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.
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?
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.