A cat litter box is an essential piece of cat kit! Buy right and you might never have to buy again. Most people just dive straight in and get something that is cheap, cheerful, good looking and appears to be practical and that is, most of the time, absolutely fine.
If you have a bigger cat or a cat with rubbish spatial awareness this can backfire, literally. Some cats are just a little bit different and need something bigger. Sometimes just getting the average litter box and hoping for the best is not the best option.
Many cats that get dropped off at the shelter end up there because they are struggling with their litter tray. Now, this might be down to any number of factors including the type of litter, cleanliness of the tray, positioning, etc. Getting the wrong size tray for a big cat or a clumsy cat might end up creating toileting problems and lead to them inadvertently being dumped all for the sake of the correct size litter box!
So how do you choose the correct size?
How big does my litter box need to be?
Ideally, you want a box that is big enough to allow your cat to turn around in. Sounds easy? But you need to consider your cat’s age and potential adult size if you just want to buy once. A small, kitten or youthful cat is not likely to need the biggest litter box – but they probably don’t want a litter box with high sides either, they need easy access.
Alternatively, if you have a kitten and you know they are going to end up a giant (Maine coon or ragdoll anyone?) it might be wise to plan ahead and go large with a box with plenty of space but at least with an opening that will allow easy access for a smaller cat or even an older cat with joint issues.
A reasonable way to pick the right size box is to guestimate the adult size of your cat and buy accordingly. Think about the length of your cat from head to the base of the tail and consider a box that is at least one and a half times their overall length and then opt for a width that is about the same as their measured length. This way your cat will have a box that they can turnaround in when using.
What Options Are There?
A quick scan of the net and you will soon find there are all sorts of options available when it comes to cat litter boxes. Here are some of the common choices and some of the pros and cons to each style of box :
High Sided Litter Box
These are great for big cats because big cats need everything at big scale! Big cats that dig are less likely to be able to flick litter over the sides and big cats that crouch, but have a rubbish aim, can get away with it when the litter box has tall sides. A high sided box can also help reduce litter tracking issues.
Of course, a high sided box is not necessarily a good choice for a kitten or an elderly cat with old joints – access to high sided litter boxes can be difficult. And then it is worth remembering that with high sides you can get carried away and put too much litter in – costing extra money and making the box hard to move and clean.
Low Sided Litter Box
These are what most people would call your average litter box. They are not really low sided – just not high sided litter boxes! For most average cats these are the perfect box, easy to get into, tall enough to avoid accidents.
For cats that dig or cats with poor aim, these boxes ain’t great and you might get a load of litter tracking issues depending on the type of litter your cat uses and whether or not you use a litter tray mat.
Most cats, even kittens can often find a way to get on with these litter boxes.
Covered/enclosed Litter Box
Ideal for reducing odor. Good at reducing litter tracking. Can be useful for small and average size cats but for large cats you need a truly large version so the cat can turn easily within the box.
You tend to get two versions of the enclosed litter box, generally you have a normal side door version and then a top entry litter box style. Obviously each has their own benefits and pitfalls – top entry is not so good for older cats, cats with dementia or younger kittens, but is more effective at reducing litter tracking than many other types of litter box. Side door versions tend to have better access options but this does make them slightly more prone to litter tracking.
Generally speaking enclosed litter boxes are more expensive than the open litter box options.
Self cleaning? Big bucks…But apart from that, if cleaning a litter tray bothers you or maybe you are just not as mobile as you might have been in the past then a self cleaning litter tray can just make things a little tidier with less effort from you. Certain self cleaning trays can be left to their own devices for up to 30 days without your input which is pretty cool….Self cleaners often use silica crystals to minimise odor and keep dust down which means you don’t need to empty them regularly – but silica crystal litter can be more expensive than some standard litters so be aware the higher costs don’t just start and end with the initial purchase of the litter box!
What About If I Can’t Find One Big Enough?
My cat is a giant and I just can’t find a box big enough! Don’t worry, these days there are some good ways to overcome this issue relatively cheaply.
The most straightforward option is to get a good old plastic storage box – you know the sort, they come in multiple sizes and shapes for fitting under beds or in the bottom of a closet. Often they have clip-on plastic lids.
Pick a large version of one of these boxes and then cut an entry hole or cut some off one side away to suit and you have a purpose-made plastic cat litter box. You can even get to choose a large size and make an enclosed litter box or a top entry litter box by keeping the lid on and altering to suit.
Biggest Options On The Market
Can’t be bothered to fashion your own litter box and just want to know what some of the biggest and best options are? Check these out, these are a decent selection of the largest boxes out there in most of the common styles:
Catit Jumbo Hooded Litter Box
If you are looking for a large, enclosed cat litter box with a side entrance rather than a top entry, then the Catit Jumbo Hooded Litter Box might be the best choice for you.
The Catit Jumbo Hooded Litter Box comes in at 22.4 inches long, by 18.3 inches high and 17 inches wide which means it is a good size for even the biggest of cats. The sides and opening are pretty high so it might not be the best box for a kitten or an old cat, but for most cats, they should be able to use this box with no problems and large cats should have plenty of room, even though the box is hooded.
The hood is detachable so if you don’t like it or your cat needs loads of room to swing around because they are a giant then this is a useful option. The detachable hood also makes cleaning and access really easy.
A lot of people rightly think the hood will trap odors and create a bit of a pong. Catit has considered this and the hood on this model features a carbon odor capture to sort out any odor issues. The carbon filters are replaceable so you can be sure to maintain optimum odor destroying potential with this litter box.
One of the main benefits of a hood is that it can substantially reduce litter tracking, which is just gross, so if you have a cat that you know is an enthusiastic digger or tends to flick litter everywhere this box could be a bit of a lifesaver when it comes to clearing up. Match it up with a decent cat litter mat at the opening to the box and you should be able to contain the worst litter tracking problems.
