The most important thing to consider when choosing a litter box for your cat is if she'll use it or not. The most practical and successful one is usually a heavy plastic box that is easy to clean and is placed in a quiet area of the house.
There are about five basic designs to choose from when deciding on a litter box. Each has its pros and cons and you should make sure it's compatible with the litter you will be using.
The Basic Box: Basic litter boxes or flat boxes are the cheapest and most basic ones available. These are basically rectangular plastic pans in a variety of sizes and depths. They are easy to clean and cats usually prefer this design.
Covered or Hooded Boxes: A covered or hooded box is basically the traditional rectangular box with a hood or cover. There is an opening to allow the cat to enter and exit. You have to make sure you choose a hooded box that is high enough for the cat to stand up and move comfortably in. Some cats may prefer the increased sense of privacy afforded by this type of box while others may feel constrained or trapped in them so you'll have to see how your cat reacts to these boxes.
Another disadvantage of covered boxes is that they can often be rather smelly. Some models have a ventilation panel with a filter to trap odors. Hooded boxes are more difficult to clean than open boxes as you'll have to remove the lid when you scoop.
Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes: Electric self-cleaning litter boxes have a timed sensor that activates a few minutes after your cat leaves the box. When the sensor is activated it triggers a rake which slides across the litter to push urine and stool into a well. Using a self-cleaning box shouldn't be a reason for not cleaning the box yourself. While the rake generally does a good job, it doesn't get every scrap of urine and feces and may sometimes become clogged. A major disadvantage of this box is that your cat may get scared of it if she sees it in action and refuse to use it.
Designer Boxes: Some companies are producing litter boxes that look like a piece of furniture or a plant. They are more attractive than conventional ones but because the majority of these boxes are covered, odor can be an issue. If you do decide to use one of these be sure to choose one of the larger ones as they can be small.
Sifting Boxes: As the name implies, these litter boxes work by utilizing two pans as well as a sifter tray. The two pans are stacked on each other and the sifting tray is kept in the top pan. When you want to clean the box all you do is separate the litter boxes and lift out the sifting tray which will remove waste while leaving the clean litter allowing you to restack the pans with clean litter.
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