The Dumbest Thing I Ever Bought.

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Since 2002, CDP Headquarters has been at the forefront of Cat-Related Technology (hereby known as CAT TECH for the remainder of this essay). From complicated water bowls, to robotic litter boxes, to food more expensive and delicious than my own, never let it be said that we spare expense for the sake of our feline companions.

Our spoiled, entitled, Millennial feline companions who have never once said thank you.

I have a vivid memory of a litter box the Missus purchased in 2007. It had a motorized rake inside of it that (when working properly) would gently collect waste into a side reservoir for simple, hands-off disposal. It was on a timer and had a motion sensor that kept it from going off when the cats where inside of it, which would have permanently broke their tiny cat brains and ensured they never whizzed in a litter box again for the rest of their lives.

Problem was that no part of this box worked correctly. The rake would begin its slow, sifting journey through the minefield of turds, only to inevitably get caught on a large piece of detritus. Instead of shutting off, the rake would just dig harder into the clump, shaking and building kinetic energy until FWIP! A scone-sized rock of shit would catapult itself completely out of the box, sometimes landing halfway across the basement floor. It took weeks before we pieced together what was happening. It was a sight to behold, I can assure you.

Around the same time, we bought a Bubbler-style (or Water Fountain for non-Wisconsinites) water bowl. The Internet told us that oxygenated water was better for a cat’s kidneys and BLEE BLAH BLOO, so we busted out the debit card and made it happen. The next morning, this is exactly what happened to me–

Broken. Water all over the kitchen floor. I think we’re on our 10th water bowl, because they continue to break. You know what usually doesn’t break? A bowl-style bowl with nothing attached and no humming motor that needs to be plugged in. You know. A bowl.

But hey, whatever. I want to do right by my pets and wife, so onward we trudge, endlessly looking for smarter ways to keep the cats healthy and to keep our hands from touching feces. It’s a battle worth fighting.

But there are limits. There is a line of sanity that can be crossed when it comes to CAT TECH. An Uncanny Valley where Futurism and Logic blur into a steamy gumbo of confusion. A 4th Dimension of blind devotion where reality begins to fade, leaving us only with questions and regret. “How did we get here? I only wanted to do the right thing.”

This brings me to the Cat Genie, the single dumbest thing I have ever bought.

Now, it’s unkind to throw the Missus under the bus here, but I need to state for the record that it was her idea to order the Cat Genie. Not specifically apropos to CAT TECH, the Missus has a long and storied history with purchasing stupid things on the Internet. I do, too, but from the moment the Cat Genie was drone-delivered to my doorstep by Amazon (I assume), the Gold Standard had been set. We had a winner. From that point forward, if a more ridiculous thing was to be brought into our home, it would have to be done on purpose, solely for the occasion of usurping the Cat Genie from its Throne of Preposterousness.

The Cat Genie is what happens when an ordinary litter box has sex with a Japanese Billionaire’s toilet. Its primary function is to dispose of waste in a neat, efficient manner, but in the most complicated, exorbitant way possible. Here’s how it works:

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After the cat craps, the entire thing whirs, heats up and starts rotating. Water and a cleaning solution saturate the bowl as the waste is raked out and sent into a reservoir where it is then flushed out through your water supply. The litter is actually tiny plastic granules that are cleaned during these cycles, which of course is the only litter you can use inside of Cat Genie. The cleaning solution is also proprietary, as you would assume. The machine (above) is enormous; larger than a Human Being Toilet and almost half the size of a washing machine.

Not only do you have to plug this into a power outlet, you need to hook it up to your water supply, which means it has to be next to a sink, toilet or washing machine. My wife did not know this until it was too late. Here were my live tweets from that evening:

11:02PM My wife, sight unseen, just bought a cat toilet. Like, one that flushes with water and stuff.
11:11PM Oh God, now she’s rooting through my toolbox. I’m having an anxiety attack. This dumbass toilet is going to be the downfall of our home.
11:14PM If I find that monstrosity next to the toilet in my bathroom, I’m moving out. I’m not making eye contact with my cat while we both poop.
11:14PM I’m afraid to go upstairs. Halp.
11:15PM Alright, I’m going up.
11:20PM Good news. She’s hooking it up to her toilet in the master bath…right next to our bed. I can already see me stepping into it one night.
11:21PM I love this woman with all my heart.

That’s right. This thing currently sits between the bed and bathroom in the master bedroom, latched onto our plumbing like some sort of leech-like tumor. Ever want a toilet next to your bed? A toilet that you couldn’t use? Well, sleep easy. I’ve got just what you need.

Well, that’s your fault,” you may say. “You should have known that your house wasn’t equipped for a product as futuristic and advanced as Cat Genie.” And you’d be right, which is why I say that this is the dumbest thing I have ever bought, not the worst product on the market*. I’m sure this meets the needs of millions of cat owners in America who are so fearful of litter and feline urine that a fuse blows out in their tender brains and they willfully plop down almost $600 to pretend none of this shit exists. I salute those people and hope they get the help they sincerely need.

So anyway, let’s recap. It needs a power supply. It needs a water supply. The litter is plastic, mandatory and costs $25 a box. The cleaning solution also costs $25 a box. By the way, the cleaning solution smells like jet fuel, and when heated up with the granules and cat shit, is about as palatable as a hoarder’s crawlspace. For about five minutes during the Salad Spinner-esque cleaning cycle, it’s louder than any appliance in your home. The plastic pellets are tracked everywhere. Oh, and the cats refuse to use it because it scares them, which is the only thing that really matters.

For me, it seemed like an open-and-shut case. This isn’t for us. Let’s return it. But the Missus does not give up. This is why I married her. You know what they say: “Never make fun of your wife’s choices, because you were one of them.” To this day, the Cat Genie sits in the Master Bedroom. The cats sometimes sleep inside of it. It’s never once been used for its intended purpose, although I’m personally becoming more and more tempted each day.

I like Technology. I like new devices and I like anything that will make my life easier. The Cat Genie did none of those things. But I like my wife and cats, so rest assured that this CAT TECH journey will never stop.

Maybe they’d use a bidet.

What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever bought? Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.


(*Please do not sue me. I have so little.)