Who doesn’t hate cleaning the kitty’s litter box? When Fluffy can’t go outside for health or safety reasons, there isn’t much choice. New kitty litter mixtures that clump moisture together in a removable ball make the nasty deed a little more bearable, but until now the dirty litter box is the singular most irritating aspect of owning a cat.
Relief from the smell, health hazards and cleaning duty is now around the corner. Thanks goes to the Israeli cats that first tested the system – and to Israeli company PetNovations for inventing an automated self-flushing cat box called the CatGenie. It is now available to Americans everywhere.
Like a port-a-potty for cats, the device employs re-usable and washable granules that the built-in machine cleans with the press of a button, or through automated settings. Liquid waste drops through to a sanitation chamber, and the dissolved solid waste, with the liquids, are flushed down the drain.
At $300 per unit, and safe for septic systems, the CatGenie doesn’t come cheap, but it will eventually pay for itself: the 40 percent of all Americans who own a cat will never have to buy traditional cat litter again. Zohar Benjamini, the financial officer of the company, which is based near Kfar Saba, says the solution is also environmentally friendly.
“Kitty litter is bad for the environment and it has been found to hurt certain species of animals,” she says. Not only are the disinfectants and materials used in the CatGenie – to clean and degrade solid waste – easy on the environment, they make it possible for pregnant women afraid of toxoplasmosis to keep Fluffy in the house during the course of a pregnancy.
Founded in 2005, PetNovations has received about $4 million in investments from Moshe Mizrahy and Israel Healthcare Ventures. Since its inception, its sales have totaled about $7 million, says Benjamini.
A majority of sales – 80 percent – are through online purchases by buyers based in the US and Canada. The company is currently negotiating with non-virtual US pet stores as well. The company maintains a marketing and distribution center in Pennsylvania to ensure a quick delivery system is in place.
Tal Gordon, an Israeli entrepreneur who noticed a huge pet products market in the US, founded the 25-person company. Both Gordon and the company’s marketing manager tested prototypes, and other products at home on their family cats.
In the works, says Benjamini are novel solutions for drug delivery in pets and a new flea treatment, but the company is only in the early stages of these new developments and she couldn’t give much information away.
While the kitty litter market seems an unusual one to be in, it has an estimated value of about $1.5 billion, Benjamini tells ISRAEL21c. “There are 90 million cats at home in the US. Almost 40% of US households own a cat, and the average is 2.3 cats per household,” she says. Backed by veterinarians, and soon environmentalists, be sure to see the CatGenie at more cat-lovers’ homes near you.