There’s nothing like having a soft, cuddly, purring feline companion (or a few!) in one’s life. But cleaning their litter box day after day? Not fun, to say the least. Thankfully, over the past few years, there have been some advancements in self-cleaning cat litter boxes that help take some of the messy work out of caring for your cat. An efficient self-cleaning litter box can greatly simplify the management of your kitty’s bathroom habits, saving you time and effort from daily scooping. Equally important, this unit can considerably minimize the foul odors emanating from an indoor potty. Finally, an automatic litter box is good for your and your cat’s health too – by scooping after your pet only occasionally, you’ll avoid overexposure to ammonia, bacterial infections and parasites, and yet, your kitty will still have a clean and tidy bathroom.
To help you find the right self-cleaning litter box, we at MyPetNeedsThat have reviewed dozens of different products, narrowing our search down to only the best self-cleaning litter boxes. Our detailed buying guide is here as well, to help you make better-informed purchasing decisions.
If you can’t scoop, clean and refill as much as you’d like to, whether due to bad knees or busy work schedule, the PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box is a fantastic choice. With an automatic and adjustable scooping system and superior odor control, this litter box can self-clean for up to two weeks at a time. The litter box uses specialized crystal litter, which not only absorbs odor really well, it also doesn’t track at all. Since it’s fully adjustable, you can set the cleaning program to begin 5, 10 or 20 minutes after your pet leaves the box. Clean up is easy as all you have to do is place the lid on the disposable tray and throw it away.
Automatic, self-cleans up to 2 weeks
Adjustable cleaning program
Excellent odor control
Uses crystal litter, dust-free and low-tracking
Comes with a privacy hood
Best odor and moisture control
Fully automated sensors allow for more efficient cleaning
Specialized litter is very low in tracking
Requires the purchase of special litter refills or reusable tray
Some cats may need an adjustment period to crystal litter
If you’re looking for a litter box most similar to a true toilet bowl, the CatGenie Self-Washing Self-Flushing Cat Box is the product for you. This innovative automatic unit does everything by itself, including flushing the waste away, washing and drying itself. How is this possible? It’s all thanks to the special cat litter called Washable Granules that are included with the purchase. These are dust-free and don’t require changing as they can be washed. On the flip side, we found they don’t absorb odor as well as some cat litters, although the control is definitely satisfactory. Since it works similarly to a real toilet, the CatGenie needs to be hooked up to cold water and electrical outlet in order to work.
Fully automated cat litter box
Uses reusable washable granules, 100% dust-free
Adjustable cleaning program
Self-flushes, self-cleans and self-dries
Suitable for multiple cats
Requires hookup to cold water and electrical outlet
Scoops, washes and dries without requiring any intervention on your part
No manual handling of litter
No need to purchase traditional litter ever again
Requires a cold water line and drainage to work
Washable granules don’t absorb odor as well as regular litter
Budget-friendly but highly efficient, the Omega Paw Self-Cleaning Litter Box has been a user’s favorite for years. It’s hardly a surprise why – it looks good and is simple to use, with an effective cleaning mechanism that traps waste and odor the moment they appear. It may not have fancy sensors and features, but it does the job well – inside the litter box, there is a unique grill that separates the waste from the litter, depositing it into the pullout tray. This means you don’t have to manually scoop up your kitty’s poop and clumped up urine, but roll the unit onto its right side to get the collected waste. The box is also very good at trapping odor, although this greatly depends on the litter you purchase.
Non-automatic self-cleaning litter box
Uses any clumping cat litter
Scoops waste for you
1 Year Warranty
Covered for privacy
Super-simple to use
Effective odor control
Easy to Assemble
Requires additional space for rolling it on the side
Not actually automatic, so manual handling of the litter box is required
The PetSafe’s ScoopFree Original cat litter box is another solid choice if excellent odor control and minimal waste cleaning are what you’re after. This automatic unit self-cleans for weeks at a time thanks to litter crystals it uses. The crystals absorb waste and odor incredibly well, plus are low in dust and tracking. When it’s time to replace the litter tray, all you have to do is cover the old one with the lid and throw it away. The model is actually really similar to our Top Pick, the only major difference is the adjustable time program – this unit has none. Instead, it automatically self-cleans 20 minutes after your cat leaves the box.
