Most cat parents can agree on one thing- litter duty is a drag. I’m sure sifting through your cat’s stinky leavings isn’t exactly topping the list of things you want to do today. If you want to make your life a little easier, than an automatic litter box may be just what you need.
Although tempting, strategically placing your cat’s litter box in some obscure corner in your house won’t change the fact that it needs to be cleaned. Litter boxes get stinky fast and you can’t ignore it forever. Your cats health and hygiene are at stake!
Luckily, the future is here. We used several factors to review the best electric litter boxes on the market: ease of use, price, functionality, durability and customer reviews. Let’s take a look.
Our Top Picks
Best Automatic Litter Box Reviews
The Litter-Robot III Open Air is hands down the best extra large self cleaning litter box out there. It has every single bell and whistle you never knew you needed until now. If you are unable to scoop due to age or health issues, you just won’t find a better quality product. Especially if you’re buying an automatic litter box for multiple cats.
It’s a bit on the pricey side, but because it’s so efficient you’ll actually save money on litter over time. How? Well, this smart litter box only removes the clumps, therefore reducing usage by up to 50%. That’s a lot of litter!
The automatic sifting process starts a couple minutes after your cat is done with her business. This allows for a fresh bed of litter upon each use. Since your feline won’t be stepping on poop to go poop, there’s virtually no tracking whatsoever!
Another big downside of being a cat parent is having to deal with that unpleasant smell of your litter box. Not with the Litter-Robot! The odor is greatly reduced by dropping those clumps into the waste drawer below, containing it as much as possible. This thing even comes with an app that tells you when the waste drawer is full! What a time to be alive.
- Comes with an app that allows you to remotely monitor and control the unit
- Wide opening makes it super easy for your feline to get in and out regardless of size
- Doesn’t need specific litter
- Built for houses with multiple cats
- Quiet and efficient
- No assembly required
- 90-day money back guarantee
- 36-month warranty if anything goes wrong
Although it’s the best auto cleaning litter box out there, nothing is perfect. Let’s look at some disadvantages of this model.
- Expensive – but you get what you pay for
- Not suitable for kittens or cats under 5 pounds
- Needs a specific amount of litter to function properly (just pay attention to the fill-to line)
- Cats are able to kick litter out (add the fence accessory to prevent this)
- Unit Dimensions: 29.5″ x 24.25″ x 27″
- Entryway: 16″ x 10.25″
- Inside Globe: 15″-17″ (depends on litter level) x 20″ x 20″
- Litter Bed: 14″ wide maximum
- Waste Drawer: 16″ x 12.5″ x 5″
- Weight: 24 lbs
This PetSafe self cleaning litter box model is a great buy if you’re fed up with scooping. Since it removes waste automatically, you won’t need to constantly be attending to it. You might even forget about it once in a while since the litter can last up to a month before it needs to be changed! Once the time comes to refresh the litter, all you have to do is remove the tray and throw it away; each tray includes a lid for easy disposal.
If your feline prefers crystal litter, this Scoopfree Ultra litter box is perfect. Crystal cat litter is way better than standard clay when it comes to odor control. The well-designed crystals dehydrate solid waste and absorb urine super fast, masking as much odor as possible. Plus, the crystals are designed to be dust-free and not stick to your cat’s paws. Your floors may actually stay clean for more than a day or two!
- Super easy setup – less than a minute
- Disposable trays have plastic lining to prevent leaking
- Safety sensor will stop the rake if your cat is in the box
- Covered waste trap keeps smelly waste out of sight
- Comes with a hood for privacy
- Has a health counter that keeps track of how many times your feline does her business
- 99% dust free
- 5x better odor control
- Must use proprietary litter trays that can be expensive (buy a “forever tray” to use other kinds of litter)
- Rake will sometimes fail while sweeping
- If your cat is a scratcher, the cardboard beneath the litter could get damaged and allow leaking
- Poop sometimes sticks to the rake
- Dimensions: 27.5″ x 19″ x 16″
- Weight: 23.2 lbs
The Omega Paw Self Separating Self Cleaning Litter Box is one of the cheapest self cleaning litter boxes out there. While it’s not automatic, it still makes cleaning up after your feline friend a lot more convenient than scooping. It’s really easy to use, too. All you have to do is roll the litter box onto the top, then back again. The sifting litter pan separates the clean litter and deposits the waste in the pull out tray. Just remove the tray, dump the waste and put it back. Simple, right?
