Tuesday, May 15, 2018

No More Scooping with PetSafe's ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Litter Box #ad

As you all know by now, I'm a bit of a crazy cat lady. I have three cats of my own, fostered a fourth for a bit, and was part of a feral feeding group when I was living in Scarborough. I love cats. The one thing about cats that I don't love is cleaning their litter boxes. A high quality, scoopable litter is a big help, and I had found an excellent one. But what if you didn't have to scoop at all? How amazing would that be?

I'd heard about self-cleaning litter boxes, but hadn't ever seen one in action, so when PetSafe Canada asked if my cats and I would like to try out their ScoopFree® Original Self-Cleaning Litter Box, of course I said yes. It's tech, a gadget, and for cats, with a promise to make my life easier. Count me in.

The litter "box" itself is more of a frame containing the tech and moving parts, and it sits on top of a disposable cardboard litter tray. I raised a bit of an eyebrow when I first hauled it out of the box, but went ahead and set it up. I placed it near the cats' original litter box, hoping that would help them understand what it was. The system does come with suggestions for helping your cat adjust to the new box and litter, but apparently mine had no trouble understanding this was another spot they could "go." Within the hour, one of them had peed in there, and they've been using it regularly since.

So, the cats like it, and that's good of course. But how does it work? There is a sensor in the frame that can tell when a cat enters the box, and when it leaves. Once the cat goes on its way, a timer begins, giving 20 minutes for the crystals to absorb moisture from whatever kitty left behind. After 20 minutes, an automatic rake system sweeps waste into a covered compartment, then rakes back to level the litter again. There's also a button you can press to manually set the rake in motion, but I haven't needed to do that. I have pressed the button to see the rake in action, and to show my friends. I never seem to catch my cats when they are in there,

The specially-designed crystal litter is said to be five times more effective at reducing smells than clay or clumping litters. I can't speak to the exact relative effectiveness, but I can say that I have found no odour from this litter pan. None. The only evidence of activity in a discolouration of the litter from urine. That's it.

I was going to take some video of the box and its operation, but I didn't really want to photograph or video my cats' business. Instead, I will share with you this video from PetSafe themselves, which gives a great view of the litter box in action, from set-up to disposal.

The Pros

This system is super easy to set up, right out of the box. The litter trays are lightweight, easy to install and dispose. I am really impressed with the odour control. I honestly can't smell anything. The crystals dry out or soak up the urine, and dry out the stool before it is raked into the disposal area, which I guess is a big part of keeping odours under control. The rake is very efficient at removing solid waste; I had to lift the cover to determine if my cats were actually going "number two" in the box. No more scooping!!!! I can't tell you how great that is. When the crystals are getting low, or you can see too much discolouration from urine, just lift the unit, slide out the tray, cover it, tape if you like, and dump the whole thing in the trash.

The Cons

Every municipality is different, so please check local regulations, but, I can say that this crystal litter is not accepted in the City of Toronto's green bin program; in Toronto, crystal litter (and silica-based, and non-organic - crystal is not alone!) goes in the garbage/landfill. Traditional clay or organic clumping or non-clumping litter is accepted for composting in the green bin program. This may or may not be something to consider for your situation. In St. John's, where I now live, all kitty litter goes in the garbage, so it makes no difference for me.

You need to have an electrical outlet near where you want to place the unit, as the unit requires power to operate.

The only real con I have found, though, is the cost. The litter pan itself is pretty serious technology, and so it is an investment. The MSRP is $199.99, although you will likely find it for less. Amazon.ca (affiliate link) lists the pan at $169.89. PetSmart has it online for $187.49, although you can arrange in-store pick-up and save 15% ($159.37). The refills will run you around $20 each. Purchase them in multi-packs for savings. With three cats, it's suggested I will need to change the tray every 7-10 days, so that can add up. I just added a 6-pack of the trays to my Amazon.ca subscribe and save, and I'm getting that for what works out to about $17/tray. That being said, I believe the system is well worth the price, given the work it does, i.e., the work it saves me. It's just a matter of your budget if you decide to go this route or not. Do it if you can!

These guys approve. Three paws up.

Disclosure: I received complimentary product to facilitate this review. No financial compensation was received. All opinions on this blog remain my own (or those of my cats, in this case). This post contains affiliate links.

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