Automatic, self-cleans for up to 2 weeks
Uses specialized crystal litter, low in dust and tracking
Good odor control
Starts cleaning 20 min after your cat leaves the box
Great odor and moisture control
Crystal litter produces practically zero dust and tracking
Very convenient to use
Requires the purchase of special litter refills or reusable tray
Some felines may need time to adjust to crystal litter
You might not consider the Modkat to be a self scooping litter box as it doesn’t come with any mechanism that will separate the waste from the litter. However, it has one thing going for it. It is designed to be top entry. This effectively prevents litter tracking, keeping your home from debris coming from the litter box itself. Its high walls help trap odor and other nasty smell. It also comes with a reusable liner that keeps the entire gadget odor-free.
Top entry design with exceptionally high walls
Comes with fully built-in locking lid doubling as a walk-off mat
Lid swivel design
Comes with reusable liner that can last up to 3 months
Comes with litter scoop that can be hung on the side of the Modkat
Unique top-entry design prevents litter tracking
High walls can keep nasty odors or smells from permeating the room
Ultra-modern look fits well with most modern home interior
Long-lasting reusable liners means no frequent buying of litter liners
Its non-self-cleaning design doesn’t justify the price tag; quite pricey
Requires you to still scoop the poop
LitterMaid is well-known for their good-quality pet products, and the Single Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box model is not an exception. With an automatic scooping rake that removes waste 20 minutes after your cat leaves the box for a clean and tidy feline bathroom, this self-cleaning litter box requires minimal maintenance. In fact, because of the box’s unique design – high walls that prevent litter scatter – you’ll not only avoid daily scooping (for up to 7 days!), but frequent floor cleaning due to paw tracks too. The best litter to use with this model is a hard-clumping litter – whether it’s clay, corn or some other natural alternative doesn’t seem to matter much. Importantly, the box is also really good at trapping odors, although this does depend on the litter you use as well.
Automatic, self-scooping for up to 7 days
Starts cleaning 20 minutes after your cat leaves the box
Good odor control
Uses any type of super hard-clumping litter
You can use various cat litters
High-walls design prevents litter scatter
Not suitable for multiple cats
On the noisy side
If you need a really sophisticated automatic cat litter box, the PetSafe Simply Clean Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box is a great choice. It features a slow moving bowl that keeps on rotating, moving your cat’s waste up the conveyor system where it is dumped into the waste bin. The bowl makes a complete rotation in one full hour, making it super slow, eliminating the need for timers and sensors. It may not be suitable for large cats, though as it has a limit of 15 pounds.
Fully automated self-cleaning mechanism
Easy to operate and maintain
Made for cats weighing up to 15 pounds
6-foot power cord
Comes with 1 year warranty
Doesn’t require scooping of the litter
Uses substantially less clumping litter than your average litter box
Requires cleaning only after every two weeks
Can be used with recycled bags
Inexpensive considering its technology
15-pound weight limit may not appeal to heftier kitties
6-foot power cord may be short for certain households
Doesn’t come with a cover so some odor may still come from the device
Super-similar to the previous Omega Paw self-cleaning model, this litter box too does a fantastic job at minimizing your involvement with cat waste. Although simple and non-automatic in the sense that it doesn’t boast any fancy sensors, the box self-cleans pretty well. All you have to do roll it to the right and then back again for waste to be collected in the pullout scoop for easy disposal. The odor control and dust trapping are very good too, although exactly how well the control is depends on the litter you use. Speaking of which, this self-cleaning litter box uses any clumping or silica (crystal) litter. Simple and affordable, it’s perfect for multi-cat households and folks who don’t want to spend extra money on fully automatic litter boxes.
Non-automatic self-cleaning litter box
Self-cleans by rolling to the right
Uses any clumping or silica litter
Simple to use
Suitable for multi-cat households
Since it’s not automatic, manual handling of the litter box is required
Needs extra space for rolling it on the side and back again
While some self cleaning litter box reviews say that the Nature’s Miracle Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box is uncannily similar to the LitterMaid LM580, it is different in that it comes with a much larger dimension and a unique sleep feature. The Nature’s Miracle also comes with the ability to set its delay timer only when the cat has finally exited the box. It comes with carbon filters, too, helping control the odor emanating from the box.
