There are few things more natural and primal than the relationship between people and their pets. For many thousands of years, humans have been sharing their lives with domestic animals, particularly cats and dogs. In more recent history, the way we live has changed massively thanks to the development of sophisticated technology. There is now a huge array of technological solutions available for almost any conceivable purpose. Consumers are willing to spend big bucks on technology to make their lives easier, and it is no surprise that this includes the care of our beloved pets.
Valued at USD $4.5 billion in 2018, the global pet tech market is growing, as new technologies become available for the automation of pet care. Driven by the fast rate of technological innovation, the market is expected to grow to over $20 billion by 2025. Some of the most popular pet tech currently on the market includes smart collars, robot cat litter boxes and auto-feeding devices. Pet tech of the future is likely to utilise increasingly advanced AI technology for monitoring of health and behaviour. There are huge profits available to companies that seize this moment and deliver innovative products that work. Let’s take a look at some of the key players in the burgeoning world of robotic cat litter boxes.
Gone are the days of laborious, manual scooping of stinky detritus. Robotic litter boxes offer automatic waste separation and cleaning functions, plus additional features. The top player in the robotic cat litter box market is the popular Litter-Robot. The company offers several models, all of which resemble a cute droid from Star Wars in which your cat can poop. You simply add clumping cat litter to the spherical receptacle, and your cat does its business as normal. After your cat has done the necessary, the globe rotates to separate the waste material and return unused cat litter to the tray. The Litter-Robot boasts additional features such as a weight sensor and night light.
There are a few contenders for Litter Robot’s position as top cat of the robot litter box market. The LavvieBot S is fully automated, separating waste and refilling litter automatically. This means that you can ‘set it and forget it’ for up to three weeks, for the ultimate convenience. LavvieBot makes use of fast wi-fi connections to wirelessly sync with a dedicated smartphone app. The app tracks your cat’s weight and bathroom habits, as well as notifying you when the litter needs to be emptied or refilled.
Footloose is another hi-tech litter robot that raked in over $1 million with its Kickstarter campaign. As well as the automated sifting mechanism and other features, Footloose claims to help track the health of your feline friend. The device uses AI technology to analyse the frequency and quantity of waste expulsion, alerting the user of any abnormalities via an app. This could be great news for owners of cats with digestive or urinary issues, though how well it actually works has yet to be seen.
The iKuddle is another smart litter box on the cat pet care market. Controlled by an app installed on your phone, this litter box can separate the waste from the clean litter once your cat has left the box. With the simple press of a button, this gadget can auto pack your pet’s waste, allowing you to easily dispose of it when possible. With a health tracking app connected to the sensor, you can even track the general health of your cat based on their feeding schedule and portions and how often your cat uses the smart litter box.
While robot litter boxes are an attractive prospect for consumers, some of the products on the market have been beset with problems. Customers have reported mess, smells, malfunctions and expensive upkeep. Competitor gadgets claim to be able to correct these problems. One thing is for sure, however. Pet technology is improving at a rate of knots, and the market is growing exponentially. Someday in the not-too-distant future, the manual cat litter scoop may be a relic as archaic as the oil lamp. Until then, maybe keep one around just in case.
When she’s not busy writing and editing articles, or running her personal blog, Harper likes to spend her free time catching up on the latest lifestyle and technology trends.