The Litter-Robot 3 Connect may be the best $500 you’ll ever spend. It’s a mechanical litter box that has smart technology (weight sensors, WiFi, smartphone connectivity) to improve the overall bathroom experience for both you and your cat.
Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it. I’m just the guy that unboxed it and set the thing up. The end user was my cat River.
Yes, yes, I know she looks adorable, but underneath that cute, cuddly exterior is a very picky (and equally bitchy) princess who will not accept anything but the best. Integrating robots into her life hasn’t been easy. She always prefers the cardboard boxes over the actual stuff inside.
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She especially doesn’t like Cozmo, my real-life butter-passing robot and River’s arch enemy.
Of course, now that Anki is out of business, she will ultimately win this battle, but her war against robotics is hardly over.
So I was a little apprehensive about how she would handle this new mechanical monster. It has a ton of buttons, is higher up than she’s used to, has a different chamber inside, and, thanks to Arizona’s hot desert sun, it was delivered smelling like hot, new plastic.
And boy, does it look intimidating. Unlike her old litter box, this one has a ton of buttons and lights, and as soon as I filled it, plugged it in, and turned it on, it started spinning like a tumbler clothes dryer, albeit much slower.
Here’s a video of the initial install so you can see how it cleans the litter.
And just to be clear about the massive differences between this and her previous litter box, here’s a pic of what we were using before the Litter-Robot came. It’s an analog, manual litter box most cat owners are familiar with, along with what’s actually my third litter scoop (two previous scoops broke).
I try to remember to scoop her litter every day, but it ends up being every other day more often than not. After two-three days, my one-bedroom apartment is at high risk of smelling like cat piss, and I hate when I open the door to someone’s house and can immediately smell that they have pets. Cat owners are especially guilty of this sin, and I refuse to make River poop in unsanitary conditions.
This means not only do I regularly scoop and change her litter, but I also regularly change the air filter on top and even occasionally wash the entire box itself. I also regularly spray my house down with Febreeze and Lysol, burn candles, vape essential oils, and run air filters throughout the apartment. It’s easily the hardest (and most disgusting) part of owning a cat, but I won’t let my house smell.
Litter-Robot (somewhat) changes all that, relieving the biggest obstacle in my relationship with River.
Changing the Cat Lady Dynamic
As Homer Simpson pointed out all the way back in 1998, we never lost a war to felines.
So why is it that we spend all our time cleaning their poop and urine?
Litter-Robot 3 Connect is the latest release from this 20-year-old company, and it shows in the design. It’s spacious inside, yet doesn’t take up as much floor space as the previous litter box, instead adding to the height. The entire unit is approximately 29.5 inches tall by 27 inches long and 24.25 inches wide. Empty, it weighs about 24 pounds, and it’s powered by a 15 volt adapter.
I also use a lot less litter, and less is needed since it’s autonomous cleaning functions are timed to activate not long after the litter is clumped.
Oh, and by the way, you will need clumping litter for this machine to work. If you’re pinching pennies on cat litter, I have a lot to say about inhumane treatment, but I’ll push past the judgment and just say you should really be using the most hygienic litters possible to keep your cat happy and healthy.
And you’ll save money over the long haul, as the Litter-Robot lineup greatly reduces the amount of litter used. The company claims up to 50 percent less litter is used, but it’ll be another year before I’m able to calculate my actual litter savings.
All of the clumps and droppings accumulate in a leak-proof bag in the compartment below. Both the litter chamber and litter itself form a barrier between the smell and the air in your house. There’s also a carbon filter underneath the textured silicone step designed to reduce litter tracking.
River LOVES tossing litter out of her box, so it’ll be a few months before I’m able to fully assess the utility. It seems to be reducing everything so far, and I only vacuumed once this week, as opposed to 2-3 times a week it usually takes to keep the surrounding carpet clean. It could just be because she’s using it a little less.
Changing a cat’s litter box can be stressful, and she’s already recovering from our first move together and my recent month in county jail. In fact, it was that month in jail that inspired me to upgrade all of her stuff to automated replacements in case she’s ever left alone again.
She’s adapting to it well, although she’s very distraught about the whirring of the automatic cleaning cycle that occurs ten or so minutes after she leaves the box.
The app (available for both Android and iOS) is simple to set-up, although it did take me a couple of tries. It wasn’t necessary to connect to WiFi for the unit to function, as the Litter-Robot 3 has already been fully tested on the market. This release is only adding the connected feature.
App functionality is somewhat limited, but I don’t really need too much information beyond monitoring how often she uses it for the vet. On my end, it’s great, and my time spent digging through cat litter has been eliminated, and I get a notification when the tray needs to be emptied.
The only thing I don’t understand about Litter-Robot 3 Connect is the night light. A timed blue light came on that made it look like a really cool Star Trek or Men in Black invention but intimidated the hell out of River.
It almost resembles a giant Cozmo (River’s nemesis).
Perhaps the Litter-Robot is River’s version of a liberal’s Trump toilet.
Either way, I disabled the light by holding the power button down for 5 seconds until it turned off (something easily found in the instruction book). There was no need to get her more riled up than she needed to be. Even with some of her old litter mixed in and her being the most well potty trained cat in the world, she’s still likely to poop on my pillow just to be catty.
The Litter-Robot 3 Connect is a huge step up from River’s old litter box, both literally and figuratively. It removes the biggest barrier to a happy relationship between us, so now we can just focus on the little things, like her constantly planning to kill me.