Best Cat Litter Box?

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The hood is easy to lift when it’s time to switch out the bags and also removable in case your pet prefers open access. Plus, the Cat Pan is designed to contain messes and trap odors , which means no litter tracking or unpleasant smells throughout your home.

Its the simplest thing: A protruding lip along the interior edge of the doorway that you can use to catch the front of the garbage bag youre scooping into, holding it open. This cat litter box is also 50 percent larger than most of its kind, but the sleek shape and visually pleasing exterior help it blend in with your home decor . This model requires a special crystal litter that contains odors, absorbs liquids, and dehydrates solid waste.

When it’s time to clean up , just turn it upside down, roll it back into the upright position, then remove the tray and toss out the waste. It has a fully enclosed design with a flap-style door to help prevent tracking and scatter and give your pet some added privacy. Plus, a replaceable air filter absorbs yucky odors, keeping both the pan and your home smelling fresh.

It has a grated floor to help wick moisture into the disposable pads while feline-friendly pellets capture solid waste and dry it out for scooping. If you live in an apartment or a home with limited square footage , we suggest getting the IRIS Top Entry Litter Box. Final VerdictOur number one pick is the Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Pan because of its extra-large, durable structure, mess-containing design, and affordable price tag.

Do cats prefer open or closed litter boxes?

Felines prefer being safe in an uncovered box so that they can see potential threats and escape them. Covered litter boxes do their job of containing odors. Although this works for people who don’t scoop often enough, it doesn’t work for cats. … Enclosed litter boxes are smelly.

How do I keep the litter box from smelling in my house?

Scoop the box daily or more. ….Replace the litter twice a week. ….Replace the litter box once a year. ….Try litter deodorizers. ….Find a brand of litter that smells best to you (and your cat). ….Keep the litter box in a well-ventilated area.

What is the best cat litter box for smell?

The Best Overall: Catit Hooded Cat Litter Box..The Best Top Entry: Modkat Litter Box..The Best Disposable: Kitty’s Wonderbox Disposable Litter Box..The Best Budget Self-Cleaning: Omega Paw Self-Cleaning Litter Box.

What is the best litter tray for cats?

Best Overall: Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Litter Pan. 4.8. ….Best Splurge: Litter-Robot 3 Connect Cat Litter Box. 4.5. ….Best Automatic: PetSafe ScoopFree Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box. 4.3. ….Best Odor-Control: Purina Tidy Cats Breeze Cat Litter Box System. 3.5. ….Best for Apartments: IRIS Top Entry Cat Litter Box with Scoop. 4.8.

Get the right litter box and your cat will happily do its business in there, rather than on the floor. After two years of testing 17 litter boxes, we still think the Natures Miracle High Sided Litter Box is the best way to contain your cats waste. Its big enough for most cats to comfortably use, with higher sides to contain messes and a low entryway, which makes it easy for your cat to get in and out.

For cats, it offers what our research and experts agree is best: a large enough space to turn around, squat, and stand comfortably, plus an open top so they can keep an eye on their surroundings. And humans will appreciate the high sides and back, which help contain messes from urine overspraying and litter flinging.

This box also has a smooth interior, with no crevices or corners for waste clumps to get stuck in, making cleaning and scooping easy. If your cat uses their current litter box without a problem, and youre happy enough with how it looks and how easy it is to scoop and clean, then you dont need to buy a new one. Cats dont understand that certain surfaces or substrates are off limits, so when they opt to eliminate in other places, besides the litter box, it honestly should not come as a huge shock.

We assume they will accept any condition we provide, which are mostly selfishly decided, based on human preference for a low maintenance pet experience. With that in mind, we considered five key aspects of boxes that would keep cats happy and healthy, and cause the least trouble for humans as possible. Quagliozzi does a great job of showing that most litter box gimmicks have major downsides that make things worse for humans, cats, or both.

For the original version of this guide, we did include two popular sifting litter boxes with built-in screens for removing clumps to see if they lived up to the hype. Open or enclosed: No matter if theyre sleeping or doing their business, cats want clear views of their surroundings and a way to escape if things get dicey (like when a hyper child tries to pick them up). A good litter box is made of durable materials that wont snap under a little bit of weight and can handle a cat scratching on it multiple times a day for years to come.

