Litter Robot ™...Is It Worth the $$$$? - Cat Info Detective

Litter Robot ™…Is It Worth the $$$$?

Skye Blake looking left through magnifying glass

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.

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!

Let’s start by reviewing what you want and what your cat wants from a litter box…

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, so some accept these litter boxes and 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 being “scoop-free” which is true.

But there’s no such thing as a completely maintenance-free litter box.

While it works 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.

Fits All Cats 5 lbs. and Over

rescued kitten

What if you have a kitten or cat under 5 lbs?

While the cat can still use the box, 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 longhaired cat like Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest Cat?

fat tawny cat

People who have reviewed Litter Robot have mentioned this issue.

Some reviewers say the area the cat uses isn’t large enough, especially for longhaired or large cats (see the reviews below).

Saves up to 50% on Litter

red scoop in white litter; Litter Robot

A few reviewers have mentioned they’ve saved a significant amount of money on litter because of the efficiency of the sifting function (see “Bakugo” review below).

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

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™

How Reliable & Durable is Litter Robot™?

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.

One person said their last box lasted 3 years.

Reviews are also a great source to see patterns of what problems people have with a product.

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

Litter Robot™ 4

number 4 graphic

The latest version, Litter Robot 4, will be available in July 2022, but can be pre-ordered at Litter Robot™.

An excellent review of this model is at “A Litter-Robot 4 Review (We Tried It For A Month)“, All About Cats, May 14, 2022

There are some important improvements in this latest version…

3 tiny dark tabby kittens
  • No weight limits – Kittens under 5 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.

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… Footprint: 24.25″ x 27″, Entryway: 10.25″ x 15.25″ for Litter Robot 3
  • 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™ Box 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

ginger cat paw on computer keyboard

Below are some reviews by users of Litter Robot 3, so you can see why people love it or hate it.

These are taken from Amazon and Litter Robot’s website.

Keep in mind that the new model coming out in July addresses a number of the negative and mixed review complaints.

Positive

black cat & woman by computer; Litter Robot
Christina Ferrell: “Worth every penny”

Size: Core Bundle Color: Grey

“This is seriously the greatest invention ever. I am so happy with my purchase.

Both my cats took right to using it with no issues. It is so great not having to scoop litter anymore.”

Karen Butler: “Cat Care Made Easier!”
tuxedo cat sleeping on blanket with paws over eyes

Size: Core Bundle Color: Grey

“Rescue cat sisters were almost 3 years old, but they transitioned easily to Litter-Robot 3. I used their last litter and they went inside quickly after I brought them home.

With 2 adult cats, I change bag about every 4 days, usually a bit before my phone ap says it’s full.

As long as you have the correct amount of litter in unit, no odor. It was expensive and I was hesitant to buy it, but am glad I did.

Has night light that is unobtrusive, and is not noisy when operates. I would recommend for our busy lifestyles!”

Kelilah: “Yes, it’s costly, but if you love having cats, it’s a game changer 😻😻!”
cats sitting on piano keyboard-music; Litter Robot

Size: Core Bundle Color: Beige

“One of my family members got the Litter Robot and was singing its praises to me. I have two cats and I finally decided to try.

I have only had the Litter Robot for 6 days and both of my two cats have acclimated and on day 5 I was comfortably able to dispose of the old litter box.

Siamese cat and kitten

As the person who always had to clean the litter box, having the Litter Robot is like a miracle. So far, it has performed exactly like it claimed that it would.

Highly recommend if you have cats and hate their litter box as much as they probably do.

Clean litter all of the time, no smell, and the first bag lasted for 4 days before the app notified me that it was full.

And I have two sizable male cats. I know it’s pricey, but I’m not sorry that I went for it.”

Bakugo: “My house doesn’t smell like cat poop anymore!!!”
Maine Coon Cat at show; Litter Robot

Litter-Robot 3 Connect – Reconditioned Number of Cats:  2 Number of Litter-Robots:  1 Type of Home:  House

“This thing is perfect for cats that don’t cover after they use the litter box and I was spending almost $20 a week on litter and now is only $20 a month, I will definitely buy more products in the future”

Maddie: “BEST PURCHASE EVER”
3 cats sitting on a step

Litter-Robot 3 Connect – Reconditioned Number of Cats:  4 Number of Litter-Robots:  1 Type of Home:  Apartment

“All of my babies love using this thing. And they also like to watch it clean.

It’s big enough so that it’s sturdy for one of my cats- he is 16 lbs and it doesn’t move when jumps into it.

And my 3 lb kitten has no problem using it either- so that’s a broad range.

Totally worth the money, especially if you work a lot like I do. (:”

Mixed

man at desk writing a list; Litter Robot
Kwan: “Love this!”

Litter-Robot 3 Connect Number of Cats: 3 Number of Litter-Robots: 2 Type of Home: House

“This is my second one and I love it. The litter itself is great!

My first one lasted about 3 years. The only bad thing is support is not that great.”

