Indiegogo staffers are putting crowdfunded products to the test in our new series of honest reviews. In this edition, our very own email marketing and lifecycle strategist Karisa Hunt and her crew of cute cats tries out the PetSnowy SNOW+, a new self-cleaning litter box that our crowdfunding community is talking about. Does it live up to the hype? Read on as we put it to the test!
If you’ve been around the Indiegogo blog before, then you probably already know that I have three cats. I love them dearly, but the one thing I don’t love about them is handling the litter box.
I mean, let’s face it: cat poop stinks. A lot.
My house being the layout it is, one of the litter boxes lives in my office with me. This is usually fine; I keep it clean. However, any cat owner can imagine the horror of dialing into a work meeting and watching in the background as one of the cats climbs into the litter box… right as I’m stuck in the room for the next half hour or longer.
I had to find a solution, and the PetSnowy SNOW+ seemed like the perfect fit. I tried it out
Generally, the first step to any product review is talking about the setup. However, I need to put a “Step Zero” in here: getting the box into my house. Though it’s not heavy, the box is very bulky. I had to have a friend help me get it up the two steps into my house, as I didn’t want to risk damaging it by dragging it up the bumpy surface. The box has sturdy handles built in, but the box is too large for me to grab both handles at once (and I’m 5’9” – my wingspan is fairly large!).
Once it was inside, though, it was time to get it set up!
The box is constructed really well, and it’s solidly taped shut. I needed scissors to get into it, but once I opened the flaps, I was greeted by the Quick Start Guide.
I looked the Quick Start Guide over, then removed it and set it to the side. It was easy to prop against the wall as I worked – I could reference it with a glance instead of having to pause and look at a little postcard like most products have.
The PetSnowy comes pre-assembled. All I had to do was get it out of the box and remove all the little bits of tape on the product that keep it from moving in transit. (Be warned: there are a lot of these little pieces of tape.) From there, I plugged it in and waited as it cycled through its setup process (about two minutes), then added litter and installed the fragrance cartridge, and… that was it.
Next was setting up the app. The QR code leads you right to the page you need, and it downloads quickly. It’s simple to get the app connected to the box itself. Honestly, the hardest part of the setup was remembering my own WiFi password!
Some cats are incredibly curious, while others are more creatures of habit. Mine are a range on the scale: Tater Tot will try anything new at least once, while Mozzarella needs a while to come to terms with new things. Bacon Bits is somewhere in the middle.
I decided to start with Tater Tot, as I figured he’d be the easiest convert. The SNOW+ has a hatch on top, and I opened that up and let him sniff around for a few minutes. When he didn’t seem to get the point, I placed him inside and shut the lid. I heard him dig a little at the litter, and then he raced out the door.
Three minutes later, he was back on his own.
Next up was Mozzarella. I did the same trick, putting her on the top and then placing her inside. It was less successful with her… she couldn’t figure out how to get out once the lid was closed, and I had to stick my hand in the door and wave it around to let her know which way to go.
Bacon Bits went last. I had some hesitations about getting him to use it; he’s a very big boy, and even though SNOW+ says it can handle cats up to 20lbs, I didn’t know if he’d fit.
I shouldn’t have worried, though – he fit inside just fine.
Now, though, we were at the waiting part of the process… waiting to see if they’d use it as an actual litter box.
As suspected, Tater Tot started using it pretty quickly, and Bacon Bits started not too long after. I don’t think Mozzarella has used it yet, but she’s started sniffing around it in the past few days, so I have hope that she’ll figure it out.
As for how well it works for humans: I love this thing.
I want to talk about a few different features and why I think they’re great.
First, the plug. It’s a weird thing to talk about, I know, but the designers really knew what they were designing for. The cord isn’t just a plain wire; it’s a durable, chew-proof texture. It’s strong and flexible, so I can plug it in and not worry about one of my delightful gremlins gnawing through it when I’m not looking.
Next, the deodorizing feature. I have not smelled a single gross cat smell in the office since I set my SNOW+ up. I spend my entire work day in this room, so that’s a huge accomplishment. Between the way the product is built, the UV light, and the deodorizing insert, the only smell I’ve had is a very light orange peel scent after a cat exits the box. This is basically a miracle as far as I’m concerned, and would be reason enough to get a SNOW+.
But then we get to the actual point of a box like this: it scoops and packs the used litter for you, and it works like a charm. It’s way quieter than I was expecting; if I’m not directly in the room with it, I can’t hear it working at all. It dumps the waste into a collection tray with a liner, and when you need to empty it, you just pull the drawer out. It even closes the liner for you, so there’s no chance you’re going to come into contact with something gross. It’s simple to replace the liner and refill the litter when needed.
It’s also one of the most thoughtfully designed pet products I’ve ever used. The entryway has a small cloth curtain on it, so cats have the privacy they prefer while doing their business, and the entryway itself is designed in a way that reduces the amount of litter that makes it out of the box to almost zero. It all clicks together with magnets, so when it’s time to wash the pieces, it’s easy to disassemble, clean, and put back together. I found myself continually surprised by how much thought went into the design of the SNOW+.
I had never even considered the uses of an app with a litter box, but I’m now a total convert! The app lets you set up pet profiles for each cat you have, and it uses the weight information to identify which cat is in the litter box and how long they’re in there. This is really useful in tracking kitty health – you can tell if one of them is going more or less often, or if they’re spending more time in the box than they usually do. It’s easy to use the app to see what the history is for each pet, and the notifications are really amusing.
The only drawback I’ve found to the app is that it sends you a notification if your cat has been in the box for more than two minutes. This is a useful health notification, but I have two issues with it that other cat owners might not have. One, my cats are the kind that attempt to dig a hole to the core of the Earth almost every time they’re in the litter box, so they trigger this all the time. Two, and a little more annoyingly, the box thinks there’s a cat inside if one of them decides to sleep on the top of it.
I also don’t think the weight measurement is very accurate. It’s measured in grams, so I had to convert my cats’ weights in order to put them in the app… but the numbers the app is recording are a pound or more off of what their actual weights are. It also doesn’t get the same weight every time, and while weights definitely fluctuate, I’ve seen a three-pound swing between Bacon Bits’ weight on the same day. There’s no way he’s losing that much weight every time he does his business.
Other than that, though, the app is great. In addition to cat tracking, it also lets you trigger the clean or deodorizing cycle right from the app if needed. You can also tell it to empty the litter into the tray, so when it’s time to swap it all out, it’s as easy as hitting a button and then removing the liner bag.
I said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love my SNOW+. It takes the smell out of my office, and it removes the need for me to scoop litter. It’s quiet, and it keeps the floor cleaner, since they can’t kick litter everywhere when they’re excavating. The app is great for tracking litter box use, and it will be helpful in the future if they have health issues.The SNOW+ is designed incredibly well, and I will happily recommend it to anyone looking for an automatic litter box. In fact, I already have!
To learn more, check out the campaign for PetSnowy SNOW+, live now on Indiegogo.