Its high sides prevent litter and urine from getting out of the box, the smooth surfaces are easy to scoop and clean, and its dirt cheap. Measuring 20 by 18 inches at the top, with a 16-by-11-inch pan at the base, the Natures Miracle box is one of the largest ones weve found that bigger cats can use comfortably. Its also the best solution for what the San Diego Cat Cafs Tony Wang referred to as high-pee-ers, who frequently overshoot the sides of the litter box or manage to get liquid into the seams of two-piece models.

The box from Natures Miracle has a low entry that makes it easy for cats to enter, and it has high walls, so theres less scattered litter. The whole interior of the Natures Miracle High Sided Litter Box is perfectly smooth, with no weird divots or ridges to catch clumps. Most of the Natures Miracle boxs features are a great compromise between the needs of cats and people, though, so we still think its the best option overall.

Like all of our current picks, the Frisco pan has a smooth bottom and rounded corners that make it easy to scoop up cat waste. The Friscos walls are only an inch shorter than those on the Natures Miracle box, so it should sufficiently contain litter scatter as well as markings from over-pee-ers. The extra space is great for huge cats, like Maine coons, who need more room to maneuver in the box.

Dust clouds form, litter scatter gets everywhere (when you inevitably miss the trash bin), and the heavy pan is difficult to carry because there arent any handles to grip. The litter boxs curved sides made it hard to get the pee cement off, said Jessica Bell, a former Wirecutter software engineer. I liked it enough that I would buy again just to try that. However, Wirecutter editor Tim Barribeau has been using the box for approximately six months, and hasnt had any issues removing stuck litter.

Its slightly bigger than our Natures Miracle pick, with a 17-by-12-inch litter pan, and it has a minimalist style that blends in well in the living room or guest bathroom. We also like that theres no need to remove a giant cover and set it on the floor, or to fuss with poorly made plastic latches, as is necessary with the Catit Litter Box Jumbo and the Petmate Top Entry . [The enclosed shape is great because] our cats love to play in their box, insist on peeing on the side walls and dig all the way to the bottom.

But San Diego Cat Caf owner Wang said the liner scooped easily during his testing, and when we emptied it out, not much stuck to it. The liners are custom-fitted and hang easily on the box, with grommets that hook at each top corner, so theres very little fuss involved in putting one in or changing it out. Some Amazon reviewers have used the Modkat without the liner , but the boxs large size and sharp angles make it hard to empty and clean.

But we noticed at the cat caf that a lot of litter tracked out through the opening, despite its being about an inch higher than that of our top pick. Underbed storage containers offer a huge area for big or picky cats, and you can modify a standard bin to get many of the same benefits while still keeping things tidy. Still, a storage bin is a good, cheap option to try if you have a cat who has litter box problems, because the extra space means they have more room to move around.

Though there are loads of tutorials online for how to turn a taller bin into a litter box, keep in mind whats best for your cat. Cut the opening so its tall enough to keep plenty of fresh litter inside with a couple inches of space, but also low enough that your cat can get in and out easily. And the high sides along all four walls dont offer easy access for scooping and cleaning, so the process is messier than with our picks.

The step is about an inch higher than on the Natures Miracle High Sided Litter Box, and the pee shield is a second piece that introduces a seam that could potentially leak. We also dont like the design as much as those of Modkats other boxesone of the main reasons to spend the extra money on this brands offerings. The AmazonBasics No-Mess Hooded Cat Litter Box (currently unavailable) is notably more affordable than our , but we think there are enough problems with the design that its not the right pick for most people.

But for a big box, the corner design just eats up space in a room, so youll be tempted to hide it somewhere way out of reach, which isnt ideal for your cat. Its big enough for cats to turn around, squat, and stand comfortably, plus it has an open top so they can keep an eye on their surroundings. The high sides and back help contain cat messes from urine overspray and litter spills.

Most cats prefer an open litter box, because they like a clear view of their surroundingsand closed lids trap smells, which is as unpleasant for a pet as it would be for you. Or, if you follow the ASPCA s advice you should replace the litter and clean boxes with soap and warm water once a week.

