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|Cat Genie review - Automatic litter box reviews|
|Written by Peter|
Stupid cat. That's what I used to think when cleaning the litterbox and grumbling to myself about him prancing around like royalty while I clean up after his majesty. Of course, the simple solution of getting rid of the little fluffball isn't really an option due to the wife's emotional attachment. So what's a guy to do?
Note: For an at-a-glance view of Litter Robot vs Cat Genie 120 vs Littermaid vs Scoop Free click here.
My first attempt at solving the problem was to search for some sort of automatic litter box, insisting that someone has to have this figured out by now – I was right, but there are several options and you can only do so much reading about a cat litter box before you feel awkward and bored. I settled on the Littermaid box which essentially uses a rake to run across the litter, scooping up any cat droppings into a container which becomes air-tight after the rake goes back to its resting place.
The next week the package arrived at our doorstep and we rushed home from work to open it. We paused momentarily to look at each other, slightly embarrassed at the fact that we were so excited about a litterbox, but didn't let that stop our fun. The package had 5 pieces, the bottom pan, the top motor and rake assembly, the 2 pieces of the airtight container (disposable btw, although you can just dump it out as I did) and a little carpeted ramp that the cat can walk up. The Littermaid runs on batteries or with a plug that it comes with, and although the battery compartment lid seemed a bit flimsy, it stayed on once I fumbled with it a bit.
Once filled with litter (clumping is required, so that the liquid can be scooped up as well) you just turn it on and walk away – or such is the theory. In practice, we found the Littermaid to be very sensitive to litter levels, and although there is a line on the inside for "maximum level" we generally found that a little below this line worked best. Too much litter and the rake has a hard time going back to its resting position, and ends up running back and forth constantly until you remove some litter. Apart from the litter-level issue, we found it worked quite well. With two cats, the container was filling up faster than I would've liked, so I created my own container by duct-taping two together and placing the litterbox on a small box to raise it up (necessary for the new taller container.) This worked, but was a bit of a pain to empty – a tradeoff for the ability to empty it less frequently I suppose.
We review the Littermaid in more depth if you're interested. Overall, the Littermaid was a step up – but it wasn't quite…perfect. After about a year, I began searching again, hoping that some brilliant engineers somewhere had created a design that was just that much better.
The concept is that you have granules that are the same consistency as litter, but are permanent. The cat does his business, then at a time set by you the CatGenie begins to scoop out the solids (liquids drain immediately through drain holes at the bottom of the box, into a holding area until the cycle runs) and place them into what amounts to a blender hidden inside the main unit. Water mixed with scented 'SaniSolution' (the green item in the picture) is then run down the side of the bowl, while the bowl turns to ensure everything is washed down. The impeller in the back activates and liquefies all the cat poop before sending it down the drain (with any other liquids from the holding tank mentioned before). During this, the rake comes down, washes the granules and generally stirs things up (including washing the rake itself). Finally, once the final drain cycle occurs, a blow-dryer turns on and dries the granules, creating a perfect clean box for kitty. Absolutely amazing, both from an engineering perspective and from sheer joy of never touching the box again.