Quality Life Resources
May 18, 2020
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Automatic Cat Litter Boxes Put Kitty in Control

Author: Administrator
The age of automation has made many mundane chores a little easier. From the brew timer on your electric coffee maker to the automatic garage door opener, technology has changed the way we live. Need to change the channel on the television? The now ubiquitous remote control is a must-have item for the savvy couch potato.

Even our pets have not escaped the rise of modern technology, right down to the self-cleaning automatic cat litter box. These technological wonders offer the prospect of our cats having a clean litter pan each and every time. That is the promise and most of the products currently being offered would seem to fit the bill.

Most automatic, or semi automatic, cat boxes work along the same lines. A sensor, often an electric eye, senses when the cat has gone into the box. A timer activates the cleaning mechanism after the cat has left the box. The time delay is important for several reasons. If the cleaning mechanism were activated too soon, the cat may get spooked and abandon the litter box. When activated, a rake or scooping device scours the litter, removing the unwanted clumps.

An important component to most automatic cat boxes is clumping litter. Clumping litter adheres to fecal matter and urine, forming a ball or clump. There are certain models of automatic cat boxes that require the use of higher cost premium litter products or a pre-filled cartridge. The units requiring only a good quality clumping cat litter may offer some advantages when it comes to the cost or operation.

All automatic cat boxes require a power source. The most common power source is normal household electric service. Some units will run on batteries or household electric service. The battery operated units do have an advantage. Imagine leaving your feline friends alone for the weekend and the electrical service to your home is disrupted. Without a battery backup, the automatic feature of the litter box will simply not work. While it would not be the end of the world, you could be faced with an unexpected cleanup chore when you get home.

To say that these automatic cat litter boxes are completely automatic would be somewhat of a misstatement. The owner must still clean, dump or otherwise dispose of the waste. The amount of cleaning or dumping required depends on the size of the unit and how many cats are using the facilities. Disposal methods vary with the design of the unit. Several units require the use of disposable plastic trays. The trays are convenient and may include a snap on lid. The disadvantage for the owner is the need to buy replacement trays which can add to the operating expense beyond the cost of clumping cat litter.

Several units allow the use of recycled plastic shopping bags. Most folks appreciate the opportunity to recycle and this helps keep down the cost of operation. There is one caveat to the use of recycled plastic bags. Make sure the bag is not ripped or torn unless you want to leave a trail of cat litter behind. Otherwise, the use of recycled bags is very appealing.

Regardless of whether you have an old fashioned litter pan or the latest in hi tech auto boxes, there is still a need to clean the pan, change the tray and sweep up loose litter. Many cats will abandon a dirty litter box regardless of how high tech it may be. The health of your cat and yourself and family demands that litter boxes be kept clean. Feline fecal matter is known to carry several strains of bacteria that are potentially hazardous to humans. If you have doubts about the health of your cat or just want to avoid unwanted contact with cat waste, wearing gloves and a dust mask is a perfectly reasonable precaution.

The initial purchase price of one of these technological marvels can be several hundred dollars so some research on price versus feature may be in order. Be sure to calculate the recurring costs of trays, bags, litter and other accessories before making your purchase decision.

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