Having a feline companion can be a truly wonderful experience. Cats are truly the best pets cuddly, affectionate, goofy, and mysterious. Whether they are large breeds or small, their antics will soon have you giggling (or cursing!). But as wonderful as these fur babies can be, cleaning your cat‘s litter box is never a fun task. And leaving it unattended is unhealthy for your kitty and for yourself.

The whisper-quiet, slow-moving conveyor system operates constantly , sifting the clumping litter of your choice to remove the waste, completing a full rotation each hour. Recycled plastic bags can be used to line the waste container, eliminating additional cost for accessories.

Great for multiple or large cats High walls and paw-cleaning mat prevent litter from exiting the box Carbon filters mitigate odor If a cat enters during the cleaning cycle, detection sensors automatically reset the rakes timer. Natures Miracle is well known by cat owners for their odor control products, and this automatic litter box is no different.

A motion sensor detects when your cat has left the litter box, and a rake automatically scoops clumps into odor-controlled receptacles carbon filters work to keep odor contained. Another consumer favorite, the litter box installs easily in your bathroom or laundry room, using a cold-water hookup and a drain to flush the waste no plumber necessary. The CatGenie app allows you to monitor the frequency of your cats bathroom visits, which can help detect early health issues, and provides status updates on the cleaning cycles.

Its ideal for multiple cats, large or small (but not kittens) and a privacy dome can be purchased separately. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. Thankfully, in this age of technology, there are now litter boxes that offer high tech solutions to handling this unpleasant chore.

To find the best self-cleaning litter boxes, we ran tests in our Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab for setup, easy clean-up and clump removal. We also interviewed cat owners who currently use self-cleaning litter boxes, researched their favorites, and cross-checked online reviews of the most popular choices.

– This article was medically reviewed by Karie Johnson, DVM, veterinarian and co-founder of VIP Vet Visit, a mobile vet service in the south suburbs of Chicago.

I selected Nature’s Miracle Hooded Flip-Top Litter Box precisely because it allows me to give my cats different options to best meet their toileting needs. While the Nature’s Miracle Hooded Flip Top isn’t particularly stylish, the large, versatile box will satisfy the whole family two-legged and four-legged, alike for a very reasonable price.

Shoshi Parks/Insider Pros: Spacious size; high, ramped sides help decrease litter tracking; affordable At approximately 1.5 times the length of an 17-inch cat, there is plenty of room for them to comfortably stretch out and cover waste. SmartCat’s litter box is made from durable plastic resin that is easy to clean and has an oversized rim for convenient lifting.

Shoshi Parks/Insider Pros: Modern design, front- and top-entry, perforated folding lid for capturing loose litter and easy cleaning, reusable rip-free plastic liner, scoop, three color options With a higher lid and entries at the top and front, Modkat’s XL Litter Box fits the needs of a wider variety of cats. Good-looking and well-designed, the Modkat XL is 21-inches long, 16-inches wide, and 17-inches tall and is sold in three colors ( white, gray or black ).

The lid entrance is a generous 10.25 inches in diameter and the front opening measures 8.5-inches wide by 9.75-inches tall. The lid folds back for easy cleaning and litter tracked onto the roof returns to the pan through perforations. Shoshi Parks/Insider Pros: Easy to set up and use, covered compartment holds solid waste, uses odor-absorbent and dust-free proprietary litter, tracks how often a cat uses the box, disposable trays can be easily thrown out

Sung does not recommend them because they can frighten cats and guardians may miss the signs of intestinal or urinary problems. Twenty minutes after they have exited, the rake automatically pushes solid waste toward a covered compartment at the opposite end. All things considered, this box works hard to keep the pan constantly clean and fresh, ensuring a pleasant toileting experience every time.

Because many traditional litter boxes are too small for cat comfort, both Quagliozzi and Sung often recommend that their clients use a wide, flat plastic storage container instead. While the included white plastic lid will need to be stored away most of the time, it can be pulled out and snapped in place to easily move the box to a different location without spillage. With sides that are approximately 6 inches high, this box is shallow enough for most cats to easily enter and exit.

