Mastering the Cat Litter Box

in Pets on by

Kitties are generally good at keeping themselves clean, but they do have some needs they can’t take care of on their own. That’s where you, the owner, come in: lugging heavy bags of cat litter, scooping poop for hours on end, and living with that litterbox smell. If you want to reduce your workload and freshen up your apartment, consider one of these innovative litter or litterbox options to keep your cat and your apartment as fresh as possible.

1. Crystals instead of clay

Clumping clay litter has traditionally been a popular choice with cat owners, as it’s cheap and easy to user. However, clay retains a lot of moisture, which brings smell along with it. Additionally, clumps can partially disintegrate, leaving some waste behind in the litter even when clumps are removed. Crystals can be a viable alternative to clay litter. They are lightweight, reduce odor, and absorb more than clay, making it necessary to use less litter overall. Though crystals can be useful, some cats may take time to get used to the new type of litter. Mixing clay and crystal litter for a little while may help cats adjust. Owners, too, may have problems with the litter—it can require a different type of scoop, and it may make noise when cats walk on it. Some people just aren’t into crystal litter, but others swear by its odor-reducing properties and appreciate having to buy less litter and change it less often. Try it out if you’re interested, but don’t necessarily expect to revolutionize your kitty care routine.

2. Roll out

The Omega Paw self-cleaning litterbox works with clumping litter only and eliminates the need for scooping. Instead of scooping waste out of the box, you simply roll the litterbox itself to the side, causing litter to fill a small chamber. Rolling the litterbox back causes clean litter to fall back into the box but traps waste in the appropriate department. Users love that it’s easy and effective. Since there are no moving parts, there’s no potential for motors to break, and everything can be taken apart and cleaned. If you simply despise scooping but aren’t looking to drop a big chunk of change on an electronic box, this may be the litterbox for you.

3. Maid service

This high-tech litterbox, LitterMaid, is triggered by the cat’s arrival and departure and automatically pushes waste into a receptacle for reduction of visible waste and easy disposal. It doesn’t have a cover and looks suspiciously like some kind of copier or printer (perhaps making it a nice addition to your home office), but seems to work well for many users. There are those who have had rather negative experiences, though, so do some research and decide for yourself.

4. Space age spruce-up

The Litter-Robot is a Jetsons-esque spherical litterbox that actually rotates to deposit waste in a receptacle underneath the main compartment used by cats. It’s like the Omega Paw, but self-rotating. The Litter-Robot seems to work wonders and those who use it may become lifelong converts. Note that the box does have the potential to start its cleaning cycle when a small cat is in the box (the Litter-Robot uses weight sensors, which some cats may not activate, to determine when it’s safe to rotate). The technology eliminates the need for scooping, but may make it necessary to clean the inside of the contraption fairly often (the rotating process has the potential to expose the entire inside to waste).

5. Bench it

Kattbank is a swank-looking bench designed specifically to conceal the unpleasant presence of your literbox. It allows the cat a somewhat secret way in and provides a special grid to remove litter from kitty’s feet after the box has been used. The box is adequately ventilated and can be completely disassembled for cleaning. It also comes in a wide variety of attractive colors and wood finishes. The website offers a description of the product, ordering opportunities, and pictures of the Kattbank in action. This is definitely a stylish alternative to an obvious-looking plastic litterbox.

You may not always think about technology when it comes to your pet, but developments in both litter and litterboxes may make caring for your kitties a little bit easier. Check out these and many other options if you want high-tech assistance in your pet care routine.

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18 Responses to “Mastering the Cat Litter Box”

  1. July 04, 2006 at 10:19 am, Guest said:

    2,000 dollars- anyone living in an apartment in college will never afford that!!!!!!!!


  2. October 19, 2006 at 1:45 pm, Guest said:

    You must have attended college since you came up with that. It’s like saying anyone in college could not afford a BMW….so by a damn Ford!


