One of the most important items your cat needs is a litter box, particularly if you have an indoor cat! Yes, cats require (on the whole) less work than dogs, they can still go to the toilet in unwanted places around your house (or on a brand new rug!)
Cat litter boxes were invented so that cats could go to the toilet inside (in the basement, bathroom or even in your office), scratch and cover everything up and then go about their day - perfect!
All the owner needs to do is clean the litter box out and add some replacement litter (if needed). The process repeats and everyone is happy.
Of course, In an ideal world, a cat litter box wouldn't be ‘on show’ – a cat would simply go to the toilet and come out happy and content. There wouldn't be any maintenance or odor, and the litter would replenish itself. But, unfortunately, litter boxes haven't quite advanced this far yet (although some are not far off - see below!)
So, what kind of litter box should you look to purchase?
ecoFlex Litter Loo - our favorite 😉
This looks like an end table but is a litter box for those pet owners who have limited space or want to disguise the box.
It has a flip down the front so that you can access the litter box for easier cleanup. Cat urine can be rinsed off, and it doesn't soak into it because it's resistant to warping, cracking and moisture. It has a sealed floor and comes in Espresso and Russet. The litter box isn't included. There is no real downside to this one, it does tick all the requirements of a good litter box.
- Good for limited space
- Easy clean
- Resistant to warping
- Litter box not included
IRIS USA Corner Litter Box
This litter box has a deep pan design and a litter shield that’s extra tall on three sides (which is also removable), to keep the litter in the box. This makes for a nice semi-private space for your cat when using it.
For cleaning and accessibility, it has an open top design and a matching litter scoop. The interior surfaces are highly polished for easy cleaning. The bottoms are recessed, and it has molded-in feet to keep litter in the box. The molded rims offer added stability and strength, and the scoop will fit anywhere in the pan because of its design.
The downside is that if you have a long cat, he/she may not be very comfortable in the litter box and if he sprays, his spray may hit against the wall of the unit.
- Molded feet makes for easy cleaning
- Has deep pan design
- Good value
- Rims offers stability and strength
- If your cat is long, may not be as comfortable compared to other litter boxes
Catit Cat Litter Pan with Rim
The Catit Cat Litter Pan comes in the color taupe to blend in better with its surroundings. To help litter from spilling all over the floor, it has a deep base design. Plus, it has a rim and a raised back which act as a shield, so this box is suitable for any litter that you decide to use. It's easy to clean and causes less mess after use because of the built-in bag anchor.
The downside is that the front is lower than the back and sides and your cat could kick out litter if he faces the back and kicks towards the front.
- Deep base design
- Easy to clean
- Built-in bag anchor
- Front lower than the back and sides (litter can be kicked out)
Factors to Consider
Litter boxes come in all shapes, colors, and sizes and the best cat litter box for your companion will need to meet a few different requirements. Here are some important factors to consider.
Size - Big or Small?
A litter box should be designed so that it saves space and its presence isn’t too noticeable (having a big litter box out in the kitchen isn’t ideal if you have guests around).
But as far as cats are concerned, the bigger the litter box, the better. Why?
Cats like to have room to turn around in the litter box and will often pick different spots to go to the toilet. A smaller box may prevent them from using it as much as you may like!
Hood or No Hood?
Litter boxes come with or without hoods (which clip in over the tray) - some cats don’t like hooded boxes and won’t use them.
Our cat prefers a box without a lid (just a flat box) but the litter does tend to get all over the floor. Other benefits of buying a hooded litter box:
- A hooded litter box traps odor, keeping it contained
- A hooded box will give your cat privacy - some cats however, do prefer to see the area that surrounds them when going to the toilet
- A hooded box stops litter from being kicked out onto the floor. If you choose to use a non-hooded box, one with high sides is recommended
- A hooded litter box has less circulation meaning that the litter will stay wet for longer. An open box will help the litter dry out faster
- An open litter box makes it easier to scoop out user litter and clean. It is also easier for a senior or larger cat to use
Self Clean or Manual?
Some boxes have a self-cleaning mechanism (very clever!) - all you need to do as the cat owner is empty the tray and replace the litter when needed. These litter boxes are great if your cat doesn’t mind the noise.
I wouldn’t recommended these for multi-cat homes though - one cat could finish using it, whilst the other enters (and gets in the way of the scraper). Plus, you still need to dump the cat waste when the container is full even if using a self-cleaning box.
So, they don’t save too much time at the end of the day!
The Litter Itself
The litter box is just the start!
The actual litter is available in a variety of materials, textures, and will have different treatments for odor (because of the additives used). If your cat doesn't like the kind of litter you are buying, then he/she may go to the toilet outside of the box. So, you will need to trial different cat litters until you find one that suits your cat well.
One thing to check on is the durability of the materials being used. If the litter box is made from durable heavy plastic, that’s an excellent choice.
You’ll also want to consider how well the litter box is ventilated; the better it is ventilated, the better odor is controlled.
With all the choices of litter boxes available to pick from, there will be at least one which should suit your cat well.
It is worth noting that if you're a cat owner who has multiple cats, then you'll need multi-litter boxes. The general rule is to have one more litter box than you have cats. So, if you own four cats, you'll need to purchase five boxes. Also, they should be on both floors if you live in a two-story home.