If you own a cat or are planning to get one, you’ve probably already heard of automatic litter boxes. These devices are electronically powered and designed to instantly clean themselves after being used, which is why they’re also called self-cleaning litter boxes.
Basically, they have a sensor that detects weight or motion and knows when your pet has done his business and left the box. Once he’s no longer inside it, the box’s built-in mechanism either rotates to sift out the waste or rakes it to separate it from the unused litter.
The waste is then dumped into a separate bin that’s lined with a plastic bag, which you can throw out at least once a week.
With this in mind, it’s easy to see that automatic litter boxes have several benefits to offer. However, it’s important to note that they can also have a few disadvantages. We’ve listed some of their pros and cons to help you decide if they’re the right choice for your cat.
Benefits of Using an Automatic Litter Box
It helps you save time and effort
This is one of the best benefits you’ll enjoy when you have an automatic litter box. Since the box automatically cleans itself after every use, you won’t need to constantly clean after your cat and manually scoop his poop.
Of course, you’ll still need to dispose of the bag of waste, put in a new bag, and replace old litter with new one. You might also have to remove any pieces of waste that have stuck to the box’s sides. But, overall, you’ll have fewer litter maintenance tasks, and you’ll have more time and energy for other chores and activities.
It reduces odor
One of the biggest reasons why litter boxes smell is that waste sits in them for a few hours or days, unless you clean up your pet immediately after he relieves himself. However, this isn’t a problem with an automatic litter box.
Since it quickly removes the waste and used litter and keeps them in a separate container, the litter box stays clean and fresh and won’t fill your house with noxious odors.
It lets you save on litter
Some pet owners scoop solid waste once or twice a day, while others do it every couple of days. Either way, waste ends up sitting in the box for a few hours or days, which means that most of the litter will absorb it and will need to be thrown out.
With an automatic litter box, waste is immediately disposed right after use, which means that the litter inside the box would experience less clumping and that you’ll get to extend its life.
Several cat owners report that they replace the litter of their automatic litter box every two months (compared to the once-a-month schedule of regular litter boxes), which results to huge savings over time.
It matches your cat’s fastidious habits
Cats are clean creatures, and they like to do their business in clean areas. This is why many felines take to automatic litter boxes: since the mechanism removes poop and clumped litter ASAP, the box stays neat and fresh all the time.
As a result, cats won’t end up digging around in days-old waste, and they can relieve themselves without sacrificing cleanliness and hygiene.
It lets you leave home with peace of mind
If you work long hours or need to travel for a few days, you might be worried about leaving your cat behind with no one to clean up his litter box. But, if you have an automatic litter box, this will no longer be a problem since you know that his box stays clean all the time.
This will give you peace of mind, knowing that your cat will use his litter box and that you won’t come home to a smelly house.
Drawbacks of Using an Automatic Litter Box
It can be expensive
Automatic litter boxes are significantly more expensive than regular plastic boxes. So, if you’re buying one, you’ll definitely have to deal with bigger upfront expenses.
It might frighten your cat
Many cats are change-averse and don’t easily cope with any changes in their routine. So, when you switch your pet from a regular litter box to an automatic model, it might take him some time before he can adjust to it. And he might never even take to it, especially if he gets scared of the sound and movement that the machine makes.
It can break down
Just like any other electronic device, an automatic litter box can stop working. This can result in an additional expense since you’ll need to have it repaired or replace it with a new one. Of course, since it runs on electricity, it will stop working when there’s a power outage — unless you get a model with a backup battery.
It can get in the way of pet health monitoring
Like many pet owners, you probably already know that your cat’s feces and urine can tell you a lot about his health. However, when you use an automatic litter box, you won’t be able to monitor his waste since it’s immediately removed by the machine.
An automatic litter box presents both benefits and drawbacks. Before you buy one, it’s important to weigh these pros and cons to determine if getting this product is a good idea for you and your cat.