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 advancements in self-cleaning cat litter boxes that help take some of the messy work out of caring for your cat.

An efficient automatic litter box can significantly 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. 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 litter box, we at MyPetNeedsThat have reviewed dozens of different products, narrowing our search down to only the nine best self-cleaning litter boxes. Our detailed buying guide is here as well, to help you make better-informed purchasing decisions.

At a Glance: The 9 Top-Rated Automatic Litter Boxes

Editor's PicksProduct NamePriceRating
Best OverallWhisker Litter-RobotCheck Price on Chewy4.3
Best Odor ControlPETKIT Pura X Check Price on Amazon4.2
Best Self-WashingCatGenie A.I. Self-Washing Cat BoxCheck Price on Amazon4.1
Most Efficient ScoopFree Original Self-Cleaning Litter BoxCheck Price on Amazon4.3
Best Low Maintenance BoxLitterMaid Single Cat Self-Cleaning Litter BoxCheck Price on Amazon3.8
Budget-Friendly OptionOmega Paw Roll'N CleanCheck Price on PetSmart3.5
Best Hooded ScoopFree Covered Automatic Cat Litter BoxCheck Price on Chewy3.8
Best for Multiple CatsNature's Miracle Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning Litter BoxCheck Price on Amazon3.7
Also ConsiderPetSafe Simply Clean Check Price on Chewy2.5
*Ratings are from Amazon, Chewy, and PetSmart at the time of publication and can change

1 Best Overall: Litter-Robot WiFi Enabled Automatic Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box

Best Overall: Litter-Robot WiFi Enabled Automatic Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box
Key features:
  • Wi-Fi enabled automatic self-cleaning litter box
  • Sifts waste as soon as your kit leaves the box
  • Carbon filter for odor control
  • Connects to the Litter-Robot app

Wi-Fi enabled, the Litter-Robot is a futuristic way to scoop out your kitty’s poop! And if you love gadgets that work, you will love this neat device.

The automated process starts sifting their waste as soon as your cat steps out of the unit, so they don’t get spooked by its robotic cleaning wizardry.

The litter waste then drops into a carbon-filtered waste drawer that holds in the odors until it’s time for you to empty it. What we particularly like about the Litter-Robot is its connectivity. Via the Litter-Robot app, you can also monitor your kit’s poop and pee output and litter tray usage so you can easily keep on top of the waste levels and general maintenance.

Not the cheapest self-cleaning litter tray you can buy, but if you love the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi life, this could be the kitty gadget for you.

What others say about it:
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4 Months Review

3.5 Stars for me. Is an electronic litter box life changing, yes! Do I love them, yes. Did I wish I loved this enough to buy another one, yes. But unfortunately at this price, this really needs some work. Just like other reviewers, I am experiencing the same issues. Biggest issue overall is it says it’s full far before it’s actually full. The waste when dumped falls to the left side of the box so it signals that it’s full when only 1/4 of the drawer is actually full. Each day I am told it’s full, but when I open it, I can just shake the waste to even itself in the box and can get another day. Each day I can do this for up to 3 additional days before it’s actually full. Is this fine if I am home, sure but if I go out of town then what? Additionally, it frequently sends me notifications that the sensor was interrupted during cycle and on many occasions the box has gotten stuck completely and can only be fixed by turning it off and back on again. The app should allow you to turn it off cause again when you are not home you can’t have the box stuck in mid cycle. In one week I had it stuck mid cycle 3 days in a row with the only fix being by being turned off manually. I ended up buying the attachment package with stairs and fence so for $750 after tax, it’s just hard to say I love it enough and can rely on it enough to pay another $750.. I have 4 cats and really intended to purchase two units but wanted to make sure I loved it first, it took one of my cats 3 months before he would use it so originally I only had 3 cats using it but now that they are all on board I know I need another one but I just can’t justify the price. 🙁 ( I will update my review with a photo of what they consider full, along with the time frame).

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Best Thing EVER

We have 2 Cats currently. Throughout life we had several cats and I spent so much time scooping. This box is so amazing. No scooping and the way that it contains any smells is just amazing to me. I have had my Litter Robot for over a year now. I recently had a small issue with it and had to contact Litter Robot. They were so wonderful in getting me the replacement pieces I needed free as it was still under their purchase warranty. My cat had bitten off one of the buttons when I first got the box. When I was chatting with the lady I asked if I could buy those as well and she said yes of course. Next thing I know I got an email with my replacement parts and my new buttons all for free. No shipping and that button issue was not the fault of litter robot at all. Excellent service and such a great product. I have nothing but good results from this litter robot!

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Wish I bought it sooner!

