Unboxing the Litter-Robot
Audio Transcript of Video
It might be hard for you to believe that someone like myself could be this excited for a cat litter box. But, I have to admit, the day our litter robot was scheduled for delivery, I was looking out the window every few minutes and listening for that big white truck.
And if you’re one of those still having a tough time believing me, let me just show you what I was also doing that same morning.
Two kittens. Two cute kittens, go to their little potty… a…. lot!
They eat, they play, they eat, they sleep and they potty. And they eat. And they potty!
And sometimes, it seems like they are mostly pottying. Lotta scooping. Lotta scooping.After doing tons of research, online and off, trying to decide which litter box option would be a better solution for us, my wife and I placed an order for a beige Litter-Robot Model II with the bubble on Friday, October the 3rd.
According to an online support comment by an employee of Automated Pet Care Products, “[our] Litter-Robots are shipped from zip code 53039 and we ship 3 to 4 business days after the order is placed.”
Even though it had to travel a little over 2,000 miles, online Fed-Ex tracking data showed our litter robot was scheduled to be out for delivery on just the 5th business day from from the day we placed the order.… And then …
The delivery person and truck pulled away while I was finishing setting up my camera. So, apparently there wasn’t a need for me to sign for it. When I opened the door, there it was, a massive box, just chillin’ in our bamboo! I can only assume the driver was being thoughtful, and instead of setting it wide open on our front porch, he/she meant to hid it from deceitful passer-byers!
And look who was curious about what Daddy was up to outside!? Little Winnie!Yes, it is a big box, but it’s very manageable. For it’s size, it’s not even that heavy. You can see our little ones were already curious about this new thing in their house.You definitely want to open it from the top. The first thing you will find is a small white box with the AC power supply inside. Underneath some cardboard filler, you will then find five documents I’ll talk about in a minute. And then right below it, you will see the globe and the opening to it looking right up at you!
Just pull it straight out, and set it somewhere nearby where it won’t roll too far away. (Laughing)
Then you will find the base unit can easily be pulled out next. Is that really it!? Yup that’s it. It’s quite surprising that something that easily could have been shipped in many parts, is already almost completely assembled for you.So now back to those documents. First, not in any specific order is Lip Extender instructions. This must be for older units that aren’t like ours that already came with a lip extender installed.
Next is a yellow sheet with instructions on how to return the Litter Robot anytime within the first 90 days. There is no charge to return it, other than the expenses you are out paying for the return shipping.
I was especially happy to see on the back, they’ve also drawn out detailed visual instructions how to re-pack the box once you’ve pulled out and mixed up all the various cardboard insert pieces that hold the two main pieces still during shipping.There’s a now available sales page of items you can purchase — or most likely repurchase — such as additional carbon filters.There’s also a double-sided sheet with a 3-step “Quick Start Guide” printed on one side, obviously intended for the people that would never even consider cracking open the next item. And then lastly, there is a complete 38 short-paged instruction manual.If you pull out the waste drawer, you can see one of the 10 gallon bio-trash bags you get already installed. And then underneath the bag, you will find a couple additional ones nicely folded up for later use.So after glancing through the Quick Start Guide, it didn’t appear that there was anything I needed to do before putting the two pieces together.
Which is good, because I was excited to see how it looked when the globe was on top.
It’s not as simple as just placing the globe down in the middle, and letting the weight of it secure it into position. But, after you’ve done it a couple times, the extra attention needed to place it in correctly actually isn’t that difficult.There are 2 things you are trying to line up. First is that the indented tracks that line the outer edge of most of the diameter of the globe, are seated inside the groove where the gears of the motor are.
The first time or two that you put the globe on, you will just have to move it around gently back and forth until you get the hang of how it feels once the tracks fall into place.
And secondly, you want to do your best to place the globe into position with the “Cat Entry/Exit” hole as vertically as straight as possible, so you don’t have to lift and readjust it much further.After my first attempt at this, it seemed slightly askew, so I stood up and tried to adjust it a little bit more from that better angle.
There is is — a completely built Litter Robot II!
I still almost can’t believe it was shipped to me in only a couple pieces.It was obvious to me I didn’t completely understand how the Litter-Robot works before I ordered it, because I was really enjoying looking all over the device at the craftsmanship, the materials, and how the various mechanisms play a part in how it all operates.
Some people have commented in reviews I’ve read online that the unit is too big. I can’t imagine it being any smaller — I mean our cats need to be fairly comfortable when they are doing their business as we are right? I don’t ever think any human has ever said, “You know what? That bathroom is just too big!”Alright, in the next video, I’ll show you what it’s like adding the litter, and then turning it on for the first time. So see you in the next one!
PART 1 — Deciding to Buy One through Unboxing It
The Litter-Robot is more than just a litter box. It’s even more than just an automated litter box.
There’s a computerized brain inside that’s constantly checking to see whether your cat has gone inside. Around 7 minutes after it’s sensed your cat has left, the Litter-Robot goes into full action.
