Introduction: CatGenie: Solving the Disappearing Granule Problem

Picture of CatGenie:  Solving the Disappearing Granule Problem

An unknown percentage of CatGenie owners, myself among them, have received a bowl (the part that holds the granules) that was not quite perfectly round. When the bowl isn't round the granules can get forced up under the rim of the upper housing (or "brim" in CatGenie terminology) at which point they travel around the lip of the bowl, get dislodged by the processing unit and collect in the base.

This may not seem like much of a problem to the unenlightened observer, but at twenty three bucks a box these granules are competitively priced with most illegal substances. Unnecessary waste of this precious commodity causes unneeded expense as well as wasting perfectly good granules.

The photos below will give you some idea of the scale of the problem - please keep in mind that this illustration represents an accumulation of about three days' running - or to put it another way, twelve cycles. Replenishing at this rate would be very cost prohibitive.

Anyway - I've solved the problem. One could, of course, call CatGenie and just get a new bowl sent out - but there's no guarantee the new bowl will be better - or one could implement my solution. Its cheap, easy and it works.

Step 1: Disclaimer, Safety and Required Equipment

Picture of Disclaimer, Safety and Required Equipment

DISCLAIMER:

While I do not believe anything in this Instructable is warranty-voiding (no hole drilling, for example) you follow these instructions at your own risk. I am not liable for your death, loss of injury or income, spousal abuse or vague feelings of unrest you may feel because you did or did not follow the steps herein. Caveat Emptor, buyer beware, don't feed the tribbles and above all, be good humans.

SAFETY:

This Instructable requires the use of a cutting implement and chemical adhesives. Perform only in a well ventilated area, wear gloves and be careful. Use common sense and be careful. Seek medical attention if you are injured. Don't drink and drive.

REQUIRED EQUIPMENT

Everything you will need is shown in the photo below: a silicone baking sheet, your CatGenie upper housing ("brim"), some 3M Contact Adhesive, a boxcutter (or other cutting tool), a Sharpie (or other marking implement), a ruler and a foam brush or other similar applicator.

Feel free to make substitutions, although as to the adhesive I can state for the record that hot melt glue and carpet tape are poor choices - they don't stick to silicone well.

Step 2: Mark Your Mat

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For demonstration purposes only, I have selected a green silicone baking mat. I bought it at Wal-Mart in a 3-pak of green, blue and clear. They're cheap, especially when compared to the cost of granules.

For your purposes, I highly recommend using the clear opaque mat. If you're careful with the adhesive the modification is nearly invisible.

From the approximate center of the long edge of the mat, measure toward the middle five-eighths of an inch or so and make a mark. Measure an additional inch and make another mark.

Step 3: Arc Your Mat

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Using your eyeballs specifically calibrated for this purpose, draw an arc from each mark towards the ends of the mat. Use a nice, gentle arc and try to keep the spacing between the lines at about an inch.

You'll notice that I had to make a correction or two to get it to look right. Feel free to follow my stellar example.

Step 4: Cut Your Mat

Picture of Cut Your Mat

Because the inner side of the upper housing is curved we must cut our mat to match if we want our modification to fit properly all the way round.

Cut along your marks, being careful not to cut through into a good kitchen table or any other furniture that will earn you a whack to the back of the head and an angry look.

Step 5: Mark the Length on the Housing

Picture of Mark the Length on the Housing

On the upper housing there is a stalagmite-looking projection that the arm rides against. Turn the housing upside down and our stalagmite now looks like a hole. This hole is going to be our starting point.

With one hand, hold one end of the arced piece of mat against the lip of the housing, with the inner arc upward. With the other hand follow it down to the other end of the mat, and (releasing the start end) mark it there.

This gives us the area of the housing to apply the adhesive to.

Step 6: Sticky Business - Applying the Adhesive

Picture of Sticky Business - Applying the Adhesive

On the surface you just marked, cover this area liberally with adhesive. Set aside to dry.

Take your little arc and put it on the big piece of waste mat that we're not using. It'll make a great work surface for applying the adhesive. Now, on the large, outer half of the arc apply the adhesive. Leave the small, inner half clean. Set aside to dry.

Step 7: Break Time!

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According to the directions on the can, we're supposed to wait until both of the surfaces we want to bond are dry to the touch. Don't worry - it only takes a couple of minutes.

Since we're almost done, now would be a good time to do a little cleanup: put the tools and adhesive away, throw away any trash and take a little break.

Ready? Let's move on...

Step 8: Stick It On

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BE CAREFUL:

Do not accidentally touch the two surfaces. They will bond instantly and will remove the adhesive when you try to pull them apart, after which you'll have to reapply.

Taking special care to keep the two surfaces from accidentally touching and screwing up all your hard work (can you tell this has happened to me?), start at one end and stick them together. You want to try to keep any of the adhesive from showing, so go slowly, working your way to the other end.

