Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cat Genie Revisited

I've received quite a few emails and a few comments about my Cat Genie post from January - so here, almost 6 months later, it's time to check on the Cat Genie status.

So a few things I've changed:
Cat Genie in the Laundry Room1. The Cat Genie is elevated. This is entirely due to Tucker, our dog. The best way to keep her out of the litter pan was to get it out of reach. I was concerned about the hose position changes, but there have been no back-ups and the pan has been elevated for about two months now. Note that it is still below the level of the washer drain / water.

2. There is now a second litter pan in the laundry room as a backup to the Cat Genie. Some of our cats are older, one is diabetic. The 30 minute cleaning cycle proved to be a bit much for them - as in, when you need to go - you NEED to go. The older cats are also a bit wary of the noise the cat genie and washing machine - so it's good to have a backup if you only have one genie.

The 'backup' pan is my second favorite litter pan (it comes in second because I still have to clean it) - the Tidy Cat Breeze. The "Breeze" is nice because it has pellets that we change out only once a month over a grid that lets the urine run straight through. Now, here's the best part. The pad. In the bottom, under aforementioned 'grid' is the urine absorbing pad that really neutralizes the urine smell. Tidy Cat BreezeThis is the best part. The urine turns in to some sort of gel, I change the pad when it's full. Since they really can't bury it, solids can smell more than you might like, but it's an easy scoop to remedy that. Certainly over the many years I have been a cat owner, the urine smell has been the biggest contributor to the overall 'cat smell' that can build up over time. This is on the ground under the Genie, there is a baby gate with a 'cat door' cut into it to keep dogs out and allow cats in.

3. The Cat Genie has a 'hood' now (see first picture). I think it helps keep the initial smell in when it's being used. It also keeps the kittens from kicking out all the pellets.

I've only had a few issues with the Genie in the last 6 months, but overall I would say they are workable.

1. A few times I've had to go and clean out some poop that didn't scoop well. Granted, my fault as I gave the cat in question too much wet food. You get the idea. This has happened 3 times. 2 of those times are related to the same incident.

2. The water sensor was obstructed and I had to pull out the hopper one night and wipe it off. Yes, that was pretty gross. But that's the worst thing I've had to do in all this time. I figure it's a pretty even trade for the smell/maintenance reduction.

3. I don't like how the Genie beeps when the cartridge is 'about to' run out and then after it has run out. I know it's just trying to let me know - but it seems like the type of noise that would alarm a shy cat.

Some of the complaints I've heard that I have to agree with:

the mat and the baby gate cat doorThose rotten pellets get everywhere. Keeping the pan away from the dog has helped. Also, we got some track mats that I put at the laundry room door that really help a lot. I suspect that most of the pellets fall into this mat in the laundry room and they are tracked out by us, not the cats. My sister purchased the special round Cat Genie mats. They do fit around it, but only if it's sitting out in a room. And honestly, they don't catch the pellets so well. Don't waste your money.

If it dries a piece of poop, it's pretty rank. Just get it out of there and the smell fades pretty quickly.

A complaint I've heard that I don't agree with:

Smell of the cleaner. It really just doesn't bother me. Granted, it's not great - but it's just not that bad. It certainly doesn't smell like a dirty litter pan. Just like cleaner.

Overall, I'm glad to have it. This is the longest I've ever had a robotic litter pan of any sort - I suspect I should give it a good cleaning soon as maintenance. But honestly, I'm putting that off. Wouldn't you? I have taken basic spray cleaner and wiped down all the outside bits a few times, but that's no different from anything else in the house you would have to clean.

Lli at the Cat GenieThe two youngest cats, both under a year when they were first introduced to the Genie, love it and use it almost exclusively (this is Trillium Whorl our Japanese Bobtail coming to see what I was taking pictures of). I don't have accurate numbers on the older cats but I suspect they don't use it much, if at all (since they are given a choice). In fact, the older diabetic cat has trouble jumping and climbing so I know she only uses the Breeze.

So there it is, update on the Cat Genie at 6 months. The pellets aren't cheap and neither are the cartridges, but it has still been less expensive and less labor than a regular old pan.

My recommendation stands.


Alley Cats and Angels of North Carolina said...

I firmly believe you are missing all the joys of litterbox cleaning. Come on over anytime, there are at least 15 to clean every day at my house! :-)

Anonymous said...

This is my Product. and best for my cats.

Anonymous said...

Bought a CG last week. Newest model. TERRIBLE problems with turds left in the bowl. They are always in the center and the scoop simply never can get them. Once the scooping cycle ends, they then get smeared all over the bowl. When the heated dry cycle starts, house becomes VERY offensive. It happens almost every time with the unit we bought. Maybe defective? My wife and I are very surprised they have not resolved this.

vociferation said...

I have had the same issues with cat genie. Not all the poops get scooped -- it even seems as though the 'arm' is putting them back into the box. If I am not home, or not near the cat box to notice the leftover poops, they go through the cycles and wind up getting heated. It creates the most disgusting 'potpourri' I've ever smelled. Even if the cat genie runs through its cycle with no hiccups (clogs, leaks, errant turds), it STILL stinks to high heaven. I don't know what it is about the machine, but there's a sludge of liquid cat poo that is nearly impossible to clean out of the base. You're only supposed to have to clean it once every 4-6 months, but I have to take it apart every two weeks and soak it in the tub with bleach. That only lasts a day or two before it's stinking up the house again. :( Bottom line, don't get it!!!