With all three models available, the top globe area begins to rotate, and a grate along one of the inner sides sifts the used litter and extracts only the waste that’s now had time to clump. At the end of the forward rotation cycle, a hole below is now exposed and the waste is forced to fall below into the sealed drawer.
Then, the globe begins rotating back the other direction, and the clean litter slides out from the temporary holding “pocket” and returns into the bottom of the litter chamber for your cat’s next visit.
The drawer is lined with a disposable trash bag of your choice. When the bag gets full, it’s your job to give the Litter-Robot a human hand and open the drawer, pull out the bag and then refit the drawer with a new bag.
That’s really all there is to it — you’re basically done! Your kitty or kitties get a fresh clean litter box to go in every single time, and you don’t have to scoop litter — like ever again!
Well, at least, that’s what they promise. So, my wife and I decided to give a Litter-Robot a try.
Our Kitty Situation
My wife and I adopted the cutest 3-month old “Bengal” kittens — both sisters — and named them “Lyla” & “Winnie.” On the way back to our house, we realized we were so excited to show them their new home, it hadn’t even occurred to us we didn’t have any food or even a litter box waiting for them!
So we stopped at Petco to buy the exact food their rescuer had been feeding them (to ease their transition), and to find a cheap litter box that would get them by for awhile.
We went with the Nature’s Miracle environmentally safe 2-pack of disposable litter boxes — a great temporary solution while we were trying to make up our minds on the litter box we really wanted to buy.
With our previous cat “Jade”, at one point we had “upgraded” from a simple and typical manual scooping litter box to one of the LitterMaid Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes out at the time. For the money, it actually worked out fairly well. But, for several reasons, mostly due to the way it’s designed, I told myself we would never get another automated box that used the “raking” method. But, we were certainly open to try out another automated one if it was based on a different mechanical design.
For 3 weeks, I did an insane amount of online research on all of the litter boxes that were now available. I mean, I got deep into each one and was studying not only why they were receiving positive reviews, but more importantly why they were receiving some negative comments as well.
Favorite Litter Box Options We Narrowed It Down To
Our disposable litter boxes were becoming kind of disgusting by the end of that three-week mark, so we knew we had to come to a decision. We finally narrowed down all of the choices out there to basically these 4 options:
Basic Manual-Scooping Litter Box
Any one of the many simple litter boxes available, with or without a hood, that would require manually scooping waste with a separate scoop.
$9.99 – $49.99 (list prices)
Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Litter Pan (pictured as an example)
$45.99 (list price)
Omega Paw Self-Cleaning Litter Box
Manually roll the litter box to the right until the top touches the floor then roll it back to the upright position. Inside, a unique screen separates the clean litter from the clumped waste – putting all the waste into the scoop. Pull out the scoop and dispose the waste.
$49.99 (list price)
CatGenie Self Washing Self Flushing Cat Box
Automatically scoops, liquefies, and flushes cat waste out of home. Uses water and SaniSolution to wash and sanitize Cat Bowl and Granules. CatGenie dries interior and Granules for your cat’s comfort. One-time, simple setup to cold water, a drain or toilet, and electric.
$269.99 (starting list price)
Litter-Robot Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box
Automatic self-cleaning litter box. Its sifting system automatically separates waste from clean litter, so you never have to scoop litter again!
$349.99 (starting list price)
Is the Litter-Robot Even Worth the Money?
My wife and I didn’t take buying a $350+ litter box lightly.
The Litter-Robot is an interesting machine, that for me, kind of fell outside of that rational pricing for how much my brain thinks a “cat litter box” should cost. I think for us, once the $150 line was crossed, we started to wonder if this was just too extravagant of a purchase, and was potentially falling more in to the “want” and not “need” category.
And I think that’s fair, I mean come on, it not only looks cool, but hearing about how it works just sounds cool — who wouldn’t want one?
The Mental Struggle
First the practical side of your brain kicks in with questions like these:
What if this thing is built so technologically complicated inside that it malfunctions often? Will I be spending more time fixing this thing than I am enjoying not even having to touch it at all? Oh, but wait — what if our kittens won’t even use it? Is that even possible?
Sure, there’s a 90-day return policy, but it’s going to cost us a fortune just to send this thing back if the movement and sound scares them and they won’t even go near it!Then the emotional side of your brain engages — often at night, when you lie there and can’t sleep. It tries to argue with you why you shouldn’t even be allowed to own one.
Do I really think I’m too good to manually scoop cat litter like almost everyone else has done since this beginning of domestic cats? Do I not love my two kittens enough to even share some one-on-one time every day with their litter box? What kind of Dad am I to them then?
Oh and what will our parents think of us if they see this “crazy contraption” (I imagine that’s how they would identify it in person) and believe we’ve spent more this year on a litter box than we did investing for our retirement!
Those Online Reviews
But, then you realistically also have to weigh in what those who already own a Litter-Robot are telling us — practically yelling at us.
Sure, there are a fair amount of reviews from those who discovered the Litter-Robot wasn’t for them and either returned it or are now stuck with it. But, it seemed nearly impossible to ignore the exclamations from the countless positive reviews I was having no problems finding all over the internet.