Bryan Morris-Ward: “Cats Like It”
White cat with one blue, one gold eye, licking paws

Size: Core Bundle Color: Beige

“Cats took to it fairly quickly, although they were fairly puzzled by it and stared at it suspiciously for a while, the only problem we have heard is that it will not connect to Wi-Fi, support tickets submitted today.

Shipped in a well protected box, puts together very easily, fits nicely under our table in the utility room.

This is so much better than our Petsafe scoop free crystal cat litter box which was requiring a tray change every 10 days for two cats (60 dollars a month to operate).

I would give this five stars across the board if the Wi-Fi had worked and I have not had to spend a bunch of time futzing around with it trying to figure out why it wasn’t working, and then submit a ticket, probably to end up having a replacement base.”

Nick: “worth it”
abyssinian cats sitting together; Litter Robot

Litter-Robot 3 Connect – Reconditioned Number of Cats:  1 Number of Litter-Robots:  1 Type of Home:  House

“It definitely keeps the stick [stink] down by a lot and the cat doesn’t mind using it at all. my only issue is that sometimes there is a miscommunication with the app.”

Jessida: “Almost Perfect!”
bengal cat-spotted

Litter-Robot 3 Number of Cats:  1 Number of Litter-Robots:  1 Type of Home:  Apartment

“This does exactly what it said it would do and I no longer have to scoop.

There was a learning curve for my fur son and I highly recommend you use it as a regular box first and manually scoop until your cat is comfortable in it before turning it on.

We had to back track a bit but after 2 weeks he loves it and so does my husband and I.

kitten lounging by computer; Litter Robot

It looks like an awesome spaceship, the night light adds to this aesthetic, and it even filters clumps that would seemingly be stuck to the bottom (amazing!).

The ONE flaw, and it’s a fairly big one, is the smell.

I used to manually scoop his old litter box after every use, so I am used to clean.

The bot, as I call it, looks clean but after 2 days the smell starts to annoy me, I do live in an apartment so that could be a factor but they need a better smell control design in the future.

cat curled up in desk drawer by computer

I empty my one cat’s tray every 4 days because I just can’t deal.

I have tried adding litter to the tray itself, switched the clumping timer to 15 minutes, but it still smells because the clumps stay damp inside the tray.

I don’t know how one would correct this issue but it is an issue.

Overall I am satisfied, but I am surprised more people do not comment on this and if you live in an apartment it just may be a deal breaker.”

Julia: “Almost Perfect”
person petting a tabby cat's head; Litter Robot

Litter-Robot 3 Connect Number of Cats:  1 Number of Litter-Robots:  1 Type of Home:  House

“I love my litter robot!!

It took a couple weeks to get my cat used to it but now she’s doing great and I’m super happy with not having to scoop a litter box.

I only ever have issues when I overfill it a little because the litter I use is pretty heavy.

My one real, and unfortunately pretty annoying, issue with my litter robot is just how loud it is.

black cat sunning himself

This would be fine if the sleep mode wasn’t available for the absolute minimum I would sleep in a night. 8 hours simply isn’t enough.

Between me and my husband’s slightly different schedules it would be really helpful to have an adjustable range for when it runs because as it is right now one of us is getting woken up by it at some point every night.

I would just turn it off at night, but I’m pretty forgetful and would just leave it off.

If there’s any way to add different sleep mode lengths the litter robot would be perfect!”

Response from Litter Robot’s Whisker Team
2 kittens in white basket; Litter Robot

“Thank you for the feedback, Julia.

We appreciate your concerns and will forward them to the appropriate departments as we’re always looking for ways to improve our products.

Just as a note, if you’re using a heavier brand of litter, always keep it about 1/2 inch below the fill line.

Heavier brands of litter cause motor strain which makes the motor louder.” 4/26/22

Negative

siamese cat sitting on laptop yawning, screaming
Becky: “Not ideal for multiple cats”

Litter-Robot 3 Connect Warranty Bundle Number of Cats: 4 Number of Litter-Robots: 1 Type of Home: House

“This is good for the most 2 cats. The tray where the poop goes is wayyyy too small for 4 cats and the odor absorber doesn’t work very well.”

Response from Litter Robot’s Whisker Team

“Thank you for the feedback, Rebeccah! With 4 cats, it would be normal to have to change the drawer daily.

This is why we recommend 4 as the max per Litter-Robot.”

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.”

Chris: “Not good”
cat playing with purple stick

Litter-Robot 3 Connect

“If you wanna pay $500 to constantly have to unplug and replug back in this litter box several times a day for it to even maybe work properly go for it.

Even after being sent a replacement same problem. It just freezes mid cycle every single time.

Or doesn’t cycle at all. Terrible over engineered garbage.”

Response from Litter Robot’s Whisker Team
grey cat washing while sitting by a guitar - music; Litter Robot

“We’re sorry to hear you’re having some trouble with your unit, Chris.

After checking the Connect account, we’re seeing a lot of bonnet removed and cat sensor fault errors.

A cat sensor fault (or a red flashing light) can only be caused by two things: kitty being in the globe longer than 2 minutes (usually occurs in the home position) or too much litter/weight in the globe (usually occurs during a cycle).

