Your Forever Litter Tray is designed to be simple and easy to clean and care for

As fellow cat owners we’ve been producing (and using) the Forever Litter Tray since 2005. Here you can find concrete solutions and helpful tips to help you save money, time and get the most out of your Forever Litter Tray and crystal cat litter.

Based on our experience, we recommend using the rule of thumb (paw?) of no more than two cats sharing one ScoopFree. No matter which brand of litter you use, the limited capacity of the ScoopFree design means that the litter becomes overloaded in short order, making both you and your kitties very unhappy.

This info is reviewed and updated regularly — however if you encounter something and see no solution here, please contact us and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.  If you have any trouble with your tray or litter at all (or if one of these tips doesn’t seem to be working) please contact us.

WE’RE HERE TO HELP!

VALUABLE TIPS: Get the most out of your Forever Tray and ScoopFree® litter box

WHAT'S THE PURPOSE OF THAT BARRIER NEAR ONE END OF THE TRAY? NOT WHAT YOU THINK!

Notice that little barrier at the back end of the Forever Litter Tray? Many people think it’s “the poop compartment”.

It’s one of the most common misconceptions about the tray design.  The purpose of that barrier is not to define the poop compartment or waste storage area, but rather to reduce the sliding of the crystal litter as the rake pushes things in that direction under the purple cover. The actual waste storage area is the entire area under the purple cover, although as the time to change the tray gets closer you will definitely tend to see more waste pushed over the barrier.  So don’t be concerned if you don’t see all the poops deposited over the barrier — as long as they are under the purple cover everything is working as it should.

(For a more visual illustration please view the Basic Box Maintenance video on the How to Use page).

CLEANING YOUR TRAY

While the plastic in our trays contains anti-microbial agents, they do need a good cleaning now and then. One of the best (most natural, cat and eco-friendly) ways we’ve found to clean and deodorize trays is by giving the bottom a good soak in a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water. Soak for several hours (or even better overnight if you have a spare tray) and then scrub gently with a scrubbing sponge and it should come squeaky clean and odor free again.

You may experience what appears to be some staining and odor in a particular spot on your tray. This is due to the fact that cats prefer to urinate in the same spot, and is actually not a stain in the plastic but rather a buildup of urine solids on the plastic. This is quite easily removed using the method described above.  Our latest tray design incorporates a newly available formulation of anti-microbial plastic that prevents this happening for most cat owners however if you experience the buildup this easy tip can help give you many years of trouble-free (and odor free) use.

Another product that we’ve found is SENSATIONAL in cleaning stains and removing odors is Rocco & Roxie Stain and Odor Eliminator.  We’ve tested it ourselves and can honestly say this stuff really works!  Click here to see it on Amazon.

We have had some questions about lining the tray with a plastic garbage bag to try to make litter changes easier.  We specifically recommend to NOT try this, as there is a high probability of your cat digging the bag up, causing it to snag on the rake and damage your machine.

CONTROLLING ODORS

It’s no mystery that everyone wants to find that magic solution for controlling odors and for getting at the same time getting the longest life from their litter with the least effort. In fact as always the answers are things we already know, and often quite simple:

  • Choice of litter: As with so many other things, quality is important. Cheap crystal litter won’t absorb as well as premium litters and so won’t last as long. A good quality crystal will last much longer and perform better. Scented brands only mask odor for you as a human, but not your cat. They smell a lot better than we do.
  • Rake and Stir: Very important!! This takes minimal effort and reaps huge benefits for you, your cat, and your pocketbook. (See the dedicated “Rake and Stir” section below).
  • Choice of Food: Our cats are no different from us in this regard. Certain foods will produce some horrible smells — but there’s no reason you can’t find a good, healthy food (see “Food Tips” below) that can also help in this regard.
  • Regular box cleaning: This seems like a no-brainer, but many people neglect the box and don’t understand why it stinks. If you use all the above tips and then learn when “it’s time” to change the box, everyone will be happier. Your cat smells a stinky litter box way before our noses detect it. Please also see “Cleaning your Tray” below for more specifics.
  • Baking soda: Many people find sprinkling a light dusting of baking soda in their trays after the tray is dry, and just before pouring the crystals in  at changing time helps keep odors down.
  • Ventilation: Put the box in a well vented area.  An ideal room is one with a vent fan and a window that you can open to the outdoors.  Fresh air is your friend, especially in allowing your crystal litter to release moisture (see “Moisture and Your Crystal Litter” below for more details). You and your cat will appreciate a well vented litter box area.

