When it comes to using the litter box, some cats are pickier than others. Finding the best litter box can be a challenge, as you want one that works for both your cat and your household. Luckily, pet supply manufacturers know that every cat has a preference. You might own a kitten, a senior cat, a cat with mobility issues, or just a cat who is a bit fussy. Perhaps you live in a residence with a lot of rooms where you can hide a litter box out of sight, or—due to space—it might need to be located in the room where you spend most of your time. Regardless, a litter box is available to suit most sizes, shapes, aesthetics, and budgets.
This guide will introduce you to some of the best litter boxes on the market to help keep your home smelling fresh, and both you and your feline friend happy.
- BEST OVERALL: Petmate Booda Dome Clean Step Cat Litter Box
- RUNNER-UP: Nature’s Miracle High-Sided Litter Box
- BEST BUDGET: Vanness CP2 Large Cat Pan
- UPGRADE PICK: Modkat Flip Litter Box with Scoop and Reusable Liner
- BEST AUTOMATIC: PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Self Cleaning Litter Box
- BEST HIDDEN: Good Pet Stuff Hidden Litter Box
- BEST DISPOSABLE: Kitty’s Wonderbox Disposable Litter Box
- BEST SELF-FLUSHING: CatGenie Self Washing Self Flushing Cat Box
What to Consider When Buying a Litter Box
While some cats will happily use any litter box, other cats have a definite preference for different sizes, shapes, entry points, and open or enclosed boxes. Other preferences like odor control, design, and automatic features will be up to you.
Size & Height
It’s important to take your cat’s size into account when choosing the best litter box. Just like most people prefer a spacious bathroom, most cats prefer a spacious litter box. A litter box should have enough space for a cat to turn around and dig without difficulty.
Height is also an important feature for many cat owners to look for in a litter box. Most cats dig around before or after doing their business. Depending on how much your cat digs, this can mean pawfuls of litter flinging into the air. A high-sided litter box can keep the litter spray contained.
Some cats also squat higher than others, which means urine can spray out of a low litter box. To avoid the extra cleanup, some pet parents opt for a litter box with extra-high sides for this reason as well.
Enclosed vs. Open Box
Enclosed litter boxes are a popular pick because they can be more effective at containing odors. They also hide the litter and are often available in fun designs. An enclosed litter box tends to make it more difficult for cats to kick the litter out, keeping it within the confines of the box instead. This type of litter box can also prevent other pets—like dogs—from sticking their heads and paws inside.
The downside of an enclosed litter box is that larger cats may find them more cramped and uncomfortable. Depending on an individual cat’s personality, they may make a particularly skittish cat feel trapped. They’re also harder to clean than an open litter box.
Open litter boxes are easier to clean and generally acceptable to most cats. They’re the simple and often budget-friendly option. Some cats may have a preference for one type or the other, so it’s a good idea to experiment, if possible.
Front-Entry vs. Top-Entry
Front-entry litter boxes are readily available. This is the classic design that is accessible to most cats, from young kittens to senior cats. You can even find front-entry options for cats with mobility issues.
Top-entry litter boxes can be difficult to access for kittens, elderly cats, and cats with mobility issues. However, they’re still a popular design because they are a space-saving option. Since cats enter from the top of a litter box as opposed to a hole in the side, the only space it takes up is the dimensions of the box.
Top-entry litter boxes are ideal for containing litter within the box. With front-entry litter boxes, some litter can still escape while cats are digging or leaving the box. An undesirable mess is much less likely to occur with top-entry boxes since all sides are covered.
Manual vs. Automatic Disposal
Manual litter boxes are usually less expensive than automatic disposal litter boxes. Since you’re in control as the pet parent, you can ensure the litter is kept clean to your standards. What you find in a litter box can reveal important information about your cat’s health. Manual scooping means you won’t miss anything.
On the other hand, automatic disposal litter boxes are convenient— they do most of the work for you. They’re a good option for busy households. Some of these litter boxes can detect when a cat has finished going to the bathroom, triggering a cleaning cycle. Frequent automatic cleanings are essential to keep odors under control, but keep in mind that some cats might dislike the noise and movement of an automatic disposal litter box.
