Automatic litter boxes are growing in popularity – and as a cat parents we’re always looking for ways to make our feline friend’s life better. So are these automated wonders a good idea?
Automatic litter boxes are a great solution for daily scooping. Most only require cleaning once a week – so they’re a brilliant invention for us humans. Nevertheless, I’m not completely sold on these convenient (and often very expensive) devices.
Here are my top 3 concerns regarding whether this invention is good for our cats.
1. Litter aversion
We’ve learned over the years how important it is to be considerate of our cats’ preferences – as a species – when it comes to their ‘bathroom’. It needs to be in a low-traffic, easily accessible place. It’s recommended to have one more litter box than we have cats. So for one cat, we would have 2 boxes – as most cats prefer to pee in one box and poop in another. And we also want to consider box size. Is it big enough for them to comfortably dig around, turn around and do their business? Putting all their poops in one automatic ‘basket’ may cause litter aversion.
2. Sensory overload
Automatic litter boxes use sensors and motors to clean the litter box, which can be overwhelming for some cats – which can cause instant litter aversion. The noise and movement can be scary, and the sudden cleaning can startle them. This can lead to anxiety and stress, which can impact their overall health.
3. Health monitoring
Keeping an eye on your cat’s litter box deposits is important for their health. With an automatic litter box, it can be easy to miss sudden changes in your cat’s bowel movements or urine output. These changes can be early indicators of health issues that need to be addressed quickly. By manually cleaning the litter box, you can keep an eye on any changes and take action if needed.
I understand that automatic litter box technology is evolving to include health monitoring. Their cost and maintenance may also be negligible to some. Yet the small size and number of boxes we would need for our cat family don’t make these a good fit for our family. If this is something you are considering, evaluate your cat’s preferences and budget before purchasing – and be prepared to look at the return policy!