Litter Robot

Ok COTH. You may know that at one point, there were 8 cats in my house. I started with one. Then there were two. Then three. Then a fourth showed up around my house in the winter, I trapped her, she immediately gave birth to four rabble rousers. Two found forever homes and I kept the other two, so we’re down to six.

It’s a lot of litter scooping! And a lot of litter. And a lot of litter boxes.

I’ve seen a lot of recommendations for Litter Robot. I’ve put aside a little $$ from each pay check and now I have enough to make the plunge, but I have to convince myself to let this money go. Since it is a lot of money, I wanted to pick the COTHers brains that have one of these. Which models do you have, what did you wish you knew before you bought them, anything you’d do differently?

Does it reduce litter waste? Odor? And did your cats just take to it right away?

Thanks guys.

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I feel your pain, having nearly as many cats.

It’s been a long time since I used a litter robot type box, but…it didn’t work very well. It was the era of the original litter maid. The actual box was SO SMALL. Cats peed & pooped on the sides, or over it completely. The little bin would fill up, it was really worse to empty than just to scoop, from a gross perspective. Cleaning the thing was just a bear, and necessary pretty often.

Some newer boxes are bigger. Some newer boxes hook up right to your sewer line, so it really is hands off and the waste goes away without your involvement. I’d look at those.

But in the end, I think those things are really most suited for people with one, or maybe two, cats. Because with a hoard, a single litter box is just not enough–at the very least, the cleaning cycle takes TIME and a single box with 8 cats is going to get just tons of use–and who’s got the space or the dollars for a whole row of those things? They’re also often enclosed, which is such a hazard with a herd, with the lower on the totem pole cats getting trapped in the box, or unwilling to enter.

So for us, with a lot of cats (would you like one? Anyone? I have a couple really lovely rescues that would love their own home, and I told my husband it would be NO PROBLEM to place then once we got them healthy, sigh) having enough big boxes so they only need cleaning once daily is the answer.

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:open_mouth:

How? Why? Please tell me they have very specific instructions about what liter to use because that is begging for a clog.

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Even with two of the older-style “rake” motorized litter boxes, my four cats managed to burn out BOTH motors within a year through overuse. :roll_eyes:

I agree that the automatic cleaners are, for the most part, made for one or two cats, max. It’s a lot of money to spend on something if it doesn’t hold up very long.

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We had an older auto litter box thing but the dogs treated the noise like it was a treat dispenser. Snatch the treat before it’s out of reach. :roll_eyes:

If you have more than one male cat, the only solution is to clean daily and wipe the sides of the boxes because male cats literally get into p*ssing contests over marking their box.

My litter box routine is daily. I scoop, strip as needed, and wipe the insides of the boxes where you can tell they peed up the sides a bit. We have four indoor kitties, plus two foster kittens sharing one, so five litter boxes total. Three just require a quick daily scoop, while the other two are heavily used. For convenience, I have white vinegar in spray bottles near the litter boxes and each has it’s own scooper. Vinegar really cuts through stuck on litter/poop and kills the smell. I periodically buy new litter boxes when the old ones get scratched up too much and retain stink. Two boxes are uncovered, but behind baby gates with cat doors, and the others are covered and facing away to foil doggies. Sometimes the simplest strategy works best. It takes me 10-15 minutes per morning to scoop, wipe, strip, and sweep. I prefer the Arm and Hammer unscented, low tracking stuff. It’s cut down my sweeping time.

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See now @beowulf , you got me all atwitter :astonished:, thinking someone had invented a robot vacuum that would pick up all the litter tracked from the boxes.
Litter constantly gritting under my bare feet :dizzy_face:
Litter I sweep up daily from hallway, laminate floors everywhere :sob:

Here I am the Robot :robot::broom:

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You and me both! :robot: :broom: :cat:

You could try a Roomba… My friends swear by them but I am too cheap to splurge. I have a broom, a rug, and a jump-in “upside down” litterbox and they still manage to track it everywhere. The tracking is definitely reduced a little by the upside down litter box but it’s not eliminated. :triumph:

The Litter Robot really appeals to me because it’s supposed to go through less cat litter. I am going through one large 17lb pail of litter every week and a half. It’s adding up $$$.

SO and I have a good system for the litter boxes we have. We both scoop them out before work. I clean them out when I get home from work before I hop in the shower, and then I usually do a quick pick-out right before bed. This system works pretty well and usually only takes 45s each go; we’ve streamlined the process so there’s everything we need right next to the litterbox. I use a reused litter tub that has the scoop, bags, and baking soda in it. It’s pretty efficient but I’ve heard so many good things about the LR and had so many people recommend them to me. I’m surprised to see negative reviews so far after all I’ve heard in other threads!

I am not against getting two, but my plan was to leave one regular litter box and replace the main litter box with the LR. I have 2 litter boxes in this house and only one cat uses the ‘spare’ one. The rest prefer to do their business in the bathroom… when I’m showering. Or burshing my teeth. Or, doing any other thing in the bathroom. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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Have you simply googled for reviews on it to see what the general world thinks of it?