Sterilite’s 41-quart Storage Box performed just as well as our best litter pan pick (minus the built-in pockets for supplies) and just about half the price. Shoshi Parks/Insider Pros: Recycled materials, leakproof and tear-proof, infused with baking soda to keep smells at bay, comes in 2-pack, lasts 30 days, ideal for temporary use or travel The next best option for comfortable toileting based on the recommendations of Sung and Quagliozzi is the 21-by-14.5-inch jumbo-size rectangular box, which is sold in packs of two

Nature’s Miracle Disposable Litter Box is made of dense, compacted recycled paper that the company advertises as leakproof and tear-proof. Nature’s Miracle disposable boxes can be used with any type of litter I chose a clumping clay version and when it’s at the end of its 30-day life cycle, the landfill-safe pan can be easily thrown out. In my own tests, it had no trouble dealing with the various objects I tasked it with filtering out: pencils, erasers, and water to activate urine-like clumps.

Rolling the box to filter waste often resulted in pouring litter onto the floor and I still had to regularly scrape clumps stuck to the bottom of the pan. The spacious pan was made with antimicrobial material to fight odors and had built-in pockets for supplies, making it ideal for both cat and guardian. The inclusion of the stairs also makes this box unnecessarily complicated for more sensitive cats who prefer simple access.

It remained leak-free throughout our testing period, but I found sifting the litter made a big mess and I had to remove clumps that stuck to the bottom of the pan. I also found that every time I attempted to clean the Petmate, the lid slipped out of the hinges and pulled completely off of the top. Size test: Sung explained that cats need a space that is at least 1.5 times their length to scratch at the litter and bury their waste.

Cleaning your litter boxes daily will help you monitor for behavioral changes that may indicate a health problem such as feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) . Each litter box should have enough space to comfortably dig and bury waste with dimensions that are at least 1.5 times the size of the cat. To keep fastidious felines toileting happily, our experts recommend cleaning the litter box at least once, if not several times, each day.

Cats are highly susceptible to FLUTD, a range of conditions that affect the bladder, urinary tract and/or urethra. Male cats, in particular, are commonly afflicted with urinary stones or crystals which block urine from being expelled from the body. If a vet is unable to identify FLUTD or other medical problems, a cat who refuses to urinate is likely doing so out of anxiety.

Lastly, a cat who suddenly begins to urinate outside of their litter box may be attempting to communicate a health issue such as an oncoming FLUTD. Marking is not urination, per say, but the spraying of pheromones, a behavior which they accomplish by raising the tail and backing up to a wall, bookcase, sofa or other location.

Size

Not all cats are the same size, which means not all litter boxes should be, either. Larger cats will need larger litter boxes—otherwise, they might be cramped and end up doing their business right outside the box.

Height

Similarly, you’ll want to consider the height of a litter box. In general, litter boxes with 5- to 7-inch sides are fine for most cats. However, if yours has bad aim or tends to kick litter around, you may need an option with taller sides—or even a cover, which will save you the hassle of cleaning up litter and pee off the floor.

An open box every cat should like

The Nature’s Miracle is a simple, inexpensive box with a low entryway, high sides to contain mess, and a smooth interior for easy cleaning.The Nature’s Miracle High Sided Litter Box does everything it needs to do. For cats, it offers what our research and experts agree is best: a large enough space to turn around, squat, and stand comfortably, plus an open top so they can keep an eye on their surroundings. The low entryway makes it easier for cats—especially older or less-mobile ones—to get in and out. And humans will appreciate the high sides and back, which help contain messes from urine overspraying and litter flinging. This box also has a smooth interior, with no crevices or corners for waste clumps to get stuck in, making cleaning and scooping easy. The low price is a bonus.Advertisement

If our top pick is sold out

The Frisco box is as easy to clean as the Nature’s Miracle box. And it’s a little larger—but that also means it requires more cat litter to keep it full.Like our top pick, the Frisco High Sided Cat Litter Box is a large, simple, open box. But its pan is about 3 inches longer and 2 inches wider than the Nature’s Miracle box, making it great for giant cats like Maine coons. It has a smooth interior with rounded corners that make it easier to clean sticky clumps. The Frisco’s larger pan size requires more litter to keep it full than other boxes need (about 25 percent more litter than the Nature’s Miracle box). If our top pick is unavailable, the Frisco box will work well for a few dollars more.

