How to pick the best one for you and your cat? What do you look for in a box? Does type matter? Does litter matter? Read on to learn more about the variety of boxes and litters available for you and your cat and how to both pick the right one and introduce it successfully to your household.
The Different Types of Cat Litter Boxes
Cat litter boxes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The most common boxes on the market include open boxes, enclosed boxes, sifting boxes, automatic boxes, disposable boxes, and hidden boxes. Each has its own pros and cons that can help you decide what works best for you.
An open litter box is a basic box that has four sides, but does not include a lid or door to get in and out of. These are the most basic of boxes, but are useful when budget is an issue, or additional features aren’t needed. They’re a good starting box to use if you’re unsure of what to get or aren’t sure what your cat will like. However, these boxes don’t do a very good job of containing messes or odors.
- Come in a variety of sizes and shapes
- Most cats will use an open box without issue
- May not contain messes well
- Do not contain odors
- May fall apart more easily
Enclosed/Top Entry Boxes
An enclosed or top-entry box is one that has both sides and a top. These lids can either snap onto a base open box, or have hinges that open and close. Often, there are openings on either the side of the box through a door, or in the case of top-entry boxes, an opening on the top of the lid. These boxes are excellent for containing messes and odors, however, they may be harder for older cats or very young kittens to get into and can be harder to clean if there are sharp curves or areas the opening blocks.
- Contains messes and odors
- Durable construction
- Hides messes out of sight
- May be hard for very young or very old cats to get in and out of
- There is a learning curve for some cats if there is a door or top opening
- Hinges or lids may break with improper use
A sifting litter box is a box that comes with a grate or multiple stacked boxes in one package. Sifting boxes are designed to be pulled apart daily and allow litter to sift through while leaving behind clumped litter and waste material. You can then dump the waste into the garbage and replace the sifter back in the box. These boxes eliminate the need to use a scoop and make cleaning easier. Sifting boxes can come with additional features such as lids or hoods and odor control in addition to the sifting function. However, litter and waste may get stuck in the sifter, needing additional cleaning.
- All-in-one system makes daily scooping easy
- Can come with additional features such as a lid or odor control
- Most cats use these box types as easily as a basic box
- Debris may get stuck in sifter
- Sifter can break down over time, reducing effectiveness
- Sifter may not be able to remove very small particles, leading to dirty litter that needs to be replaced more often
Automatic Litter Boxes
An automatic litter box is designed to automatically rake and remove waste from the litter once your cat has finished using it. These are plugged into a wall socket and have a metal or plastic rake that sweeps across the litter on a timer, depositing the waste material into a container that can then be removed and tossed. These boxes are great for owners that don’t want to scoop daily, however, the loud noise and motion of the rake may scare some cats into not wanting to use the box. Automatic litter boxes can also have a high initial cost of purchase due to their more complex mechanics. They can also come with lids or hoods to contain messes. Petree Automatic Litter Box is the highest-rated, automatic, self-cleaning litter box for cats. Never scoop cat litter again while giving kitty a clean bed of litter for each use.
- Easy to “set and forget” so no daily cleaning required
- Keeps litter fresh longer, reducing the need to replace it
- Removes odors quickly
- Loud noise may scare some cats away from using it, leading to accidents
- Rake can become caked with debris or waste get stuck in mechanism
- Sometimes requires purchase of specific litter or odor control/compartments which increases costs
A disposable box is a box that is designed to be used short-term and then tossed or recycled. These are often made of cardboard or other biodegradable materials and may come with their own litter or need litter to be added. Disposable boxes are useful for travel when a permanent box may be too bulky or troublesome to bring. They’re also great for owners who don’t want to deal with a box getting smelly or damaged over time, as they can be tossed weekly or monthly and replaced with a fresh box, eliminating the hassle of cleaning. However, because they are made of less durable materials, they may not hold up to tough use, and will start to leak if used for too long.
- Easy to bring on trips without hassle
- Simply set up, add litter, and use
- Can be tossed when done without needing to clean
- May not control messes or odors very well
- Can leak if used for too long
- Higher cost if used for a long period of time due to constant replacement
A hidden, or camouflaged litter box is one that has been designed to look like regular furniture or home decor. These can be boxes hidden inside a cabinet, ones designed to look like plant pots, or ones with decorative fabrics or other materials to cover them up. Hidden boxes come in a variety of designs and price points so they can be tailored to fit your home’s needs. They can also be enclosed, or have odor-reducing properties in addition to being camouflaged, however, this will depend on the individual box.
- Perfect for small spaces where the box needs to be out of sight
- Can fit almost any home decor
- Makes litter box less of an eyesore
- May be hard to take apart and clean
- May not easily trap odors or messes depending on design
- Cat may not recognize it as a litter box, leading to accidents
Even if you have a type of box in mind, there are still many factors to take into consideration when picking out the right litter box for you and your cat. Some factors to consider include the design of the box, such as its size, height, and shape. Other factors include convenience items such as how easy it is to clean the box, what litter can be used, and if it needs to be scooped daily, as well as its durability depending on the material it’s made from and the number of cats using it.
Find the best litter box at Petree.