Thinking Of Getting An Automatic Cat Litter Box? How They Work, And Our Experience With One

An automatic cat litter box is generally the size of a large litter pan and have a sensor to detect movement. About ten minutes after the cat has left the box, a rake sweeps from the back of the box and deposits the waste into a covered receptacle in the front (these are also called a self cleaning cat litter box).

Automatic Cat Litter Box Pros and Cons


  • Almost always clean - if you have a picky cat or are away for longer periods during the day, you won't have to worry about an overflowing box.

  • Waste is put into a covered tray on the end and can be dumped out without a lot of contact. Good if you can't come in contact with litter.

  • Easy to clean pan - parts snap together and come apart easily for clean up.

  • The larger unit has higher sides - good if you have a "litter kicker"!


  • The box does make some noise while cleaning, so if you have a nervous cat or a small house that echoes, this may bother you.

  • Price - automatic cat litter boxes are more expensive than a regular litter box set up. They have come down in price the last couple of years, so they are more affordable to try. Still, you may want to check the return policy of the store just in case your cat does not like it.


Self cleaning litter boxes will need to be used with clumping litter. The packaging says to use a specific brand of litter, but to be honest, any premium brand of clay clumping litter works. The Sweat wheat litter is not good for it, though.

Multi-cat Households:

If you have a multi-cat household, I recommend using the wall plug option - more than one cat using the box really uses up batteries. Also, you will need a second litter box for your cats to use - if the box is cleaning itself and your cat needs to go, they will need another option.

If you have a shy cat, there are also cat privacy tents available to cover the automatic litter boxes.

We have tried the automatic cat litter box for our cats. They thought it was a type of toy - someone would get in, pee a bit, hop out and wait for the rake to sweep it up. As soon as the other cats heard the "click" of the sensor, they would all come running to watch the action. It looked like they were watching a tennis match! Then someone else would get in, pee a bit... This is why I recommend the wall outlet option. Batteries did not last long for us!

We had the LitterMaid Elite Mega Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box.

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