Summary: The Littermaid is a well-constructed litter box which turns the chore of daily litter cleanings into a simple weekly container emptying. It runs on batteries or with the included AC adapter and with a simple trick (explained below) it will run without problems, automatically doing kitty’s dirty work.
Note: For an at-a-glance view of Litter Robot vs Cat Genie vs Littermaid vs Scoop Free click here.
They named it appropriately.
With two cats and one litter box, you basically become a maid to the litter box, tending to it daily. So, when I found out that a product existed that would reduce the frequency of scooping litter from my schedule, I was very very interested.
The premise is that the litter box has a rake at one end and an airtight container at the other. An infrared sensor (much like the ones on garage doors that prevent people from getting squished) detects when the cat is in the box and when it leaves. About 10 minutes after the cat leaves the rake scoops through the litter, collecting the kitty mess along the way and drops it into the airtight container before going back to its resting spot.
The Littermaid requires clumping litter, so that the liquids can become solid during the 10 minute delay period, and can then be scooped up with the other solids. The process is simple enough, and the containers don’t fill up for about a week with two cats, essentially turning litter box maintenance from a daily chore to a weekly one.
In case the litter box isn’t close to an electrical outlet, the engineers thought to include a battery option for the Littermaid, and there’s a little LED light that tells you if your batteries are still good. While the actual raking process isn’t whisper quiet it’s not that loud either, and the noise is short-lived (about 35 seconds for the whole process) unless the rake cycle loops.
This raking cycle loop is the only real downfall I’ve found with the Littermaid, and it essentially comes down to having the correct litter level. There is a line on the side of the litter pan which shows the maximum litter level – It lies. The actual maximum is about half of a centimeter (about 1/8 of an inch) lower than this. If you have too much litter, the rake can’t get back to its resting position because the litter gets trapped behind it, so it runs another cycle hoping to dislodge the trapped litter…it won’t dislodge. You will need to move the litter out from behind it by hand, and the only way you won’t be back doing it all over again the next cycle is to remove some litter from the box.
Apart from that one simple observation, the Littermaid is a great box and really helps lend a hand with busy lifestyles – Once a week vs once per day is a huge difference in time spent cleaning up after your cat.
If once per week still seems like too much, there’s another litter box you should know about – The Cat Genie. This thing takes the whole automatic litter box thing to a whole new level, by connecting to your cold water tap and drain, and flushing all kitty’s waste away automatically. The tradeoff is that it’s a few hundred dollars more than the Littermaid, but having owned both boxes I can clearly say that the Cat Genie is worth the money. We reviewed the Cat Genie earlier this year, so check it out if you’re interested.
The Littermaid is a very decent product which takes the daily cleaning out of owning a cat, and keeps a house smelling clean due to its airtight container (especially with multiple cats). The next level up is the Cat Genie, which is completely hands-off (we haven’t touched ours in 7+ months) if you’re willing to spend a bit more. If the Cat Genie is too much money and you’re on the fence about the Littermaid, DO IT. Keep in mind the litter level issue and you will have trouble-free automatic cleaning, which your cat will thank you for.
After all, what cat wouldn’t want a box that is always clean?