Last updated: August 5, 2021
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Every cat owner knows this situation: the litter box has to be cleaned several times a day. For the owner, this means tedious and time-consuming work to avoid an unpleasant smell throughout the flat. Cleaning also means losing time that could be spent with the beloved pet instead. Self-cleaning litter trays relieve cat owners of this tedious work and always provide the house cat with a clean toilet. We have taken an in-depth look at various models of self-cleaning litter trays and now present our big guide on this topic.




Summary

  • Self-cleaning litter trays fulfil every cat owner's desire to make work easier and offer many advantages, such as saving time.
  • As with conventional litter boxes, there are different models of self-cleaning litter boxes. Decide in advance whether you want a fully automatic model, a model with a sieve or a lever.
  • Before buying, you also need to consider other factors such as size, system (closed or open) and access. Your cat also has certain requirements that you should consider.

The Best Self-cleaning Cat Litter Box: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for self-cleaning litter trays

Before buying a self-cleaning litter tray, it is important to know the preferences of your pet. If you do not know and respect these preferences, it can happen in the worst case that the cat does not want to use the litter tray. If you have decided to buy a self-cleaning litter tray, you should first think about which model (fully automatic, with sieve or with lever) you want to get. These should ideally meet certain purchase and evaluation criteria, so that in the end you find the perfect model for you and your cat.

We will go into more detail about the criteria below.

Design

The design of self-cleaning litter boxes can be very different. Here, your own taste must determine which design you like best. With self-cleaning litter trays, you have the choice between square, round or oval shapes. Square litter trays are suitable for smaller flats, as they are definitely more space-saving.

Litter trays with lids are unsuitable for odour-sensitive cats and can lead to uncleanliness.

Some litter boxes have the option of buying them without a lid. This option makes sense for larger cats, if the litter tray only has a small interior or if the cat is sensitive to odours. There is also a wide choice of colours. Mostly there are grey, white and black. But also bright colours for an eye-catching look are available.

Dimensions

The measurements depend entirely on the height of the pet. You should be able to estimate approximately how much space your cat needs in its litter box. The dimensions of a "standard" litter tray are approximately 52.5 x 39 x 40 cm. There are also special models of self-cleaning litter trays for large cats. The standing height is also an important factor, especially for litter boxes with a bonnet. If the cat cannot stand optimally inside the toilet, it feels uncomfortable, avoids the toilet and does not want to use it. This is not only frustrating for the cat, but also for the owner. Therefore, it is best to measure the cat before buying, so that you can better estimate the ideal size of the toilet later.

Entrance

The entrance plays an important role as soon as you decide on an enclosed litter tray. Most models of self-cleaning litter boxes have a lid and therefore an entrance. If there is a flap at the entrance, this can irritate many cats and make them feel uncomfortable. It is therefore important to know whether your cats are already familiar with cat flaps. The placement of the entrance also plays an important role. For example, if the entrance is twice as high as in conventional litter boxes, it may be more difficult for small cats to enter the litter box. For older or sick cats, too, special care should be taken to choose a litter tray with a lower entrance.

Electricity

Fully automatic litter boxes require electricity for the cleaning process. Before buying a litter box, you should make sure that there is a power connection near the place where the litter box is placed. If, for example, there is no electricity connection in the bathroom, you should look for an alternative location or go for a self-cleaning litter tray that does not require an electricity connection. There are now some models that are also cheaper. Although they require more effort, they can be worthwhile in terms of the price-performance ratio.

Self-cleaning litter trays: Frequently asked questions and answers

If you are interested in buying a self-cleaning litter tray and still have some questions, you can browse through our FAQ. Here we answer questions that are frequently asked about self-cleaning litter trays as best we can.

For whom is the self-cleaning litter tray suitable?

A self-cleaning litter tray is suitable for people of all ages. For people who travel a lot for work, the fully automatic solution is ideal. The litter tray is cleaned automatically after every toilet use and is therefore hygienically impeccable at all times. This makes the cat feel more comfortable, because they protest at dirty litter trays and do not use them. The self-cleaning cat litter box also seems to be optimal for people who are ill. For them, cleaning would be an exhausting task. This makes it possible to keep cats without any problems despite their limitations.

selbstreinigendes Katzenklo

If a cat is often alone at home, the litter box can quickly become smelly. A self-cleaning litter box can help. (Image source: Marjan Grabowski / unsplash)

A self-cleaning litter tray is also worthwhile for you if you want to save time on tedious cleaning and spend more time with your favourite cat. People or cats who are extremely sensitive to odours should definitely go for a self-cleaning litter tray. With a conventional litter tray, an unpleasant odour spreads quickly if the toilet is not cleaned immediately. The self-cleaning litter tray does this work for you and prevents such an odour from spreading.

