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Stupid Littermaid!
July 9, 2008 9:14 AM   Subscribe

My Littermaid cat poop box broke. Again. Are there any decent alternatives?

Seems like lots of people have problems with these breaking. When they work, they're awesome, but this is the second unit I've purchased in two years.

My question: are there any decent alternatives (that are still automatic) to the Littermaid?
posted by wordsmith to Pets & Animals (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've tried several alternatives (like the rotating one and several varieties of the littermaid), but they have all failed after just a couple of months. I've gone back to scooping; it's easier and is much cheaper.
posted by baggers at 9:21 AM on July 9, 2008


I did a ton of research on this a couple months ago when we got our cat. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet out of all the products currently on the market. They are all reported to have mechanical failure or whatever at a fairly high defect rate. My wife and I settled on just de-pooing the litter box manually. It's obviously inconvenient, but it seems to still be the wisest choice because the auto-contraptions aren't cheap enough to screw around with since they all break regularly.
posted by fusinski at 9:25 AM on July 9, 2008


I too had a Litter Maid and ended up chucking it because it didn't work all that well and was harder to clean than a plain box. I ended up using a deepish Rubbermaid style box and Ever Clean litter. It's the hardest clumping litter I've (the cats, that is) have ever used. It makes cleaning the box daily so easy.
posted by jvilter at 10:14 AM on July 9, 2008


Litter robot. I heard about them on ask.me a few months ago, picked one up on craigslist and have never been happier - I've already saved $40-$50 in cat litter costs simply because so little cat litter is used every time and all the clean stuff is conserved.

Though it has a higher initial investment, they take returns for any reason in the first year - so if it breaks or your cat won't use it, you're not out a couple of hundred bucks.

We are HIGHLY satisfied.
posted by arnicae at 11:02 AM on July 9, 2008


We had a littermaid for a few years, and looked at alternatives, in the end, my wife decided to make a huge litterbox (link to a how-to on her blog). It's big enough that we don't have to scoop any more often than we'd have to empty the littermaid. The size means the cats are less likely to kick out litter (or step in waste), and it's easy to clean, and a lot cheaper than an automated box. We use a durascoop (a big deep, rugged aluminum litter scoop) to clean it out, so it goes pretty quickly.
posted by Good Brain at 12:20 PM on July 9, 2008


The litter robot seems amazing. I own one, but my cats refuse to use it because they're pretty big and don't fit comfortably. Sadly I'm going to have to see if I can sell it because I held on to hope too long, and now my "risk free" trial of 60 days is over.

The thing seriously seems great, and well constructed... I'd recommend it to anyone despite my cats reluctance to use it.. seeing in it action i can tell it'd be great.
posted by twiggy at 2:06 PM on July 9, 2008


I've been very happy with the Scoop Free. It's not magic but if you keep up with it, it's pretty simple and comparatively hands-free.

There's somebody on ebay and I think on this forum who sells a PVC tray (the Forever Tray) that you can reuse with the Scoop Free. Otherwise you can just use the refill trays that Scoop Free sells -- If you can afford to keep buying refill trays, it's super easy and hands-free -- just pull out the box, drop a lid on it, and toss. If you use the reusable PVC tray, you still have to dump it out every once in a while, but it's much better than scooping.
posted by Alabaster at 2:44 PM on July 9, 2008


Seconding the Litter Robot. I've had mine for like 3 years it still works fine. The only problem I ever had is the control panel going wonky, but somehow it just fixes itself if I leave it alone.
posted by muscat at 4:05 PM on July 9, 2008


Comment from a mefite who would prefer to remain anonymous.
Some people have difficulty getting their cats to use the Litter Robot, but after a couple of days of patience and cat treats, we accustomed our 21 lb cat to it. Here is a blog post of the Litter Robot in action.

I haven't heard of them having mechanical problems, the biggest reported problem is people whose cats cannot accustom themselves to using the dome. It is pretty cool though and while our cat is still a bit skittish of it, he uses it without fail
posted by jessamyn at 5:16 PM on July 9, 2008


Another recommendation for the Litter Robot. It's the only one that has actually lived up to the hype. I loved it enough to buy a second one off craigslist last month. It's an investment, but it's definitely saved me money on cat litter, and more importantly, the time and effort I used to expend in scooping the old box.
posted by snowleopard at 6:19 PM on July 9, 2008


I used to use an Omega Paw Roll'n Clean litter box. You'd just roll it over, and it would sieve itself and dump all of the litter clumps and poop into a tray that you could empty. Worked great, but for some reason I can't remember, the missus didn't like it. I think it had to do with taking the lid apart to fill the litter again.

One thing to keep in mind is your cat's peeing style. I have one that needs to pee on the side of the box, which means clumps can end up in the wrong place (i.e, behind the grate).

Right now I'm using a clear plastic rubbermaid-like box, which makes it easier to see what treasures are hidden in the clay sandy depths.
posted by razdrez at 3:34 PM on July 10, 2008


Our cats use the Omega Paw box, and rolling the box is much easier and less yucky than scooping. Easy to clean, and to add litter I just tip the thing back and pour. My only complaint is that the plastic clips that hold the halves together are too flimsy -- after a year, two of the four have failed. (I replaced them with mini C-clamps from the hardware store.)
posted by phliar at 1:06 PM on July 12, 2008


I have the Scoopfree Automatic Litterbox and it has been working fine the 7 months I've had it. It is a good size, the litter trays aren't a terrible fortune (about $15 each, less if you buy in bulk online,) and they are pretty easy to replace when they get dirty (with my 14lb cat that is every 3 weeks or so.) My cat was suspicious of the noise it makes when it rakes the litter for awhile, but he got used to it. Getting him to use it initially was a challenge, but I put about a cup of his old brand of litter in with the crystal litter and that did the trick. Overall I have no complaints, and it is so much nicer than having to scoop the litter myself everyday.
posted by kathleenl at 3:53 PM on July 17, 2008


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