- Built in “litter step” catches litter as cat exits
- Durable sifting grill
- Easy to disassemble and clean
- Litter stays inside
- Extra large for multiple and big cats
- Easy to use
- Grate will sometimes get loose, allowing clean litter in the waste bin
- Back latch hard to keep secured
- Some litter may spill while turning
- Needs to be cleaned almost daily
- Dimensions: 18.5″ x 21.5″ x 20″
- Weight: 6.5 lbs
The CatGenie is unique in that it doesn’t use actual litter. Instead, it uses litter-like washable granules that you never need to change. Pretty cool right? You can totally forget about litter and never have to touch the stuff again! This is the closest thing to a cat toilet than you can get. If you really care about cleanliness and hygiene, there’s no way you won’t love it.
The CatGenie Self Washing Self Flushing Cat Box acts like a cat box, cleans like an appliance and flushes like a toilet. The only thing you have to do is program it to your preferred cleaning schedule.
- Removes and liquefies solids for easy disposal down the drain
- Uses Veterinarian approved SaniSolution to wash and purify the Washable Granules
- Dries the granules leaving them warm for next use
- Ideal for 1-2 cats 6 months or older
- Includes Washable Granules and a SaniSolution cartridge
- 2 year warranty
- Customer support 7 days a week
- Requires a cold water hookup so limited to bathroom and laundry room
- Drain hose may get clogged
- Cat poop in the middle of the box may not get scooped
- Litter granules are small and can lead to tracking
- Must buy solution and granules which can be expensive
- Dimensions: 24.5″ x 19.2″ x 21″
- Weight: 26 lbs
Here we have another fantastic electric cat litter box by PetSafe. The PetSafe ScoopFree Original Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box provides fresh and clean litter for weeks on end without needing a change. That means less time you need to spend laboriously cleaning out clumps, and more time with your beloved furball!
The setup takes less than a minute and is a breeze. Just pour the allotted amount of litter into the tray and place the trace under the box. After that, plug it in and enjoy weeks of moisture and odor control. When it’s time for a change, cover up the litter tray with the lid provided and chuck it. Easy!
However, most cat parents who have experience with this auto litter box recommend opting for the PetSafe ScoopFree reusable cat litter tray. This tray allows you to use any litter you please and avoids the extra cost of PetSafe’s disposable trays, which can get pricey.
- Only need to scoop once or twice a week
- Rake is easy to clean
- Hides most odors
- Plastic lining prevents unwanted leaks
- Crystal litter is low tracking and keeps your floors clean
- Quiet and efficient
- Pushes litter into waste tray so need a bit more litter than advertised
- Have to upgrade to reusable litter tray for best results
- Diarrhea will get stuck to the rake
- No hood (see Ultra model above)
- Dimensions: 27.4″ x 19″ x 7″
- Weight: 16.7 lbs
If you’re looking for the minimum amount of maintenance in a litter box, then LitterMaid has got you covered. The automatic rake scoops up waste for a fresh, clean start. Equally important are the high walls that were designed to keep litter from scattering all over the place.
Are you sick of constantly finding and cleaning up grubby paw prints all the time? Well, the paw cleaning ramp that comes with this model works wonders to prevent tracking. Not to mention the fact that it includes an attachment to fit vacuum hoses to clean up any messes that may occur. If you follow the directions properly, you won’t need to scoop for up to 7 days at a time!
- Quiet motor that isn’t too obtrusive
- Disposable receptacles are reusable
- Comes with a paw cleaning ramp to limit tracking
- Includes hose attachment for easy cleanup
- Low maintenance
- Doesn’t work with every kind of litter (Silica/ crystal litter is recommended)
- Sometimes waste will collect behind rake and you’ll have to scoop it out
- Not ideal for multiple or large cats
- Dimensions: 25.2″ x 11″ x 19.5″
- Weight: 13 lbs
This innovative litter box features a large bowl that allows plenty of space for your cat to go potty. Furthermore, the high rim helps keep litter inside while the carbon filter keeps everything smelling fresh and clean. As opposed to previously reviewed PetSafe models. this one uses clumping clay litter instead of crystal litter.
Just dump the litter in (not too much!), plug it in and introduce your kitty to her brand new bathroom! After your feline has been relieved, the waste makes its way to the conveyor and is carried off to the waste bin. Your job is reduced to keeping the litter levels up and periodically removing the waste bin.
