We’ve had cats for the last twenty-two and a half years. I think we’ve tried just about every litter box out there. Well, every litter box out there before we found the Litter Free (Now called Cat Genie).
Let’s first look at the health hazards of the litter box (both for the human and the feline): [See http://rcwel.wrytestuff.com/swa33679.htm for more information]
- For humans the top health concern from litter boxes is Toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a tiny parasite called Toxoplasma gondii which can be found in raw or undercooked meat, unwashed fruits and vegetables, dirty cat litter boxes and outdoor soil where cat feces can be found. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than 60 million people in the United States may be infected with the Toxoplasma parasite(1). Fortunately, very few people ever experience any symptoms because a healthy person’s immune system usually keeps the parasite from causing illness. However, pregnant women and individuals who have compromised immune systems, such as individuals infected with the HIV virus, are at risk and should take precautions to avoid being infected by the parasite. For people in this group a Toxoplasma infection could cause serious health problems to the individual or to a pregnant woman’s unborn child.
- Another human toxin is E. coli. E. coli can infect humans thru contact with feline fecal material, although the primary means of infection is thru ingestion or raw or undercooked meats. E. Coli is a bacterium commonly found in the intestinal tract of humans and animals. Almost all strains of the bacteria are harmless. However a few strains can produce powerful toxins and cause severe illness, especially in children under 5 years of age(5). Symptoms usually include diarrhea and abdominal cramps. In children under 5, 2%-7% of E. coli cases can cause kidney failure. Fortunately, E. coli is easy to prevent.
- For cats, because they like to stay clean and they clean themselves by licking, licking their paws after use of a continuously dirty litter can cause infections. The most common is the urinary tract infection. There are other infections that can be caused by both the litter, the bacteria, and the dust.
- Again, for cats, some types of litter can be harmful or fatal. Clumping litters especially. Stay away from clay based litters as these can contain the mineral sodium bentonite. The corn or wheat based litters are non-toxic. I would recommend The World’s Best Cat Litter, if you don’t have the Cat Genie. Non-Clumping litters require you to wash and sanitize your litter box more often to keep the bacteria at bay. But who doesn’t use non-clumping anymore?
We began with one cat back in 1989. GoofyKat. When he was 4, we brought home MikeyKat. He was mad at me for a year…literally! That’s one thing different between cats and dogs: Cats hold grudges. 🙂
We bought the Litter Maid. At the time, that was “high-class”. We noticed that they just didn’t like the box. So, we bought two, thinking it was because one cat didn’t like going after the second cat–either the smell, or the scent of the other because they just didn’t like each other very well. So we bought a third….and a fourth. Nothing would make them happy. And then we finally realized the smell.
A cat’s nose is more sensitive than ours. But when we could smell the urine, we knew that it was just not working well. The Litter Maid would rake the clumping pee and poo into a bin at the front of the box and it would sit there. It had a cover and was supposed to contain the clumps and the smell, but it never quite fit right. So the stench would leak out. We also noticed that the rakes would never rake out everything completely. The clumping litter would adhere to the bottom and the corners of the litter box. The rake was set to not touch the bottom of the litter box, so it never completely removed everything. And we just couldn’t adjust it where it needed to be to scrape the bottom. It was stinking up the litter box. And then, the smell filled the whole room.
It was horrible. Poor kitties!
We were manually scooping the litter box two or three times a day, as well as having the Litter Maid automatically go off. But there were times it just couldn’t scoop the stuff at all and it would get stuck, gears clicking and finally giving up. The poo and the pee clumps would sit in the litter box until we came in and manually scooped. That’s when we realized GoofyKat was using it too much, having pee clumps twice the size of normal clumps, and also he was peeing in inappropriate places (i.e. not the litter box). So, we took him to the vet and found out he had diabetes.
Controlling GoofyKat’s diabetes and his health was important to us, and to him. So, after years of (unsuccessful) use of the Litter Maid, we threw them away and reverted to a regular box, with regular clumping litter. We were scooping anyway, so might as well just keep it all under control of one litter box. As with any cat owner, we dreaded this chore. The dust from the litter, the constant scooping and cleaning. Everything that goes with this chore we hated.
But, we did find this amazing litter, called THE WORLD’S BEST CAT LITTER. And it really is! It’s made of ground corn husks and there is very little dust. It kept the ammonia smell down to a bare minimum, something that we really needed since GoofyKat was diabetic and caused more ammonia in his urine. It also helped keep the cats from using the bathroom elsewhere.
This was a great alternative to what we had before. But we still had to scoop. And clean. And sanitize.
A few years pass and we found this thing called Litter Free while surfing the ‘net one day. We are all for technology and making our lives simpler. And when we read about this self-cleaning litter box, did a little more investigation, we dumped the $200 on a litter box. Heck yeah! Why not? We spent $150 times 4 on those Litter Maids.
The Litter Free had washable pellets, a CPU to control when it would wash, and hose hookups. You either hooked it up to your water in your bathroom and have it expel the dirty water into the toilet with a hose that hooked on to the rim, or you could hook it up in your washroom and expel the dirty water into the drain for your washer. (I prefer the washroom hookup). It even blow dried your pellets when it was done. It was an awesome machine.
But then, they went out of business. The inventor was incredibly saddened by this because it was getting very popular. However, there were just too many investors in the stew. So, he had to stop production. The cleaning cartridges and pellets disappeared, and then the units started breaking. People were buying what they could off eBay for parts, or even a first time unit. It was still very popular. However, the inventor couldn’t continue improvements on this thing without his backer.
We had to go back to the old, manual, scooping litter box. Ugh! But at least THE WORLD’S BEST CAT LITTER made it semi-tolerable.
We scoured the forums and the internet in hopes of another self-washing cat litter box. Eventually the rumor starting flaring up again. And then, in 2006 the LitterFree came back into existence under the new name of Cat Genie by PetNovations.
We were one of the first people to sign up and “beta test” the new units. With the beta group we provided detailed information on what did and didn’t work. It was a vast improvement from the LitterFree. The support was wonderful. It was beautiful! And, we had our self-washing litter box back!
Here’s how it works:
1) is strip-mined and needs 2000 degrees of heat to process.
2) uses more energy and money for transporting than it’s worth.
3) pollutes landfills with 8 billion, non-biodegradable lbs. a year. In one year, with two cats, you buy, carry and throw away about 336 lbs. of litter. See more shocking litter facts.
You ask: why CatGenie? Ask: why not?
Why not …
1) give up buying and carrying hundreds of lbs. of litter.
2) just purchase a few cartridges of cat-safe cleaner a year.
3) stop breathing in germ-filled, smelly dust particles.
4) help save the planet and stop littering.
Have Questions? See FAQs.
We now have graduated to the CatGenie 120 and would be lost without it! 😀