Litter-Robot Open Air – Review

Litter-Robot Open Air

$450
Litter-Robot Open Air
95

Functionality

10/10

    Cat-Friendly

    9/10

      User-Friendly

      10/10

        Quality / Durability

        10/10

          Pros

          • No proprietary litter or parts required
          • Multi-Cat Friendly
          • Programmable timers
          • Quality design
          • Large-capacity waste drawer with drawer-full indicator light

          Cons

          • High up-front cost
          • Large footprint
          • Relatively small litter area

          Summary

          The Litter-Robot might not be a time-traveling rocket ship as it appears, but its performance as a self-cleaning litter box is just as impressive. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. And if you want the top-of-the-line automatic self-cleaning litter box, then look no further than the Litter-Robot. It might cost you 2 to 3 times what the competition has to offer, but that’s because the quality and functionality is unmatched in this market.


          I’ve been manually scooping litter my entire life and I never gave too much thought to any of the alternatives.   With 2 fast-growing Savannah cats, my litter scooping commitment had grown considerably. I would have to empty two oversized litter boxes 2-3 times a day and that still didn’t seem like it was frequent enough.

          I was extremely grateful to receive the Litter-Robot as a gift for Christmas this year. While this particular automatic litter box had been on my radar for some time, the price was just too much for me to justify. But now that I have one, I really can’t imagine living without it. If it winds up breaking at the end of the warranty period, I won’t hesitate to buy a new one.

          The Unboxing

          The Litter-Robot is shipped fully-assembled in a large box with ample packaging. I was actually very impressed with the quality and quantity of packing material (and my cats were as well).

          Set-Up

          After placing the Litter-Robot in its new home, I added litter from the old litter box to the clearly marked fill line in the Litter-Robot. The waste drawer comes with a plastic bag already installed and a few spares. On a side note, any 16 gallon trash bag should do the trick when you run out of Litter-Robot bags. No proprietary bags needed!

          All that was left to do was plug it in and turn it on! There are options to program the Litter-Robot’s cycle time and have the Litter-Robot delay cycling during nighttime. I haven’t found a need to adjust any of the factory presets, but the instructions are very straightforward nonetheless.

          Transitioning Your Cat

          I was very excited to have my new Litter-Robot set up and ready for action. My cats monitored every step of the process and were extremely curious when one of their two litter boxes suddenly disappeared. I left the Litter-Robot with one old litter box next to it for one day. To my dismay, both cats continued using the old litter box.

          I was so anxious to get my kitties using the new litter box that I skipped the recommended adjustment period and removed all of their old litter boxes the next day. In hindsight, I’d definitely do it differently and allow more transition time.

          Arya immediately took the hint and began using the Litter-Robot with no issues. My alpha male, Django, on the other hand was not ready to make the switch. I could tell he didn’t like the fact that this litter box was more enclosed than his previous open-top litter box. He’s a rather large cat and I was pretty worried that the Litter-Robot wouldn’t be large enough for his liking. It took a bit of time, but once he figured out he could turn around in the box and have a lot more space, he began peeing in the Litter-Robot. I did a little dance and began to rejoice.

          But it turned out that my excitement was a bit premature. The next day Django pooped on the shag carpet next to my bed. I just couldn’t understand why he was ok with peeing in the Litter-Robot, but not going #2 in there. I contemplated bringing back the old litter box but didn’t want to undo all the progress I’d made with Arya. I spent the next few days trying to coax Django into pooping in the Litter-Robot. Every opportunity I got I’d pick him up and put him in the Litter-Robot, then praise him for just hanging out in there. I also kept it shut off and only manually cycled it when my cats weren’t in the room. It finally paid off. He began using the Litter-Robot regularly.

          The whole transition process took about a week and was quite stressful. As I said before, I would definitely recommend going at your cat’s pace rather than trying to rush them.

          The Good

          The Litter-Robot definitely exceeds my expectations. The design of the thing is pretty ingenious. You can tell a lot of research went into developing this product. I love the  large capacity waste drawer  that comes with an  odor reducing filter  that really does work. I love the  drawer-full indicator light .

          I’m happy that I can still use my standard clumping kitty litter and over-the-counter trash bags. A lot of companies get you to buy their product then gouge you with over-priced proprietary replacement parts. That’s not the case with the Litter-Robot. I like that the Litter-Robot is multi-cat friendly and comes equipped with  safety shut-off features . I’m not sure what my cats think about it, but I like the fact that it has a  nightlight . The Litter-Robot is quiet enough that I can’t hear it cycling at night from my closet. And did I mention I don’t have to scoop litter anymore?!

          The Not-So-Good

          Leave it to my meddlesome Savannah cats to expose the weaknesses of just about any product designed for cats. Both of my cats have a habit of digging to the very bottom of the litter box before peeing. With the Litter-Robot, this means the pee occasionally sticks to the rubber bottom and doesn’t come loose when it cycles. Fortunately, it’ll usually come unstuck after another cycle or two.

          While the Litter-Robot is extremely efficient at minimizing litter waste, I have noticed that my cats seem to track a lot more litter out of the box when they leap from the elevated enclosure. Maybe adding the steps accessory would cut back on this.

          One of the most common issues faced by Litter-Robot owners is that their cats are frightened by it. My problem has been the opposite – Django actually thinks the Litter-Robot is a toy. Whenever he hears it begin to cycle he will run from any location in the house to sit and swat at the falling clumps of litter. This was pretty hilarious the first few times I watched him do it, but now it’s become more of a headache because I have to constantly pick up clumps of litter from all over the room.

          Price

          The Litter-Robot might have the highest up-front cost of any automatic self-cleaning litter box on the market, but don’t let that alone scare you away.  If you plan on keeping your Litter-Robot for at least 5 years, which I certainly do, then you’ll actually save money compared to all of the other automatic litter boxes!  That might seem hard to believe, but don’t underestimate the high cost of proprietary gadgets and products that almost all of the competitors require.  The real beauty in the Litter-Robot is that there are no proprietary products required for continued operation.

          Here’s a chart showing the total cost of ownership for the top-rated automatic self-cleaning litter boxes.  From this perspective, the Litter-Robot offers the best lifetime value.

          Life-Cycle Cost Comparison

          Summary / Recommendations

          At the end of the day, I believe the design of the Litter-Robot is pretty close to perfect. My crazy cats have discovered a few shortcomings, but I don’t doubt they’d uncover the same type of issues (or worse) with other products on the market. The Litter-Robot beats the competition in functionality, quality design, features, and user-friendliness. The only real negative is the high up-front price. The question you’ll have to ask yourself is how much it is worth to you to never have to scoop poop again?

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