Self Cleaning Litter Boxes

Self cleaning litter boxes come in many different shapes and sizes, and the functionality is very variable.

An automatic cat litter box is something that would appeal to most cat owners, I suspect.

Just imagine the time savings, not to mention the freedom from the scooping, cleaning and "fragrant" aroma... ahhhh.

This page goes through the pros and cons of automatic litter boxes, and provides some useful tips if you're thinking of buying one.

There are basically three different types of self cleaning litter box, ranging from relatively inexpensive but needs some human input to top-of-the-range all singing (cleaning) and dancing (flushing).

Click here for detailed information on the different types.

Pros and Cons of Self Cleaning Litter Boxes


  • Time saving

  • Reduce or eliminate (depending on the type) the chore of cleaning Kitty's litter box out

  • Always clean (a BIG plus for Kitty!)

  • On many models, waste is contained in a covered container, which means the smell is also contained, and allows you to bin it quickly with minimal or no contact

  • Use less litter than traditional boxes

  • Because they're cleaned automatically, you'll probably need a smaller number than traditional ones. One self-cleaner is normally enough to service several cats - very useful (and space saving) in a multi-cat household

Amazon USA


  • Much more expensive than standard litter boxes (unless you go for the most basic type) - you do save on cat litter in the long run but the initial outlay is greater

  • Most are electrically operated, so they will have to be fixed if they go wrong

  • There's always the risk that your cat may decide he doesn't like it when you buy it. If you have a cat who's very fussy about his toilet you may need to weigh this up. In this case it would be worth trying to find a supplier that will give you a refund if you're not totally satisfied

  • Noise - the electrically operated ones do make a noise when they're going through the cleaning cycle. Your cat could be a bit frightened of this at first (though he should get used to it in time) but it may bother you if you're trying to watch TV!

Amazon UK

Useful Tips when Deciding which Model to Buy

1. What do other cat owners think of it?

To me, this is probably THE most important factor. If you look on shopping sites, there are hundreds of allegedly self cleaning litter boxes which claim to be the best thing since sliced bread... but if you read the reviews you get a very different story.

If most people are saying it's the best thing ever, it probably is, and if they're saying the opposite, well... no rocket science there.

2. Make sure it's big enough

As a rule, the bigger your cat, the bigger the box you'll need. You need to bear this in mind if you have a kitten that could turn into a bruiser. As a rule of thumb, bigger is better (however, also see point 5 below).

3. Does it have battery back-up?

If you live somewhere where power cuts are common, you obviously want your automatic cat litter box to carry on working while mains electricity isn't available.

It's also worth checking how long the battery lasts; for example, if you have a multi-cat household where the box is getting a lot of use, but you live in an area with frequent, sometimes prolonged power outages, will the battery life be sufficient?

photo of yawning white persian cat

4. What are the ongoing costs?

The initial outlay is one thing, but there are also the follow-up costs to consider. Will it need regular servicing / maintenance? Are you locked into buying certain products from the same company which are expensive? Does it require you to use one specific, expensive type of cat litter?

5. Have you got a suitable location for it?

You may want to think about placement in terms of noise. If the litter box is somewhere that is within too close earshot, it could be really annoying. For example if it starts whirring away during your favorite TV show, or wakes you up at 3am, or wakes the baby...

In addition, a lot of self cleaning litter boxes are not small. Before buying, it's essential to check the dimensions to ensure that it will comfortably fit into the space you're thinking of putting it in.

Go from self cleaning litter boxes to litter box problems page

Go to Cat Behavior Explained Home page