If you want to choose the best automatic cat litter box for your cat you have to check on some important points before making any decision. A perfect solution for one particular cat is not necessary the best solution for all cats.
To purchase the best automatic litter box for a cat will depend on several facts you need to consider. Even though some aspects need to be taken into consideration, on the end of the day the benefits from using a self cleaning litter box are so great that you will never regret from getting one, but for that to happen just make sure to check the following elements previously to any purchase:
1. AUTOMATIC CAT LITTER BOX WILL NEVER REPLACE 100% HUMAN SUPERVISION
Let’s agree that machines or robots can fully replace some human tasks, but when it comes to automatic cat litter boxes with scooping rakes we cannot state the same. The reason for this is because these devices interact with animals that are highly unpredictable.
These machines with scooping rakes are designed considering standard scenarios of a cat doing his business but the reality is always different; the machine will probably miss some clumps from the litter box and won’t be able to “see” feces sitting on the edge of the box hanging out like in any regular cat box when “accidents” happen.
So we can consider these units as a good complement on the scooping task, but sooner or later and depending on the system you will have to:
- Clean feces manually caught on edges, rakes, lids, walls, etc.
- Change bags and trays.
- Clean floors from kicked litter.
- Clean and disinfect the entire unit once in a while.
However, there are units that allow you to forget about the litter box for a week or more, such is the case of the Litter Robot and the CatGenie.
2. HOW YOUR CAT DOES ITS BUSINESS
If your cat urinates horizontally. Automatic litter boxes with low walls won’t be useful. Some units offer domes as an accessory for this purpose but sometimes cats are too large to fit in these devices. A big rotating automatic litter box as the Litter Robot is more suitable for these cats.
A vigorous litter kicker or a digger. These cats need a good amount of litter to dig so a shallow box won’t offer the cat the needed depth to do this. A cat litter box with a good depth or an enclosed type of automatic box will be suitable in these scenarios.
When cats tend to use always the same spot or use only the corners it becomes a challenge for the automatic cat litter box with a scooping rake to collect that, except for systems like the Litter Robot or Catgenie that are different.
3. YOUR CAT DIET AND HEALTH
Feces and urine. If a cat is healthy it does not urinate excessively and its feces are not so creamy, they are easy to collect by any mechanism. Usually automatic litter boxes don’t have problems collecting and containing the waste when used by healthy cats. But if a cat has diabetes, urinary tract disease or digestive problems, an automatic litter box won’t be able to perform as expected.
Daily food intake. When cats eat too much (more than a healthy intake for an adult cat) automatic litter boxes might have problems containing so much waste.
Type of food the cat eats. When cats eat by-products they tend to defecate more often and with bigger clumps. This create some problems for the mechanism to collect and contain the waste. Manufacturers such as ScoopFree recommend their products to be used by healthy cats that don’t eat by-products.
4. CAT’S HABITS, AGE AND PERSONALITY
Important point to consider is the habit of a cat when it comes to the use of a litter box. Some cats don’t like to take to new systems because they are used to certain type of litter or box.
If your cat is reluctant to adopt a new type of litter. For example, there are some automatic litter boxes using crystals instead regular litter and some cats might never adopt to crystals in their box.
Your cat’s age. How strong a habit is depends on a cat’s age; old cats most likely will have more resistance to make any change in their habits than young kitties. As a note, automatic litter boxes cannot be used with kittens under 6 months age.
Shy or nervous cats. Your cat’s personality is also important; shy or timid cats might not get used to devices that make noises and movements This is not the rule though, a timid cat might still get used to noises and movements of the machine if you introduce the cat to the new system properly (my cat Sophie is really skittish and she took to the Litter Robot right away)
If you have a very shy kitten, it might be a good idea to buy a self-cleaning litter box that is not fully automatic, but this is totally up to you because kittens can adapt easier than adult cats to new systems.
5. ONE OR MULTIPLE CATS
Some devices are designed in a way that is much better to use them with only one cat. Example of this are automatic litter boxes with rakes: the reason for this is because the more cats using the system, the more you will need to manually clean the “missing” pieces of feces left by the machine or caught in the rake. These machines have not a waste-compartment big enough to hold the waste created by multiple cats either. However, these type of litter boxes such as Littermaid, work very well with one regular sized healthy cat.
For 2-4 cats, the best choice is using a unit designed for that, such as the Litter Robot or the CatGenie. With 4 cats still place a regular cat litter box to have an extra option for your feline friends or if your budget allows you, buy an additional unit.
6. SUPPLIES TO MAKE THE SYSTEM WORK
The last but not less important point when it comes to choosing an automatic cat litter box is how much money you need to keep the system working. Some automatic systems are quite expensive in the long run because you need to buy special bags, trays, crystals, special litters, cleaning solutions, etc.
We agree that with any regular cat litter box you need to buy the litter, but with some automatic litter boxes you will need to buy more than that. And in some cases if you run out of supplies the system will stop working, such as the CatGenie, so in this case it is a good idea to have backup supplies, always.
All in all, if you really appreciate your free time and love your cat as much as you love an odor free house, any effort will be worth it in the end. Check reliable reviews to make an even better decision. If you want to get the best unit right away without much hassle reading too many reviews, check my personal review of the top self cleaning machine and get $25 OFF your purchase through my review. Get the best automatic litter box for your kitty!