Last Updated on October 2, 2021 by Jenny
You might have heard of a circle litter box, or you might have seen a commercial for one but you couldn’t remember the name of it.
Circle litter boxes can mean different things – some are simply round litter trays, but generally, when talking about a circle litter box it’s the covered sphere or dome-type litter box that people are referring to.
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The main benefit of a circle litter tray for the cat is that they feel secure and that they have their own private space. But according to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) cats can struggle to use a litter tray if they feel they don’t have a good escape route. So covered circular litterboxes aren’t always ideal.
Covered litter boxes aren’t always big enough for certain breeds too. However, if you find a circle litter box that does work for your kitty, you’ll also enjoy a benefit as a pet owner – odor control. Have a circular litter box with a cover helps to keep certain smells contained, and stop them from spreading through your home.
On the flip side, though, if you don’t keep that inside hood, etc. cleaned, then that covered litter box can start smelling like a porta-potty for your cat, making the environment uninviting to go in and use – so then they can start inappropriate elimination habits. Some circle litter boxes also have self-cleaning features.
Some are manual, using clever designs to make it easier for you to sift through the litter and filter out clumps. Others are fully automatic, doing all the work for you – except for emptying the collection bin, of course.
Manual Self-Cleaning Circle Litter Boxes:
Manual self-cleaning circle litter boxes are cleverly designed so that they filter out clumped litter and droppings with very little effort on your part. The Omega Paw Roll ‘n’ Clean just requires you to roll it onto its side once, while the Litter Spinner is designed to let you rotate it fully.
They work by using internal scoops or filters that only allow clean, unclumped litter to pass through.
The clumped litter or waste is then gathered in either a slide-out tray or a bin, which you can empty. No need to scoop yourself.
Automatic Self-Cleaning Circle Litter Boxes:
Automatic litter boxes are designed to be self-cleaning. Some can sense when they have been used by a cat through a type of sensor. Once it knows the cat has done what it needs to, and the cat has left the litter box, it’ll then rotate to rake and scoop the clumped litter, filtering it into a waste bin. Others such as the flat circle-shaped PetSafe Simply Clean just rotate constantly, using a conveyer belt to remove clumps.
Either way, you don’t need to do the manual work of filtering out clumped litter yourself – just remove the waste bin and empty it on a regular basis. Popular self-cleaning litter boxes are the Litter-Robot and the Petree automatic cat litter box. Check out this comparison of the two.
What is the Circle Zero Automatic Litter Box?
If you search for circle litter boxes, you might find one that’s actually called the Circle – or the Circle Zero to give it its full name. The Circle Zero was started as part of a very successful Indiegogo campaign – raising over $430,000 against an original target of just $25,000. It uses a motion sensor to track when a cat enters the litter box. Once it then detects that the cat leaves, it waits 7 minutes before initiating a clean. It rotates the internal scoop twice to rake out the waste, collecting it in a 2.5-liter bin. It then rotates once in the opposite direction to level out the litter pan.
Your cat may decide to return to the litter box – if they do, the motion sensor will detect any movement and will stop rotating immediately. It’ll wait another 7 minutes before restarting the cleaning cycle to prevent hurting your cat or causing them any scare.
The Circle doesn’t have any controls, as it is designed to work automatically once it is powered on. Instead it just has three LED lights to indicate what is happening. If one LED is illuminated, it means that the litter box is working as normal. Two LEDs lit up means that it is being used by a cat. The LEDs will then blink once the cat has left the litter box to show that cleaning has begun. When the odor locking waste bin is full, all three LED lights will be illuminated.
You simply then need to remove the outer shell cover to access the bin and remove any clumped litter along with other waste. The Circle self cleaning litter box comes with two different types of scoop to suit different types of clumping litter. The box itself has a contemporary white round design that is intended to be subtle enough to blend into any room, and to also not look intimidating to cats. It’s suitable for kitties up to 15lb in weight.
There is a compatible app that connects the Circle to your smartphone. It’s available on Android and iOS and it tracks both the number of visits of your cat, and how long they are staying on their litter tray. If their pattern changes it will alert you, which will help you to pick up on any medical issues sooner.
The Circle can be disassembled for easier cleaning and to add fresh litter. Apart from the outer shell base and the motor cover, the litter box can be washed, although it needs to be fully dried before it can be reassembled and used again. Purchase the Circle Zero here.
How does the Litter Robot compare?
In my home, we’ve had a Litter Robot for over five years now. You can read my thoughts in full here, but I overcame my initial hesitation and can definitely see how they can be useful for some cat owners. The Litter Robot does everything that the Circle Zero does, and it’s a well-established brand made in the U.S. It’s been out for years and has different models, so if you can’t afford the very top model then you’ll usually be able to find one that’s in your budget.
In comparison, the Circle Zero doesn’t seem to be as widely available – you might struggle to find one. If you want all the top features of an automatic circle litter box, you might have better luck with a Litter Robot. Purchase you Litter Robot here.
Litter Robot – What Type of Litter to Use?
There are a lot of different types of litter you can buy, but for the Litter Robot (and other self-cleaning automatic circle litter boxes) to work properly, you need to be using clumping litter.
Clumping Litter in the Litter-Robot
The reason for that is because clumping litter literally clumps together when the cat urinates in a spot. And the way that the Litter Robot works is by rotating and passing the clean litter through a filter. Clumped litter won’t fit through, and so it falls into the disposal bin at the base of the unit, along with any droppings that the cat’s buried. Once the rotation is complete, only unused litter remains, giving your cat a clean space where they’ll be happy going toilet again. Over time, as the robot is used, the litter level will drop as clumps are removed, so you just need to keep watching it and top it up as required. Litterbox.com, a sister company to Litter Robot, does offer their own brand of clay clumping litter to use with the robot (or with one of the standard litter trays they also sell). You can check out my review of their litter here:
Depending on which litter I have in my house, I will use the Litterbox.com litter or Dr Elsey’s. Dr Elsey’s is another clumping litter that it works perfectly with the Litter Robot. You can check out that review here:
Crystal Litter with the Litter-Robot
You don’t have to use clay clumping litter with your Litter-Robot. While I’m not a fan, some cats and cat owners prefer crystal litter. Crystal litter is non-clumping, but instead it absorbs cat pee. The drawback with using crystal litter in the Litter Robot is that used litter doesn’t get collected – if it’ll pass through the filter when unused, it’ll do the same when it’s soaked up urine. So you need to replace the litter manually just as you would with a standard litter tray. The Litter Robot will still remove feces during the cleaning cycle, but you’re only getting half the benefit.
Is a covered automatic litter box right for your cat?
A covered cat litter box that cleans itself might be a great benefit for you – it’ll make it easier to maintain a clean litter box for your kitty without having to go through and find the clumps yourself. But it’s important to consider whether your cat will want to use it.
And while automatic litter boxes can be used by multiple cats, you’ll need to check if all of yours are happy with it, and if they are you’ll need to remember to empty the waste bin more frequently. Leave a comment if you’ve tried the Circle Zero, the Litter Robot or any other circle litter box, and let other readers know your thoughts.