It’s a hefty price tag, but worth it!! We have 3 cats. Before the litter robot, we had to scoop our traditional litter box 3 times a day and even that couldn’t prevent our apartment from smelling like cat waste. Plus, it was time consuming. We’ve had the Litter Robot for a year and it’s made a big difference. I empty the Robot waste drawer just once a day, and it’s a much cleaner/easier process than having to scoop the waste myself and my home doesn’t smell like cat waste. It has paid for itself with the amount of money we’ve saved on cat litter and litter box liners. And you really can use any type of store bought trash bag in the waste drawer as advertised. Some pro Litter Robot tips I’ve learned: 1) Use a hard clumping litter, like Boxie. The type of litter you use matters — if it’s a cheap litter that doesn’t clump fast/hard enough, then the waste smears all over the globe’s sides as it slides down to the waste drawer, making the globe smelly. 2) To reduce the smell of the litter box, try to wipe the inside of the globe once a week with a wet cloth or scent free disinfectant wipe. I like Nature’s Miracle Litter Wipes. 3) If you’re like me and empty the Robot waste drawer everyday but don’t want to have to run to the trash can everyday, buy a Diaper Genie (or similar diaper pail) to put the waste in until you’re ready to take out all the trash. I empty the Diaper Genie about once a week.

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Pros
  • Fully automatic and easy to use
  • Can help you monitor your pet’s toilet habits
  • Effective odor control
Cons
  • On the more expensive side
  • The basket in on a smaller size so not ideal for large cats
Show More

2 Best Odor Control: PETKIT Pura X Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box

Best Odor Control: PETKIT Pura X Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box
Key features:
  • Sizeable litter tray for multiple cats
  • For cats up to 18 pounds
  • Two cleaning modes – auto and scheduled
  • Purified liquid eliminates odors
  • Compatible with multiple litters

The Pura X is a sizable model, making it a good choice for multiple cat households.

The litter tray section can hold cats up to 18 pounds and is compatible with multiple cat litters, except crystal litter. For convenience, you can choose between two modes – auto and scheduled – to cover your litter cleaning whether you are at home or away.

And there’s enough functionality to keep the gadget geek happy, including thermal and weight sensors, remote alerts, and anti-pinch infrared sensors. When it comes to odor removal, the Pura X also performs well, using a purified liquid to remove unpleasant smells from the collected litter waste.

The main downside to this smart self-cleaning litter tray is the high step up to the entrance, making things difficult for older or smaller cats.

What others say about it:
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BEST LITTERBOX

I never right reviews for things but this litter box is amazing. I was considering purchasing the litter robot however due to the various cat injuries I heard about with it I was looking for an alternative. This one is very safe there are sensors everywhere if a cat even comes in the vicinity it will stop the cleaning until the cat has left. It works like a charm and the cleaning the function is essentially the same as the litter robot. Personally I think this one is better the look of it is much nicer, it has a deodorizing function, it weighs the cats when they go in it, you can do automatic cleaning after use or interval cleaning where it will just clean a few times a day, it will also show you what percentage of litter is left and will notify you when the waste basket is full. I am very satisfied with my purchase and my cats are satisfied with it too. As soon as I set it up they started using it immediately. The entrance is a little bit high but my two cats can do it and I’d yours are older or something you can just put a small box next to the entrance or make some sort of step and the issue is solved. This litter box is a 10/10 more people should have it and be talking about it in my opinion it’s superior to the litter robot.

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Best gift I bought myself this year

I’ve been waiting for an automated cat box WITHOUT the rake and crystal litter, and here it is, straight from heaven! Most awesome box ever! Was easy to set up, once I figured out how to connect it to my phone. My 2 medium-sized 7.5lb and 10.1lb kitties went right to it, no problem. But my chunky 18.5lb kitty put his front paws on both sides of the door when I tried to shove him in, and meowed “nope!” (The door is a bit small for my big guy, though) But this box truly cuts out many hours of scooping. I find it takes about 4 days for my 2 cats to fill the hopper, but by then it starts to smell anyways. That’s great considering I was scooping 2 boxes twice a day before, as all 3 cats used them both. Now, the smaller kitties prefer this auto box because it’s always fresh and clean. I use “World’s Best” litter. I just wish it was big enough to accommodate my fatty. But scooping one box once a day just for him beats 2 boxes twice a day. I also like the way it keeps track of which cat uses the box, by weighing the cat when it steps inside, and tells me how long it stays in there. Great to watch for urinary problems that cats get sometimes. At first, they were curious and walked up to look in, as it started the cleaning cycle, but after a day or so, they just carried on, ignoring it. I personally feel it’s a bit overpriced, but the best thing I’ve ever invested in for my cats (for me)!

