What is a Self-Cleaning Litter Box?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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A self-cleaning litter box is a litter box which is designed to at least partially maintain itself. Since many people do not enjoy the process of cleaning the litter box, a self-cleaning litter box can be a distinct benefit, especially for people who have multiple cats. In addition to being used for cats, self-cleaning litter boxes can also be used for other small animals, like rabbits.

There are a number of ways in which a self-cleaning litter box works. In the most basic type, a rake moves across the litter pan at set intervals or right after the animal uses the box. The rake pushes feces into a trough or pail which is lined with a garbage bag, and when clumping litter is used, the rake will also push the clumped urine into the trough. When the bag is full, it can be tied up and discarded.

This type of litter box may need to be cleaned periodically, as the rake will not get every last scrap of waste material, but often minimal maintenance is required. The pet owner simply tops off the litter box with fresh material periodically. A special kind of litter may be needed, depending on the manufacturer; other litters may clog or clump in the rake, causing problems.


Some companies also make plumbed self-cleaning litter boxes, which use granulated litters which will not dissolve in or clog the plumbing. In these cases, the box cleans itself on an automated schedule, flushing water and a cleaning solution through the litter to break up feces and carry feces and urine out through a waste pipe. These litter boxes can often be hooked up to the toilet used by the humans in the household, ensuring that the waste material is treated at a septic plant.

As you might imagine, a self-cleaning litter box tends to be more expensive than the ordinary kind, because of the increased complexity involved in manufacture. Some people think that the extra cost is worth it, when one considers the time saved by a self-cleaning litter box. This tool is also good for pet owners who might be vulnerable to diseases carried in animal waste; pregnant women, for example, should not handle material from cat litter boxes, and having a self-cleaning litter box allows them to ensure that the litter box is clean and pleasant for the animals to use without exposing them to danger.


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Post 3

Animandel - When I learned of the automated litter boxes, I had the same question as you. Is this too good to be true? My initial thought was that if I bought one, it wouldn't work as well as advertised and I would end up doing almost as much work as I do now keeping the litter boxes clean.

I'm still considering buying one, but I have heard mixed reviews so I am hesitant to make the purchase.

Post 2
I was so pleased when I found the hidden litter boxes. I thought these were the final word on kitty bathrooms. Now, I read that I can actually get automatic litter boxes, and not have to scoop the litter every day. Is this to good to be true?
Post 1

The worker who installed my heating and cooling system told me that when his wife got pregnant, they were forced to move their indoor cat outside because the litter boxes for their cat were not good for the wife. Needless to say, this did not go over well with the cat. He would disappear for days, and not let the couple pet him when he was around.

Eventually, they bought a self cleaning litter box to see whether that would do the trick. I didn't ask what type of box or system he had bought, but he said it worked, and they have an indoor cat once again.

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