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The CatGenie self-washing, self-flushing litter box has a unique claim to fame. It’s the world’s only “self-washing” cat box.
Unlike other self-cleaning litter boxes that rake, rotate, and roll to scoop out waste, then stash it in a drawer or other compartment, the CatGenie is an end-to-end litter solution. Like a little toilet for your cat, the Genie doesn’t just scoop the poop. It washes and flushes on its own, meaning that theoretically, you’ll never have to handle your cat’s waste again.
It’s an innovative idea, but is it too good to be true? In this unbiased CatGenie review, we’re taking a deep dive to find out if the CatGenie lives up to its promises. Keep reading to find out how the CatGenie works and whether or not we think it’s worth the investment.
- Ease of Cleaning – 8/10
- Odor Control – 8/10
- Appearance – 7/10
- Construction – 8/10
- Price – 8/10
Overall Score: 8.2/10
CatGenie Self Washing Self Flushing Litter Box Video Review
Let’s Get Some Background on the CatGenie Self-Flushing Litter Box.
Again, the CatGenie litter box does something that no other automatic litter box can do. It scoops, liquefies, and flushes your cat’s waste.
The CatGenie connects to your home’s water line and works a bit like a cross between a washing machine and a toilet. Each time your cat uses the box—or whenever you initiate a cycle from manual mode—the CatGenie will run a cleaning cycle.
During this cycle, the CatGenie automatically scoops out solid waste. Once solids are removed, the CatGenie bowl fills with SaniSolution, beginning the washing cycle. Once the washing cycle is finished, all of the liquid flushes into your toilet or drain. All that’s left for you to do is flush the toilet.
If you choose to upgrade to the CatGenie A.I., your unit will also include an upgraded dryer system which utilizes up to 50% less energy than previous models and helps eliminate odor. The CatGenie A.I. also monitors your cat’s bathroom behavior to provide insights into your cat’s health and wellness. It also includes mobile app connectivity to help you optimize your use of the CatGenie.
It’s one of the most radical concepts in the world of automatic litter boxes, so I was excited to see what it would do for my cats and home. Over the course of three weeks, I tested out the CatGenie system with the help of my two cats, Wessie and Forest.
First Off, Let’s Talk About Setup.
The CatGenie is a generously-sized unit that won’t go just anywhere. You’ll need both ample space and access to a cold water and waste line in a laundry room or bathroom. The first step, then, is making sure that you have an appropriate place to put the CatGenie.
The CatGenie requires a bit more planning and setup than your average automatic litter box. Before you pull out your credit card, you’ll have to make sure that you have a place to put this unit—it’s a behemoth with some special requirements.
Because it attaches to your cold water and waste line, the CatGenie will only work in a laundry room or bathroom. And because it requires electricity, you’ll also want to make sure that the CatGenie is located close to a GFCI power outlet.
Speaking of requirements, some cat owners will be glad to know that the CatGenie is septic safe! You won’t actually be using cat litter but special Washable Granules. You’ll only be flushing wastewater and a few Washable Granules each day, but they’re biodegradable so they’ll be broken down by bacteria.
Furthermore, The CatGenie Isn’t a Small Installment.
At 19.25″ wide, 24.5″ long, and 21″ high, the CatGenie takes up a fair amount of space. Before you go too far, pull out a tape measure and make sure you have a good spot to place the Cat Genie.
Once You’ve Found an Appropriate Location For The CatGenie, You’ll Assemble The Unit.
Though a bit cumbersome in the cramped quarters of my bathroom, the CatGenie was easy to assemble. All of the parts easily stack together. Things can get a little bit trickier, though, when it’s time to attach the water hose to your cold-water line.
The CatGenie comes with two adapters to help you attach the CatGenie hose to your cold-water line while also directing water to the toilet or washing machine. That said, if your home has a hookup that’s non-standard, you may need to use additional tools that aren’t included in the CatGenie package. And if you have a rigid water line in your bathroom, you may need to replace it with a flexible one.
Fortunately, this stage of setup was comparatively easy for me. I attached the hose using the included adapter, connected the input hose to the back of the CatGenie, and directed the output hose into the toilet bowl.
Once The CatGenie Is Set Up, You’ll Insert the SaniSolution Cartridge and Add Washable Granules.
The CatGenie comes with a SaniSolution cartridge, which is a recyclable, biodegradable plastic box containing a bag of the CatGenie system’s standard cleaning solution. According to the company, this cleaning solution is the same type of solution that veterinarians might use to sanitize surfaces in their clinics. Before you’re able to run a cycle, the SaniSolution cartridge must be inserted at the top of the processing unit.
Before you get started, you’ll want to fill the litter bowl with CatGenie Washable Granules, which also come in a recyclable, biodegradable box.
