PhotoAs any pet owner can tell you, providing care and love for an animal can bring about a lot of joy. It can also get messy. 

One area of cat care that owners wish they could avoid, for example, is scooping out the litter box. A potential solution is the Litter-Robot, which is supposed to dramatically cut down the numbers of times you have to remove your cat’s wastes.

This is the second version of the Litter-Robot released by Automated Pet Care Products over the years, and it's a mechanism that allows cats to do their business while giving owners at least a partial respite from clean-up duties.

When your cat leaves the device, it spins and gathers the waste, then dumps it into a bagged compartment. From there, you simply remove the bag and throw it away.

One of the main advantages of the Litter-Robot, the company says, is that it can hold waste for several days, which is especially useful for the times when you have to take a short business trip or go on a weekend excursion.

And since the robot gathers waste by rotating and dumping it into a separate drawer, owners no longer have to scoop it out by hand.

LitterMaid Jan. 14, 2013, 8:43 p.m.
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Other companies make similar devices, including the LitterMaid, which unfortunately has generated a lot of complaints from cat owners who say it fails in its most essential mission. 

The company also says Litter-Robot’s rotating process is a patented and unique sifting method that removes waste clumps in the litter, and the waste drawer itself is designed to remain odorless and to prevent mold from growing on the inside of it.

Both of these design features are supposed to ensure the device remains clean each time your cat uses it, but owners should still remove the drawer's contents at least once a week, the company says.

Another perk of Litter-Robot is that it doesn’t require a special receptacle, and its drawers can hold bags of many sizes. The company does offer biodegradable bags, but just about any bag can be used inside the drawer--including old shopping bags.

The makers also say the globe-shaped apparatus uses a special carbon filter which insulates the unpleasant odor of the waste, thus releasing less odor throughout your home than traditional litter boxes. The device also doesn’t require any special kind of litter, which of course is nice.

The Litter-Robot itself looks like a spaceship of sorts, and it's designed to fit just about any size cat. And to ensure the device doesn’t start to rotate while your cat is in it, the company installed a sensor, so the globe won’t move if your cat is within range.

If there’s a downside to this product, it would have to be its steep price of about $340, but for those who want to cut down their litter box cleaning to just once a week, and allow their cats to have a little more independence, it might be worth the high cost.

Another not so great thing is that it makes a bit of noise when it rotate, so if you live in smaller quarters and you’re unable to put the machine in a distant space, then you may be disturbed by it.

Road work

PhotoAnother product that might be worth the money for dog owners is The Canine Treadmill, which costs between $500 and $1,000, depending on the size of the treadmill and where you buy it. Currently it’s on Amazon for $523.99.

Is it expensive? Yes. But for those times when walking your dog is inconvenient for a variety of reasons, The Canine Treadmill could pay itself off in terms of human effort, specifically for the times when it’s too cold for you and your dog to walk or when temperatures are so high that even going for a short trip outside could be dangerous.

Also, many veterinarians and pet experts say dogs need at least of 15 to 45 minutes of walking time per day, depending on the type of dog you have, so pets that aren’t getting that amount of exercise can use the treadmill no matter what the weather is like outside.

The treadmill is also useful for dogs that could stand to lose a little bit of weight and need a little more than the required 15 or 45 minutes of physical activity per day.

PhotoThe creators of The Canine Treadmill say the walking belt is made of a soft rubber so it’s easy on your dog’s paws, and it also comes equipped with safety barriers so your dog remains in position and doesn’t tip over or shift.

Owners can adjust the speed and level of resistance of the treadmill, so your dog will be able to get their needed level of exercise regardless of their size or breed.

The motorized exercise machine comes with training guidelines so owners will know just how to use it, and also know how much walking your dog will need to stay healthy.

The company says the treadmill uses a quiet motor so it doesn’t disturb other people in the house, and it looks really cool, so it won’t stand out in your home like a sore thumb or look like an ugly and serious piece of exercise equipment.

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