Once you have it stuck on, stand back and admire your handiwork.

Step 9: Reinstall and Reap the Savings

Picture of Reinstall and Reap the Savings

The only step left is to reinstall your modded brim onto your CatGenie. There are no special instructions - it works the same as it did before.

Now, however, this improvisational flange will stay pressed against the side of the bowl, keeping out all the little escape artists and preventing their escape. They'll have to get out the normal way - on the bottom of cat feet.

A Word Of Caution:

You may be tempted, since you have all this extra silicone mat, to continue this modification all the way around the circumference of the brim, sealing the little buggers in for all time. I strongly advise against this. I tried it this way, and the increased friction from the flange kept the bowl from rotating CCW. The friction was so great that I could not turn the bowl. It may not seem like much, but it adds up.

I hope this Instructable helps - Enjoy.

Comments

handysmurf (author)2009-09-14

hey all ... not sure if I should put this here or in the "hacking" thread ...

I have a unique problem .. I have 10 yo tom who I had declawed ... never ... NEVER ... again. So ... litter ... and the cat genie granuals irritate his paws and he won't have anything to do with it.

My carpet is long past ruined ... uhhhhg

Now ... I have tried a few things .. one successfully ... but its a huge pain...

I put shredded paper in an old plastic litterpan ... he used it .... so he clearly wants to dig and bury ... just not in litter.

So... having put the final replacement granuals in the CG and needing more anyway ... I got to thinking ...

I decided to try something .... I bought a jar of 10,000 - 0.12g Airsoft (c) pellets .... took out all the old granuals and replaced them with the AS pellets.

So far all is well with CG ... it makes a racket when one gets down in there but except for the shaft all the parts are rubber ... so I don't believe it will cause any damage..

As far as Larry ... I bought 30,000 rounds altogether ... put 1/3 in the CG ... put the other 2/3 in the old plastic litterbox ... we shall see if he takes to it. Hopefully he will as the pellets won't get into his clawless paws ... even if they do there are no sharp edges or anything ... then I can move it closer to the CG and get his $%& in it that way.
however, it appears those pellets dry in fraction of the time it apparently takes the granuales to dry .... now if I could hack the thing to cut the drying time....

this also does away with the problem of the houdini granuals.

FawnaF (author)handysmurf2016-03-12

So the 10,000 .12 airsoft pellets were fine? I'm hoping you are referring to those as the smaller ones.

kittyluv (author)handysmurf2009-09-15

so did the pellets work? or is it jamming up the CG, my problem is I lose pounds of the stuff on the floor.I thought the dome and walls would help but it does not

handysmurf (author)kittyluv2009-09-16

well yes but it will require some modification because it makes a racket and you will end up constantly taking the thing apart to get them out. I am going to try modifying mine ... the small pellets don't cause a problem because they fit through where they need to but not the larger balls. I have a spare hopper so I am going to drill some holes in the impeller so the few balls that make it in the hopper get out easily where they need to. If you are just looking for cheap replacement pellets you can find equivalents on that eauction site. look for item # 200298694401 ... I believe those will work and I will be buying them there if I need them ... you can get 10# for for $22.50 (shipping included). As for shopping elsewhere for equivalents anything that is close to 1/8 of an inch will work. I would also note ... since I'm posting ... while still leaving some residue in the toilet ... the simple green concentrate solution results in far less mess in the toilet than the real McCoy.

Jim Wolfe (author)handysmurf2010-11-23

Thanks for your information.

What is the full address of the ( eauction ) site for item # 200298694401
as my CatGenie seems to loose granules at a high rate. The price
is certainly right. at $22.50 w/free shipping.

Also have you tried useing them ?

Thanks jimwolfe2@hotmail.com

handysmurf (author)Jim Wolfe2010-12-06

ebaydotcom

i have not used those ... I modded mine to use airsoft pellets ... works great and I can go buy more at wally world.

Jim Wolfe (author)handysmurf2010-12-06

Thanks. I will advise you if I decide to purchase some
Jim

handysmurf (author)kittyluv2010-08-16

yes the pellets work but you have to mod the grinder ... I need to make an instructable on it.

handysmurf (author)kittyluv2009-09-16

OK ... it worked ... I modded mine so the pellets have gaps to get through. I will be posting an instructable in the next few days.

handysmurf (author)kittyluv2009-09-16

Duh ... sorry ... they are tracking them out ... as far as that goes ... far less escape on the floor but there are still some that get out. I'm not sure at the moment if they are being tracked out or bucked out by the impeller. i will update on my "mod"

Bronibee (author)handysmurf2010-08-16

OMG! You de-clawed your tom at the age of 10???

handysmurf (author)Bronibee2010-08-16

no he was declawed a long time ago ...

