Sunday, September 28, 2008

Automatic Litter box Tutorial

When we got an automatic Litter box I thought it was great. We have 2 cats and two regular boxes in addition to the automatic one, but the cats love a clean box. (who can blame them?!) I love how the lid closes over the catching container and traps all the smells.
But the darn thing was really hard to clean. My male cat who is big and adorable is also not the smartest and would pee all over the entry area instead of in the box. The tiny little container didn't hold that much either. I was ready to pitch the whole thing when I found a fabulous solution. Now you couldn't tear my automatic litter box from my cold, dead hands and our guest bedroom doesn't smell like pee. I suspect the cats like it too, since they use it more than both the other boxes combined. (Please excuse any litter box dirtiness in this tutorial. The box needs to be washed, I know.)

First thing to do is cut the bottom out of one of the plastic container things. It's important to keep the corners intact where the container sits on little plastic bars that jut out from the litter box. If you cut the corners out the container won't stay anchored and will fall out. We learned that the hard way. :)

Then, we made a little pee guard and hot glued it to the trap door that seals the used litter container. We used the flexible plastic cover off a mead notebook. I think it's helpful that the plastic is light so the weight doesn't mess with the action of the trap door. I used hot glue because I wanted it to be removable in case it got really dirty or damaged.

Here's another view:
Then, you need a box to put under the whole litter box. We used an underbed box with wheels. Cut a hole that has the same inside dimensions of the used litter container. I also put some rug anti-slip matting on top so my litter box won't slide around.

Then, place a big sturdy bag into the plastic used litter container thing. We use Target bags because they are really tough and don't rip like cheaper grocery bags. Is there anything Target can't do?! Because we don't make enough trips to target to keep up a supply, I will re-use this bag by dumping it's contents into a cheaper bag. One Target bag for 2 cats can last a week. We do have 2 other litter boxes, but this one gets the most use by far. Make sure you leave a fair bit of the target bag wrapped over the edge of the container.

Finally, settle the plastic container and its bag into the litter box like you normally would and set the whole litter box so that the plastic bag hangs into the hole in the underbed box. The litter will drop considerably farther into the deeper bag and the plastic flap will keep the not-so-bright kitty from peeing on the entry area. But wait- the pee guard has made it difficult for your kitty to get into the box. Easy to fix. I oriented the box to encourage my cat to enter from the other side. However, pressure on the side opposite of the entry gate area caused the litter box to be tippy. Above all, I do not want my cats to be scared of their litter box. So I set a box under the corner of the litter box to make it sturdy. It also acts as a step into the box. This particular box is a board game.
I wrapped the box in an old bath mat as the nap of the mat catches a lot of litter that the cats track out. I can shake the mat into the box to clean it off. Here's a picture of the whole setup with everything in place.

I hope this was helpful! Let me know if you come up with any useful variations, I would love to hear about them.

1 comment:

Evelyne said...

Hi Vanessa,
You lost me somewhere in the middle but I am happy you found a way to make it work. Male cats are a problem in this respect, the urine smells stronger.
I am very pleased with my large igloo litter box because there is no way they can pee outside...and that was my problem before.