Automatic cleaning with every use
Works with any type of cat litter
Comes with odor control receptacles with antimicrobial properties
Comes with odor absorbing carbon filers
Comes with 1 year warranty
Large capacity means more cats can poop
Very easy to operate, clean, and maintain
Cleans after every use; unlike other types that cleans only after a predetermined length of time
Keeps nasty odors in check
Quite pricier than similarly designed automated litter boxes
Doesn’t come with a privacy hood
Consider the LM980 Mega Self-Cleaning Litter Box to be LitterMaid’s souped-up version of its LM580. It features a stronger and more durable drive mechanism to help automate the waste management features of the LM980. It is specifically intended for households with multiple cats, significantly simplifying the whole process of cleaning your cat’s litter. The LM980 is also large enough to accommodate large, heavyweight kitties that may weigh more than 15 pounds.
Newly improved, more durable and stronger drive mechanism
Well-constructed high side walls
Fully removable litter rake
Comes with anti-blockage safety bar
Designed specifically for cats weighing more than 15 pounds
Stronger and more durable drive mechanism compared to the LM580
Large capacity litter box means more cats can use it at any given time
Will not scatter litter onto your floor thanks to its high side walls
Issues with the rake system not really able to ‘scoop’ litter
Depth of litter tray may be too shallow for some
The drive mechanism is still considered underpowered by some
Litter box is shorter than what is ideal
A self-cleaning litter box is a wonderful gadget to have if you own an indoor cat or if you live in a multi-cat household. These units scoop and clean on their own, with minimal effort on your part. This greatly simplifies the management of your kitty’s waste and is a perfect choice for super-busy pet parents and those with poor joint mobility. But with so many different self-cleaning litter boxes on the market – fully automatic, semi-automatic, self-flushing, non-flushing, etc. - how does one even begin the selection process? If the sheer number of litter box models online have left you confused and overwhelmed, don’t worry. This buying guide can help make shopping for self-cleaning litter boxes easier by focusing only on things that truly matter. Read on for better-informed purchasing decisions.
To purchase the right automatic litter box for your budget and your kitty’s needs, consider the following things when evaluating the options.
Most self-cleaning litter boxes are equipped with a “scooping” sensor that is activated several minutes after the cat has left the box. If you’re fine with a simple mechanism that does this on its own terms, there’s no need for paying extra – pre-programmed units are simple but do the job well. If you want your unit to be able to almost immediately scoop after your kitty has finished their business, you’ll need a box with an adjustable timer.
Some models flush the waste on their own, others dispose of it in a waste unit that you have to empty later. There’s no better or worse here, only what works better for you specifically. If you want a non-flushable model, pick a unit with a large waste bin so you don’t have to empty it every day.
Even self-cleaning litter boxes need to be cleaned from time to time. Look for models that are easy to assemble and disassemble as they're easier to clean. It's good to know that the simpler models are typically easier to clean than the more advanced ones.
Some boxes require special cat litter in order to work. It’s important to check if the box you plan to buy uses the litter your cat likes, because if it doesn’t, your kitty may not want to use it. However, this is not always the case - more often than not, all it takes for a cat to adjust to the new litter is time.
Self-cleaning litter boxes, whether fully automatic or semi-automatic, greatly vary in price. Fully automatic ones, with fancy sensors and features, cost up to $500, while the simpler models can be found for about $40. If all you need is a simple self-scooping litter box, there’s no need to pay a lot of money.
One of the best things about an automatic litter box is that it’s one less thing to worry about. Whether you are super-busy with work/school, away from home often or just hate daily scooping, a self-cleaning litter box can make your and your cat’s life tidier and nicer without extra effort.
Automatic litter boxes rely on a power source to rake through your cat’s waste and dispose it into a waste bin based on a set time program. You can set the timer to scoop between 5-20 minutes after your cat has left the box (depending on the model), which is quite convenient. Semi-automatic boxes scoop on their own terms, meaning setting the timer is not possible. As for non-automatic or manual self-cleaning litter boxes, although they scoop on their own, you do need to roll or sift them in order to remove the waste from the bin.