One final item that we’ve found is SENSATIONAL in cleaning stains and removing odors is Rocco & Roxie Stain and Odor Eliminator.  We’ve tested it ourselves and can honestly say this stuff really works!  Click here to see it on Amazon.

WANT THE BEST RESULTS FROM YOUR CRYSTALS? RAKE AND STIR!

As mentioned in our Basic Box Maintenance video and below in the Crystal Litter section, choice of litter and some basic maintenance steps can make a huge difference in performance. Using a good quality crystal and doing an occasional “rake and stir” will extend the life of your crystals and reduce odor noticeably. This is a very important point that can make a huge difference in both extending the life of your crystals — so important that it is emphasized on the side panel of every top quality crystal supplier. Stirring them around will allow them to release moisture to the air (not urine, but water vapor) and will generally allow them to then absorb more, smell less.

Extra tip: One of the aspects of the Scoop Free (whether you use one of the many brands of cardboard cartridges or the Forever Litter Tray) is that invariably some “cleaner” crystals will accumulate behind the rake when it’s in the “rest” position — and as most cats urinate in the center of the box the crystals along the sides will be less used. It’s a good idea to manually cycle the box every once in awhile and using your pooper-scooper mix in those fresher crystals, as well as the ones along the sides of the box. (Please see the Basic Box Maintenance video at our How to Use page.

In summary, investing only about 30 seconds per day will result in tremendous improvements and make you, your cat, and your wallet a lot happier.

FOOD TIPS

Cats are family. We love them as much as we love our children, or we have cats instead of children. We shelter them, play with them, talk to them, cuddle them and feed them. But what, exactly, are we feeing them?

When you buy that colorful package of cat food, are you really getting what you think you’re paying for? Or are you being steered in the wrong direction?

If you have questions about the food in your pet’s bowl, you might be inclined to do a little research. We’ve found two great links to help you make some informed choices:

ConsumerAffairs.com

Reviews.com

RAKE TIPS

If you find you’re getting “stuff” stuck to your rake (or that it may be starting to rust) we suggest a good cleaning (including possibly a ScotchBrite pad or light steel wool). Be careful not to bend any rake tines, as they bend easily. Then spray a light coating of non-stick cooking spray after cleaning. It will help prevent rust, will make the rake more “slippery”, and won’t harm your cat! Re-apply the spray periodically to prevent further rust and keep the rake slippery.

Crystal litter information and tips

WHICH CRYSTAL LITTER TO CHOOSE?

Your choice in crystal litter is extremely important, and can be the difference between a litter box that is easy to keep clean and odor free (which your cat loves!) or one that’s a perpetual stinky mess that needs way too much work. Like other products on the market, not all crystal litters are the same, and quality (meaning absorbency, odor control and dust) varies greatly.  There are standard ratings (measured in ml/gm) for crystal gel litter, so be aware they are not all the same. Beyond that, it’s important how much litter goes into your tray at each change.
Here are the most important tips we’ve learned:
  • Size of crystals: The ideal size range for your crystals is in the 2mm to 4mm size. As you don’t carry a micrometer in your pocket, what that means is that the cheap bargain brands with the huge crystals won’t work well, for a couple of reasons. As these are typically made very cheaply, their absorbency capability is at the bottom of the scale so will perform poorly. The other factor to keep in mind is that the ScoopFree® machine’s rake is designed to work best with crystals in the size range mentioned above, so if the crystals are too large the rake will just push them to the end of the box where they’ll just pile up.  Be wary also of the fine, sand-like crystal litters, as these are also cheaply made and will quickly turn to sludge on the bottom of your tray.

