CatGenie is a household name in the world of self-cleaning litter boxes. Their systems have a recognizable faux-toilet design, and they have been available to buy online since 2006. Over the years, the folks have PetNovations have introduced subtle improvements to their system, resulting in its modern incarnation: The CatGenie 120.
Why Get a Self-Cleaning Litter Box?
Dealing with cat litter is a huge pain. Cat litter is dirty and gross, it gets everywhere, and it smells. Scooping and changing your cat’s litter box is tedious, and it feels like your cat sort of looks down on you for doing it, even though they’re very grateful for all the clean litter you give them.
So what’s a cat owner to do?
For one, you could invest in a self-cleaning litter box! Self-cleaning litter boxes have a bit more of an upfront cost, but the luxury of never having to scoop your cat’s litter again makes it well worth it. Plus the higher quality self-cleaning litter boxes on the market can end up saving you money by eliminating or reducing costs associated with purchasing new litter.
Having a self-cleaning litter box means that you never have to worry about who is going to clean up after your cat whenever you go away for a short trip. The stench of dirty litter will be reduced since the box can clean up after your cat much more efficiently than you can all by yourself. Plus, your cat will thank you. Maybe not in any way that is directly perceivable, but trust me, they’re meowing thank you under their breath.
The CatGenie is a fully automatic self-cleaning litter box that does not use traditional cat litter. Instead, the CatGenie uses its own type of litter (Washable Granules™). The litter is made up of permanent plastic granules that are not meant to be changed or thrown away. It is dust free, naturally biodegradable, and safe for disposal down the toilet or sink drain. Cat urine passes through the litter into a collection channel where it is mixed with sanitizing solution before being flushed through the unit’s drain hose, while poop remains suspended in the litter. The poop is then scooped out of the litter and liquified before being disposed out of the drain hose.
One of the biggest benefits of the CatGenie is that is touted as the first “green” litter box. Cat litter production is resource-intensive and produces a significant carbon footprint. Eliminating the use of traditional cat litter makes the CatGenie one of the most environmentally friendly pet products on the market.
- Weight: 25 lbs (11 lb Processing Unit + 14 lb Base Unit)
- Base Color: Pearl Gray
- Top Color: Porcelain White
- Power Requirements: 120VAC, 60Hz (15A Fused)
- Power Consumption: 20W (Cleaning Cycle – 17 minutes); 1200W (Drying Cycle – 17 minutes)
- Dimensions: 19.25” wide x 24.5” long x 21” high
- Bowl Diameter: 19”
- Water Supply Hose: 8′ Long
- Drain Hose: 10′ Long
The CatGenie is pretty easy to set up. All you need is a power outlet and a space with some ventilation to prevent the litter box from heating up. This means avoiding furnaces, direct sunlight, or areas where the sides of the litter box are covered. You also need to make sure that the litter box isn’t in a location where it could get wet, such as under a sink or open window.
Suggested locations for the CatGenie include laundry rooms, utility rooms, and bathrooms. Each of these rooms includes a connection to your house’s cold water supply, which the CatGenie will need to operate. Your CatGenie will also need to connect to a drain for disposal of pee and poop. Connecting the CatGenie to the water and sewer systems requires a bit of light plumbing, but the directions provided in the manual are easy to follow and straightforward. The system also comes with a splitter that lets you connect directly to an existing water supply without losing any existing connections.
The system is made up of two main parts:
- Processing Unit: Includes the motor, sanitizing solution pump, and all the electronic pieces
- Base Unit: Holds the Washable Granules; where the cat business gets done
The Processing Unit fits on top of the Base Unit and connects to the Genie Hand, which is used to scoop poop out of the granules. Poop that has been removed is scooped into the hopper, where it is turned into liquid and expelled down the drain via the drain hose. The drain hose can be draped over a toilet rim so that cat waste is dumped directly into your toilet. Or, it can be connected to another drain system that connects to your sewer or septic tank.
