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Cleaning out your cat's box isn't a task that most people look forward to. Besides being an unpleasant addition to your to-do list, cat box cleaning can be a source of a dangerous parasitic infection known as toxoplasmosis, according to the Center for Disease Control.
A self-cleaning litter box minimizes exposure to parasites and other microbes that cause disease. The automatic clean-up happens each time your cat uses its toilet, keeping your home odor-free and pet waste out of sight.
Self-cleaning still requires maintenance
Just because your cat's box is automatically cleaned doesn't mean that you'll never have to pay attention to it. Although some boxes let a single-cat family go for up to a month without having to empty the waste receptacle, you should maintain the box weekly.
This means checking for little bits of waste that were too small to get caught by the rake, and removing any fecal matter or sludge that got stuck on it. The sides of your cat's litter box are also prime places for missed material to gather and contribute to odor.
You won't want to get lazy about changing the automatic cleaning tray or waste receptacle either. Silica crystal litter used in many self-cleaning units locks in odor very effectively—until it becomes oversaturated. At that point, unpleasant smells will quickly become overpowering, according to All About Cats. Set an alarm or make a note to remind you when to change the box so "bad smell days" don't occur.
Easiest on your budget
Purchasing replaceable trays for litter boxes can quickly add up. A 30-day supply of litter can range from $15 for a single cat household to more than $60 a month if you have three or more cats using the box.
The PetSafe Simply Clean Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box uses any clumping litter of your choice. A round litter tray rotates ever-so-slowly to avoid scaring your cat as it rakes and removes waste using a conveyer belt. This means you're just throwing away soiled litter and cat waste, and not changing out the entire pan of litter.
The box is one of the least expensive automatic self-cleaning litter boxes on Amazon. A bonus: Use any plastic grocery bag to line the waste receptacle to make cleanup even easier.
No electricity needed
The Omega Paw NRA15-1 Improved Roll 'n Clean Self Cleaning Litter Box takes a little effort on your part, but still offers a hands-off way of maintaining catbox hygiene. This option is good for those who don't one more appliance plugged into an outlet or don't like the hum of an automatic catbox.
To clean your cat's box, simply roll the box over and an interior grate separates the solid waste and urine clumps into a collection box. Remove the collection box and empty its contents into the trash, and slide it back into place.
Most Reliable and Health-Conscious
As with any automatic mechanism, self-cleaning litter boxes can sometimes fail or become jammed. The PetSafe Scoop Free Litter Box has one of the most dependable ratings. Variations of this product rank and is the No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 top seller on Amazon.
The PetSafe Scoop Free 2nd Generation Litter Box uses silicone crystals that absorb urine and dehydrate solid waste, making it consistently odor-free when changed according to schedule. The crystals don't create any dust, making this option a natural for those wanting to reduce particulates in their home environment.
This litter box also has a counter that keeps track of how many times your cat uses the bathroom, which can be a great monitoring tool for cats with kidney or other issues. It also helps make the most of the disposable litter tray: PetSafe approximates replacing it monthly when used by one cat. However, if your feline urinates more frequently, is much smaller or bigger than the average cat, or has medical issues, it's easy to get familiar with the number of uses when you'll need to change things out.
The basic litter box that's Amazon's No. 1 seller is an open design but you can choose from hooded designs with front entry or top entry to suit your cat's needs for privacy.
Alternative to the replaceable tray
The PetSafe Scoop Free Litter Box uses disposable cardboard trays to eliminate the need to change out litter. Simply lift the top off the litter box, remove the tray, and throw it in the trash.
To keep the monthly replacement cost down, you might wish to order the company's reusable tray. The company includes a bag of its proprietary cat litter with the tray. After the initial tray investment of about $50, you'll reduce costs by ordering dual-packs of PetSafe ScoopFree Premium Crystal Non-Clumping Cat Litter, which halves your monthly cost from buying cardboard trays filled with litter.