Litter-Robot III Open Air reviewed

My name’s Mal, but my friends call me captain. I’ve got a ship, Serenity, a Litter-Robot III Open Air. Like all savvy captains, I bought my ship refurbished and without an extended warranty. Does that make me bold and dangerous? Maybe.

The cat that sold her to me had some photos of what she looked like when he got her. She don’t look much like them anymore, but that’s just a product of makin’ a living. He also said that if I bought this ship and treated her proper, she’d be with me for the rest of my lives. Of course, he was talking about a different ship, but I reckon the same holds true for my girl.


Alright, that was an amusing way to kick things off, but let’s drop the act. I’m not the real Malcolm Reynolds, and this isn’t some kind of inane Buzz Lightyear situation. I’m just a cat. I am named Mal, and I do have a robotic litter box that some say looks like a spaceship, though. My humans bought it for me a few months ago. A couple years back, I had one a lot like it, but my humans took it away for some reason and made me do my business in a normal litter box like a gorram animal. Oops, slipped back into my role-playing character there. Whatever, it’s probably lost on you anyway.

I’ve come to accept my new spaceship-robot, but it took me a couple days to acclimate to it. It just wouldn’t do until the thing’s smell took on some of my masculine overtones. That happened quickly, though, especially after my lazy humans stopped cleaning out my old litter box. The cretins. Anyway, my new waste-tumbler is vastly superior to my old one, mostly because of the giant opening on the front that even my very large companion Morimoto can fit through easily. Trust me, you don’t want anything coming between him and the litter.

As you’d expect from humans, the Litter-Robot is robust and simple. The only thing I need to do to make it work is my business, if you get my meaning. The silly humans have to use buttons on the outside to reset or cycle my robot, but it does my bidding automatically just a few minutes after I’m done with it. When it starts working, it spins all the way around, slowly separating my deposits from the litter that I can use later. Then it drops the clumps into the drawer at the bottom for my humans to collect later. After that, it spins back the other way and lays out the fresh litter nice and flat, just how I like it.


I graciously allowed the humans to record this video of how my Litter-Robot works before I claimed it.

You will now listen to my anecdote. Once, Morimoto attempted to use the robot when it was in the middle of cleaning up after me and it stopped moving when he stepped on it. He had to seize his indomitable bowels until it started running again and completed its work. It was hilarious. You are permitted to laugh at his folly.

I have another compliment to pay this “robot” that I cannot extend to my old one. The so-called Open Air III doesn’t have the infernal trapdoor that Morimoto would always jam up after one too many trips to the food bowl. I’m sure the lazy humans just did it because it’s easier to make something with fewer moving parts, but even broken cat-clocks are right nine times a nap-day.

For obvious reasons, I leave the room when it’s time for the humans to empty out the tray at the bottom of my robot. That only happens a couple times a week, though, and it’s not as if I intentionally loiter in the vicinity anyway. Morimoto is not so discerning. His Largeness has witnessed the ceremony occur on numerous occasions, probably because nothing deters him from his quest to consume all food. He claims that the humans are only ever in there for a couple minutes at a time to pull out the tray, remove the old liner from it, and install the new one before closing it back up. Sounds like exactly how much effort I’d tolerate putting into caring for my superior being’s waste, if there was such a thing. By the way, my humans seem to prefer these liners, you know, in case the opinion of other servants matters to you.

Earlier, when I was toying with your pathetic simian brain by speaking of that spaceship nonsense, I was not being completely disingenuous. The pictures I benevolently shared are indeed what my robot looked like when the male human took it out of its amazing box. Ooh, that box… *purr* I must have it! Ahem, moving on. I overheard the male say that he saved one hundred human dollars by getting a refurbished one. He seemed quite pleased that it looked brand new, but he was clearly ignorant because it didn’t come with any furbish at all. Regardless, thanks in large part to my efforts, it doesn’t look as shiny now as it did back then. Because I pity your species, I’m going to enlighten you by sharing my perspective of the device with you after three months of use. Behold.

Inside the Litter-Robot III Open Air – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Can you believe I actually put up with this gosa? Thankfully, my Catholes groom me after my work is complete.