As mentioned previously, the CatGenie uses proprietary plastic granules. CatGenie explains that these granules are, recyclable, pet-safe, and environmentally friendly. They’re made of a dust-free, pet-safe, non-toxic combination of natural and synthetic biodegradable materials, including a special additive that allows the plastic to be broken down by bacteria. When flushed or thrown out, the Washable Granules will biodegrade in the septic system, sewer system, or landfill.
These granules felt surprisingly similar to clay litter in my hands, and I knew my cats would feel comfortable using them.
While the granules are similar to clay litter in paw-feel and consistency, they’re distinctly different in other ways. For one, they’re dust-free, meaning that you won’t have to deal with litter dust coating surfaces in your home or making you cough. Plus, because they don’t crush down like clay litter, the granules are easy to clean up if they are tracked outside the litter box.
Additionally, these granules are septic-safe and shouldn’t damage your plumbing. They’re completely reusable and a single box lasts the average single-cat household up to 6 months under normal usage.
And Then You’ll Run a Cycle.
CatGenie recommends that you start using the unit in manual mode. In addition to letting you get a feel for how it works on your own terms, this method can also help your cat slowly acclimate to the box.
In addition to manual mode, there are several ways to program the CatGenie. You can either preset your CatGenie to run automatically between one and four times every day or set it to Cat Activation Mode. In Cat Activation Mode, the Genie Eye will detect a cat in the bowl and start a cycle timer. After it’s given your cat 10 minutes to leave the litter box, a cleaning cycle will begin.
The bonus of keeping the CatGenie in Cat Activation Mode is that the SaniSolution will last longer. Fresher waste requires less solution to clean, so you’ll increase the lifespan of each cartridge from 120 to 240 cycles.
If you have the CatGenie A.I. you have the additional option of starting the unit right from the app. You can choose from Cat- or Time-Activated cleaning modes and can also set a customizable sleep schedule for up to 10 hours each day.
Each Cycle Is Broken into Three Phases.
The CatGenie cleaning cycle is broken into three phases—scooping, washing, and drying.
The entire CatGenie cycle runs for between 30 and 40 minutes and is broken into three different phases. Let’s go over what happens in each stage of the cycle.
When the CatGenie cleaning cycle begins, it starts with a scooping cycle. During this stage, the bowl rotates as the Genie Hand descends into the litter, gathering up any solid waste and depositing it into the hopper where an impeller macerates all of the waste.
Once the Genie Hand has carried all of the waste into the hopper, the bowl fills up with water and SaniSolution. During this phase, the bowl continues to rotate, and the Genie Hand moves in and out of the water, swishing and the agitating the Washable Granules. Once everything has had enough time swirling around in the litter bowl, the CatGenie flushes everything—SaniSolution and macerated feces—into your toilet bowl or drain.
I found that, between the sloshing, draining, and flushing, this phase was very noisy. I could hear it working from across the house and my cats were curious about it as well. To help reduce noticeable noise, CatGenie offers the GenieDome for $39.99.
After the CatGenie’s done washing the litter granules, it’s time to get everything dry. Hot air blows from the side of the bowl and dries out the granules. By the end of this 17-minute process, the granules are bone-dry, warm, and ready for another use.
How Well Did It Work?
Now that we’ve gone over how the CatGenie cleaning cycle works, let’s talk about its effectiveness.
How Thoroughly Did the CatGenie Clean?
During the scooping phase, I found that the CatGenie failed to capture all of my cats’ waste. Instead of cleanly removing every bit of feces and sending it away into the hopper, the Genie Hand reached the end of the scooping phase with bits of poop stuck to its tines.
Any feces that doesn’t make it to the hopper remains on the rake or in the litter bowl, meaning that it’ll be washed and dried just like the granules. Delaying the cleaning cycle to allow waste to solidify may prevent this from happening.
While the CatGenie was able to capture most of the solid waste in the bowl, it didn’t catch everything.
The CatGenie’s Odor Control Ability Depended Upon Which Stage of The Cleaning Cycle It Was In.
First off, the CatGenie doesn’t do anything to reduce urine or feces odor in between cycles. So, if you’re running the CatGenie on a regular schedule or using it in manual activation mode, prepare for some odor.
I also noticed some odor during each cleaning cycle. Because the CatGenie wasn’t scooping away all of the solid waste, some of that waste stuck around for the drying process. The combination of lingering feces and hot air made for a smelly bathroom.
After the cleaning cycle was complete, however, there wasn’t any odor at all. Even with a few chunks of stool remaining in the bowl, I found that the sanitized litter smelled like SaniSolution—not a hint of feces or urine.
It’s worth noting that the CatGenie may not be the best option for kittens or cats with chronically soft stool. For occasional issues, an extra cleaning cycle should take care of the problem but no automatic litter box can effectively handle chronic diarrhea or soft stools.
How Much Did the CatGenie Granules Scatter and Track?
