Bricked shithouse

Automatic cat litter box has DRM protection to prevent you from refilling cleaning solution cartridge. [Jorge Lopez – Medium]

The CatGenie scoops, cleans, and disposes of waste automatically, but requires CatGenie Washable Granules instead of regular litter, and a SaniSolution SmartCartridge to wash the granules. In this 2014 article, Jorge Lopez describes how he one day discovered that he needed a fluid refill but had neglected to order new fluid. So he figured he’d refill with water to make do. That’s when he discovered that the cartridge has built-in DRM to prevent consumers from refilling it on their own, and the litterbox won’t run without solution in the cartridge – in other words, it’s a “bricked shithouse”.

Fortunately for Jorge, there’s a community of CatGenie hackers on the Internet (of course there is!) that have released custom firmware that lets you use whatever solution you want.

Yes, custom firmware for your smart catlitter box.

And the CatGenie user community reports that the machine runs better anyway without the solution. Which costs $350/year.

We’re all living in a Charles Stross novel now.

Minnie got into the cat food again

The last time this happened, her crate the next morning looked like something out of a Lovecraft story, if Lovecraft had written about puppy diarrhea.

Late this afternoon, I was standing in the kitchen and saw her Minnie wal out from the back of the house. No, “walk” is not the right word. Minnie strolled out from the back of the house, as though it was the most ordinary thing in the world.

The back of the house is a catzone, not a Minniezone. Minnie is still destructive, she has monthly accidents, and two of the cats avoid her. Also, the catfood is in the back of the house. Minnie loves catfood, but the catfood does not love her. The catfood causes Minnie to generate substances normally only seen in early Roger Waters movies. So when Minnie is indoors off-leash, we keep her confined to the kitchen, sunroom, and laundry room, and always supervised. When she’s indoors outside those rooms, she’s leashed, and mostly supervised.

Except this afternoon somebody forgot to leash her and left the kitchen gate open. This someone was almost certainly me, though I don’t remember it at all.

I checked the catfood dishes. Minnie had eaten about a cup of dry food, maybe more. And she ate half a small can of wet food.

I hope we have no disasters tonight. Hopefully she’s had enough time to work it out of her system.

That moment

That moment when the cat stands on your bladder and you decide you won’t sleep another 15 minutes after all.

Critter homecoming

Vivvie (cat): Ran and hid. I have not seen her except briefly when I got home.

Lucy (cat): Briefly let me pat her while she was sitting on top of the cat tree.

Sammy (cat): Demanded much petting, sat in my lap, only bit me once.

Minnie: Picked her up at the dog boarders. She seemed skinny and subdued. I wonder if she’s been eating. She was shy around me. She perked up when she got home and picked up a couple of her favorite toys and trotted around the yard with them. She was happy to see Sammy. Now she’s asleep on the sofa next to me, emitting contented dog noises and twitching occasionally and slightly in her dreams. I have read that dogs are often exhausted after daycare and boarding. We’ll see how she seems tomorrow.

As for the gadgets:

Internet suffered an outage tonight. I fixed it by unplugging the Powerline Wi-Fi adapter and plugging it back in again. Roku remote stopped working for no apparent reason at all. I had to unplug the Roku to get it to shut up. Dead batteries?

I am ded to the world, having been up since 5 am PDT and traveling 13 hours of that time. Back to work tomorrow morning. And so to walk dog, change cats’ water dishes, and bed.

A clue about a Minnie mini-mystery

Minnie hasn’t eaten much of her last three meals. Only about a quarter as much as usual.

I was a little concerned about this, but not a lot. It’s an ongoing pattern with her. She’s an intermittent eater. She’ll eat heartily for a few meals in a row, and then just nibble at a couple, and then go back to eating hearty again. I always (metaphorically) hold my breath during her picky periods, but she always comes through fine.

However, picky eating three meals in a row is unusual for her.

The vet says as long as she otherwise seems fine, we should wait until she hasn’t eaten for two days straight before bringing her in or taking any other steps.

So three meals in a row where she just nibbles? Something to keep an eye on but not anything to worry about — yet. Especially considering she seems fine otherwise. As a matter of fact, this morning she was downright peppy. She ran me ragged.

I was puzzling over her behavior this morning, and then I realized:

She has had unrestricted access to the cat food dishes several minutes per day for the past couple of days.

Oho. A clue.

I shared my insight with Julie and Julie said oho, that explains why the cats have been unusually affectionate.