March 13, 2008 11:24 AM   Subscribe

LitterRobot filter: I got a Litter Robot after hearing great things about them on and my 17 lb cat is scared of it. He is pooping inside the globe (or on the steps) but he has peed twice on the floor of my living room. Help?

In the continuing saga of my cat questions, my FIV+ formerly feral cat has been doing really well. I got the litter robot because it really seemed like fun, and while 17 lbs is above their ideal size (from the litter robot website) I thought the cat wouldn't mind.

I took it home, got all excited and plugged it in. It scared the cat, because it turned on while I was gone (I came back in and found it rotating in the bathroom and the cat flattened under the desk). So I unplugged it, enticed him over with cat treats, and tried to give him some time to adjust.

First night: he pooped in the dome! But then, after I'd turned out the lights, he peed on a plastic bag I'd left in the living room.

Second night: I came home to find that he'd poo'd partially in the dome, partially on the steps to the dome. Later that night, he poo'd in the dome. I praised him and gave him cat treats.

Third morning: He peed on my jacket that I'd left on the living room floor. I sprayed him with my little squirt bottle, he bounded away and looked abashed, then came over and sat on my lap.

So, I know he can get into the orb (or as I call it, the Death Star) but why is he only peeing outside? What can I do to help him with this process? The Litter Robot website suggests setting up the old litter box if the cat doesn't take to the Litter Robot right away, but then won't he ignore the Litter Robot? How long should I give him to adjust?

And why is he pooping in the orb, but peeing on my jackets? (You can see, this is the really consuming question for me.
posted by arnicae to Pets & Animals (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
That's his special territory -- his scent that he knows is there, his pee, his poop. You put a big ol' robot in his territory that intimidates him. He's punishing you for that.
posted by WCityMike at 11:29 AM on March 13, 2008

Get his old box back in there and run them concurrently for awhile. He WILL explore the new doombox, but needs to acclimate to it over time. I've had this happen - it may even take a few weeks, but he'll adjust.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 11:36 AM on March 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yeah you need both at the same time - moving the old box closer and closer to the new one every day. And then makes sure you put some of the used (I know it's gross) litter into the new box so that kitty thinks it's a safe place to go. It's a process of acclimatization.

He's peeing on your stuff because he's unhappy and confused. Also, it doesn't' work to spray a cat for doing something bad unless you actually catch him in the act. Cats don't connect the two things unless they are concurrent. Spaying them as punishment after the fact only makes them neurotic.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 12:00 PM on March 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

One thing to look out for with the litter robot, and why i had to retire mine, is that some cats will not turn around when they go in to pee, and will actually pee onto the step and then some. Apparently there are stricks involving using duct tape to act as a 'catch' or handing a coin from a piece of string, however one of my cats seems impervious to the conditioning and still does it. So now I use a different litter box, and have gone back to my drawing board for the "ultimate litter box".

Also, if your cat is a digger, they can really get good distance on the litter since the Robot is higher up.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:16 PM on March 13, 2008

Also, leave the unit off when he does start using it. Then, once or twice a day turn it on (and it will run a clean cycle when it first turns on). Leave the old box out, but as he starts using the new robot, don't clean the old box as frequently. Once he starts using the litter robot exclusively, and has started to not be skittish when it turns on, you can try leaving it in auto mode.

Also based on his weight you might not be able to get the sensitivity switch to trigger properly, so it may just be a manual self cleaning litter box that you run twice a day.

I had a problem where my other cat was fascinated by the rotating and would lean on the step and stop the robot in mid rotation.

(I have strange cats).

Also, make sure to clean the bag, it gets really nasty the one week the container overflows and the globe manages to smear liter all over itself.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:23 PM on March 13, 2008

I don't have any suggestions -- I just wanted to say that this is the funniest thing I've seen on MeFi ever. Ever.

Ever. Rotating cat litter robots... globe-pooping...

Third morning: He peed on my jacket that I'd left on the living room floor. I sprayed him with my little squirt bottle, he bounded away and looked abashed, then came over and sat on my lap.

This is deathless stuff.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 12:29 PM on March 13, 2008

Check out the forums at

Fortunately, my cat took to the Litter Robot pretty quickly, but there are a LOT of posts there with suggestions for issues such as these - a common one is spraying that feline phermone (I can't recall the name) inside the dome.

You might also try getting a Booda dome. I use it when I travel with my cat since he's already used to the enclosed space, but since the box can be used without the dome, you can get him accustomed to the plain litter box, then add the dome, and then see if he gets the hang of the Robot after he realizes he needs to turn around when he's inside of an enclosed litter box.
posted by at 12:54 PM on March 13, 2008

Yeah, I started the Death Star off with "seeding" it with poop and litter from the old box, and other than being an idiot and turning it on at first, I have left it on ever since.

( btw my old box is a booda dome. He loves it. He just isn't sure if he wants to play Luke Skywalker and lob bombs into the death star.)

It is an AWESOME toy. At least if it doesn't work well for me, I can sell it for scads of money on ebay, I guess.

Did you guys check out the web site? I couldn't stop laughing for five minutes.
posted by arnicae at 12:59 PM on March 13, 2008

Guy_Inamonkeysuit- Did you like my title? I've been sending all of my friends inappropriate all caps emails from the litter robot.
posted by arnicae at 1:00 PM on March 13, 2008

I'm dying here. Just dyin'. It's a stitch!
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:03 PM on March 13, 2008

The beloved Litter Robot! Give him a little time, seconding the advice to temporarily keep his old box nearby and being a little lax about cleaning it. Eventually he won't be able to resist the lure of clean Death Star litter.

The inappropriate peeing is most likely a mute protest over the transition. Can't help you with his butt hanging out, but it makes for a very funny mental picture.
posted by jamaro at 10:30 PM on March 13, 2008

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