 

  • Ideal quantity per change:  The ideal recommended amount of crystals per litter change is 4.4 to 4.5lbs.  Unfortunately most crystal litters come only in 4lb. or 8lb. bags, which means you’ll either end up with too little per change or have to go through some sort of measuring process, which isn’t what you want to be doing at each litter change.

 

After the frustration of trying all sorts of different litters on the market and finding no one that had the right quality, size and convenience of coming in pre-measured bags, we finally decided to make our own.  Just the Crystals is a premium crystal litter of the ideal size with the highest measured absorbency of any crystal on the market and comes in bags pre-measured for ultimate convenience. We made them fragrance free as the only purpose of added perfumes in litter is to mask smell for humans, not the cat you love. With the right litter you (and your cat) shouldn’t be smelling any thing, much less added chemical fragrances to mask odor instead of eliminate it.

FOR OUR  CUSTOMERS IN AUSTRALIA: Thanks to a fellow cat owner and Aussie Forever Litter Tray user, we suggest that the best option currently available over there is the SoPhresh brand, carried by PetBarn.  (Thanks Erin!!)

MOISTURE AND YOUR CAT LITTER

The biggest variable in odor control in cat litter is your choice of crystal litter. Using a premium crystal such as our Just the Crystals mentioned above, and doing an occasional “rake and stir” will extend the life of your litter significantly and at the same time reduce odor. This is a very important point that can make a huge difference in both extending the life of your crystals and in reducing odors. Stirring them around will allow them to release moisture to the air (not urine, but water vapor) and will generally allow them to then be able to absorb more liquid and odor. This tip is illustrated in our “Basic Box Maintenance” video at our How to Use web page.

“Reality vs. advertising”: While crystal litter is very, very good the best way to get the most of it is to do an occasional stir of the litter and and at the same time rake out excess dried feces.  The operative word is “occasional” — maybe once every other day is ideal. It really helps, and is still less trouble and smell than any other litter you have used. Cats tend to always urinate in the same spot, so what we mean by “stir” is to rake up the crystals from this dampest spot and distribute (really mix them in) with the dry crystals. This allows them to release moisture to the air (called “off “gassing) and extends crystal life significantly.

Remember, moisture is the enemy of your crystal cat litter. Placement of your litter box in a dry, well ventilated area will pay huge dividends in getting the most out of it.

A great tip from one of our customers to help you extend crystal life:

“My tip on making the litter last longer: good air circulation. Silica gel absorbs liquid fairly quickly, and releases it as water vapor fairly slowly.

When used as litter, it absorbs urine and desiccates solid waste. Unless the silica gel itself can dry out (by releasing water vapor), it won’t last long at all in a litter box. So, it works better in the summer than in the winter, and better on dry days than rainy ones.

If you can place the litter box where there’s a breeze, the litter will last a lot longer. Or, you can try what I’ve recently done: put a small fan above the box, so that it gently blows air across the litter.

During the winter and spring, the litter has been lasting only 10 days with two cats whereas in the summer it was stretching out to 14 days). With the fan in the spring, the litter was still OK after 15 days.

The litter still needs to be stirred every other day, especially towards the end of its useful life.”

— Chuck

CONTROLLING AND REDUCING DUST

Sadly, dust seems to be a component of just about all cat litters, some worse than others. Clay litter has a particularly bad reputation for dust, and crystal litter isn’t completely immune from producing dust. There are several variables in what causes dust on crystal litter, the two chief ones being the manufacturing process and the other being handling during shipping. Even the top premium brands (Just the Crystals included) if handled roughly will develop a certain amount of dust in the bag. (Just picture all those little crystals being jostled around and grinding against each other during transit).

The time when the dust is most noticeable is when pouring into the litter box or tray. The way you can significantly reduce this is to try the following:

  • Sit the unopened bag in the box or tray
  • Cut off the top and gently lay the bag down
  • Slide the bag away from the litter, instead of pouring it out
  • Gently spread evenly in the tray or box

What you’ll find is that this will most significantly reduce dusting and after the litter is in the tray (and gets one or two “uses”) dust will be less of a problem. You can see an illustration of this tip in our “Basic Maintenance” video at our How To Use page.

