Much like dog walking for our canine parent friends, maintaining a litter box is a part of your routine once you bring that new fuzzy, meowing family member home. But that doesn’t mean it has to be a chore.
The secret to keeping the excitement to an absolute minimum is choosing the right litter box for your cat and your lifestyle. (And to have this on hand because no cat will do what you want forever, every time.)
“Getting a litter box bigger than your cat is important,” notes Rachel Barrack, a veterinarian at Animal Acupuncture in New York City. And you should replace the litter box every year. “Over time, your cat can scratch the box and bacteria can hide in those scratches,” explains Barrack.
As you’ve no doubt noticed, there are enough types of trash and trash pans to fill an Amazon warehouse. How can you possibly know what to do? You read on, that’s how it works. We have guides and tips from veterinarians on how to create the best possible setup for your favorite cat. Would you like further competent advice? Check out some other vet approved cat items here.
Petphabet Covered Litter Box ($ 46.99; amazon.com)
Petphabet covered litter box
Covered litter boxes are popular because they contain the litter box, but tend to be smaller than other types of litter boxes. “I like this model,” says Chris Menges, an Austin, Texas veterinarian who specializes in digital pet care. “It’s nearly 2 feet long, unusually roomy for a covered box,” he notes. For medium-sized cats, it provides the extra space they need to be comfortable doing their business. And it comes in pretty colors, even rarely in a covered box.
Throwing Robot 3 ($ 449; litter-robot.com or $ 499; Chewy.com)
Litter robot 3
Self-cleaning litter boxes have been around for a while, but the earliest versions didn’t work as well. But this latest incarnation of the litter robot is a game changer, according to Menges, and well worth the price for those who fear the litter box on a daily basis. It sifts the trash into an odorless lower drawer after your cat gets out. “To make the process as easy as possible, the Litter-Robot 3 is Wi-Fi-enabled and has an associated app that tells you when the drawer needs to be changed,” says Menges.
Lucky Champ Cat Litter Pan ($ 21.99; Chewy.com)
Lucky Champ Cat Litter Pan
Whether you’ve just brought a kitten home or opened your heart to an elderly rescue cat, you need to look at low sided litter boxes. “Pay special attention to kittens and geriatric cats who may have trouble getting in and out of tall boxes,” says Barrack.
This affordable litter box is designed to be easily accessible in the front. However, there are higher sides on the back to keep the litter box inside.
Ohmaker’s OhmBox ($ 49.95, originally $ 59.95; amazon.com)
If you have a large purebred cat, like a Maine raccoon or a Siberian (or just a large-boned cat), a spacious litter box is essential. “Imagine having to go to an airplane toilet for the rest of your life,” says Menges. For larger cats, “avoid covered crates as they may not have enough room inside,” adds Zay Satchu, veterinarian at Bond Vet in New York City.
This rustproof model made of stainless steel is a modern litter box with plenty of space for the fattest cats. It doesn’t stain or hold odor like plastic. It has rubber feet so it won’t slide across your floor either.
Petmate Booda Dome Clean Step Litter Box (starting at $ 39.43, originally from $ 41.99; amazon.com)
Petmate Booda Dome Clean Step Litter Box
Having a litter box that doesn’t smell in all directions is a high priority for most cat parents. “One of my top models is this Petmate, which helps reduce household odors,” says Albert Ahn, a veterinarian at Myos Pet in Cedar Knolls, New Jersey. It also prevents litter from being tracked down on tiny furry feet.
Unipaws Designer Cat Washroom Storage Bench ($ 154.99; amazon.com)
Unipaws Designer Cat Washroom Storage Bench
A fun and functional way to go is in litter box furniture, basically a structure that hides a standard size crate while also allowing easy access for cats. Litter boxes can be disguised as a side table or closet, an option if having a litter box in sight is bothersome, says Barrack.
Your cat will enjoy privacy in this clever, attractive litter box housing that fits right into your bathroom decor.
