Buying a Litter Box – What to Consider

New cat owners have a long list of items that they must buy. Near the top of the list of things you will need to do will be buying a litter box. If you plan to bring a cat into your home, this should happen BEFORE you bring the cat home.

Most of the time, cats are going to start exploring their new space. One thing that they will be searching for is the most suitable bathroom. If the litter box is not yet in the house, he may choose a plant or some other space instead. It is easier to teach a cat to use the litter box than it is to teach them to STOP using some other spot.

There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for this most important piece of cat gear.


The amount of space that you plan to dedicate the cat and his gear will have an impact on the decision that you make when making a selection. For example, if you only have a tiny space for the cat, you will not want to purchase a huge electric litter box.

Litter boxes are available in a variety of sizes. Keep your space in mind when choosing one.

Number of Cats

The number of cats that you have or plan to have must also be considered when buying a litter box. A good rule of thumb is no more than two cats per box. Of course, it is ideal to have one box per cat, but this is not always possible due to space constraints.

If you have more than one cat, you will need to go with a larger size. If you purchase the smallest litter box for more than one cat, it might get dirty faster than you can clean it, causing the cats to look for other places to do their business.

Size of Cat(s)

The size of the cat or cats is yet another consideration when choosing a box. If you have a tiny kitten, you will need to purchase a litter box that he can climb into easily. The average size box will have sides that may be too tall for him to scale. Therefore, you will have buy a small box for the kitten and replace it as he grows.

On the other hand, if you have a particularly large cat, you will need to buy a box that the cat fits into comfortably. If the cat feels too crowded, he may look for an alternate location.

There are several types of litter boxes on the market at any given time. Below are brief descriptions of some of the most popular.


The open litter box is the most economical and most common choice. This is a simple plastic pan that comes in a variety of sizes. While it is the least expensive, there are some downsides. First is that you will have to see and smell the contents of the litter box anytime that you go near it. Also, if you have dogs, they are quite likely to help themselves to a stinky kitty treat.


Dome or covered litter boxes are another option to consider when buying a litter box. Covered litter boxes are slightly more expensive than open boxes, but are still quite affordable. This type of box gives the cat more privacy and keeps the content of the box hidden from view.


Many domed and covered litter boxes also come with a charcoal filter. While these filters may make the smell slightly more tolerable between scooping, they do not eliminate the smells altogether. The filters must be replaced every couple of months, but they are very inexpensive.


For some cat owners, the idea of a disposable box might be very tempting. The idea is that when the box is dirty, you throw the whole thing into the trash and put down a new box. The downside is that you will need a new box at least once a week, and more often in you have more than one cat. This can get quite expensive to keep up. There will also be the extra expense of using brand new litter each time instead of scooping out the waste and adding a bit more litter to the box.

A disposable litter box is a good idea if you plan to travel with your cat. Some people who live in hurricane prone areas keep a couple of disposable pans with litter in their “go boxes”. That way, should they need to flee with their pet, they will have the items that they need without having to carry the dirty, used litter box.


Electric litter boxes are another type of item that promises to reduce the amount of work that a cat owner must do. When making a decision, if you want one of these that will do the scooping for you, plan to pay a pretty penny. Electric litter boxes start around $99 and some go for as much as $300.

Also, some pet owners find that their cats are frightened by the sound of the motor and refuse to use the box.

If you don’t mind spending $200 on a litter box, this is an option, but it really isn’t that much of a time saver as you will still have to empty the tray into which the litter box scoops the waste.


One of the newest options is litter box furniture. These are attractive pieces of furniture, such as an end table or a faux doll house, in which the litter pan is housed. They make a great choice for those who have limited space or who do not want to deal with an unsightly litter box.

You will simply open the front of the end table, which has a door cut out for the cat to enter, and pull out the pan for cleaning.

There are many choices available when buying a litter box. A bit of research and some thought into the amount of space you have and other factors will help you determine which one is the best choice for you.



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