Omega Paw Self-Cleaning Litter Box Review.

I have four cats and five four[1] litter boxes. The vet says I should have more, but where am I supposed to put them? And keeping five litter boxes clean already takes too much time! I have tried several different automated litter boxes, including the CatGenie. In the end, I’ve always gone back to the old-fashioned litter boxes that require manual scooping.[2]

Omega Paw Roll'n Clean Litter Box.
Omega Paw Roll’n Clean Litter Box.

Still, I’m always keeping my eyes open for ways to reduce the amount of time, smells, and mess litter boxes create for me. On April 10th I purchased an Omega Paw Self-Cleaning Litter Box (Large). The price was right – $30 – and while it didn’t flush the litter down the septic like the CatGenie, it did simplify the process significantly.

When it arrived a few days later it took only a few minutes to assemble – but I didn’t listen to the “use clumping litter” instructions, since I didn’t have any around the house and instead used some regular litter – yeah, that didn’t work at all!

So, I purchased a 40 lb bag of Precious Cat Ultra Premium Clumping Cat Litter for $23 on April 24th and have been using it ever since. As of today (June 10th) I still have 10-15 lbs left. I was worried I was going to go broke buying litter – but whether it is the litter which is so long-lasting, the Omega Paw litter box which performs the magic, or some combination of the two – the litter seems to last FOREVER, so I’m not so worried about that any more.

Using the Omega Paw is easy-as-pie. I move it into a wide open space (and yes, you need a wide open space), roll it upside down, hit the bottom two or three times (to dislodge anything stuck to the bottom) and then roll it back. I pull out the scoop and dump the collected cat refuse into a plastic bag and take it outside and place it in a trash can.[3]

I’m very happy with the product – and hoping to replace at least two[4] one more of the existing litter boxes with Omega Paw’s. Currently there are two I can’t replace, b/c they are in too tight of a space and it would be too great of a hassle to move them into a space large enough to roll them.[5]

Another really nice element of this litter box is the hood. Some of my cats occasionally “miss” (especially our biggest cat, Barclay, whose butt occasionally hangs out of the litter box when she attempts to “do her business”) – and the hood has prevented this 100% 95%!

Now that I’ve raved about the Omega Paw, let me highlight a few drawbacks:

  1. The Omega Paw needs to be cleaned regularly. If you forget to clean the litter box for a day too many and too much refuse builds up, it will overflow the scoop and it becomes difficult to get the scoop out of the Omega Paw and can make a little mess in the process.
  2. It is overly difficult to add litter to the Omega Paw. You either have to remove the top (which has a number of tabs so it doesn’t fall open when rolling) or you have to throw litter into the Omega Paw via the entrance way the cats use.[6] This isn’t impossible or even that difficult, but it sure would be nice if there was a door in the hood which could be easily opened and would allow one to drop litter in from the top!
  3. The plastic tabs are of poor quality. I haven’t had any break, but they just don’t show a high quality of workmanship, with extraneous plastic on some of them, rough fits, and so on. Once you get it put together you really don’t need to take the hood off often, but still, a little extra work on this front would make this product “premium.”
  4. It requires a lot of space. You have to roll the Omega Paw upside down and back again, and this requires some significant space. I would suggest that Omega Paw make another model (more expensive) which could “roll in place” and could be used in tight spots. The Omega Paw is great if you have the room – but for those with space constraints (e.g. especially apartment dwellers), The Omega Paw may not be a viable option.
  5. The scoop slides out. Sometimes when I am rolling the Omega Paw, the scoop will begin sliding out – which results in litter falling on the floor. Yuck! If there was a latch that held the scoop in place, this would be awesome!

All that said, The Omega Paw Self-Cleaning Litter Box is the best litter box I have used thus far. It isn’t as nice as say a CatGenie is theoretically, but at least in my experience with the older CatGenie model, it didn’t work consistently and created lots of messes – The Omega Paw is a little more work, but it just works.

  1. [1]The cats seem more willing to use the Omega Paw litter boxes, so I eliminated one litter box – I now have two Omega Paw litter boxes and have purchased another which is on its way. I hope to eliminate one more little box so that I’ll only have three boxes total.
  2. [2]Though I’d like to try the latest model of CatGenie, I’m not about to shell out the money for a new one.
  3. [3]Which, btw, seems to keep other creatures – e.g. raccoons and squirrels – from diving into your household trash.
  4. [4]I have replaced two already and have a third on its way.
  5. [5]I’ve replaced the two litter boxes with one Omega Paw. It is a tiny bit of a hassle, but still worth it.
  6. [6]While I still think a door in the hood would be nice, I realized if I roll the box onto its back the door is then facing upwards and I can easily pour litter in that way.

PetSafe SlimCat Interactive Toy and Food Dispenser.

I have four cats – Hermione, Barclay, Piper, and George. I love my cats – but on occasion they can drive me insane. One of the primary ways they encourage insanity is by whining when they want food and ripping into Charity and I’s food when they are hungry. We used to leave food out all the time for them – but Barclay has an eating disorder of some sort. She will continue eating as long there is food, puke, then repeat (forever).

