LitterMaid is a self-cleaning litter box that takes care of scooping for you, facilitates waste disposal, and boasts excellent odor control. It is particularly designed for multi-cat households and its large basin can easily accommodate cats weighing more than 15 pounds.
With a long tradition spanning over a decade, LitterMaid is one of the most popular and trusted brands in the litter box market. It is highly praised by the majority of its users, but there are a couple of issues that you should be aware of before you invest in this automated litter box. Keep reading this LitterMaid review to discover all of its positive and negative aspects.
How LitterMaid Works
Unlike many other self-cleaning litter boxes that employ advanced technologies and may be hard to figure out, LitterMaid is a rather simple solution that is easy to understand and use. Essentially, what it does is rake the litter, collecting the waste clumps and dumping them into a waste receptacle. That is the basic concept of LitterMaid. Now, let us expand a bit on the device’s method of operation.
When your cat uses the litter box, the sensors on both sides of the box detect your cat’s presence. Your cat needs to be inside the litter box for at least 10 seconds. After he or she leaves the litter box, there is a 10-minute delay before the cleaning process takes place to allow the clumps to form properly.
Once the 10-minute wait period is over, the rake starts moving from one side of the litter box to the other, leaving the clean litter behind and scooping the waste clumps. Once it reaches the end, it opens the cover on the waste receptacle compartment and dumps the waste into the receptacle. The rake then moves back to its original position, closing the waste receptacle cover and smoothing out the litter bed on its way back. Thus, the cleaning cycle is completed and the litter box is ready to be used again.
Getting Started With LitterMaid
LitterMaid comes fully assembled and you only need to install the waste receptacle and attach the paw cleaning ramp. Both processes only take a minute. The waste receptacle should be inserted into the space behind the compartment cover, making sure its front edge is under the 5 tabs located on the front edge of the litter tray. The paw cleaning ramp features 2 notches that should snap into the attachment posts in front of the waste receptacle compartment cover.
Once you have installed the 2 accessories, you should fill the basin with litter. The litter level needs to be just right to allow for optimal functioning and it is more of a trial-and-error situation than a straightforward process. In general, the litter level should be somewhere between the minimum and maximum fill lines – but not too close to the maximum because it may result in spillage.
With the basin filled with litter, all that is left for you to do is activate the device. LitterMaid is outlet powered and comes with an AC adapter. However, it can also use batteries (8 AA cell batteries, not included). Once you plug it in or insert the batteries, you should just push the ON/OFF button to turn it on and the device will start its first cleaning cycle.
If you want LitterMaid to clean automatically, you should keep it turned on. Otherwise, it can stay off until you decide to start it manually.
LitterMaid Cleaning & Maintenance
While it does most of the work on its own, LitterMaid still requires assistance on your part in the form of regular cleaning and maintenance. Fortunately, there is not much you need to do on a daily basis, apart from monitoring the litter level and replenishing as needed.
Every week, you should remove and replace the waste receptacle, which is as simple as taking out the trash. The top housing, motion sensors, and the paw cleaning ramp could benefit from weekly cleaning. On a monthly basis, you should clean the litter box more thoroughly, wiping the tray and replacing the litter.
LitterMaid Tricks & Hacks
As suggested at the beginning of this LitterMaid review, this self-cleaning litter box works well, but if you want it to work perfectly and avoid spending too much money on accessories, there are a couple of issues that you need to address.
First, it is important to know that the rake does not reach all the way to the bottom of the tray, so there may be some leftover liquid waste at the bottom left after the cleaning cycle. What you can do about it is apply liquid repellent on the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking. This will minimize the amount of leftover waste and facilitate cleaning.
Second, the waste receptacles are described as disposable, but they do not have to be. You can use a liner or a regular trash bag to line the receptacles. That way, when it is time for weekly waste disposal, you can just remove the bag with the waste and reuse the receptacle, so you do not have to buy a new one every time.
Finally, the litter box design has one major flaw. There is a gap between the unit and the waste receptacle that allows litter to get spilled on the floor during the cleaning cycle. This can be rather annoying. Thus, we advise you to get a piece of tape and seal this gap and thus prevent undesired spillage.
LitterMaid Design & Dimensions
LitterMaid is a cuboid-shaped litter box featuring a white-and-blue color scheme. It is mostly made of plastic, which is sturdy enough to withstand daily use but can get damaged over time. It comes with an accessory pack that includes 4 waste receptacles, 4 carbon filters, 1 scoop and rake cleaner, and 1 paw cleaning ramp.
The good sides of LitterMaid’s design include easy entrance and reduced tracking with the paw cleaning ramp, large dimensions of the basin, high sides that suit the needs of side pee-ers, and closed waste receptacles with carbon filters that prevent odors from spreading. The bad sides include shallow cleaning basin, short plastic rake tines, and the abovementioned gap between the unit and the waste receptacle.
The device is designed to fit in any part of your home, including corners. You should just keep it away from excess moisture and direct sunlight and close to a power outlet – unless you are using batteries.
Designed to provide enough room and comfort to both small and large cats, LitterMaid measures:
- 28 inches in length;
- 17.7 inches in width;
- 9.8 inches in height;
- 590 cubic inches in usable cat space (17.5 inches x 13.5 inches x 2.5 inches).
While not without flaws, LitterMaid has multiple advantages that make it a convenient, scoop-free solution that can save you quite a lot of time on litter box cleaning. Here are the top qualities of this user-friendly self-cleaning litter box.
If you follow our advice and coat the litter pan with liquid repellent, there is no need to ever manually remove waste from LitterMaid. The rake does all the work on its own, leaving a clean and dry litter bed for your cat to use after every cleaning cycle.
