The ScoopFree Automatic Cat Litter Box

The ScoopFree automatic cat litter box is an innovative design resulting in improvements over some other self cleaning boxes in both box maintenance and odor control.

The manufacturer says that it was designed "by cat lovers for cat lovers." In fact, it was designed by cat loving MIT-trained engineers to be relatively maintenance and odor free.

A number of automatic self cleaning litter boxes, such as the LitterMaid models, require premium clumping litter. Others, such as the Cat Genie, have their own special litter.

Unlike these others, however, the ScoopFree requires the use of Fresh Step Crystals.

Fresh Step Crystals do not clump. Instead they simply absorb moisture and lock in the odor.

A Unique Design

The ScoopFree is unique in large part due to the use of this crystal type litter. Since they are highly absorbent but don't clump, Fresh Step Crystals can be left in the box for a long period of time.

In fact, they can be left in the box up to 30 days, depending upon how much urine they're subjected to. At some point, they become saturated and can't absorb any more liquid, and it's time to change them out for a fresh batch.

All that's left to deal with is the solid waste, which shrinks as moisture is pulled out of it. With a regular litter box using crystal litter, you'd have to scoop the solid waste out of the box regularly, and rake the remaining crystals by hand.

The ScoopFree handles this in an automated fashion using a motor and a rake that sweeps the solid waste into a receptacle, and at the same time rakes the remaining crystals.

Since the solid waste shrinks up over time, you don't have to touch the box yourself for up to 30 days (if you have only one cat). When you do, you actually replace the whole cartridge and litter with a new one, and throw the old one away.

Pros and Cons

Pros of the ScoopFree

  • low maintenance
  • relatively quiet motor automatically rakes litter
  • low odor crystals
  • reduced litter cost compared to clumping clay
  • virtually dust free crystal litter
  • less tracking of the crystal litter compared to clay

Cons of the ScoopFree

Every automatic litter box has its downside as described here.

The ScoopFree automatic cat litter box has some particular peculiarities, including:

  • high cost of cartridge replacements
  • rake systems like this can accumulate feces on the rake
  • actual litter area is a bit small at 11" x 11"
  • if your cat is a heavy digger, you may end up with perforations causing leaks in the bottom of the box

Note: A complaint about crystal litter, (and I'm not picking on Fresh Step litter in particular here) is that it doesn't give much warning when it's saturated. What will happen is that the litter will change color and you need to check the box and be alert to this. At some point, the litter will simply be too saturated to absorb any more urine, and urine will begin to pool in the box.

ScoopFree Ultra

The ScoopFree Ultra has 3 additional features:

  • privacy hood to help prevent litter scatter
  • you can adjust the timer on the rake to sweep waste 5, 10, or 20 minutes after your cat uses the litter box
  • health counter monitors frequency of litter box usage so you can be alert to changes in your cat's habits

The manufacturer recommended litter cartridge replacement intervals vary based on the number of cats using the box. For one cat, replace the cartridge every 20 - 30 days; for two cats replace it every 10 - 15 days; for three cats, the cartridge needs to be replaced every 7 - 10 days.

Some owners of this model have said that they needed to replace the cartridge more often than the manufacturer's recommendation. In fact, that is often the main complaint about this unit... cost.

The Forever Litter Tray can significantly cut down on your costs. Instead of buying replacement cartridges, you get this permanent tray and fill it with Fresh Step Crystals when it's time to change.

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