Litter Robot

History

The first version of the Litter Robot became available in April 2000. In October 2006 the Litter Robot II was released, incorporating many new features requested by users, such as a larger storage compartment, “pinch guards” that stop the action if the cat interferes with the globe, a sliding guard door to keep cats from accessing the globe without the step, quieter operation, and sealing the electronics in the base for easier cleaning.

Advantages

The Litter Robot uses a rolling action that “breads” the clumps with litter as the cleaning cycle progresses. Cats who do not cover will not interfere with the cleaning operation.

Users with dogs have reported that the Litter Robot keeps dogs out of the litter box. There’s a seven minute “window” where the clumps are accessible; after the cleaning cycle, the clumps are in the sealed base where dogs cannot access them.

Litter box odors are reduced because the clumps are taken away seven minutes later, and are stored in the sealed base.

Disadvantages

Because the design is dependent on a sealed globe, it imposes a “covered box” situation upon any cat using it. Large cats who perch in an upright posture when using the litter box can find the interior dimensions too confining.

The manufacturer has an official size range of five to fifteen pounds. Cats or kittens less than five pounds need to have a user trigger the device manually for a cleaning cycle. Users report cats larger than fifteen pounds have used it successfully. Cats who are in the upper size range are more likely to use it if they are normal weight for their size, while overweight cats are less agile and have more difficulty.

Dimensions and Requirements

Overall Dimensions are 29 in (H), 22 in (W), 24 in (D). The waste drawer is 11 in (W), 16 in (L), 6 in (D). The oval shaped entry opening for the cat is 9 in (H), 6 in (W). The litter bed area measures 14 inch across at maximum litter capacity. There is 13 to 15 inches of head room for the cat inside the globe depending on the level of litter. The inside width is 20 inches across at the widest point, and depth is 15 inches front to back.

The unit needs an electrical outlet and a space that is larger than most litter boxes, both in footprint and in headroom. It is a sealed unit that operates in its own space, so if it can fit somewhere, it can operate properly without extra room.

Cat Psychology

Getting a cat to use an automatic litter box has many factors that are dependent on the cat or cats who will be using it. Timid cats will be wary of using a litter box which moves and makes noises at certain times. Cats who perch on the edge of the litter box, or who are used to a full field of view while using their litter box, can find the interior of the Litter Robot’s globe too confining or too limiting.

Automatic litter boxes have an advantage that can overcome the objections of most cats. A properly operating box will offer clean litter almost all the time. Cats prefer brand new litter, without evidence that they or another cat have used it. This instinctive preference is enough of a benefit for a cat to overcome their misgivings, or even change their previous litter behavior, and find a way of using the cleanest litter box that is offered.

Users who wish to avail themselves of automatic litter box advantages can help the cat draw this conclusion in the early stages of introducing the device. They can only operate the device while they are supervising its action, encourage the cat in their explorations of this new device, and express their own satisfaction and enjoyment of the cleaner litter offered by an automatic box.

It is also an advantage for multiple cats to be introduced to an automatic litter box. Seeing another cat successfully using an automatic litter box that is always clean, and observing that the cat in question did not suffer any ill effects, can be the most persuasive element in getting the more timid cats in the household to trust the new device.

Human Psychology

The introduction of clumping litter, by polymer chemist William Mallow, opened the door to the possible use of robotic assistance in keeping cat litter clean. The fact that the offensive litter contents could now be isolated from the cleaner litter around it created many automatic litter box patents dating back to 1991. People with cats find litter boxes duties to be such onerous chores that they are willing to create and buy appliances that will perform this task for them.

References

^ Mallow, William. “Inventor William Mallow Dies At Age 72”, CBS News, 2002-08-02. Retrieved on 2008-07-22.

^ Online Patent Search. “Patent Storm search for automatic litter boxes”, Patent Storm Online Reference,. Retrieved on 2008-07-22.

External links

Litter Robot site

Litter Box Central Forum for users of automatic litter boxes

New Litter Robot 2 with Odor Control, reviewed by Paradise Robotics

Litter Robot II review comparing the two versions

Epinions reviews of Litter Robot

Categories: Pet equipment | 2000 introductions

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