For all the cat lovers out there, you know that the cat litter box can be the worst thing about having your cat friend living with you. I have been through every type of cat litter box known to man (and cat), and I’m here to tell you why I will always have the self cleaners versus the standard cat litter box.
Nothing is worse than having to grab a bag and your scoop and go to town on cleaning out all the clumps that have formed over the last couple of days. You have poop to scoop and pee to clean. Let’s face it, your cat can stink! The standard boxes of clumping litter tend to get ripe over the course of two days, and it’s even worse when you have male cats. Like humans, males can stink! Self cleaning cat litter boxes are the way to go, but how do you choose the best one?
To Self Clean Or Not?
So what’s better, then? Self cleaning, or the standard, you have to do it for them? I suppose you might have to go through the motions to understand what works better for you. My Mom continues to do the manual method and goes through the motions every week where she cleans out her litter boxes, hunched over and trying to get every last clump out of there.
I tried to tell her that the self-cleaning ones are the best to use. You no longer have to lean over with that little scooper and get all the clumps out, as well as try to cover the smell – oh the stench! Nor do you have to add some baking soda to it to try to get it to smell less like ammonia over time.
How Does Self Cleaning Work?
So how do they work? There are different styles of self-cleaning litter boxes out there, but I’ll get into that in a moment. They all work basically the same. You have trays in the front or back of the litter box that collects all the clumps that your cat has so willingly left you, but the tray is covered and you no longer have to poop scoop your cats gifts.
There are sensors on the box that will know when your cat has finished. Once this sensor is triggered, the little teeth on the machine comb through all the big clumps and scoop them into a handy tray that’s covered until you decide to take the tray out and dispose of it. You no longer have to scoop, it does it all for you.
There are also versions where you hook it up to a water source and sewer drain and the litter is physically washed after every use – kind of like a toilet and bidet all in one – just not cleaning the cats rear. I think they might freak out over that!
Now there are different styles of self-cleaning boxes, so choosing the right one is important.
To Clump or Not To Clump!
Some self-cleaning boxes will require different types of cat litter. Some require the ultimate clumping litter and will gather any and all clumps that form, regardless of whether it’s poop or pee. This is the standard clumping litter that you would buy, even for the manual boxes.
Some self cleaners will require the use of crystals and only scoop the poop. The pee will usually go straight through to a pad underneath the box and be absorbed that way.
Some self cleaners will actually be required to be hooked up to a water source, usually by your toilet, and will use water to clean the crystals and actually flush the poop and pee down the toilet or drain in the laundry room.
Different Kinds Of Self Cleaning Boxes.
So which one is best? Well, that depends on your budget really. They all work well, and they all help you to not have to manually clean that stuff anymore. Let’s run through each and you can decide which one sounds better to you at home.
The basic – this is the first one mentioned and this is the least costly one. This one uses the ultimate clumping litter, which you’re probably using already at home since you know if you don’t use this, it’s hard to get all the “stuff” out. This box is usually under $100 and actually works really well. I used this one for years and loved that all the clumps went into a nice little tray that I simply had to pull out every few days and throw it away. No more scooping! I was very happy about that.
The second, the one that uses crystals and pads works similar except the pads absorb the pee and only the poop gets scooped. This one you don’t have to change out as often because the poop and pee go to different areas of the box. However, with this one, the crystals cost a little more, you have the trays and the pee pads. So several items are needed, but cleaning is less often and the smell doesn’t exist for about 4-7 days. These are typically less than $150.
The last one, and the most expensive – the one that needs a water source and a sewer hookup. This one, well, it literally cleans itself. Water is pushed through the crystals, poop is flushed and pee is washed. The ultimate self-cleaning box. But it comes at a price.
This one will cost you a whopping $300.
Clicking on any one of the pictures will link you to purchase them if you choose.
Now that I’ve explained the difference in each self-cleaning cat litter box, ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which one is best for you. While they all have their upsides, they come with the expense which can be the downside. I always thought even the first option, the one that only costs about $75 was well worth the cost. I enjoyed that the clumps went into a tray that I simply had to pull out and dispose of.
To this day, I won’t have a basic litter box that requires scooping. It’s tedious and it stinks. If all else fails, the basic one is a great option for those with less of a budget. To me, scooping is the worst option out of all of them!
What kind of cat litter box do you use at home? What works best for you?