Look around. There are about a hundred styles of litter boxes about. Enough to fit your fancy and your cat’s needs. But really, depending on you and your cat, a litter box can really be any washable box that your cat can get into easily and turn around. There is nothing fancy about a litter box, unless you or your cat want it to be. Before you run out and shop for a littler box check out the Main Litter Box Rules so you know what you are getting into, and then continue on here.
Size does matter in the litter box world. If your cat can’t get in their litter box, chances are pretty slim they will use it! Some are too tall for kittens and old folks. Some are too shallow or too deep. Cooper quickly grew out of the ones we have but it gets dirty super fast so I am a busy litter box attendant!
Quick size estimate for a box is the length of your cat plus tail for length and length of your cat without tail for width. That should let them get in and still have some room to move about.
I know. Strange step before buying a litter box but an important one. Size matters a lot. If your cat doesn’t fit in the box, how can they be expected to use it? Also, how old is your cat? Do they have arthritis that will make it hard and painful to climb into a high box? Are they a little cat that could bounce right in?
Little cats are lucky, as long as they can walk in, any litter box is the right size but big kids have an awkward time with a small box.
Location, Location, Location:
Here are some places your cat is looking for:
- A low traffic area that is still easily accessible. They are looking for privacy, not a hike into the attic.
- Despite what they want you to think, cats still want to be around you so don’t banish their potty box.
- A place with a good lookout spot to make sure no other house mates are going to sneak up on them while they are busy.
- Someplace pleasant to smell. Sensitive noses won’t appreciate areas that are stinky already. The garage is usually full of exhaust, chemicals and oil. It isn’t a great place to go to the bathroom.
Here are some things that you want to look for:
- A place you frequent that is easy to clean. Out of site out of mind is not how you want to run with this. Litter boxes are much easier to maintain a few times a day than to clean after a few days of use.
- Someplace near a trash that has space for both the box at the litter scoop.
- Really, the easier you can make clean up, the happier both of you will be. Put everything you need near the box and clean it whenever you notice it’s been used. This also helps you know when things in the litter box just ain’t right. Any changes that don’t go away in a few days should be brought up to your vet. Especially if you have a male cat that isn’t urinating as much as usual.
Remember the diaper genie for stinky baby butts? Well, they made one for cats!!! Put this baby by the litter box. Talk about easy and more aromatically pleasing! UPDATE LINK
But What Kind of Box?
Now that we know the rules, how big it needs to be and where to put it, we can move on to actually looking at litter boxes but really, any plastic tote that is bigger than your cat can work. It’s cheep and effective. I go with the cheaper the better for my cat’s toilet so I can spend that money on funner objects but if you have the money or your cat is just too catty for a boring box, there are many, many, many more options. We will go over the pros and cons of each style.
River does his business and walks away so covered-uncovered, who cares. Cooper has to cover and fiddle with his business before he leaves. He gets litter everywhere. I’m sure cat’s like Cooper is why they covered litter boxes. Then at least the litter only flies out one direction and you can put the pad there. If your cat sprays urine, this is the box for you. Your cat may like the private, den like place but covered boxes were really made for pet owners so they could hide the contents and reduce the smell.
Possible Issues with Covered Boxes:
- Remember how sensitive your cat nose is and realize the smell you are being saved from is now condensed inside that box. If your cat doesn’t like the smell, they will go somewhere else. You will need to clean this box much more often to make it livable.
- They can be scary to your cat. There is only one exit/entrance. View of retreat is very restricted. Ideal setup for a younger cat to pounce an older one, or a bully cat to trap a nervous housemate but not fun if you just want to do your business in peace.
Simply speaking, the old ways are generally the best ways. You can get high sides for cats that throw litter everywhere or spray urine. You can get low sides for the old kids that can’t move as well anymore. You can get sifting kind.
Having a loud machine in a litter box doesn’t sound like a good idea around cats. If you have a flighty cat, you may want to stick with the old fashion kind. As a vet tech, I’m not really down with anything that hides the urine and feces before I can check it to make sure my cat’s health is good so I’ve no experience with them, but if you can afford it and want it… Here you are! Before purchase check how big it is. Some only work for cats under a certain weight. Some only work with specific types of litter.
Please watch your cat closely at first to make sure it isn’t scared of the litter box.
Do It Yourself
Want something unique? Not having luck finding something you and your cat like? You can make your own by buying a large tote and cutting a hole in it and filling it up with litter. Put the lid on or off depending on you and your cats desire or have the entrance on the top rather than the side. Or use the huge tote as your cover and put any size box in there to contain messes. You can even put a ramp to the opening if needed so the painful kids can walk right in and still keep litter where litter goes. You can convert cupboards into kitty bathrooms, or furniture for that matter. Really… let your imagination guide you. Google it. You’ll probably find instructions on how to make it a reality.
Litter Box Supplies:
Essential equipment. This is not a place I skimp. You can get these anywhere, but the cheap ones like to snap in half. Sometimes it’s best to buy sturdy over cheep, unless you can get one with both traits, then… do that!
I recommend these. I use the cheapest potty pads I can find because they work for us, but there are many more environmentally and visually pleasing options.
There are plastic ones you can just hose off if times are rough:
You can even go to your local thrift store and find any mat to use, but really, there are thousands of options for ones designed to reduce litter and food mess. I really recommend staying with ones made for cats.
Waste Disposal Options: