The Litter-Robot Review: Never Sift Through Your Kitty’s Litter Again

Of all the gadgets which I have ever reviewed, I think that the Litter-Robot would definitely win the title of most offbeat, but it was well worth doing. In late January,would definitely win the title of most offbeat, but it was well worth doing. In late January, I unboxed the Litter-Robot, set it up, and then sat back to see whether Avah would accept this “spaceship” as her litter box.

It will have been two months tomorrow, and we have both lived to tell about it, so that should immediately tell you that things went well.

But let’s go back to the beginning…

The Litter-Robot Review: Never Sift Through Your Kitty's Litter Again

As a refresher, you can watch this video of the Litter-Robot’s unboxing…

…and this video of its easy set up.

You’ll notice that the bag used in the bottom tray during setup is nothing special, just a typical kitchen bag. The Litter-Robot came with five or so of them, and when those included were gone (at the rate of about one per week), I started using plain old white tall kitchen garbage bags.

When I first set up the LR, I couldn’t put it in the same spot where her old box used to be, because I needed access to a wall socket. I also needed a larger spot to accommodate the approximately 30″ tall x 24″ deep robot. Furthermore, it was important that nothing be right next to the top half, because it had to be able to spin without dragging against anything. Fortunately, I was able to place the Litter-Robot in our middle bathroom.

I purchased a brand new 35 pound bucket of the cheapest clumping kitty litter sold at Sam’s, which happened to be their store brand. It took a little less than a third of the bucket to fill the Litter-Robot, or approximately nine pounds. After two months of use, I still have over half of the bucket left. Every time I empty the drawer, I look to see if I need to add anymore – usually it’s still just fine.

So right there, you see that there are no special or proprietary supplies which need to be purchased to keep the Litter Robot working from the first day of purchase. Because of that, there is no fear that you might one day be unable to find special solutions or accessories based on where you live or the company’s circumstances. I’m just saying…

There are several tricks listed to help you acclimate your cat to this new system, but from the beginning, getting Avah to use the Litter-Robot was surprisingly easy. I took one piece of solid matter from her old litter box, put it in the new one, and then threw away her old box.

After her initial photo set, in which she was exploring her new space, Avah understood that the Litter-Robot was not a playpen; she never again used it for anything but how it was intended.

Here’s the important thing to remember before trying to use a Litter-Robot: your cat must weigh at least five pounds for safe use. If you have kittens or a really petite chatte, then you should stick with a regular litter box until they are larger. But if you have a cat who weighs over five pounds you’ll be good to go. Their site says “The Litter-Robot accommodates cats up to 15 lbs, but according to our customers larger cats have adapted to the Litter-Robot without problems.”

Before we watch the video of Avah demonstrating the Litter-Robot, I want to tell you about the Cat Sensor, which is built into the front step. The basic purpose of this sensor is to let the LR know that a cat has been in the drum, and that the drum needs to tumble. The minute your cat leaves the Litter-Robot, a seven minute countdown starts. As you will see in this video, cats sometimes come back to check “their business,” and the seven minute window gives them time to do this as well as time to get away. If the cat steps on the Cat Sensor again, the seven minute sensor is once again tripped, and in this manner there is no chance of the cat being inside the drum when it starts to rotate.

Okay, here is Avah, ready to give a demonstration of the Litter-Robot…

I thought about adding some cool background music to this video, but in the end I decided that it was best to leave the audio alone; I thought it important for you to be able to hear the mechanical sound made as the globe rotates in an otherwise perfectly quiet room. We have ours set up in the middle bathroom, and we have grown used to the sound it makes when tripped. Realize that this is a room with no carpet and very little furniture (other than porcelain, heh!), so yours may sound quieter if it is in a different environment. If the tumbling sounds are going to bother you, then the robot might be best placed in a laundry room or basement.

So when the Cat Sensor has been tripped and the globe’s rotating, I bet you are wondering what’s actually happening, right?

