Auto kitty-litter box. Opinions?

The last thread I could find on the topic was from 2005. It has good advice, but I figure litter-box technology may have advanced since then.

We have two cats and three litter boxes, all filled with Fresh Step Crystals. I scoop them about every day, but occasionally go two or three days without a change (e.g., travelling, overtaxing work week), maybe once or twice every couple of months. We all exist in a nice equilibrium.

But …

But in what will likely be another thread, we’ve been adopted. A third cat is on its way, and I’d like to shift to the auto-boxes.

Not that I will be completely free from litter detail—I get that I’ll still have to clean regularly. But with three critters down there I’d like to add a modicum of automation to relieve me of some of the daily burden to keep their area clear.

I guess part of my question is whether or not that is realistic. If I do them every day now and can let them go a few days, will I be able to head down there every other day and let them go five or six days? Or do they need to be emptied every day anyway and their only benefit is not doing the actual scooping myself (that seems like a raw deal for the price of the autoboxes)?

I’m really enamored of the CatGenie litter box, which is self-flushing. It’s expensive, but I’d totally buy it except that one of my cats pees standing up; I use a huge Rubbermaid tub with high walls to contain him.

Did anyone else imagine a cat standing on its hind legs, trying to reach the toilet?

Sort of. I went to the whole opposable thumbs versus claws thing.

Our cats often nail the rim of the litterbox and I figured the automatic boxes would just be harder to clean. Any experiences on this particular point?

We had aLitter Robot a few years ago, and it worked great - until one of our cats decided she didn’t like peeing in it. Our cats are big girls, and the cat in question just doesn’t like covered litter boxes. The Litter Robot was probably a little too snug for her. Other than this issue with our specific cat, the device itself worked GREAT. We loved that thing! We were sad when it was clear we’d have to get rid of it (we don’t have space for a second litterbox).

I used to love my Litter Robot, but I think the motor is dying.

My parents had one like this many years ago. It never really worked worth a damn. It had a comb that would successfully scoop a up a few deposits into fresh litter, but after a day or two it mostly just broke things up into little bits that jammed up the whole thing. And then you’d have to clean damp clay deposits out of the mechanism on a regular basis. After a few months the motor died out and we just had an expensive plastic box that wasn’t easy to scoop by hand.

My sister (only one cat) has had a Littermaid for years. It works great, but apparently it’s one of those things where you often get a lousy one that doesn’t work right, but if you exchange it, the next machine might be great. She also has a fountain for her cat, so the urine output is pretty high, but it seems to keep up just fine.

With three cats, I’d get a couple of them. You know how cats can be.