Haha! Foolish human. You were deceived by my incalculable cleverness. As if pity would incline me to show mercy or share my boundless knowledge. What you have now seen, you can’t unsee. Still, I have taught you a valuable lesson about what to expect your master’s Litter-Robot to look like with time. You’re welcome. My human has learned that the best way to keep the inside of my robot as clean as possible, and reduce his toiletry toiling, is to use a heavy, high-quality, low-dust litter, such as this one. As if something so obvious should require education. Now, listen carefully to my next words: procure an unscented litter for our use. We’re cats, not frickin’ poodles!

I’m getting bored writing this bladder-related drivel and I fear you may find it amusing instead of considering it with the reverence such critical information deserves. Mark my words, human, providing your feline overlord with clean litter is of grave importance. Or would you prefer us to relieve ourselves in your FOOTWEAR?! I thought not. Now, let us end this charade so I can nap in that ray of sunlight being cast onto the female human’s favorite hoodie.

To one as intelligent and sophisticated as myself, it is clear that the Litter-Robot III Open Air is a highly satisfactory contraption. It functions admirably and enables my otherwise incompetent servants to at least perform one task to my purrfectly reasonable standards. That is why, in an unfathomable act of generosity, I have authorized the humans that operate this website to convey my recommendation that you purchase one for your own glorious furred ruler. It occurs to me that spending $450 on an excrement receptacle may be unpalatable to you. To that, I say: deal with it. Your financial woes are not my concern unless they impact my food supply. Figure it out, monkey.

Colton Westrate

I post Shortbread, I host BBQs, I tell stories, and I strive to keep folks happy.

Comments closed
    • plonk420
    • 1 year ago

    [url<]https://i.pinimg.com/564x/0f/5c/61/0f5c611c3b93172560bf73302d2aa505.jpg[/url<]

    • rutra80
    • 1 year ago

    wall of text was too much of an obstacle to understand whats this about. youtube vid made me wonder if it is moddable to several hundred rpm because playback at 2x speed wasnt satisfactory enough

    • Jigar
    • 1 year ago

    Damage did that couple of years back and i see the same kind of review again. Thank you, that was a good read and nice review.

    • Fonbu
    • 1 year ago

    Now the cat wasn’t fat but it sure could crap.
    For this was one brave cat.
    Even if most people don’t give a crap.
    Now its crap filled a room.
    Such a dirty room filled with cat crap.
    The brave cat wasn’t as dirty as a dirty rat.
    No since it was the cat masters will to clean the crap!!!!

    • NIKOLAS
    • 1 year ago

    Not enough cat pics.

    • LocalCitizen
    • 1 year ago

    i hope this trend continues on TR. no review is purrfect without a cat pic.
    — localcat

      • Sargent Duck
      • 1 year ago

      I still longingly wish for the April’s Fool day when TR replaced all the pictures with cat pictures. That was a great day.

    • GrimDanfango
    • 1 year ago

    No complaints about a fine piece of tech being reviewed on a fine tech website…
    But, in the interests of journalistic impartiality, I feel you should really cover some doggo-tech too, for us dog-people types.

      • drfish
      • 1 year ago

      Yeah, my dogs have had it ruff/gotten the short end of the stick. I’ll see what I can do.

        • DragonDaddyBear
        • 1 year ago

        Isn’t that what cats are for?

        • thedosbox
        • 1 year ago

        I just want to say that the header image makes me laugh every time I see it. It’s as if Mal is judging us.

          • drfish
          • 1 year ago

          Oh, he is. Harshly.

      • liquidsquid
      • 1 year ago

      Totally! I would love to see some articles about dog tracking technology. My pup is constantly running off on me, and then I find out she is in the bushes just several feet away. Garmin makes a series of devices, but they are for hunters and do far too much. I want something much simpler, and for one or two dogs!

      Reviews for products like this from a consumer and casual point of view are hard to come by.

    • adamlongwalker
    • 1 year ago

    In my life had 5 wonderful cats. Two of them lived to be 17 years of age. One of them lived to be 21 years of age. One of them lived to be 23 years of age and my last cast who is currently alive and well is 23 and 1/3 years old.

    With of my track record of taking car of my cats/pets whom I loved so very much I have Veterinarians and other cat lovers ask me on how to I kept them as long lived and healthy as they are?

    Because they have never seen a cat that has live to be 23+ years old. It to the point that I bring my cat down (when he wants too) to the Vets so the interns can take a look on and ask questions on how I did this.