If your cat is a massive Maine coon type of giant then the opening size should be considered. Coming in at 10.4 x 9.6 inches the size is not bad for most cats, but the big boys might have a problem!
When it comes to price, an enclosed box is always going to be more than an open tray purely on the basis that there is more box for your money, add to that the sheer scale and you can expect to pay a little more for one of these. But look on the bright side this box is much cheaper than one of those technological self-cleaning boxes.
- Help reduce litter tracking
- Easy to access for cleaning
- May not control odor as well as open trays
- It is a big box to find a home for..
Petsafe Scoop Free Automatic
If you are looking for the height of technology, maybe you hate having anything to do with the cat litter tray or perhaps you just can’t get down to the litter tray as easily as you could before, then this tray could be your huckleberry…
The Petsafe Scoop Free Automatic Litter Tray is cutting edge litter tray technology. Essentially the tray is an open litter box with silica crystals that form the litter. After your cat visits the box the tray automatically rakes the box and removes dirt to a compartment below the litter tray for removal by the owner at a later date – they claim this thing can keep you from attending for up to 30 days (but some owners would say bank on a week). The silica crystals absorb moisture and associated odor so you should have a relative hassle-free relationship with this litter tray.
Yeah, but is it any good for big cats? I hear you say… Well, it is open top so moving around shouldn’t be a problem. The actual “drop zone” shall we say, is 26 x 18 inches so should be a reasonable size for most cats including the large cats but maybe not for your giant!
Now for some bad news. The price is at the pricey end of the scale as you might expect for automation and the like – but the litter trays with silica are disposable and you’re supposed to use Petsafe refills, you can’t just refill with the litter you got down the local store.
Additionally, this will only work with the silica granules. Clumping litter or other types of litter just won’t work with this. So if your cat has issues with silica – dodge that expensive bullet! Additionally understand you are probably looking at a small premium going forward with this on the refill front.
Then there are some user operation concerns – some people just get no luck with it but the majority (70%) seem to really get on with this automated litter tray.
- Hands free litter box
- Large area
- No hood so easy for cat to move
- Can only use silica crystal style litter
- Have to buy manufacturers refills.
Petmate Giant Litter Pan
Let’s assume you are not interested in technology, let’s assume your cat does not have any desire for a roof over its head whilst it carries out business and let’s assume you are looking for a simple, bigass, no-nonsense litter tray. Then this litter box is probably a good choice for you!
Let’s just go to the main feature of the Petmate Giant Litter Box – its size: a ginormous 34.7 x 19.8 x 10-inch litter box. Fill it with sand, dip your toes in and imagine you are at the beach…seriously, do you have the floor space for this goliath?
I am just going to be pedantic now and highlight that the sides are 10 inches high – maybe that is too high? I dunno just saying…It will certainly keep the beach in the right place but is access to the beach too hard for some? You will have to decide. To put this whole size thing into context, this litter tray will hold 30 pounds of litter – you don’t want to kick that in the middle of the night!
But seriously – this is ideal for the biggest cats, ideal for multi-cat households, probably good if you don’t want to spend too much time cleaning out a smaller litter tray. I can seriously see your litter bill going up over the year with this tray…
- Massive, giant, huge
- Price – not massive, giant, huge
- Massive, giant, huge – start building..
- Heavy when loaded…
Natures Miracle High Sided Litter Pan
Does your cat have bad spatial awareness, shall we say, or poor aim? Got a bit of a habit for digging, or just seems to flick litter everywhere with gay abandon because they know you will be along shortly to clear that mess up? If so, this could be a decent option for you.
The Natures Miracle High Sided Litter Pan is what I would call a large pan – not a really giant pan – but then for most that is probably good enough. The key feature with this pan is that the sides are 11 inches high but the entry is nice and low to accommodate all types of cat. This means the pan should help stop litter tracking caused by the diggers and the flickers and catch the poor aimers!
Overall the pan comes in at 23.4 long x 18.25 wide x 11 inches high. Pretty decent size for the larger cats out there.
Obviously, it has all the benefits of the open pan system – easy access for cleaning, doesn’t trap odors, the biggest cats can swing around in it without issues and it is cost-effective as it simply isn’t as complicated as enclosed or mechanized trays.
That’s it! Simple, effective, built for a specific group – the larger, but not giant cats and homeowners that don’t necessarily need a massive litter tray around the place.
- 23.4×18.25×11 – large size
- Reduces litter tracking with high sides
- Easy access entry for young and old cats
- Easy to clean
Petphabet Jumbo Cat Litter Box
Maybe you think the previous options don’t offer the best dimensions for your cat, or you just want something a little more….funky! Check out the Petphabet Jumbo Cat Litter Box.
This one is oval (so you don’t get nasty corners to clean), big (24.8 long x 20 wide x 16.5 high, 7.1 high at entry) and comes in a bunch of funky colors!
It has a hood – which is detachable – so you should avoid litter tracking issues. It is pretty competitive on size with the giant litter boxes but, strangely, doesn’t feature a carry handle on its lid.
I think this one is really for the cat owner who is avoiding the drab offerings. It has got size, got convenience, and got color options – go for it if the rest bore you!
- Color choices
- Detachable lid
- No carry handle
Which Would We Go For?
I think all these are perfectly fine choices. I don’t particularly care for technology, have a problem with clearing up a litter tray or need a tray that I can carry around the place so I would just opt for a simple choice.
I like color so I would go for the Petphabet and detach the hood permanently – but that is just me. If you got a massive cat or have issues with cleaning litter trays there are better choices in that selection of extra large litter boxes! All these options can do a good job depending on what you are looking for.