed with regular cat boxes is due to the fact that when urine or feces get in contact with clean litter it forms a clump but in the process some urine leaks to the surrounded litter and also pieces of clumps break down mixing with the clean litter as so scoop.
When using a unit like the Litter Robot you can save up to 50% of litter, which is a huge savings.

7. It Helps Multi-Cat Households

The bottom line is that the more cats you have, the more scooping to do and more exposure to cat waste. It’s beautiful having two or three cats playing and loving each other, but we all agree that scooping the litter box in a multi-cat household is a sacrifice that you must do on a daily basis.

Sometimes you just want to lay down after work but there it is, the litter box reminding you that you just can’t.

Choosing a multi-cat auto litter box will depend on how many cats you have, whatever your case is, getting a self cleaning litter box is a step in the right direction.

An automatic device will help you to keep up with your cat’s “pooping” activity and will relief you from doing it so much.

If you make the decision of getting one of these helpful devices the first step is checking on reliable reviews to make the best purchase.

 

The Litter-Bagger for Scoopfree Review

LitterWorks Litter Bagger is a solution for ScoopFree owners. This system increases the storage capacity of cat waste because it replaces the need of disposable crystals pre-filled trays by a waste bagging system instead.

The Litter Bagger system features a durable plastic permanent tray that comes modified with a cutout at the bottom and it’s installed the same way than a diposable pre-filled tray. The difference is that the ScoopFree disposable tray collects the waste in the tray compartment which doesn’t contain odors and also has a very small storage capacity.

The system also comes with a stand made from plywood that features a cutout also matching the tray cutout to allow the clump dropping into the liner.

 

FEATURES

  • The Litter Bagger system increases the cat waste storage capacity for ScoopFree litter boxes
  • It provides a functional waste bagging system
  • It helps to contain odors better than collecting waste in the disposable tray
  • It helps to keep the litter box area cleaner
  • Easier to change the litter, just dump the dirty litter into the liner.
  • Stand made from unfinished birch plywood (sealing/painting is recommended)
  • It requires assembly
  • Dimensions: 37W x 12H x 21D
  • Note: The Litter-Bagger system is not affiliated with ScoopFree or LitterMaid.

 

HOW IT WORKS

Before mentioning how the Litter Bagger works, it’s important to note that the self-cleaning system of the ScoopFree auto litter box is raking the feces clumps into a carboard waste compartment and absorbing the urine by a special crystal litter that disicates the urine. This litter box works with pre-filled crystals diposable trays.

Basically what the Litter Bagger does is replacing the pre-filled crystals disposable trays with a permanent solution, increasing the waste collecting capacity and helps to contain odors better.

But how does it do it?

The Litter Bagger system comes with a stand that needs to be assembled (with connectors), a plastic tray, a nose guard, a scraper and a cartridge with liners.

You place the plastic tray on the bottom of the ScoopFree automatic litter (instead of the disposable tray) and put the unit on top of the stand. The nose guard gets attached magnetically to the bottom of the Scoop Free’s hood. Then locate the cartridge with the liners on the stand opening.

The plastic tray and stand come with a matching cutout (only for ScoopFree version) to allow the clumps to drop into the liner so instead of using a pre-filled tray which accumulates waste in the tray’s waste comparment the Litter Bagger collects the waste in the liner which lasts up to 2 weeks with one cat. When the liner is full simply tight it, cut it and make a knot on the new liner.

How to change the litter?

Replacing the litter is very easy. As the Litter Bagger system comes with a scraper you just scrape all the dirty litter down the hole, then tighten and cut the bag, add new litter.

When placing the ScoopFree on the Litter Bagger stand, it is 11”-12” elevated off the floor. So between the stand and the ScoopFree the total solution’s height is 17-18 inches.

