A BRIEF REVIEW OF LITTERS
The Litter-Robot III Open Air is designed to use clay clumping litter, and as such, particle size and weight are important. As a rough guide, smaller than a grain of rice, and heavy like clay, is required for the sieving process to be successful.
Hallmarks of a good litter, for both the Litter-Robot and for your cats, are:
carbon or activated charcoal for odour assistance
A good litter will add to the experience of using the Litter-Robot, by reducing odours, especially in Summer, allowing a longer time between deep cleaning, and reducing maintenance issues for the appliance. A litter with carbon in it will also extend the life of the carbon filter, as it will work to reduce odours in the globe and waste drawer.
Most of the litters available off the shelf in Australia, such as Breeders Choice, CatSan, TidyCats, are varied in clumping time, and dustiness, but do not offer carbon or charcoal addition. However, they are suitable for use in the Litter-Robot, and generally particle size and weight (unless listed as lightweight) are good, and the supply easy to obtain. For carbon or charcoal additions, online-only is generally the necessary purchase avenue.
If your litter is too large, or too light, or of mixed sizes, it will not drop through the sieve and will be dumped into the waste drawer, along with the soiled litter, and there will be very little to return to the globe for your cats to use next time. If the material is not clay, then the finer the material the more likely it is to be able to be used, but if it's not clay (bentonite) then it may be unsuitable in the Robot.
Some commonly used litters that are unsuitable are:
BREEDERS CHOICE Cat Litter or Kitty Litter. As this is a pellet style litter, made of compressed paper, it is too large and too light to pass through the sieve. Its also not clumping.
RUFUS & COCO WEE KITTY Cat Litter. As this is a pellet style litter, made of compressed corn, it is too large and too light to pass through the sieve. There are several other Rufus & Coco litters, which, unfortunately, are not suitable due to lightness and size issues.
WOOLWORTHS HOMEBRAND Clay Clumping Litter. Tested Sept 2020 Western Australia. This is clumping clay litter but has a variation between sand grains up to small pebbles. The small pebbles dam up on the sieve, and stop much clean litter dropping through to the pocket to be saved and relaid. Whilst cheap, it's not consistent enough to be of value. It's also very heavy in the Robot, which should only have 4.5-5kg in the globe.
COLES HOMEBRAND Clay Clumping Litter. Tested early in the process, dusty and with some variation inconsistency.
One that works, budget.
ALDI Clay Clumping Litter. Of the base and budget line clay clumping litters, this is the most consistent and also best for a budget.
However, it is very dusty and has no odour assistance for Australian summer conditions. It is a good starter for introducing the Robot, as it is easy to obtain and provides a good ability to transfer scent into the Robot.
TOFU Litters generally do not work in the Robot. An exception is the Tofu & Carbon litter from Cat Evolution.
Others that work, varied budget. No added carbon or charcoal.
WORLDS BEST CORN CLUMPING LITTER is suitable (on the last review) but is light for the Robot and the cat sensor may need adjusting.
APPLAUSE Crushed Walnut Clumping Litter is suitable but is light for the Robot and the cat sensor may need adjusting. It does put sawdust throughout the Robot, as its very fine particle
Transitioning from unsuitable litter.
The best way to introduce the Litter-Robot is with familiar litter. As cats generally don’t like too many new things at one time, familiar litter helps cats to recognise the new litter box shape, and accept the new system easier and faster. Suitable litter also allows material from the manual tray to be cycled in the Robot to further introduce familiar scent and review operations, helping cats to transition successfully.
To transition from an unsuitable litter, its best to do so in the manual tray before introducing the Litter-Robot. Simply layer the new litter on top of the part soiled tray, and let the cats dig and review and use.
When cleaning out the manual tray, replace with only the new litter, and give the cats a few days to become comfortable with the new litter.
There is a large variety of litters on the market, both in shops and online. Facebook support groups and cat groups are generally good places to ask questions and gain extra insight. However, every budget, location and cat is different, so its best to make an introduction to the Litter-Robot with a basic easy to obtain litter, and then you can try others once the cats are comfortable with the automatic Lifestyle. Sharing the information also helps other cat owners, if you do have a favourite.