The lightweight litter granules tended to escape the litter bowl and scatter across the floor. Another thing worth noting is that, although the Genie Hand is designed to shake excess litter back into the bowl before transferring it into the hopper, this doesn’t always work. I noticed that a pinch of litter went into the bowl during every cleaning cycle.
For litter that is supposed to last 2-3 months between each changeout, a lot of CatGenie granules were ending up in the trash or flushed away down the toilet. Using the GenieDome may help prevent scatter but won’t affect the incidence of granules being flushed away.
How Much Maintenance Was Involved?
While I didn’t encounter a lot of maintenance—the CatGenie was a self-sufficient unit—other reviewers have noted that you’ll have to occasionally clean out the hopper. If your experience is similar to mine, and the CatGenie is unable to capture all of your cat’s waste, you may have to do some manual scooping to keep everything tidy.
Every two months or so, you’ll have to top off the Washable Granules (though they should never need to be replaced entirely) and pop in a new SaniSolution cartridge.
Altogether, that’s significantly less daily maintenance than a standard litter box. The CatGenie is a virtually hands-off alternative to the standard litter situation.
How Much Does the CatGenie Cost?
When I purchased the CatGenie for this review, it cost around $300. Currently priced at $359, the CatGenie 120 is one of the most expensive automatic litter boxes on the market. Its costs go beyond the upfront expense, though—you’ll also have to purchase replacement granules and SaniSolution on a regular basis.
If you want to upgrade your experience, the CatGenie A.I. will cost you just under $450.
This model offers the same impressive features as the original CatGenie with the upgraded convenience of “machine learning” artificial intelligence (A.I.). It monitors your cat’s bathroom habits and analyzes this information to provide insights into your cat’s health and wellness. It also helps you monitor the unit itself for more efficient cleaning and the mobile app notifies you when supplies are running low.
A 3.5-lb box of CatGenie washable granules costs about $24, while a box of SaniSolution will cost closer to $25. Each cartridge holds 120 washes or more and when set on Cat Activation mode, it provides 240 washes. You can save on CatGenie essentials by purchasing supply combos.
If you’re running the unit on Cat Activation mode with 3 cycles per day, a single $25 SaniSolution cartridge and $24 box of Washable Granules could last up to 80 days. If you have more than one cat, or run the unit on a different mode, that number could increase significantly.
Compared to traditional clumping litter, that’s pretty expensive, but remember that you’re also saving hours of time that you’d otherwise spend hunched over the litter box. It may even be less than self-cleaning models that only scoop dirty litter, requiring regular litter and waste disposal bags.
Overall, Is the CatGenie a Good Choice?
The CatGenie Self Washing Self Flushing Litter Box could be worth it if you want your cat litter situation to be as automated, hands-off, and easy as possible. After reviewing numerous automatic litter boxes, I’ve found that the CatGenie is the most comprehensive litter solution on the market.
It controls odor relatively well, does a fairly thorough job of cleaning, and doesn’t produce a lot of dust. Additionally, it’s an eco-friendly product. Unlike clay litter, the Washable Granules are biodegradable—as is the plastic in the SaniSolution cartridges. A one-year supply of cartridges takes up less space and uses less plastic than one container or one month’s supply of cat litter.
That Said, It Does Have A Few Drawbacks.
During my three-week test, placement was my biggest struggle. My bathroom is comparatively large, but I still didn’t have enough room to install the CatGenie without also blocking off a cabinet. And because the bathroom power outlet was across the room, I had to use an extension cord to supply power. And because my cats are afraid to go in the bathroom, it was a struggle to get them to use their new box.
Before you decide to get the CatGenie, you’ll want to be certain that you have enough space and are prepared for a loud, visually noticeable appliance in your home.
A second concern is cat-friendliness in multi-cat homes. With each cleaning cycle lasting 30-40 minutes, your cat may find themself without a litter box for hours a day. While this isn’t an issue for single-cat homes, this may be a problem if you share your home with two cats or more. With the CatGenie A.I., however, you have access to more cleaning modes and can customize your cleaning schedule using the data analysis of your cat’s bathroom behavior.
Once the cleaning process is complete, the drying cycle begins. By the end, the warm granules could make an inviting bed for some cats. If your cat likes the warm granules too much and lounges there, Cat Activation mode could lead to unnecessary cycling and wasted SaniSolution. If this happens, you’d want to switch to Manual Mode. Fortunately, the unit is equipped with safety sensors that keep it from running while the cat is in the bowl.
Overall, the CatGenie isn’t perfect, but it’s going to be an amazing end-to-end solution for the right person.
If you feel like you’ve been up to your ears in litter box chores for a long time or you have a physical disability that makes litter cleaning difficult and don’t mind adding a new appliance to your home, the CatGenie automatic cat litter box could revolutionize the way you think about cat litter.
Remember that the CatGenie comes with a two-year warranty, a 90-day money-back guarantee, and the brand is known for their outstanding customer support, so you can give it a try risk-free.
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