 

PROS

  • Easy to assemble (the stand comes drilled for the ScoopFree)
  • Solid plywood
  • Precise fitting
  • It increases the storage capacity for cat waste for the ScoopFree
  • You don’t have to scoop every 2-3 days the waste from the waste compartment
  • It keeps the waste further down the litter box, not on the side of it
  • It reduces the maintenance from every 2-3 days up to once a week or more
  • Liners and crystals are less expensive than pre-filled trays. Instead of removing and replacing the used tray by a new pre-filled one, you just swap and dump the crystals into the liner.
  • More hygienic than removing a carboard tray full of heavy wet crystals.

CONS

  • The stand doesn’t come assembled
  • The wood comes unfinished (on the other hand, it gives you the chance of matching the color of your furniture)
  • It doesn’t come with a carpet as shown on the picture
  • The system has a very large footprint and it’s very tall.
  • The stand design it’s not concealed
  • The stand has a lot of unused extra space after placing the ScoopFree on top.
  • For some cats may be hard to get on top of the litter box.
  • When raking the clumps, clean litter also falls into the liner.https://www.catfooddispensersreviews.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=11990&action=edit
  • The narrow opening could get blocked with big clumps.
  • Some cats may start playing with the bagged waste and create a mess (see tip #2)
  • Even though the waste in a bag underneath the stand it’s better than sitting next to the litter box, it still takes some time for the crystals to absorb the smell.
  • Pricey

TIPS

1. You can use kitchen bags instead the liners, they are thicker plastic and have odor blockers.

2. If you have a playful cat, you can hide the hanging bagged waste using a wicker basket  (8″ x 10″ x 12″). You place this basket under the stand and cover the bag with it. It looks much nicer and it blocks any attempt from your cat to access the bagged waste.  You can check the basket here

3. For better odor control, use the Fresh Step crystals rather than the ‘Just the Crystals’ brand.

4. To add stability to the stand, glue all the joints with wood glue, in addition to the mechanical fasteners supplied.

5. Paint the stand after you set it up to avoid scratching your fresh paint job.

6. It’s much easier to assemble the unit with two people since the instructions are not straight forward.

 

CONCLUSION

The Litter Bagger system for ScoopFree works as advertised. It helps you to save money on pre-filled crystal disposable trays and it reduces the maintenance from scooping the clumps of the cardboard waste compartment every 1-2-3 days (depending on the cat) to tossing the bagged waste once a week.

The Litter Bagger unifies the ScoopFree with a solution similar to the Litter Genie, all in one product.

BOTTOM LINE

If you have 2 cats you may need to change the crystals sooner than once a week but with this system to change the crystals it’s easy.

The Litter Bagger system may be suitable:

  • If you are using ScoopFree disposable trays and want to save money
  • If you want less maintenance in scooping the waste compartment
  • If you have large room to locate the unit

x The system may not be suitable:

  • If you live in a small place
  • If you want to use the system in a bathroom or closet (unless they are large enough)
  • For elderly or disable cats
  • For cats with sensitive paws

Ca-Tumbler Interactive Treat Dispenser Toy Review

Ca-Tumbler treat dispensing toy

Ca-Tumbler is an interactive treat dispensing toy that entices your cat to play and release delicious treats at the same time. The round-bottomed Ca-Tumbler bounces with unpredictable bounce pattern when the cat plays with it and it pops back up as the typical Roly-Poly types toys do.

The toy consists of two parts that assemble together. On the top part there is a tiny cat that helps to adjust the opening to the treat size and it keeps a higher challenge as well.

Place treats in the bottom and catnip on top to encourage your cat to play. Also, you can put catnip oil on top to keep your cat even more motivated.

 

FEATURES

  • It comes in 4 different designs and colors: Cactus (Green) Pumpkin (Orange) Mushroom (Purple) Corn (Yellow).
  • Adjustable Multi-Playing Level
  • With unpredictable bounce pattern to keep the cat’s hunt instincts
  • Treat/kibble size adjustable by a tiny cat on top
  • Made with non-toxic BPA free plastic to keep your cat safe
  • Easy to clean
  • Product Dimensions: 3.4 x 2.8 x 5 inches
  • Weight: 8.6 Oz

 

HOW IT WORKS

Ca-Tumbler (Green cactus)

To unscrew the top off the base you need to turn it until a small vertical line on the top lines up with a vertical line on the base.  Then you put the treats (1/3 cup) in the base and some catnip on the top.