    One of the things is a SIMPLE cat box and the RIGHT type of kitty litter for whatever the age and type of the cat . And you clean it out on a daily basis… it is not that hard to do.

    After trying a few of these mechanical cat boxes over the years (IMHO) increase the levels of harmful bacteria which causes kidney failure… a main killer in felines. Because you really have to clean those mechanical cat boxes really well and I do not BUY into the concept of them being bacteria resistant.

    I know from my experience from the cats and animals I have had as well as my learning from my family to know how to take care of my pets.

    And that is why My Amie (short for Amadeus) is still alive with kidneys not an issue. That in itself for that age of a cat… is short of a miracle.

    I will stay with the simple daily method of scooping the litter out of his box.

    When owning a pet it becomes a real long term commitment. I love my cats as they in life were there for me when times were down. They do not judge you how you look like. They don’t judge you on whom you are. They gave me unconditional love and in return I do the same.

    In their case of the monetary value of the pet bill? It did not matter what the price or how high the price was to be. To keep them healthy, happy in their lives the price that was paid is well worth it. That is the “Oath Must Be Kept” between you pet and yourself. I have kept that oath so far in life and will continue to do so and my pets will be cared for when I’m gone.

    I’ve made sure of that.

    Amie sleeps by my side every night for 23 1/3 years. His purrs are loud… He is happy…

    And so am I.

      • null0byte
      • 1 year ago

      [i<]<bunch of angry words>[/i<] Edit: I apologize for the post typed up out of grief. I should have just let it go and disconnected for a while instead of venting.

      • Chrispy_
      • 1 year ago

      I’m not disputing your anecdote, because I’ve never had a cat last more than 15 years.

      At 14, my first cat probably became too deaf and blind to dodge traffic, though I suspect he may have lived a couple more sleepy, warm and curled-up years. The next two managed 10 and 11, to FeLV and stomach tumors.

      Kidney infection accounts for around 12% of cat deaths in the UK, which is the largest single killer of cats, but only because each of the various cancers are listed separately. [b<]Cancer is the biggest worry for cats, the individual types of cancer accounting for over 60% of adult cat deaths[/b<], followed by trauma at around 13% Renal failure in cats is not limited to indoor cats either, with the vast majority of cats dying to renal failure the result of ingesting toxins, either through airborne pesticides, drinking contaminated water (many cats drink from ponds and garden water features with additives) and many cats tend to chew and sometimes swallow grass/leaves for inexplicable reasons, the majority of which are toxic to them. I'm sure there is solid evidence linking kitty-litter bacteria to feline renal failure, but of the 12% of feline deaths by renal failure, 10% of those are toxin ingestion. Cancers and transmittable diseases in cats account for over 70% of all deaths and those can be largely mitigated by controlling diet and limiting the number of other cats they interact with. In other words, indoor cats last longer because around 72% of the things that statistically kill them is outdoors, whilst 2% of the things that statistically kill them are a litter-tray bacteria. If a robot litter tray makes it easier, more comfortable for the cat or more practical for either the owner or cat, it's [i<]statistically[/i<] 36x better to have one than not because it's 72% in the 'for' column and 2% in the 'against' column.

    • null0byte
    • 1 year ago

    I’ve got two of the Open Airs, one of them was from their small initial 50 person beta test of their “Open Air Connect” model – aka: WiFi-enabled litter box (yes, I know).

    The regular one I’ve found is a bit more robust, though it just be because mine was a beta model. The Connect’s sensors are just a taaaaad too sensitive on mine, and so my phone gets spammed with messages saying there is a sensor fault. You can also change the timer delay before the cycle begins, turn the nightlight on or off, manually cycle the box, and see the general level of the tray in the app. And yeah, it’ll also basically tell you when your cat used the box as it notifies you when a cycle has completed.

    With two cats and two boxes, I only need to empty the drawers every week or so. Works out well for me.

    • anotherengineer
    • 1 year ago

    I remember litter boxes used to just be left over cardboard boxes from the grocery store………….how times have changed.

    Now I feel old…………….

    • alan242
    • 1 year ago

    The lack of cheese/milk references has disappointed the little masters here. They suggest that your human is holding out on you.

    Seriously, thanks for the article. Its been a while since I looked at automatic litter boxes. It is a nice diversion while we wait for nvidia shenanigans to get out of the bag.

