Litter box issues are among the most common behavior concerns among cat owners. If a cat is adopted from a shelter, the shelter may have provided some rudimentary litter training. However, as soon as you bring your cat home for the first time, it’s up to you to make sure she knows where the litter box is and how to use it. But that’s not where the litter training should stop.
It’s up to you to pay attention to how your cat seems to respond to the litter and litter box you’ve selected. Do they seem happy and content using it, or do they bolt out of it as soon as they’re done, leaving their waste unburied? Do they seem to purposefully avoid the litter box at all costs, even if it’s clean?
Speaking of a clean litter box, how much effort do you have to put into keeping your litter box clean? While selecting a litter that works great for your cat is essential, choosing a litter box that works in your favor is equally as crucial. A poor litter box design means that your cat will be more skittish about using the box, leading to more accidents. A bad litter box design may also mean poor ventilation, leading to litter clumping problems.
Choosing a Litter Box
So, what should you look for when selecting a litter box? Here are a few ideas for starters:
- Is it difficult to scoop used litter out of the box?
- Does it contain corners or crevices that a scoop can’t reach?
- Is it sized appropriately for your cat?
- Are the sides too low or too high for your cat?
- Is it covered? Covered litter boxes are typically not a great idea.
- Does it feel strong and durable? Ideally, it should be constructed out of heavy duty plastic
- Is it easy to enter and exit?
- Does your cat hate it? If so, pick another box.
Ideally, your litter box should work for you, right? It should be a breeze for your cat to use, it shouldn’t smell terrible, and it should make the whole cleaning process easier on both you and your cat. So if a litter box was designed to help make cleaning easier without all of the complexity of a fully automatic self-cleaning model (i.e. the Cat Genie), why wouldn’t you want to give it a try?
Today we’re going to be discussing a litter box that attempts to be your personal litter assistant: The KittyTwister Trio!
- Material: PP / PE Plastic
- Interior Diameter: 18 in.
- Height: 19 in.
- Overall Dimensions: 19.8 x 19.8 x 19 in.
- Weight: 8.3 lbs.
The KittyTwister Trio Cat Litter Box, designed by Haspi Products, looks a bit like a small barrel, but the kind of small barrel you might find in an Apple store. It’s glossy white and contains a hole on its outer surface for your cat to enter.
The KittyTwister Trio contains three pieces: The top tray, the bottom tray, and the litter sifter. The top and bottom trays are identical and can be used interchangeably. This will be an important thing to remember when we discuss the cleaning process.
The pièce de résistance of the KittyTwister is its sifting tray. The sifting tray sits suspended in the litter, which is contained in the bottom tray. Your cat goes to the bathroom in the litter above the sifting tray. Whenever you go to clean the litter box out, you simply pick up the sifter to remove the clumped waste, twist it to shake off any excess litter (hence the name, KittyTwister), and remove the waste. Then you can replace the sifter and start all over again!
If you’re not interested in the sifting tray, Haspi Products also makes an identical version of the Trio that leaves the sifting tray out. It’s basically just a circular, covered litter box, and it’s called the KittyTwister Duo. But for now, we’re going to focus on the Trio, sifting tray and all.
Here’s a video to show you how the KittyTwister Trio works:
Although the makers of the KittyTwister Trio brag about its size, it ends up feeling a little claustrophobic due to its circular shape. The bottom tray is deep, and a large volume of litter is needed to make sure that the litter level is high enough above not only the bottom tray, but also the sifting tray which sits above it. Overall, the circular shape does not maximize the efficiency of the space it occupies.
The biggest advantage of the KittyTwister Trio is the distance it maintains between you and the litter during the changing process. The size of the box and the height of the walls give you quite a comfortable buffer of space to separate you from your cat’s waste. This may be ideal for cat owners who are a bit more squeamish when it comes to scooping a litter box with a small scooper.
Unfortunately, not all of your cat’s waste will be caught by the sifting tray. Some of it will pass through, failing to clump immediately. Urine, for example, may not clump in the upper layers of the litter. Instead, it may collect in the lower layers, below the sifter, and form a clump there over time. As a result, you may need to scoop out the bottom of the box from time to time. The difficulty of this process is compounded by the box’s circular shape, which makes it difficult to remove clumps collected around the edges.
