Which Automated Cat Litter Box Is Better? CatGenie vs Litter-Robot

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Which Automated Cat Litter Box Is Better? CatGenie vs Litter-Robot Listen to this article

1) I know the Litter-Robot is bigger, but which actually seems bigger and bulkier?

They seem about the same bulk-wise; the LitterRobot has a 22″ wide x 24″ deep footprint, where the CatGenie measures 19.25″ wide x 24.5″ deep. As for height, the Litter-Robot at 29″ is taller than the CatGenie’s 21″, which includes the optional dome (it’s basically flush with the back of the CatGenie unit). While the Litter-Robot is taller, which should be a consideration if you are placing it in a cabinet, you still have to remember the SaniSolution Cartridge on the CatGenie; since it is placed on the top left and you’ll have to remove and reinsert a cartridge every few months, you’ll need to add at least 6″ clearance if you are keeping the CatGenie in an enclosure.

2) Have you ever had to pull the CatGenie apart and unclog and if so, is it as gross as people say?

The short answer is yes, I have, and whatever people have said … it is infinitely grosser!

Now here is the rest of the story.

I have actually had two CatGenie models, the original CatGenie 60 which I reviewed, and the newest model, the CatGenie 120. The CatGenie 60 never gave me a day’s trouble, so when the CatGenie 120 came out … even though it was $329+ for the upgrade package I purchased, I bought it without a moment’s hesitation.

The one smart thing I did was not take the $100 upgrade rebate option by trading in the old processing unit. The CatGenie 120 arrived, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that all of my old accessories fit perfectly – the side rails and dome – and the only major change was that the enclosed processing unit of the device was altered.

Even though we could have technically just replaced the processing unit on the old base, we went ahead and changed out everything. We completely cleaned it and kept the CatGenie 60 in our storage building; I figured I might eventually have someone to give it to, just like I had done the Litter-Robot.

I kept the CatGenie 120 on automatic mode — which is supposed to be better for it, but I had trouble with the unit from about the 4th month on. The first issue was rather dramatic, as I was alerted to a problem when the error alert kicked off, and all of a sudden, I had what amounted to raw sewage on the floor of our laundry room. Of course, this happened 15 minutes before I was supposed to leave the house to attend a school function for one of my stepdaughters. Needless to say, I didn’t make it, and I was in a foul mood as I cleaned up the mess. Kevin came home after the school function and helped me take apart the CatGenie, and we couldn’t find any clogs or other blockage. In other words, there was no discernible reason for the blowup.

We got everything set back up properly, the little raise in the hose you are supposed to have, the loose wrap of the extra hose under the base, everything sparkling and ready to go … and the CatGenie 120 worked properly for a few more months. The next problem was that I would constantly get Error #3, which means the CatGenie is not draining properly. We took it apart several times and were never able to find a clog or any other reason for it not to be draining, yet the issue would persist.

Then I started to regularly get error #1, which is supposed to mean a dirty water sensor or clog. Again, we took it apart several times but never found a clog; the water sensor would sometimes have a faint white film (possibly lime buildup – our water is hard, after all) on it, but wiping it off would not always clear the error. We did the prescribed maintenance on the device with the cleaning solution packets that had come with the unit but to no avail. It got to where the error beeps would constantly go off, and I was getting more and more frustrated with the device.

Because unplugging it for a time would reset it so that it could properly run, I started unplugging it after it would do its sequence, right after the first error beeps started, and cleaning the sensors didn’t work.

Yes, I called customer service, was walked through all of the tests and reset that I had already done, was told that my problem should be fixed now … and they weren’t. After another week or so of plugging it in only when I needed to run it and then immediately unplugging it, I got the brilliant idea of getting the old model out of our storage room.

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Because I wanted to see if the issue was with the CatGenie 120 processing unit or the base itself, I inserted the CatGenie 60 processing unit into the 120’s base. We have not had a single issue since. :sigh:

Which Automated Cat Litter Box Is Better? CatGenie vs Litter-Robot
photo courtesy of CatGenie

3) Do the plastic litter scatter about more than regular litter even with dome?

Not really. Avah likes to kick litter, whether it be plastic or traditional. I just figure that we will always have a little bit to clean up once or twice a day with any style litter box; if your cat is a kicker too, then you will always have a bit of clean up, no matter what you use. That’s just one of the un-fun things about owning a cat, I guess.

4) Would a large male Ragdoll fit in both?

Absolutely. There is plenty of room in either the Litter-Robot or the CatGenie. Avah is fully grown and weighs about 16 pounds; she doesn’t even begin to fill her box. June & Steven’s cat Tom is a big boy – just under 20 pounds (he is fat, not one of those cats who just looks big but is all hair) – and he still has plenty of room in the Litter-Robot.

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5) Smells of both. Mixed reports here. I don’t have an exhaust in the laundry….does the poop really bake in the genie? Also do you use unscented or scented solution? which is the best smell wise?

This is a two-part answer. On the CatGenie 120, yes, the poop baked because the damn machine did not properly clean it! It was disgusting! Enough to run you out of the house! And it didย this several times! Even worse was if someone came over while it was completing the cycle and the house smelled. Oh, it was aggravating!

But I am happy to report that with the CatGenie 60, the only smells we get are the mild scent that the Unscented Cartridges put out. We started with the Scented cartridges, but they are pretty strong (we aren’t big potpourri or spray deodorizer fans, either), so we ultimately began ordering the Unscented. Those aren’t “unscented,” really, as there is a fresh, light deodorizing smell. However, it’s not obnoxious at all.

My recommendation for you? I would say that because you are in another country and because you don’t have an easy warranty or maintenance access, you would likely do better with the Litter-Robot. The first reason is that the CatGenie 60 is no longer available, and only the 120 can be purchased. I simply don’t trust that model enough to recommend it to anyone, based on my experience. The second reason is that you will have to purchase more SaniSolution and plastic litter over time, and shipping to Singapore will likely be costly.

If you get the Litter-Robot, you will only need to buy clumping litter as needed. Of course, you’ll have to remove the waste bag in the bottom storage bin regularly, but that is still a relatively trouble-free way to keep the litter box clean. ๐Ÿ™‚

Update: Months later, the CatGenie let me down again โ€” with raw sewage all over the utility room floor โ€” and so I purchased another Litter-Robot. I liked the idea of the CatGenie, but for whatever reason, it has stopped working properly for me, and I can’t deal with the results. Even though I now have to empty the Litter-Robot’s bin every week or so (not a big deal!), it is much preferable to the CatGenie’s finickiness. I can wholeheartedly recommend any of the Litter-Robot models over the CatGenie.

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
I've had a fascination with all types of gadgets and gizmos since I was a child, beginning with the toy robot that my grandmother gave my brother - which I promptly "relieved him of" in 1973. I'm a self-professed gadget magpie. I can't tell you how everything works, but I'm known world-wide for using a product until I have a full understanding of what it does, what its limitations are, and if it excels in any given area โ€” or not.