Siamese cat in white Litter-Robot 4 with woman and cat watching
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Does a Self-Cleaning Litter Box Work?

Est. read time: 7 min.

Being a parent to a cat comes with many joys—companionship, laughter, and as many cuddles as your feline will allow. And cats are surprisingly clean! However, their daily grooming is not the be-all end-all when it comes to cleaning. Cat parents still need to stay on top of the litter box.

A self-cleaning litter box can help keep your home tidy and fresh. But does a self-cleaning litter box work? Absolutely! We’ll explore the benefits of using a self-cleaning litter box, along with features you should look for—including being WiFi-enabled and a completely scoopless litter box!

Siamese cat using white Litter-Robot 4 with woman reading in background


How does a self-cleaning litter box work?

Are you tired of using a traditional scoop litter box but unsure if a self-cleaning litter box will work for your household? Have no worries, we’ll explore all the benefits and show you exactly why an automatic cat litter box is a fantastic choice.  

So, how exactly does a self-cleaning litter box work? The simplest answer is that an automatic litter box like Litter-Robot 4 detects when your cat has used the bathroom and cycles the waste into a sealed drawer. It requires zero scooping! 

Litter-Robot works in five simple steps:

  • First, following your cat using the automatic cat litter box, the globe starts to slowly rotate after a 3-, 7-, or 15-minute preset delay. 
  • The sifting process separates the clean litter from the clumps. 
  • All clumps are then deposited into a sealed drawer below to help control odors. 
  • After deposits are made to the waste drawer, the globe returns to its normal position, leaving a fresh bed of litter for the next use. 
  • Finally, when the waste drawer is full, you simply replace the bag and dispose of the waste.

How often do you empty a self-cleaning litter box?

How often you empty a self-cleaning litter box depends on how many cats are using it. However, a good rule of thumb for one-cat homes is to empty the waste drawer once a week. Because Litter-Robot is WiFi-enabled, the Whisker app will notify you when your waste drawer is ready to be emptied. Litter-Robot 4 even allows you to see litter and waste drawer levels in real time.

Can you use regular cat litter in a self-cleaning litter box?

Self-cleaning litter boxes should be used with a clumping litter. It is recommended to use a clay-based, high-quality clumping litter. But if your cat(s) are accustomed to using litter beads, crystals, or plant-based litters, they can also work—as long as they pass through the sifting screen. You might also need to empty the waste drawer more frequently with non-clumping litters.

Are self-cleaning litter boxes worth the money?

Using an automatic cat litter box will pay for itself if you find your time is valuable. The days of having to scoop the litter box once or multiple times will be no longer. Instead, you will simply remove the waste drawer, discard the waste, and move along with your day. Your cats will be happier having a clean place to use the bathroom! Furthermore, many cat parents find that they save money by using much less litter than they did with a traditional litter box.

Are self-cleaning litter boxes loud?

Self-cleaning litter boxes do make some noise—so in comparison to scoop litter boxes, they are “louder” simply because they typically have a motor. However, they are not loud enough to be disturbing during the majority of the day. In fact, Litter-Robot 4 uses quiet technology that’s so discreet, you likely won’t notice it at all.

If you have your self-cleaning litter box in the bedroom and find the noise to be distracting, Litter-Robot has an 8-hour sleep mode option. This deactivates the sensor for 8 hours, which allows you to sleep with no disturbance. 

Advantages of a self-cleaning litter box

Let’s be honest—no one likes cleaning the litter box, but we do it to keep our felines happy and our home smelling fresh. When you’re ready to change your excrement experience, you’ll find a self-cleaning litter box comes with these fantastic advantages:

  • Cuts down on cleaning time—no scooping necessary
  • Helps reduce odors in your home
  • Keeps dogs from snacking on litter box deposits
  • Great for multi-cat households

Disadvantages of a self-cleaning litter box

With the good comes the downsides. Luckily when it comes to self-cleaning litter boxes like Litter-Robot, they are few and far between.

