Litter Robot ®…Is It Worth the $$$$? - Cat Info Detective

Litter Robot ®…Is It Worth the $$$$?

Skye Blake-updated, white background

Welcome fellow crazy cats! Skye Blake here, with a few words about Litter Robot ®.

This litter box has become very popular, but there are things to consider before spending all that money.

So, is it worth it?

paw prints coming in from a distance

Frankly, one cat to another, I think humans are crazy… paying $500-800 for one litter box.

Must be made of catnip, tuna, or something else wonderful!

The information here is for general knowledge… always see your vet with questions about your cat’s individual needs.

Who Is Skye Blake?

Skye Blake-updated, white background

Skye Blake, Cat Info Detective, is a curious cat researcher (not a veterinarian) who sniffs out expert, reliable sources about cats, studies their information, then passes it on to you! 

Sometimes there’s not enough evidence for easy answers, so Skye gives you all sides, explains the situation as thoroughly and clearly as possible, and links you to experts on each page.

Sources are given at the bottom of each page so you can do more snooping.

What You Want from a Litter Box

Let’s start by reviewing what you want from a litter box…

cat going into self cleaning litter box
  • no nasty odors
  • no scooping or easy to scoop
  • inexpensive
  • contains dust and litter
  • reliable – lasts for years without breakdowns
Tuxedo cat sleeping on table
  • litter lasts a long time
  • easy disposal
  • environmentally friendly
  • wifi capability for monitoring usage, medical issues, etc., from phone

What Your Cat Wants from a Litter Box

tabby cat squatting in litter box
  • big enough to stand, turn around and dig/cover without rubbing against sides or top, even for large cats
  • litter that’s low-dust and easy on paws, preferably of fine, sandy texture
  • litter that doesn’t stick to paws or fur
2 tuxedo cats looking up at person
  • a box that’s cleaned frequently
  • clean smelling with no strong odors, including bleach or deodorizers like lavender, pine, and citrus
  • no strange or sudden noises, such as a motor turning on or loud rotating box
  • open sight lines
  • no sudden movement, such as the box starts rotating while cat’s in or partly out of box

Claims About Litter Robot ®

woman hugging cat

As with most litter boxes, Litter Robot is made for the convenience of humans more than the priorities of cats.

But every cat is an individual… some accept these litter boxes while others don’t.

Here’s what the manufacturer says…

Mother cat and 3 kittens

“The Litter-Robot is a self-cleaning litter box with a patented sifting process that automatically separates your cat’s waste from the clean litter—so you never have to scoop cat litter again.”1 Litter Robot®

“Using a combination of time, gravity, and rotation, the Litter-Robot deposits the clumps into a waste drawer below the globe, leaving a clean bed of litter for your cat every time.”2 Litter Robot®

tabby kitten & mom

“Just empty the waste drawer when indicated by the app or control panel, and add litter as needed.”3 Litter Robot®

This all sounds wonderful but how realistic is it?

Let’s look at some of the claims and see how well they hold up…

Self-Cleaning

rotating cement mixer

As with all “self-cleaning” boxes there are limits to what they can do.

The claim is that they’re “scoop-free”… which is true. There’s no scooping involved.

While they work well for poop and litter that clumps firmly and quickly, separating it from the clean litter and dropping it in a container below the bed, you still have to periodically empty the base, clean the box, and replenish the litter.

ginger, white cat standing by cleaning bucket

This may work well for you… just be aware that “self-cleaning” isn’t “maintenance-free”.

If your cat becomes sick and has diarrhea at any point, the cleanup will be a lot worse in this type of box than in a regular one.

Something to consider if you have an older cat or one with digestive problems.

You may also have to deal with error messages and frequently resetting its little brain for proper functioning.

Works Well for Up to 4 Cats

cat & kittens eating from bowls

That’s fine if your four cats want to use the same box. But what if they won’t?

What if somebody will only use one box for pee and another for poop?

What if you have a bully cat who ambushes the others as they come out of the box?

Since you know your cats best, the answers to these questions can help you decide if this box makes sense for you.

Weight Limits

rescued kitten

The only weight limits are on the lighter side…

  • Litter Robot 3 fits cats 5 lbs. or more
  • Litter Robot 4 fits cats 3 lbs. or more

What if you have a kitten or cat lighter than these weight limits?

