I Finally Made the Switch to the Automated Litter-Robot 4, and I'll Never Go Back
Wondering if the highly rated, self-cleaning Litter-Robot 4 by Whisker could be right for your home? Here's the scoop.
Scratching, biting, shedding, puking. Living with a cat is no easy feat. But for me, the worst part of feline ownership is the litter box. Hands down, nothing else compares. Since taking in my cat, Stitch, over seven years ago, I have been constantly paranoid about the way my house smells. I’ve scooped regularly, which is in and of itself a huge pain. I’ve tried scented litters (neither my cat nor I liked this option). I’ve added baking soda to the pan and even replaced the pan itself monthly in an effort to keep the unpleasant smell and bacteria at bay. But no matter how hard I worked at it, I could always smell the litter box to some extent. It got to the point that I didn’t even want to have friends over after work unless I’d had a chance to clean the litter box, just in case I’d been left a stinky surprise while I was out. The constant work and stress of it were just too much.
When I was finally fed up, I started thinking that an automated litter box would be worth the additional cost. After all, I was buying plastic pans and fresh litter far too often in my attempt to keep my house smelling fresh, and if an automated litter box meant less work, less plastic and litter waste and could help me eventually recoup those costs, maybe it was worth it. But once I started looking, I realized most automated litter boxes start with the cost of the machine but don’t stop there. You must also commit to buying their pricey litter and special bags and tools just to use the box, and that extra expense and commitment felt like a trap I didn’t want to fall into.
So, when I stumbled on the Litter-Robot 4, which allows you to use whichever clumping litter you prefer, I was intrigued. Being able to continue to use any clumping litter was a major pro as it meant I could continue using the unscented litter I preferred and already knew my cat liked — no expensive specialty litter or subscription needed. Ultimately, that feature won me over, but after using the robot for several months, there are so many more reasons I’ve come to love this machine.
Acclimating Your Cat to the Litter-Robot 4
Stitch is the definition of a scaredy cat. Any time I bring anything new into the house, he loses his mind. So, it was no surprise that he completely froze when he saw his new high-tech litter box in the laundry room. And I mean froze. Back arched, eyes wild, not moving an inch. Thankfully, I anticipated this reaction and consulted the Litter-Robot 4 instruction manual which recommends not turning on the machine until your cat has time to acclimate. Based on reviews, this isn’t necessary for all cats, but for an extremely timid cat like mine, a slow move to the Litter-Robot 4 is key.
The manual also suggests adding a scoop of your cat’s used litter to the robot to help them recognize it as their new litter box. I spent several weeks helping Stitch adjust to the robot. I left his old litter box in the same room for a couple of weeks. I set treats on the step of the Litter-Robot and praised him when he ate them. Admittedly, I tried to move his old litter box out after a few days, but I quickly learned he wasn’t ready for that. After a couple of weeks, I tried again, giving him only one litter box option, and thankfully, he went for it. Once he finally started using the robot, I continued to give treats and praise. I still left it turned off for a couple more weeks, only running it when he was nowhere in sight. And while the introductory period was lengthy, the Litter-Robot 4 is now up and running just like it’s supposed to, and I couldn’t be happier with it.
How the Litter-Robot 4 Works
So how does the Litter-Robot 4 actually work? Thankfully, it’s pretty simple. To get started, all you really have to do is plug it in, add litter to the fill line and turn it on. The machine can sense when your cat is in it and when it exits. It then waits a few minutes for the litter to properly clump and begins a clean cycle. During the clean cycle, the globe rotates, sifting the clumps from the rest of the litter and depositing them in the tightly sealed waste drawer below. The globe then rotates back to its original position, and the clean litter falls back into place as it does. A constantly clean litter bed is excellent for reducing smell, but it also makes the Litter-Robot 4 the perfect option for households with multiple cats as each cat will always have a clean litter box for every use.
Using the Whisker App
Even before setting the app up, I was a huge fan of the Litter-Robot 4. In fact, I didn’t see how the app could do much more for me, but I was way off. With the addition of the app, you can easily stay up to date on when the machine is cycling, how much your cat or cats weigh, when the litter is getting low and when it’s time to empty the waste drawer. Being able to keep tabs on the waste drawer without having to constantly check it is a huge perk, especially because the Litter-Robot 4 works so well to reduce smell, you can no longer rely on your nose to let you know when it's time to remove the waste — and that’s saying a lot! The drawer itself slides right out and uses either the Litter-Robot drawer liners or regular trash bags to collect the waste, making disposal incredibly easy.
How to Clean the Litter-Robot 4
How often you have to empty the waste drawer is dependent on how many cats are using the machine and how frequently they use it, but for my one cat, emptying the waste drawer once a week is more than sufficient. About once a month, I also like to empty out the globe entirely and wipe down the machine just to make sure all the old litter and litter dust is removed, and I’m starting with a totally clean machine each time I fully replace the litter. I’ve been using this method for several months, and I’m ecstatic about how much it has reduced the litter smell in my home and how much happier I am now that I’m not constantly stressing about scooping. Though you don’t have to use their products to clean the machine, cleaner spray, cleaner wipes and replacement carbon filters are all available on the Litter-Robot website, and they offer a subscription service that can ship your desired products at the frequency you prefer.
Kitten Safety With the Litter-Robot 4
The Litter-Robot 4 is an amazing option for almost any cat, but kittens under three pounds should not be allowed to use the machine on automatic. Because the sensors do not register anything under three pounds, the best option for tiny kittens is to let them use the machine only when it is turned off and to only plug it in and cycle the machine after your kitten has used it and is safely out of it.
My Final Thoughts on the Litter-Robot 4
I love this machine, and I can’t see a world where I will ever go back to a regular litter box. And even though it took a while to get my cat acclimated, it was more than worth it in the end, and we haven’t had a bit of trouble since those first few weeks of training. I love being able to go out of town and only have to ask friends to feed him rather than scoop his litter box (and my friends love that too!). Overall, I have no qualms about recommending the Litter-Robot 4 to my feline-owning friends, and those that have made the switch are constantly telling me what a game-changer it’s been in their house.