Learn About The Different Types of Automatic Litter Boxes
There are various types of auto litter boxes on the market. If you are interested in getting one of these devices for your cat but you need to know how they work, here we’ll explain to you all about these machines and the different mechanism they use to scoop, collect and hold the cat waste. The mechanisms of automatic litter boxes are divided mainly into 4 types:
- Scooping Rake
- Rotating Globe
1. Self-Cleaning Litter Box With Rake
These devices look similar to a regular cat litter box, but they feature a built-in automatic rake that collects the clumps to deposit them in a waste compartment located in the front end of the litter box. The rake type auto litter box suits most cats but I wouldn’t consider this type as the best fit for large cats since they don’t provide a roomy area for cats weighing over 14 lbs. The mechanisms of the rake to collect the clumps are basically two:
A) The rake sweeps and pushes the clumps into a waste compartment located on the end of the litter box.
One example of a unit with a rake that pushes the clump into a waste receptacle is the ScoopFree automatic litter box. This device works with blue crystals which makes it easier for the rake to push and rake the clumps. Once the rake gets close to the compartment, it’ll open to receive the clumps. When the rake goes back into position the tray closes with the clumps inside. Here you see a video how the ScoopFree works:
B) The rake sweeps and lifts the clumps to deposit them in a compartment located on the end of the box.
An example of a unit featuring a rake that lifts the clumps when depositing them into the waste compartment is the PetZone automatic litter box. When the rake gets close to the compartment it’ll lift the clumps to dump them in it. See a video how the Pet Zone automatic litter box works:
Both rake scooping systems work almost the same, the only difference is that while one rake pushes the clump to dump it into the compartment and the other rake lifts it to drop it. In general, scooping rakes work fine and they need a very specific type of litter to work as intended. For example, if the litter is too heavy, the rake won’t be able to push the clumps effectively.
Pros & Cons of a Scooping Rake Type
- It looks like a regular litter box so it’s easier for a cat to adopt it
- Small footprint
- Price is reasonable
- Rake sometimes gets dirty with feces
- Waste compartment gets full too soon
- Sometimes the rake gets stuck
- The rake can’t collect clumps located in back corners or stuck at the bottom
2. Automatic Litter Box With Rotating Mechanism
This type consists of a machine that features a Globe that holds the litter inside and when time to self-clean it starts rotating sifting the clumps into a built-in screen to finally drop them into a waste compartment located at the bottom of the machine.
The only rotating type of self-cleaning litter box is the Litter Robot. As an owner of one of these devices I must say this is the best automatic litter box, which is what I concluded in my personal Litter Robot Open Air review. The following video helps to understand how the mechanism works:
Pros & Cons of the Rotating Type
- Effectiveness when auto cleaning
- No smell
- No need for daily supervision
- Saving on litter
- The price is high
- Big footprint
3. Self-Flushing Automatic Litter Box
The self-flushing litter box has a mechanism that makes it a fully automated self-cleaning litter box. The machine not only collects the waste but also gets rid of it so you don’t have to dispose it.
The CatGenie is a self-flushing auto litter box. The mechanism of the CatGenie collects the clumps with a screened arm-type, deposit the feces into a chamber that pulverizes them with a sanitized process to get rid of this liquid through a drain pipe. Check how the CatGenie works (video 3.5 faster than normal):
Pros & Cons Of The Self-Flushing System
- Fully automatic scoop and disposal
- You don’t have to grab a bagged waste to toss it
- The cleaning cycles are long and noisy
- Installation requires connection with water drain pipe or to a toilet
- The system could get clogged
4. Auto Cleaning System Using Conveyor
This type of self-cleaning litter box uses a conveyor that works as an escalator for the clumps to be dumped into a waste compartment. The clumps make their way to the escalator through a litter pan that rotates slowly, creating the clumps to touch the conveyor to escalate until they are dumped into a bin located right below. One example of this type is the PetSafe Simply Clean litter box.
See how the PetSafe Simply Clean works (video faster than normal, this is a 30-min process. The lid has been removed for you to see how the clumps escalate):
Pros & Cons of Conveyor Type Auto Litter Box
- System is simple
- Good price
- Good capacity of waste bin
- Litter gets accumulated next to the conveyor
- Rotating tray is a little small for big cats
These 4 types of self-cleaning litter boxes will help you to keep up with your cat’s litter box. Some of them need a little more supervision than others but they will reduce the scooping task. In some cases you won’t need to worry about the litter box for over a week, such is the case of the Litter Robot III. If you want to learn more Pros & Cons of each type of self-cleaning litter box you may want to check reliable self-cleaning litter box reviews and find the type that works the best for your pet.
Once you choose the type of auto litter box that works best for your cat, make sure to follow the instructions of how to introduce your pet to the new automatic litter box and use the right litter to get a reliable operation.