Catster logo

How to Get Your Cat to Use a Litter-Robot: 7 Tips & Tricks

Image Credit: Litter Robot by Whisker
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Christian Adams

Litter-Robots are a big deal for pet parents. It comes with big promises, the most significant being that you no longer have to be your fur baby’s personal pooper scooper. The robot automatically cleans your cat’s litter, and the odor trap system keeps stinks at bay!

So, you’ve spent top dollar on this massive litter box and brought it home. But what if your feline buddy refuses to use it?

Transitioning from the open plastic box underneath your bathroom sink to a Litter-Robot can be challenging for your cat, and understandably so. Here are some tips and tricks that may help your fur-baby quickly warm up to this mechanical litter box.

3 cat face divider

The 7 Tips & Tricks to Get Your Cat to Use a Litter Robot

1. Don’t Assemble the Litter-Robot Immediately

Does your feline friend freak out when it finds a new object in the house? If you have seen it avoiding certain rooms after buying a new appliance, wait for a few days before assembling your Litter-Robot.

Unwrap the package and leave the parts on the ground for your cat to investigate. Also, place the box around and let your fur baby play with it. The idea is to let it get familiar with the machine’s scent before you assemble it.

2. Location Is Key!

The most basic strategy in enticing your cat to use a Litter-Robot is placing it in an ideal location. Cats like to do their business in a private spot away from traffic.

Once it’s time to assemble the new machine, it’s better to place it in the same spot as the old litter box. Also, ensure it faces the same direction to avoid disrupting your furball’s usual bathroom routines.

Another crucial tip is to remove the cover of the new facility during the transition period. If your furball feels trapped inside, it will likely never enter the machine again.

black cat beside litter robot
Image Credit: Litter Robot, Unsplash

3. Don’t Turn on the Litter-Robot Just Yet

Automatic cat litter boxes can be loud. Some make loud bangs or flushing sounds when the scoop is in action. While some models are quieter, they will still produce a noise unfamiliar to your cat.

Generally, Litter-Robots produce a noise level between 25 and 40 decibels while self-cleaning. The shifting mechanism makes the noise as the globe rotates to separate the clean litter from the soiled one. Most cats get startled and may avoid using the machine if you turn it on too soon.

It would help if you played safe by keeping the Litter-Robot turned off during the first week of your cat using it. Only turn it on for a clean cycle once your fur baby leaves the bathroom.

After the transition period, turn on the Litter-Robot when your cat is present. It’s crucial to let your fur-baby get familiar with the motions and sounds made by the facility. Comfort it and reassure it of its safety when the machine is on. Do this together multiple times until you are sure that the noise or motion does not leave your kitty freaked out.

4. Don’t Toss Out the Old Litter Box

Cats are smart but can act dumb, especially when disapproving of a sudden change in their routine. If you throw out the old litter box too soon, your fur baby may show disapproval of the new Litter-Robot by peeing on the floor or your rugs.

It’s best to let your pet be in control and choose to use the mechanical litter box on its own accord. Place the old litter box next to the new one.

Also, scoop some litter from the automated box and sprinkle it on the old litter tray. This allows your cat to start getting accustomed to the sight of the “space pod” and the smell of the new litter. It will also encourage your fur baby to explore the Litter-Robot on its own terms.

grey cat inside litter robot
Image Credit: Litter Robot, Unsplash

5. Use Familiar Scents

If your furball investigates the Litter-Robot and finds it safe but still won’t use it, you can try a different trick. Take a scoop of the old kind of litter and use it in the Litter-Robot. Your feline friend will pick up the familiar scent and understand the use of the new machine!

These self-cleaning Litter-Robots don’t use the usual type of litter. They use a unique substrate like washable crystals, clay, or granules. If your feline still does not warm up to using the machine, sprinkle more of the substrate on its old litter box. Keep adding the amount over a couple of days until the old litter box uses only the same litter used in the machine.

As you do this, monitor your furball’s bathroom behaviors closely. If it does not disapprove of the substrate litter, it won’t be long before it starts using the self-cleaning machine.

6. Slowly Make the Old Litter Box Less Attractive

At this point, most cats will have warmed up to using the Litter-Robot. If yours is still resisting change, don’t despair. There is still one more trick you must try. Stop cleaning the old litter box!

Cats love to keep things clean and prefer a clean litter box to a dirty one. You can encourage your furball to use the self-cleaning Litter-Robot by failing to clean waste from its old litter box.

Add the scent of the old type of litter into the machine to further motivate your feline to switch to it. You can also take things a notch higher by shifting the old litter box to a less ideal location.

cat stepping out of Litter-Robot 3

7. Use Positive Reinforcement

Forcing a sassy cat to use a new Litter-Robot will only trigger retaliation. It is always best to take things slow, even when implementing new tips and tricks to make the Litter-Robot more attractive. Consider your pet’s personality and do what you think will work to encourage it to use the new facility.

For instance, if your fur baby is a sucker for catnip, place a catnip stick on the steps of the Litter-Robot. You could do the same with its favorite treat. Also, reward your furball once it does its business in the desired location. Anything works, including a play or cuddle session.

3 cat face divider


What Is the Estimated Duration for a Cat to Get Accustomed to Using a Litter-Robot?

The duration it will take for your fur baby to get used to a Litter-Robot depends on its personality. While some cats will use the Litter-Robot straight out of the box, most take several days and a week to give the self-cleaning cat bathroom a shot. If your cat is picky, you’ll need to be patient and consistently implement the above tips for several weeks.

What if My Cat Never Warms up to Using the Litter-Robot?

Most cats, even those that show stern disapproval of the Litter-Robot, eventually use it. However, about 4% of felines would rather pee on the floor than use the self-cleaning Litter-Robot. If all your attempts to entice your cat to use the machine fail, you can always refer to the return policy. Most models allow you to return a clean Litter-Robot within 90 days and enjoy a full refund minus return shipping fees.

When Do I Toss Out the Old Litter Box?

Once your kitty starts using the Litter-Robot, it should not be long before you can do away with the old litter box. Keep it around for a few days and ensure it remains unattractive. You still want your feline friend to feel in control by providing options. Once it uses the Litter-Robot for at least two consecutive days, you can toss out that old litter box.

a cat and an automatic self cleaning cat litter box
Image Credit: Best Cat Litter Boxes, Flickr

cat paw divider

Final Thoughts

Litter-Robots are designed to simplify cleaning your cat’s litter. While you still have to come face to face with your furball’s feces at least once weekly when cleaning out the litter tray, they make cat ownership much more manageable. Litter-Robots can also improve your home’s air quality by locking out foul smells.

Cats are creatures of habit. They love their usual routines and will often not enjoy new things straight out of the box. However, this doesn’t mean that your fur baby cannot change its mind about the new Litter-Robot.

If you hate dealing with cat waste and have your fingers crossed that your cat will ultimately use the Litter-Robot, we hope the above tips help. The main tip to discourage a “potty strike” is to be smart about the transition. Make one change at a time!

Featured Image Credit: Litter Robot by Whisker

About the Author

Christian Adams
Christian Adams
Christian is the Editor-in-Chief of Excited Cats and one of its original and primary contributors. A lifelong cat lover, now based in South East Asia, Christian and his wife are the proud parents of an 11-year-old son and four rescue cats: Trixie, Chloe, Sparky, and Chopper.

Get Catster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.


Follow Us

Shopping Cart