The best litter box
It might not be the most glamorous part of cat-ownership, but almost all kitties require a litter box to do their business. Particularly indoor cats, but also any cats who don't have 24-7 access to the outdoor world, require litter boxes.
This guide will help you find the best litter box for your feline friend. Our favorite is the Omega Paw Self-Cleaning Litter Box. Simply roll it onto its top and back again and all the solid waste is separated out -- cleaning a litter box couldn't be much easier.
Considerations when choosing litter boxes
Open vs. covered
Open litter boxes are simple and inexpensive. Many cats prefer using them, but they do smell more than covered options, and your cat is more likely to kick litter over the sides. Covered litter boxes seem like a great idea in theory -- the inevitable smells that emanate from a litter box are better contained, as is the litter inside, so you get less mess. However, not all cats like using a covered litter box. You must keep them extremely clean, otherwise odor will build up inside, making them unpleasant for your cat to use. Plus, some large cats can find it hard to turn around in covered litter boxes.
With a self-cleaning model, you may never need to scoop another litter tray again. The majority of self-cleaning litter boxes need to be plugged into an outlet, but you can find some manual self-cleaning models that automatically separate out waste when you roll or shake them.
Check the dimensions of any litter boxes you're considering before you buy, especially if you have a large cat. It should be large enough to comfortably fit your cat and allow him to turn around.
Filter: To keep unpleasant odors at bay, some covered litter boxes use carbon filters to help remove any smell from the air.
Low entry point: Senior cats and kittens may require a litter tray with a low entry point for easy access.
High sides: Litter boxes with high sides are better at keeping litter from flying out of the box, even if your cat is prone to kicking and digging.
Litter box prices
You can buy basic cat litter boxes for less than $10, whereas large self-cleaning models can cost well over $100. If you're happy with an average litter box, you shouldn't need to pay more than $20 to $30.
Q. What type of cat litter should I use?
A. There are so many cat litter options that choosing which one to use can be baffling. All cats and their owners have individual preferences, so there isn't a right or wrong choice. Clumping litter makes it easier to scoop out urine without emptying and refilling the whole litter tray. Some self-cleaning options require clumping litter to work effectively. Avoid using clay litter in a covered litter box, as your cat is more likely to breathe in the fine particles, which could be bad for his health. We'd also recommend avoiding scented litters, as the artificial smell can deter cats from using their litter tray.
Q. How often should I clean my cat's litter box?
A. You should scoop out any solid waste or clumped urine from your cat's litter box daily, and completely empty and refill the litter box every one to four weeks, depending on the type of litter you use. It's a good idea to sanitize the box after emptying it once every few months.
Litter boxes we recommend
Best of the best: Omega Paw Self-Cleaning Litter Box
Our take: A manual self-cleaning model that doesn't need to be plugged into a power outlet.
What we like: Extremely simple to use. Large enough for big cats or multi-cat households. Easy to take apart when you need to clean the inside thoroughly.
What we dislike: Not all cats enjoy using covered litter boxes.
Best bang for your buck: Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Pan
Our take: This huge hooded litter box offers excellent value for money, considering the size and quality.
What we like: Great for cats who like privacy while they go. Integrated carbon filter prevents odors from leaking out. Hood can be removed to use as a standard litter box.
What we dislike: Takes a lot of litter to fill it.
Choice 3: Merry Pet Cat Washroom Nightstand
Our take: An attractive way to hide away your cat's litter box. Large enough opening that odors shouldn't be so concentrated inside that it puts your cat off.
What we like: Stylish wooden construction that looks much like a standard piece of furniture. Can use the top for display/storage. Available in a range of finishes.
What we dislike: Not actually a litter box, just a place to put one -- must buy litter box separately.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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