Quality & Ease of Use: 20/20
Cat Approval: 18/20
We adopted our cats, Foxy and Jacques, from PAWS Chicago almost four years ago. Since then, our goal has been to develop the ideal litter box routine. We’ve experimented with different litters that reeked and wasted money on “innovative” boxes that leaked. We resigned ourselves to the fact that having cats meant litter pellets everywhere, stinky stenches and constant scooping. That is, until we met the Litter-Robot 3 Connect.
What exactly is the Litter-Robot 3 Connect?
The Litter-Robot 3 Connect is an automatic self-cleaning litter box that connects to WiFi. It sends alerts when the waste drawer needs to be emptied. It reduces litter use. It doesn’t smell bad. It’s the greatest invention of all time! OK, maybe I’m getting carried away—but it has dramatically improved my relationship with my home and my cats. Also, it looks like a spaceship.
I was skeptical at first because I’m not big on tech products and I very much doubted either cat would be interested in using this contraption. Foxy is a picky eater and Jacques hates... sound. Ergo, I did not have high hopes about introducing them to a robot they need to climb into.
It’s like having a personal assistant just for cat cleanup
I overcame my tech hurdle immediately. The instruction manual made it super simple to set up the Litter-Robot, connect it to WiFi and instantly begin tracking stats. The app has become my favorite feature because it not only alerts me when the drawer is full and needs to be emptied, it allows me to control the unit from afar. For instance, we were out of town for a few days over Christmas and forgot to turn it off before leaving. I was able to open the app and power it down from 400 miles away.
Inside the app, I can view how often my cats have been using the Litter-Robot and make adjustments, like turning the night light on and off (yes, there is a blue night light so your cats won’t trip on themselves if they have to go at 3 a.m.). Plus, instead of panicking and feeling horrible for forgetting to scoop litter for three days, now I can check the app to see how full the waste drawer is. Plus, by design, there’s always a clean spot for the cats to use because the Litter-Robot sensor initiates the cleaning cycle after every use. You can even adjust the amount of time between when your cat leaves the box and when the cycle starts!
Even if I forget to check the app, notifications pop up when it’s time to empty out the drawer. Honestly, the phrase “empty out” doesn’t even really apply. All I do is pick up the liner bag full of clumps and toss it. No scooping, no messy transfer of waste into a semi-open trash bag. Then, I replace the old liner with a fresh one (trash bags also work), slide the drawer back in place and wait for the next notification.
Sorry, did I mention you can also connect other smart home devices to your Litter-Robot with IFTTT technology? For example, you can set up an iRobot vacuum to start cleaning up any loose litter as soon as the Litter-Robot cycle is complete. Not that there will be nearly as much litter to sweep up, but still. This is fancy!
Even the original Litter-Robot model without the WiFi connectivity option seems worth the investment. It’s exactly the same as the Connect model, except you’ll have to watch the button panel for alerts on when to empty the drawer.
My cats actually use it—and I’m appreciating the lack of smells
The best part? My cats are using it! The manual recommends sitting with them and watching a cycle or two in action right when you set it up, so they know it’s safe. Yes, Jacques ran for cover. Yes, Foxy was terrified. After a few days though, they were both curious enough to try it and now use it regularly. In fact, Jacques sits and watches with wide eyes as the Litter-Robot does its thing.
I did have concerns about downsizing from three open litter boxes to one enclosed litter box. (It’s generally recommended to have one more litter box than you do cats.) My cats had never used an enclosed box before. But, the Litter-Robot is literally designed with an upward-facing entrance and giant chamber that allows cats—especially larger cats—plenty of room. According to the Litter-Robot site, one unit is enough for up to four cats, too.
The Litter-Robot has definitely reduced how much litter we use and how strong it smells where our cats do their business. Instead of clumps sitting in an open litter box waiting to be scooped, they’re now hidden in a carbon-filtered, fully enclosed drawer, preventing anything from wafting our way. One note: The Litter-Robot requires the use of clumping litter. If you use—or your cats prefer—non-clumping litter, you’re out of luck.
The price and size? Not ideal, but…
My only issues with the Litter-Robot are the size and the price. It definitely takes up space. We’re lucky to have a separate sunroom in our apartment we’ve designated as the Cat Zone, so our Litter-Robot fits no problem. In a smaller space, it could be tricky. It also definitely costs a big chunk of change for a device designed solely to handle feline feces. But, it’ll save you money on litter and time spent scooping. It’s also very evident that the manufacturers have put tons of research and effort into creating a device that works for both cats and people. So, I will do whatever it takes to find a spot for the Litter-Robot in any and all of my homes from here on out. And if this one ever dies on me, I’ll probably buy another.
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