Cat litter boxes explained: How Do I Choose a Cat Litter Box? - Pet Wizard Australia

Cat litter boxes explained: How Do I Choose a Cat Litter Box?

Apr 09, 2024Anthony Minogue

When choosing a cat litter box, the key consideration is will my cat fit from nose to tail and is the item stable?

Consequently, buy the biggest litter box you can find because:

1. Your cat will have enough space to do its business and stretch.

2. The spaciousness and comfort will keep the cat coming back (smaller litter boxes build-up odour faster, and cats tend to avoid them if that happens).

3. Cleaning large litter boxes is easier and allows the cat to dig deeper, preventing odour build-up in the home.

Plus, there is the added benefit that kittens will grow into it without needing a replacement.

Post-poop zoomies can lead to tipping over or the spread of fecal matter and bacteria. Hence, you want a cat litter box that has one or two entry points, weighted to prevent tipping, and the item should be easy to clean.

Super absorbent litter is also recommended.

Advancements in cat litter box technology mean that you no longer have to get your hands dirty, and functions including automatic deodorisation and antibacterial dispensation lower the risk of communicable infections, staph infections, and remote access allow you to “empty” your cat’s litter box even when at work.

Quick take: How do I choose a cat litter box?

  • Animal behaviour studies suggest that cats feel safer in enclosed litter boxes with no doors. However, some cats prefer open litter boxes, and thus training may be necessary to get them to use closed litter boxes.
  • Older cats and cats living with arthritis or other painful condition require low entryways and easy to get out of litter boxes.
  • The ideal litter box for all cats has a wide base, high walls, and is heavier.
  • Cats may share litter boxes, but sharing can lead to territorial disputes, making it best to have one litter box per cat.
  • Automated cat litter boxes require less cleaning and can lower the risk of multiple bacterial and viral infections, including salmonella.
  • While a cat can use any type of litter box, including carton boxes cut in half, the risk of tipping, bacterial and viral spread, odour, and spill is higher.
  • Automated self-cleaning cat litter boxes offer superior odour control and are thus perfect for small spaces, enclosed rooms, and high-rise apartments/shared spaces.
  • If you are prone to allergies or have compromised immunity, automated or closed litter boxes will serve your needs best.

Tip. Create a deworming program to lower the risk of exposure to communicable parasites, especially if you have minors in the home.

How Do I Choose a Cat Litter Box?

As mentioned, the critical concern when choosing a litter box is – will the cat fit comfortably?

The issue with buying a small litter box is it will fill faster, and odour will build-up, prompting the cat to avoid it. Consequently, if you notice your cat peeing or pooing outside its litter box, the issue could be the size.

Tip. A healthy cat poops once or twice a day. If you have multiple cats, ensure there are enough litter boxes in the home. Ideally, you want one or two litter boxes per cat.

The basics for choosing a cat litter box are:

  • Is there enough room for the cat to poop and pee? If the item is enclosed, you want to ensure that the cat can comfortably turn and stretch. Remember, a negative experience, such as getting stuck, can discourage the cat from using the litter box in future.
  • One or two entry and exit points. Open cat litter boxes allow cats to jump out randomly. That can spread faecal matter and litter. If you choose an open litter box, ensure that the item is deep enough.  Tip. Place fake grass or carpet at the entry or exit for the cat to clean its paws after use.
  • Your state of health. Cat digging and pooping in a closed environment can increase the risk of allergic reactions or infection.

What to remember:

  • Top exit or entry points significantly reduce the amount of litter tracked outside the box.
  • Hand scooping daily or automated cat litter boxes prevent odor.

How often can you empty the cat litter box?

You want to empty your cat’s litter box once or twice per day. If the cat does not have outside access, you may have to do it more often.

If you do not empty your cat’s litter box, the cat will likely avoid it and poo and pee everywhere else but the box.

What size litter box should a cat have?

It depends on how big your cat is or how big you expect it to grow. Some breeds of cats, including British shorthair, Maine coons, savannah, and Norwegian forest cats, can become massive. As a rule, you should get the biggest litter box you can afford.

Vets recommend a cat litter box -at least one and a half times longer than your cat (excluding the tail), especially if the item is enclosed. You must also consider the cat’s weight. Overweight cats require larger entries and a bigger litter.

In other words, the litter box should not be too cramped, poorly designed, or hard to get in and out of.


  • You want the item to be too heavy for the cat to tip over. The design and weight can make it difficult to tip over. However, you should also avoid positioning the item on or near stairs or in inclined environments.
  • For open litter boxes, ensure that the walls are not too high, as it increases the likelihood of tipping.

How easy to clean is the litter box?

In the wild, predators locate prey primarily via scent. Because of their smaller weight, cats bury their waste to prevent larger predators from locating them.

Consequently, cats avoid smelly or dirty litter because they feel vulnerable.

To make the cat feel safe, you therefore need:

  • Odour management. You must scoop poop regularly and replace litter weekly.

Why do I need an easy-to-clean/self-cleaning cat litter box?

While the risk of developing an ailment from a cat litter box is low, there is still the possibility. What is vital to remember is:

  • Germs, bacteria, and other microorganisms in cat waste can survive a long time, and some are readily infective, while others can take time to become a problem.
  • Cats prefer a clean litter box.
  • Daily cleaning reduces the risk of odour and disease/parasite transmission.

