How Does A Self-Cleaning Litter Box Work?

For pet owners, a self-cleaning litter box is akin to a self-scrubbing bath, or a meal which cooks itself.

While we are awaiting progress on the latter two, the possibility of reducing the amount of contact you have with your pets business is actually a very real one, thanks to the rise in popularity of self-cleaning litter boxes.

A self-cleaning litter box does what the name suggests—self cleans. It contains a motor and mechanisms which will scoop and store any waste, ready for you to retrieve and empty at a later date. You can check out our in depth review of the best automatic litter box models in the market today.

There is a range of benefits, from lower ongoing costs to reduced odors, and these are becoming an increasingly popular choice for pet-owners everywhere. If you're curious about the one pictured to your right, our complete Litter Robot review.


how do they work?

For your cat, a self-cleaning box works identically to a traditional tray. They climb in, do their business, and leave their humans to do the dirty work. Usually, you would be required to scoop out the reward; a task which is at the top of nobody's list.

 With a self-cleaning option, however, there will be a rake or scoop which is built into the device, and this will take care of the removal for you. Most models also contain a built-in sensor which can detect your cat's movements, and this allows the tray to remain clean and fresh throughout the day. This is important for cats, who are famous for keeping clean and kicking up a stink if there is a mess. Even better, the waste is stored in a separate container which can help to reduce unpleasant odors and make the whole experience more manageable.

what are the benefits of a self cleaning litter box?

A self-cleaning box like the one mentioned in our Cat Genie reviews can offer a whole new angle to pet care, making one of the least glamorous elements of cat ownership easier to manage. There are a whole host of benefits if you decide to invest:

no more scooping the poop

The most obvious benefit of switching to a self-cleaning model is that it scoops the poop on your behalf. There is no need to check and manually scoop throughout the day.

You can simply fill with litter and leave your cat to do their thing for a few days. When it comes to empty the container, it is a single, simple job, saving you time and reducing your workload.

make life easier

Keeping a litter tray clean can take a lot of work, and none of it is particularly pleasant. A traditional box involves scraping, scooping, and transferring the waste from box to garbage bag— all while holding your breath at the less-than-pleasant aroma and trying not to drop a ton of cat waste on your bare feet.

A self-cleaning tray means you just need to empty the self-contained section every few days. Simple, blissful, and much less stress! It will also save you time. Those thirty seconds it takes to scoop the tray a few times a day do add up!

save your cash!

Purchasing a self-cleaning box may seem expensive, and it is true that the initial investment could set you back a few hundred dollars. In the long run, however, it can often work out to be a cheaper and more affordable option. The self-cleaning mechanism means that only the soiled litter is removed, leaving you with clean litter which lasts longer.

There is far less waste, and you will only be throwing out that which needs to be eliminated.

leave your kitty for longer

A self-cleaning litter box means that your cat can be left alone for more extended periods, making this an ideal option for shift workers or those who may have to travel overnight.

 With automatic food dispensers and water fountains becoming commonplace, it is now an option to leave your cat alone for a few more hours without too much fuss.

That being said, we would not recommend leaving your cat alone for longer than a night. They get lonely and need regular cuddles!

keep the kids out

Cats and kids are a unique combination, and this relationship can get even more complicated when you introduce the litter box. As any parent will know, a curious child is desperate to play with and eat everything they can get their hands on— particularly if said item is off limits.

When it comes to litter, this can not only be nasty, but dangerous, and a box which removes this risk is a godsend for everyone involved. Most self-cleaning operations will have a sensor which tells them the cat has visited, and this means the waste is not sitting around waiting for your child to explore.

remove bad odors

As we have mentioned, an automatic litter box is a great way to eliminate unwanted odors which arise from your kitty. Because the waste is dealt with quickly and stored in a sealed container, there is less chance of unpleasant smells having the opportunity to permeate your home. Many models will also come with filters or other lines of defense which help to reduce bad odors, and this means having a litter tray in your home is less of an unpleasant experience.

one box for many cats

If you are a parent to multiple cats, chances are you have a few trays dotted around your home, all of which require regular cleaning and maintenance.

With a self-cleaning box, the waste is eliminated soon after it is deposited, meaning that multiple cats can use the tray without an issue. Depending on the number of cats and trays you currently have, this could be a serious time saver!

keep your cat happy

Cats like their toileting area to be clean and fresh and can become distressed if nowhere is available. In the wild, they dig holes and use dirt to cover their tracks, and it is unpleasant for them to have their waste exposed for prolonged periods. An automatic box means that the box will always be clean and fresh, and this will lead to happier pets.