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.