I used to use one. Wasn't too impressed with it, personally. You can't fill it too deep with litter, or the rake won't move. BUT, with only about 2 inches of litter in there, clumping litter tends to stick to the bottom. And you have to use a high quality (= expensive) clumping litter so that the rake doesn't get jammed with goopy litter. In addition, the containers that the waste is swept into don't close, so it doesn't contain odor well. Even when you go to remove the waste receptacle, it's nearly impossible to seal the lid without breaking the receptacle itself! Plus, the receptacles are kind of expensive. Finally, the machines are very hard, maybe impossible, to clean very well. You can't take the whole thing apart, which makes trying to wash the rake (which doesn't come off) and the litter pan without getting the mechanical part wet very tricky. Add in the hefty price tag, and...
But I did use mine for multiple cats. Maybe with one cat, it would work better. Then again, it only takes a couple minutes a day to scoop after one cat, so I'm not sure I'd spend the $100.
I agree with Red Kitty. I have never used a self cleaning litter box, but I agree that it would probably just be a pain and not worth the money. In my experience, I just buy good clumping litter, and since I have one cat, I just scoop it every other day. I buy the scented litter as well, and after my kitty uses the litter box and covers up his duties, the scented litter comes in and fights the bad odours :lol:
Even if you buy litter that is around 10 dollars and it only lasts for 2 weeks, usually it is good litter. Beats paying 100+ for a self cleaning litter box!
I have a littermaid and LOVE it. You do have to be careful not to overfill it, but I swear by mine! It makes my life so much easier! It's hard to keep my litter boxes clean, and I've got a couple of cats that won't use the litter box if it's dirty! I bought mine off of E-bay for $50, and it's worked great!!!! It does take a bit more time to sanitize it, but overall I'd say the littermaid is the best thing I've ever bought for my cats!
Edited to add: The littermaid I have right now is actually my second, my first one I got used from a friend when her cat died, and I had that one for 3 years before the motor finally burned out, and after having one for that long, you don't know how to function without it! If I haven't mentioned it before-I LOVE LOVE LOVE my littermaid!!!!!
LitterMaid's are good. Especially if you really hate to scoop cat litter. I have the smaller one for my two cats.
The receptacles are expensive, I believe $15 for a twelve pack. But you can line the receptacles with a grocery bag to make them last longer. Mine last an average of two weeks before they crack. (two weeks times twelve receptacles = six months!) You should empty it every two or three days to avoid odor, when you let it sit for a while it can smell. I'll embarassingly admit that I let it go for a full week once... that's how long it took for two cats to fill the whole container up.
I use Tidy Cat scoopable, clumping litter. It's only $6.25 for a 14lb container... it lasts for a long time. I haven't kept track of how long it lasts, but I'm thinking maybe a month? or even longer. Compare that to the $4.99 20lb bag I used to buy for their old litterbox. Those bags only lasted two weeks. (I don't scoop.)
Cleaning the box is the biggest downside to the Littermaid. It can be a pain, but it's doable. The rake can be removed, but you need a screwdriver to do it and it's a little tricky to get back on. After you empty all the litter and disinfect it, you just have to be careful not to get any of the mechanical parts wet, I've heard of this damaging them.
The other part I dislike, but is the case with all automatic litterboxes is that it either needs to be plugged in, or take something like 8 D Batteries. It's a pain for me because I keep mine in my bathroom and I have a cord that runs across. (that really irks me) I'll get the batteries for it soon... I just dont want to spend an arm and a leg on those batteries and see that they need to be replaced in a month.
To conclude my book, lol, I love the Littermaid. It makes everything a lot easier, and I'll probably never go back to an old litterbox. I believe in the long run you save money. I now save money on litter and liners. Not to mention the time I save..
I forgot to say before...I usually spend between 10 and 13.00 on a 30 pound tub of litter, this lasts me about a month. I have three boxes, and I scoop once or twice a day. I add litter as needed and only completely change the litter once a month.
I buy my litter in a 28 lb tub, and disinfect the litter box once a month. I only have 2 litter boxes(most of my cats either use the toilet, or go outside to go potty), and the 28 lb tub of litter lasts about a month and a half. I pay about $10 a tub. The waste recepticales are kind of expensive, but I've discovered that if I'm careful, and only remove them when it's nearly full, they'll last a month or a little more. I also have the smaller size.
I also like them. We have 2 for 4 cats and that works well. We used to just have one and it jammed constantly.
All the criticisms above are valid. They do get stuck sometimes and you have to scrape the bottom to unstick them, and you can't overfill them, and they still stink. But they're much better IMO than a regular box if you have a lot of cats, b/c they scoop automatically every time. Less work.
Another big advantage for me since I have dogs is that it keeps the litter box clean. I have mine in a tent, and ever since the dogs haven't even tried to raid the litter box! Even with hooded litter boxes, they'd still raid them once in a while.