Your cat will get attracted to the toy with the catnip and will start playing with it, pawing at it and making it bounce. This bouncing movement will release treats for a delicious reward. The  Ca-Tumbler is a Roly-poly type toy which bottom is weighted so it rights itself when pushed over by the cat.

On top of the toy there is a tiny cat hanging that allows you to narrow the opening in case the treats are small and also keeps the game more challenging.

 

PROS

  • The toy is well made and solid
  • Adorable cute looking toy
  • With 2 compartments to hold treats and catnip
  • It helps to slow down cats when eating as well
  • The little cat hanging on top helps to adjust the opening to the treat or kibble size and also to increase the challenge level.
  • Toy features an unpredictable bounce pattern with spins and cool bouncing.
  • It keeps your cat mentally and physically stimulated, playing and getting treats at the same time as reward.

CONS

  • It’s hard to figure out how to open the toy in the beginning (no instructions)
  • Some cats don’t show interest in this toy (put catnip oil on top to encourage your cat)
  • It’s a little hard to screw the top back on.
  • It may be too simple for some cats to get the treats out of this toy

 

TIPS

—Be careful when trying to adjust the opening size for the treat. Don’t twist the little cat, instead you need to twist the whole top to do that. If you twist the cat you will break it off the toy.

—Some toys with the cactus design don’t have the tiny cat as shown on the picture, instead, the tiny cat is hanging straight down.

—If your cat doesn’t show motivation to play with this toy or doesn’t realize it has treats inside, you need to place catnip inside the top part and also put catnip oil on top.

 

CONCLUSION

Ca-Tumbler interactive treat dispensing toy will keep your cat busy to get its treats or kibbles. It’s a good way to make your pet  work for its treats or dry food. Also, the Roly-poly nature of this toy will make your cat have fun with the unpredictable moves.

Keep in mind though that there are some cats may not be interested in this toy which is the nature of some cats, but then you need to increase the interest by placing catnip on it.

The Ca-Tumbler may be too easy for skilled cats to eat the treats or kibbles, but the good thing is you can adjust the level of challenge by placing the tiny cat next to the opening to narrow it.

I recommend this treat dispensing toy for cats.

SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Cat Toy Review

SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Cat Toy

SmartyKat’s Hot Pursuit is an electronic toy that replicates the movements of a hiding prey. The toy features two interchangeable wands flit and zip that rotate with random directions leaving a teasing bit out of the cover to entice your cat to stalk and hunt.

The SmartyKat`s Hot Pursuit wakes up your cat instincts and keep it entertained without the need of your intervention while playing.

The toy comes with 4 speeds to adjust your cat`s preferences.

 

FEATURES

  • Electronic toy features a random movement of a hiding prey

    Sophie and the SmartyKat Hot Pursuit

  • Wand under durable fabric entices cats to stalk, hunt and swat
  • It keeps cats active and motivated
  • It features 4 speeds to suit your cat’s preferences
  • It comes with 2 interchangeable wands
  • Smartykat Hot Pursuit is environmentally friendly, made from recycled plastic
  • Tested to child safety standards
  • It works with 3 AAA batteries
  • Dimensions: 8 x 8 x 3.2 inches
  • Item Weight: 1.1 lbs
  • Satisfaction Guarantee

 

HOW IT WORKS

SmartyKat Hot Pursuit parts

Smartykat Hot Pursuit consists of a base with a mechanical arm and the control button on the center, a fabric cover on top of it and two wands that connect to a mechanical arm that rotates.

Wands (click to enlarge image)

One wand has feathers and the other one simply has a colored tip, resembling a little bit a tail. The fabric that covers the base is made from vinyl type material.

First you need to place the batteries (I made the mistake of putting the wand first). The batteries (3xAAA) are located at the bottom of the base and you will need to unscrew the screw on the lid to put them in. Once the batteries are inserted in the base you need to attach the wand to the arm.

