brittadotcom (brittadotcom) wrote,

The Continuing Adventures of Ebony & Onyx

Now that I finally have 4 days and over 100 miles of driving fine in the Briata again - the transmission fluid was low, so they think it was an air bubble in the fluid since no leaks they could find - I realize it's been awhile for kitty updates. Ebony & Onyx are still as cute as can be, growing larger every day, and getting more adventurous about jumping, including booting up the kitchen iMac! They have started it up so many times now that I honestly think they've figured out if they step in the right place, the screen lights up & starts moving & making noise! They are certainly fascinated enough by my laptop and even the TV. Anything that moves is fair game of course, whether real or onscreen. Even the hammers inside the piano have been attacked while I'm playing! I have been trying to discourage improper behaviors with a loud, long, low-pitched NOOO which at least gets their attention at the time. Since last night & Sunday night it was a game of "who can jump on the counter first?" they will definitely not yet be allowed free rein in the house while I'm gone at work!

Not all these below are adventures specific to the kittens, but I wouldn't have the CatGenie if I didn't have Ebony & Onyx, so you can read them all if you'd like. There are also more kitty photos starting on page 13 of their gallery album. This one is from when I pulled out a kitchen drawer to reorganize it, and they climbed in to nap on the extra towels and black cat potholders. :)

Can you find all three black cats?

Onyx is unafraid of spinning

I have witnessed twice so far that Onyx has decided he can't wait 5-10 more minutes for the CatGenie to finish the drying cycle, so if it looks clean & dry enough, he climbs in while the bowl is still rotating. Obviously the CatGenie "eyes" dont stop anything when an object enters the bowl mid-cycle, only before a cycle starts. I was ready to stop the cycle if Onyx got in trouble but he was fine, did his thing, walking backwards against the direction of rotation until he had enough room, jumped out of the way since the scooper is down when it's drying, then looked a bit upset that he couldn't bury his mess properly. I consoled him & told him it was okay, then laughed pretty hard that he even tried! This last time I saw him do this, he cleverly realized that if he stood on the bowl edge that does not rotate, he can still aim into the bowl as it spins. Too bad I haven't been able to get video footage, since this is a pretty funny sight to see!

CatGenie error beeping is annoying & sometimes unnecessary?

The CatGenie can get a clog in the line but clear it by itself and finish the cycle just fine. Unfortunately when it does that, it beeps 3 times every second until a human presses the correct button, which sometimes means several hours until I get home from work! Thank goodness my kitties seem unfazed by the beeping, since I have seen them get in & use it while still beeping while I looked up the instructions, plus they don't act annoyed by it. I think the blinking error light without beeping should be sufficient if it cleared its own clog. I'm expecting clogging to happen since cat hair cannot be ground up by the impeller, so for longer-haired cats, it can build up clogs more often. The basic recommendation is to take the CatGenie apart to clean thoroughly once a year, but for longer-haired cats they say it might need to be twice a year or more. We'll see...

My CatGenie is now 'blind'

Since the documentation is not detailed about how the CatGenie "eye" sensors work (yes, the official booklet calls them CatGenie "eyes"!), I thought that they detected motion, so the sink drainpipe being next to them shouldn't be an issue. Also I thought the manual cycle would still check the "eyes" first, so when I was running manual cycles with the CatGenie in place inside the cabinet I thought all would be well. Alas, I couldn't set it for automatic since the "eyes" see any obstruction, moving or not, so the drainpipe was always in the way. For Christmas I had to set the CatGenie on the bathroom floor again so it would go automatically while I was gone. Since I also learned from Onyx's using while in motion escapades that the sensors didn't do a heck of a lot, plus my cats didn't seem to be bothered that it moves, I decided to try to defeat the "eyes". I searched online & found discussion forums, but nothing about defeating the sensors. I tried mirrors on the drainpipe, but since the drain is so close to the processor unit, I'm sure the infrared is just bouncing off the unit and still thinks it's too close so is an obstruction. So, moving on to more intrusive measures, I bought myself a long-shaft philips-head screwdriver to open the processor unit, which unfortunately doesn't open completely without disconnecting other wires. Thankfully the only one that got disconnected as I was opening it was labeled on the circuit board "water valve" so I knew it was supposed to be plugged in! I looked for the connections from the "eyes" to the circuit board, which luckily was easily traceable & just a plug, and fairly easily accessible at the top, but since my hands couldn't get inside, I had to use needlenose pliers to gently pull out the plug and leave it hanging nearby. If I ever move the box to a new location or if I ever need warranty service, I can plug the sensors back in on the circuit board and I'm sure it'll work as designed. Since there wasn't enough slack in the water valve wire and it kept twisting, I couldn't plug it back in without the case almost closed, and it was farther down inside, so I had to use a long thin fondue fork to guide it, then press it back in. I put everything back together in place, and voila - now I have auto cycle running every day at 10:30am & 10:30pm!...unless it has an error - see above & below...

