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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.
Overall Score: 3.2/5
- Litter Cleaning- 3/5
- Odor Control – 3.5/5
- Noisiness – 2/5
- Reliability – 3.5/5
- Price – 4/5
CatGenie Self Washing Self Flushing Litter Box Review Video Review
First, 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, stores, and flushes your cat’s waste.
The Genie 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 Genie will run a cleaning cycle.
During this cycle, the Genie automatically scoops out any solid waste. Once solids are removed, the Genie bowl fills with a sani-solution, 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. t
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 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 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 Genie is located close to a GFCI power outlet.
Furthermore, the Genie 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 more tricky, though, when it’s time to attach the water hose to your cold water line.
The Cat Genie comes with two adapters to help you attach the Genie 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 Cat Genie 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 adapter, connected the input hose to the back of the CatGenie, and directed the output hose into the toilet bowl.
Once the Genie is set up, you’ll insert the SaniSolution cartridge and add litter.
The CatGenie comes with a SaniSolution cartridge, which is a recyclable, biodegradable plastic box containing a bag of the Cat Genie 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 in the top of the processing unit.
Before you get started, you’ll want to fill the litter bowl with Cat Genie granules. As mentioned previously, the Cat Genie uses proprietary plastic granules. 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. Secondly, these granules are septic-safe and shouldn’t damage your plumbing.
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 to 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.
Each cycle is broken into three phases.
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 Genie 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 granules. Once everything has had enough time swirling around in the litter bowl, the Genie 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.
After the Genie’s done washing the litter granules, it’s time to get everything dry. Hot air blows from the side of the litter bowl and dries out the granules. By the end of this 17-minute process, the litter 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.
The Genie’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 Genie 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 is 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.
How much did the Genie 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 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.
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 Genie 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 replace the litter 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 $292. At nearly $300, the CatGenie 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.
A 3.5-lb box of CatGenie washable granules costs about $25, while a box of SaniSolution will cost closer to $22. Each cartridge holds 120 washes or more and when set on Cat Activation mode, it provides 240 washes.
With a replacement frequency of once every 2 months, you’ll probably be spending about $23.50 each month on replacement granules and cleaning solution. If you have more than one cat, that number could increase significantly.
Compared to traditional cat 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.
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 plastic 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 Genie 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.
And once the cycle is complete, 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.
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, have a physical disability that makes litter cleaning difficult, and don’t mind adding a new appliance to your home, the CatGenie could revolutionize the way you think about cat litter.
Remember that the CatGenie comes with a two-year warranty and is known for outstanding customer support, so you can give it a try risk-free.