When you get a cat, you’re thinking about couch cuddles, purring and all of the pet products you can buy them. What you likely aren’t thinking about is poop. But you should be. And the first thing you should be thinking about is finding a great litter box for your cat to do their business in.
After extensive research and testing, we recommend Nature's Miracle Advanced High-Sided Cat Box(available at Amazon). This litter box is as simple as it gets, but it gets the job done. The Advanced High-Sided Cat Box fits in a variety of spaces. Its sides are high enough and the box itself is large enough that it can handle days of cat waste before it needs to be cleaned. A narrow but deep “scooped” front catches the mess kicked up by your kitty and deposits it right back into the bottom of the litter box, where it belongs. And, thanks to the three handles built into the litter box’s sides, emptying the Advanced High-Sided Cat Box for cleaning is a breeze.
These are the best cat litter boxes we tested ranked, in order:
Nature's Miracle Advanced High-Sided Cat Box
Frisco High-Sided XL
Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Pan
Petmate Booda Dome
Nature's Miracle Hooded Flip Top Litter Box
Petphabet Covered Litter Box
Lucky Champ Cat Litter Pan
PetFusion BetterBox Non-Stick Cat Litter Box
Omega Paw Elite Roll 'n Clean
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Nature's Miracle High Sided Litter Box
How We Tested Cat Litter Boxes
What You Should Know About Buying Cat Litter Boxes
The Nature's Miracle Advanced High-Sided Cat Box is a well-made cat litter box designed to keep everything that should be inside of it… inside of it. Its 23.4 x 15.5 x 11-inch dimensions provide enough space for even the largest of cats to maneuver inside of it.
The Advanced High-Sided Cat Box has no hood or odor mitigation—but if you clean and replace your cat’s litter on a regular basis, this shouldn’t be an issue. Its high sides and a narrow opening in its front work to keep both urine and litter inside the box. Thanks to its lack of a lid, scooping out soiled litter and cat waste is easy. When the time comes to empty it, its three well-sized, built-in handles make dumping out old spent cat litter a breeze.
Lela Gwenn has lived with two older cats, for years. This has provided her a tremendous amount of insight into how important a good litter box can be for anyone wanting to keep their home clean and relatively odor-free.
If you’re going to test cat litter boxes, you’re going to need a cat. I have two of them.
My first cat, Punch, is ancient. I have had her for 20 years and she was fully grown when I rescued her. Punch is blind and, if her feet are touching litter, she assumes she can pee. This means a litter box that is too small or requires any sort of consideration from her won’t pass muster. My second cat, Tag, is perhaps 10 years old. There’s something of the wild left in her from her feral days, so she can be … unpredictable. Punch and Tag’s propensity for making a mess makes them absolutely perfect for testing cat litter boxes.
In order to figure out which of the litter boxes from our test group deserved top honors, the Best Right Now team decided that, above all, a good one needs to be capable of containing all of the cat urine and kicked up litter a kitty can throw at it, without leaving litter all over the floor. A very close second to this is how easy it is to clean out a litter box when a cat’s done enough bathroom duty to warrant it.
To test these points, I filled each box with three inches of cat litter and then left the box out for my cats to use. After 24 hours, I scooped all of the cat waste out of the litter box, to assess how easy the box was to maintain. and checked in on how much the cats were “missing” the box and how much litter was outside the box. At the end of the 48 hours, I emptied the box, cleaned it, and checked for scratches. At the end of 48 hours, I emptied out the litter box to assessed how easy it was to wash it and checked how scratched up the interior of the litter box got during use. This test was repeated for each litter box.
Additionally, I paid attention to how difficult each litter box was to assemble (if the assembly was required,) how hard it was to disassemble it (if required) in order to clean it and, whether or not each box was sized to make dumping it into an average-sized kitchen garbage bag easy.
What You Should Know About Buying Cat Litter Boxes
What Kind of Kitty Litter Should I Use?