  3. January 14, 2007 at 1:26 pm, Guest said:

    I use the litter maid, but my three cats still track litter all over. I have tried the litter mat from litter maid, but it does not work well. I have tried the plastic mats, but one of the cats use it as a chew toy. Now I just sweep up the cat box area every morning. It would be nice if this article posted some products for stopping cats from tracking litter all over. On another note, the litter maid is not fool proof. Sometimes the litter is too much and jams the litter maid. Other times the litter maid will not scoop up the poop/pee on the bottom of the pan, so you will still need to clean it manually daily.


  4. April 04, 2007 at 10:48 am, Guest said:

    I have purchased three Littermaid automatic cat boxes. The first box was their original Littermaid, it worked well and it lasted a long time.

    After the first box died I found that Littermaid had redesigned the box. The first box had a pair of gears on both ends of the rake assembly that pushed the rake through the litter. The second box was a Littermaid II. The rake assembly was redesigned using a string to pull the rake along. The string broke after about a year.

    The last box I purchased was also a Littermaid II and again it had been redesigned. This time the rake had been redesigned; the rake fingers were made of wire. The wire fingers were an improvement because they did not clog as easily as the earlier design, but the box had the same string design as the second box and this time the plastic gears that spooled the string got stripped and the box again failed after about a year of service.

    I have purchased three Littermaid boxes in the last ten years. All three boxes failed because of their drive assemblies, the first box lasted about 8 years, the last two barely lasted a year. Can you say engineered obsolescence? Next time I will consider another brand.


  5. April 29, 2007 at 8:27 pm, Guest said:

    I had a littermaid and that thing was a P.O.S.!!! It left a huge mess (causing a permanent stain in the apartment’s carpet). It also constantly got stuck if there was too much litter, or not enough, or if the planets weren’t aligned just right. (basically all the time.) And then it would constantly go back and forth and back and forth and back and forth (with its horrible grinding sound) and even though it had a set clock on it, it was constantly resetting itself which caused it to go off during all hours of the night.

    It sure wasn’t worth $150!!

    I threw that piece of crap in the dumpster and bought 2 more normal cat boxes, and sure would never go back to that thing!


  6. May 09, 2007 at 2:34 pm, Guest said:

    Alternative to Kattbank…

    Try As long as you don’t mind scooping (and have a little space to store it), it’s a *great* solution for keeping the litter box discreet, containing odor, and preventing litter being tracked around the house.

    My cat always bolted out of traditional litter trays at high speed, as if embarrassed, scattering litter (and sometimes other stuff : ) *everywhere*. Even full of litter, lightweight litter trays often went flying across the floor too. But, try as he might, he’s never managed to track litter outside the Out Of Sight box in the 12+ months I’ve owned it. The 2-tier design involves a turn, so he has to enter/exit more sedately and walk over the two litter “tracking pads”, which wipe his feet clean. Each week I just shake out the two pads to get rid of trapped litter, and give the inside surfaces a quick wipe with a disinfectant surface cleaner for good measure — the thing looks (and smells!) like new, no lingering odor problems, etc. It’s self-assembly but well designed and very solid once put together — no squeaky, flimsy hinges or dodgy panels.

    The concept is exactly the same as the Kattbank, only affordable by regular people ($100-ish), not just those with more money than sense! Sure, it’s melamine and not custom, hand-crafted hardwood furniture, but it’s still a quality product. I probably sound like one of their sales people, maybe I should ask for commission, hah!


  7. May 23, 2007 at 9:40 am, Guest said:

    I have two huge cats, and I’ve tried all kinds of boxes! My problem is that it has to be about 12″ high with no seams, because my cats will apparently aim for the seam. Then, urine leaks out and I have a daily mess to clean up. I’m now using one of those “tubs” with rope handles you see in discount stores, and it takes up too much room. They also track tons of litter when they leave the “box”. Can someone help? I have a small bathroom, and the litter-TUB takes up most of the floor space!


  8. June 22, 2007 at 3:14 am, Guest said:

    The very best I’ve used is the ‘clever cat’ cat box: It’s very deep, easy to clean, and has an anti-tracking mat on the lid. I love it, and all the cats I’ve owned or that visit me use it with no problems.


