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CatGenie Self Cleaning Litter Box Review

You may want to check out automatic litter box reviews first here. Cat Genie dubs itself the “Worlds only Self-Flushing, Self cleaning” litter box. CatGenie’s goal is to help you never touch cat litter again.

Design – How it works
It has a roomy rotating bowl with a magic “Genie Hand” that lifts solid waste into a receptacle that grinds the waste for disposal in your home’s sewer system. The hand also sifts and agitates the litter as the bowl rotates. It uses washable/reusable/environmentally-friendly pellets, replaceable “Sani-Solution” cartridges and a programmable “brain” for setting the cat-sensing or timed modes. Currently, Cat Genie 120 has the most sophisticated design of all self cleaning litter boxes.

Urine soaks through the pellets into the “Sani-Solution” and the pellets are washed and then dried with heat during the cleaning cycle. A hooded dome is available to reduce litter scatter. It must be connected to a water supply and a drain; it is easy to install with simple tools.

Usage Modes
Cat Genie has three usage modes: 1) Cat-Start, 2) Auto-Start and 3) Push-Start. Cat-Start is the fully automatic mode that runs 10 minutes after the cat leaves, except when the Cat Genie is sleeping for 10 hours. It cannot start if the cat is in the box or comes back. Auto-Start runs some number of times per day, but since the solid waste might be sitting in the bowl drying out, more solution is needed to clean it.

The Push-Start mode is used when you need to get a stool sample for your veterinarian. It is also used if you want to run the cycle while Cat Genie is sleeping. The Cat-Start mode uses the least “Sani-Solution” than the other two modes and is recommended by the manufacturer as the most trouble-free.

Construction
Construction of the Cat Genie is the most complex of all self cleaning litter boxes. It holds the record for the most individual parts, the most electronics and the most moving parts. Why am I bringing that up? Many parts and more moving parts means there is an increased risk of a breakdown.

Power Consumption
Cat Genie is the most power hungry of all self cleaning litter boxes. It requires double the power of the Litter Robot (20W vs. Litter Robot’s 10W, not including the power for the drying cycle that requires a whopping 1200W while it runs – just like my blow drier!).

Environmental Concerns
Cat Genie has environmental appeal because the litter pellets are reused indefinitely and unlike clay litter they are not strip mined. They also contain a special additive that enables plastic-loving bacteria to eat them up in the landfill.

However, true environmentalists will raise the following questions: 1) Your pets now consume additional fresh water, one of the world’s most precious commodities 2) the “Sani-Solution” is being deliberately expelled into the environment and exactly what is in it anyway? The manufacturer provides absolutely no test data to show it is non-toxic, biodegradable and harmless for the environment, even though some of these statements are claimed and 3) the power-hungry drying cycle takes a lot of energy compared to other self cleaning litter box alternatives.

It seems the manufacturer really wants you to purchase its Sani-Solution. There is a forum post from the manufacturer that states requiring purchase of the Sani-Solution cartridges, is “part of the business model”. In other words, more profit, just like the printer companies who charge $80 for cartridge refills. Nevertheless, users have found ways to refill the cartridges; you can find the thread on the internet and use the suggestions at your own risk.

If can’t stand the thought of the Sani-Solution but are concerned about clay litter strip mining you may consider purchasing a Litter Robot or PetSafe self cleaning litter box and then use an environmentally-friendly clumping litter such as SwheatScoop. This litter is made from wheat rather than clay.

Use and Care
There are many reports of difficulty caring for the Cat Genie but most of these reports are referring to the earlier model. Users who have owned both the first version and the new Cat Genie 120 have reported that it is greatly improved. There is a new maintenance cartridge that eliminates regular disassembly to clean the water sensor. Also, clogs and a “baked poo smell (caused by poo left on the granules during the drying cycle) that were reported in the past are now very rare. Also, reports of poor customer support seem to have been resolved as well.

Odor Control
Odor control is very good most of the time, but not the best compared to other self cleaning litter boxes. The scented Sani-Solution is intended to create a pleasant smell and many people like it, but some users with sensitive noses complained. Fortunately, there is an unscented version available. Second, poo odor performance could be better.

Users have reported that on occasion, the Genie Hand is not perfect at scooping out the poo, creating “poop soup” during the cleaning cycle. Second, the poo sits in the reservoir for some amount of time during the sleep and non-auto start modes, creating additional odor. Don’t forget the baked poo smell, too, but this was also reported as rare. Consider your sensitivity to odor when contemplating a purchase of the Cat Genie and take these imperfections into account.

Cleaning
The Cat Genie needs no cleaning unless something goes wrong. A “maintenance” cartridge is available that cleans the water sensor but if you don’t want to purchase it, you can do it yourself manually. It is also necessary to check the hopper once in awhile; you may find gifts from your cat or extra fur if your cat sheds a lot and these must be cleaned out.

Noise
The 30 minute cleaning cycle is very quiet. You may hear some flushing/draining sounds when it empties, but it’s not much different than your dishwasher or washing machine draining.

Warranty
The warranty is two years, the longest of all self cleaning litter boxes and there is a 90-day money back guarantee.

Cat Genie Unboxing

Pros
• Fully automatic cleaning
• The happy users really love it!
• Eliminates pet waste and litter from entering landfills and reduces clay litter strip mining demand
• Excellent noise performance
• Minimal recurring litter cost but recurring Sani Solution cost
• Hood available to reduce litter scatter
• Good for multiple cats but some large cats may feel the bowl is too small

Cons
• Environmentally-untested Sani Solution expelled into the environment regularly
• Additional environmental concerns due to extra water/power usage
• Complex design may raise high malfunction risk compare to another self cleaning litter boxes
• Occasional odor problems due to imperfect feces scooping
• Increased water supply bill, Sani Solution, replacement litter, maintenance cartridge
• Kind of big, must be placed near a water supply & drain (bathroom or laundry room are good candidates)

At the moment Amazon include free shipping and from what I can tell when comparing prices with other online merchants, Amazon do currently have the best deal especially with the free shipping option.

Conclusion
Cat Genie is an excellent concept for a self cleaning litter box. Think about your reason to purchase it (self-cleaning, help the environment, etc.) and weigh the pros and cons carefully to decide if it makes sense for you.

    Posted in Automatic Litter Box Reviews