Litter Robot Open Air vs. CatGenie

Let’s talk about crap, shall we? More specifically, let’s talk about cat crap. I, for one, do not like messing with the cats’ litter boxes. They smell, they are heavy, they are messy, and the whole thing’s just gross. With four indoor cats, it’s a necessity, however.

About five years ago, I invested in two CatGenies. And I do mean invest; those things are expensive! Believe it or not, the Litter Robot Open Air is even more expensive, and you have to use regular scoopable litter, unlike the CatGenie, which I will get into. Without further ado, let’s talk some poo!

You can buy the CatGenie on Amazon. They have a great price for the CatGenie 2+1 Combo Fresh Scent bundle, which includes two fresh scent cleaning solutions and a three-pound box of granules for $68! Any purchase you make through my links helps out yours truly. How cool is that?

CatGenie 120

Not to be confused with the Litter Genie litter disposal thingy (it’s a Diaper Genie for cats), which is pretty nice, and I did own one, the CatGenie 120 (CG) is the “World’s only self-flushing, self-washing cat box.” These things are awesome!

Here’s how it works: Read the directions and set the litter box up or have your spouse/SO do it (I chose the latter). Fill the box to the line with granules, drop the solution cartridge into the back, plug it in, and turn it on. Don’t forget to read the manual: This is important!

You can choose to have the CatGenie run a certain amount of times a day or you can set it to run a few minutes after the cat gets out of the box. There’s a sensor that knows this. If you have it to run after each use, which is recommended by CG, you use less cleaning solution. Kitty enters the litter box, does its thing, then leaves.

A few minutes after kitty leaves, the wash cycle begins, which is about 15 to 20 minutes long. The CatGenie scoops any poop into the back of the box, fills the now-poop-free box up with water and cleaning solution, drains the water, fills up with clean water, drains it, then dries the granules with hot/warm air.

There is a macerator in the back of the box that chops the poop up and sends it to the toilet through a hose. You’ll hear it flush into the toilet. That’s it. You’re left with a nice clean box with a fresh scent or no scent, depending on which cleaning solution you buy.

Pros:

  • Cat friendly
  • No traditional litter
  • No scooping
  • Not too big
  • Eliminates odor
  • Low maintenance

Cat Friendly

Now, this is important. Of course, a litter box should be cat friendly, but some cats just don’t dig the CatGenie (no pun intended). The sound it makes while it’s cleaning might scare them off, or they might not like the litter granules. I didn’t have this problem, but some cat owners have. My cats and I sat on the floor and watched the cleaning cycle several times for a couple of days, and they were comfortable with it.

No Traditional Litter

The CatGenie uses little plastic granules for litter instead of clay. They look like what you buy to make stained “glass” ornaments. I don’t know what that’s called, but it’s in arts and crafts hobby shops. I was a bit leery about the granules at first, but they are great. I buy a three-pound box of granules every two years! Two years!! There is minimal tracking through the house, and very few granules are flushed. This saves us a ton of money on litter.

Not Too Big

The CatGenie isn’t super big. It’s heavy because of the motor, but my two boxes fit in the master bathroom side-by-side. It’s not much bigger than my old sifting litter box. You can purchase a hood for privacy, but some cats don’t like that, so it’s a preference thing and it doesn’t take up more space.

No Odor

I buy the fresh scent cartridges and that makes the litter box smell good. Seriously. After the wash cycle, there’s a nice smell in the bathroom from the cleaning solution.

Low Maintenance

While it requires some maintenance, it’s much less than regular litter boxes. It’s good practice to keep the back of the litter box clean and make sure it doesn’t get clogged so everything runs smoothly. This generally doesn’t happen, but if you have a constipated cat, hard feces can be a challenge for the macerator and it can back up.

When the cleaning solution cartridge is low, the litter box beeps. Simply switch out the cartridge with a new one and push the button so the box knows you attended to it. The CatGenie will also beep and the buttons will light up if there’s an issue, and you can look in the manual to see what specific beep and corresponding lit button means. It is a smart litter box!

Cons:

  • Noisy
  • Long wash cycle
  • Dirty toilet
  • Requires outlet, water supply, and toilet or water disposal
  • Poo stragglers
  • Poo buildup in the back

Noisy

The CatGenie 120 is not quiet. When it runs, it flushes and sprays and blows air; it’s not something you want to run at night. You can have it only run during the day if it’s too distracting. I don’t even notice it anymore.

Long Wash Cycle

As mentioned, the wash cycle takes about 15-20 minutes. Since I have two CatGenies and a Litter Robot Air, this isn’t a concern for me. If you purchase one box and have more than one cat, they will have to wait until the wash cycle is finished before they can use it.

Dirty Toilet

I have the CatGenies hooked up to the master bath toilet. There is an option for hooking them up in the laundry room (I don’t know where the waste goes with this), but our laundry room is very small, so I can’t do that.

It makes a toilet look disgusting! People can use the toilet just fine with the boxes hooked up; the rubber hoses hook onto the toilet rim under the seat and aren’t in the way. However, I don’t use the master bath toilet, so it doesn’t get flushed often, and it gets brown and icky after the litter box runs. It’s easy to clean and doesn’t stain, but it’s unsightly. It’s not a big problem, however.

Outlet, Supply, and Disposal

The CatGenie has to be plugged in. DO NOT USE A SPLITTER FOR TWO BOXES! I made this mistake and melted the plastic splitter because both litter boxes ran at the same time when the electric went off and came back on. Luckily, only the splitter was destroyed, and no fires. They flipped the breaker a couple times, too.

