Cats are fastidious, finicky, and fussy about many things, including their toilet habits.
There are a lot of cat litter boxes on the market. Which one will work best for your pets?
In this article we review the top 5 contenders for the title of ‘best cat litter box’, going into their pros and cons to help you make a buying decision.
That’s followed by a frequently asked question section which contains some good advice and a couple of neat tips. We hope you find this helpful in choosing the right litter tray for your home!
This litter box has an extra-tall shield, which is ideal if your cat pees high, as the shield stops the urine from getting outside the box. It is a deep litter box, which works well if you have cats that like to ‘dig’ before they do their business, but can make it hard to clean thoroughly. It is also a little on the small side if you have a larger breed of cat.
Value For Money?
A reasonably priced litter box, which would suit a small cat very well. Cheap enough to purchase as a secondary tray in a multi cat household.
An eco-friendly litter tray that is ideal for busy lifestyles – just throw the tray and contents away when it’s time to change your kitty litter. No more scrubbing down plastic trays each week. These disposable litter trays are durable and stable enough to be used as a standalone product, or are ideal to place inside a plastic litter box for easy cleaning.
While these litter boxes will suit humans with busy lifestyles, they’re a little on the shallow side, which is not the best if you have a particularly messy cat.
Value For Money?
Yes, you will have to buy them regularly, but if you consider regular expenditure a better bet than getting your hands dirty, these will be worth it!
This litter pan is designed to sift your kitty litter automatically, sending soiled particles to the lower tray, resulting in easier cleaning.
Although the manufacturer recommends setting up the litter pan with the sifter on top of the two regular pans, most cat owners have found that it works best if the sifter is placed between the two pans – so you’d have a regular pan at the bottom, then the sifter, then a regular pan on top.
This is not an ideal pan for cats that like to dig, or for heavier cats, as it is very light, and tips over easily.
Litter also tends to get stuck in the holes in the sifter, which makes the pan difficult to clean.
Value For Money?
A little bit of a ‘personal preference’ decision. It’s reasonably priced, but a simple tray you scoop out yourself may be less of a hassle for a slightly cheaper price.
This is one of the few litter trays to offer an ‘extra-giant’ size, which would suit breeds such as the Norwegian Forest or Maine Coon cat, which do not get on well with many trays, finding them too cramped for their liking.
While some cats don’t take to enclosed litter pans, those that are more naturally timid may prefer the additional privacy offered.
This litter box can only be used with clumping cat litter, and it is somewhat difficult to separate the pans for cleaning.
Value For Money?
A little on the pricey side for what it is.
This litter box works by sensing when your cat has toileted, which triggers the automatic raking process. This involves dehydrating waste down, so it can be sifted as small, odor-locked particles into the lower tray.
After a couple of weeks you simply remove the lower tray, which is disposable, place the disposable lid on it, and throw away. (That’s the theory, anyway. While the manufacturers claim this can be ‘left alone for weeks’, most cat owners have found that you’ll start to notice a smell after a fortnight.)
However, the replacement disposable trays for this litter box are very expensive, and the box itself is not suited to multi-cat households.
It also cannot be used by kittens under six months. Obviously, the need for the litter box to be plugged into a power outlet will also limit your options as far as locating it is concerned.
Value For Money?
Not really worth the expense.
Cats are fastidious, finicky creatures of habit, and it may be the case that your favorite style of litter box is rejected out of hand by the furry goddess you live with. The important thing, particularly if you have an indoor cat, or a multi-cat household, is your cat’s preference.
This applies not just to the litter box and brand of kitty litter, but also where you locate the litter box in your home, and how many litter boxes you have – even a single cat may prefer to have options for his toileting needs.
As we said at the start of this article, cats are fussy about their toilet habits. This means that it is generally best to provide each cat with the option of having its own litter tray, as well as providing at least one additional litter tray, perhaps filled with a different kind of litter, in a distinct and separate part of the house. Cats get whims, and, sometimes, a cat will decide that the kitty litter she has been using quite happily from kittenhood will simply no longer do.