If you frequently deep-clean the litter box

The Litter Genie is a basket-shaped litter box that’s easy to lift and empty for deep-cleaning.If you like the idea of an easier cleanup when it’s time to deep-clean your cat’s litter box, the Litter Genie Cat Litter Box has the smooth interior and easy-grip handles that humans need, and the open design, large litter pan, and high-sided walls that most cats want. The Litter Genie is shaped like a basket, with handles on either side, so it’s easy to tip it over and toss a pan full of dirty litter into a trash bin before deep-cleaning it. We found this method to be easier than maneuvering the litter into the corner of a traditional litter box before dumping it out. But, like our other picks, the Litter Genie is very heavy when it’s full of litter, so don’t let its easy-to-carry construction tempt you into carrying it across your house—bring the garbage bag to this box rather than bringing this box to the garbage bag.

Pay for the looks, get some perks

The Modkat Flip is the best-looking option, with seamless sides and a folding, magnetic lid for easy opening and cleaning.You should buy the Modkat Flip Litter Box if you’re sick of looking at ugly litter boxes and are willing to pay a lot more to look at a prettier one. (It currently costs about seven times the price of a simple box like the Nature’s Miracle model.) This litter box does offer slight upgrades in functionality—though they are mostly for you, not for your cat. The Modkat Flip is the only closed box we recommend. Its hinged top folds completely back and out of the way for easy scooping and cleaning, and it latches magnetically back in place when you’re done.As with our other picks, the high sides on the Modkat Flip help prevent messes from escaping the box, and the low front entry makes it easy for your cat to get in and out (although the entry is about an inch higher than the one on the Nature’s Miracle box). The Modkat Flip is made of thicker, sturdier plastic than its competitors, and it’s easier to get clean than the standard dull plastic box. But you’re better off using the brand’s replaceable tarp liners, because without them, litter and waste can get stuck in the box’s corners and angles. Currently running around $30 for a three-pack, the liners are another ongoing expense for an already expensive litter box. Modkat recommends replacing the liner every three months, but we’ve found they can easily last twice as long.

An open box every cat should like

The Nature’s Miracle is a simple, inexpensive box with a low entryway, high sides to contain mess, and a smooth interior for easy cleaning.

If our top pick is sold out

The Frisco box is as easy to clean as the Nature’s Miracle box. And it’s a little larger—but that also means it requires more cat litter to keep it full.

If you frequently deep-clean the litter box

The Litter Genie is a basket-shaped litter box that’s easy to lift and empty for deep-cleaning.

Pay for the looks, get some perks

The Modkat Flip is the best-looking option, with seamless sides and a folding, magnetic lid for easy opening and cleaning.

Why you should trust us

As Wirecutter’s pets writer, I know feces happens. Poop, leavings, droppings, it’s all part of the gig. Over the past three years, I’ve tested cat products with the aid of more than 100 different cats, and I’ve interviewed dozens of pet experts about what makes cats tick. I can tell you why an automatic litter box is a bad idea, how to pick out the right cat litter mat for your cat, and all about the art of training your cat not to pee on your stuff. And as a lifelong pet owner, I know the value of finding the right accessories to make your pet’s life happier, and that includes the stinky box most house cats use.This guide also builds on research by Mark Smirniotis, a cat owner and senior editor at Wirecutter. When he was a staff writer, he consulted Dan “DQ” Quagliozzi, the award-winning cat behavior consultant behind San Francisco’s Go, Cat, Go!, and Tony Wang, of the San Diego Cat Café, on litter box issues. And he tested the litter box finalists with the cafe’s 12 resident cats.