There are many types of cat litter, the most popular of which are:
Clay Litter: The most common type of cat litter, clay litter is easy to find in stores and online. As its name suggests, clay litter is composed of clay fragments, of varying sizes. In some instances, the clay may be infused with an attractant chemical, designed to encourage a cat to visit its litter box, more frequently. Clay litter excels at absorbing urine. The absorbed urine and clay harden into a clump that can easily be scooped out. The downside to clay litter is that when kicked up by your cat, or when emptying it from a litter box, it’s known to create a good amount of dust.
Paper Litter: If you’ve ever torn up sheets of newspaper to throw into your cat’s litter box, you’ve created paper litter. Store-bought paper litter is most often compressed into pellets, making it easier for your cat to bury its business in and, easier for you to empty out of your cat’s litter box when the time comes. The downside to paper litter is that it does not absorb liquid well. This can lead to stronger odors, mo0re difficult litter box cleanup.
Pine Litter: Low dust, great and combating litter box odors and absorbent, pine litter, which is made from pine trees, is another popular option. It can be found in two different formats: pine pellets and pine sawdust. The pellets prevent dust from getting kicked. Sawdust is… dustier. However, its absorbency allows urine to clump up in a similar fashion to clay litter. This makes it easier to keep the litter box it’s used in, clean.
There are other types of litter out there as well, which are less common: Grass seed, ground corn cob, or walnut shells and, silica gel litters are sometimes preferred by cat owners for their lack of scents, chemicals, and absorption.
Where Should I Place My Cat’s Litter Box?
The ideal place for a cat box needs to be someplace accessible. If you have a young, small, disabled, or older cat make sure that there are no impediments like stairs that could keep your kitty from getting to the box. It should also ideally be someplace quiet. You wouldn’t want the buzzer on your dryer going off and scaring your cat mid-evacuation. Many cats appreciate some privacy, so placing the box in an area that is not heavily trafficked is ideal. You should have at least as many litter boxes as you have cats.
The Pros And Cons of Hooded Litter Boxes
A hooded or lidded box can help to mitigate odors, as many of them come with either a door to help keep smells inside of the box, or a charcoal filter to eliminate some of the stench that comes with living with cats who do their business indoors. This all sounds great, but you should know that having to navigate a litter box hood makes it harder to clean the box out. Additionally, as the hoods suppress odors, it might not be as easy to smell that your feline friend’s toilet needs to be cleaned.
Some cats may enjoy a hooded litter box, for the privacy it affords them. Others might become anxious due to how dark it is inside of the litter box or because the hood turns their pooping grounds into a confined space. Hooded boxes with doors can exacerbate this. Hoods also can make it harder to scoop, and their odor mitigation may lead some owners to believe the box is cleaner than it actually is. As a result, the box might not get cleaned as often as it needs to be. This lack of cleanliness can lead to health issues for your cat.
Other Cat Litter Boxes We Tested
Frisco High Sided Cat Litter Box, Extra Large 24-in
Available in several colors, the Frisco High-Sided XL has a lot going for it. Sized at 24 x 18 x 10 inches, it offers more than enough space for most cats to do their business in.
As its name suggests, the High-Sided XL’s sides are tall, which helps to limit the amount of urine and litter from escaping the box. We liked how easy it was to scoop this box out.
You should know that the High-Sided XL’s wide entryway and small lip weren’t able to keep litter in as well as our best overall pick does. As such, some litter did excuse the inside of the box, during testing. Additionally, while it does come sporting
Plenty of space
Wide entryway sometimes allows urine and litter to escape
The Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Pan is a hooded litter box equipped with a filter to reduce odors.
The Jumbo Hooded Cat Pan comes in two pieces, which are held together by four sliding latches. Unfortunately, I found that I was never able to secure all four latches, at the same time. This might not be an issue for those who are able to clean the litter box, in place. However, if the litter box needs to be relocated, the hood’s being insecure could become an issue.
This box has a swinging door that my cats simply did not approve of. In order to test the Jumbo Hooded Cat Pan, I ended up having to fold the door back, so my cats would be comfortable using it. While the door is reasonably sized, scooping out cat waste through it was difficult.