Omega Paw Elite Roll’n Clean Litter Box ($ 52.99; amazon.com)
Omega Paw Elite Roll’n Clean litter box
Our experts agree that individual litter boxes placed far apart from each other in the house are the ideal arrangement. But if that’s not feasible, consider Ahn’s favorite for families with more than one cat. Multiple cats wear more wear and tear on a litter box. This is made of extra heavy plastic and chrome-plated bars and can withstand heavy use. It has an ingenious little step at the entrance to catch trash when your cats get out. And its self-cleaning tray makes it less likely that Oliver will come across Luna’s remains.
Nature’s Miracle High Sided Corner Litter Tray ($ 17.99; Chewy.com)
Natural Wonders High Sided Corner Litter Box
This thing is deep: 10 inches! “The high side walls of the High Sided Litter Box from Nature’s Miracle prevent rubbish from spreading outside the litter box,” says Ahn. Plus, it’s shaped to fit snugly in the corner of a room – a big plus when space is tight.
Scoop Away Unscented Clumping Clay Litter ($ 10.89, originally $ 11.99; Chewy.com)
Scoop Away Unscented Clumping Clay Litter
“The main benefits of clay are bacterial control and clumping,” says Menges. “Lump formation makes it easier to scoop out urine and stool.” Clay is also one of the cheapest litters. The problem is, it can create the cloud of dust. “I like Scoop Away Unscented Clumping Clay Litter because it’s good on the low-dust scale and still has the benefits of clay litter.”
Purina Tidy Cats Clearer and Cleaner, Lightweight, Unscented, Clumping Cat Litter ($ 14.49; petco.com)
Purina Tidy Cats Free and clean, light, non-perfumed, clumping cat litter
Ahn gives this litter, which has the same volume but only about half the weight of a normal litter, good grades. In addition, a special ammonia blocker and activated carbon are built in to keep the odor of urine at bay.
Arm & Hammer Feline Pine Platinum ($ 13.99; amazon.com)
Arm & Hammer Feline Pine Platinum
Wood waste, particularly pine, has become more common. “While it’s a bit more expensive, a lot of cats prefer this texture to walk on,” says Menges. It has a natural pine scent to block odors. “One of the most popular brands is Feline Pine. They’re a good pine product, ”he says. While pine litter doesn’t clump together, many cat parents prefer this natural option, he adds.
Purina Yesterday’s News Paper Cat Litter ($ 19.99, originally $ 21.99; amazon.com)
Purina Yesterday News Paper cat litter
If you notice your fluffy cat has trash in its fur, consider a paper litter like Yesterday’s News, Satchu says. “The size of the pellets prevents their fur from getting caught, and it’s not as sticky as clay litter when it’s saturated,” she explains.
Naturally Fresh Cat Litter ($ 21.99, originally $ 28.94; amazon.com)
Of course, fresh cat litter
Walnut cat litter? Yes, and it gets Ahn’s vote for its best biodegradable waste. Naturally fresh is not only environmentally friendly, it also emits practically no dust, is highly absorbent and resists sticking to paws.
Pretty Litter ($ 22 per month for 1 cat, $ 40 for 2; prettylitter.com)
A pan filled with Pretty Litter does not need to be completely cleaned for 30 days. No, it doesn’t smell. Really. We tried it. (You have to scoop up the poop, of course.) And! The litter will change color in response to the composition of your cat’s urine, alerting you to potential health issues. “Pretty Litter is one of the first real scientific advances we saw in the littering world,” says Menges. Fans (including us) who are available through a monthly subscription say it’s worth every penny.
Purina Tidy Cats lump cat litter ($ 33; amazon.com)
Purina neat cats that clump together cat litter
“They want garbage that reduces dust and odors,” says Menges. Because their sense of smell is sharper than ours, many cats interfere with the scents in many litters. “I like to use low-odor, low-dust waste like this one from Tidy Cats. It offers great odor and microbe control without the added fresheners, ”he adds.