Four cats currently in the house and I no longer need to scoop liter! I was so skeptical that we would ever get to this point, but here we are!
It’s been almost two months of transition. If you are interested in my first impression of the CatLink liter box, check out: https://www.petmomma.co/2022/11/09/its-here-pretty-litter-and-the-new-fountain/
With four cats in the house, I’ve been scooping 5 litter boxes. It wasn’t fun. It was time consuming, and I felt like I was spending half my life scooping cat litter.
I wasn’t convinced a robot litter box would solve my problems. Would my picky, old lady cat Logan use it? Would giant Maine Coon, Bean, fit in it? What about little Puck, would he climb in?
My set up had started with litter boxes downstairs near the garage entrance. I had two nice big boxes down there, and having them near the garage made it easy to get rid of the dirty litter. The boy cats sometimes bully Logan (my old lady cat) a bit, and she wasn’t coming downstairs as much as she used to, so I added a litter box to our laundry room on the top floor of the house. Everyone seemed happy, except me. I was sick of scooping litter all the time.
Different types of boxes, different litters, I tried such a variety of things! The only thing I hadn’t tried was an automatic litter box. Robot litter boxes aren’t cheap, and what if it didn’t work? It just seemed like a big investment because I was feeling lazy about cleaning boxes.
Finally I started researching, different types, styles, and brands of automatic litter boxes. Litter Robot seemed like everyone’s go-to box, but they were super expensive, not readily available, and not everyone loved them. I found a similar style by a brand called Catlink. Honestly, the boxes look very much the same to me, except Catlink boxes are much cheaper. I bought the Catlink Luxury Pro on sale for about half the price of a Litter Robot.
As of yesterday, I have two Catlink boxes set up, upstairs and downstairs. The last regular litter box went out in today’s trash. I made sure to give the cats plenty of time to get used to the new boxes. It was definitely a big change for them. The cats have to climb up into it, and they aren’t the most spacious things, but as you can see in the photo, it works, even for Bean, my big Maine Coon.
My first bit of advice would be to be very patient. Don’t force the new box on your cats. Let them make the choice. I sprayed catnip spray on the litter in the new box, and a calming spray around the base. It was about a week before any of the cats dared to use the new box even once.
Cats are curious creatures, and mine were actually super interested when the box rotated to do its cleaning cycle. It’s too bad I never caught a picture of Marty sitting up on his haunches like a meerkat watching the box rotate!
Slowly, the cats started sticking their heads in, then a paw, and eventually they stepped in and dug around in the litter. Catlink recommends keeping the box in manual mode while the cats are getting used to it so that it doesn’t start cleaning and scare them. At first I only cleaned the box when there weren’t any cats around, but then slowly I started triggering it to clean when the cats were around, but at a distance. They quickly became curious.
As the manufacturer suggested, the old box remained near the new one, but I stopped cleaning it as often. Cats are clean creatures, and they learned to use the new box that was always clean instead of the old one that was definitely dirtier.
We saw a sale on Catlink boxes in early December and decided that things were going well enough that we should purchase a 2nd box. We thought we bought the same box, but it is a slightly different model. I’ll go into that later.
After about a month and a half, the old box was barely being used upstairs, and I took it away. They had another Catlink box downstairs along with one regular box. The transition downstairs went much more quickly since the cats were already used to the Catlink box upstairs.
If I had been asked how I liked my Catlink boxes a month after I got it, I probably would have been hesitant. The switch over definitely took a lot of time and patience, but it is so worth it! No more scooping cat litter!
Odor is almost non-existent, yes, it sometimes smells when the cat does what it needs to do, but within five minutes the box cleans itself and the odor is contained in the sealed waste compartment. The Catlink box does use a custom sized trash bag for the waste compartment, but I’ve just been dumping the waste from the bag into a regular trash bag. I should be able to get many uses out of a single bag that way. I haven’t tried using a standard kitchen trash bag in there yet, but I feel like there might be a way to make that work.
Another bonus is that very little litter gets tracked around. When I bought the first box, I didn’t buy the optional step. It seemed expensive at about $89, and I wasn’t sure a step was worth it. I ended up using a plastic container for the cats to step on to have easier access to the box, and then gave in and bought two steps. My advice: Don’t mess around, just buy the step. It really should just be included with the box and not listed as an option. The step makes it so much easier for the cats to get in and out of the box. It makes the whole thing less scary and more accessible for them. It also keeps litter from spreading around. The top of the step has holes that the litter falls through, so it is collected before the cat even touches the ground.
The step doesn’t attach to the box, but it has rubber feet to hold it right up against the box. I haven’t had any trouble with it slipping away. The step also has a little opening on the back that you can pop open to empty out the litter, super easy and convenient.
The Catlink app is worth mentioning, as it is the easiest way to control the box. You can set the amount of time after the cat uses the box that you want it cleaned, manual or automatic mode, and it can trigger a cleaning. As you can see, the app isn’t very detailed.
The main screen when you open the app shows both of my devices:
I mentioned that I had two different boxes. They are very similar, but do have a couple of differences. One is the “Luxury Pro” version and one is the “Standard Pro.” Both connect to Wifi, and both use the same app to trigger cleaning, access the settings, and to view a log of usage.
You can see that the “Upstairs” box shows there is enough litter, and the “downstairs” box just shows the mode it is in. The Standard Pro doesn’t tell you about litter quantity, or even if you get low on litter.
The Pro version has an interior scale so it can help identify which cat used the box by weight. The Downstairs box tells me when a cat has been there and what they weighed, but doesn’t attach a name like the upstairs box did. I had to input data on each cat for the upstairs box: name, breed, gender, birthday, weight, notes. I can also attach a Catlink Collar for more tracking, and include a picture if I wanted to.
It’s nice knowing that the cats are using the boxes, but I’m not sure there is a lot of value in knowing the exact usage by cat.
Here’s an example of Puck’s day:
The app is a little quirky, but it does what it needs to. It’s nice seeing the log and knowing that the box is being used, and there have been times when I have wanted to manually trigger the box and the app has been helpful.
I think having the Wifi available litter box is worth it. It’s nice to be able to control the box with the app and not have to squat next to the box to figure out the settings and trigger a clean. Both of my boxes work fine, and I really don’t have a preference on the Luxury Pro versus the Standard Pro.
- It works well! The box cleans itself after the cat uses it. I really don’t have to do anything other than empty the waste bin once a week, and add some litter every couple of weeks.
- I haven’t had any trouble with the mechanics of either box.
- The app makes it easy to trigger a cleaning.
- The step (optional) helps keep kitty litter well contained.
- Any type of scooping cat litter works. No fancy litters to buy.
- The company offers a one year guarantee on the boxes and offers a return for any reason. If my cats start hating the box for some unknown reason, I have a year to return it.
- The biggest con is the price. These boxes aren’t cheap, but in the long run, I’m convinced it will be worth it.
- The app isn’t great. The user interface takes a bit of getting used to. It’s functional, but not pretty.
- I think the “optional” step should just be included with the unit. It is a big jump up into the box without having the step, and my cats definitely adjusted better once I had the steps.
- I wish the waste bin didn’t require specially sized bags, but so far it hasn’t been an issue dumping the waste into a standard bag and reusing the specialty ones.
The bottom line is that I have four cats in my house and I don’t scoop litter boxes anymore. Litter doesn’t track all over the place, my cats are happy and relaxed, and I’ve removed a big daily chore from my life!