What types of self-cleaning litter boxes are there?

There are different types of self-cleaning litter trays. You have to find out for yourself which criteria should be fulfilled for your optimal litter tray. Each model has different advantages and disadvantages, which we list in the following table.
Type Advantage Disadvantage
Fully automatic litter tray Time-saving, Easy to use, Hygienic, Little to no odour nuisance High initial costs, Electricity required
Lever-operated self-cleaning litter tray Cost-effective, No electricity, Labour-saving, Hygienic Not fully automatic, Operatelever by hand once a day

If comfort is important to you, we can only recommend the fully automatic litter tray. You buy the litter tray, make it work and then don't have to worry about anything. The only work you have to do is to change the litter bag. You have to do this once a week, but it can be combined ideally if you also have to dispose of your household waste. A fully automatic litter tray is also visually attractive compared to a conventional litter tray. If you place a lot of value on appearance and design, then the fully automatic version is ideal. However, you should be aware that this variant costs many times more than a normal litter tray. But it's definitely worth it for you if you say that you're into such technological gadgets. Some fully automatic litter boxes come with an app where you can track everything. You can see when and how often your cat goes to the toilet and you can also check if you need to change the litter bin. Sounds tempting, doesn't it?

selbstreinigendes Katzenklo

Be sure of the type of self-cleaning litter tray you want before you buy. Your cat will definitely be grateful to have a clean toilet at all times (Image source: Andrew Kondrakov / unsplash)

The variant of the self-cleaning litter tray with lever is worthwhile for you if you say that you don't need any built-in technology in your cat's toilet. Although this variant is not as stylish as the fully automatic one, it is a lot cheaper. In the end, you have to decide how important the design of the litter tray is to you. If this is not your highest priority, then you definitely won't go wrong with the self-cleaning litter tray with lever. The operation here is child's play.

What are the alternatives to self-cleaning litter boxes?

There are several alternatives to self-cleaning litter boxes. We have created an overview of these alternatives for you in which we list their advantages and disadvantages. Maybe one of the alternatives appeals to you, if you decide against a self-cleaning litter tray.

Cat toilet seat

You should check whether your cat is physically fit enough. This alternative is very unsuitable for weaker cats, as they have to adopt a certain posture (and keep their balance) when going to the toilet.

Advantages
  • no litter tray is needed
  • no cleaning
  • more cost-saving
  • environmentally friendly
Disadvantages
  • Long familiarisation with a training system
  • cat can fall into the toilet
  • toilet lid must always be up
  • you have to flush it yourself
  • only suitable for healthy cats

This alternative is clearly the most special way for a cat to go to the toilet. You don't see this very often, so it takes a lot of time to get used to it.

Conventional litter tray

The conventional litter box always serves as the simplest alternative. Cats often have their own will and demands. Often the simplest things are enough for them.

Advantages
  • Often cheaper
  • Wider choice of models
  • Possibly easier for cats to get used to
Disadvantages
  • Constant cleaning
  • More time-consuming
  • Strong smell in the flat
  • If cleaning is neglected, it can lead to protest behaviour in the cat

An expensive self-cleaning litter tray with fully automatic cleaning may irritate some cats or make them afraid to use it. Therefore, you should make sure that your cat is not very fearful.

Cat goes to the toilet outside

This alternative is definitely the cheapest. If you have a garden, this is ideal for you.

Advantages
  • No litter box needed
  • No cat litter
  • Inexpensive
  • Cat feels comfortable in nature
Disadvantages
  • Garden is a prerequisite
  • Difficult to get used to for indoor cats
  • You have to be at home or have a cat flap
  • Outside is more dangerous for cats

Your cat goes to the toilet outside and you don't have to worry about cleaning a litter tray. That sounds perfect, doesn't it? But of course, this option is only an option if you also have a garden and your cat is an outdoor cat.

Conclusion

A self-cleaning litter tray is suitable for every cat owner. However, they seem particularly ideal for people who travel a lot for work and are therefore not often at home. This aid can also be extremely practical for people who lack physical strength. In the end, you have to decide for yourself what budget you want to spend, as prices can vary greatly. Self-cleaning litter trays offer many advantages and are also the best choice in terms of hygiene. However, your beloved cat has the final word, because he also has certain demands on his retreat. (Cover photo: Yastremska / 123rf)

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