One possible downside of an automatic disposal litter box is that its mechanical parts can fail. Sometimes, it just doesn’t do the job as effectively as you’d prefer, and you’ll still have to empty the receptacle and do the occasional deep cleaning as well.
Self-Flushing & Washing
Self-flushing litter boxes are more like an appliance than a simple litter box. They automatically scoop the waste, flush it away, and even have a self-cleaning function. These revolutionary new litter boxes are like a mini flushing toilet for your cat.
Since these litter boxes mimic a real toilet, they require a water source and a drain to flush the waste. Self-flushing litter boxes use reusable granules instead of traditional litter. These granules allow the entire system to clean and dry itself. It’s designed to be a hands-off experience for cat owners who dread cleaning the litter.
Litter boxes can feel like a bit of an eyesore. Since you often have to see the litter box—especially if your cat needs or prefers an open location—you might as well choose a fun color.
Some manufacturers create litter boxes in unique colors because they know that a litter box isn’t just a cat’s bathroom; it’s also an item in your home. Rest assured that there are litter boxes in a huge range of colors to suit your preferences and your design aesthetic. You can choose a neutral color that seamlessly blends with your space or a loud accent color for a bit of a pop.
A litter box doesn’t have to be boring. Pet manufactures have branched out from classic pans and hooded boxes. As with colors, a wide variety of litter box designs are also available. Some designs make your cat’s life easier, and others are created strictly for aesthetic purposes.
Some litter boxes are as beautiful as they are functional, from modern and sleek to whimsical and colorful. While some litter boxes are constructed to create a design statement, others are made to hide a litter box in plain sight. Gone are the days of only having boring litter boxes from which to choose.
Visible vs. Hidden Location
Your choice of litter box can also be dependent on where you plan to put it in your home. It’s important to determine your cat’s needs. Young kittens, senior cats, and cats with mobility issues may benefit from a visible location close to where they spend most of their time.
However, just like humans, most cats prefer a quiet bathroom location with low foot traffic. This is because cats want to feel safe and secure when using the litter box. A hidden location usually means a more quiet and private spot for your cat. It also has the benefit of being out of your immediate vicinity. A tucked-away location can help to keep odors at bay.
Our Top Picks
The best litter box is one that both you and your cat will love. It needs to be functional, but it should also have extra features that are important to you as the pet parent. If you’re looking for a budget litter box, a cool design, or automatic features, one of these top picks may be an ideal choice for you.
With these key features and shopping tips in mind, this guide rounds up some of the best litter boxes available.
The Booda Dome litter box from Petmate offers a fun and functional domed design. The dome covers all sides of the box to contain litter or spray. It keeps litter hidden and also contains a charcoal filter for absorbing odors. One unique feature of this litter box is the grooved entrance ramp that catches litter from your cat’s paws as it leaves the box. This design helps to cut down on litter tracking.
This litter box measures a perfectly square 21 x 21 inches and is 50 percent larger than the average litter box. It’s appropriate for cats of many sizes. The dome provides an easy-lift handle and detaches from the base for simple cleanup.
Nature’s Miracle is a trusted pet stain and odor-busting brand. They bring their commitment to targeting messes into this litter box design. This open litter box features extra-high sides to prevent litter scatter. It also provides a non-stick and antimicrobial surface for easy cleaning.
Although this litter box has high sides, the lowered entryway means it is accessible for most cats, even young kittens, seniors, and cats with mobility issues. The entryway also offers an easy-pour spout design, which makes it easier to empty and clean the litter box. Overall, this simple litter box takes the basic litter pan to the next level to make cleanup easy while still being budget-friendly.
This litter box from Vanness is a classic simple litter pan. However, it’s a step up from the most basic litter pan and offers a bit of thoughtful design. The box is available in a large size and features a slightly higher back area to catch litter scatter.
