“I In­vented That!”

A robotic lit­ter box that does the scoop­ing for you saves cat par­ents from a uni­ver­sally dis­liked chore

Modern Cat - - Contents - BY ROSE FROSEK

A robotic lit­ter box that does the scoop­ing for you saves cat par­ents from a uni­ver­sally dis­liked chore.

“The num­ber one thing we hear from peo­ple who buy a Lit­ter-Ro­bot is some vari­a­tion of ‘It changed my life,’ shares Lori Bates, Lit­ter-Ro­bot’s Con­tent Mar­ket­ing Man­ager. “Cus­tomers have even gone so far as to say the prod­uct ‘saved my mar­riage.’ The on­line re­views are equally pos­i­tive. Re­viewer Sara O., who sent the Lit­ter-Ro­bot III Open Air to her sis­ter as a house­warm­ing gift, com­ments, “My sis­ter sent a thank you but I could tell she thought it was a lit­tle strange, some­thing like giv­ing a toi­let as a gift. Over the next week as her cats started us­ing it, she texted me it was the best gift she ever re­ceived.” Lit­ter-Ro­bot is the brain­child of Brad Bax­ter, Lit­ter-Ro­bot’s Pres­i­dent and In­ven­tor. His “ah-ha” mo­ment was pro­vided cour­tesy of his two cats who weren't con­sis­tently go­ing in the lit­ter box. Brad gra­ciously con­cedes it wasn’t their fault—he wasn’t keep­ing the lit­ter boxes as clean as he should have been. It was while clean­ing up af­ter them that Brad started to think about ways to au­to­mate lit­ter box scoop­ing. Brad hit upon a ro­ta­tional con­cept, like a carousel, that would lift and sift the lit­ter via grav­ity. But upon do­ing a patent search, he found a sim­i­lar, but bet­ter con­cept over­all. This is where many would hang up their hat, but Brad forged ahead. “In­stead of get­ting dis­cour­aged,” he says, “I con­tacted the in­ven­tor and within a few months we had signed a li­cense agree­ment and I pro­ceeded to ex­pand on the orig­i­nal patented de­sign and pro­to­types.”

Al­though the ba­sic con­cept was solid, there were de­sign chal­lenges around cat sens­ing and to­tal clump re­moval that Brad solved. Get­ting it to mar­ket in­volved his par­ents tak­ing out a sec­ond mort­gage on their home in ex­change for a share in the com­pany. This be­ing 1999, there was also a learn­ing curve around then-new e-com­merce and Brad’s di­rect-to-con­sumer busi­ness model. “Not know­ing any bet­ter and not un­der­stand­ing the need for strong mar­ket­ing, the process of 'go­ing to mar­ket' was very slow and or­ganic,” Brad con­cedes. “We were al­ways under cap­i­tal­ized and we lost a lot of money dur­ing the first five years of the busi­ness,” he ad­mits. But once they started to turn a profit and could in­vest more in mar­ket­ing, the tide turned and they haven't looked back.

“For me, the great­est thing about be­ing an en­tre­pre­neur is the in­de­pen­dence and con­trol over one's destiny and the abil­ity or free­dom to be cre­ative ev­ery day in all as­pects of the busi­ness,” Brad en­thuses. “There were many ten­u­ous pe­ri­ods but when a ven­ture like this is ul­ti­mately suc­cess­ful, it's ex­tremely sat­is­fy­ing.”

Not one to rest on his lau­rels, Brad con­tin­ues to in­no­vate. The lat­est fea­ture is the new Con­nect app, which al­lows for re­mote mon­i­tor­ing and con­trol. Wher­ever you are, you can view the waste drawer level, get no­ti­fied that it's time to empty the drawer, and even mon­i­tor usage stats for in­sights into your cat's health—a sud­den in­crease in use, for ex­am­ple, could be an in­di­ca­tion that your cat has a uri­nary tract in­fec­tion and a visit to the vet is in or­der. Pretty nifty stuff!

This lit­ter­box cleans it­self!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.