We have three felines.  They are each distinct characters.  Jake has been around these parts the longest and is the male.  He has been surgically altered, but is still the male cat.  (Funny how that doesn’t change things much.)  Next came Pearl.  She is the silent one of the group.  We have actually been training her to speak.  If she wants a treat, she has to meow.  She mostly would rather avoid confrontation with any others and stays by herself.  We have been working with her for a few years and she is actually starting to come up and spend time with us.  The tail end is Whiskers.  She is the youngest cat, and a hormonal teenager.  (in cat years that is)  She hasn’t been surgically altered, but that is in her future.  We’re hoping it will quiet her cycles.  Quite being the operative word.  That would be associated with sleeping through the night.

Anyways, what these three have in common is basic life needs: food, water, cat pan.  The food dispenser is a battery powered unit which was programmable and provides three meals per day.  With much battle, a water bowl was added to the automated list and has been operating for a couple of months.  The last item needed to attain full automation would be a cat pan which would scoop itself.  Well, there is one which comes close.  It is the Cat Genie.  The thing had promise of small pellets which would be washed and dried daily to allow a continuously clean cat pan.  No scooping.  Yea!  Once the opportunity presented itself, we obtained a unit.  It does take up a bit of floor space – about two feet by 19 inches.  The bowl is round in front and the mechanism is box-like on the back.  Amazon has them and one was showing the other day cheaper than we paid for this one.  Anyways, we unpacked it and started assembling it on the bedroom floor.  Jake immediately started to use the unit.  We moved him off and started the hook-up in the bathroom.  While there, before the hook-ups were finished, Whiskers blessed the unit with its first baptism.  We finally got the hook-ups and spouseinbox started programming it.  The unit ran its first time.  The scooper moved down to the pellets and the bowl started to turn.  The valve for the water opened and all the retained air in the line made an immediate exit with the appropriate pow sound.  All the cats jumped.

After that first cleaning, all three felines sat at respectful distances and eyed the unit.  Whiskers proved more brave than the other two while approaching with back feet stretched and back low to the ground.   She inched forward until her nose was near the front and just as her nose was about to touch the rim, jumped backwards just like rubber bands stretched from the bathroom door had done their deed.  Jake maintained his superior stance on the counter overlooking the unit and would sit there and stare.  Pearl just avoided it and would hop on the toilet, then over to the food and water.  The automated cat pan was off to a bad start.  Nothing like scaring the crap out of the users to set up a new relationship.

The booklet which came with the unit advised to leave the old pan there, but not clean it.  We tried that stance and were rewarded with poop on the bed.  No one can say the cats don’t know how to express themselves.  Since there were three, we had no real idea who the real culprit was, but had a guess.  Now what to do.  We started locking the cats up in the bathroom with the unit for most of the day.  That way, they would be there when the machine did its cleaning and have to experience its behavior.  This would also assure us a clean bed.  Win, win, I thought.  We would let out the cats when we were home and washed full bedding two more times – for urine.  I was having pictures of placing wires across the blankets and hooking them up to an old Ford spark coil.  Of course that would be a lot of work and I didn’t have the time.  Oh well.  We kept doing the cats in the bathroom for a while and as of last weekend, I took the horrific old cat pan out to the garbage and dumped the residue.  If anyone wants some material for biological warfare, I know how to supply.

We kept in the cats for a couple more days, and started to notice first Jake, then Pearl, and finally Whiskers used the automated unit.  As of today, the cats were provided freedom and the bed is good for us to sleep.  Yea!  We finally have the cat care automated.  It only took about three weeks of retraining.

Addendum: I found a video of the cleaning cycle so you can see what freaked out my clan.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeJ7hU5zcuQ