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The ScoopFree automatic litter box system is a combination of an automated rake device which fits over a pre-packaged cardboard litter box filled with liquid absorbing crystals. The starter system cost me about $110 at Petco including the automatic rake and the tray refill. Each additional tray refill costs about $15 and, with one cat, is supposed to last up to a month.
Unfortunately for me, the ScoopFree has been a disaster. Setup was easy and the cat took to the litter box fine, but the first tray refill didn't last anywhere close to a month. After only about a week, the tray was already saturated with urine.
The system has an automatic rake which activates periodically. It first rakes forward pulling any solid material into a catch at the far end of the litter box. Then it rakes back re-distributing the crystals throughout the box and presenting a clean litter surface for the cat's next visit.
At least that's the theory. In practice, the crystals in my box clumped together so the middle of the box ended up nearly devoid of litter. Litter is pushed into the catch for solid waste end, but even worse litter ends up crushed in the area behind where the rake parks.
I can use a litter scoop to redistribute the crystals every day which helps some. Even so, after only about a week, the whole system is so saturated with urine that the tray refill has to be changed.
The cardboard tray refill is coated so the urine isn't supposed to seep through. The idea is that the lid can simply be put on the box and the box put in a garbage bag for disposal. Again in theory. Unfortunately, that only seems to work when the litter is distributed properly. One tray refill I changed was so damp that the cardboard had lost its structure. I had to slide a garbage bag under the tray because lifting it would have been impossible.
It's almost hard for me to overestimate how disgusting the device becomes when the litter is saturated.
This item is wonderful in theory, not so much in practice! It's a great idea. My cats also took to it right away. It worked as it was supposed to, but as soon as my male cat figured out where the motor was in the unit, he always aimed his urine any and everywhere all over where the motor was housed.
Of course I had no idea until one day it stopped working and I started investigating, and found everything frozen stuck, with little or no hope of cleaning it-and even less hope that he would stop peeing on it. When I had mine they still had the lightweight disposable plastic bin to collect waste, which was good because although they were thin they were washable and sterilizable in case I ran out before I had a chance to get more. Glad they weren't cardboard back then. Needless to say I unfortunately had to dispose of it after less than 3 months.
Never got a response from the company when I contacted them about the unit suggesting a solution or even just to say I was out of luck. Oh, well, found a high-walled open top Rubbermaid litter box with a low side for easy entry they liked even more. Live and learn!
Yeah, I am going to have to agree with you on all points on this thing. All great in theory, poor in practice. Even worse, they haven't changed any, I had one of the first ones that hit the market, and had generally the exact same issues. In place of the cardboard refills, it was a plastic litter tray, and it would get soaked and puddles would form if I didn't keep adding more litter more than once a day, even though it was supposed to mean less litter usage. The waste bin would get filled in less than a day instead of '2-3' days. To add insult to injury, it cost that much (back then they were around $100) and my one cat did not like it at all-how do I know? Well, he used the litter fine, then he would finish by peeing on the mechanized unit, even though it never moved while he was using it. Maybe he could hear an electrical hum? Maybe it vibrated but I couldn't feel it? I'll never know. I ended up sending back the first mechanism and receiving another, because it couldn't be cleaned and froze from being peed on so much. When the second one froze, the entire thing went right to the trash collector. No more "convenience" for me! The only way I think it would work well is if it was a kitten or two, but when they grow up it's time for something different.
I don't know if your cat just urinates an ungodly amount or what, but I have left my litter trays in for 4+ weeks at a time with 1 cat, and they've never come close to looking that bad. Perhaps you got a bad litter tray!
Yeah....that's a huge about of urine. Maybe you should put a diaper on him/her. The only other thing that I can think of is you are not changing the litter box often enough. I change mine once every 3+4 weeks and it doesn't even look close to that. My cat is also over weight and he eats and drinks like a horse.