Finally, push the center button and the SmartyKat’s Hot Pursuit will start rotating. Check the following video to learn how to setup the toy:

 

UNPACKING & SETUP VIDEO

 

The toy features 4 different speeds: Slow, Middle, Fast and Random. Check this video to how these different speeds work:

The first push will put the toy on Slow rotation, the second push on Middle and so on. To turn it off you need to go through all the speeds until to get the Random to push it again to turn it off as shown on the video.

There are some customer reviews saying that if your cat holds the wand for certain amount of time the toy turns off automatically to protect the motor. Mine didn’t do that.

 

PROS

  • The toy really entices most cats to play with it vigorously
  • It keeps your cat playing without the need of you interacting with it
  • Entertainment lifespan gets back after some days (* see tip)
  • It has different speeds for slower cats or fast hunters.
  • Random speed motivates cats that get bored easily with rotating movements

 

CONS

  • The wands are not replaceable
  • Your cat may destroy the wand`s feathers (my cat hasn’t done this)
  • When the cat holds the wand, it causes stress on the motor (some units turn off automatically, mine doesn’t)
  • Batteries don`t last very long if you keep the toy on for long periods of time (use rechargeable batteries)
  • If your cat is rough when playing and you haven’t done its claws, it will damage the fabric cover.
  • You can`t turn the toy off with one push of a button, unless you have the toy on random.
  • As most cat toys, the entertaining lifespan is not very long (* check tip)

 

TIPS

To help your cat to stalk the toy, place the SmartyKat close to a furniture so your pet can hide there and then jump over the toy.

If your cat destroyed the feathers too soon, you can send an email to the Manufacturer asking a replacement.

You can save money using rechargeable batteries

* Most cat toys have a short entertaining lifespan. What I do when I notice that my cat doesn’t play very much with the SmartyKat I grab it and place it in the closet for about 3-4 days.

After that you place the toy again and your cat will play like it was brand new. That`s the advantage of this toy, the cat will never get tired of playing with it.

You can take apart the wand, there`s a small round ball on the end of the wand that you can unscrew, with a little bit of ingenuity you can replace the feathers with something similar. Check a picture of this.

The end of the wand has a screw

CONCLUSION

SmartyKat Hot Pursuit is a very cool cat toy that your pet will love. If you have a cat that likes to hunt your feet under the blankets this is the toy for your feline friend. What I like of the SmartyKat is that it combines hunting with chasing at the same time. However, be prepared for the duration of this toy to be not too long. As the cats like to hold the wand under their paws, the motor may have a not very long duration. Also, if your cat is rough when playing, the wand`s feathers will not last either. Personally, I am on my second SmartyKat because my cat loves to hold the wand for a long period of time and my toy didn’t turn off automatically.

Keep in mind that the entertaining lifespan of the SmartyKat Hot Pursuit won`t be very long (about 2 weeks, maybe less) but the good thing about this toy is that you can put it away for a few days and when you place it again on the floor your cat will start playing again like if it was brand new. That doesn’t happen usually with cat toys.

 

BOTTOM LINE

If you want a toy that will make your cat go crazy and play a lot with it so you don`t have to play with your feline friend, buy this toy, but with the idea that the toy will not last for a long time unless your cat plays very softly with it.

To me, this toy is absolutely worth it because I work at home and I can’t play with my cat all the time. This toy really makes my cat happy and somehow relieves me from having to play with her 15 minutes straight every day. I still play with her when she gets bored of the toy (then I keep the toy in the closet until she desires it again) 🙂

Pet Zone Fly by Spinner Toy Review

Pet Zone Fly By Spinner Cat Toy

Pet Zone Fly By Spinner Toy entices your cats natural hunt habits by replicating the real movement and fluttering of a butterfly.

Cats like to stalk and attack flying insects and you can provide your pet this excitement in the security of your house.

The butterfly of the Pet Zone Fly by Spinner features beautiful colors that will attract your cat even more. This toy allows you to provide your indoor cat physical and mental stimulation.