Slimcat Toy and Food Dispenser
Slimcat Toy and Food Dispenser from Amazon.com

She gained tons of weight – I think at her heaviest she was 25 lbs. She was going to die (from diabetes or etc.), we were spending unnecessary amounts on cat food, and cleaning up vomit is not my idea of fun…so we began rationing the food, giving them portions in the morning and evening.

But sometimes they aren’t happy with this, or think we should feed them at a different time, and sometimes they want more food – especially Barclay. This means they break into our food – rice, crackers, cereal. Sometimes they knock over the trash can – all forms of disasters can occur when they feel they need more food.

Recently they broke into a bag of cat food I accidentally left out. I moved it into the pantry and a few days later noticed something interesting – the cats weren’t begging for food. What had happened? Well, with the bag ripped the cats where able to stick their paw under the pantry door and pull out pieces of food and keep themselves sated. It was easy enough that Hermione, Piper, and George could do it whenever they were hungry and difficult enough that Barclay wouldn’t keep eating forever.

I wanted to replicate this experience. One option I found (and have been very happy with thus far) is the PetSafe SlimCat Interactive Toy and Food Dispenser. It is a plastic ball with holes cut into it. By sliding the plastic around you can make either the smaller or larger holes open. The top pops off and one can fill the toy with cat food. As the cats knock it around the floor a few pieces come out here and there. In this way the cats have to work for their food (we still give them regular servings as well) and also can’t get too much all at once. I see it as a reasonable solution for anyone who has an eating disordered cat – especially in a multi-cat household.

Online Shopping – Amazon, Target, Alice, FreshDirect All Disappoint.

Female grey tabby and white cat resting
Female grey tabby and white cat resting on a box of cat litter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just finished one of the household tasks I loathe the most – emptying the cat litter boxes. I refilled each box and in the process used up the last of the cat litter. Charity (my wonderful wife) doesn’t mind going to the store and buying these things, but I find this almost as frustrating as scooping out litter boxes. It is the 21st century and I get just about everything else from online – why not my pet supplies (and food)?

The first site I check is Amazon. I pay $79/yr. or whatever the fee is now for no-cost 2 day shipping. Charity and I like Purina‘s Tidy Cat litter – but Amazon doesn’t carry most varieties of it. What?!? This isn’t like some no-name brand, its Purina for goodness sake!

Next, just b/c I feel warm fuzzies towards that aging startup Alice, with whom I’ve had an account from the beginning, I check their pricing. Again, Alice doesn’t carry the Purina brand litter, though they do carry some Fresh Step which is another acceptable litter brand and the prices seem reasonable ($3.89-$5.99 for 7 lbs.). But even if I wanted to buy from Alice, I’d need to spend $50 before I’d get free Shipping & Handling…and I just want to buy cat litter, not do a full groceries/household trip!

Both Amazon and Alice have let me down – so where do I go next? Target. Why? Because in “real life” that is where Charity and I buy most of our household goods and groceries. I quickly find the litter I’m looking for but in small font I see “prices vary by store.” Still, I’m optimistic and click through to the product page because it also says in small font, “Spend $75, get free shipping.” If I can get it shipped – I must be able to order it online? Nope.

That is an interface error on Target’s part. You shouldn’t be offered free shipping on products you can’t order…but things get worse.  I see the item isn’t sold online but it is sold in stores – well, maybe I can see the price at my store? I click on find in store but in the end have only a location and contact info. – no pricing for the product. Its too bad, b/c if Target had the product I’d buy it from them – I know from in-store what product I like (an advantage usually over Amazon) and since I have a Target credit card I get free shipping and handling on my order.

I’m puzzled why Target doesn’t make their local stores into shipping distribution centers. Why not allow me to find my local store, order the car litter, and someone throws it in a box and ships it off to me?

I’m not ready to give up just yet. I seem to remember there being some pet supply stores with a significant online presence – lets try those. Petco offers free shipping only on orders over $49, Petsmart on orders over $59, and PetSupplies on orders over $49.

It is time to give up. But wait! I just received a letter from FreshDirect (whom I’ve been waiting to move into the area FOREVER) informing me that I could use them and get delivery for $.02 for two months – though after that it would cost $69/6 mo. I figure I’ll give it a try – even though I can’t see paying for Amazon Prime and FreshDirect. I grab the litter, throw it in my cart, it is reasonably priced and attempt to check out – oooh, my bad, the minimum order must be $30.

I know, I know, I’m being a bit demanding of all these services. In general I really like each of them (well, haven’t really used the pet supply ones), but in this particular case each demonstrates the small yet significant gap between consumer desire and product delivered.

In my humble opinion, Target is really in the perfect space to take over this market. With their hybrid online/local presence they have distribution centers everywhere and I’ll certainly keep going to Target for larger shopping trips – but I’d love to get my cat litter, toilet paper, paper towels, condiments, and so on shot out automatically each month (though I also don’t want to sign away my life with a contract on them…You’ll just have to trust me that if you give good prices and free shipping, I’ll keep buying).

P.S. I know I’m not using FreshDirect as intended, but when you have a minimum order price I usually give up. I want to try something and then come back and try a few things more…blahh, blahh. As my wife would say, “You are having a first world problem.”