We were sent this automatic litter box to review and I was very curious to see if Gibson would even like the design of this particular "toilet". Read on to see what we thought!
To be honest, a first look at the design of this litter box does not sell me on purchasing this product at all. It's sort of awkward looking and not even close to the classic design of a litter box for a cat. Gibson had been using the enclosed Van Ness Odor Control Extra Giant Enclosed Cat Pan with Odor Door so using this design would be quite different for him. Let's see take a look at what the New Simply Clean® Automatic Litter Box has to offer.
I've paraphrased the website's list of features:
Automatic: Of course, this is the selling point of this product. There are some days that I forget to scoop the poop with a regular litter box and cats really do like a fresh, clean toilet. I mean, don't you?
Reduced Odor: The all in one deal is pretty neat (toilet and waste disposal). The waste collected is covered and intended to help minimize the stink.
Whisper-Quiet: The motor is made to be quiet so as to not disturb you.
Easy to Clean: Because this device does all the work for you, all you have to do is remove and replace the bags in the waste bin.
Weight Distribution: A cat up to 15 pounds may use this product.
Here's our take on the features:
Automatic: Not needing to think about cleaning the litter box is a weird feeling but it's been really nice not to have to think about! If you do have pine pellets, though, I don't believe any automatic litter box will accommodate for that kind of litter as you need a sifting litter box. For this product you will need a clumping litter. Currently we use Arm & Hammer Double Duty Clumping Litter (though, we plan to switch to Naturally Fresh 100% Natural Walnut Shells Quick Clumping Litter after our clay litter is out as it's way better for the health of our cat and the environment). If you click here you can find a great article outlining different types of litter
Reduced Odor: While the covered waste bin helps mask the smell of the pee and pee the unfortunate reality is that we live in a small apartment and cannot place our litter box anywhere away from our living space. When the bin fills up I can faintly smell the waste. To accommodate for this I dump the waste into a sealed bin (you can also use a litter locker). We then added Arm & Hammer Cat Litter Deodorizer in the litter box and waste bin to help make things less stinkier (you can purchase this at PetSmart, Walmart, Canadian Tire, and even Dollerama)!
Whisper-Quiet: I would say that 50% of the time this litter box is quiet but the other 50% it makes this screeching loud noise when it hits a certain spot during the circular bin's rotation (it rotates to self clean and bring the waste up a conveyer belt into the waste bin). This could be caused by a full waste bin or perhaps if the waste bin isn't all the way pushed in.
UPDATE: We have adjusted the waste bin and pushed it in further and the loud noise seems to have stopped since the day I posted this post!
Easy-to-Clean: This has actually been the easiest-to-clean litter box I've ever owned! Simply remove the waste bin and tie up the bag to bring it to the compost, then, add another bag and VOILA. I will say that I would like to see compostable bags that are specially designed for this product as an option for purchase. The grocery bags are really big and bulky and look ugly as it all hangs out. We've been using the Glad 100% Compostable Bags or the bags that our produce goes in from the grocery store which has been working pretty good, but still, I would LOVE the "perfect fit" bag.
Weight Distribution: Gibson is 10 pounds and we've never had a issue with the litter box's functionality due to his weight as it accommodates up to 15 pounds.
The Process: Looking at the photo above, you can see how everything works. The reason the design is circular is so that it can rotate and bring the waste to the bottom of the conveyer belt. The grate-like plastic piece stops the waste so that it can be carried up the conveyer belt and drop it in the waste bin.
The Size: Surprisingly, the design of this product wasn't anything that bothered Gibson. You can check his measurements here to compare his size with your cat's sizing. You can also refer to the photo of him sitting in the litter box at the start of this review (what a poser). He most frequently used this litter box, actually which is why I know that the size wasn't a problem for him.
The Mess: While this product is easy to clean it's quick to distribute the mess outside of the litter box since it's not enclosed - nothing a good litter mat can't fix! For now, I am on the hunt for the PURRfect litter mat (I was thinking about a hard plastic shoe mat, even, or the Gorilla Grip Durable Cat Litter Mat).
The Cost: The litter box itself is $104.99 + HST. It's pretty costly but you're paying for the convenience of not ever needing to manually clean your cat's waste. Underneath the cover there is also a replaceable carbon filter which is $8.99 for a 3 pack and is recommended to be replaced every 4 weeks. You can either do a one time purchase of a 3 pack when you are running low or get a subscription with free shipping & save some money too, which is nice!
The Service: If you encounter any issues you can always call PetSafe's Customer Care line at 1-866-738-4379. I initially had an issue with their older model and called the number for help and our situation was rectified. With this newer model I had an issue with the light on it staying blue (which meant something was wrong). I called the PetSafe customer care number and they helped to troubleshoot the issue (the waste bin wasn't pushed up far enough against the trigger which made the whole machine work).
We've now had this litter box for a few months and for the duration of us reviewing it I wanted Gibson to choose what he most preferred. While I thought he'd hate the awkward design of this product he actually seemed to like it more as he uses it the most! I hardly ever cleaned his Van Ness litter box as both were available. I think what he liked most about this automatic litter box is that it was always clean OPEN rather than ENCLOSED. He likes the freedom of openly being able to "go". Really, the enclosed concept is for us so that we don't smell anything and it doesn't really benefit our feline companions at all. It actually contains the smell in the box which makes it worse for them as their sense of smell is so much stronger than ours!
Furthermore, research will show that "cats prefer this 360-degree view so they can be aware of any approaching threats" (Your Cat: The Owner's Manual: Hundreds of Secrets, Surprises, and Solutions by Dr. Marty Becker).
I would recommend getting this for those who have a separate room since I can still smell the waste a bit due to our smaller space and occasionally hear this loud noise coming from it. I'd also encourage anyone to give two options for their kitties and just see which option they prefer like we did. I can almost bet it'll be the open litter box that they end up preferring!
Thanks so much for taking the time to read. I'd love to hear your thoughts on your experiences with litter boxes you've used! Feel free to message me on Instagram, email me, or drop a comment below (just note that I cannot comment back but always read what you write).