- Replaceable carbon filter to defend against odor
- Quiet conveyor system to remove waste
- Simple to operate and maintain
- Easy to clean
- Quick, hygienic cleanup
- Motor may fail if too much litter is poured in
- May need a timer to prevent overheating
- Sometimes shreds clumps instead of pushing up the conveyor belt
- Dimensions: 20″ x 10″ x 21″
- Weight: 13.7 lbs
The Catit SmartSift Litter Box is a perfect match with cat parents who want an easier way to scoop litter without having to deal with complicated motorized pieces. The simple design of this litter box takes the chore out of scooping litter without needing electricity. Just give the lever a pull to give your kitty a fresh bed of litter to use the next time nature calls.
Pulling the lever prompts the cat pan inside to rotate and pour the contents into an efficient sifter that deposits the waste in a pull-out waste bin below. When the waste bin is full, simply remove it, dump the waste and add another replacement liner. When you notice that the litter is running low you can easily add more via the access door. Additionally, the cat pan includes a carbon pad that helps to control those undesirable odors.
- Simple, efficient design
- Supports all types of clumping cat litter
- Safe, manual system with no motorized parts
- Large entry for cats of all sizes
- Eco clean technology
- Holds up to 2 weeks worth of waste (for 1 cat)
- Easy assembly
- Grate may be too narrow to fit clumps through
- Some customers have reported receiving a litter box with faulty parts
- Clumps may stick to litter pan
- Level may not lock in place
- Dimensions: 26.6″ x 19.3″ x 18.5″
- Weight: 18.1 lbs
Last but not least on our list is the Omega Paw NRA15-1 Improved Roll ‘n Clean Self Cleaning Litter Box. Just like the Catit model, this litter box eliminates the need for scooping without electricity. With stronger locking clips and a more durable sifting grate, all you need to do is roll the box to sift the waste into the removable tray. Once rolled back into the upright position, simply pull out the waste tray and dump its contents. This Omega model is suitable to small to medium sized cats, so if you have a chonker on your hands then you probably want to opt for a sifting litter pan with a wider entry hole. Furthermore, the entire unit is super easy to assemble, clean and maintain.
- Easy assembly
- No motor/ electricity required
- Easy to use
- Self cleaning
- No liners or filters required
- On the smaller side
- May still need to scoop larger clumps
- Folding screen may not fit correctly
- Locking tabs may not snap correctly
- Dimensions: 17.5″ x 20″ x 9″
- Weight: 4.5 lbs
Features to Consider
Self cleaning kitty litter boxes are very handy for cat parents who are sick of scooping or have a multi-cat household. Who wouldn’t want an alternative to scooping up poop clumps everyday? But with the all the different options out there it can be difficult to choose the right make and model best suited for you and your feline. In this article, we’ve reviewed an array of fully automatic, self-flushing and manual cat boxes. Each of these types of scoop free litter boxes has pros and cons; so which one should you choose? Sometimes all the choices can be overwhelming. Let’s look at the most important things you need to consider before making your purchase.
The first thing to consider is how big the litter crate is. Will your cat fit? Some manufacturers will provide different sizes for each of their products but some do not. This is why paying attention to the dimensions is important.
Shoot for a litter box with inner dimensions roughly 1.5x the size of your cat. You want to make sure they have enough room to turn around if they so choose.
On the other hand, if you have a kitty make sure to pay extra attention to the weight requirements. Some electric litter boxes require a certain weight to activate the automatic rake.
However, getting your kitty accustomed to the electronic nature of their litter box early is really beneficial. Instead of having to introduce a cat who’s used to a traditional litter box, your kitty will already be acclimated.
A scooping sensor is a key component in self cleaning litter boxes. This sensor waits until your cat is done with her business, then activates the scoop or rake. The amount of time the sensor waits to activate is another thing to consider. Can you configure the amount of time yourself, or is it a static timer? Some boxes will wait 20 minutes before scooping. In the event that your cat goes back to finish her business, she may encounter the moving rake and get startled.
Most of the models we reviewed today come with a removable waste bin. If you’re looking for a self-flushing model with no waste bin then the CatGenie Self Washing Self Flushing Cat Box is your best bet. It basically serves as a hygienic cat toilet.
