YBLTV Review: The Litter-Robot III Open Air
It seems that, over the past several years, one of the glowing spots on social media to stick out of the mire of online drama and political discourse has been the rise of pets on the internet. Pure, adorable animals crop up every now and then with cute videos of animals eating, sleeping, or even snuggling. Not many are immune to these adorable stars – social media has become a stressful source to most people and these pets (with their human parents) are often the faces of cute and even great causes around the world.
However, even pet pages are not immune to the world of business today. These pages advertise everything from cat food to toys to subscription boxes, and even pet-branded CBD oil for pain management. While we want to desperately trust that these advertisements are the result of trusted endorsements, it may not always be the case when a short endorsement can equal big bucks for the owners of the social media stars.
One such advertisement you might have seen on social media is The Litter-Robot III Open Air, a huge, off-white orb that claims to automatically sift and clean your cat’s daily waste as a robotic litter management tool. I’ve seen the Litter-Robot on several different sites and at CES 2018 in January as well, and it seems an interesting enough concept: You place clumping litter into the Litter-Robot’s rubber base and every time your cat uses the Litter-Robot, it triggers a cleaning cycle immediately after. The clean litter is siphoned off to a reserve in the back while the waste drops into a specific collection at the bottom of the robot to be taken out later. The Litter-Robot includes a night light, carbon filters to keep the smell contained to the Litter-Robot, and waste bags for your cat’s number ones and twos.
“The Litter-Robot III Open Air provides your pet with a fresh, clean environment to relieve themselves. By having the litter waste cycled every time your furry friend uses it, you no longer have to worry about stinky clumps sticking to the bottom of the litter box and the constant disinfecting to ensure a germ-free environment!” – Katie Hernandez, YBLTV Writer/Reviewer, @khernandezybltv
During my initial setup and use of the Litter-Robot, I noticed several things:
- Initial Set Up and Use With The App: At first, the Litter-Robot was a bit testy during my initial run. The Litter-Robot kept dumping out fresh litter versus siphoning off the litter to the reservoir inside. After changing my litter from a corn-based litter to a standard clumping litter, the litter was able to get in and out without any problems, so make sure that you at least start with a standard clumping litter like Tidy Cats. Additionally, the app 1) Is currently only available on the App Store and 2) Always reads that the litter box is full, which makes dumping confusing for me
- The Size: This thing is ENORMOUS. After setting up, I noticed that the Litter-Robot occupied significant space in my bedroom. It makes sense, since your cat has to get in and out of it without stress. I like that there was significant consideration to make sure that the Litter-Robot wouldn’t stress out my cat, especially when she need to go potty, but keep in mind you’ll have to sacrifice the space in your house once it arrives
- The Price: The Litter-Robot currently sells for $450 USD on the Litter-Robot website; while many social media pages offer discounts, this is still a significant amount to drop on a self-cleaning litter box – especially when, for $3 + a scoop, I could clean my own litter box
- The Learning Curve: I adopted my cat, Sophie, in 2015 and during our time together, I’m grateful that Sophie doesn’t tear furniture or have accidents or even fight other cats. However, my little black cat is definitely an anxious kitty – if there’s unfamiliar noises, she’ll run under the bed; if there’s thunder and lightning, she’ll hide in my dresser. Sophie likes a calm environment where she’s at her own pace. When I introduced her to the Litter-Robot, let’s just say it was not her favorite thing initially. I had to sit with Sophie and calmly introduce her to the Litter-Robot; she didn’t like the dark space initially and started to have accidents around the house because of the noise the Litter-Robot would make during the cleaning cycle. Part of the Litter-Robot’s advice for training your cat is to take away other litter sources in order to make the Litter-Robot more appealing, but it was incredibly stressful to watch my cat have all these accidents. She finally acclimated to the Litter-Robot, but my advice is to know your cat before purchasing. If they’re anxious or set in a routine, it may not be a good idea to transition them to the Litter-Robot.
- Hands-Free Waste Management: As someone with asthma and allergies, cleaning a litter box can set off my triggers at a moment’s notice. I try to use alternative sources, like corn-based litter since it doesn’t smell as bad and it doesn’t use chalky litter. However, the Litter-Robot isolates the smell and keeps me from having to do anything except dump the remaining litter. This is beneficial to owners who may have difficulty with cleaning a traditional litter box
- Set Up and Walk Away: Once I changed the litter in the Litter-Robot to a traditional clumping litter, I haven’t thought about the Litter-Robot once. It’s very easy to dispose of the waste and to maintain, and I hardly think about waste at all now
- Size: The size is both a pro and a con; I like the large size because it makes going potty in the Litter-Robot comfortable for my cat without making her feel cramped, and Sophie likes the little ledge out front to help her walk in and out
- Carbon Filters: I also like that the Litter-Robot utilizes carbon filters, which helps keep the whole thing smelling neutral during the day and keeps the smell of the disposed waste from sitting in my room
- The Look: I really like that the Litter-Robot has a nice aesthetic – it’s minimalist and has a nice off-white color that keeps it from sticking out. It seems to blend into any location and looks very seamless!
- The Size: On the other hand, the size of the Litter-Robot is a definite commitment. The Litter-Robot requires a flat surface (no plush carpets) and it obviously needs to be by an outlet of some kind. These requirements could limit the available area you have to place it, especially if you have a smaller area.
- Can Be Glitchy: I have a feeling that the Litter-Robot companion app is still in some early stages, since it is still only available on the App Store. Testing the app, I noticed that it would have incorrect readings sometimes, which was a little frustrating, but since the app really isn’t necessary to function, I didn’t mind.
- No Notifications: Since I can’t receive notifications or any alerts, I still have to make sure that I checked the Litter-Robot every so often to ensure that waste was still going out with the trash.
- The Price: For $450, some people may not find the value of the Litter-Robot, and it may be cost-prohibitive to buy. However, I can say that if litter/cat waste is a trigger for you, this is a worthwhile investment.
The Litter-Robot may not be 100% necessary for those who are content with their current litter routine, but for those who may be dealing with a medical condition aggravated by kitty litter/waste, the Litter-Robot III Open Air makes keeping your furry friend comfortable even easier. I would also recommend this product if you’re interested in pet technology or integrating more smart tech into your home!
Disclosure of Material Connection: YBLTV Writer / Reviewer Katie Hernandez, received the Litter-Robot III Open Air from Automated Pet Care Products in consideration for a Product Review.