Your Cat’s Point of View on Litter Boxes

Choosing a litter box probably seems like a simple endeavor. Pick any box, add some litter, and you should be good to go, right? Some cats are not so apathetic when it comes to their litter box. And sometimes you don’t find out how picky your cat can be before they stop using the litter box and start using your laundry basket, living room rug, bed…

So what should you look for when buying a first, or new litter box for your feline friend?

First things first, don’t forget about the general rule of thumb when it comes to litter boxes–you should have one for each cat in the home, this is one of the best ways of cheering your cat up. So, if you have two cats, you should have at least three litter boxes. And if you have multiple floors, consider having at least one litter box on each floor. That will be a special treat for your pet, especially if it needs additional care, like when you are treating heartworms in cats.

Regardless of how many litter boxes you have for your cat(s), the boxes should be cleaned daily, if not more often. Cats have a great sense of smell and are naturally clean animals, they likely don’t want to use an already soiled litter box. Some will just stop using the litter box if they think it’s too dirty. Self-cleaning litter boxes are an option, but the trays still need to be empty, and some cats just won’t like them. But don’t worry, there are other options…

  • Open litter pans tend to be cheap, come in a variety of sizes, and are often the type of litter boxes most cats prefer since they’re so open. You don’t want to your cat to feel trapped in a litter box with only one opening. especially if multiple cats might be vying for litter box space. Unfortunately, the box type that most cats like is the same box type that many owners don’t. Open litter pans means people, as well as curious kids and dogs, have easy access to cat messes. But since you’ll be scooping the box daily anyways, hopefully this doesn’t bother your family.
  • Hooded litter boxes tend to be more expensive, but also keep cat messes out of sight, out of mind (which also means they tend to be cleaned less often). Unless the box is very large, some cats may have a hard time finding a comfortable position in these boxes. Some cats don’t like hooded boxes because there’s no easy escape route with only one entrance; some cats can get claustrophobic or feel trapped in these boxes. Other cats might feel safer in a closed space, but if you have multiple cats, territory issues over the one litter boxes can easily become an issue.
  • Self-cleaning litter boxes are the among most expensive litter box options out there, while they are in fact “self cleaning,” they are also the most likely to startle a cat into inappropriate urination. If the box decides to automatically sift the litter while the cat is in the box, many cats are likely to stop using the box right then and there. Many, if not all, self-cleaning litter boxes have sensors to prevent automatic cleaning while a cat is in it, but things go wrong and it could happen. Something to keep in mind if you go this route.

With the litter box options available, you can’t go wrong having a little bit of each. Try having one open litter pan and one closed litter pan in the house to see which your cat prefers. You might be surprised.

By Rachel Leisemann Immel