Here’s a video showing it in detail…

If you are truly worried that your cat won’t take to the Litter-Robot, you can give one a try, basically risk-free for 60 days. Right now they are offering FREE shipping, so the worst case scenario is that if things don’t work out, you’ll only be short the $40 or so it will take to send the huge box back. After seeing how quickly Avah took to her Litter-Robot, my mother bought one for her older Persian; mom will not be taking advantage of the return policy. 😉

According to their site, “The Litter-Robot waste drawer was designed to prevent mold growth, eliminating that typical cat box smell. However, we do recommend that you empty the waste drawer at least once a week – after all, there are limits.”

Well…yeah. 😉

Worth noting before you take a good hard look at the picture coming up – I have gone as long as a week and a half without cleaning out the drawer, and not once did the Litter-Robot start to smell. To be honest, I just forgot to clean it because it didn’t. 😳

Granted, I only have one cat; those of you with more than one will have to figure out for yourself whether you can go a few days or a little bit longer. But no matter what, I guarantee the cleanup will be preferable to scooping…period.

Anyway, here’s a look at what one cat can produce in a week; I hope you haven’t just eaten. 😉

The Litter-Robot Review: Never Sift Through Your Kitty's Litter Again

Scary, huh?!

What I noticed is that unlike Avah’s old box, where…how can I say this delicately? Okay, I can’t. She had this spot where she would pee, and it would just create the nastiest, smelliest, wettest mess – even with the clumping litter. I absolutely dreaded cleaning her box because of that mess. This no longer happens with the Litter-Robot. Because her waste is not allowed to sit, and it is instead immediately rotated, coated in gravel, and dumped, there are no “toxic spots” in the drum.

One other thing I should mention is that while you might think that a spinning drum would kick up unwanted litter dust (after all, scooping certainly seems to), I have not found that to be the case at all. The Litter-Robot rotates so slowly and gently that dust is not expelled.

I can’t begin to express how spoiled – yes spoiled, I have become since using this device. Cleanup is a breeze, and the little bit of litter that gets tracked off the step is nothing near what used to be tracked out of Avah’s old box. The Litter-Robot is an appliance that I can’t imagine owning a cat without having; I would like to say that the Litter-Robot was for Avah, but the truth of the matter is that it was for ME.

Any questions? Check out the FAQ or ask me in the comments section. :-)

The Litter-Robot is available in black or beige, directly from the manufacturer and other retailers. It comes with an 18-month full warranty*.

MSRP:$329.00 (3 Payment Plan option available)
What I Like: Easy to set up; uses ordinary trash bags and clumping litter – no special supplies needed; no fear of cat being caught inside; you never touch the nasty stuff; no sifting; no nasty smells…no worries!
What Needs Improvement: The tumbling action is a bit noisy if you have to keep it in a main room of the house

* “During this warranty period [they] will repair or replace your Litter-Robot at no charge. Customers outside the lower 48 US states may incur some shipping charges.”

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35 replies

  1. I love that cats come back to check their business, just like humans. Wait, you all don’t do that too. No, I was just joking. Really.

    This is super cool and it’s nice to see one of these cat gizmos that really works. My ex-wife has two cats – I’ll have to forward this on to her. She always asks me to clean the litterbox when they go away — heck maybe I’ll get her one for her birthday…

  2. I was waiting for your review on the Litter Robot.

    I was going to get one of these but after reading and hearing how loud the tumbler is, I’m going to have to pass on this device for the time being. My wife and I live in a small NY apartment and that sound would be too distracting. We’d have 2 locations to place this device, either near the living room or near the bedroom. So either we’d hear this sound while watching TV or get startled by it when we’re in the middle of sleeping. Unless I can find some kind of box container to put over it to muffle the sound, we’re going to have to wait in getting this litter box until we move out into the suburbs when we have more room.

    Thanks for a wonderful review!

  3. I had a LitterMaid and it SUCKED. You would have to clean it every other day to keep it from stinking to high heaven and then the cats seemed to poop ON the gate and it would get stuck. EWW!