Many owners of multiple cats will roll their eyes at the fact that their cats, rather than being appreciative of each having their own private toilet, will decide that one tray is to be shared for pee-pees, while another is to be shared for number twos. Try removing one of the trays, however, and your darling cats will simply decide that carpet is a very nice lavatory indeed. (Nobody said owning cats was a good way to avoid feeling like an underappreciated serf…)
There are many cunning ways to conceal litter boxes, and, particularly, to make them appear as though they’re part of the furniture – ideal when you live in a small apartment, and everything needs to look as though it belongs.
A simple way to attractively conceal a litter box in a small apartment is to purchase a small fabric ottoman, or a small steamer trunk (these can often be found cheaply on sites such as Craigslist and Ebay), cut an opening into one side, back this opening with fabric, taking care to only pin the top of the fabric to the top of the opening, and leave the rest hanging free, and place the litter tray inside the trunk or ottomon. Close the lid on your item of furniture, and hey presto – one nicely hidden litter tray! A steamer trunk with the lid down also makes an attractive coffee table.
If you have larger rooms, a litter tray placed inside a child’s Wendy House, with a low-level window left open so the cat can hop in and out, can also work well: decorate the outside of your house to your own taste, and just remember to pre-warn any guests with small children that it is not, in fact, a play space!
A quiet yet accessible area is most desirable from your cat’s point of view. From your point of view, you’ll want the litter box somewhere unobtrusive, yet where you will see it every day, so that you will notice when it needs cleaning. For this reason, many cat owners keep their litter box in the bathroom.
If you don’t have a particularly large bathroom, a spare bedroom or quiet landing can also work, as can a spacious corner in a living room, if your family isn’t too raucous.
Cats are creatures of habit, and a sudden removal of their litter pan may result in them deciding to toilet on the carpet, in the spot where they were used to accessing their pan. If possible, start by placing a second litter tray in the location you eventually want your cat to have his toilet area, but keep the main litter tray in its current situation. Introduce the cat to the second tray, so he gets used to the idea that there is a toilet in that spot, too.
If it is not convenient for you to have two litter trays, move your cat’s tray very gradually – a foot at most each day – from where it is to where you want it to be, so your cat never has far to go to find it, and is therefore less likely to toilet inappropriately.
Some do, some don’t. Cats are highly individual animals, with their own unique quirks, habits, and preferences – it’s why we love them, after all.
As a general rule, an elderly or timid cat may appreciate the additional privacy offered by a covered tray, while larger breeds, such as Norwegian Forest cats, Persians, and Turkish Vans, may find them too confining.
If a cat feels their litter box is not sufficiently clean – even if you just scooped it that morning – they will often toilet just beside it. This is particularly frustrating for cat owners, as it can feel as though the cat is being deliberately difficult, but, really, the cat is simply trying to point out the problem in the only way she can.
In multi-cat households, toileting outside the litter box, especially pooping outside of it, is a sign of stress – try moving one of the litter boxes to a different area, as it may be your cats are feeling crowded, and would appreciate the opportunity to get some space.
Cats don’t deal well with change. Have you recently purchased a new litter pan? Changed your kitty litter brand? Moved the pan to a different area of the house? Have you recently acquired another cat? These are all reasons a previously well-behaved cat might stop using their litter pan.
If none of them seem to apply, it is worth consulting your veterinarian – cats will sometimes refuse to use a litter pan if they are unwell, particularly if they have a urinary tract infection, as kitty litter can aggravate the burning sensation that results from this sort of condition during urination.
Most kittens raised indoors, and kept with their mothers, will pick up the habit of using a litter tray by the time they’re ready to head out for their new homes. All cats will naturally seek to bury their waste, unless they are marking territory.
With feral cats, however, it may take a little time and patience to teach them, and their kittens, to use the litter tray. Feral cats are those who were born outside, either on a farmyard, or simply on the streets, to mother cats who had been abandoned or lost.
Litter training is, thankfully, fairly simple. Place the cat or kitten on their tray after meal and play times, when they are most likely to need to “take care of business”, and quietly praise them once they are done, and have stepped clear of the tray – try not to interact with your cat while she’s toileting – think how you’d feel if someone started stroking your hair while you were doing your business!
Last update on 2017-10-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API