Today I thought I’d look at the Littermaid Automatic Litter Box. If you’re a cat owner like us (we have 5) keep the litter box clean is a challenge. Automatic litter boxes like the Littermaid Elite and Littermaid Mega promise to help you out with this stinky chore. How well do they work, some simple fixes and repairs and what can you do to improve upon them and maybe save a little money on accessories? Let’s begin…
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We’ve had a Littermaid Automatic Litter Box since 2003. The original one broke recently and we replaced it with two new boxes to better accommodate the needs of our cats. I’d guess the average working lifetime of one of these boxes is about 3-5 years although I’ve heard some people cite reliability problems with newer models.
While the Littermaid Automatic Litter Box will help reduce the amount of work involved in maintaining a litter box, especially in a multi-cat household, it does have it’s share of little quirks and annoyances that can frustrate you a lot. To make matters worse, the customer service by the company isn’t the best. Here are a few of my tips for using this automatic litter box.
My Littermaid Won’t Stop Running!
This is probably the biggest annoyance with the Littermaid Automatic Litter Box. The litter box’s rake keeps on going and going, running continuously. It won’t stop. So you turn it off and you have an expensive regular litter box. That’s not good.
The culprit here are the small metal switches at either end of the track. Unfortunately, these switches aren’t always bent out enough to detect the sweeper arm at the end of a run. They’ll get bent inward over time or, in some cases, aren’t bent out enough right from the factory. To correct this problem you can either gently bend the the switch outward or glue a very small adhesive furniture or picture bumper on switch clip. I’ve found the bumper method to be more reliable and this way reduces the chance of breakage or metal fatigue on the switch clip.
What Kind of Litter To Use?
Should you use the ultra expensive premium litter with the Littermaid Automatic Litter Box? I think you can get away with less expensive litter that clumps well. I’ve found some of the less expensive clumping litters will do fine in this litter box. We’ve been using the WalMart Special Kitty brand with either the Citrus or Lavender scents and it’s worked fine.
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Save Money on Littermaid Receptacles
The litter clumps get deposited in the little plastic receptacle bin and, if you dispose of the bin after each time it gets filled that will cost you some money. You can reuse the bins by dumping out the soiled litter although they tend to crack and stink over a short amount of time. You can buy bin liners for them but these aren’t so cheap either. One idea I’ve been trying out is using a plastic grocery bags as a bin liner. This seems to work rather well and puts those bags to good use.
Save Money on a Littermaid Privacy Tent
If your cat likes privacy and if you want more help in keeping the smell down you might want to invest in the Littermaid Privacy Tent. At around $40 it isn’t cheap and some people complain about it not fitting the box as well as they like and being flimsy. My recommendation is to build your own using a frame of PVC pipes and a cloth or plastic covering material of your choice. You can build one of these for about $10-15 and make it as fancy or as simple as you want. Plus, should it get soiled, you can replace the covering material easily. Some people get even fancier and build an entire enclosure for the Littermaid Automatic Litter Box, complete with an extra large waste storage area. You’ll see them on sale on eBay from time to time as well.
I went a little longer with this review than usual, probably because I, well my cats, have used this product so much. I hope you find this info help if you’re a cat owner and feel free to leave your thoughts on the Littermaid Automatic Litter Box in a comment below.