The Ultimate Guide To Buying a Litter Box

Many people prefer cats to dogs because they more or less take care of themselves. While this may not strictly be true, cats are generally a more low-maintenance pet than a dog. After all, you don’t have to let them outside to do their business or take them for a walk. You do, however, have to provide them with a litter box in which to do their business.

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Litter boxes come in all shapes and sizes and they offer a variety of other features as well. Depending on the type and number of cats you have, one kind of litter box may work better for you than another.

In this article, you will learn about the importance of choosing the right litter box and you will receive an overview of the most popular types of litter boxes including pros and cons for each.

Quick Look : Top 5 Litter Boxes By Type

Type Product Price Grade
Automatic CatGenie Self-Flushing Cat BoxCatGenie Self-Flushing Cat Box
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
~ $216 A+
Self-Cleaning ScoopFree Original Self-Cleaning Litter BoxScoopFree Original Self-Cleaning Litter Box
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
~ $130 A
Covered Omega Paw Roll N Clean Litter BoxOmega Paw Roll’N Clean Litter Box
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~ $31 A
Disposable Nature’s Miracle Jumbo Disposable Cat Litter BoxNature’s Miracle Jumbo Disposable Cat Litter Box
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
~ $8/2 Pack B+
Pan Petmate Litter Pan with MicrobanPetmate Litter Pan with Microban
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
~ $6 B+

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Things to Look for in a Litter Box

In a perfect world, your cat’s litter box would be invisible and self-cleaning. While there are some high-tech litter boxes out there, unfortunately none of them have the power to make your cat (and his business) magically disappear. Though this magical litter box doesn’t exist, modern litter boxes offer a wide variety of helpful features. But before we get into that, let’s explore some of the things you should be thinking about as you get ready to start shopping for a new litter box.

Here are some things you should be looking for in a litter box:

  • Size – Many litter boxes are designed to take up minimal space, but you need to make sure that whatever litter box you choose is large enough to accommodate your cat. In fact, most experienced cat owners agree that bigger litter boxes are better – not only do they accommodate larger cats, but they hold more litter so you can go an extra day between cleanings.
  • Style – Litter boxes come in a wide variety of different styles including traditional litter pans, extra-deep pans, covered boxes, and more. Later in this article you will receive an overview of different litter box styles so you can learn the pros and cons of each one.
  • Color – The color of your litter box only really matters if you are trying to make it blend in with your home décor. If you keep your litter box hidden away, however, it really doesn’t make a difference what color it is.
  • Hood – Choosing a litter box with a hood will give your cat some extra privacy while also helping to prevent litter, urine, and waste from escaping the box – it can also cut down on the spread of odor. Most hooded litter boxes come with a filter to help capture odors.
  • Cleaning – There actually is such a thing as a self-cleaning litter box, but they can be quite expensive. In addition to automatic litter boxes there are also boxes with manual self-cleaning options such as a filter tray insert that can be lifted to sift the litter.
  • Litter – There are just many different types of litter as there are types of litter boxes and, to some degree, choosing the right one is really just a matter of preference. When choosing litter, consider whether you want a clumping or non-clumping litter than think about additional factors like dust and fragrance.
  • Odor Control – Even if you hide your litter box out of sight, you may still be able to smell it if you don’t clean it out often enough. Some litter boxes are designed to minimize odor or you can use scented litter or try an odor-destroying litter box spray.

Now that you have a better idea of what kinds of litter boxes exist, you may have an idea which type would work best for your cat. You should exercise caution, however, when switching your cat’s litter box. Cats are notorious for being a bit ornery, so you shouldn’t be surprised if your cat protests the new litter box by going in your shoes instead.

In the next section, you’ll receive some helpful tips to encourage your cat to use the litter box.

Tips for Getting Your Cat to Use the Litter Box

Cats have a natural instinct to bury their urine and feces. But just because your cat has a natural instinct to do this doesn’t mean he always will. A mother cat will teach her kittens to use the litter box and most adult cats have no trouble with it, but it isn’t uncommon for a cat to occasionally go on strike against his litter box. The key to remedying this problem is to find out what caused it in the first place. Here are some of the most common reasons cats stop using the litter box:

  • You aren’t cleaning the box often enough. If the litter box is too dirty for your cat’s liking, he will do his business elsewhere until you clean it to his satisfaction.
  • If you have multiple cats in your household, you may not have enough litter boxes – some cats prefer to have one box for number-1 and one for number-2. You should have one litter box for each cat plus an extra.
  • Cats that suddenly stop using the litter box sometimes do so as a result of a medical issue such as a urinary tract infection or something more serious. Have your cat checked by a vet to rule out medical causes.
  • Your cat simply doesn’t like the style of litter box you have chosen – try something that offers more privacy or a larger litter box.
  • It could be a problem with the type of litter you have chosen – some cats prefer non-clumping litter or they may have problems with litters that are scented or that produce a lot of dust.
  • The location of the litter box could be too public – cats like to have privacy when using the litter box, so try moving it to a less public location.