Random peeing is still to be expected from kittens I guess?

Onyx peed on a tasseled blanket in the corner but at least not on the floor, and it washed just fine. Unfortunately I didn't find that until it had dried so unknown as to why. Last Thursday morning Ebony peed on my down comforter on my bed, I caught her scratching at it while it was fresh, which got washed twice with bleach, OxyClean & detergent, then Saturday morning she peed on my shiny black boots while I was in the bathroom - thank goodness the water-resistant ones, so I was able to carry them carefully to the shower to clean them and douse them with the anti-cat pee enzyme I have. I've never had a male cat before so I didn't know this in advance, but Onyx's accidents definitely smell different than Ebony's, which is how I can tell who was at fault! :P I hope Ebony was just upset that I was leaving in the morning. Either that or she wants more litter in the box, which is on its way from Amazon as we speak. They used so many more granules than I expected over Christmas that I was behind in my ordering.

Ebony fell in the toilet again, this time much worse! :P

Both cats are fascinated by running water in the sink when I'm getting ready in the morning, so they jump on the closed toilet up to the back of the toilet, then over to the sink. They will even jump up to the sink just to see what's going on, or stare at the sink in hopes the water will eventually start moving. This can get a bit annoying, but it's been okay so far, and it's really hard to discourage that behavior when I have clean wet hands while putting in my contact lenses, or a toothbrush in my mouth so can't say NOOO, so I'll just deal with it & think it's cute. This is why all the toilet lids are always shut...however, there are times when I must use the toilet for its intended purpose. Being a lady, this requires the additional step of wiping before I flush. This past Friday morning I didn't think I was taking that long, but Ebony was faster than me, since before I could react she jumped on the toilet seat to try to get up in her normal path, but she slipped and fell into the toilet before I could flush! Eeeww! Thankfully she is big enough now that only her hind legs & tail fell in, but I was a blur as I turned around and lifted her up by her armpits, put her inside the shower and shut the shower door behind her. I was not going to have her running around my bedroom in that state! I quickly wiped up the mess & myself which wasn't as bad as it could have been, then opened the shower door to see spots everywhere from Ebony trying to shake off. Double eeww! I cleaned her off thoroughly with a soaking wet washcloth, and she was very good at letting me hold her hanging in that awkward position with one hand as the other was wiping everywhere I could. Either she was thankful or maybe still in shock? Thankfully I was still in my pajamas not work clothes yet, but I was really late for my chiropractor appointment that morning, and I left with a load of laundry going from the morning mess. Needless to say I'm blocking the jump path with my free arm while I'm finishing my business from now on!

Latest CatGenie mess

Just last night I got home from rehearsal to hear a new beep pattern...uhoh! I knew about the 3 beeps, but this was one beep, and it definitely hadn't cleaned the box and was stopped in mid-cycle, but at least no standing water in the bowl which would have been worse. Looking up the instructions that means something is wrong with the water sensor or it has a clog. I tried the "shake out the clog" trick but that wasn't enough to get it restarted. The scooper was down with plenty of mess in the box, so that was delightful to disassemble, especially with both curious kitties "helping!" As I took it apart & cleaned off the worst, with as much mess going down the toilet as proper, I saw the impeller had a big chunk stuck in it, plus there was not only cat hair but a really long plastic string wrapped around the impeller shaft. The red rubber washer had also come off so that might have been an issue, or it might have fallen off when I pulled out the impeller unit. I didn't do the thorough cleaning since that would require the waste line being unhooked from how I have it going behind the cabinet, but the entire impeller unit is now nigh spotless from the scalding shower tap, and that seems to have resolved it for now. Hopefully that will stop the clog beeping for awhile too. I'm also very glad it decided to do this now, BEFORE I leave on Sunday for my week-long work trip! I'd hate to have a catsitter deal with that mess! :P
Tags: ebony, kitties, onyx

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