Our pick

Ultimately, this is about cat toilets, both for the cats who use them and the humans who clean them. A good litter box makes your cat happy enough that its poop and pee go into the box. A great litter box makes you less miserable when it’s time to scoop the mess out of the box. In some cases, features that are better for cats are worse for humans, and vice versa. Cat behavior expert Daniel “DQ” Quagliozzi put the whole situation into perspective:With that in mind, we considered five key aspects of boxes that would keep cats happy and healthy, and cause the least trouble for humans as possible. Quagliozzi does a great job of showing that most litter box gimmicks have major downsides that make things worse for humans, cats, or both. Instead of gimmicks, we stuck to simple boxes and avoided weirder designs like boxes that roll over.For the original version of this guide, we did include two popular sifting litter boxes with built-in screens for removing clumps to see if they lived up to the hype.

An open box every cat should like

The Nature’s Miracle is a simple, inexpensive box with a low entryway, high sides to contain mess, and a smooth interior for easy cleaning.The Nature’s Miracle High Sided Litter Box is the perfect example of a simple solution that’s also the right one. It has all the features that experts recommend to keep your cat happy—it’s large and open and has a low entry point—as well as the ones that keep humans sane. Its high sides prevent litter and urine from getting out of the box, the smooth surfaces are easy to scoop and clean, and it’s dirt cheap.Measuring 20 by 18 inches at the top, with a 16-by-11½-inch pan at the base, the Nature’s Miracle box is one of the largest ones we’ve found that bigger cats can use comfortably. Many of the boxes we dismissed without testing were much smaller, often less than 16 inches wide on the outside, with even smaller pan sizes. That may be fine for a kitten or small cat, but ideally, medium and large cats will get their length or more in every direction to turn around. One open box we considered was larger in length and width, but the extra space didn’t seem necessary for most cats.High-sided litter boxes like our pick can be great if your cat likes to build sandcastles in their litter box, flinging the construction debris in every direction. It’s also the best solution for what the San Diego Cat Café’s Tony Wang referred to as “high-pee-ers,” who frequently overshoot the sides of the litter box or manage to get liquid into the seams of two-piece models. Most of the litter boxes we researched were just 5 inches or so deep, but the Nature’s Miracle box is 11 inches tall at the sides and in the back. And unlike some high-sided boxes that are tall all the way around, our pick has an entry point that’s just 5½ inches high, so even older cats or cats with mobility issues shouldn’t have a problem getting in and out.Our pick meets all of the basic requirements for people, too. Open boxes have a reputation for being stinky, but the best way to avoid that is to scoop more often and keep the box clean. The whole interior of the Nature’s Miracle High Sided Litter Box is perfectly smooth, with no weird divots or ridges to catch clumps. That makes this box easier to scoop regularly and also to clean.Finally, this litter box is the cheapest we found, and it performs better than the competition. If you’re okay with the idea of an open box, the Nature’s Miracle High Sided Litter Box is the best choice.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

For every feature we like about this box, there’s almost guaranteed to be a reviewer on Amazon or Chewy with a cat who feels the opposite. We think the box’s entry is low enough to allow easy access for most cats but still prevent them from peeing out the front. Yet some reviewers thought it was too low, saying their cats tracked litter or managed to pee out the front; some others, conversely, said their cats had a hard time getting in and out because the entry was too high. Most of the Nature’s Miracle box’s features are a great compromise between the needs of cats and people, though, so we still think it’s the best option overall.

If our top pick is sold out

The Frisco box is as easy to clean as the Nature’s Miracle box. And it’s a little larger—but that also means it requires more cat litter to keep it full.The Frisco High Sided Cat Litter Box is a good choice if the Nature’s Miracle box is out of stock. The Frisco box is just a few dollars more, but it shares the same simple human- and cat-friendly construction elements. It’s the largest box we recommend, which makes it great for really big cats. But that also means you need to use more litter to keep it full, costing more over time.Like all of our current picks, the Frisco pan has a smooth bottom and rounded corners that make it easy to scoop up cat waste. We dismissed a few litter boxes for having crevices that were harder to clean, including our former runner-up pick, the Petmate Giant Litter Pan, which had a small ridge along its walls where dirty litter could cling.The Frisco’s walls are only an inch shorter than those on the Nature’s Miracle box, so it should sufficiently contain litter scatter as well as markings from over-pee-ers. The pan is 19 by 13 inches, making it roughly 3 inches longer and 2 inches wider than our main pick. That may not seem like much, but it makes Frisco’s surface area about 25 percent bigger. The extra space is great for huge cats, like Maine coons, who need more room to maneuver in the box. But that also means it takes a lot more litter to fill the Frisco pan, which costs more over time.