  • Initial investment is more expensive than a traditional scoop litter box
  • Requires an adjustment period to get your cat(s) accustomed to using the self-cleaning litter box

Siberian cat inside black Litter-Robot 4 next to plant

Example of a self-cleaning litter box 

Both the top-rated Litter-Robot 3 Connect and all-new Litter-Robot 4 are fantastic examples of an automatic, self-cleaning cat litter box. Litter-Robot is designed with not only your cat in mind, but also your entire household. It promptly separates your cat’s waste from the clean litter and helps drastically reduce litter box odors. 

Litter-Robot features

Keeping odors at bay is just one of the many features that cat parents have come to love with Litter-Robot. They’ve also found these features to be of great benefit:


You can remotely monitor and control Litter-Robot with the Whisker app. You’ll receive notifications when your litter box is full, track your cat’s litter box usage, and stay ahead of any trends that might signal your cat needs a visit to the vet. 

Great for multi-cat households

Litter-Robot is suitable for households with up to 4 cats. The automatic clean cycle means your cats always have a fresh bed of litter, resulting in fewer territorial issues.

Easy to clean

Maintenance is a breeze with Litter-Robot. You’ll receive a notification (via the app or control panel) when the waste drawer is ready to be emptied. Just remove the drawer, discard the waste, and replace the drawer liner.

Less litter usage

Thanks to the efficient cleaning cycle, pet parents report reducing their litter consumption by up to 50% compared to scoop litter boxes!

Litter-Robot vs. scoop litter boxes

The differences are abundant when it comes to comparing Litter-Robot and a traditional scoop litter box. 

First, we’ll start with the most obvious: Scooping is not required with self-cleaning litter boxes. Litter-Robot is an automatic cat litter box that does the cleaning for you. All you have to do is empty the waste drawer when it is full.

Another major difference is odor control. Litter-Robot controls odors by automatically depositing the waste into a drawer below the unit. Litter-Robot 4 uses the combination of a sealed waste drawer and carbon filter to reduce odor, and you can opt to replace the carbon filter with OdorTrap™ Packs to eliminate litter box odors through natural chemistry. Scoop litter boxes do not have substantial odor control unless you manually scoop immediately after your cat leaves their deposits. But who has time for that?

Last but not least, Litter-Robot is fantastic for multiple cats. The quick self-cleaning feature means you only need one litter box in your home. With scoop litter boxes, you likely need multiple boxes strewn around your house. 

Litter-Robot 4 vs. Litter-Robot 3 Connect

Litter-Robot 3 Connect and Litter-Robot 4 with Siberian cat

Both Litter-Robot 4 and Litter-Robot 3 Connect include a patented sifting system, odor management, multi-cat design, cat safety features, and easy-to-clean modular components.

The new Litter-Robot 4 advances these core features with technology that neutralizes litter box odors, tracks litter and waste drawer levels in real time, detects cats weighing 3+ lbs, and continuously analyzes 4 zones to ensure kitty’s safety. Litter-Robot 4 also features a quieter cleaning cycle, an enlarged waste drawer, and a wider opening to maximize cat comfort. Explore the new Litter-Robot 4.

Litter-Robot is a self-cleaning litter box that works

When it comes to keeping your home clean with cats, Litter-Robot is a wonderful addition to your household. It quickly removes your cat's waste with no scooping required. This automatic cat litter box is stacked full of features that are hands-down an improvement over traditional scoop litter boxes. 

Litter-Robot isn’t the only life-changing product from Whisker. There are many Litter-Robot products that work great alongside this self-cleaning litter box: Everything from litter box furniture to hide your Litter-Robot in plain sight to clumping cat litter and cleaning wipes. You will not be disappointed when you find out how well this self-cleaning litter box and accessories work for your pet home!

Russian Blue cat standing in front of beige Litter-Robot 3 Connect - does a self-cleaning litter box work?