Worth the Wait! – CatLink Litter Box Review

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.

Pros:

  • 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. 

Cons:

  • 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!

 

 

 

 

I bit the bullet!

It’s probably pretty obvious that I’ve been obsessing about cat litter and litter boxes for the last several months. With four cats in the house, I feel like I spend half my life scooping boxes and sweeping up litter.

After doing a lot of research on automatic boxes, Litter Robot often comes up at the top of the reviews, but they are expensive! Another brand that I’ve seen come up near the top of many review lists is the CatLink Pro. I’ve been keeping an eye on it, because it looks and sounds like it is very similar to the Litter Robot, but a bit less pricey. Today they sent me a Halloween offer I couldn’t refuse. I ordered the CatLink Pro!

If it works out, I’ll probably want/need a 2nd one, but even cutting my litter scooping in half would be huge! Of course I’ll be posting a review, or maybe even more than one as the cats and I acclimate to it. Wish me luck!

Super Quick Review – Sift Ease

I’ve been searching local pet stores and of course Amazon lately in my quest for the perfect litter box. During one of my Amazon searches, I came across the SiftEase.

Seems like a really interesting product. You don’t need to use any special litter box, but in theory, it should help save time scooping.

Here’s the idea, a big scooping tray, with a bin underneath so that you just pick up your litter box and pour the litter through the sifter. The sifter catches the clumps (clumping litter obviously required) and you throw them away. The bin underneath catches the clean litter and you can just pour that back in the box.

Here’s the giant sifter. It sits on top of the grey bin shown in the first photo. I have to say that I really like the idea of this product. I’ve tried litter boxes with built in sifting devices and I’ve never had much luck with them.

Unfortunately, this product just didn’t work for me. First of all, dumping a litter box into the strainer/sifter is much harder than it seems. I tried to be careful, but litter spilled onto the floor. While I tried to scrape clumps loose in the pan before I dumped it, there were still clumps in the box after I dumped it into the sifter.

Puck had to check it out

Next problem, the holes in the sifter didn’t let all the litter through. Maybe that’s my fault, and I’m sure there are other types of litter that might work better than the OxoCat litter that I prefer, but I have enough issues with litter boxes right now, and I’m not changing my litter.

So I have a sifter full of dirty cat litter. I tried shaking it, but it only helped a little. I had to get my litter scoop and push the litter around in the sifter until I could get most of the clean litter through the slats and dump the clumps. I ended up wasting a lot of litter between the spills on the floor, and the litter that was thrown out because it didn’t sift well.

Finally removed the sifter from the base and dumped the litter back into the box. Time to sweep up the giant mess  before I was done. All this hassle, and I only cleaned one box. Four more to go? I don’t think so.

Once I finished sweeping, I cleaned out the SiftEase and folded it back up. I put it back in the box, and told Amazon to come pick it up. This is not a product for me. As much as I hate scooping. This product didn’t save me any time or hassle at all.

I’m going to continue my dreams of having a LitterRobot. There have been many times I’ve been tempted to just spend the money and try one out, but I know I would need at least two of them, and I’m not convinced it would work out for my big Maine Coon, or whichever cat likes to use two boxes to take care of business. I have heard they have a 90 day money back guarantee, so maybe I’ll give it a try one of these days. The joys of cat ownership do not include litter boxes!

Love Cats – HATE Litter Boxes

I’m still battling. I love my cats, but the litter box thing is just, UGH!

Fingers crossed, I think things may be settling in again. They seem to go in circles from OK, to we have a problem. It’s never great. We still have four cats here, our three, plus my son’s cat. As usual, lots of experimenting. I’m trying hard not to overdue the experiments and make things worse.

Litter first – I’ve made a lot of litter changes over the years, and I’m currently using OxoCat regular. It’s a wood based litter, and I’m mostly happy with it. It isn’t at all dusty which I really like. It absorbs smells well, and most importantly, the cats like it. The only downside is that it does spread around on the floors, but for now, I’ll deal with that.

I’ve currently got 5 separate boxes going for the four cats. Two upstairs, three downstairs.

Upstairs I have a standard covered box, and then this new Igloo-looking box I just set up last week called the Petmate Booda Dome.

Upstairs set up:

and the two boxes:

It took the cats a couple of days to give the dome a try. I kept seeing them poking their heads in then quickly backing out. It was day three before any of the cats actually used it, but now it is being used regularly.