ODOR CONTROL TIPS

Believe it or not he most important factor in controlling odors is through using the regular “rake and stir” routine as discussed above in the “Moisture” section. You’ll be amazed at the great improvements not only in odor but in longevity of your litter by doing a simple 30 second rake and stir every other day.

Beyond doing the suggested regular “rake and stir” the other biggest variable for controlling odor is what goes into your cat. The right cat food can make a huge difference between a miserably stinky environment and one that’s odor free. Just as in humans, you’ll need to do some experimenting and research to learn what foods work best for your cat (and is the least offensive smelling), however as cats are oblige carnivores, a good rule of thumb is to feed your cat as little grain as possible and as much raw food as you can.  The best all-around resource we’ve found to date on foods is www.catinfo.org — totally worth a browse!

One final tip for you, submitted by Jim from Hawaii. His solution for a bit of additional odor control is to sprinkle a light layer of baking soda in the box just before pouring the crystals in. (Thanks Jim!)

IS CRYSTAL LITTER SAFE FOR ME AND MY CAT?

Crystalline silica is a form of quartz similar in some ways to asbestos, that occurs commonly in nature and can be found in small amounts in CLAY types of litter. Long term airborne exposure to crystalline silica can be dangerous. The amount of airborne crystalline silica is regulated by OSHA, and in clay litters the amount must be less than 1% to meet specific OSHA limits. Clay litter manufacturers regularly test their incoming clays to make sure those limits are not exceeded. (Please visit www.osha.gov for more information about crystalline silica).

There are NO silica gel cat litters that contain crystalline silica. Just the Crystals is made of 100% silica gel crystals (also known as amorphous silica), which is a different, manufactured compound and which has been on the market for well over a decade.

It is made of other elements entirely, with a chemical composition similar to sand. Silica gel is so safe it is used in medicine bottles to keep meds dry, and was even used during WW1 and WW2 in gas masks to save lives.

Troubleshooting

MY RAKE STOPS IN MID CYCLE!

Your rake has just mysteriously stopped in mid cycle, and the little light is blinking!  Turning the power off and then back on sends the rake back to the “home” position, but when you try to cycle the machine it just happens again.

Not to worry – you just need to clean the two little electric eyes on either side in the middle of the box and everything will start working again. 

These electric eyes are designed for your kitty’s safety. Basically once the timer is tripped for the rake to cycle, the electric eyes are there to ensure your cat isn’t in the box in front of the advancing rake. If they detect something between them, they stop the machine.

That “something” could be either your kitten, or litter that’s piled too high in the box and blocking the eye or……just dirt!  If it’s dirt, all you need is a damp cotton swab to clean them out, and you should be all good to go again.

If this doesn’t work for you then there may be something else going on, but it’s very rare, so try these steps first. If this doesn’t fix the problem then just drop us an email and one of our team will get back to you asap to brainstorm possible solutions.

MY RAKE JAMS ON THE FLAP ATTACHED TO THE LID!

The lid for the earlier first generation (purple or taupe cover) ScoopFree machine can be a little complicated to install if you don’t know the trick. It’s designed to “lock” into the machine using the little pegs on either side, which aren’t actually round, but have one flat side.
When reattaching the lid to the machine, hold the lid in a vertical position as shown in the diagram, then slide the pegs into place, ensuring they go all the way in. Then let the lid rotate down into place. The pegs should then be fully engaged in the machine.
If the pegs aren’t fully engaged in the lid it can interfere with the rake, and also fall out of that end of the machine.
Lid Replacement Details
DISCLAIMER
So that no one is confused or misled, the Forever Litter Tray is not made by or affiliated with Scoop Free or PetSafe in any way, and as such is not condoned by them for obvious reasons. Even though the Forever Tray is a proven, reliable alternative to the disposable cardboard cartridges in all Scoop Free versions (and has been for years now) Scoop Free will not honor their warranty if they learn you are using anything but their product. Rest assured that the Forever Litter Tray is designed to give you many years of trouble-free operation, not to mention huge cost savings as well as helping slow the growth of our ever-increasing land-fill.