Covered vs. Uncovered Litter Boxes
Under most circumstances, a covered litter box is a bad idea. Unfortunately, the KittyTwister Trio does not earn the right to be an exception to this rule. Covered litter boxes have limited ventilation, leading to a host of problems, including poor litter clumping and odor containment. For your cat, a covered litter box is analogous to a poorly-maintained Port-a-John in people world. As a result, cats don’t like them too much.
Another problem with covered litter boxes is that they don’t allow cats the opportunity to survey their surroundings while they’re doing their business. Going to the bathroom puts a cat in a very vulnerable position, and cats in the wild prefer to have a full range of vision to keep an eye out for attackers while going to the bathroom.
A covered litter box operates counter to your cat’s instinctual desire for an open field of vision, leaving your cat isolated in a small, confined area where they may feel vulnerable to attack. Giving the litter box only one exit / entrance may make your cat extremely nervous. This may cause your cat to avoid the litter box altogether, or to quickly flee it as soon as they are done going to the bathroom, leaving their waste uncovered.
While the default configuration of the KittyTwister Trio is with both the top and bottom trays attached, you also have the option of just using the bottom and sifting trays. This is preferable since it will allow for better clumping of the litter, which will translate into improved performance of the sifting tray.
Ease of Use
In theory, the KittyTwister is easy to use. You simply pop off the top tray whenever you want to clean the box, pick up the sifting tray, twist, dump, and replace.
However, you can’t just put the top back on. Instead, you need to use the top tray as the bottom tray for the clean box. You can then place the sifting tray in the the empty bottom tray and dump your clean litter over it, using the old bottom tray as the new top tray. Confusing, right? It’s actually not so bad, once you’ve done it a couple of times.
While the cleaning process seems to take advantage of the litter box’s unique design, it is cumbersome in practice. It can be difficult to transfer the waste from the sifting tray to a trash can without spilling extra pieces of litter all over the floor. You almost always end up making a mess during the process, which means you have to clean up afterwards. This adds additional time to the cleaning process, which is a bad thing considering the box is supposed to be saving you time on cleaning. Also, since the KittyTwister Trio is large, the bottom tray can be pretty heavy when it’s full of litter. This can make it difficult to pour the litter over the sifting tray and into the empty bottom tray after a cleaning.
The plastic latches that secure the top and bottom trays together are somewhat difficult to fasten. They take a little getting used to, but are fairly easy to use once you have become familiar with how they operate.
Quality and Durability
The KittyTwister Trio is manufactured entirely out of plastic. Fortunately, the plastic is fairly heavy duty. It does not feel easily breakable, and it is capable of handling the rough toll that litter (and your cat) will place on it. However, while the plastic is strong and durable, the KittyTwister Trio gets handled a bit more roughly than a typical litter box. This is a byproduct of its cleaning process. As a result, the high strength plastic is essential to make sure the box can hold up through several cleanings.
The current price of the KittyTwister as of October, 2018, is just a smidge under $90. Of course, prices are subject to change. But at its current price, the KittyTwister does not present a fantastic value. It’s a fairly high price to pay for a plastic container. It will be interesting to see if this box goes on sale for a heavily reduced price in the future.
The KittyTwister Trio is also larger than the average litter box. As a result, it takes more litter to fill it. Since the litter will still need to be changed occasionally, this means that you’re going to end up using more litter with this box than you would with a standard model.
- Consolidates the litter scooping process
- Keeps you further away from the litter during cleaning
- Appears sleek and modern
- Outperforms other sifting litter boxes
- Covered litter box
- Users more litter
- Poorer ventilation, leading to internal odor and poorer clumping
- Small opening size and overall claustrophobic feeling, making it bad for large cats
- Makes a mess during cleanings
- Complicated cleaning process
- Circular shape, making it difficult to scoop pieces of waste that fall through the sifter
Based on our assessment, the KittyTwister Trio scores a 6.0 / 10.0. Truthfully, there are better litter boxes out there for your money. If the KittyTwister shape is really your thing or the idea of twisting a big bowl to clean your cat’s litter sounds fun to you, by all means, give the KittyTwister Trio a spin. But most people may be better off going with something a bit more basic.