Easy & Infrequent Waste Disposal
Whether you choose to use a liner or not, removing waste is as simple as throwing a bag or a waste receptacle into the trash can. It is hygienic, it only takes a minute, and whether you have 2 or 3 smaller cats or 1 large cat, you only need to dispose of the waste once a week.
One of the main user concerns regarding self-cleaning litter boxes is what happens if the cat interrupts the cleaning cycle. With LitterMaid, there is no need to worry since the rake features a safety bar that forces it to stop and reverse its movement if it touches an object. In such a situation, the timer resets and gives your cat 10 minutes to leave the box before restarting the cycle. Even if your cat does not leave after the delay period ends, the safety bar will keep your pal safe again and the cleaning cycle will only be completed once your cat leaves the box.
Good Odor Control
As we mentioned before in this LitterMaid review, the waste receptacle compartment features a cover and the waste receptacle features a carbon filter. Combined, the cover and the filter keep the unpleasant smell inside the receptacle.
The paw cleaning ramp allows for easier entrance but also helps with tracking control. While it is possible that a bit of litter may remain on your cat’s paws, the ramp does pick up most of it and thus effectively reduces tracking.
Great Ease Of Use
Using LitterMaid is as simple as turning it on and off, removing waste every week, and cleaning it occasionally. In comparison to other, more advanced automatic litter boxes, it is much more user-friendly, as you do not have to learn how to use a bunch of buttons and controls. Due to its simplicity, it is less prone to malfunctions as well.
Is LitterMaid Right For My Cat(s)?
LitterMaid is best suited for healthy, agile cats that are not easily bothered by noise. It is suitable for cats of virtually all sizes, as long as they are not larger than the basin. In terms of number, it functions optimally if it is used by 2-3 small-to-medium-sized cats or one large cat weighing 15 pounds or more.
LitterMaid should not be used by kittens under 6 months of age since they should not come in contact with clumping litter. Furthermore, handicapped cats and older cats may experience some issues entering and leaving the litter box. Even though the cleaning cycle is short, timid cats may not be comfortable with the noise. We would also like to note that LitterMaid may not be the best choice for cats that suffer from diabetes.
Is LitterMaid Safe For My Cat(s)?
LitterMaid is designed with cat safety in mind. There are no electronic elements that your cat can come in contact with, apart from the AC adapter and the cord, which can be removed if you are using batteries.
The litter box is made of non-toxic, pet-safe materials and it features no sharp edges, bare wires or similar hazards. Thanks to the safety bar on the rake, your cat can never be harmed during the cleaning process. In other words, LitterMaid is completely safe to use and cannot endanger the health of your cat in any way.
LitterMaid Training Tips
Most cats get used to LitterMaid within a day, especially if they have used a self-cleaning litter box before. Since this litter box’s design is quite ordinary, the only potential acclimation issues are related to the cleaning cycle and the fear of novelty.
To help your cat get accustomed to the new litter box, be sure to place LitterMaid next to the old litter box. The old one should no longer be cleaned, so your cat could naturally switch to the clean new toilet.
If your cat shows no interest in LitterMaid during the first day, you can spray some catnip on the entrance or place your cat’s favorite toy on top of the litter. Pouring a handful of used clumping litter can also help. If your cat likes privacy, you can use a regular cardboard box as an improvised hood.
During the first 2-3 days, you should start the cleaning cycles manually while your cat is away and keep the device off in the meantime. Once you cat starts using LitterMaid regularly, you can start the cleaning cycle in his or her presence in order to help your pal get used to the movement of the rake and the noise. If everything goes well, you can switch to automatic cycles, with the device turned on at all times. If not, you should keep starting the cycles manually with your cat in the room, providing support and reassurance until he or she no longer exhibits any signs of fear or anxiety.
Cost & Returns
LitterMaid costs $105.13, which is a pretty low price for a self-cleaning litter box. Plus, it comes with free shipping throughout the US, so there are no extra costs to worry about. Since the device is sold via Amazon, it is covered by Amazon’s 30-day money-back guarantee. Just keep in mind that you need to return the litter box in the original condition and packaging in order to receive a full refund.
LitterMaid also comes with a 1-year limited warranty that covers defects in materials and workmanship.
Does LitterMaid Live Up To Expectations?
User experiences with LitterMaid greatly vary. While some users report experiencing no major issues after 5 years of use, others complain about jammed or broken rakes and ineffective scooping. Although infrequent, there are occasional complaints about motor malfunctions after 1 or 2 years of use.
What most users like about LitterMaid is that it eliminates the need for scooping, does well in the odor control department, works reliably, and only requires the user to empty the waste receptacle once a week. Furthermore, they like that it is easier to use than most self-cleaning litter boxes and state that the adjustment period is short and sometimes non-existent, with the exception of cats highly sensitive to noise.
It seems that user experience and satisfaction highly depend on whether the user is acquainted with the issues we mentioned in the previous sections of this LitterMaid review. In other words, users who make use of the tricks and hacks we suggested are happy with LitterMaid and rarely experience any issues while those who are unfamiliar with LitterMaid’s quirks can be unpleasantly surprised by litter spillages, waste sticking to the bottom of the pan, and other similar problems.
- Easy to use
- Fully automated scooping
- Easy weekly waste disposal
- Minimized odors
- Reduced tracking
- Suitable for multiple cats
- Reasonable price
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- 1-year warranty
- The rake can get jammed
- Shallow basin
- Requires tweaking
- Somewhat noisy