Though these are the most common reasons that your cat might stop using the litter box, they are not the only reasons. Sometimes it is simply a matter of stress – something has changed in your cat’s environment and he doesn’t know how to react. If your cat develops a negative association with the litter box, that could be another reason. This can happen when someone startles the cat while he is using the litter box or if you punish him for going outside the box and then immediately place him in the box. In some cases, all you might need to do is give the box a good cleaning and your cat will go back to using it like he once did.

Overview of Different Types of Litter Boxes

By now you should have a pretty good idea of what kinds of litter boxes are out there. They come in all shapes, sizes, and depths – some with hoods, some without. For the most part, choosing the right litter box is about what is easiest for you to maintain, though you do need to keep your cat’s preferences in mind. To help you choose the perfect litter box, here is an overview of the most popular types of litter boxes out there as well as brief reviews of several models for each type:

Automatic Litter Boxes – Why To Buy

An automatic litter box does the work of scooping your litter box for you. There are many different models for automatic litter boxes, some that simply rake away clumps and some that go as far as flushing waste down the toilet. You should be prepared to spend more on an automatic litter box than you would on a traditional litter pan, but you can find models under $100. Just keep in mind that some automatic litter boxes need to be used with certain kinds of litter. For raking models, you’ll need a high-quality clumping litter so the waste forms clumps that can be raked away. Some automatic litter boxes don’t use litter at all, but litter-like granules or crystals. Be sure to read the instructions carefully before using your automatic litter box for the first time so you don’t make a mistake and damage or break it.

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Best Automatic Litter Boxes

  1. CatGenie Self-Flushing Cat Box

If you are looking for an automatic litter box that does absolutely everything, look no further than this CatGenie Self-Flushing Cat Box. This litter box takes “automatic” to the next level. Not only does it scoop the box automatically, but it actually flushes the waste down the toilet! Here’s how it works. The CatGenie Self-Flushing Cat Box consists of a round bowl filled with washable litter-like granules that you plug in to an outlet and hook up to your cold-water line as well as a drain or toilet. When your cat uses the litter box he is able to dig and bury his waste as if it were regular litter. After he leaves the box, the litter box activates and dispenses SaniSolution into the bowl to liquify the waste while also scrubbing and sanitizing the bowl. The liquified waste is flushed away and the granules are then dried and left warm and ready for the next use. You can program this litter box to be active for 14 or 24 hours and you can set the delay to 10 or 30 minutes for cleaning.

  1. LitterMaid Classic Series Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box

If you like the idea of a self-cleaning litter box but don’t want to spend more than $100, this LitterMaid Classic Series Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box might be a good option. This litter box is shaped like a traditional litter box but it has a waste storage compartment on one end and a rake on the other end. Simply fill the litter box with a high-quality clumping litter then plug it in to a wall outlet (you can also use 8 AA batteries if you prefer). When your cat uses the litter box, it sets off the motion sensor so that, once your cat leaves, the rake will automatically deploy and push any clumps into the waste storage compartment. The compartment is sealed and uses a carbon filter to destroy odor. When you are ready to clean the litter box, all you have to do is empty the waste storage compartment.

Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes – Why To Buy

The fact that your cat will do his business in a litter box instead of on your kitchen floor is great, but you still have to clean the box. Unless, of course, you buy a self-cleaning litter box. Self-cleaning litter boxes come in a variety of styles from manual options to electronic options. The way most self-cleaning litter boxes work is that they have a built-in sensor that detects when your cat uses the box. Then, after a predetermined amount of time (long enough for the waste to form a clump), the litter box rakes or sifts itself to remove the clumps. The clumps are stored in a separate compartment that you can line with a plastic bag for easy clean-up. Self-cleaning litter boxes are great for multi-cat households because you don’t have to worry about clumps building up.

