306 of 313 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2002
I've had the Littermaid for about 4 years now, and I won't do without it. I had two cats (one has since passed), and both reacted differently. One absolutely loved it from the first. (She would run into the utility room whenver it started raking just to watch.) The other seemed terrified so I left the old litter box out. But after 2-3 weeks, he took to it as well, and stopped using the old box altogether.
There are a few tricks to make use of the Littermaid easier and less expensive.
1. Re-use the Waste Recepticles! Also, I found that using just one tended to be messy when trying to clean out the residual damp litter. So now I use 2 at a time. I keep the empty "dirty" one covered off to the side with a SMALL amount of Arm & Hammer carpet deoderizer sprinkled inside, and when it comes time to empty the bin, I "sweep" the old (now dry) one with the included brush, and switch it with the (just emptied) damp one. Works like a charm.
2. DON'T empty waste bins directly into your trash! I put mine into the kitchen trash, and this smells up the room something awful whenever you open the lid. I dump the bin contents into a small (3 gallon) plastic trash bag, and also put the "sweepings" from the dry bin into the same bag. (The old deoderizer goes with it and helps subdue the smell.) The bag is a bit oversized for this, but that gives you plenty of extra bag to twist & knot.
3. Replacement rakes ARE available directly from Littermaid. You won't find them in the parts/accessories section of their website. You have to call them. However, they're pretty cheap ... Over the course of 4 years, the rake has broken on me three times, so it's a good idea to have a couple spare ones on hand.
All-in-all, it works out quite well. I highly recommend the Littermaid (Mega size). The smell, (even in the same room as the litter box), is MUCH better. If your cat is skittish about it, give it some time. It's worth it.
150 of 153 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2003
I usually don't write reviews but after reading these, I have to say my piece. This is a wonderful product. It's certainly not perfect. I would like it to be less noisy and have an adjustable wait time to allow for larger messes to clump harder. 10 min. sometimes is just not enough. I've had mine for 2 years with no breakage or slowing down. But I CLEAN mine now and then. I use the brush it came with and actually brush out the litter. Every 3 months, I take it apart, and soak the pan in warm soapy water and wipe the dust off. It's a MACHINE. It needs some care. I would do the same to a "manual" litter box too because it gets disgusting otherwise. If your machine is making several passes, it's stuck. READ the manual. This machine is like having an extra person who helps you. It keeps my cat happy and me happy. My husband is happy because the house never smells like we own a cat. Our guests are always surprised when they see the cat. The receptacles are expensive, but if you have one cat they do not need to be emptied for 5-7 days. Then, empty it and reuse it a couple more times. Because the litter clumps, it's not really that messy. I dump it if it becomes smelly. You can also put down a layer of baking soda in the empty bin first and that helps prolong its use. The machine can not replace the love and attention you give your cat, but it's worth $100.00 to have the job of scraping waste handed over to a roboting comb. I recommend this product to smart people.
186 of 196 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2003
I agree with other reviewers who indicate that the time window of 10 minutes is too short for the litter to clump hard enough, the pan is too shallow and the thing is a chore to clean when the time comes.
However, it is a nice convenience to have when you live with two cats and don't want to spend your time monitoring the litter box. And, the cats seem to enjoy watching the rake go back and forth.
Littermaid does have their own brand of litter which works better than any of the premium litters available. It has a funky smell but our cats don't seem to mind. The bags are small and a bit pricey. It is worth not having to clean muck off of the rake and it does track less. I have only found it stocked at Target so far.
Unfortunately, I am hunting for a replacement since our old one stopped working AGAIN. The first time it was under warranty and they replaced it, but it is completely dead again after only 8 months of use. The motor most likely burned out as the power indicator [red light] is lit.
Both of our cats are between 9 and 12 pounds each and the LM900 works well for them. I may go with the LM950 this time, though.
61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2003
I received a LitterMaid as an early birthday present a few days ago on the 26th. Four days later, it's still working fine. I did have my concerns, though, when I got it, like would my cats pee on it and have it fritz on the first day? (They did; it didn't.) But there are some advantages to having it, as I've listed below:
1) It "rakes" the box itself, so you'll always have a clean, Zen garden-like litter box. This is the biggest plus to the LitterMaid, especially if you have a meticulous cat and are too busy/lazy to clean a litter box on a daily basis.