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

So far so GREAT! [Solution for 5Ghz WiFi connection issue]

So far it was simple to set up and get going, just making sure to find all those hidden pieces of tape. I do wish it came with a longer cord, but it’s not the most difficult fix. Overall very good. I will revisit this review in a few weeks.

Network Connection Solution:
I have a combined 2.4 and 5 GHz network. It has the same SSID or network name for both those networks. In order to connect the Pura X to the 2.4Ghz network, I had to FORGET my home network on my smartphone. My phone was now on the mobile network (TMO, ATT, Verizon…). Then I went back to the PetKit app and I was able to connect the Pura X to my home network. After that, I rejoined my home network on my phone and everything works from there!

Best!

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • Versatile self-cleaning litter tray with a large capacity
  • Excellent odor control
Cons
  • A high entry door could make access a little tricky
Show More

3 Best Self-Washing: CatGenie A.I. Fully-Flushing Automatic Cat Box

Best Self-Washing: CatGenie A.I. Fully-Flushing Automatic Cat Box
Key features:
  • 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

If you’re looking for a litter box similar to a true toilet bowl, the CatGenie Self-Washing Self-Flushing Cat Box is a product for you. This innovative automatic unit does everything by itself, including flushing the waste away, washing, and drying.

How is this possible? 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 an electrical outlet to work.

What others say about it:
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Works well but there are drawbacks!

Cat Genie takes care of the cat waste and makes life easy but due to the company’s design you are beholden to their prices on supplies. If they choose to raise their already high prices on their oh-so-special “sani-solution” then you better pony up the money or else your $450 litter box is an enormous paperweight. There are competing sanitary cleaning solutions that are also rated as pet safe and able to clean the litter box like with the “cartridge genius” hack that is used on the older Cat Genie 120 model but with the new Cat Genie AI they have chosen block you from using any solution other than their expensive “sani-solution”.

Cat Genie has created an amazing product but they want to have their cake and eat it too. They want to charge an extreme amount for their litter box and charge a premium for their cleaning solution that you have no other choice than to buy. If you don’t want to pay a constant premium to have this luxury, don’t buy this product. If you are lucky enough to be able to part with that kind of money, it is an amazing product that has saved my wife a large number of stomach aches and given me a large amount of time back.

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • Scoops, washes, and dries without requiring any intervention on your part
  • No manual handling of litter
  • No need to purchase traditional litter ever again
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Requires a cold water line and drainage to work
  • Washable granules don’t absorb odor as well as regular litter
Show More

4 Most Efficient: ScoopFree Original Automatic Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box

Most Efficient: ScoopFree Original Automatic Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box
Key features:
  • 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

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 the litter crystals it uses.

The crystals absorb waste and odor incredibly well, plus they are low in dust and tracking. So when it’s time to replace the litter tray, all you have to do is cover the old ones with the lid and throw it away.

The model is 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.

Read the in-depth review here.

What others say about it:
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Love not having to scoop poop twice a day!

Although it took a few days for my two adult cats to get used to this totally different litter system, once they did, it was not only satisfying from a sanitary point of view, but also entertaining watching Bean and Zoe when the rake took the poop away!

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Pros
  • Great odor and moisture control
  • Crystal litter produces practically zero dust and tracking
  • Minimal maintenance
  • Very convenient to use
Cons
  • Requires the purchase of special litter refills or reusable tray
  • Some felines may need time to adjust to crystal litter
Show More

5 Best Low Maintenance Box: LitterMaid Automatic Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box

Best Low Maintenance Box: LitterMaid Automatic Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box
Key features:
  • 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

LitterMaid is well-known for its 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 scattering – 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.

Notably, the box is also really good at trapping odors, although this depends on the litter you use.

What others say about it:
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Great for the price

Overall I am very happy with this automated box. A couple of notes + It is a touch loud but nothing a closed door can’t help + Sometimes matter sticks to the rake and needs to be knocked free. +When scooping it does get some litter on the floor between the mat connector and the box itself. + If your cat pees against the rake you may need to knock that litter-free since the rake won’t get what’s behind it. My cats got used to it quickly and honestly only use the automated box even tho they have a regular one as well. Ever since getting this box, my cat who has had previous peeing out of the box issues has stopped the behavior.