  9. August 26, 2007 at 9:48 am, Guest said:

    I live in a 345 sq ft bachlor apartment with 2 cats and a super tiny bathroom with no extra room for anything. But I found a solution! I hired a carpenter off the internet to build me a chest to the exact measurements of a large cheap plastic litter box with an opening on the side. He also built in a little compartment inside for a box of baking soda to aborb any smells and I bought a cheap little entrance rug from walmart to catch litter trails. I also use a great clumping and flushable litter called ‘Worlds best cat litter’. It’s made from corn and I found that although they have a type for 2 cats, the original works better! Now people don’t even know where my litter box is! All for only $150. I’m so happy about it!


  10. September 10, 2007 at 2:25 pm, Guest said:

    Vocanic rock found-often in the garden sections; hung in a fish net bag will absorb lots of oders from pets litter boxes. Non ceramic coated of course and plain colored lite colored works best. Put it in a hidden place and when it doesn’t seem to be working as well simply put out in the sun for a day or two. It will then work great again! Hepa aircleaners with ionic options also work good for both humans and pets; esp in an apt where air quality isn’t as large to begin with !


  11. May 04, 2008 at 4:32 pm, Guest said:

    Do you live in NYC? Can I have the carpenter info?


  12. August 05, 2008 at 11:21 pm, Guest said:

    Litter Robot is flawless once you get the cats used to it. Even people too squeamish to scoop can change the bag in the drop box, and there is NO smell. One of my cats rushes back down the hall to watch it work after the timer goes off–added entertainment value. Your friends will shame you for spending the bucks, but too bad–they don’t have to live with a catbox! Tell’em your aunt bought it for your birthday (I did).


  13. August 05, 2008 at 11:24 pm, Guest said:

    If your cats have already let you down and the carpet is saturated, you need Nature’s Miracle for the carpet (lots of it) and for the cement underneath, a soaking with hydrogen peroxide (the plain drugstore kind) followed by a few coats of Kilz, an oil-based sealer from the hardware stores. If you don’t do this, all cats who walk by will be stimulated by the lingering aura and be inspired to pee there forever : ( ASK ME HOW I KNOW!


  14. January 01, 2009 at 11:03 am, Guest said:

    lucky you. I’ve been trying to find carpenter to take the job for a couple of years.


  15. June 10, 2009 at 10:05 am, Eric said:

    Any one know how to deal with the large amount of urine that geriatric cats produce as their kidneys fail?

    I have been using clumping litter but since the peeing started, I have to scoop every day and its summer and I want to go away for a few.

    I am thinking maybe fishtank gravel and some sort of double bottomed box to allow the pee too drain below the non-absorbent litter. Poop would have to be scooped normally but a weeks worth of poop is about the same size as a day’s worth of pee.

    Any one know of any ready made solutions for this? Thanks!


  16. July 22, 2009 at 1:08 pm, Christina said:

    Eric, this might be for you:

    I have not tried this yet but 2 people I know have it and absolutely love it. After 2 different brands of automatic boxes kept breaking, we now use World’s Best Cat litter (best litter we’ve tried so far, very absorbent, little/no smell and flushable) in the Omega Paw roll out (very fast and easy to use!).

    Even though this setup is working great I might still try the Breeze system because of all the great reviews. It makes sense, since most of what you have to scoop is pee and big clumps of it break-up sometimes. Less heavy litter to haul around too. My friends say the price of the pads etc end up not being much more than they spend a year on other systems.


  17. August 11, 2010 at 7:04 pm, mary locke said:

    What I need to know is how to clean my h ardwaood floors NOW. After the cat asd scattered the litter.

    Thank you,

    [email protected]


  18. March 06, 2012 at 8:55 pm, KMR said:

    I live in a small apartment and was nervous about getting a cat because I knew finding somewhere to inconspicuously hide the litter box would be a challenge. I read many articles such as this one about ways to make it work in a small space. I ended up finding the perfect litter box/ scratching tower combo on etsy!!! I LOVEEEEE this litterbox!!! It keeps the litter contained, the smell contained, and it keeps the box out of sight!! My cat also loves using the scratching post (NEVER scratches the furniture – just this climbing tower) and loves taking naps on the top shelf. I put it right next to a window and he probably spends 80% of his time sitting on top looking out the window or taking a nap! Check it out!!


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