    This looks cool, but I don’t thing the wife will let me spend 3 hundo on a litterbox! 😀

  4. Great review… but I disagree on your lack of background music. Something by the Stray Cats, perhaps???
    I have 2 cats (and 3 dogs – I never figured out that kids want pets so the parental units will have something to replace said kids when they move out…) so the problem is not only one of getting the feline contingent to use a new box, but (hooray!) keeping the dogs from “policing” the results. I have a Littermaid, and even with the 2 of them usually using it (my aptly-named Big Kitty has fat days when he prefers something less confining; OTOH Little Piddle has no body image issues; she even loves to sit and look at herself in a mirror) but it sometimes doesn’t rake the litter before the dogs get “curious.” Thank you, Judie, I’ll definitely consider the Robot.

  5. @Wayne – you are such a sweet ex-husband! :-)

    @jaxim – It’s hard to explain, but like I mentioned above, the acoustics of a tile room with porcelain fixtures (and absolutely no background noise) may have made the tumbler seem louder than it would in a carpeted room, or even a room with more furniture.

    Even as loud as ours seems, it is in the room right next to my office and after noticing every time it went off for the first day or so, we have acclimated to where we hardly notice it at all anymore.

    @Joel – that three payment deal makes it not hurt as much, and believe me, once you have one of these you won’t regret it. And you said “cats”?…even more of a reason.

  6. @n0doz – Yeah! I had asked Sarah what she thought would be appropriate music for the video, and we had fun laughing at some of the songs that came to mind. 😉

    I have had dogs who were more than a little curious about OPP*, and I didn’t even think about how the Litter-Robot’s design would keep all but the most tenacious out of the litter and even then, it would only be a seven minute window. Good point!

    *(other pet’s poo)

  7. I know it sounds a little nuts – but this place will make you a custom cover for your litter-robot.

  8. Nope, not nuts at all. Looks like they have found a market. Thanks for the link. :-)

  9. Did I not promise you (and Avah) would love the Litter-Robot? Well, love may not be the right word for any waste disposal system but I knew you would rave about this cement-mixer/ spaceship gadget. As a former daily scooper, I often wonder how much time I’ve saved over the years only emptying the drawer twice a week (2 cats – Jackson and Tabitha). You’ve got the right idea with the cheap litter; my other suggestion is to use the cheapest plastic bags and instead of poking it into the bag holders, just slip the drawer into the bag and when it’s time to empty it you just invert the bag as you peal it off the drawer.
    Just saves a little time. Glad you went with the beige color, too. :)

  10. Yes, you did! Thank you so much for pointing me in the right direction. I’m glad I didn’t waste time with a raking system, this is the best thing since…any cliche you could insert. 😉

    Your bag insert idea sounds good, too – I’ll give it a try later today. :mrgreen:

  11. I was curious about these, I don’t remember where the first place was that I read about them. But wow, that price, noise and size? It didn’t seem to add up for me, but I may rethink that now. Thanks for the videos Judie! I don’t think a straight text & photo article would have had the same amount of influence.

    If you’re pinching your Litter-Robot pennies, note that you can get a “reconditioned” one for $269. Only problem there is maybe your cat(s) may not take to a “used” one as readily as one fresh and new from the factory.

  12. karrock – I totally agree that a video was the only way to really see how the Litter-Robot works and judge whether it is something that might work for you.

    With that said, this is definitely one of those products that you might think you can live without…until you have used one. After you’ve used one a little bit of extra noise and a bit of room taken up doesn’t seem so important anymore. :-)

  13. Thought this might go nicely with this cat litter meets technology theme…

  14. I just bought a Litter-Robot, and it is everything they promised.
    Because the sound is a problem for my cat, I just leave the Robot off and turn it on only when I’m ready to clean it (daily, of course, but hitting a switch is a lot easier than scooping). Cats who are accustomed to doing their business in covered litter boxes should have no problems adapting to the Litter Robot. 😛

  15. I got the Litter Robot a few days ago, and MItzi just won’t go inside. I have stopped cleaning her old box ( for Now ), have tried using treats and catnip, have put her old box close to the robot. I don’t know what else to do. I can’t return it, because I got it on Ebay, used. It worked the first day, but now the lights blink, so it’s not working correctly. I am going to try to get it fixed or something, but it won’t matter anyway, if I can’t get Mitzi to go inside.