The CG needs to be hooked up to the water supply, and the hose needs to be placed somewhere for the waste/water disposal. CatGenie supplies all the necessary stuff, and it’s very easy to install. My boxes are hooked up to the toilet’s water supply with the disposal hoses hooked on the toilet. If you hook it up in your laundry room, the waste/water goes wherever your clothes washing machine rinse water goes.

Poo Stragglers

Unfortunately, there are poo stragglers that are missed by the CatGenie scoop. When this happens, those stragglers are washed, rinsed, and dried. What you are left with is a hot poop smell that’s unpleasant. It goes away eventually, but this does happen.

Poo Buildup in the Back

I have a couple of hard poopers in the family, and the CG has become clogged a couple of times. Since these boxes don’t need regular maintenance, if enough hard poop cannot be macerated, it just stays in the back and piles up. When this happens, the box will beep to let you know there’s an issue that needs your attention. Unclogging the back is smelly and gross, but it’s a rare occurrence.

CatGenie AI

This is the newer model that includes AI and works with an app, which I really want, but they are $400 and I don’t have the funds to upgrade. As stated on their site, “The CatGenie App, when paired with a CatGenie A.I., precisely monitors the SaniSolution cartridge cleaning cycles, shows you the cleaning status of the CatGenie, recommends maintenance, tracks how often your cat uses the CatGenie per day, and provides cat wellness information.”

Litter Robot Open Air/3 Connect

The Litter Robot Open Air, or Litter Robot 3 Connect (newer version) is an automatic self-cleaning litter box that runs at least seven minutes after your kitty exits the box; you can choose the time limit. The sensor is weight-based, and this litter box isn’t for cats and kittens under five pounds. This box will set you back $450 for the Open Air and $500 for the Litter Robot 3.

The Litter Robot is large and requires a power source and is all about weight distribution and sensors. Unboxing and setup is pretty easy. Once assembled, add some clean litter to the ring (very important!) and plug it in. Use the manual to learn how to make any setting changes. The default is the Litter Robot Open Air (LROA) will run 7 minutes after a cat leaves the box.

Pros:

  • No scooping
  • Clean litter box
  • Quiet
  • Different lights
  • Completely empty option

No Scooping

What indoor cat owner doesn’t love those two words? It took me forever to convince my mom to switch from non-scooping to scooping litter. I’m sure she was thankful for that when I didn’t live here. So, big seller: No scooping. Who wants to scoop pee and poop? Don’t we do enough for these little home invaders?

Clean Litter Box

Another no-brainer. With the LROA, the box is always clean. We have ours in the living room and you can’t even tell . I’m not a fan of cat smells, so it wouldn’t be in that room if it stunk.

Quiet

You can hear the Litter Robot running. However, it’s not super noisy. I think the loudest thing is when the poop falls. It only takes a couple of minutes to run. All of my cats are cool with it. One of them got in it when it was sideways!

Different Lights

There is a blue light, a yellow/orange light, a red light, a flashing yellow/orange light, and a flashing blue light. The blue light means everything’s cool. The yellow/orange light means the box is running. The red light means someone stepped in there recently. It stays red (I think) until it runs, then it turns blue. The flashing yellow/orange light means it’s stuck; more on that later. The flashing blue light means you need to empty the bottom of the box because it’s full. The box won’t run until you empty the bottom.

Completely Empty Option

When you need a complete clean, there’s a button that completely empties all of the litter. You can then dump the bottom and clean the rubber and plastic interior. Easy, peasy!

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Must buy litter
  • Gets stuck

Expensive

The biggest drawback to the Litter Robot Open Air/3 Connect is the cost. It’s $450 and $500 just for the box and a few drawer liners. The liners are nice, but you can use it without liners, or use small white kitchen trash bags.

Must Buy Litter

This may seem like a given, but after having the CatGenie, it’s a pain to buy real litter! As mentioned, a box of granules lasts 2-3 years with the other box. With the LROA, you buy litter just like regular boxes. The lightweight Tidy Cats scoopable litter works great with this box. Sam’s Club brand, Member’s Mark, litter works good, too, and it’s pretty cheap.

Gets Stuck

I have to admit, I’ve beaten the Litter Robot up quite a few times. This litter box gets stuck. It’s weight-based, so if any saturated litter is left in the bottom or somewhere in the wheel, the box will stop running.

Sometimes, it unsticks itself, which is cool. It will keep trying to run and sometimes it succeeds; sometimes it doesn’t, which is when the beatings commence. When it gets stuck, the yellow/orange flashing light comes on. Aside from the beating, I hit the start button and the box keeps trying to complete the cycle. It’s a real pain.

Conclusion

I have had these boxes about the same amount of time, and I have to say…It’s a tie. I know, I know, that’s not what you wanted to read. They both work great and make owning cats even more enjoyable. If I had to choose, I would pick the CatGenie because it’s cheaper to maintain.

However, I have the unique option of an unused restroom in the house to dedicate these boxes to and not everyone does. I can say they are both great options!


Buy the CatGenie 120 on Amazon!
Buy the CatGenie A.I. on Amazon!
Don’t miss the great deal on the CatGenie 2+1 Combo Fresh Scent bundle.
Want scent-free solution? Grab the CatGenie 2+1 Combo Scent Free bundle.

Published by Amanda Riley

Amanda is a freelance content and blog writer for companies from WV. She loves reading, writing, and crocheting. #AutismAtWork

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