For those of you who have wondered whether a cat litter box could achieve the same functionality as an inkjet printer, CatGenie has the answer for you. Jorge Lopez covered his experience with his brand-new purchase at Medium, swiftly discovering the downside of the litter box that cleans itself. While it does take care of most of the nasty business (disposing of feces although occasionally leaving one behind to be baked into “poop jerky” by the heated cleaning cycle), it only does so if properly loaded with specific products made and sold by CatGenie.
There is, for example, a cleaning solution, circulated through the machine’s permanent-ish granules. It comes in what is called a SmartCartridge. How smart is it?
Contained within the SmartCartridge is an RFID chip that tracks fluid levels and turns the automatic litter box into a useless stinkhole once the fluid runs out. It can’t be tricked into believing you’ve refilled it. It can only be replaced with a new one. Like any number of printers that won’t let you print/scan/copy without replacing an ink cartridge, the wonderful, self-cleaning litter box refuses to do anything but collect cat excrement until new cartridges are installed.
That’s a $200+ litter box that becomes indiscernible from the $6.99 non-auto version once the proprietary cleaning fluid runs out.
Hats off to Techdirt’s Tim Cushing for describing that particular condition as a “bricked shithouse.”