Pets are great. They’re part of the family and can genuinely be a great part of your life. Like everyone else in the family, they need taking care of and this can range from the very simple – feeding them to exercising them, keeping them entertained and inevitably toilet arrangements. Cat’s are fairly simple in this regard. Once you train them into it they are happy to use the loo in the same box and much prefer keeping it clean. They prefer keeping it clean so much that many cats will come and get you to tell you that it needs fixing. In the day time this would seem like a good thing – at 3am not so much.
For cats that can freely go inside and outside or have company the whole time this is okay but what about indoor cats that are on their own for a considerable amount of the time? There have been automatic cat litter trays for years but they’ve always needed plumbing or regular maintenance and the price tag has always been in the multiple hundreds and too much to justify. Petsafe have come up with an alternative that doesn’t need plumbing in and needs an absolute minimum of maintenance. The box consists of two parts. First, you have a large frame that plugs into the wall and has a comb scoop that moves back and forth and a compartment that can open itself and second a disposable tray that is filled with crystals. Put the disposable tray on the floor and plug the frame in and put it on top of the tray. It will attach with magnets and clip together. Pour in and spread out the crystals and switch on.
Once set up the box can be left to its own devices. When a cat climbs in and then out the tray waits 20 minutes then the comb moves very slowly through the crystals, catching any solids and then deposits them in the compartment at the end and then retreats back through the crystals flattening them out.
We’ve two cats both of whom are indoor only and one of whom can’t move very well as she has Cerebellar Hypoplasia. As you’d expect they took a few hours to get used to the new box where their old box had been but once they’d climbed in and used it they judged it acceptable. They were slightly freaked out when they realized it could move on its own but having it around started well.
The disposable trays are designed to go for 20 – 30 days for one cat, 10 – 15 for two and 7 -10 for three but Petsafe are clear that this is a guideline rather than an exact figure and depending on your cats’ age and diet might vary somewhat. In our testing it was rather optimistic – our two cats rejected the tray as being too smelly after 8 days – and that’s with me the cleaning the sides when they weren’t the best aimers.
Included in the box: Litter box and one disposable tray with crystals
Paid Extra: The litter trays are disposable rather than reusable and are available on Amazon for 3 for £54.39. They’re made of cardboard with a plastic insert and we managed to empty and refill with our own crystals once but not a second time.
Retailer: Amazon +:
About Radio Systems operating as PetSafe
Radio Systems is one of the world’s largest pet product manufacturers’ and owns a number of other brands such as PetSafe, SportDOG, Busy Buddy and Frolicat and has around 1000 employees.
The Petsafe litterbox is a fundamentally simple design and this is a bonus as long as you don’t ask too much of it. It might be automatic but if you cats are anything like mine they’ll not hit the crystals perfectly every time and there’s be the occasional time the comb or sides need cleaning or wiping. The comb design also has the unfortunate effect of sometimes cutting up rather than moving solids so a careful scooping every couple of days is needed to pick them out. The litterbox cuts back the amount of time that you need to spend looking after it to a minute or two a day and could safely be left for a couple of days.
The edges of the boxes frame is high enough to keep most of the crystals in but that height does make it a bit harder to get into – kittens need not apply.
- Target age range: Adults, Older adults
- Target gender: Unisex/gender neutral
- Optimized for right-handed use with the manual trigger being at the back right and requiring a stretch to reach.
- Target audience: busy pet owners who want to be sure their cats keep clean but might have unreliable schedules.
- Optimized for indoors use in the dry environment. If put in a humid environment the crystals would absorb the moisture in the air much more quickly and it would stop working – not suitable for bathrooms.
The automatic cat litter box is not a cost-effective choice. The initial purchase of the tray is reasonably priced compared to other automatic cat litter trays but the running costs are high. The disposable tray lasted our two cats just over a week at a cost of just over £20. The equivalent crystals for a normal cat litter tray would be around £5 from the high street and could be a little cheaper with shopping around.
Is is however unfortunate that PetSafe have chosen the razor economic model making the base tray disposable rather than reusable – I’d hope that they’d come out with a reusable base tray in the future – it would be an accessory well worth paying for.
Product dimensions: 19 x 70 x 19 cm
Colour: Grey and brown
Materials: Plastic with cardboard disposable base
Warranty: 30 days unlimited and two years from the day of purchase if you register it.
The litter box doesn’t need plumbing in but does need a plug within about a metre and a half distance. In addition pay attention to the size of the box – it’s significantly bigger than most cat litter boxes and needs a lot of floor space.
After living with the litter box for the last couple of weeks I’m very torn about it. It’s an effective and well-made product and as long as you don’t push it too far it does do what it claims. There are two problems – to be blunt the first is the smell. The crystals do pull most of the water out of the cat’s poo but not all and after a week of storage in the end compartment – which isn’t totally sealed – it smells. If you’re happy to empty the compartment every few days this is far less of a problem but it’s a knock.
The second problem is the cost. The £130 initial purchase price is very reasonable compared to the alternative options on the market but the disposable tray cost is just too high for most people.
In all, I’d recommend it if you’ve got an indoor cat and who is on their own for a large proportion of the time and you’re not too concerned about the cost.
The review is based on the Petsafe Automatic Cat Litter Tray kindly provided by Petsafe
Click to read more about our eco icons and access icons used in this review. This article was first published on 25th May 2016.