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Not So Automated Litter Boxes

As pet owners we are all worried with regards to the health of our pets.  We are human however, and many of us want to make taking care of our cats as simple as possible.  Inventive marketing professionals realize this, so they produce a new item which is going to decrease the amount of time it requires to care for our cats.  Well, this is not always the case.  Take an automatic cat litter box for instance.  Even though the concept seems useful, I found out otherwise.

With the lure of convenience, numerous cat owners were tricked into purchasing an automatic cat litter box.  A lot of models use a rake process that is activated shortly after the cat leaves the litter box.  At this point the rake is designed to quickly scoop up the clumped litter and discard it within the throw away litter tray.  In my case, it just didn’t work out as designed.

To start with, allow me to say that my cat is old.  His feces is frequently soft.  As soon as the rake encountered this, it was a mess.  I had to peel apart the top of the litter box just to get to the release tabs of the rake so that I could clean it.  Under typical circumstances this might not be bad, but the rake was unbelievably soiled.  When I finally got the rake released, it was very hard washing between the teeth.  This alone was more than enough to make myself question the judgment to purchase one of these so called self cleaning litter boxes.

Where I live, we encounter continual problems with power outages.  Often times the electric is out for many hours.  One time I was caught off guard when the power went out and the litter box did not work.  Sure, the automatic litter box offers battery backups in case the electric goes out, but it does not warn the pet owner when the batteries are low.  Once the power came back on, I heard the litter box continually running.  After taking a look at it, I noticed that the rake process was only going half way where there seemed to be an incredible amount of clumped litter causing a great deal of resistance that the rake wasn’t able to get rid of it.  Subsequently, the rake process was disrupted and would start again and again.

When looking for litterboxes, be aware of how it will operate in the real world.  I too bought into the view that an automatic litter box would save me a considerable amount of time.  In the long run, the self cleaning litter box ended up in the garbage can, and I purchased a good litter scoop instead.  And to be honest, there aren’t any surprises nowadays.  Regular scooping is a lot better then taking apart an automatic litter box to get at a filthy rake to scrub.

Posted under Miscellaneous Content

This post was written by Noel D'Costa on September 7, 2010

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