    • toki
    • 1 year ago

    “mal” is actually a root in many Romance languages meaning “bad” or “evil.”

      • Peter.Parker
      • 1 year ago

      Don’t be so malicious

      • tipoo
      • 1 year ago

      “GOOD” – Mal

    • tanker27
    • 1 year ago

    Seriously? Has TR fallen this low?

    There are way more things that can be reviewed than a litter box. e.g. robo vacuums, security cameras/systems, all things home automation, etc. etc.

      • drfish
      • 1 year ago

      Except for April Fools, this one may take the cake as my strangest review, but I did write about robot vacuums [url=https://techreport.com/review/29673/robotic-vacuums-a-pc-enthusiast-primer<]a couple years ago[/url<] in case you missed it. I'm sorry this venture wasn't to your liking, but rest assured I'll keep pursuing eclectic reviews.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 1 year ago

        Easily the weirdest thing I’ve read on the Internet this week, but my net access has been somewhat limited.

      • Sargent Duck
      • 1 year ago

      Back in the day Scott used to do a lot of LED light bulb reviews (at least, I think it was Scott. My apologies to whoever it was if I got this wrong).

      The computer industry is slowing and consolidating and as a result, there are less motherboard and video card manufactures out there offering truely unique parts to review. If there is already somebody reviewing the new reference video card from Nvidia, do you want another review of the same card oc’d by 100Mhz?

      Reviews like this (and LED/robo-vacs) add personality to TR and make TR unique. And many people own cats so this article is both TECH and relevant.

        • drfish
        • 1 year ago

        FWIW, Scott’s review of the [url=https://techreport.com/review/20486/intel-core-i7-990x-extreme-processor<]Core i7-990X[/url<] was absolutely an inspiration for this piece.

      • The Egg
      • 1 year ago

      You’re on the Tech Report, reading a tech article. I see no problem here.

      ….in fact, this might be one of the most important pieces of tech in the feline lifestyle (along with electric can openers and laser pointers).

      • DPete27
      • 1 year ago

      What’s the matter? A ROBOTIC litter box isn’t Tech enough to Report on?

      • cphite
      • 1 year ago

      Hey, to each his own I guess. I can confidently say this is the best tech article written by a cat that I’ve ever read.

      • Chrispy_
      • 1 year ago

      It was National cat day.

      Whilst Colton was writing about cat tech, the rest of the internet was stuck on [url=https://i.imgur.com/rreRs3f.mp4<]bongocat memes[/url<] by the hundred.

    • thedosbox
    • 1 year ago

    The lack of cat content on the RTX stories had me worried.

    I should have known better.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 1 year ago

    Love this review. This is why TR is the best.

    Will any liner do? I have 3 cats (yes, I’m crazy). I can afford the price of this machine but don’t want to bankrupt myself buying liners. How “full” does each bag get? The tray doesn’t look like it would hold a lot before having to swap out the bags.

      • Waco
      • 1 year ago

      We bought one a few months ago – they’re compatible with standard kitchen trash bags (8 gallons work okay, 10 gallons are great). We just buy cheap bags since we end up changing them out every 3-4 days with 3 big cats.

    • chµck
    • 1 year ago

    i skimmed this article and have no idea what it does

      • drfish
      • 1 year ago

      Mal is insulted by your criticism, but I will risk his wrath by summarizing.

      It is an automatic litter box that works by rotating a drum that forces the litter through a grate which separates out the mess and drops in into a liner for removal in batches. It works really good.

        • anotherengineer
        • 1 year ago

        So a rotating cat scat litter separator.

        Got ya!!

        [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy8kmNEo1i8[/url<]

        • rechicero
        • 1 year ago

        Cute to read but… where is the information? If you don’t know already what that thing is, you won’t understand much of the review. And if you already know it, you don’t really need to read it (the only piece of useful information you might need is the “recommended” seal)

        I’m sorry, but if you take the funny factor out, there is almost nothing left and if it’s not informative, it’s not a good review. And in this case you even needed to explain in the comments what the device actually does!