ALSO READ:  What is the Best Clumping Cat Litter?

Best Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes

  1. Van Ness Sifting Cat Litter Pan

If you like the idea of a self-cleaning litter box but don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on an automatic model, the Van Ness Sifting Cat Litter Pan might be a good choice. This litter pan consists of two parts – a traditional litter pan and a sifting pan that fits into it. All you do is put the two pieces together and then fill the pan with your choice of litter. When it comes time to clean the box, simply lift the sifter pan up, allowing the clean litter to fall through the holes into the litter pan beneath. Then, just throw away the clumps that remain in the sifter pan. Not only does the sifter pan make cleaning the litter box easier than ever, but it adds some height to the pan to reduce spillage and gives your cat an added degree of privacy. Best of all, this Van Ness Sifting Cat Litter Pan is eco-friendly, made from 20% recycled content, and it costs under $20.

  1. ScoopFree Original Self-Cleaning Litter Box

The ScoopFree Original Self-Cleaning Litter Box is the ultimate self-cleaning litter box because it uses disposable litter trays to ensure that you never have to touch dirty litter. This litter box consists of a large plastic tray and an automatic rake system that rakes the litter box from one end to the other 20 minutes after your cat uses it. Clumps are raked into a closed waste compartment and stored there until you empty it. The tray itself is lined with a plastic insert to prevent leaks that can cause odor, or you can swap it out for a disposable tray so you can clean the entire litter box in one motion. This ScoopFree Original Self-Cleaning Litter Box uses a special kind of crystal litter that must be purchased separately, but the litter box itself only costs $130. Just fill the tray with litter, plug it in, and let it do its work!

  1. Luuup Sifting Litter Box System

Luuup is an innovative litter box that has quickly risen in recognition due to it’s KickStarter campaign that raised more than 20 times it’s initial goal of $50,000. With that backing it’s quickly moved from a great concept to a full production product available to the masses. The founder’s out-of-the box thinking lead to a breakthrough in sifting litter in-the-box through a series of 3 stacking/interlocking trays that are used in rotation to always keep a clean top layer and easily remove clumps without a scoop.

At a mere $50 this litter box is not only one of the most functional you’ll find on the market, but it’s also quite modern looking and isn’t an eyesore if you’re forced to keep your litter box in plain sight.

Covered Litter Boxes – Why To Buy

An enclosed litter box is similar to a traditional litter pan but it is covered instead of being left open. These litter boxes come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes with some models being specially designed for corner use. One of the main benefits of an enclosed litter box is that it gives your cat some added privacy – it also hides the litter itself from view so you don’t have to look at those unsightly clumps until it comes time to clean the box. On a more practical level, the main benefit of an enclosed litter box is that it prevents spillage and it helps to contain odors. Most enclosed litter boxes have replaceable filters to help block odors for up to 3 months at a time. Enclosed litter boxes range in price, but you can find them for under $20 in some cases.

Best Covered Litter Boxes

  1. Nature’s Miracle JFC Advanced Hooded Corner Litter Box

For a litter box that can easily be tucked away, consider the Nature’s Miracle JFC Advanced Hooded Corner Litter Box. This litter box is specially designed to be tucked into a corner so it takes up minimal space while still giving your cat the privacy he wants. Made from heavy-duty plastic, this enclosed litter box has high sides to contain litter as well as waste – no more unsightly spillage! In addition to giving your cat some added privacy, this enclosed litter box also helps to contain odors because it has a built-in filter system with replaceable carbon filters. Inside the box, the bottom of the tray is coated for non-stick performance which helps to prevent litter from caking. When it comes time to clean the Nature’s Miracle JFC Advanced Hooded Corner Litter Box, simply pop off the hood and scoop away. This enclosed litter box sells for right around $20.

  1. Omega Paw Roll’N Clean Litter Box

This Omega Paw Roll’N Clean Litter Box is not your average enclosed litter box. In fact, it almost does the work of a self-cleaning litter box at a fraction of the price. This litter box is uniquely shaped with one rounded side and a plastic grill inside. When it comes time to clean the litter box, simply roll the litter box onto its top – clumps will roll along the grill into a pull-out tray and the clean litter will remain in the box. Then, just pull out the tray and dispose of the clumps! This Omega Paw Roll’N Clean Litter Box comes in two sizes – regular and large – and it is ideal for multi-cat households. Because it is enclosed, it controls odors and dust, plus it gives your cat a little bit more privacy than a traditional litter pan. Because this litter box only scoops clumped waste you never end up throwing away clean litter – that saves you money in the long run. This enclosed litter box sells for just over $30.

