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I am simply so uninterested in all of the poop. Now that I am coping with three cats, an 11-month previous’s diapers and potty time with my four-year previous, I simply wanted some aid from mountains of excrement. Enter the Litter Robot 4, the most recent iteration of Whisker’s automated litter field (a product we initially coated in 2005!). It is a small, spaceship-looking system that mechanically rotates after your cat does its enterprise, separating waste right into a storage bin and leaving the remaining clear litter behind. As a substitute of scooping a field each day (or a number of occasions a day for multi-cat households), you solely have to yank out the Litter Robotic’s bin bag and substitute it with a brand new liner as soon as per week. Feels like a dream, proper?
Effectively, principally. For one, it is an eye-watering $699, placing it out of attain for many cat house owners. And like virtually each “sensible” system, I bumped into points whereas establishing the Litter Robotic 4. After a couple of months of testing, I’ve encountered many quirks – generally it did not sift correctly, sometimes its cat detecting sensors went haywire, and it did not actually forestall litter from reaching my flooring. Regardless of all of that, although, it nonetheless made my life simpler. Due to the Litter Robotic 4, I needed to cope with animal poop only a bit much less day-after-day. I will chalk that up as a win.
As a cat proprietor since 2009, I’ve all the time eyed self-cleaning litter containers with envy. However nearly each possibility appeared like a headache again then: Some required specialised litter, others had been vulnerable to jamming and failure. And despite the fact that the Litter Robotic has been round for some time, I’ve all the time thought of it too costly to be sensible. However now that my family has grown, because of that aforementioned poopy toddler and a pair of adopted kittens, I used to be anticipating some aid. (A kind of kittens additionally grew into an infinite 18-pound beast – you’ll be able to think about what his litter field seems to be like.)
I do know a number of individuals who beloved the Litter Robot 3, and it was generally well-reviewed, regardless of being concurrently cumbersome on the skin and a bit too small for cats on the within. The Litter Robotic 4 improves on its predecessor with a sleeker design (it is a bit much less large, so it ought to match higher in small rooms), in addition to a bigger opening for large cats. It is also Wi-Fi related, which makes it straightforward so that you can test on litter and waste ranges with Whisker’s app. Due to new weight sensors, you’ll be able to observe how usually your cats are utilizing the Robotic, and the corporate can also be planning to launch extra individualized monitoring later this yr. In principle, that ought to let you already know if one in every of your cats is utilizing the litter field too usually, or not sufficient.
Establishing the Litter Robotic 4 was pretty straightforward – till I bumped into some software program points. You simply must yank the 24-pound egg-like bot out of its field, dump some clumping litter into the principle compartment, and throw an included bag within the waste bin. The system itself is made totally out of plastic, making it pretty gentle and simpler to maneuver. The inside portion the place the litter sits is roofed in a rubber-like materials, which ought to make it pretty sturdy and simpler to scrub than laborious plastic.
After plugging in and turning on the Litter Robotic, although, I used to be confronted with my worst worry with any new sensible gadget: Pairing points. With out being paired to the app, the Robotic would not self-clean in any respect. A couple of hours of frustration later, I realized that Whisker was having a system-wide situation and I needed to wait a couple of days for the corporate to ship a repair.
So it goes with sensible units, you may say. However it undoubtedly felt foolish (and a bit enraging) to be manually cleansing this $699 litter field. With out that preliminary connectivity, it was no higher than the $20 litter tray my cats use upstairs. As soon as the app was set, the Robotic ran by means of a cleansing cycle and evenly sifted the remaining litter. Upon seeing this new litter field transfer and make sounds (it is surprisingly quiet!), my three cats would not go close to it. At that time, it was only a $699 monument to pet extra.
A couple of days later, the bravest of the bunch — my 18-pound tuxedo cat named “Jiji” — lastly jumped into the Litter Robotic to discover. After a number of hops out and in, he deemed it secure and left his first providing, which was promptly cycled into the waste bin. The Litter Robotic appeared happy. Inside per week, all of my cats had been onboard. And round then, I observed one thing unusual: I could not odor any poop or pee! Positive, the Whisker app advised me the waste bin was full, however you would not know that whereas standing proper in entrance of it. That is a superb signal for anybody who needs to position the Litter Robotic in a cramped lounge.
My honeymoon interval ended when one in every of my cats left a streak of feces contained in the Robotic. No quantity of sifting and biking removed that. Ultimately, I began to note some unusual conduct from the system (maybe in protest to what that cat did). Typically its indicator lights would flash purple — a sensor fault, in keeping with the Whisker app. The one method to repair that was by turning the unit on and off. Often, the Robotic would not totally clear itself after one in every of my cats used it. So I needed to hit the cycle button up high to get it going.
Over the course of per week, I usually must cope with three of 4 points like this from the Litter Robotic. Few of these contain touching precise poop, and it is lower than I would be cleansing a standard litter field. Nonetheless, for $699, I want it had been extra dependable. I would not belief it to work for a whole week if my household went on trip. Simply do not lose your cat sitter’s quantity.
Cleansing out the Litter Robotic’s waste bin is a cinch — simply yank out the liner bag and substitute it with one other. Whilst you may persist with Whisker’s merchandise, I have not had any bother utilizing Glad’s 13-gallon ForceFlex luggage. The corporate additionally recommends wiping down the Litter Robotic’s internals as soon as a month, in addition to refreshing the litter with a completely new batch. That course of is not powerful, however I discovered it best to perform by dragging the system outdoors. And sure, it additionally means you may have to get your palms soiled a bit. There’s simply no escaping the poop.
Whisker’s cell app does an excellent job of alerting me when the waste bin is full, or when litter is operating low. And it could sound unusual, however I genuinely respect seeing how usually my cats use the field. It is notably useful if one cat is feeling sick – going to the Robotic steadily may very well be an indication of sickness. The app additionally retains observe of your cat’s weight, which may enable you keep away from over or under-feeding. (And naturally, an enormous weight drop may very well be one other well being concern.)
After a couple of months of testing, solely two of my cats proceed to make use of the Litter Robotic 4. Nonetheless, they use it steadily sufficient to replenish its waste bin each week. (We even have two regular litter containers round the home for the lone renegade.) My one main annoyance, apart from all of these random errors, is the Litter Robotic’s open design. I am conscious it is one thing cats want, however it additionally results in litter being strewn across the flooring. Sadly, Whisker’s bundled gate and entrance step for the Litter Robotic do not actually assist a lot. For those who do find yourself getting this factor, I would recommend including a litter mat up entrance, and be ready to hoover or sweep each few days.
The Litter Robotic 4 is an extravagance, however it’s one which drained cat house owners might discover helpful. Simply do not count on any miracles. You may nonetheless have to be careful for errors, do some handbook scrubbing and sweep up stray litter. The proper self-cleaning litter field is not right here but, however the Litter Robotic 4 is as shut as you may get.