As you may have already noticed from the foregoing discussion, there are two fundamental types of self cleaning cat box devices: automatic and manual. What kind of litter box you should get is technically a matter of preference although the following tips may help you choose the right litter box for your feline friend.
Aside from self cleaning cat box units, there are other types of excreta crates especially designed for our feline friends. These can include the more traditional open top, the more discreet covered type, the inconspicuous hidden variety, and a sifting litter box.
As the name suggests, an open top clutter crate comes in as an ordinary box that has four walls and a bottom floor but no roofing or cover. It’s very inexpensive and you can actually make one for your pet with a simple carton box. It is also very easy to clean as you have unrestricted access to the materials contained in the crate. Some commercially available open top products come with a rim which serves as an anchor for a liner. The liner serves as a protective cover for the inner surfaces of the crate, preventing leaks into the exterior. Sadly, there’s no way to prevent the odor from permeating through the entire room, so frequent cleanup is necessary.
A covered type of litter box is just like an open top but with a roof or cover, obviously. There’s an opening up front, serving as both entrance and exit for your pet. It provides your cat with certain ‘privacy’ that it needs to do its thing. This type is preferred because its covered nature helps keep the smell within the inner walls of the box. There’s one problem, though. Cleaning can be quite cumbersome as you don’t have instant access to the litter; unless, of course, you have a device that has a top that can be easily opened.
We’d like to look at hidden litter boxes to be a novelty as these don’t usually conform to the conventional idea of the object. These can be in the form of a planter or even other furniture pieces in your home that you would hardly consider a litter box. The advantage of these types is that they can easily be placed almost anywhere in and around your home. These are not eye sore and can be a great way to add certain aesthetics to your interior. This can be easily cleaned or not, depending on the design, whether it is open or closed.
The sifting litter box is actually a double-crate with one serving as a sifter for the device. All you need to do is to lift the sifter compartment and all clumped litter and feces is effectively removed. What remains in the crate is clean litter. You can look at it as a self-cleaning litter box but more of the manual type.
A true automatic cat litter box is something that does the cleaning and removal of wastes for you. The only time you will ever need to handle it is when you’re going to dispose of the collected waste. Unfortunately, this type of litter box is quite expensive.
Picking the correct waste crate for your cat depends on the size of your pet. Manufacturers provide different sizes of each of their products so you can choose the correct one for your furry pal.
If you have kittens or even small breeds of felines, a small crate works best. However, you should also make sure that the height of its sides makes it easy to climb. If your kitty is having difficulty climbing into the crate, it might not use it at all.
Medium-sized crates are perfect for standard-sized kitties while large ones can truly benefit from a larger-sized crate. If you have a breed that can be gigantic or oversized, then going extra-large should help.
As a general rule, the inner dimensions of the crate should be as wide as the length of your kitty. Additionally its inner length dimensions should be not less than 1.5 times the length of your kitty. Taking these ‘rules’, if you have a kitty that measures about 12 inches long, then your litter box should be at least 18 inches long and 12 inches wide. It may be large, you might think, but it does serve the purpose of giving your kitty plenty of room to scratch on, bury, and cover their excrements.
It should be understood that majority of these gadgets, especially the fully automated ones, come with state-of-the-art systems that allow for super convenient operation. If you don’t like the idea of having to constantly check the crate for clumped urine and feces, then you’d better get something that’s fully automatic. Like we already presented, the only thing you’ll need to do is to empty the contents into appropriate disposal bags.
There are manual sifting devices that are easy to operate, too. However, instead of a fully automated raking system, you’ll be the one to manually ‘sift’ the excreta without ever touching it.
Technically, it all boils down to how much budget you have earmarked for such a gadget as automated ones will definitely cost you more compared to manual varieties.
Another important consideration is the gadget’s ease of maintenance as well as cleaning. Here’s a tip: the more complex the design of the gadget is the greater is its maintenance requirements. While you can always keep this in mind, know, too, that today’s technology is continuously evolving. There are plenty of products that come with maintenance-free solutions, enabling you to enjoy all the benefits of the gadget without having to make a fuss about its upkeep. That being said, you may as well look for devices that have built-in features for simplifying, if not totally eliminating, the cleanup and maintenance process.