Maine Coon longhaired black cat sitting on a chair

While the cat can still use the box if it’s under these limits the sensors won’t read the weight to know she’s been in there… so it won’t rotate and sift.

What if you have a large breed, heavy, or longhaired cat like Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest Cat?

Litter Robot 4 has a larger opening so these cats may do fine with it but there’s still the question of the area size within the box.

fat tawny cat

There are no weight limits for larger cats, but the cat may not be able to enter and turn around comfortably in the box.

People who have reviewed Litter Robot have mentioned this issue. Here’s an example…

Lauren:  “For smaller cats only”

Person massaging, petting face of Bengal cat; Litter Robot

“I have one larger cat (Maine coon mix) and a smaller domestic shorthair. My larger cat cannot fit in it.

We thought he was using it because we saw him walk into it, but apparently there just wasn’t enough room so he was peeing around the house.

My smaller cat absolutely loves this thing though as he is obsessed with having the litter box cleaned every time he goes in.

It’s also not the easiest thing to clean- quite a project compared to a regular litter box.

It’s also gigantic. Definitely not worth $700.”

Saves Up To 50% on Litter

red scoop in white litter; Litter Robot

Some people have mentioned they’ve saved a significant amount of money on litter because of the efficiency of the sifting function.

This is also dependent on the type of litter you use and how well it clumps.

Generally, it’s best to use a good quality clay litter, since the cheaper ones tend to become a mushy, sticky mess.

Significantly Reduces Odors

man holding nose while cleaning litter box

There’s a difference between reducing odors and eliminating them completely.

No litter box can eliminate all odors if you don’t properly remove the soiled litter, but some do better than others at reducing them.

Part of the problem is the fact that certain medical or digestive conditions in cats (as in people) can cause changes in odor both in pee and poop.

2 tabby cats lounging on floor, one yawning; Litter Robot

If your cat’s waste smells like somebody died or is unusually strong, it’s time to have a vet checkup.

It may be a simple case of changing what your cat eats but can also be a more serious problem.

Here’s what the manufacturer says…

silver tabby cat

“No, the Litter-Robot will not eliminate all litter box odors.

However, because waste is promptly removed and contained in the waste drawer, typical litter box odors will be reduced significantly.

Additionally, a large carbon filter located in the front of the waste drawer absorbs odors and moisture to discourage mold growth (a major culprit of that telltale litter box smell)4 Litter Robot®

“We also recommend using OdorTrap™, which works with Litter-Robot to eliminate litter box odors entirely.”5 Litter Robot®

All products on this page are for your information and convenience only… I make no money from them.

How Reliable & Durable Are Litter Robot ® 3 & 4?

reliability sign; Litter Robot

Litter Robot has some great features, but the big question is, “How long does it last without breaking down?”

If you’re investing that much in it, you want it to last for years.

What’s the track record over time? Does it ever need repair?

Does it still work as well in a year as it did the first week? Two years? Longer?

dark tabby cat at rest looking back over shoulder

Since most reviews are written within a few days or weeks of purchase, there’s not much information available about how long these boxes last, beyond an occasional review.

However, it helps to take a few minutes and search reviews at Litter Robot’s website, Amazon, Chewy, and other sites, to see if there are any patterns about problems with these boxes.

The main issue with Litter Robot 3 reliability is the electronics malfunctioning, which is shown in the reviews below.

Litter Robot ® 4

number 4 graphic

There are some important improvements in this latest version…

3 tiny dark tabby kittens
  • Lighter weight limits – Kittens under 3 lbs. can use it
  • Filter positioning is changed and does better at trapping odor
  • Opening is larger, but overall size is smaller
  • Different sensors

The Litter Robot ® 90-day In-home Trial Period & 1-year Warranty

warranty badge; Litter Robot 1-year warranty

The 90-day trial period and 1-year warranty are standard and helpful, but be aware that if you return it, the box is heavy and bulky (about 38 lbs.)

You’ll pay anywhere from $75-$175 and maybe more for shipping.

Free shipping in the USA is only for when the box is first shipped to you. This is also standard.

They offer a 3-year warranty that you can buy, so if you’re interested, check this page for details.