I had to wonder, were these really people in their right state of mind, who had found something so good that our lives would truly miss out if we didn’t at least try it?
Or were they just over-sensationalizing their big ticket item purchase to help convince themselves they made the right decision parting with so much money for just an average product?
What Convinced Us to Buy a Litter-Robot
- Always Clean — We loved knowing our two girls would have a clean litter box to walk into every time.
- Reviews — The vast amount of glowing reviews from those now $350 or more poorer.
- Design — The waste “evacuation method” uses gravity instead of mechanical “raking” like many other automated litter devices.
- Extended Warranty — The company is willing to offer anyone an extended warranty for an additional $49 that will guarantee it will function properly for 18-months beyond the 18-months in the (free) manufacturer warranty (3 years total).
Time Allocation Spent Deciding Which Litter Box to Buy
- BUY A LITTER-ROBOT OR ANOTHER DEVICE 25%
- CONVINCING OURSELVES WE DESERVED TO SPEND THIS MUCH ON A LITTER BOX 60%
- WHICH LITTER-ROBOT MODEL TO BUY 15%
Choosing Which Litter-Robot Model to Buy
Now that we knew we were going to invest in a Litter-Robot, all that was left was to decide which model to buy.
When we were ready to buy one, the model III “Open Air” wasn’t for sale yet. So, the only decision we really had to make was should we get the model II with or without the bubble in the back, and then choosing which color we wanted.
The latest “Open Air” model will probably add to the confusion for you of which you should now get. So, let’s go through each model briefly and discuss the key differences.
Model II’s vs. Model III “Open Air”
Even though initially it appears there is a drastic difference between both the Model II’s and the newer Model III “Open Air”, upon deeper investigation, the differences are less about how it looks and more about requested “options” customers have asked for over time.
If you have the money, you can’t go wrong with the Model III “Open Air.” Other than a choice of colors, it has everything — all the “bells and whistles.”
But, if your cat isn’t extremely large (obese) or long, or known to be claustrophobic, and saving $50 – $100 could be important in deciding whether to purchase one or not, then either of the Model II’s might be worth considering.
Model II “Classic”
The Model II “Classic” came out and owners of small and medium-sized cats probably rejoiced. But, those with large cats must have contacted Automated Pets and let them know their cats found the inside of the dome to be too small.
Model II “Bubble”
So, they released a second model called the Model II “Bubble” that is exactly the same as the “Classic” except it includes a 3″ deep clear plastic bubble (window) in the back that not only adds a bit more room for larger cats inside, but also does a nice job of bringing in some additional light. Other than this protruding bubble, both model II’s are identical in features and size.
Model III “Open Air”
The latest Model III “Open Air”, I believe, is the direct result of customers making a wish list of how the Model II’s could be improved upon even further.
They took the model II’s globe and made it slightly bigger. Then they opened up the entry opening quite a bit, and set it at a forward upward facing angle instead of straight on. Now extra-large, the largest and longest of cats, can mostly likely use this Litter-Robot without having to stick one end out the front!
Additionally, they added a few extras that certainly aren’t necessary, but are fun and enough to delight a portion of their customers to justify the extra $50 for the “Open Air” model.
|Drawer full indication (light)|
|Adjustable cycle timer|
|Sleep mode & lock out feature|
|Automatic night light|
Want More Help Deciding Which Litter-Robot is Best For You?
Check out our detailed comparison chart
Will It Fit In the Space You Have In Mind?
As attractive as all of the Litter-Robot models are, you still may not want this sitting in your living room next to the couch, even though your kitty just might!
So, making sure this device will fit in the corner, closet or tucked-away place you have in mind—with a little bit of room for the globe to easily rotate obstruction free—is vital before placing your order.
Litter-Robot II – Classic
Waste Drawer — 16″ long x 11″ Wide x 6″ Deep
Oval Entryway — 9″ High x 6.5″ Wide
Litter Bed — 14″ Wide at maximum
Internal (globe) — 13″-15″ High (depending on litter level) x 20″ Wide x 15″ Deep
Litter-Robot II – Bubble
Waste Drawer — 16″ long x 11″ Wide x 6″ Deep
Oval Entryway — 9″ High x 6.5″ Wide
Litter Bed — 14″ Wide at maximum
Internal (globe) — 13″-17″ High (depending on litter level) x 20″ Wide x 18″ Deep
Litter-Robot III – Open Air
Waste Drawer — 16″ long x 12.5″ Wide x 5″ Deep
Entryway — 16″ High x 10.25″ Wide
Litter Bed — 14″ Wide at maximum
Internal (globe) — 15″-17″ High (depending on litter level) x 20″ Wide x 20″ Deep
Weight — 24 lbs.
Shipped Box — 32”H x 23”W x 23”D, 28lbs.
Items In the Shipping Box
-  — Litter Robot II Unit (2 Fully Assembled Pieces)
-  — Lip Extender (Comes Assembled to Globe)
-  — Carbon Filter
-  — Waste Drawer Liners
-  — 12 Volt DC Power Supply
-  — Manual
-  — Return and Repack Instructions