The LitterMaid Self-Cleaning Litter Box
The LitterMaid Self-Cleaning Litter Box (both mega and standard) are as the name implies, litter boxes that clean themselves. How it works: There is a sensor on the inner sides of the box that detect motion. Once motion has been detected a countdown timer is activated or reset if a countdown was running (I believe the countdown is about 10 minutes). A rake is then dragged through the litter from the rear of the machine to the front. As the rake nears the front side a cover lifts off the waste catcher and whatever was "scooped" up by the rakes fall into the catcher. The rake then moves backwards through the litter smoothing out the surface as it returns to the rear.
Me and Itchy used the mega unit because we are both larger sized cats (14+ lbs each) and felt we needed the extra room to maneuver in the box. The first thing to strike us was the noise. When we first heard the motor running Itchy hid and I jumped a bit. By the time we heard it for the 5th time we were more curious and fascinated by the raking action. I would run to the box and watch. Now the sound is common place and we really don't care and find little entertainment value in it anymore.
Sometimes the LitterMaid's rake will slice into the clumps in the box, causing them to get stuck in the rake fins. When this happens our human friend seems to get annoyed and has to remove the fecal matter or clumped urine that is stuck in the fins. If the litter falls below a certain depth our urine will sometimes spread out and the rake just goes over it, leaving a long semi-solid urine saucer in the box. Our human friend does not seem to like that either as he will use a hand scoop to scrape it out of the box.
Though the unit does seem to make our human friends life easier at times, it still requires cleaning every 2 weeks also. He will take the unit apart and wash the fins and box. Do not try to open the rake arm! Our friend once called Littermaid about an issue and they told him to unscrew the arm unit and lubricate the motor. Big mistake! Out popped 2 TINY springs (which are required to allow the unit to sense if it hits something and reverse the motor). He was griping for over an hour trying to find the springs and put it back together (which looked like no small feat the way he struggled).
If you decide to buy a Littermaid I suggest spending the extra money and buying the mega unit, as it comes with a ramp (which helps to climb in the box and to clean our paws as we exit) and power supply (it will run on batteries also). Prices range from $99 to $199 depending on the model and who you buy them from.