However, if you choose a unit with a waste bin, make sure that it’s large enough to hold several days worth of waste. If you have a multiple cat household you’ll want to biggest bin possible.
Ease of Operation
Some of these mechanical litter boxes can be a bit tricky to use. Others are easy as pie. Consider your own level of knowledge when choosing between a manual and automatic litter box. If you aren’t technically inclined, it may make more sense to get a manual litter sifter instead.
Type of Litter
What type of litter is your cat used to? Introducing your feline to a new box to potty will be a bit of a process in the first place. If you add an unfamiliar litter into the mix it may make things harder for everyone. There are auto litter boxes that support any litter and some that need specifically clumping or crystal litter.
Ease Of Cleaning
Just because a litter box is self cleaning doesn’t mean it will stay pristine forever. You’ll need to get your hands dirty once in a while. Simpler models will most likely be easier than the more advanced. Keep an eye out for models with easy assembly; if they’re easy to put together then they’re easy to take apart.
Open or Hooded
If you’ve decided between a manual or auto litter box, the next question you should need answered is whether you want an open or hooded box. The answer varies cat to cat of course, so choose whichever one you think would make your cat the most comfortable. Does your cat seem to only use the litter box when you’re not around? Or do they go regardless of where you are in the house? If you said yes to the former then opt for a litter box cover. Your kitty obviously prefers privacy and a hood will add to that greatly.
Maybe you have health problems and scooping up cat litter every day just isn’t possible for you. Or you’re getting a little bit older and bending over just isn’t as easy as it used to be. Or maybe you’re just busy and want one less thing to worry about. Regardless of your situation, an automatic kitty litter box can make your life much easier.
- Reduced odors: Since the sensor on a self-cleaning litter box will automatically remove waste, the litter box won’t be sitting there for days full of the unspeakable. Trust me, you’ll save a ton of money on air fresheners!
- No more daily scooping: This is the biggest and most obvious benefit. Why wouldn’t you want a way cut out scooping from your life? An electric litter box will save you a ton of time and hassle.
- Good for hygiene: A clean litter box means a clean kitty! Instead of stepping on yesterday’s poop your furball will have a fresh bed of litter every time. By the same token, cat waste can actually be dangerous for the humans in the house. After a while it begins to emit ammonia which could cause respiratory problems.
- Clean litter box 24/7: Some cats will try to hold it in if they notice that their potty is too contaminated. This can lead to unfortunate accidents that are easily avoidable! You can totally avoid this with an auto clean litter box.
How Do I Train My Cat To Use Its Litter Box?
Don’t expect your new cat to jump in her new litter box as soon as it arrives. Cats are slow to adapt to changes and need some time to adjust. Patience and understanding is key. You don’t want to spend your hard-earned cash on a fancy new cat toilet only for your cat to snub it! Your kitty is used to a traditional litter box so you’ll need to put some time and effort into familiarizing them with the new one. Check out the tips below to find out how.
Teach Your Cat What To Do
At first, potty time may need a bit of supervision to make sure everything is going as planned. The first hurdle is getting your cat into the litter box and comfortable being there. Keep in mind that different cats will have different reactions. The second step is conditioning them to go right to the litter box when nature calls; most cats will do this instinctively.
The next part is where things can get a little tricky. Once your kitty has done her business, she needs to bury the evidence. You will probably have to show her what to do by digging yourself and hiding the excreta. Don’t be discouraged if your feline doesn’t pick it up the first few times: be patient!
Understand Your Cat’s Routine
Kittens will usually pick up litter habits from their mothers. However, sometimes this isn’t the case and some extra work has to be done to form healthy habits.
Some feline’s get the need to potty after playing or strenuous physical activity. Other’s prefer to go after their mid-day meal or after a long nap. Pay attention to when your kitty chooses to relieve themselves so you can be there to point her to the litter box.
When first starting potty training, it’s not a bad idea to keep a little journal that records the time your kitty goes every day. This will also give you the opportunity to note the cues your kitty gives when she has to go. Cats are creatures of habit so establishing this pattern earlier on is necessary
Once you have worked out a daily routine, it won’t be hard for you to be around to supervise when the time comes.
When you see the telltale signs, place your kitty right around the new automatic litter box. But don’t drop your feline right in! You want to this to be something they do on their own without you around. It’s important your cat feels comfortable and enters at her own pace. Don’t rush it.
