Choosing the litter box can be a complicated process. There are many different types, shapes, and sizes, so it would be wise to ask the previous owner or caretaker what kind of box the cat used. Your pet will accept the new toilet more quickly if that particular model reminds of the one it has already had.
If you make the right choice, the cat will use the same box for years. What is essential is to enter the litter box before the animal comes into your home. If you are a first-time owner, you probably wonder what things to consider before picking the best litter box for your cat. Let’s see.
Size of the Litter Box
The litter box’s size is one of the most crucial things to think about. Your cat needs to be comfortable in it and have plenty of space to move, dig, and squat. Even if you have a small kitten, it is better to choose a bigger box than the model where it can barely turn around.
The correct litter box’s dimensions will depend on the size of your cat. It should be longer than the total length of a kitty with a bent tail. That way, you will ensure the litter box is spacious enough that your pet can get in completely without urinating outside it.
The box length for an adult cat is approximately 24 inches (61 cm). Remember that every kitty has its preferences, so one may feel safer in a smaller litter box while another enjoys the comfort of an oversized model.
There is a good chance that you need to try a few models before your cat chooses the one that suits it. Don’t forget you need one litter box for every cat you own plus one more in a different place in the house. For example, you need to prepare three litter boxes if you own two cats so that both are content.
Height of the Box Sides
The next question is how tall the litter box you need should be. Basically, it depends on the character, mobility, and age of your pet. The cat needs to get in and out of the box without difficulty. Plus, you want to reduce the damage caused by the unfortunate habits like scattering the litter and spraying the urine around.
For a cat that properly uses a litter, the box’s walls should be from 5 to 7 inches (13 – 18 cm) high. However, if you own a kicker or a sprayer cat, choose 8 to 12 inches (20 – 30.5 cm) high litter box.
You will need a slightly lower box if you have a small kitten or pet that has trouble moving due to age or illness. Your baby-cat can have trouble getting in the litter box higher than 5 inches (13 cm). It can also create a mess around itself when digging due to inexperience.
The best solution for your kitten is a litter box with three high sides and a low, 2.5 to 3.5 inches (6 to 9 cm) high entrance. This model is also ideal for pets in their later years when they can’t enter a tall box due to arthritis or other ailments.
Uncovered vs Covered Litter Box
One of the excellent ideas is to buy a covered litter box since it conceals an unpleasant odor and prevents litter scattering. Besides, it provides the privacy that suits some cats. Unfortunately, this is not the case with all pets, and you can’t know in advance whether your cat prefers a litter box with or without a cover.
Many kitties like having a view around them when going to the litter box. They will feel vulnerable when the cover prevents spotting potential enemies. Plus, the small opening on the covered litter box can be terrifying for some cats, so it is impossible to persuade them to enter.
Keep in mind that the covered box prevents the odor from spreading, which means it stays in the box. Accumulation of ammonia and other gases can be repulsive to the cat, severely endanger its health, and even lead to feline asthma. Therefore, you need to clean the litter box regularly to prevent irritation of your pet lungs. In the event your cat already has lung irritation, there are even special cat litters for asthma.
On the other hand, a cat in an uncovered litter box feels safe because it can observe its surroundings. If you prefer the covered model, you can buy a cat box with a removable cover. That will allow removing the top part during daily cleaning and excluding it from use when you notice that your cat doesn’t like it.
Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes
At first glance, a self-cleaning litter box is a convenient solution. You only need to take out the dirty litter and refill the tray from time to time. Some models also have a disposable tray, so your contact with the cat’s leavings is minimal.
While this litter box is convenient for you as an owner, it can be a traumatic experience for your cat. Most models are noisy and can frighten your pet. Once the sensors start cleaning while the cat is inside or around the box, it will become frightened and refuse to use it again.
Besides, you will probably miss noticing the symptoms of kidney disease, diabetes, and urinary tract infection if you have no opportunity to check the appearance and smell of cat’s poop. That way, you may take your pet to the vet too late for help.
To prevent such a case, you can consider an alternative in the form of a two-layer box. This model separates the clean litter from the waste.
The only one who decides which litter box is appropriate is the cat. It would help if you offered it a litter box of the proper size that makes it safe. Otherwise, you will face the problem with a mess in inappropriate places in the house.