2) It's relatively easy to clean because of all the removable parts, like the rake, tray, and "paw cleaning" ramp. You'll want to wear gloves for this job.
3) It's already assembled and virtually foolproof. It's almost impossible for your cat to be harmed by it, though they do recommend only healthy adult cats use it, not geriatric cats or young kittens that can't get in or out of the box.
Although the LitterMaid is great (I'd recommend it), don't expect it to be the perfect alternative to the regular litter box. It has its drawbacks, like:
1) It takes 10 minutes to activate the rake. Believe me, when your cat leaves something stinky in there, you're not going to wait 10 minutes. It's much quicker to either use a scooper or reset the power so it'll automatically start up again.
2) It requires more cleaning than a regular litter box because of all the corners, etc. I find myself cleaning it every day, whether it's just to sweep/vacuum on or around it, wipe up messes, or empty the waste receptacle bin. But then, I have six cats. I'm constantly having to do that anyway. (Note: It does come with a small cleaning brush, but it's not really good for much, just brushing off little bits of litter.)
3) (This goes with #2.) Sometimes the rake will get clogged, and the tray will have clumps adhering to it. One solution: After removing and cleaning the rake and tray, spray them lightly with a silicon spray or baby oil to help prevent clumping.
4) It can be operated by eight D-cell batteries. Though this isn't really a drawback (especially in the event of a power outage), it's better--and less expensive--to just use the AC adapter provided. But if you are going to use batteries, I'd recommend rechargeable ones. It's cheaper in the long-run.
5) It's a little noisy. It sounds a lot like a paper shredder and woke me up a few times. I've gotten used to it by now though.
As with any machine, you should read the instructions first, though most of the rules are just common sense sort of things. Here are a couple important notes, though the last two aren't in the instruction manual:
1) Only use premium clumping litters, like the four brands they list: LitterMaid Premium Clumping Litter, Arm & Hammer Super Scoop, Fresh Step, or Ever Clean. Do NOT use crystal or pearl-like litters.
2) The main case (the exoskeleton of the litter box) can NOT be immersed in water.
3) Don't buy new waste receptacles. Your litter box will come with several bins--they can be reused. You can either use a plastic bag inside of them for easier disposal, or just wash out the receptacles when necessary. However, they are rather flimsy and can't handle too much bending or they'll break, so you may need to purchase replacements later on.
4) As with all litter boxes, place the LitterMaid on a hard surface (not carpet), in case of accidents.
Overall, I'm very happy with this product. It's held up to six cats so far, and they actually prefer using it over the regular litter boxes (though I'm still keeping those), probably because 1) it's entertaining, and 2) it's always clean. Although I really enjoy it, it's not a necessary item for all cat owners. Some people will prefer the old method, particularly if you only have a few cats; but for those who don't have a lot of time--or don't want to spend their time cleaning litter boxes--the LitterMaid is certainly worth your money. However, I'd recommend shopping around first. You can definitely find a better price.
68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
I have 5 cats. Once I had 5 litter boxes to scoop twice a day. 2 Booda boxes, 2 extra large pans, and a 3-part sifter pan (which I did not like as it dropped used litter all over after you sifted). My life has been transformed by a Litter Maid Mega automatic litter box. All five cats use the same box now.
I use plastic grocery sacks to line the storage container. I put in about 4-5 at once. About once every two days, I just pull the full one out and tie it closed, dress over the litter and make sure the rake is clean. They give you a tool to clean the rake. I use a regular litter rake to make sure any used litter is scraped loose from the bottom of the pan. (One of my boys uses the same spot for every urine break. The litter in that corner sticks to the bottom of the pan.) This whole process takes about 5 minutes.