Other Important Things to Know About Litter Robot ®

tabby cat wearing red scarf
  • Be sure you have space for the box where you’ll put it since it’s large (about the size of a nightstand)
  • Footprint – LR3: 29.5″h x 24.25″w x 27″d, Entryway: 16″H x 10.25″W
  • Footprint – LR4: 29.5″h x 22″w x 27″d, Entryway: 15.75″H x 15.75″W
abyssinian cats sitting together
  • If you travel, you’ll need a different type of litter box to bring your cat along, since Litter Robot is not portable at 24 lbs.

Litter Robot ® Accessories

Welcome mat; Litter Robot accessories

Litter Robot also sells litter, mats, ramps, odor filters, and furniture enclosures, although none are required for the box to function properly.

Some of these accessories can also be used with other types of litter boxes.

Reviews of Litter Robot ® 3 & 4

Below are some helpful reviews of Litter Robot 3 and 4.

They point out good features and problems the users have found.

Litter Robot III Connect Review (We Tested It For 2 Weeks), Cats.com, July 23, 2020
Litter-Robot 4 Review…, Cats.com (formerly All About Cats), May 14, 2022

…and an update on the LR 4 in this review of self-cleaning litter boxes…

The 4 Best Automatic Litter Boxes…, Cats.com, March 15, 2023
Litter-Robot 4 Review – 4 Cats Used It…, Raymond Strazdas, October 27, 2022
Self Cleaning Litter Box Mega Test: Litter-Robot 4, One Man Five Cats, November 19, 2022
Leo’s Loo Too vs Litter Robot 4, Don’t Burn the House Down!, December 9, 2022

So You Want to Buy Litter Robot ®

tabby cat stretched out over laptop keyboard

All products on this page are for your information and convenience only… I make no money from them.

After considering what Litter Robot offers and what your cats want, if you insist on spending that much money on a litter box, you can purchase the LR4 directly from the website at “Shop All Litter-Robot Products“.

If you prefer LR 3, it’s at their website and on Chewy.

Other Self Cleaning Litter Boxes

bengal-cat-halfway-in-covered-litter-box

Curious about other self-cleaning litter boxes? Check out “Supplies For Cats“.

You’ll also find info about other types of boxes, accessories, litter, and why cat’s pee outside the box.


Sources

Sources used on this website are either primary or secondary.

Primary sources are always preferable and have the most reliable information because they’re original and directly referenced.

Scientific abstracts and data are good examples of primary sources.

Secondary sources are weaker because they usually consist of opinions or articles that give no sources of their own.

However, sometimes they refer to primary sources.

When I use secondary sources, most are those with some authority, such as veterinarian or cat behaviorist books and articles.

List of Sources

77 Things to Know Before Getting a Cat“, by Susan M. Ewing, Fox Chapel Publishers International, Ltd., 2018

A-K

The Best Kind of Litter Box for Longhaired Cats“, by Jet Perreault, Petful, Dec 5, 2014

The Cat Whisperer“, by Mieshelle Nagelschneider, Bantam Books, The Random House Publishing Group, New York, NY, 2013, www.bantamdell.com

“Cat Wise”, Pam Johnson-Bennett, Penguin Books, an imprint of Random House LLC, New York, NY, 2016

“The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting & Owning a Cat”, by Sheila Webster Boneham, PhD, Penguin Group (USA) Inc., New York, NY, 2005

Decoding Your Cat” by American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, editors: Meghan E. Herron, DVM, DACVB; Debra F. Horwitz, DVM, DACVB; Carlo Siracusa, DVM, PhD, DACVB, DECAWBM, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, New York, NY, 2020

L-Z

“Litter Box Happiness for Cats of All Ages”, Dr. Sophia Yin, CattleDog Publishing, January 25, 2017

“Litter Box Solutions for Aging Cats”, Litter Robot

“Litter Training”, Kitten Lady

“The Special Needs of the Senior Cat”, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell Feline Health Center

Total Cat Mojo” by Jackson Galaxy with Mikel Delgado, PhD, Tarcher Perigree, Penguin Random House, LLC, New York, NY, 2017

Think Like a Cat, How to Raise a Well-Adjusted Cat – Not a Sour Puss“, by Pam Johnson-Bennett, Certified Animal Behavior Consultant, Penguin Books, Penguin Group (USA) Inc, New York, NY, 2000, 2011

“What’s the Best Litter Box for Senior Cats”, FitSeer.com

“What Your Cat Wants”, by Francesca Riccomini, Thunder Bay Press, Octopus Publishing Group, San Diego, CA, 2012, www.thunderbaybooks.com

Updated November 13, 2023

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