SmartScoop Litter Box

Lea Jaratz

A greatly anticipated review from Chief Embracer Laura Bennett's experience with the SmartScoop:

I’m a bad cat mom. I confess that I’m no good at cleaning out the litter boxes for my three cats – like really no good. Everyone else seems to get to it every day (or at least that’s what they say they do), but I end up leaving it way longer until it’s desperate (and the cats are crossing their legs). Luckily, the cats don’t seem to be traumatized by this and aren’t peeing in inappropriate places; but still, I really could do better by them.

So, I was very happy to try out the OurPets SmartScoop kitty litter box. I’ve never had an automatic box before in all the years I’ve had cats because it seemed like a lot of money for something that seemed so… hokey! How could this actually work and keep things clean and not freak out the cats? Seemed too much of a risk to try it, so I never did.

Now, I wouldn’t give the box back. It’s not perfect, but for the things that matter the most – doing the job and not freaking out the cats – it’s a champ. Definitely an A on the school grading system.

How it works:

  • It requires some thought to put it together but I think my 7 year old daughter could have managed it with a little of mom’s help so it wasn’t too bad at all. Took about 10 minutes to put together.
  • You need a socket near where you want the box to go since it does need electricity to work. I put the box in my laundry room and had to run an electric cord from a slightly awkward place down to the box but it’s all set now.
  • You’ll need clumping litter to make this work.
  • The cats jumped right in after I set it up and had no problem with it at all. I put it right where the old tray went so that shouldn’t have been too hard for them and it wasn’t.
  • The way it works is that the cat does her business in the box and then goes off to do whatever kitty naughtiness she desires. When she leaves, the box senses that a cat has visited the box (indicated by a flashing light on the side) and fifteen minutes later, it will filter through the cat litter and tip up the clumped litter into a covered collection tray (see video) - kind of like tipping the dumpster back into the garbage truck
  • What generally happens at this time is that all children and cats in the vicinity rush to the litter box to watch in awe as the waste gets stuffed away nicely. Better than TV!
  • The collection tray has plastic bags you use to collect the waste and you’ll want to wash out the litter tray every couple of weeks or so to keep it clean (I know, I think they suggest weekly but you know me, THE bad cat mom)

All in all it does a very nice job.

My recommendations for improvement:

  • Power button: the on/off button is an electronic button. No big deal except that if the power goes out, the litter box switches off but won’t come back on when the power restarts. Something you want to keep an eye on and to let your cat sitter know about
  • Spillage: the grate that filters the litter sometimes gets to the far end of the box and dirty litter can fall onto the floor as it’s getting scooped up. It’s only once in a while but it seems that this could be fixed by putting a curved lip right at the end to encourage dirty litter backwards and into the box, not outwards
  • Noise: this isn’t the quietest machine in the house (check out the video) so if it’s beside your dining room, your guests are going to wonder what the sudden noise is if it goes off in the middle of your fancy dinner.
  • Cleaning: it’s not the lightest tray in the house either and it’s not easy to take off the mechanics to wash just the tray itself. I’d make it more obvious how to do that as who reads instructions anyway.

None of these issues though are deal breakers. Having the SmartScoop litter box in the house has made for a much more positive litter box experience for us all. Now I just need two more for the other levels in the house.