30-Day Writing Challenge – Day 3
Confession: I was wowed by the marketing for the Luuup litter box, which popped up on crowdfunding sites Indiegogo and Kickstarter early in 2016. Dini and Nick Petty, the mother-and-son team behind the redesigned “Best Cat Litter Box Ever Made” a.k.a. “The Litter Box Reinvented” promised cat guardians an aesthetically pleasing litter box that takes seconds to clean, “with no mess or hassle” since people “love their cats but hate dealing with their litter boxes.” Made up of three stacking sifting trays, cleaning the litter box involves lifting the top sifting tray to separate the waste from the clean litter. Then you turn that tray 180° and place it at the bottom of the stack and voilà, you’re done. The way the Luuup works is anytime two sifting trays are together they form a solid tray. The three identical slotted trays together create ” a perpetual sifting loop,” thus the name (and why ‘loop’ is spelled with three ‘u’s. The promise? “You’ll never have to scoop again. No more wasting cat litter, simply top it up from time to time.”
Its was the most-funded pet product ever in the histories of both Indiegogo and Kickstarter, raising $2,705,975 U.S. on Indiegogo and $375,000 U.S. on Kickstarter.
But it seems Luuup has not lived up to its expectations, judging by the comments you’ll find all over the Web.
First, in May someone calling themselves TheA1ternative turned to Reddit’s ShittyKickstarters section to post an update posted for Kickstarter backers explaining production and delivery delays for the Luuup.
I’ve just returned from a full day of testing at our facility that was to provide the parts required to sign off on production.
The boxes look great and the colours are where they should be. I could have signed off today. Given the volumes we are able to produce, we would have had a sizeable shipment out the door before the end of May.
However, there are still some small issues around part processing and the flatness of the trays that I want to address the most of you wouldn’t notice. Perhaps a small percentage of you might have had a sub par experience at some point over the lifespan of the item in it’s current form.
Many in my position, especially when facing so many backers wanting product, would simply say “good enough” and push them out the door. I’m not satisfied with good enough. In fact, it frustrates me that so many products and services today seem to be launch when they reach “good enough”, when they were so close to being truly great, or expertly executed. I refuse to subscribe to the good enough model. Everyone deserves better than that.
I’m returning to the facility first thing tomorrow to meet with the team to debrief. I’m confident we will find the solutions required to ensure that what we deliver is everything we want it to be.
As much as I had planned so that I’d never have to say this, consider us delayed. I’m am working constantly at this point, as well as many others, to deliver as soon as we can.
As for shipping, We will lock down the surveys at the end of the week, so if you’ve not filled out your survey yet, please take the time to do so.
As meaningful events occur in bringing production online, I will provide updates to keep everyone informed. I hope you’ll support my decision on getting it right, over simply getting it done.
The message had people complaining about the vagueness of the update and the expense of the Luuup, which sold for $38 U.S., plus shipping. Another delay announced in July had some Redditors questioning whether the people behind Luuup had their act together.
When the litter boxes finally arrived in August and later, there was a lot of excitement. But soon people were posting reviews about how much they hated the Luuup. Many backers complained about urine clumps sticking to the side of the sifting trays, forcing them to use a scoop to get the clumps out, about having trouble removing stuck clumps from between the slots, having to regularly wipe down the trays, and between cat messes and cleaning the box, getting litter all over the floor.
This is perhaps an extreme example, but this woman describes a very bad experience with the Luuup.
I’ve since read that the Pettys are recommending that people fill the Luuup with at least 15 lbs of cat litter and that they use clumping cat litter brands such as World’s Best Cat Litter, Purina Tidy Cats or Costco brand clumping cat litter so the poop and urine clumps don’t stick to the tray. People say they’re being refused refunds and are offered troubleshooting tips instead. In online postings, some people say they threw their Luuup out or are planning to give it to charity.
Update Nov. 4, 2016: Today I received a direct message on Twitter from Luuup:
Hi Stephanie, Thank you for taking the time to review the Luuup litter box! We are sorry to hear that you are experiencing some sticking with your Luuup and would love the opportunity to help resolve this issue for you. We see that you are looking try another type of litter with your Luuup and thought we would reach out with some suggestions that might improve your experience. Heavyweight clumping litters such as Tidy Cat 24/7, Qualicat if you shop at Costco, and World’s Best Cat Litter have had some of the best results. Although it might be more of an investment up front to use around 15 lbs of one of these litters, the sifting system is designed to save on the amount of litter you use. The stuff that is left over once waste is sifted out is cleaner and lasts longer, which saves more. We hope that trying a new litter works to resolve the sticking, and are here to help if you have any further questions or concerns. Feel free to reach out to us here, or at email@example.com.
I never signed up for Luuup’s Indiegogo or Kickstarter campaigns. Instead, I bought a Luuup litter box on VarageSale from a woman who had backed a campaign but between ordering the litter box and receiving it no longer had a cat.
Because we’d read the reviews and heard the worst, we followed the instructions to the letter. We used an Arm & Hammer brand clumping litter (the award-winning Clump & Seal Multi-Cat litter) and while our three cats prefer our usual brand of litter to this new one, there haven’t been too many problems with the Luuup. I do find it annoying that I sometimes need to bring the scoop and a broom and dustpan along when I’m cleaning it and I need to make sure whatever bag I dump the solid waste in is huge so no litter spills.
Is it worth $40? Probably not. I think if the poop/urine clump sticking problem were fixed, I might change my mind. I do find it ridiculous that it only seems to work with more expensive cat litter. I’m going to try the eco litter (Odour Buster) we use for the other litter boxes. It costs $13 for 33 pounds of litter and if it works with the Luuup that will make it a much better deal.
Having three cats leaves plenty of room for experimenting with litter boxes. We now have four litter boxes after a vet recommended at least one litter box per cat, plus one. And while the Luuup may look great, the cats’ favourite litter box these days is a 50-litre clear plastic storage bin that cost less than $10 at Canadian Tire. Had I known that, I would never have been thrown for such a Luuup (sorry, couldn’t resist a bad pun).
Cat lovers, what kind of experiences have you had with litter boxes?