A lament about the crappiest crap-raker ever devised, adapted from my Amazon review.
10 years ago, I got tired of hand-scooping cat litter and bought one of the original Littermaids. For about 6 years it faithfully scraped back and forth across its gravelly borders, depositing my furry beast’s unmentionable excretions discretely into a reusable container for later disposal. After 6 years of service—not a bad run, I thought—it broke down, causing me to seek out a replacement. The similar unit worked a little less well, and only lasted two years, but all in all I had few complaints.
I should have taken the quality dip as a warning. When I went to replace my Littermaid for the second time, I discovered that Littermaid had redesigned the automatic box, making it a little bit smaller and, depending on where and when I shopped, quite a bit more expensive. Hoping for the best, I held my nose and paid up fore what turned out to be the worst cat accessory I’ve ever experienced.
I only got 30 days use out of my ‘Littermaid 3.2’ before its feeble rake refused to sweep the box, prompting a warranty return. As soon as the new one arrived, the problems began anew, giving me four more months of misery before the second, out-of-warranty failure finally forced me to give up on this awful product.
It’s no mystery as to why this new Littermaid design is terrible. If any litter hapens to accumulate in the tracks for the rake—I mean, any amount of litter at all—its tiny, ineffectual motor begins to CLACK-CLACK-CLACK-CLACK as it tries to pull itself up the tiny slop and dump its nasty load in the bin. 75 percent of the time, it fails, repeating the same cycle over and over until it times out, gets stuck, and requires human intervention. It sounded like a .50 caliber machine gun was going off in my bathroom every time this happened.
Doing the math, that means that only a quarter of the time can I count on the Littermaid to actually work as designed. Three out of every four times my cat uses the box, I had to go in on my hands and knees and clean the tracks, reset the rake, and hope for the best. I have wasted incredible amounts of time tending to the mechanical nightmare that is the Littermaid, a device that is supposed to actually REDUCE my involvement in the box cleaning process.
Even cleaning the tracks is a nightmare. They are recessed into the side of the box, so you can’t use the shovel that comes with it. You need some kind of small brush, and then somewhere to put that disgusting brush when you’re not using it. I’ve recently started using a steam cleaner to clear away the litter, but that aerosolizes the contents of the box in a predictably horrible fashion.
The bottom line is, the previous model Littermaid, while not perfect, got stuck far, far less than the new design. It also lasted more than a few months at a time. Currently, my Littermaid sweeps five times in a row before hanging itself over the litter disposal container and flashing a red light at me, blocking my cat’s entrance to the box, no matter how many times I clean, cajole or curse at it. I’d have to say the current model is one of the worst items I’ve ever bought for my feline companion in the 10 years we’ve been best friends. It’s half-baked garbage, and it is to be avoided.