One of the wonderful things about cats is they naturally WANT to do their business in a pile of sand. How incredibly convenient!
But when taking home a kitten, you need to remember that they are still young. While they may be litter box “trained,” they do not have years of diligent litter box use under their belt to fall back on. So you’re going to want to make the litter box situation as appealing as possible!
Here’s the lineup of best litter box products:
Best Cat Litter Box
Unlike us, cats don’t want or need privacy when doing their business. The boxes should be placed in various easily accessible locations throughout the house. You’ll want one box per cat, plus one extra. If you have a large house or multiple floors, add another box or two.
Uncovered boxes usually go over much better than covered boxes. Remember, cats are in middle of the food chain, predator and prey. They will feel a little bit vulnerable when doing their duties, so they prefer to be able to see their surroundings and have an easy exit.
The best litter box choice: A spacious, simple, open litter box with high sides. As far as cats are concerned, the larger the box, the better.
Open Litter Boxes Choices
- Less than $10 DIY Option: Pick up a storage bin from Home Depot for less than $10. Throw out the lid and cut an opening in the side. The grooves on the bottom might get annoying, but the super high sides and large size are really nice.
- Less than $20: Nature’s Miracle (pictured below)
- Less than $30: Petmate + Jackson Galaxy similar in size to Nature’s Miracle, just a little bit simpler style.
- Human Favorite: Petfusion Nonstick Box. A little bit more expensive at $40, but well worth it because it fits all the criteria of a perfect box PLUS the nonstick feature makes scooping and cleaning a breeze!
- NO: Boxes where the top lid and bottom meet in the middle. Pee gets in the cracks and it’s gross.
- YES: This covered litter box is much better, with the lid on top. Most of my cats actually love it, and there’s a lot less litter tracking! It won’t work great for a large cat.
- NO: Litter robots. Trust me, I dream of the convenience too. But cats are experts at hiding medical issues, and knowing exactly what’s happening inside the litter box (Stool color and consistency? Large pees? Small pees? Lots of pees?) is super important to identifying what may be happening inside their little bodies.
- NO: Toilet training. You can’t monitor the urine/stool, it’s terribly unnatural, and what would kitty do if he got sick, had surgery, or in old age? He wouldn’t be able to balance on a toilet rim, that’s for sure.
Best Cat Litter
The Cats’ Choice
It’s instinctive for cats to do their business in something with a sand-like texture. If given the choice, most cats will choose the traditional clumping clay litter over pellets or crystals. The other requirement – it must be unscented. Cats’ sense of smell is 14x strong than ours! And the litter box should smell like them if you want them to use it, not lavender potpourri.
The Cat’s Choice: Traditional unscented, clumping clay litter like Dr. Elsey’s.
The Environmentally Friendlier Choice
Some environmentally-conscious folk would rather avoid clay litter. For you, I’d recommend World’s Best Corn Litter. It’s more lightweight than clay litter and cats seem to not love the way their paws sink in, or maybe they don’t like the corn smell, because they will definitely choose regular clay if given the choice. But World’s Best is a good alternative. Just be aware – store it in a cool, dry location and don’t keep your box in the bathroom, because corn can grow mold.
If you start researching litter options, you’ll find all kinds of creative substrates people have come up with. You’re welcome to try them all, but if you have a kitten or a picky cat, stick with something safe that you know they’ll use. Once their litter box habits are impeccable, you can consider a gradual switch if it’s important to you.
Here’s a few others we’ve tried:
- Pine Pellets: Super cheap, if you get them from a feed store! But not very sand-like to kitty. Also doesn’t hold the smell very well.
- Crystal: The larger crystals are sharp on their paws (and on your feet). The micro crystals are tolerated okay.
- Breeze System: Again, cats don’t love the pellets. But it reduces a lot of scooping, because the pee falls to the bottom pad. You have to replace the pads frequently and the litter regularly or the whole thing stinks bad. Not very cost effective. Diarrhea is also a disaster, and if your cat tries to eat the pellets even once, get rid of it.
Best Cat Litter Box Scooper
The best litter scooper is the Litter Lifter. It’s lightweight, large, durable, works well for scraping, and litter falls through it super easily.
No need to shake it, loose litter just falls right through immediately. It’s basically perfect. If they ever come out with a lightweight stainless steel option, I’d be even more in love. But it’s really great as-is, no need to consider any other choices.
Best Disposal Methods
All boxes should be scooped 1-2 times every day. Would you want your toilet flushed only once a week? I didn’t think so.
Unless you have a small army of cats to clean up after, I’d recommend having a Litter Genie next to each box or small doggy waste bags if you’re good with bagging and bringing to the trash every time.
I have a love/hate relationship with the Litter Genie. It’s super convenient to quick toss the waste in the Genie and not have to worry about it. Until it’s time to change the plastic lining. Then it’s a little gross. In some ways, I’d rather throw out a little bag daily and never see it again.
Litter Genie comes with a scooper, but get the Litter Lifter.
Did you buy “flushable” litter? Don’t flush it. Basically, our plumbing, septic, and waste management systems aren’t set up to handle cat litter or cat feces, no matter how “flushable” it is.
Remember, it’s all about compromise!
When it comes to the best cat litter box solution, try your best to meet your cat’s natural desires.
- Have several large, open litter boxes with an easy entry point and high sides.
- Use an unscented litter with a sand-like texture.
- Scoop the boxes 1-2 times per day.
And if there’s something you feel strongly about, like not having a litter box in your living room, just work to find a solution you can both be happy about!