Your gateway to communicating with the CatGenie is the Control Panel:
The Control Panel lets you know if an error has occurred or if the SaniSolution is almost empty. It also lets you set the mode of operat
You are able to select from three different settings that dictate how the litter box cleans itself:
- Cat Activation
- Auto Start
- Manual Start
The CatGenie can be set to automatically clean itself 10 minutes after it senses that a cat has just done a big shit. If the system detects that a cat is sitting in the bowl, it will delay cleaning for another 10 minutes, or until the bowl is clear. Leaving the system in Cat Activation mode conserves SaniSolution since it takes less solution to clean up a “fresh” mess than one that has been sitting around for a while.
The CatGenie can also be set to automatically clean itself after a set period of time. You can can configure the system to automatically clean itself from 1 to 4 times per day. The settings on the control panel allow you to choose what time of day you would like the clean cycle to occur, allowing you to avoid noisy cleanings during the middle of the night.
It is important that the CatGenie be run at least a couple times per day per cat you own. Failing to do so will result in clogs.
You also have the option of manually selecting when your CatGenie cleans itself. While this feature reduces the benefits associated with the system’s built-in automation, it may be necessary for some users who may only be able to run cleaning cycles at specific times that do not always occur according to a predictable schedule.
Under this operating mode, you can start a cleaning cycle with the push of a button. It’s that simple.
SHOW ME HOW IT WORKS
Here’s a video of the CatGenie in action:
During cleaning, the CatGenie rotates the granules counterclockwise, and the hand-shaped scoop is lowered into the bowl, sifting out any presents your cat may have left. It collects the waste, liquifies it, and flushes it to the drain. After each flush, the system cleans itself using water and the SaniSolution then uses a blowdrier to evaporate any excess liquid.
All in all, the CatGenie is a pretty decent value. While the box itself isn’t cheap, the SaniSolution does not requirement replacement that frequently. To do a fair cost comparison, you need to figure out the amount of money you spend on litter in a month, then compare that to the cost of a month’s worth of SaniSolution. Dividing the cost of the CatGenie by the difference between the litter and SaniSolution costs will give you an estimated number of months before the cost savings associated with not having to buy litter have effectively paid for the CatGenie.
The CatGenie scores points for looking a lot like a human toilet. One downside of the design is that the litter bowl is open, which means that any cat poop that has not been removed or any pee that is trapped in the litter granules may smell.
The design is compact and can easily be fit into a corner or other location where it will be out of the way. The clean cycle tends to be a bit noisy though, so it’s a good idea to place the system away from anywhere you or your family may want peace and quiet.
One of the biggest problems that people have with the CatGenie is that it produces an awful “baked poop” smell if it fails. Examples of things that can cause failure include:
- Your cat’s poop is not solid or has pieces that are too small for the scoop
- Your cat poops in the middle of the bowl
In either of these cases, poop is left to sit in the bowl instead of being removed like it’s supposed to be. Since the bowl heats up, the remaining poop in the bowl will bake, releasing an awful odor.
One of the biggest complaints about the CatGenie is that is not actually “self-cleaning,” but actually requires a decent amount of user cleaning to keep odor under control. This box may be best for young cats as well as cats with fairly regular digestive habits. Cats that do not produce good, solid stools may not get along well with the CatGenie.
Pros & Cons
- Washable Granules™ are dust-free and permanently reusable
- Fully automatic, meaning you never have to interact with the litter at all
- Roomy litter compartment
- 2-year warranty
- Flexible programming options
- Does a good job controlling odors as long as it is working properly and has plenty of SaniSolution
- Your cat probably won’t want to get in the box while it’s cleaning.
- No more scooping up cat litter!
- Washable Granules™ are proprietary and you can’t use just any litter in the CatGenie
- Washable Granules™ gradually “disappear” onto your floor or down your drain and are not as permanent as one would hope
- Drain tube is very thin and can clog.
- Control Panel is not super advanced and could be more user-friendly.
- Failure leads to a “baked cat poop” smell
- Long cleaning cycles (30-40 minutes).
Rankings & Final Words
The CatGenie is a well-manufactured piece of machinery, a Jetsons-inspired modern convenience marvel fit for the 21st century. It’s fairly easy to assemble and it operates smoothly. All in all, it’s a great investment, so long as you are OK purchasing replacement SaniSolution and the occasional bag of Washable Granules™. You should be able to save some money on litter over time, or at least break even. Plus you’ll save time that would have otherwise been spent cleaning your litter box. Check it out on Amazon!