There are many different types of litter boxes designed for cats and cat guardians with different habits and preferences. From simple, open-top litter boxes to advanced, self-cleaning cat hygiene solutions, there is something for everyone. The only problem is how to determine which of these numerous options is the perfect choice for your cat.
To help you choose the best litter box for your cat, we will introduce you to all the most common types of litter boxes, highlighting their suitability for cats of different sizes, ages, habits, and personalities.
Open-Top Litter Boxes
Open-top litter boxes are characterized by a simple design with no hood or enclosure. These are standard, usually tray-like litter boxes that commonly require the use of a scooper. Due to the uncovered design, they are best suited for extroverted cats that are not fond of enclosed spaces and do not want their litter box to be smelly, which is often the case with covered litter boxes that keep the odors trapped inside.
However, open-top litter boxes do not work well for cats that value privacy. Furthermore, if you opt for an open-top litter box, it is crucial to pay attention to wall height. Choose a litter box with low walls for a kitten or an elderly cat, so your friend can easily enter the box. If your cat is agile but does not have a perfect aim, higher walls are preferred to prevent liquids from ending up on the floor.
Hooded & Dome Litter Boxes
Hooded and dome litter boxes belong to the category of covered litter boxes. As their names suggest, they feature a detachable hood or dome whose goal is to provide a sense of privacy. Unlike open-top litter boxes, hooded and dome litter boxes are perfect for cats that value privacy and spray high when they go.
On the other hand, they do not work well for cats that are bothered by the odors that are locked inside the litter box. Furthermore, they may seem claustrophobic, especially to cats that are used to open-top litter boxes.
Top-Entry Litter Boxes
Top-entry litter boxes are enclosed litter boxes with an opening on the top of the box. Unless particularly well designed, they constitute the least comfortable type of litter boxes. They are not suitable for kittens, elderly cats, cats that do not like enclosed spaces, and cats that cannot stand the odors locked inside the litter box.
On the other hand, a top-entry litter box can be a good choice if you want to prevent small children or other pets from playing with litter. It can also be particularly suitable for cats that spray high when they go. However, to use a top-entry litter box, your cat needs to be strong and agile enough to easily jump into and out of the litter box. Furthermore, it is important for your cat to be ok with potentially smelly and claustrophobic spaces since top-entry litter boxes are fully enclosed and their height usually does not allow the cat to pop his or her head out of the box.
Sifting Litter Boxes
Sifting litter boxes are tray-like litter boxes available in both open-top and covered versions. They do not require the use of a scooper but instead feature slits at the bottom of the tray. This allows the cat guardian to separate clean litter from waste via sifting. One of the most popular sifting litter boxes is the open-top, lift-and-sift Luuup litter box, which features 3 identical sifting trays stacked together.
Sifting litter boxes only differ from the previously described models in that they use the sifting method instead of the scooping method. As a sifting litter box can feature either a hooded or open-top design, its suitability for different cats depends on the version you opt for. Hooded versions are better suited for introverted cats that seek privacy, as well as side pee-ers and cats with a slightly poor aim. Open-top versions are suitable for extroverted cats that prefer fresh air and open spaces and do not care much about privacy.
Corner Litter Boxes
Just like sifting litter boxes, corner litter boxes usually feature a tray-like design and come in hooded and open-top variations. They come in the shape of a triangle, so they can fit in a corner. They are particularly designed for small spaces and they do not take up much room.
When determining whether a corner litter box can work for your cat, you need to pay attention to 2 major factors. First, you need to decide whether you should choose an open-top version or a hooded version, keeping in mind all the recommendations provided so far. Second, you need to figure out whether a corner litter box suits your cat’s personality.
Namely, when cats go to the toilet, they are in a vulnerable position and some cats prefer having multiple escape paths available in case of danger. This is completely natural since cats have not always lived in houses and apartments and they needed to learn how to ensure that they would not get hurt by a predator while they are doing their business. A corner litter box does not leave much room for escape because it leaves the cat cornered.
Thus, before purchasing a corner litter box, be sure your cat would not mind such an arrangement. Examine your friend’s toilet habits (whether your friend prefers secluded or open spaces) and potentially run a test by placing the box you already own in a corner.
Hidden Litter Boxes
If are proud of how you decorated your home and want your cat’s litter box to be either stylish or not readily visible, you can opt for a litter box that is hidden within a nice piece of furniture. Hidden litter boxes usually come in the shape of lovely flower pots, cabinets, and crates. Cat guardians appreciate them for their great design, but not all cats like them.
If your cat likes privacy, a hidden litter box can be a great choice. However, you need to make sure that your cat can easily enter and leave the box. Furthermore, you should check whether the box is too claustrophobic, which is often the case with hidden litter boxes, and whether the odors that are trapped inside may be an issue for your kitty.
In other words, a hidden litter box can only work for your cat if he or she does not mind enclosed spaces and odors and if your pal is not too small, too big or too old to easily walk in and out and comfortably use the box.
Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes
Self-cleaning litter boxes like the popular Litter Robot often feature quite unusual and innovative designs. They can be enclosed or open-top, they can have high or low walls, and generally, they vastly differ in terms of appearance. However, what they all have in common is that they are rather unconventional and they emit noise and rotate the cat area during the cleaning cycle.
A self-cleaning litter box is not a good choice for cats that are highly sensitive to noise. Furthermore, they are usually not suitable for cats with diabetes because the waste clumps they leave behind are too large to pass through the litter box system. They can be used by kittens but not without supervision, as cat sensors that prevent the cat area from rotating with the cat inside cannot detect cats that are too small. Finally, self-cleaning litter boxes may not work for elderly cats that are not fond of novelty.
In other words, as long as your cat is not too sensitive to noise, does not have diabetes, and likes to explore new things, a self-cleaning litter box can work well for your pal. If you have a kitten, just start the cleaning cycles manually instead of automatically and keep your kitten away from the litter box during the cleaning process.
Whether your cat is small or large, extroverted or introverted, young or elderly, open-minded or conservative, there is a litter box that perfectly suits your furry friend’s needs. If you follow the recommendations above and opt for a trusted brand, you are sure to make the right choice.