A litter box is one of the essential needs of pet cats. If you’re bringing home a new kitty, a litter box or two should be on top of your ‘to-buy’ list. Always remember that all basic cat essentials should have been bought and ready for use before the arrival of your new pet. For first-time cat owners, one of the most common questions is “what kind of litter box should I get?”
Litter boxes are not created equal. And cats can be very fussy about their litter boxes. Thus, the challenge lies in getting the right litter box that your furball will be comfortable using when attending to the call of nature. When cats have an issue with their litter boxes, they won’t hesitate to do their business somewhere else other than their litter box. And this can be a problem that many pet owners have to deal with at one time or another. In fact, many pets have been abandoned or turned over to shelters because their owners become overwhelmed by their inappropriate potty habits.
What cat litter box is best?
Cats hate it when they have to do their thing in a litter box that’s too cramped, too noisy (this is especially true with automatic litter boxes), too high to climb in or climb out of, or has a strong-smelling litter. Cats, with all their fussiness, can develop a lot of issues with their litter boxes. If you don’t want to deal with inappropriate elimination, you should know what litter box is best suited for your pet’s tastes.
Read more about the types of cat litter boxes on a budget!
How many litter boxes should you get?
As a rule of thumb, the minimum number of litter boxes is equal to the total number of cats plus 1. For example, if you have 3 cats, the number of litter boxes that you must have is 4 litter boxes. The more litter boxes you have, the more choices your cats will have. Who doesn’t want to have options, anyway?
When there are few resources around, cats tend to compete. If they are not comfortable or they feel threatened by the more dominant cats, they will try to look for a place where they can do their business in peace, without any disturbance or potential threat. Potty problems can be a major problem when there are not enough litter boxes around.
What is the ideal size of the litter box?
The size of the litter box is perhaps the most important factor that cat parents should consider when buying litter boxes for their pets. Cats hate feeling cramped. The box should be spacious enough for your kitty to fit it comfortably with some space to spare. A cat needs enough room to engage in normal feline behavior, such as moving and digging around before and after they poop or pee. With a spacious litter box, your cat will have plenty of room to avoid any mounds or clumps that have not yet been removed and disposed of.
As a general guide, the length of the litter box should be as long as your cat, that is from the tip of their nose to the end of the tail. The width of the box be a little bit wider as your cat is long.
How tall should the sides of the litter box be?
There are several important factors that you must take into consideration when it comes to the height of the litter box-- your cat’s personality, age, and health status.
Litter box with 5-7-inch height -- This is ideal for cats that are not into spray marking and don’t kick litter out of the litter box when they’re done with their business.
Litter box with 8-12-inch height -- If your kitty is bent on spray-marking, is a kicker or has a bad aim, a litter with taller sides can help contain the pee, poop, and litter. But make sure that your cat can still get in and out of the box without any problem.
If you have a young kitten, a senior pet suffering from arthritis, or a cat with mobility issues, a litter box with one side that is super low will make it easier for them to climb in and out of the box with ease.
Covered Or Uncovered Litter Boxes
Do cats prefer open or closed litter boxes? Some cats hate using a litter box that has a cover because they do not want to feel confined and trapped. Their instincts for self-preservation are still strong and even when they are doing their business, they want to have ready escape routes where they can easily get away from potential predators or perceived threats.
Pet parents tend to get a covered litter box because the cover confines the smell inside. However, cats won’t have second thoughts about eliminating somewhere else because they will surely hate the contained litter box odors. Covered litter boxes will not be ideal for cats with asthma or arthritis.
But if you do decide to get one with a cover, make sure the opening is large enough for your cat to get through. Do be ready to switch if your cat hates the cover.
How about self-cleaning litter boxes?
Getting a self-cleaning or automatic litter box can really be tempting. Just imagine not having to scoop up the litter box contents every day! Unfortunately, these boxes are not a hit with cats. They hate being startled by the sound the box makes, so much so that they become too scared to use it.
Another downside of these self-cleaning litter boxes is that they require special litters that are priced way higher than ordinary ones.
Just think of it this way, scooping litter each day, even though how inconvenient or unpleasant it may seem, is an important opportunity to spot changes in your pet’s waste that could be a red flag of a developing health issue, such as kidney disease, diabetes, urinary tract problems, or even constipation.
How to choose cat litter?
Choosing the right cat litter is as important as finding the right cat litter box. There are many different types of cat litter that suits the needs of each cat differently. Read our article on how to choose the right cat litter for your cats!
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If you're looking to purchase a cat litter box for your cat, check out this great collection of cat litter boxes!