Self cleaning litter box is a term collectively applied to both electronic automatic devices, and non-electronic boxes that have some alternative to the traditional method of that most hated of tasks... cleaning the box.
Usually, these inventions focus on reducing or eliminating the need for regularly scooping litter and washing the box.
They don't all work in the same way, and they all have their positives and negatives.
Let's look at the differences and some different models.
While the term self-cleaning is often used interchangeably with the the term automatic, automatic is usually reserved for those boxes that require electricity and use a mechanical device for cleaning.
Electronic models include the Litter Robot, the Cat Genie, ScoopFree, and various LitterMaid models. Some models use a rake type device (LitterMaid, ScoopFree) to sweep the clumped litter into the waste receptacle, others rotate (Litter Robot), and the Cat Genie even washes itself and has its own specialized reusable litter.
Non-electronic self cleaning models include the Omega Paw, and the Feline Pine litter box, which uses only Feline Pine litter. The term "self-cleaning" is really a bit of a misnomer since you do have some manual work involved in getting rid of the litter. Even with some electronic automatic boxes, there is a fair amount of work that needs to be done, especially in multiple cat households.
All in all, though, these products tend to make that most hated of cat lover chores, cleaning the cat box, an easier task. Below are some of the more creative of both the electronic and non-electronic models.
ScoopFree Self Cleaning Litter Box
The ScoopFree automatic cat litter box is an electronic product. It uses Fresh Step Crystals, a mechanical rake system, and disposable litter cartridges to reduce odor, as well as the amount of time spent maintaining the box.
The Cat Genie doesn't use litter. Instead, it uses permanent washable granules that resemble litter in look and feel.
In addition to electric power, the Cat Genie requires a cold water connection and drainage. The Cat Genie drains liquid waste and scoops solid waste for you. Everything gets liquefied and and flushed down the drain. The granules and the litter area are washed with a cat-safe solution and water, and the granules are dried by a built-in dryer.
This is a self cleaning litter box like no other. The comments about this box are often that when it works, it works well. There have been a number of complaints, however, about the device having malfunctions.
The Litter Robot
The Litter Robot is another unique design in automatic cat boxes.
Designed for cats between 5 and 15 pounds, there are several unique features of the Litter Robot that are improvements over some of the other electronic self cleaning boxes.
no expensive consumables to buy
uses standard garbage bags
no rake mechanism to jam
uses readily available commercially sold cat litter
designed to be low maintenance
Omega Paw Litter Boxes
Omega Paw makes a couple of manual self cleaning boxes with a unique and clever design.
To clean the box, you simply roll it so that the top of the box is on the floor, then roll it back into position.
That action leaves the soiled, clumped litter in a pullout tray.
Pull out the tray and empty it, then put it back. One more tilt of the box to even out the litter, and you're done. No scooping and no mess.