Will My Cats Use the Litter Robot 3 Open Air?
One of the concerns I get from readers when they are considering buying a Litter Robot Open Air, is whether or not their cats will use it. Litter Robot provides detailed instructions in their welcome kit (included with the litterbox) about how to approach the introduction process.
Hoping to answer this question a little more visibly for readers, I asked if Litter-Robot could send another one of their automated litter boxes, Litter-Robot Open Air, to my sister, Amy, to use with her kitties, Ash and Addie. I know many readers are concerned about how cats react to the Litter Robot or how cats will use the Litter Robot. And my cats, Charlie and Trigg, are really used to new products and investigating them. So I wanted completely different cats to be exposed to it. Ash (male) and Addie (female) are 2 years old. My male cats are 7 years old. Here's a video that shows how Ash and Addie reacted to it right out of the box.
As you can see, my sister's well-adjusted cats took to it immediately and used it within the first 20-30 minutes it was out!
On the flip side - after I finished our first review of the Litter Robot Open Air, I gave it to my brother for his cats, Boots, to use. She refused to use it and wouldn't go inside of it. She is an 11-year old Tuxedo cat. Granted, the litterbox (eventhough I cleaned it) smelled like my male cats' urine and feces (no matter how clean it is, a cat's nose is smarter than my cleaning skills will ever be), so that could have been the reason she didn't want to use it and was not inclined to go inside of it. I would love to try a brand new one with her to see if it was the smell of my cats or just the machine in general. Nonetheless, I brought the Open-Air back to my house and my cats started using it again immediately.
Here are the Best Practices for Switching Your Cat's Litter Box to the Open Air:
Leave the Litter-Robot Turned Off - Litter Robot advises you not to turn the machine on until it's been used. As you saw in the arrival video above, I did not wait to do that based on the cats' immediate interest in it. But the reason they recommend this - and I did do that for my cats, is so that they get comfortable with it before it scares the beejezus out of them. If they start using it - wait for 7-15 minutes until their pee clumps and then press the cycle button, so they can watch. Once they seem fine with that, then you can let it cycle automatically and begin to enjoy the benefits of it.
- Use Old Litter from Their Current Box - If you have clumping litter in their current litter box, then scoop it free of urine and feces clumps and then fill the Litter Robot with the scooped litter. Even though it's been scooped, it still has their smell and they recognize it as a place to go to the bathroom
- Try Cat Attract by Dr. Elsey's - Speaking of places that they will recognize going the bathroom, Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract is designed to do exactly that - attract your kitty to use that box. I use Precious Cat Ultra from Dr. Elsey's and when the store was out of it, I had to get Cat Attract (very similar to Ultra but with an herbal blend that encourages the kitty to use that litter for their business). My cats, even though they have 5 litter boxes in addition to their Open Air, chose the Litter Robot over and over again because of the litter.
- Treats/Catnip - Before you put litter in the Litter Robot (or you can empty the litter into the waste drawer below if you've already added litter), you can throw catnip or treats into the globe for the kitties to discover and explore later on. The idea with this one is to get them used to going into the Litter Robot Open Air and thinking of it as a safe, comfortable place. I don't know about you, but I never feel comfortable going the bathroom in an uncomfortable place.
- Don't Clean The Old Litter Box - Yes, you can run a risk of them peeing outside of the litter box with this one - so choose wisely on this one. Cats prefer to go the bathroom in a clean litter box (who wouldn't!?), so if they have already started going in and out of the Litter Robot and if you put their old litter in there - then they might be inclined to use the clean Litter Robot over the old litter box that's soiled and gross.
- Cardboard Box - Litter Robot suggests using a cardboard box since cats love cardboard boxes. If your kitty loves cardboard boxes, then this trick might work for you. You can use the box that the Litter Robot was shipped in - cover the Open Air with the box and then cut a hole in the box, so that they can go in and out of the box.