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Pros
  • Low maintenance
  • You can use various cat litters
  • High-walls design prevents litter scatter
Cons
  • Not suitable for multiple cats
  • On the noisy side
Show More

6 Budget-Friendly Option: Omega Paw Roll N’ Clean Self Cleaning Cat Litter Box

Budget-Friendly Option: Omega Paw Roll N' Clean Self Cleaning Cat Litter Box
Key features:
  • Non-automatic self-cleaning litter box
  • Self-cleans by rolling to the right
  • Uses any clumping or silica litter
  • Privacy hood

Super-similar to the previous Omega Paw self-cleaning model, this litter box does a fantastic job minimizing your involvement with cat waste. Although simple and non-automatic because it doesn’t boast any fancy sensors, the box self-cleans pretty well. All you have to do is 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, although exactly how well the control 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.

What others say about it:
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Incredible at containing odors – Roll frequently or PERISH

Title says it all pretty much! I have it in my small, stuffy room and smell nothing until it’s been a while without cleaning. I didn’t actually know how to use it until recently, so I tried it after lots of time and it was a disaster LOL. You definitely gotta roll it frequently, but now that I actually know how it works I can tell it rocks… no pun intended

Best course of action if it’s been a while and you need to replace all the litter is to avoid rolling it. Take off the top half, take off the grate, and put the full bottom half in a garbage bag. Take it outside, dump the litter while it’s in the bag, and rinse with a hose if it’s real bad!

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

Pros
  • Non-automatic self-cleaning litter box
  • Self-cleans by rolling to the right
  • Uses any clumping or silica litter
  • Privacy hood
Cons
  • 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
Show More

7 Best Hooded: ScoopFree Covered Automatic Cat Litter Box

Best Hooded: ScoopFree Covered Automatic Cat Litter Box
Key features:
  • Automatic litter solution, 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

If you can’t scoop, clean, and refill as much as you’d like, whether due to bad knees or a 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 absorbs odor well and 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 is to place the lid on the disposable tray and throw it away.

What others say about it:
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LOVE this litter box!

This box is SO worth the investment, especially compared with the price of other self-cleaning litter boxes. Luckily, my cat was already using crystal litter, so he transitioned to this with no problem. I have literally never noticed an odor, either from stool or that acrid ammonia smell from too much urine. I never even see the solid waste, and I just check inside periodically and change out the whole tray when the crystals start to look urine-y. No scooping, and no trying to hold open a trash bag while you pour the dirty litter into it. I work a lot of hours and struggle to keep up with all the things that need doing around the house, and taking litter box scooping off the daily task list has been such a stress reliever! It’s really a small investment to make when you consider how much time it can save you.

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Pros
  • Best odor and moisture control
  • Fully automated sensors allow for more efficient cleaning
  • Specialized litter is very low in tracking
  • Minimal maintenance
Cons
  • Requires the purchase of special litter refills or reusable tray
  • Some cats may need an adjustment period to crystal litter
Show More

8 Best For Multiple Cats: Nature’s Miracle Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box

Best For Multiple Cats: Nature's Miracle Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box
Key features:
  • 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 a 1-year warranty

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 can set its delay timer only when the cat has finally exited the box. It comes with carbon filters, helping control the odor emanating from the pack.

What others say about it:
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Works great…. until it doesn’t

I guess I should have known, when the very first time I pushed “on” after setting it up (according to the included directions), it went about halfway, and then tried again a few times before successfully going all the way back and forth, that it was going to be finicky. It does work well for solid waste, but the urine tends to stick to everything rather than clump, causing the automatic mechanism to get stuck and back up. Then we are back to hand scooping to clear it out. I will return it if I still can. If not I will experiment with different litter types. Definitely not the low maintenance system for which I had hoped.

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Pros
  • Large capacity means more cats can poop
  • Very easy to operate, clean, and maintain
  • Cleans after every use; unlike other types that clean only after a predetermined length of time
  • Keeps nasty odors in check
Cons
  • Quite pricier than similarly designed automated litter boxes
  • Doesn’t come with a privacy hood
Show More

9 Also Consider: PetSafe Simply Clean

Also Consider: PetSafe Simply Clean
Key features:
  • 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

The PetSafe Simply Clean Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box is a great choice if you need a sophisticated automatic cat litter box.

It features a slow-moving bowl that keeps 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, and eliminating the need for timers and sensors.

It may not be suitable for large cats, though, as it has a limit of 15 pounds.

What others say about it:
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Worked pretty good

I had mine a few weeks before I gave it away due to loss of my cat. I was just talking about this box. I was thinking since people are having such issues with the motor burning out, why not keep it unplugged, and plug it in when you need a clean box? Having a shut-off button would be nice, or a cycle button. It would definitely save the motor and the unit would last longer!