Is your cat not happy about her new potty situation? Don’t worry, that’s totally normal. Try putting some familiar objects in and around it so she feels more comfortable. Another trick is to wipe her with a dry blanket or towel and rub it all over the inside and outside of the litter box. Cats rely heavily on their sense of smell, so if it smells like them then they are more likely to not be afraid.
Anyone who’s had to train their kitty to use a new litter box knows it can be frustrating. It seems so obvious to us, but it takes cats a bit longer to pick up on what they’re supposed to do. Think back to when your parents potty trained you- did you pick it up immediately? Of course not! Be patient and don’t yell.
No one likes to be yelled at. Yelling can often times have the opposite effect we want it to. How much more nervous did you get if your mom or dad yelled at you when you were learning how to drive? My nerves would go through the roof! When learning to drive a stick shift, whenever my dad would yell at me I would invariably stall. Every. Time. Don’t make your kitty anxious.
Lastly, make sure you have a full understanding of how your shiny new self cleaning litter box works. You don’t want any surprises when the time comes.
How Do Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes Work?
It depends on the type of litter box. Manual (non-automatic) litter boxes usually are just boxes with a litter sifter inside. Unlike the automatic or semi-automatic boxes, you will need to periodically roll or sift the litter before you empty the waste bin. Conversely, auto clean litter boxes utilize power to scoop or sift the litter. This is usually done between 5 and 20 minutes after your cat exits the box. Auto litter boxes can be configured by you to choose the perfect time to begin cleaning. On the other hand, semi-automatic boxes have a pre-programmed timer that can’t be changed.
Once the mechanical rake has done it’s job by scraping the dirty litter into the waste bin it’s up to you to remove and dump it. Some models will indicate when they are full but for most you’ll need to check yourself. Having all the waste in the bin instead of mixed with the clean litter will really help with the smell.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do self cleaning litter boxes really work?
Yes, of course! Where a lot of cat parents go wrong is not paying attention to the directions provided by the manufacturer. Follow all the guidelines and recommendations for proper use and maintenance. You’ll still need to put some work in by emptying the waste bin, but you’ll a ton of time and hassle overall.
Where should I put my automatic litter box?
Unlike traditional litter boxes, a cat auto litter box will limit your placement options since they require electricity. However, most homes have plenty of spare wall outlets to choose from. Pick a place where your cat is comfortable. Ideally, this would also be a spot that isn’t frequented by the humans in your house.
Which automatic litter box is best?
After exhaustive research and reviews, we have chosen the Litter-Robot III Open Air to be the best self cleaning litter box. There is no match for its convenience and durability.
Can you use clumping litter in an automatic litter box?
It depends on the model you choose. Some models accommodate all types of litter while others require a special type. Read our reviews above to find out which is which.
Are automatic litter boxes worth it?
There is no one size fits all electric litter box. The truth is, some cats just won’t trust them and will stick with their traditional litter boxes. However, cats are adaptable and most will warm up to their new potty. It will just take some time.
Why does my cat sleep in the litter box?
The primary health-related reason for this behavior is kidney disease. This can prevent your cat from properly urinating or cause intestinal discomfort. As a result, your feline feels insecure when away from the litter box. Changes to the environment can also cause stress and drive your kitty to lay or sleep in their litter box because they feel the most comfortable on their territory.
Why does my cat poop outside of the litter box?
There are a few explanations for this behavior, the first being underlying medical issues. If this is a concern, take a stool sample to your vet for evaluation. Another reason could be that your cat doesn’t like to urinate in the same area she defecates or she thinks the litter box is too dirty. In multi-cat households, cats have been known to feel safer pooping elsewhere if they feel unsafe or stressed while in the litter box.
By now you have a grasp on how automatic litter boxes work and which ones would best suit your cat. These types of litter boxes really do work wonders for odor control and overall hygiene in cat households. Not the mention the fact that they almost completely cut out the need for scooping! However, as previously mentioned, you’ll still need to keep an eye on it and clean it out every so often. Emptying the waste bin on a regular basis will be part of your routine.
But if I had the choice between emptying the waste bin every few days and daily scooping, I know which one I’d choose! Also, getting yourself some quality litter box cleaner really makes maintenance a lot easier.
Remember that it’s important to stay patient when training your cat to use their new litter box. It won’t happen overnight. Keeping your cat calm is an art, but done correctly it can make both of your lives much easier. A calm cat is much easier to train and is a lot more cooperative.