While it may not be pretty, potty talk is an important part of being a cat owner. But, with my last In The Bathroom post on cat litter, this should conclude the toilet talk for a while! It has been years, and I do mean years, since I purchased a new litter box for my cat. Things have changed quite a bit so let’s start with the classic and move into the new fancy cleaning machines.
Standard Boxes. Price rating: 1 paw starting at $5 | The oldie but goodie standard litter pan is one you can never go wrong with. The standard size is a 24” square with 4” walls, though some walls can reach 6”-8” high. Plastic is the best as it will reliably hold everything inside, be easy to clean, and will also resist odors. If you have either a small cat or an old cat, it might be best to go for the shorter walls so they can easily step over the threshold. I can also attest to the fact that some cats just may not like the higher walls on these pan boxes. My Daphne hated them and it started a kicking contest on how far out the box she could throw the litter. Once I switched back to the standard 4” wall pan, the contest was over and to this day, there is very little litter outside the entrance.
Standard Box with Hood. Price rating: 2-4 paws starting at $13, up to $100 depending on style | With these boxes come the option of covered or no cover and I really do prefer and recommend the cover. I like to think that cats need and want some privacy in the bathroom. However, be aware that some cats do not like the hood overtop as they can’t see who is around (in multiple cat families).
Self-Cleaning Box. Price rating:- 4-5 paws starting at $100 and to $1,000 | A more indulgent and pricier option is the automatic self-cleaning litter box. A friend of mine with 8 cats had one and loved it but he did comment that several still opted for the good ol’ litter pan so it’s not the first choice for all cats. These magic boxes sweep through the litter with a comb, removing the clumps and sweeping them into a waste pan in the bottom of the box. These boxes have timers that will start the sweeping after kitty leaves so as not to scare him. However, some of these can be loud and scare the cat. You may need to consider your cats personality before purchasing one of these because a scaredy cat wouldn’t be too happy. These boxes require clumping litter to work properly, so remember to add in that cost. There are basic styles all the way up to fancy ones with an app so you can know follow and track your cats bathroom trips.
Disposable and DIY Boxes. Price rating: 1-2 paws | Other options are disposable boxes and large plastic under the bed storage boxes. Disposable boxes are great for travel and I have used them in the plastic style and the corrugated cardboard ones. These are also perfect if you have to take your cat to a friend’s and want to provide the box and litter. It is good for short-term usage (around 5 days). Another friend of mine has multiple cats and bought a low priced large under the bed storage box, threw out the lid and voila, there’s her huge litter box. These tend to be 3 feet long so room is needed but cats like the ability to move around and have room to relax as they tend to business. This was an option I never considered as it is low priced and very convenient!
Disguised Boxes. Price rating: 4- 5 paws, starting at $100 to $400 | Hooded boxes have come a long way and really are now sold in furniture-esque styles. If you live in a small apartment and need the side table to double also as a litter box, there are ample selections now. Litter boxes that are sleek like a space ship, storage bench, barrels or even a retro TV: the options are endless.
With all these selections and price options, your cat will still have the final say on which ones they use. Remember size and agility when choosing a box. Cats need room to enter and dig into their litter and become comfortable with their surroundings. Once they decide it’s worthy and take care of business, they need room to cover up and leave with clean paws so a little extra room will be needed if your cat is larger or likes to sit right at the edge. The new top entry boxes are great for less tracking but if your cat is larger or older and unable to easily climb up and into it then leave these for the younger more agile cats. Whichever cat box you choose, the most important choice you can make is to keep it clean and make sure your cat is comfortable.