Read more buyer reviews at Chewy.com

Pros
  • Doesn’t require scooping 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
Cons
  • The 15-pound weight limit may not appeal to heftier kitties
  • The 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
Show More

Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes: Buyer’s Guide & FAQs

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 electric litter box models online has left you confused and overwhelmed, don’t worry. This buying guide can help make shopping easier by focusing only on things that truly matter. Read on for better-informed purchasing decisions.

Things to Consider When Buying a Self-Cleaning Litter Box

Orange long-haired cat in a self-cleaning litter box.

To purchase the right automatic litter box for your budget and your kitty’s needs, consider the following things when evaluating the options.

Scooping time

Most automatic 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.

Waste bin

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.

Ease of cleaning

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.

Litter type

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.

You may also like our article on the Best Litter for Kittens.

Price

Automatic 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.

Benefits of an Automatic Kitty Litter Box

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.

No more daily scooping

Let’s face it, no matter how much we love our cats, we will never love scooping their clumped-up urine and feces. An automatic litter box scoops every time your cat leaves the box, minimizing waste management for you.

Less contact with cat waste

Besides being nasty to deal with, cat waste can also be dangerous. As cat waste accumulates in the litter box, ammonia fumes are produced, which are toxic and can cause respiratory problems. Some bacterial and parasite infections/transfers are also very much possible, so the less direct contact with cat waste you have, the better.

Reduced odor in the house

By regularly scooping on its own, a self-cleaning litter box also reduces the odor emanating from cat waste. This is great news for the room in which the litter box is placed, your cat, yourself, and even your guests.

A clean litter box for your cat all the time

With just a tiny bit of effort on your part (occasionally cleaning the unit), your kitty will have a clean and tidy litter box every time they need it. When their box isn’t clean, cats try to hold it in, which can lead to various diseases of the urinary tract. A clean litter box equals a healthy cat and a happy owner.

How Does Automatic Litter Box Work

Automatic litter boxes rely on a power source to rake through your cat’s waste and dispose of 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.

Where in the House Should I Place the Litter Box?

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 to defecate or urinate anywhere near it.

How Do I Train My Cat to Use Its Litter Box?

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 extra effort into training your cat to use their litter box. Here are some tips.

Understand your feline friend’s unique routine.

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 proactive in potty training your kitty.

Be there when it’s ‘time’.

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.

Teach your tabby what it needs to do.

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 it’s 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 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.

Never yell.

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 them. Hopefully, this article will help you feel more confident about managing the elimination needs of your pet.

Sources:

  1. Dr. Justine A. Lee, DVM, Kitty Litter: Does It Really Matter What Type I Buy?, Pet Health Network
  2. Laurie L. Dove, 5 Causes of Litter Box Problems in Cats, How Stuff Works

Best Self-Cleaning Litter Box FAQs:

 

If you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and get the best model for your home set up, then a self-cleaning cat litter box is up to the job. However, you need to factor in several factors, not least the right side of the pan for your cat or cats and the most appropriate type of cat litter. Good maintenance and regular cleaning will support the device’s performance and prolong its life. And the final factor is the temperament of your kit, as some cats don’t like using automated devices and prefer their own space for their toilet breaks.

While there is not a self-cleaning tray-specific litter product, overall clumping cat litter is the recommended product to use with an auto litter device. And this is because the clumps this type of cat litter creates when soiled make it easier for the auto litter tray’s mechanism to detect and then pick up your kit’s toilet waste. Non-clumping litter can also create a wet residue that’s left behind which can clog up the self-cleaning litter tray’s internal workings.

Due to their diminutive size and playful, curious nature, self-cleaning litter boxes are not recommended for very young kittens. Most manufacturers will set a minimum age of cat that should use their self-cleaning litter tray and that is usually around six months old. Any younger and the kitten may not be heavy enough to trigger the device’s sensor and their waste is smaller and so may not be picked up by the litter tray’s scooping mechanism. You are better off spending your time training your young kit to be able to happily use a manual litter tray first so that when they are old enough, they can successfully make the transition to a more adult, auto tray.

Yes, you can but always check the capacity and maximum weight of the self-cleaning litter box you are choosing. You need to ensure the box section of the litter tray is large enough to accommodate several cats as it needs to be able to offer a cat enough clean space for them to be happy to do their business.

Many self-cleaning litter trays will work with pine pellets as they clump in such a way that the tray’s mechanism can easily filter and sift them out. If you are in any doubt as to the types of cat litter your auto litter box can work with, always consult the instructions or contact the manufacturer for confirmation.

Experts recommend emptying any litter tray – self-cleaning or not – at least once a day as kits are fussy creatures who like their toilet space clean. If your self-cleaning device has adequate odor control and a soiled litter drawer that is well sealed, then you could go a little longer, but the ideal is no more than two-three days.

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