My biggest problem lately has been cat poop on the floor. I’ve been switching mats, boxes, cleaning products, etc. Since I set up these two boxes upstairs, the problem hasn’t completely stopped, but it is much better. I was driving myself crazy, cleaning boxes every time I went upstairs, now I’m doing boxes once a day and that’s it. The cats need to figure this out. I won’t say I haven’t found any poop on the floor lately, but it’s down to about once every three or four days. I’m hoping as they continue to adjust to the new dome that we can finally eliminate this problem. I think I have a cat that pees in one box then poops in another. If the second box isn’t available, they poop on the floor rather than doing all their business in one box, you know, like a normal cat!

Downstairs, I’ve gone to three boxes. It honestly seems like too much, and I’m hoping to go back to two soon. Just trying out options.

The two open boxes are cement mixing trays from the hardware store. They have become my favorite litter boxes because they are cheap, usually about $8 each, and the inside edges are rounded so they are super easy to clean. With these trays being so inexpensive, I replace them every 4-5 months when they get stinky and I don’t have to worry about scrubbing them. They are also nice and big for my Maine Coon.

The covered box is a fairly new addition. I’m not sure it is necessary, but the cats are using all the boxes, so it works for now. The covered box is definitely the one being used the least. In the next week or so, I may get rid of the covered box and just go back to the two trays for downstairs. We’ll see how it goes!

Did you notice the plastic sheeting around the back? That’s my latest creation for trying to deal with cat urine. No matter what I do, no matter what type of box I use, there is always cat urine somewhere around the boxes. I think my boy cats don’t always hit the box. The plastic sheeting makes it super easy to wipe things up, and keeps the walls and floor from being damaged.

As always, I’m looking for feedback on the LitterRobot. Should I make the plunge? Is it worth the money?

 

Litter Boxes – the Continuing Saga

Does anyone with cats not hate their little box? If so, let me know your secret!

Don’t get me wrong, I love my cats, but I HATE litter boxes. They smell, litter scatters everywhere, it’s dusty, the cats don’t want to use the box, etc. Depending on the day, I have all these complaints and more.

With three indoor cats in the house, litter boxes are always an issue. Most recently, I’ve kept two large boxes downstairs, and a third up in my laundry room. It has worked out pretty well, except that for some reason, the cats were peeing in the upstairs litter box, but pooping just in front of it, and not in it. It drives me absolutely crazy. I’ve tried different boxes, various kinds of litter, even different trays under the litter box. No matter what combination I chose, pee goes in the box, poop goes in front of it.

Yesterday, the clouds parted, the sun shone through, and I realized something! With the two boxes downstairs that are side by side, the cats usually poop in one and pee in the other, not always, but most of the time. Upstairs, they only have one box. Maybe that is why they pee in the box and poop in front of it? Could the fix possibly be that simple? Two litter boxes in my laundry room is definitely not ideal, but it’s better than cleaning up poop from the tray in front of the box all the time.

My garage stash had an extra litter box, so I put it upstairs next to the other box. Imagine my surprise when I checked it this morning and there was poop IN THE LITTER BOX!  Woot! Small victory for me. Also, win for the cats, because now they have two boxes upstairs which is apparently what they wanted. Does anyone else have cats that poop in one box and pee in the other?

I’ve given up on fancy boxes. Downstairs where I have plenty of room, the litter boxes are actually $7 cement mixing trays from the hardware store. They work great! Cheap enough to easily replace them when they get gross. Deep enough to help contain the litter, and the insides are rounded, so they are super easy to scoop. Upstairs I’m just using two plain plastic litter boxes.

My new favorite litter is OKO Cat brand. It’s made from wood, there’s no noticeable dust. With my old clay litter, I realized I would cough when cleaning the box, not good. No coughing with the new litter. The switch was very gradual, I mixed a little of the new litter in with the old and just kept adding more of the new litter until there wasn’t any more clay litter. The cats don’t seem to have any problems with it. I found this litter by accident. Although I’m usually well stocked on pet supplies, I ran out of cat litter a couple of months ago. The local hardware store only had the OKO Cat brand, so that’s what I bought. It’s been great! I did try their long haired cat version, but it was more like a pellet, and while it did track a little less, the pellets were harder to suck up with the vacuum, the cats didn’t like it, and I seemed to go through a lot of litter.

For the moment, there’s peace in my litter box world. I do want to try one of the fancy robotic litter boxes one of these days, but I’m not sure one of them would be all that helpful, and I’m not buying 3-4, $400+ litter boxes. My $7 boxes work just fine!

Anyone have any good tips for litter boxes? Types of boxes or litter that you really like? How about the LitterRobot any thoughts? Like it? Worth the money?