In short, cleaning should not become a chore.

What if I do not have enough litter boxes?

Not having enough litter boxes can create territorial disputes. The disputes may manifest as acts of feline violence, the dominant cat may leave poo uncovered, and some cats may avoid using shared litter boxes.

To avoid territorial disputes, veterinarians recommend:

  • Designate areas for each cat if you have multiple cats. The idea is to spread out litter boxes, cat trees, shelves, and hideouts.

Do Cats Prefer Open or Closed Litter Boxes?

 A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior found that, quote:

“Cats in their natural habitat need a place to defecate where they will be hidden and able to watch their surroundings at the same time, but also without soiling themselves in the process. To respect this need for a cat living in an apartment with no access to the outside, cats will have to eliminate in a litter box. Based on our results, most cats living in single-cat indoor-only households appear to prefer to defecate in a large covered litter box without a door, and owners should be made aware.”

Is it better to have an open or closed cat litter box?

Open and closed litter boxes have advantages and disadvantages, to help you decide, below is what you need to know.

The advantages of open litter boxes.

  • Open litter boxes allow free movement.
  • Lower risk of retaining moisture.

The disadvantages of open litter boxes.

  • Messier compared to closed litter boxes.
  • Higher risk of allergic reaction or parasite/microorganism spread when the cat digs.
  • Dogs have easy access to open litter boxes, which may contribute to the spread of illness.
  • Odour spreads quickly, making open litter boxes unsuited for small spaces or spaces that lack ample circulation.

The advantages of closed litter boxes.

  • Visual appeal. Depending on the design, closed litter boxes can become part of your home’s décor.
  • Odour prevention. Closed spaces prevent the spread of odour, making closed litter boxes suited for all rooms.
  • Privacy. Cats prefer pooping when not in full view of potential predators. Additionally, you do not have to look at waste.
  • Prevents children, dogs, and other animals in the home from accessing litter.

What are the disadvantages of enclosed litter boxes?

Require frequent cleaning (recommend scooping once or twice a day, depending on depth and design). You may choose the self-cleaning options.

Closed Robotic cat litter boxes are a lifesaver for busy cat parents and persons with compromised immunity.

Compared to traditional litter boxes, automated/robotic cat litter boxes are relatively expensive. But the key benefit is, you do not have to empty automated cat litter boxes daily. Depending on the model, it is possible to empty the item remotely.

Introducing the Petkit Pura X Automated Self-Clean Cat Litter box.

One exit and entry point featured in the linked item guarantees that the cat will not throw litter, urine, or faecal matter when digging or exiting. The item also features:

  • Automatic antibacterial function. Cat litter boxes can be a source of bacteria and viruses, including salmonella. The item’s automatic deodorization and antibacterial functions serve to prevent odour build-up and kill germs, bacteria, and viruses.
  • An accompanying app allows you to check the cat’s weight and how often it uses the litter box remotely.

Additionally, the flat comfortable top is perfect for cat naps.

If you have toddlers in the home or if you do not spend too much time at home, the item will ensure that your cat’s needs are taken care of. Additionally, the self-cleaning function will discourage the cat from peeing or pooing outside the litter box.

Why won’t my cat use an enclosed litter box?

There are plenty of reasons why a cat may avoid using a litter box, closed or open. Access could be difficult, especially if the cat is older or ill, you may be using the wrong type of litter, it could be fear, and the litter box could be dirty/odorous.

How do I Choose a Cat Litter Box if I have Compromised Immunity or if prone to allergies?

Cat poop and urine can be a source of multiple germs, bacteria, and viruses. Consequently, low-quality cat litter boxes may be putting your health at risk. How?

  • When digging, cats can release parasites and microorganisms into the room, making it advisable for persons with compromised immunity to invest in enclosed cat litter boxes/ litter boxes that are designed to prevent spilling.
  • If you have a dog, it may consume fecal matter or acquire parasites and other microorganism. The risk is higher if the litter box is open.

Mistakes to avoid when buying a cat litter box.

As mentioned, the mistake you want to avoid is purchasing a cat litter box that is too small. Yes, smaller cat litter boxes will save walking space but will also discourage use, especially if enclosed.

What are The Best Cat Litter Boxes Currently on the Market?

If you prefer a hands-off approach to litter, we recommend the automated litter box above. However, we also have at least five options you may invest in today. Below is why.

All round favourite: Why choose Petwizard’s Enclosed Cat Litter Box House?

It has enough space for medium to bigger cats. Weighing at four kilograms, the item measures 46x44x46. What is special about the item is that it features grated steps designed to prevent scattering and a slide-out tray that is easy to clean, and you also get a doormat and scooper.

The accessories prevent the cat from spreading litter.

Multiple colour options and a cute design mean that the item can become a part of your home’s aesthetics.

What else should I get for my cat’s litter box?

Litter odour, especially in small or closed spaces, can be a problem. To counter that problem, what you need to do is remove poop daily or every other day, depending on how many cats you have.

A deodorization box is beneficial in that 1. It eliminates odour. 2. It can keep your family infection free.

Getting the purrfect litter box for your cat has never been easier.

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