About once a month, I Dust Buster the mechanical parts and use a bathroom wipe as needed. I have always used disposable blue plastic-lined bed pads under litter boxes so any accidents are easy to take care of. You can get them in the Depends aisle at the drug store -- or search for "underpads" here at Amazon. Accidents are few and far between with the LitterMaid as the sides are very high. I had one dear sweet princess that would, at times, stand in the box with her back-end over the storage container. Until she passed away we just didn't use a lid. The Littermaid even kept her from peeing on the floor.
I clean the whole box about twice a year. The bottom pan pops off. I spray it with bathroom cleaner -- Scrubbing Bubbles -- let it sit a bit and then rinse it with a garden hose. I vacumm the upper (mechanical) part of the pan and then wipe it off with a bathroom cleaning wipe. (The rake will unscrew from the motorized arm and I could soak it in a bucket of Clorox water - but this is a litter box and I am not that fastidious.) All this takes about 20 minutes. Make sure all the parts are bone dry before reloading with new litter.
Some people have had problems with the automatic mechanism jamming, etc. The trick is to not overfill the litter pan. Keep the level between the two red marks. I used a ruler and a red Sharpie to extended the "FULL" mark all the way across the pan so it was easier to tell where the "DO NOT GO ABOVE THIS LINE" was. Secondly you have to use premimum litter.
I have had best results with "Scoop Away" litter. Scoop Away worked better than Tidy Cat Scoop or Arm and Hammer Scooping litter -- the granules seemed to be a bit larger so clumps did not get dense and stick to the rake. I have never tried the Littermaid litter. I have never tried or needed to use silicon spray or Pam cooking spray.
Even though the Scoop Away litter costs more than a store brand, it last longer with the LitterMaid. Because the waste is scooped automatically 10 minutes after the cat uses the box, the litter stays cleaner. Even with 5 cats, we use 7 pound bucket of litter every 2 months or so.
I don't think the sound is too obnoxious -- much quieter than a washing machine or vaccumm -- about equal to a dishwasher. I have the box in the laundry room next to the kitchen. If I hear it working, I say, "Thank God."
To get your cats to accept it very fast: set it up with litter beside your present box, but leave it unplugged. Manually scoop it for a day or so. Be diligent. Don't scoop the old box at all. Then, plug the Littermaid in, and turn on the switch on to rake, and off when done. Do this for a day or so. Then start leaving the switch on for a few hours and off for a few hours. If the cats go in the Littermaid while the switch is off, go turn it on after they are done and admire their progress. Continue to keep the Littermaid clean all week and leave the old box smelly. The cats naturally prefer a clean box.
I had 18, 19 and 20 year old cats, feral cats, shy cats and nervous cats all learn to use the box in one week with no problems. I laugh -- one cat I have insists on coming back inside to use the Littermaid. He was a neighbors cat and disappeared when he was a year old. He returned a year later and adopted me. He spent a year in the woods, but, by hokies, he is going to use his own special, automatic poopy-scooper box now.
If you have a cat that is terrorized by a dominant cat and you use two litter boxes -- you may want to leave the scaredy cat his "safe zone" box in place. When I first got the Littermaid, the cats used 5 boxes in different locations around the house. At first I left 3 of them in place. They got less and less use, so I decommissioned one after another -- probably over 6-8 months. Now we just have the Littermaid. I have used the same LM900 Mega since March of 2004.
With one cat it may not be worth the financial investment to have an auto poopy-scooper ($100-150 US). It has added an hour to my life every day -- plus added to my cats' health and well-being so it was well worth it for me.
Best of luck to you and your kittens!
72 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2004
Mine was quite entertaining when I first purchased it because it came with a unique, added bonus feature. Every time the rake would get up to the disposal container, it would hang up and then forcefully catapult it's precious cargo across the room. I would be sitting there watching turd showers as they fell like meteors after being flung from inside my closet.
The turd launcher, as I've come to refer to it, is now broken and assaults my home no more. After two purchases of this box over the last few years, I'm once again in the market and looking for a better solution. The most frustrating thing about the Littermaid model is that it's actually a reasonably good design which suffers only from miserable quality control during the manufacturing process. For this much money, it should at least come with a turd shield to help you protect yourself.
58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2005
I have two cats and would never consider going without a Littermaid unless cats were somehow outlawed or child services took them away from me.
