I'll never forget my first automated cat box. It was a LitterMaid, of course, and it did a pretty darned good job of cleaning up after the cats and reducing to a bare minimum my handling of their waste. I had two of them for four cats and they did an amazing job of making my house smell like a non cat owner's house.
Eventually one of them broke and the company promptly sent a replacement. I had one of the original boxes and the replacement one for a number of years, but they finally wore out. Then began the struggle.
The new generation of LitterMaid boxes was awful. Some never worked at all, others stopped working within a month or so, and one managed to break its own mechanism to pieces. The company's customer service declined with the technology and it was more trouble than it was worth to try to return or exhange them. Considering that they cost more than $100 each, this was upsetting in myriad ways.
I went back to regular litter boxes and clay litter while I sought an alternative. Despite my careful stewardship of the boxes, the house started to develop a cat funk that crept up the basement stairs and assaulted the nose.
I started seeing articles about the Litter Robot. It had almost 200 reviews on Amazon, most of which were very positive. The only drawback was the price, but considering how much I'd spent on faulty LitterMaids, it would be worth it if it worked as advertised.
Once I got my tax refund, I bit the bullet and ordered one. IT. IS. AWESOME!
As recommended, I eased the cats into it by removing one regular cat box at a time and letting the remaining ones get icky so that cats wouldn't want to use them. Last weekend I took the regular boxes away and left the Litter Robot as the only option. The cats made the transition without a hitch, and now my house is back to smelling completely cat-free.
It sifts everything into a large drawer that you can line with pretty much any kind of plastic bag. Even when our A/C stopped working this week and we had the windows open and the attic fan on, no odor escaped the Litter Robot.
My only minor complaint - and this was mentioned by the Amazon reviewers as well - is that the cats manage to track a lot of litter out of it. It's not that big of a deal for me because I keep mine in our circa 1970 ultra-modern finished basement (as seen in the photo). However, if you had it in the main part of your house, you'd probably want to put a mat in front of it to trap the litter.
So there's my expensive product recommendation for the week. So far it seems to be able to handle all three cats, but I'd buy a second one in a heartbeat if I thought I needed it.