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Litter Pans – Why To Buy

If you are looking for a cost-effective option in litter boxes, the traditional litter pan may be the way to go. A litter pan is simply a rectangular pan, typically made from plastic, that you fill with litter – it’s that simple. Litter pans come in a wide variety of different sizes to accommodate the smallest kitten up through the largest cat and they also come in different depths. The open-top design of a traditional litter pan allows odors to dissipate and it makes it easy to access the litter for cleanup. The main benefit, however, is that litter pans are very affordable.

Best Cat Litter Pans

  1. Petmate Litter Pan with Microban

For a simple and cost-effective litter box, look no further than the Petmate Litter Pan with Microban. This sturdy plastic litter pan comes in four sizes (small, medium, large, and jumbo) to accommodate cats of any size and it costs under $6, even for the largest size. Not only is this litter pan made from sturdy plastic, but it has a wide profile base and the eco-friendly plastic from which it is made contains Microban, an antimicrobial agent to help reduce odor-causing bacteria. This litter box has an open top for easy cleaning and it is extra deep to prevent litter from being kicked out of the box.

  1. IRIS Open Top Litter Box with Shield

If you like the idea of a traditional litter pan but want some extra protection against spillage, consider the IRIS Open Top Litter Box with Shield. This litter pan is made from heavy-duty plastic with a recessed bottom and molded-in feet so it fits in all kinds of spaces. It consists of a traditional litter pan design with a detachable shield that adds height to the back and sides of the box to protect your flooring against unwanted litter spray – it also gives your cat an extra degree of privacy. Because this litter box still has an open design, it is easy to clean – it even comes with a litter scoop. This IRIS Open Top Litter Box with Shield sells for under $7.

Disposable Pans – Why To Buy

If you like the simple design of the classic litter pan but you want to avoid having to scoop litter, a disposable litter pan might be the way to go. These litter pans are usually made from recycled materials (typically paper) so that they can be thrown away when you are done with them. Disposable litter pans come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and depths, just like traditional litter pans, but they are only designed to last for up to a month in most cases. This type of litter pan can be used in the same way as a traditional litter pan, allowing you to scoop and refresh the litter. But when the litter pan becomes too dirty, you can just throw it away and grab a new one.

Best Disposable Cat Litter Pans

  1. Kitty’s WonderBox Disposable Litter Box

Available in 1-count and 3-count packages, the Kitty’s WonderBox Disposable Litter Box is made from recycled paper and is 100% leak-proof for up to a month. This disposable litter pan is uniquely designed with an air filtration feature to keep your litter dry and odor-free for as long as 30 days. It can be used on its own or you can put it inside a traditional litter tray to make your task of clean-up quick and easy. This disposable litter tray is claw-proof, so you don’t have to worry about your cat shredding it to bits, especially if you choose to use a plastic tray liner. You can use this Kitty’s WonderBox Disposable Litter Box with any kind of litter and, when it comes time to clean the box, you can just throw it away and start fresh with another one.

  1. Nature’s Miracle Jumbo Disposable Cat Litter Box

This Nature’s Miracle Jumbo Disposable Cat Litter Box comes in a handy 2-pack which is perfect for multi-cat families. This disposable litter pan is jumbo-sized and extra deep, a great feature for larger cats, which also makes it an excellent choice as a travel solution for cat owners. Not only is this disposable litter tray made from earth-friendly materials, but it is made with baking soda for extra protection against odor. Simply fill the Nature’s Miracle Jumbo Disposable Cat Litter Box with your choice of litter and use it like a regular litter pan until it gets dirty. Then, just toss it in the garbage and grab a new one! It is that easy.

Now that you have a better understanding of the kinds of litter boxes available, you can make a smart choice about which type works best for you and for your cat. No matter which type you choose, just keep in mind the tips provided earlier about choosing the right location for the box and about keeping it clean. When you are ready to start shopping, consider some of the top-rated litter boxes reviewed above to help you get started with your search.

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Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is a freelance writer specializing in the subject of pet health and wellness. An avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate has a great deal of experience writing about all kinds of pets and all aspects of pet care. Her work has been featured on a number of pet websites and she is a regular columnist for Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine.

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