I find it interesting that people have such complaints about how the Littermaid is different from a manual litter box. Yes, it definitely is different. If you are a person who lives in fear and does not take well to change, please, keep doing what you are doing, this device is not for you. However, if you embrace change and can handle two things: 1) The Littermaid is not magic, you have to do periodic maintenance and 2) The Littermaid is different than a manual litter box, so there are some new factors to cope with (such as the litter tray), then you might want to give this home automation device a spin.
I have used the device (Mega-model, two cats (7 and 10 lbs)) for two years now. Here are some observations:
* It's great, I would never even consider using a manual litter box
* Dunno what abuse come cats/people dish out, but it has never broken in the two years time
* It is easy to control the smell by purchasing some of those pink urinal blocks from a janitorial supply. Break one up and put a piece in the tray between changes. Any little odor that attempts to sneak out will be caught
* It runs better with less litter than more. Remember, this is a different concept here. The device is raking out the waste. The waste is not intended to be buried. I never fill mine anywhere close to the fill line and tend to keep it closer to empty. It sounds gross, but trust me, the problem with waste sticking to the rake goes away with less litter in the pan
* It does conserve litter since only what sticks to the waste or clumps up is discarded (raked into the tray).
* I don't know what some cats or people are doing to this thing, but I never clean it outside of changing the tray and wiping down the exposed plastic now and again. I don't understand the complaint about "it's a pain to clean"
* The tent is a complete waste of resources. If you want to keep the Littermaid out of sight, build a cabinet to keep it in. There are a variety of vendors who sell these online if you don't feel that handy in a woodshop
* To avoid issues with waste sticking to the rake, use super-premium clumping litter (Petsmart house-brand will do) and keep the litter level low, low, low.
* (Ultimate Hack) Build a cabinet that goes underneath the Littermaid. Cut a hole in the top that matches the dimensions of the litter tray. Cut the buttom out of the litter tray, tape a trash back into it (double-bag is best). Place trash bag inside the cabinet (mine hinges opens on the side). Now the unit rakes into a trash bag instead of into a teeny tray. I empty mine about once every 3 months. Note the trick above about using urinal cakes to cover the smell. I never smell the thing, ever. It sounds gross, but you never see a thing and never smell a thing. The only reason I have to empty it so often is that 3 months of waste weighs about 80 lbs. Much more than and my back will break.
* Enjoy. The logic and design of this device is well though-out and proven by thousands of happy owners. It can also be modified to become almost maintenance free (I fill mine about once a week, change the bag and clean about once every quarter). There are other hacks such as automatic litter refill that I haven't even tried to do, but wouldn't be that hard.
* Thank God we live in an age of such cheap accessible technology
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2005
As a few other reviewers have noted - this is not a "set and forget" device. I'm not even sure that it is less work than a regular litter box.
Being a gadget freak, I thought it might be fun to have a Litter Maid even after reading the 50/50 positive-negative reviews so I got one on sale from an online pet superstore for about $100. Here are a few of my observations after a couple months of use:
1) Read the directions! Many of the negative reviews I read made it seem as though many folks had not done this one simple thing.
2) By spraying a light coating of silicone spray (not cooking spray!) on the litter pan, rake, and rake track after each complete litter change, you avoid the poop flinging, jamming the rake clogging problems you read about. I lightly wipe the spray off so it is a very light coat!
3) Line the waste box with a small plastic bag. The regular size from Wa1mr@+ is a perfect size. This way you'll make those expensive plastic boxes last a long time. I am still on my first one. Then empty it BEFORE it gets full. Every third day seems about right for my kitty's "throughput".
4) Keep the unit clean (don't get the electronics wet!) If you are a person that only wants to do kitty's box once a week, you probably should stick to regular manual litter box. Sweep the rake track out every day with the provided little brush. If you see it's getting dirty, clean it with a damp cloth - I use Clorox bleach-free wet wipes.
5) Get one that is big enough - I have only one (14 lb) male cat, but I still got the Mega box. The regular unit just seemed too short for Brutus.