Bronibee (author)handysmurf2010-08-16

Ohh, thank God! I thought maybe that's why your kitty's paws are sensitive... I mean if done improperly as in butcher job, it could be disastrous... =( I have two rescues - declawed. They love the Catgenie, though. =) Cheers

CGrulesmyworld (author)2015-12-30

Im new to this forum and bought a never used cg 120 off someone, not looking into the price of everything but got it real cheep. Anyhow. Ok so found that the soft pellets make such a horrible noise that will run you out of the house! Not kidding! So found some on eBay that are rounder and are less tracking then the cg ones and cheaper. I like them and they work perfectly no loud noise. So one thing down one to go, has anyone thought of exchanging old cartridges with each other and refilling them then putting them in the cg? Or replacing the RFID chip with different ones?

I know that there is someone selling a modified cartridge for like $100.00 bucks, but not sure if I want to put my trust in someone that keeps saying that they might not make anymore. Please reply if anyone has done any of this and got the thing to work. Thanks.

nelu57 (author)2010-06-25

Thanks ScottSEA. Many thanks. Good idea. I put into practice. Nelu57
PS. Address your blog ( maddeningscientist.blogspot.com/2007/07/are-catgenie-granules-biodegradeable.html ) does not work !

ki4aoa (author)2009-08-24

Step 5 is where I had to deviate from the plan. My granules where piling up further back than the instructables author, so I had to start the shield further back. I started mine about 4 inches before the "stalagmite."

handysmurf (author)2009-07-24

Hey!! how did you get a picture of my cat?!? LOL I bet yours is a little less hefty than mine ... mine is 22# Oh and ... he has no use for the CG or any other litterbox (uuuhhhhggg) the front declaw was a bad experience for him ... as well as a round of being "blocked" so he wont have anything to do with anything that resembles litter .... I wonder how big of granuales the CG could handle.....

BeeInPhx (author)2009-04-17

Thanks ScottSea...I need this info today :( Earth Day is the 22nd, so all you Genie owners feel good for not adding to the ever-growing pile of litter on our world. Speaking of granules...right now if you order 4 boxes of Genie granules through Amazon.com...not only do you get the 4th one free, but you also get free shipping. I just bought 4 boxes for less than 72 bucks! Thanks again Scott, the information you have compiled on here is invaluable

gks (author)2009-01-04

Hey Scott, I don't think these are made of silicon, they are some kind of polypropylene. I got the same ones at Kmart. Also, thanks for doing the instruct able, this fix works great!

FourLeggedHairy (author)2008-10-14

Call Catgenie customer service, they have a fix for granules getting lost (they are a set of special Washers). Fix is free

gks (author)FourLeggedHairy2009-01-04

I tried the washer "fix", in fact came up with the idea on my own, way before catgenie started pushing it. But it did not work for me at all. This method ScottSEA spells out here works great! I used polypropylene chopping mats found at Kmart rather then silicon (Scott might be talking about the same mats, not sure, but the one I used are not silicon)

Yeah, but who reads Instructables, and wants to do the manufacturer's fix? Not many, I assure you.

sylvershade (author)2008-04-18

I tried this and so far so good :) Thanks for the ingenious solution! I would like to add to make sure of the glue you get... I went to an autozone store and got some type of glue that they recommended, and then later read on the box not to use with polyethelene (or something) plastic.... sure enough, it started eating into the plastic fork I was using to apply the glue...luckily it didn't seem to affect the baking mat or cat genie. Also, my baking mat had a smooth side and a rough side. The first time I accidentally applied the smooth side to the machine and glue and it didnt stick very well. Luckily, the rough side stuck alot better.

canida (author)2008-02-05

Whoa. You've been on a pretty good roll!
And your cat is clearly up to no good. ;)

ScottSEA (author)canida2008-02-06

Yes - he's a typical cat in that respect!

GorillazMiko (author)2008-01-30

Another great Instructable! Nice job, I like your cat too!

ScottSEA (author)GorillazMiko2008-01-30

Thanks for the compliment. Mason is a great cat - quite a personality.

adbak (author)2008-01-30

Good instructable!

Have you tried World's Best Cat Litter (http://worldsbestcatlitter.com/)? It's probably less expensive than the pellets.

ScottSEA (author)adbak2008-01-30

Thanks - glad you liked it. Conventional litter like World's Best - or any absorbent litter - will not work with a CatGenie.

The CatGenie is a unique product that washes, rinses, and dries the granules in the bowl with water from a water line then flushes the water and macerated feces down the drain line.

Therefore, the granules must be completely non-absorbent. The granules are a "biodegradable" (I have issues with this word - see my blog post) plastic pellet composed of 30% talc-filled polypropylene.