You might also want to listen to what others are saying when it comes to choosing the right gadget for your pet. There are many self cleaning litter box reviews that provide a clear picture of what you’re buying. Do take note that the negative comments can be quite subjective so you will really have to dig deeper into these issues.
Knowing where to place your litter box is as important as selecting the right one for your furry little pal. As much as possible, you may want to set it in an area that’s free of obstacles or even clutter. There should also be no distractions such as loud noises or other forms of nuisances. Just like you, if your kitty wants to perform its business, it wants to do it quietly and privately.
It is also important to place it as far away as possible from your feline’s bowl of food and source of drinking water. Cats are fastidious creatures and they like their things to be clean and tidy. If it’s a place where they eat or drink, they don’t want defecating or urinating anywhere near it.
What’s the use of an automatic cat litter box if you are not going to train your kitty how to use it? You may have the most advanced, most state-of-the-art, most sophisticated, most luxurious, and most expensive gadget in the world, but if your kitty simply doesn’t know or even want to use it, you’re simply wasting money. You also need to put in extra effort in training your cat to use its litter box. Here are some tips.
Most kittens actually learn where to defecate and urinate from their moms as well as littermates. However, if you happen to have a tabby that has not learned the behavior, you will have to do your part in teaching it how to.
The very first thing you need to establish is the elimination routine of your tabby. Most felines like to defecate right after a meal while some would be just after having a nap. Still, there are felines that relieve themselves after playing or after some physical activity. The point is you have to know when your feline is most likely going to relieve itself. This way you can easily redirect it towards the litter box.
In the first few days of feline potty training, you may want to keep a record of the circumstances or ‘cues’ that your pet displays just before it is going to eliminate. You may also want to record the times these occurred so you’ll have an idea of when you need to place your kitty near its crate. Try to establish a pattern so you can be more pro-active in potty training your kitty.
Once you’ve established a routine or a pattern for feline elimination, you can easily make yourself available to supervise your kitty. You don’t actually have to scoop your cat straight to the litter box. You can start by introducing the device to your feline friend until it gets accustomed to its presence.
During those times that you expect your cat to relieve itself, you will have to redirect it towards the litter box. Play with it for a while. Bring in some of its favorite toys. Sooner or later, the increased physical activity will stimulate it to defecate. Once the urge is there, you can direct your kitty into the litter box or gently scoop it up if it hasn’t learned how to get into the crate yet.
There are three important things you need to teach your tabby related to the use of its potty. First, it needs to learn how to get inside on its own if it feels like ready to go. Second, your tabby needs to learn to dig in its litter. Third, it needs to understand that it also needs to bury its excreta. This is more complicated than it seems, however.
The important thing to remember is to supervise your cat whenever it is in the litter box. You will have to show how to dig and how to bury the excreta. You will also need to be patient as your tabby may not understand what you are trying to teach it the first or second time. In most cases, a lot of pet owners give up too easily. Hopefully, you’ll find the perseverance to push through with the watch-and-learn methodology.
An important tip: if you’re going to show to your kitty how to dig, make sure you’re not going to use its paws. This has the tendency to scare it off and make it quite anxious. Use your fingers instead.
Again, the trick is patience.
Whatever you do, don’t yell or become overly frustrated at your cat for not being able to perform what you want it to do the first few times. Can you remember the first time you rode a bike? Were you able to ride it really well the first time? How would you have felt if your dad were to yell at you for not being able to ride the bike the first few tries?
That’s exactly what your feline friend will feel. It may not be able to show it but it will surely be puzzled as to why you are yelling. Again, be very patient. It takes time before your cat will get it – the thing you want it to learn.
Addressing the elimination needs of your kitty requires an understanding of their unique behavior related to excretion. Equally important is an understanding of how an automatic cat litter box works and how to choose the one that works best with your pet. It is also important to learn where to place these ingenious gadgets as well as how to train your kitty to use it. Hopefully, this article on the 9 best self-cleaning litter boxes will help you feel more confident about managing the elimination needs of your pet.