6) The ten minute cycle is too short for full clumping. I have used Arm and Hammer and Tidy Cat clumping litter and neither is fully clumped when the rake starts its trip across the pan. The semi-hardened clumps fall apart as the rake moves across it and small bits are left in the litter and some can get stuck in the rake. I am going to keep experimenting with different clumping brands to see if there is one "best" product.
MY FIX FOR THE SHORT TIME ISSUE
I beat this problem by hooking the Litter Maid Mega to a timer switch - the kind with 24 pins that you can turn something on or off once per hour (got it at a hardware super store for about $8.00). I have the unit come on six times per day which makes it cycle as soon as it comes on. This keeps the box clean. Then it stays on for that hour. This gives the urine/litter mix time to clump for more than ten minutes (unless the cat gets in the box just after one of the cycles - which happens maybe once a week.
6) There have been a number of reviewers who complain about the noise. It doesn't seem too loud for me - perhaps my 2005 model has a different motor and gear drive arrangement than some of the older ones.
7) If you have a "scardey cat", when you first start using it, leave it turned off when you first set it up. Let the kitty get used to going in it for a few days before you turn it on. My cat loves to watch it cycle and sometimes he bats at the moving rake, but he hasn't attacked it - yet.
All and all - this is a reasonably serviceable unit - it keeps the litter box cleaner than a traditional litter box has to be healthier for my cat than letting the "stuff" pile up for several days and that was my main concern.
However -I wish...
...it were built of sturdier stuff. The plastic seems pretty light weight. I can easily imaging someone who is "rammy", in a hurry, or not mechanically inclined- breaking it.
I am concerned with longevity of the unit after reading the reviews. I am hoping that by keeping it clean and silicone sprayed, it will last more than the year or so that some of the long-time users report.
I wish the timer could be set to say, 30 minutes. This could probably be done pretty easily by someone who knows electronics by chagning the timing chip. I wonder why Litter Maid hasn't done this?
It looks like a new company (Applica) has taken over manufacturing Litter Maid. Before I bought the unit, I tried calling the toll free help line. They answered on the second ring and the lady was very nice. I hope they are as helpful if I ever have a real problem. So far I am fairly happy with the Litter Maid Mega. It's not perfect - but what is these days? ;-)
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2004
Before buying the $99 version here, you might want to check around the Internet. The LATEST version of this product was released in July of 2003. It has new retail packaging with a white cat on the front (instead of Garfield), and there is a "new and improved logo" in the upper left corner. If the seller does not show this box, then they are selling LEFTOVER stock of the older model. That is what is being offered for $99.
Why is this important?
1. N&I model has a stronger motor reducing Warranty issues.
2. N&I model includes new accessories - triple action tool, and 4 odor-reducing carbon filters. Not included in $99 offer.
3. Latest Warranty Information not included (note that the $99 model avoids this issue) - the manufacturer checks a code on the product - you might be out of luck with the $99 model
The $99 price is less than wholesale, but remember that you get what you pay for. For a few dollars more, there are PLENTY of sellers offering TRULY Brand New product, with all accessories and Warranty.
Why take a chance?
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2003
Okay, so it's not perfect. But for that price, can you find someone willing to pick up after every cat in your household, every time it goes to the litterbox? Day after day? I really appreciate the help. It's a robot, really. Sure, it seems a bit pricey at first, but it was well worth the money for me, for us. The cats adjusted to it very quickly. At first they ran to the box and watched it every time it went off, but now they completely ignore it. I find that I need to clean out the receptacle every day, but without it, I'd be cleaning two or three old-fashioned litterboxes every day anyway. And, yes, sometimes the small "pieces" roll into the side rails or stay in the tines, and often times the clumps like pancakes at the bottom have to be manually scraped up, but still, overall it's a great help. We have three cats and one LM mega unit. When they say to fill only to the recommended fill line, they mean it. The poor unit cannot handle any more than that--honestly, that's important. Also, we tried all sorts of clumping litter and the one that is corn-based seems to work the best for us. We've had it for six months now and I'm happy with it.
p.s. It helps to line the collection receptacle with a plastic bag. Don't know who could afford to throw it out each time!