 

FEATURES

  • Fluttering Butterfly. Spinning action around the base creates a fluttering movement as a real butterfly.
  • Power: 1x AAA battery
  • On/Off switch. The toy is simple to use, just place the battery and turn it on.
  • 4 rubber feet on the bottom of the Pet Zone Fly By, keep the toy from moving around the floor.
  • Dimensions: 3.2 x 3.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Weight: 3.5 ounces

HOW IT WORKS

The Pet Zone Fly By Spinner toy consists of a base and a thin flexible wire with a butterfly on the end. The base of this toy has a small motor that makes the butterfly fly in circles around the base. The toy works with one AAA size battery that goes in the bottom of the base. You need to place the battery (not included) in the base and then connect the base with the thin wire. In order to put the battery you need to twist the bottom counterclockwise to remove it, place the battery and clockwise to put it back on.

The Fly By Spinner butterfly is made from plastic and is thin but solid, my cat has chewed on it several times and swats at it as well and so far the butterfly is intact.

See a video of unpacking & setup of the Pet Zone Fly By Spinner cat toy:

 

HOW MY CAT REACTED TO THE SPINNING BUTTERFLY

The base with double tape

In the beginning she was a little reluctant and watched from a distance the butterfly flying. This is a typical behavior with her when she sees new motorized toys. I waited for her to start playing but that didn’t happen.

Then I realized she may be more attracted to a butterfly flying at a more realistic height (my cat sometimes catches moths) so I placed the toy on a chair and that was the key. She started playing like crazy and she tipped the toy over so we had to come up with an idea to attach the toy in a way that won`t happen again.

This is the video of my cat playing before we attached the toy to the chair, seconds after this video she tipped the toy over lol.

 

 

So we attached the toy`s base to the chair using double side tape and that made it very firm. After that my cat didn’t stop playing with the toy.

Watch this video of Sophie playing with it.

 

PROS

  • The butterfly is made from a good plastic material (it’s not easy to destroy, but this will depend on your cat)
  • The multi color butterfly and its movement really attracts cats to play with it
  • With the vibration of the toy the butterfly looks like the wings are really moving
  • You need to use only one AAA battery to make it work
  • Your cat can play with it even without batteries (mine does)
  • Good price

CONS

  • Some cats may destroy the butterfly
  • The toy doesn’t feature different speeds, only one speed
  • The base is not heavy enough for a cat to swat hard at the toy and not  tip it over (will depend on the cat)
  • The toy is short which makes the butterfly fly not very high, which could discourage some cats (see tip)

TIP

As you saw on the video, you can put the toy in a higher position, using double sided tape or other system to place the base on the chair. The elevation will make the butterfly fly higher which will attract your cat more. The toy attached to the base with double sided tape will make it impossible to tip it over. This solution was a winner for me.

Try to leave the toy off and see if your cat plays with it. My cat swats at the toy and the butterfly keeps moving in circle even with the toy off.

CONCLUSION

Ive seen complaints from other reviewers saying the butterfly flew too fast around and I saw the video of that customer and in effect, that happened, however that didn’t happen with my toy, you can see in the video that the butterfly flew at a normal speed.

Another complaint is that cats destroy the butterfly, so far my cat hasn’t done it but this experience may be different, depending on if your cat is more rough when swatting and chewing. Another factor that I think it`s very important is the supervision of this game. If you watch your cat playing and you see he or she is chewing on the butterfly a lot, you can distract him/her so the butterfly can keep going and flying around. I have caught my cat chewing on the butterfly but then she releases it, maybe she likes the feeling of catching it?.

BOTTOM LINE

The success of this toy will depend on your cat. If your cat is rough when playing I don`t recommend this toy. If your cat is like my Sophie as you see in the video, this toy will entertain your pet. However, I have a feeling that the entertainment lifespan of this toy is short, since the cat gets used to the circle movement of the butterfly. Try to change the position of it and place the toy in a higher position like I did. That was the key for my cat to start playing with it.

As a bottom line, I recommend this toy, Sophie gave it her paws up.