:raised_hand:Cheapskate here too.
I’d try a Roomba, or one of the clones, but :money_with_wings:
I have a scooping station too: dishpan filled with plastic grocery bags & scooper & big plastic tote for a litterbox. The tote’s lid sits under it, where I foolishly believed it would catch stray litter :unamused:

Yes - but I really wonder because there’s a disparity between reviews, FB comments, and various articles. Here’s what you get when you google Litter Robot reviews:
image

But then you get stuff like this:

The FB comments for the products are all over the map. Some love it and swear by it. Some say it’s junk. It wasn’t on my radar until a fellow COTHer with an equally crazy number of cats told me they swore by it.

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My review theory to life is I ignore anything that is too fierce at one end or the other and I try to listen carefully to what the middle reviews are saying.

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My ex-DH was an engineer, so he was enthusiastic about solving the cat box problem. Here’s what I’ve had experience with:

The self-cleaning one that hooks up to the water line is the Cat Genie. The litter is those plastic pellets like Beanie Babies have in them. The cats hated it: it’s a very different look/feel/smell from a regular litter box. I hated it because I had to clean up after the cats who wouldn’t use it. Ex, as an engineer, loved it.

We had a Litter Robot (bought a refurbished one from the site) and my older cat would pee in it but not poop. So there was still poop everywhere to deal with. Ex, again, loved the concept but did not deal with the fallout.

I know people have mixed reviews, but other than a regular litter box, I have an old Litter Maid that has been a workhorse. However, I have only ever had 2 cats at most at the same time, so mileage will vary with usage. I have read that the newer LMs are much more flimsy and prone to problems than older ones.

Good luck!

Yeeeeah. That Wirecutter article kind of covers it for me. Needs emptied once a week for one cat. Prone to malfunction. Needs cleaning, which is a pita, and has consumables in addition to litter.

With eight, it looks like you’d be emptying it more than once a day (and it won’t clean if it’s full) and taking it fully apart to clean every week. It’s 600 + bucks to still be dealing with litter about as much as you are now, and in addition to the litter, you’re spending $$ on the waste bags and the carbon filters.

Sorry to be a downer, but…this looks like an expensive disappointment.

There are several of these things on my FB marketplace for a lot less than new. If you want to try it, maybe that’s an option with a little less $$$ risk?

I have 6 cats, 4 males & 2 females, and they share 2 Litter Robot 3 Connects. I bought the Robots refurbished just after my husband died as I am not physically capable of scooping litter boxes. Scooping was one of the few things he still did even with his dementia. If I didn’t have the robots I don’t know how I would have coped as my cats are my children. Everybody uses the robots and they don’t seem to have a preference as to which one, except the tray in the one in my office usually needs to be dumped sooner. I use the cheap 13 gallon twist tie garbage bags to line the trays and change the bags once a week for garbage day. It takes about 10-15 minutes to change the bag and add some litter to replace what has clumped up into the tray. I’ve never taken them apart and cleaned them because I use better litter. I don’t bother with the carbon filter and I don’t have an odor problem.

There didn’t seem to be much of a changeover hassle. I set them up, put a little used litter from one of their old boxes in the drums, and took away the old boxes. My youngest was fascinated with watching the drum go around, but the novelty quickly wore off. There is a way to put the cycling on hold at night so it doesn’t wake you up from a sound sleep, but I don’t bother with it. There is a blue light that comes on inside the drum at night so Kitty can see to do their thing.

I do buy better litter, currently using the Arm & Hammer Slide so the clumps don’t stick to the drum and fall into the tray easily. I tried the cheap Walmart litter and it didn’t clump enough so I was constantly scraping poop into the tray as it cycled. The cycle can be set for however many minutes you want it to wait after the cat exits. Mine came set at 8 minutes so it gives the litter time to clump well.

I have had only one problem with “malfunction” in that after about a year the sensors wore out on the base of one unit. I purchased the extended warranty when I bought the robots, so I called them and told them what was going on. They wanted me to try to replace the sensors, but once I said I physically couldn’t do it, they sent me a whole new base with the tray by UPS, no charge. I had it within a couple days and just scooped the litter in that robot until it got here. Roped a friend in helping me change the drum onto the new base. I can’t say enough good things about their customer service.

They’ve sold millions of these things. The people who have problems are the ones that post reviews and half the time if it cleaned itself and gave gold coin rewards they’d still find something to complain about. The rest of us just go on with our lives and don’t worry about reviews. I love my Litter Robots. They’re worth every penny. If one of them gives up the ghost after the warranty runs out I’ll gladly fork over another $600 or whatever they’re charging at that point to buy a replacement.

Be forewarned, the box it comes in is HUGE. You open it up, take out the contents, put the globe on the base, put the liner on the tray, the tray into the slot, add litter to the line in the globe, plug it in, and turn it on. It’s not rocket science. With 8 cats you may have to empty the trays sooner than once a week, but the bags are cheap. Dollar General has a roll of 10 for $1.00. You don’t need the waste bags they sell on their web site, any 13 gallon twist tie bag will work.

Tell you what @beowulf, you buy one for your six cats and let me know how they work out and then I may change my mind about them and buy one for my six cats! :joy: Actually I have them all on a urinary diet and they drink a lot of water, so they would probably burn the motor out of one.

My doctor bought one for his two cats and he was ecstatic…until the motor burned out a few months down the kitty litter road.