Living with three cats means living with three sets of turds, sometimes twice a day. Now put that in a studio (we know – crazy cat lady = us) and you may as well have a cot within the sewer system.
It's truly amazing how long we, as a culture, have had cats as pets and how little the litter box has advanced. It's only been of late that some high tech solutions have shown themselves.
After Unplggd reader, siobahn, waxed poetic about the Litter-Robot we thought we'd give it a go. After the jump a full re(al)view of how this monster works…
First, let us warn you, this thing is gynormous and pricey. Standing tall at 24-by-22-by-29 inches, the thing took over an entire corner of my house. Also, its $330 price tag is nothing to baulk at, but according to the company you'll save on litter. "Customers have reported litter savings of up to 40% with the Litter-Robot as compared with traditional litter boxes or other self cleaning litter boxes." If you're buying the expensive, but enviro-friendly, World's Best Cat Litter you'll really like this advantage.
Despite how complicated it looks, it was fairly easy to put together. Simply place the lower half, which holds the waste drawer and control panel, on the ground and then fit the Death Star looking top on it so that it's protruding seam gently pops in. Then watch your cats' investigations.
We followed the instruction's advice and filled the Death Star with litter and left the device off so our cats could get used to doing their business in their new space. Once they were into that we turned the machine on and this is what happened on the feline end.
They pretty much thought the sky was falling. But rather than running away, they let their curiosity take over and just watched as the Litter-Robot did its thing.
Now what does the LR do you ask? Well, it's a self-cleaning litter box. When your cat steps into the Death Star it has to place its weight on an outside step, which has a trigger telling the Litter-Robot that someone has gone in. On their way out they trip the step again and a seven-minute timer is set. After the allotted time the LR does its thing. While I didn't have the stomach to videotape the process, some crafty YouTubers did. For those who don't want to watch poop I'll explain, below the video, what happens.
Little motors within the bottom half of the LR slowly rotate the sphere counterclockwise. As it rotates, the litter is moved past a sifter. Clean litter passes through, while clumped litter moves across the sifter and eventually into an opening that drops the waste into a drawer. The drawer is lined with a plastic bag, which needs to be emptied once or twice a week, depending on how many furry friends you have.
We have to say it was impressive how much it diminished the smell. We used to dread coming home after a few hours away because, if someone pooped, we'd know just by walking into the building – not even into our apartment. Now, with the Litter-Robot, we weren't sure if anyone had went until we checked the drawer.
While the lack of smell was a major plus, the noise wasn't. We couldn't keep this sucker on at night since when it went through its cycle it would wake us up. This won't be a problem for those of you living in larger apartments, or houses. The noise is pretty minimal, but when your bed is 10 feet away it's hard not to wake up, and like your cats, think the sky is falling.
The cats luckily got pretty used to the whole thing and went in and out without a hitch – well, most of them did. One kitty (Dim Sum!) wasn't too into putting her entire behind into the Litter-Robot. While the LR is huge, its actual pooping area is rather small – 14 inches across with the max amount of litter inside. Dim Sum, the calico, had a tendency of going in just enough (or not enough) to get her pooper inside. The result: finding little presents on the trigger step. Not sure if this is the Litter-Robot's fault or my r-tard cat's fault.
And one last bummer, the instructions warned us that for a few cycles the static of the sphere's rubber bottom may make litter stick, but that this would go away over time. Well, after a few weeks it didn't and Gizmo (the gray guy) would come out of the LR with litter dust and granules on his back – gross!
While we applaud the Litter-Robot for advancing the litter category, we think it needs some work before we invest three Benjamins on it. We'll wait until version 2.0.
What are you, dear reader, using to keep the poop at bay?