Available in several colors, the Petmate Booda Cleanstep Litter Dome is a hooded cat box with a filter to reduce odors. As with other hooded litter boxes tested for this guide, the latches that secure the hood to the lower half of the Booda Dome were questionable, at best. That said, Outside of this, I was pleased with its overall build quality
With its 20 x 24 x 19 inch dimensions, the Cleanstep Litter Dome sounds like it should have plenty of room for all but the largest cats. However, half of the inside of the box is eaten up by a steep plastic ramp, designed to allow cats easier access to their bathroom. While this might be desirable for those with elderly cats or young kittens, the amount of space the Cleanstep Litter Dome devotes to litter is limited.
During testing, Punch got to the top of the ramp, felt litter under her paws, and let loose, causing a cat pee waterfall. The Cleanstep Litter Dome’s ramp has a treaded pattern molded into it, likely to help cats climb and to catch litter. If you have a messy cat or your feline companion is on the large side, you may want to consider a different option.
The Modkat Flip Litter Box is a lidded cat box with no filter. However, you can purchase a filter to add to it,) Measuring 20.08 x 14.96 x 16.93 inches and available in several colors, its unique design provides high sides with a lid that can be adjusted to three different positions. This adjustability makes scooping out litter without removing the lid, a cinch.
The Modkat Flip has a removable, reusable liner. This made emptying soiled litter, easy. It also proved adept at preventing the main part of the litter box from getting scratched up by my cats’ claws. However, the liner has seams and features a textured surface. As such, you’ll need to scrub the liner with soap and water in order to completely clean your cat’s mess out of it. While the liner is reusable, Modkat also offers replacement liners, should your cats wear the one that comes with the litter box out, or if you want to cycle through a couple, instead of immediately washing a soiled liner out. During testing, the Modkat Flip kept litter inside, but Punch still managed to pee out of its doorway.
The Nature's Miracle Hooded Flip Top Litter Box is a well-built, two-piece hooded cat box with an activated charcoal filter for odor control. It’s 5.13 x 19.13 x 11.75 inches in size and is available in several colors. As its name suggests, the top of the Flip Top Litter Box flips back to make it easier to scoop out clumped cat litter.
Sadly, while this litter box is easy to maintain on a day-to-day basis, cleaning it out completely could be a chore. During testing, I found that once emptied, soiled litter stuck firmly to the floor of this box. If you want it clean, there’ll be some scrubbing involved.
The Petphabet Jumbo Hooded Cat Litter Box is a two-piece hooded cat litter box with an activated charcoal filter for odor control.
The hood to this box is transparent, which might make it a good fit for kitties that are afraid of the dark. It’s reasonably well made and proved easy to clean. However, its wide entryway allowed a lot of litter to get kicked out by my cats, during testing.
The Lucky Champ Cat Litter Pan is a simple, one-piece box with no odor mitigation. It’s 25 x 16.75 x 9 inches in size and has a contoured front designed to help small or infirm cats have easy access to do their bathroom. It’s a good idea, in theory. However, during testing, my cats peed on the steps. It also failed to keep cat litter from getting out of the box and onto my floor. To make matters worse, the contoured ramp proved difficult to clean.
The PetFusion BetterBox Large Non-Stick Cat Litter Box is a one-piece model, with no odor mitigation.
Its simple design lends itself to durability, and as it doesn’t have a hood, cleaning it is a breeze, especially when the non-stick material that covers its floor is factored in.
That said, we’d love it more if it had handles to assist in dumping it out or carrying it when it’s full of litter. Additionally, its wide, shallow entryway allowed litter to scatter outside of the box during testing.
The Omega Paw Elite Roll 'n Clean is a hooded cat box that uses an activated charcoal filter for odor control. It is 16.5 x 18.5 x 17 inches and comes in several colors. However, half of this not-very-large box is taken up with its self-scooping mechanism. As a result, during testing, Punch peed right out the door most of the time. This box also landed far down on this list because, with its many pieces, there were too many things to clean.
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