Most of the time, it’s related to the litter in the globe.

persian cats on cat tree

Some brands of litter weigh more than others (such as Arm & Hammer, Scoop Away, Fresh Step or Dr. Elseys) and could be a bit too heavy when filled to the fill line.

We’d recommend removing a few scoops so that the litter is about a half inch below the fill line all the way around.

If you aren’t able to see the fill line in some spots or at all, that’s a good indication that there’s too much.

Always remember to tap the Reset button on the unit after adding/removing litter from the globe or emptying the waste drawer.

cat looking warily over blanket; Litter Robot

This will reset the weight sensors to ensure it continues working properly.

For the bonnet removed errors, please check to make sure both back tabs of the bonnet are tucked into the slots of the base.

If one or both are sticking out, that would cause this error and does cause the unit to stop mid cycle.

This video will show you how to check the bonnet: www.youtube.com/watch

If none of these help, please feel free to contact us via email, phone or chat.

Our contact information can be found here: support-litter-robot.force.com/s/

PurrPurrManor: “Disappointed”
cat peeking out from blanket

Litter-Robot 3 Connect Number of Cats: 5+ Number of Litter-Robots: 4 Type of Home: House

“Well to start off let me just say I have four units. The first one I got about 4 years ago and it has been the best one so far.
If you had asked me then I would have given it 5 stars.

This last summer I purchased three more units and I have had nothing but problems from them since they arrived.

2 White/orange, ginger cats rubbing heads; Litter Robot

One of them, after dealing with checking and taking apart and doing all the tech stuff that they’ve asked me to do for several months, Whisker finally sent me a replacement base that so far it has been working.

However, the other units are constantly blinking waste drawer full or pinch detected or I get notified on the app the bonnet is removed.

It’s becoming such a headache that I’m considering cutting my losses and looking for alternatives.

ginger tabby cat with kitten sleeping on top

Very disappointed at this point.

I will be taking apart 2 of the 4 units again tonight to hopefully “fix” it for a few more days until it happens again.

Honestly, it wouldn’t even be as exasperating if there was a way to manually get the boxes to cycle but haven’t found a way to do it yet.

So here I go about to hand scoop my $500+ litter box and spend an hour to take it apart and clean it again.”

Mark: “Issues”
persian cat-white facing forward; Litter Robot

Litter-Robot 3 Connect Number of Cats: 2 Number of Litter-Robots:  1 Type of Home: House

“The Litter -Robot we have has created some relief, but way too many issues.

After three months the unit now has issues with “pinch” notice once a day, clumps still attached to the liner and the counter weight falls out of the hold pouch.

tuxedo cat lying on laptop keyboard

The “pinch” issue is two – fold:

1. The mechanism that is pushed to alert a pinch become clogged as a result of the plastic tab bidding against the frame and foam to prevent litter from getting between the contact with connector becomes fumed up.

2. When clean the globe liner the counter weight falls out if you push too hard during any cleaning.

This is a result of the pouch retaining lips for the counter weigh is are too small.

I found that velcro helps retain the counter weight.

Dusty white, grey cat on brown floor by chair leg, washing paw; Litter Robot

Currently, I will not recommend this unit to anyone, since I have to dismantle, clean globe liner way to often, verify “pinch” switch is making contact and clean up after cats when unit remains not available for cat usage.

Concept is great, I have suggestions to resolve issues, but you guys are not easy to contact and want me – the buyer, to do the research of problems, take pictures and still clean up messes.”

So You Want to Buy Litter Robot™

tabby cat stretched out over laptop keyboard

After considering what Litter Robot offers and what your cats want, if you insist on spending that much money on a litter box, here are some Amazon links to the Litter Robot 3 cost-saving bundle, furniture enclosures, and supplies.

I make a small commission on some of the links below… and I get to share profits with qualified cat rescues!

Check descriptions and reviews carefully for any products you wish to buy… quality, sizes, colors, etc., can’t be guaranteed by anyone but the manufacturer.

Types of Litter Boxes & Accessories

Cat Litter ScoopsThe Basic Litter Box
Breeze Litter BoxThe Sifting Litter Box
Cat Genie ®…Does It Really Flush?The DIY Litter Box
The Privacy Screen for Litter BoxesThe Cat Litter Mat
The Corner Litter BoxThe Disposable Litter Box
The Collapsible BoxFurniture Litter Box Enclosures
The Self Cleaning Litter BoxThe Covered Litter Box
The Cat Litter Disposal System

Location, Location, Location…The BoxCleaning Cat Urine
Deciphering Pee PatternsSymptoms of Illness in Your Cat
The Territorial CatWhy Is My Cat Peeing Outside the Litter Box?
What Are the Best Types of Cat Litter?Cat Behavior…Is My Cat Nuts??
Why Is My Cat Pooping Outside the Box?What’s the Best Type of Cat Litter 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

Disclosure

I make a small commission on some of the sources listed below if you choose to purchase them from here.

Some products listed link to companies that sell them, whether or not I make any money.

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

Cat Speak“, by Bash Dibra with Elizabeth Randolph, New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., New York, NY, 2003

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

Product Sources

Amazon

Litter Robot

Updated June 12, 2022

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