The litter box is made of a high-impact plastic that won’t snap or crumble like some cheaper plastics. It also provides a smooth finish that is both odor and stain resistant. Bottom line: It’s a solid and very affordable option for cats who aren’t fussy and for pet parents who just want to clean up the mess and move on.
At first glance, this litter box looks more like a fun cat house than a cat’s bathroom. This front-entry litter box from Modkat features a modular design, with a full-height base and a flipping lid. You can adjust the lid to three different positions to suit your cat’s preference: closed, half open, and fully open. Additionally, the flipping lid makes for easy cleaning since there is no detachable hood to move around.
The single-piece base is seamless, which prevents leaks and litter scatter. This litter box also provides a reusable plastic liner that hooks into the base. The liner is rip-resistant and stays in place but is easily removable for simple deep cleans. Finally, a scoop accompanies the box, which attaches to the side.
This self-cleaning litter box from PetSafe automatically removes your cat’s waste for weeks. It is simple to set up and features an optional privacy hood. The box pairs with pre-portioned, disposable crystal litter trays. An initial tray is included; extras are sold separately. A litter tray can last up to a month for one cat. There’s no need to scoop, clean, or refill this litter box between deep cleans. Once it’s time for a cleaning, simply remove the disposable tray and throw it away. Each tray also includes a lid for easy disposal.
Safety sensors inside the litter box ensure that scooping only begins once your cat has exited the box. This innovative litter box even provides a health counter. Sensors track how often your cat uses the box, which is important for keeping tabs on your cat’s health.
This large hidden litter box from Good Pet Stuff looks just like a planter in the shape of a clay pot. It incorporates an artificial plant and decorative, artificial moss, both of which cover a filtered vent to control odors. Just pop the pieces together and add litter.
The planter section contains the litter and features a front entryway. The manufacturer recommends facing the entryway towards a wall to keep the litter box well hidden. This faux clay pot is made of durable polypropylene, and the entire system easily pulls apart for daily or deep cleanings.
This Kitty’s Wonderbox brand of disposable litter box is made of 100% biodegradable, recycled paper. Even though it’s disposable, this litter box is still tough. It will not leak, tear, or shred. The box eliminates the need for disinfectants as it allows you and your cat to have a fresh new litter box each month. You can also use it as a liner within a larger litter box. Unlike some plastic liners, this tray-style liner is resistant to ripping or tearing.
The manufacturer recommends using one box for up to four weeks—with daily scooping, of course. When it’s time to deep clean the litter box, the process is simple: just discard the entire tray.
The CatGenie self-flushing litter box is a unique product that self-scoops and self-sanitizes. Instead of traditional litter, it uses washable granules, which are included with the box. You never need to replace these washable granules, and they are completely clump-free, dust-free, and odor-free.
When your cat goes to the bathroom, liquids drain through the granules, and solids are scooped up and liquified by the unit. The waste is flushed away, and the litter box will then automatically and safely wash, sanitize, and dry the granules in the litter box.
This litter box needs a water source, a power source, and a drainage hookup to function. However, installation is designed to be simple; there is no need for a plumber or specialty tools.
FAQs About Your New Litter Box
A litter box is an essential part of your cat’s daily life. You want your cat to feel comfortable and clean using the litter box, and the right litter box will improve your cat’s quality of life and also help prevent accidents. If you’re still considering which litter box might be best for your cat, check out some frequently asked questions about litter boxes and their corresponding answers.
Q. What Room Should I Place the Litter Box in?
The litter box should be placed in a low-traffic and calm area. A quiet bathroom or laundry room are two of the most common and comfortable spots for a litter box.
Q. How Many Litter Boxes Do I Need If I Have Multiple Cats?
You should have one litter box for each cat in the household, plus one extra for any emergencies.
Q. Why Won’t My Cat Use the Litter Box?
A check-up with your veterinarian should be the first step to rule out a medical cause for your cat’s refusal to use a litter box. Other causes can include a dirty litter box, a little box that is too small for your cat, overcrowding, or changes to the litter or to the location of the box.