  16. Just found this as it was one of the sites that directed people to my site. I am the one who makes the custom “Hiders” for the Litter Robot.

    I have not tried one yet, but I have sold a great deal of the covers for them. And many of the people who bought an LR, had previously had Littermaid Elites. They got rid of them and are most happy with the LR. I just might have to invest in one myself.

    By the way, this site was very imformative and well put together, thanks.

  17. I posted one, hope it got on. I am the one who makes the custom “Hiders” for the Litter Robot

    Many of my clients who have purchased the Littermaid Elite have gotten rid of it and purchased the LR. I have built a great many Hiders for them.

    I just may have to try one of them myself.

  18. UPDATE! I just heard back from the Litter Robot people, and I am now as impressed as I was disappointed when I wrote the review below! I talked to someone in customer service AND the actual owner, who apologized profusely….when the original customer serivce person had offered the 10% discount I had asked for a supervisor to call me back, and evidently there was a mix-up where they thought it had been already handled. Long story short–the company is sending me a BRAND NEW globe (the upper section) free of charge, even though it’s been 2 1/2 years since I bought it. I had a long conversation with the owner and it does appear they really do stand behind their product after all! They said that they are continually working to improve the product, and that if people contact them they will try to work with them to rectify the problem. YAAY!
    My original review:
    I bought the Litter Robot about two years ago–and I loved, loved, loved it (and my neighbor who watches my two cats when I’m traveling thanked me because her “scooping duties” were over!)
    However, mine recently broke–evidently, the spring that keeps the two little side “doors” closed broke, and now they “hang” open–releasing not good smells into my office….also, the sensor doesn’t seem to know now when the litter is soiled and needs to be cycled through. I have no idea whether these two problems are related or not. .
    When I called the company and complained that I expected a litter box that costs $350 to last longer than two years, they offered me a 10% discount on a new globe, which I thought was weak. Still trying to deal with them! The sad thing is I liked it so much, I’ll probably get another one, but for those people that would have a hard time spending the $350 in the first place, be fore-warned!

  19. I have been thinking about getting a cat myself. When I started looking online for a litter box that was easy to use I ran into this. I did a lot of research and see that litter robot is an amazing quality product! The way I figure it is its a one time fee for a life time of ease when keeping a cat! Im going to get a cat for sure now and not have to worry about the mess!

    I have seen videos of this machine in action and it seems so great. The problem with keeping a cat in the last has always been the odor and changing the litter. Besides that cat’s are low maintence pets that are great if you live in a small apartment! Great article here and it just confirmed my decision to get the litter robot when I get a cat! Now my only problem is picking out the perfect kitten. I want a cat that is very laid back but playful!

  20. Wow, I have got to get one after watching your video. Thank you all for sharing!!!!

  21. Hi Linda, I’m glad to hear that like Avah, your Itsy took so easily to the litter robot, but I am sorry to hear that you have run into this snag!

    If Itsy isn’t touching the step at all, and the red light is never coming on, but you know that she is using the LItter-Robot, then if it were me? I’d lightly press the step with my foot at least twice a day. Just tap on the edge of the step. That will set off the tumbling/cleaning function.

    I figure that doing this would be no worse than having a regular catbox, because she is still covering up her mess with litter, but unlike a regular catbox, you won’t have to touch anything when you remove it. Well, other than the weekly bag removal from underneath. =P

    It’s not a perfect solution, but it might be better than nothing — at least until Itsy decides she doesn’t want to jump any more. =)


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