We adopted two kittens over the summer, bringing our cat total up to three. The kittens were pooping and peeing machines. I scooped both litter boxes at least once a day. My husband noticed how straining it was on my back. Prior to even knowing that the CatGenie 120 existed, my husband thought it would be a good idea to have a litter box that washed and flushed the litter. He Google searched for something and found the CatGenie. It was expensive and I didn't want to spend the money to get it.
In September, we went on a two week vacation and hired a pet sitter to look after our three cats while we were gone. All the cats hid from her whenever she came over so I'm thinking she didn't come as often as I paid her to. When we returned, the stench of cat urine could be smelled from outside our apartment door. She scooped the poop but failed to dig deep enough to get the urine. There was cat litter all over the floor. I slaved over scooping out two weeks worth of heavy, urine-soaked litter. Then proceeded to wash out both boxes. My back was hurting. My husband mentioned I wouldn't have had to do that if we had the CatGenie, how we might save money by not having to buy litter. When he is out to sea I would only be able to buy the small boxes of litter from the store because I can't carry more than 15-20lbs. I would be spending about $8 a week on litter, or about $350 a year. The CatGenie was $329 and, on impulse, we bought the damn thing. The CatGenie uses washable granules in place of litter. We thought we would never have to buy granules again and would only need to purchase the cleaning cartridges. We wouldn't be saving much money in the first year, but years beyond that we would.
We've had the CatGenie set up for just over two months. My older cat is still very reluctant to use it. She will only use it about every two days and she's always very wary about entering. The kittens took to it really quick. And after about two months, we're ready to call it quits and revert back to traditional litter.
The washable granules get everywhere. They stick to the kitty paws, they stick to the bottom of our feet. They get tracked everywhere. A lot of the granules get flushed. You have to always be replenishing the granules. After the initial box to fill up the CatGenie, a box will last 1-3 months. So much for saving money on litter/granules. For the first month and a half I was bending over, straining my back, sweeping up every little granule trying to save. It's not worth it.
The cleaning cartridges are supposed to last one to six months. The fresh scent cartridge is way too perfumey. We switched to the non-scented kind and it was better. We're on our third in just over two months. The first month we had the CatGenie set up so that it would only run when I started it. For the second month we had it set to the cat activation mode. This mode uses less of the cleaning solution and is supposed to last up to six months. My cats go in the CatGenie but don't always use it. The CatGenie will run an extra 3-5 unnecessary times a day, rewashing already cleaned granules. Many times it's immediately after it finishes a drying cycle that the cats will go in to feel the warm granules.
The worst thing about the CatGenie is baked poop. It would happen about once a week when I was manually starting it. Ever since switching to the cat activation mode, it happens at least once a day...usually ends up being 2 to 4 times a day. The scoop either squashes the poop or it misses it completely. Then it gets washed and dried on high heat. It's in the drying cycle that you will smell the stench of baked poop. It's horrendous. I'm actually smelling it right now. You have to keep an eye on the scooping cycles and make sure it gets all the poop before the water fills the bowl. Or just scoop the poop yourself with an extra scoop.
Yesterday one of the cats had the runs and that was the worst bit of poop soup turned baked poop ever. We'll be moving in less than a month and I'm officially done with the CatGenie. The only way I would ever use it again is if we had a second bathroom we could designate only for the CatGenie or an enclosed laundry room with a ventilation fan. Just shut the door while it runs and that would help with the baked poop smell.
Maybe in a couple years they'll develop the CatGenie with a sensor that can remember where the cat pooped so the scoop doesn't squash or miss. Also if they developed some way to separate the granules that get scooped so they are reused and not just flushed.
Unless you have a second bathroom or enclosed laundry room, I don't recommend it. It's too late for us to return it. My husband might try to play with the mechanism or maybe we'll just sell it...but I'd be sure to warn people about the baked poop!