Cat Exiting an Enclosed Litter Box

Best Litter Boxes For Cats

You can smell them. You can see them. And you have to keep scooping them and cleaning them.

Your cat has issues with his litter pan too! Never mind your problems. The litter box is a substitute for where he would use the bathroom outdoors. Cats like to dig, scratch, turn around, and get comfy when doing their business.

Size

Your litter pan needs to be big enough for the cat to turn around in and he has to be able to get in and out of easily. Kittens need a low entrance.

Litter boxes are now being made in space saving shapes that can accommodate the largest cats. For cats that don’t like to be enclosed by a hood, there are open pans that have three high sides to keep most of the litter and spray inside the pan.

Covered Or Not Covered

A litter box with a cover or hood helps to contain odor, prevents litter and spray from spreading around the area, and gives your cat the privacy that some cats desire when doing their business. They often have charcoal filters to further reduce odor.

Marchioro Deluxe Cat Litter Different Colors

Usually the hood attaches to the base with four clasps and had a handle on top. This makes it easy to move for cleaning or for traveling with your cat. But imagine if you were the cat inside there. Cats have 80 million smell receptors while humans only have 5 million. The hood is keeping the smell away from you but keeping it in the litter box.

This could make it unpleasant enough to keep the cat from using it. While some cats prefer the privacy of a hood, other cats feel claustrophobic or trapped inside the box. Now, taking the human perspective into account, what owners hate most is scooping.

Manual Self-Cleaning

They minimize handling by making it easier to clean up the waste. And the litter lasts longer before needing replacement. They come with or without hoods.

  • Roll and clean – simply turn it upside down and then back upright. That process moves all the waste into a tray that you remove and dump.
  • Sifting – has stacking trays. You sift the good stuff from the waste, dump the waste away, and then stack the trays back together.
Smart Scoop Self Cleaning Litter Box

Electric Self-Cleaning

These also minimize handling by making it easier to clean up the waste and extending the life of the litter material. They come with or without hoods.

A sensor tells the machine when to rake the waste into a container that you later remove and empty. Most have sensors to tell them if the cat has re-entered (safety precaution).

Some cats don’t mind the electric litter box and some do. Quickly change to a manual litter pan if your cat is uncomfortable with it.

Self-Flushing Self-Washing

Then there is the CatGenie, the self-flushing self-washing cat box. It washes and re-uses the “litter” granules and itself.

Toilet Shaped Self Flushing Cat Litter Box
It can be set to flush automatically after your cat exits, or on a timer, or you can flush it manually. Accessories that you can buy include side walls and a hood.

Best Choices

Here are a some of our favourite choices for cat litter boxes.

Plain

We think that the best litter box for a cat is the plain old litter pan—the big plastic box that you scoop twice a day. This is the closest to what they would find in nature.

You can get one with a lip attachment that keeps much of the litter inside and also clamps a litter liner in place. Or you can get one with three high sides and one low side for stepping in and out. These keep most of the litter in.

No matter what litter box you use, some litter will come along with the cat when the cat steps out of the box.

Covered

The best litter pan for the owner is the covered litter pan because it looks better and can be carried by a handle. And some cats do very much prefer the privacy it affords, if it is big enough for them to move around in, and there are some really big ones now. The “roll and clean” version or the sifting version can make things easier for you.

Electric

Not practical if you have more than one cat. If they all used the same one on the same afternoon, the rakes would be clogged before you got home. For a single cat it might be practical to have two of these.

Cat Entering an Electric Cat Litter Box

Self-Flushing

The self-flushing toilet would be great but you would still need backups for when it is busy washing itself. It is expensive and its accessories are expensive. And you would need the available plumbing lines and be able to hook it up.

And you would need a lot of plumbing available to accommodate the “one per cat, plus one” rule in a multiple cat household.

The flushing/washing takes over half an hour. So it can’t be your only litter pan even if you only have one cat.

Litter Box Furniture

No matter what litter boxes you have, they are going to be ugly. But you can buy or make covers to disguise them. There are rattan covers that look like end tables, for example, fancy benches, cabinets for the bathroom.

You can also make litter box disguises itself—you’re limited only by your imagination. Just make sure it’s big enough.

  • Repurpose a steamer trunk or a bench
  • Add hinges and an entrance to an Ikea wooden crate
  • Repurpose a chest of drawers, cabinet, or entertainment unit
  • Cut a hole in the side of a giant lidded plastic crate
  • Connect two wooden wine cases with hinges and make an entrance hole
  • ​Cut a hole in the side of a hinged upholstered bench
  • ​Repurpose a file cabinet
  • Cut a hole in the side of a wicker laundry chest
Cardboard Disposable Cat Litter

Disposable

There are all kinds of disposable litter boxes and pans made of plastic or cardboard or hemp that can serve any number of emergency functions. Some even look like a cute little house.

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