          • drfish
          • 1 year ago

          Here’s the paragraph from the review that covers the basic function:

          [quote<]As you'd expect from humans, the Litter-Robot is robust and simple. The only thing I need to do to make it work is my business, if you get my meaning. The silly humans have to use buttons on the outside to reset or cycle my robot, but it does my bidding automatically just a few minutes after I'm done with it. When it starts working, it spins all the way around, slowly separating my deposits from the litter that I can use later. Then it drops the clumps into the drawer at the bottom for my humans to collect later. After that, it spins back the other way and lays out the fresh litter nice and flat, just how I like it.[/quote<] That's followed by a video of it operating. You hit the nail on the head, though. If this was a just the facts review, there wouldn't be much to it. So, I had some fun and spiced it up a little. The details are there, just obfus[b<]cat[/b<]ed a bit. 😉

            • DragonDaddyBear
            • 1 year ago

            You made an otherwise boring thing entertaining. Mission accomplished.

            If you had not spiced the article up it would have been a [b<]cat[/b<]astrophe.

            • Sargent Duck
            • 1 year ago

            I see what you did there.

            • drfish
            • 1 year ago

            He’s just a copycat, I did it with obfus[b<]cat[/b<]ed furst. 😛

    • DPete27
    • 1 year ago

    Thoughts:
    1) They didn’t factor in the ability to hose out the inside of the drum? Gross.
    2) It rotates awful slow, and with only a single rotation, does it do a decent job of filtering out the waste? Vibration may make the filtering process more efficient, but may have a detrimental effect on longevity.
    3) Is there a way to adjust the delay of the auto-rotate? It looks like things could use a bit more time to dry by the looks of the inside.

      • drfish
      • 1 year ago

      Mal has authorized me to share the following responses:

      1) A Lysol wipe to the inside when your empty the tray would probably stay on top of the accumulation. I haven’t hosed out the new one yet, but I did with my old one. As a dumb human, my memory is fuzzy, but I recall it taking a long time to dry because there couldn’t be any drainage holes.
      2) This hasn’t been a problem unless you fill it with too much litter. I had to switch back to a heavy litter when I got the new robot, because it didn’t like the lightweight litter, for a lot of reasons, this one among them. Essentially, it can’t miss, and it wastes almost no litter if you’re using the right stuff.
      3) [url<]https://www.litter-robot.com/blog/2016/11/22/litter-robot-open-air-feature-wait-time-setting/[/url<]

      • bandannaman
      • 1 year ago

      [quote<]2) It rotates awful slow, and with only a single rotation, does it do a decent job of filtering out the waste? Vibration may make the filtering process more efficient, but may have a detrimental effect on longevity.[/quote<] I thought the same thing, but then I remembered that the absolute last thing you want to do with one of these is to frighten the skittish prospective users, whether they're using it or not. Slow movement and quiet, predictable operation are essential.

        • BSandLies
        • 1 year ago

        The slow movement is so that as the granules tumble they have time to bind with whatever loose waste was on top and thoroughly coat it in litter before it shifts too much. Otherwise a loose gooey stool would get stuck where its not supposed to due to lack of coating litter.

    • DragonDaddyBear
    • 1 year ago

    I love the cat review. TR has some of the best, most fun to read content.

    Edit: I need to stop commenting on my phone.

      • bthylafh
      • 1 year ago

      *In*continent, shirley.

        • DragonDaddyBear
        • 1 year ago

        Fixed. Stupid autoincorrect. To be fair, if I cared more it wouldn’t be such a problem. meh.

    • tipoo
    • 1 year ago

    I mostly enjoy how this makes it look like these are kitty aliens visiting earth in their space shuttles

    [url<]https://bestselfcleaninglitterbox.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/litter-robot-III.jpg[/url<]

    • Neutronbeam
    • 1 year ago

    Let’s get down to what’s important about this. How many parsecs did it take to make the Kessel run? You do know that in hyperspace there are signs that say “No Littering”?

    • BSandLies
    • 1 year ago

    I have had a LitterRobot II for about 4 years. It works well, though sometimes it fails to sense the cat’s presence and you have to manually trigger the cycling. This is often caused by a near-full tray or granules of litter getting stuck where they shouldn’t. It makes for a far better smelling house than any litter receptacle I’ve ever had previously.

      • Waco
      • 1 year ago

      This. We got one a few months ago and both the cats and the humans LOVE it.

      • Redocbew
      • 1 year ago

      They make one of these for bulls also? Interesting.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This