If you frequently deep-clean the litter box

The Litter Genie is a basket-shaped litter box that’s easy to lift and empty for deep-cleaning.Emptying out a dirty litter pan so you can give it a good scrub is a real pain. Dust clouds form, litter scatter gets everywhere (when you inevitably miss the trash bin), and the heavy pan is difficult to carry because there aren’t any handles to grip. The Litter Genie Cat Litter Box makes the process of deep-cleaning your cat’s bathroom easier because it has easy-to-grip carry handles and a seamless interior that cat scat won’t cling to. It also has a large pan and the high-sided wall design we want in a litter box.When you look at the Litter Genie, you might kick yourself for not thinking of designing it yourself. It’s made of plastic, like any other litter box, but it’s shaped like a basket and has large carry handles that make gripping the sides easier. To empty the dirty pan, just lift it by the handles and dump the litter over a trash bin. (In our tests, gunking cat litter easily slid out of the bottom of the pan with the lightest touch of the litter scooper.) We found this process to be virtually mess-free, compared with regular litter boxes, which require you to precariously tip out the dirty litter from a corner of the rectangular litter box before ultimately spilling mounds of dirty litter onto the floor. But as with all of the litter boxes we recommend, the plastic on the Litter Genie is somewhat bendable and could crack under too much pressure. It’s best to avoid carrying the litter box over long distances when it’s full.Some users have reported the basket shape can also make it a pain to remove stuck on litter. “The litter box’s curved sides made it hard to get the pee cement off,” said Jessica Bell, a former Wirecutter software engineer. “I am curious as to if a [smaller] scooper change would have made a difference. I liked it enough that I would buy again just to try that.” However, Wirecutter editor Tim Barribeau has been using the box for approximately six months, and hasn’t had any issues removing stuck litter.This litter box is just as big as our Nature’s Miracle pick, at 20 by 20 by 10½ inches and with a round-ish pan measuring 15 by 11 inches. But the Litter Genie also has the highest entry point, 7½ inches, of any open box we tested. If you have a senior cat or a cat with mobility issues, stick with the Nature’s Miracle pick for its lower entryway.

Pay for the looks, get some perks

The Modkat Flip is the best-looking option, with seamless sides and a folding, magnetic lid for easy opening and cleaning.If you want a more attractive option and you’re willing to spend a lot more to get it, the Modkat Flip Litter Box is your best choice. It looks nicer than any other hooded or open option we considered, and it’s easy for both cats and humans to access. And it’s simple to clean, thanks to the custom-fit liners. But the added features make the Modkat box only marginally better than the cheaper open boxes we recommend. Also, the tarpaulin liners need to be replaced every few months, and the box itself costs around $70.No one wants to look at their cat’s poop palace, so it’s understandable that you may try to hide it in out-of-the-way places. But keeping yours in a more public area may do your cat a favor (and you may not have a choice if you live in a small space). Some cats can’t, or won’t, use a litter box that’s in a far corner of the house—or near loud appliances. If your litter box is going to be out in the open, it might be worth getting one that’s a little nicer to look at.We’ve tested eight enclosed or top-entry litter boxes, and the Modkat Flip Litter Box is the only lidded model we recommend. It’s slightly bigger than our Nature’s Miracle pick, with a 17-by-12½-inch litter pan, and it has a minimalist style that blends in well in the living room or guest bathroom. The Modkat Flip has a well-designed lid that makes scooping the box easy. It’s attached with magnets at the front and folding midpoint, and has hinges at the back, which allow the whole thing to be folded out of the way. We also like that there’s no need to remove a giant cover and set it on the floor, or to fuss with poorly made plastic latches, as is necessary with the Catit Litter Box Jumbo and the Petmate Top Entry.“The Modkat is amazing,” said Justin Yost, a Wirecutter engineering manager. “We bought it three years ago and it’s, like, the perfect solution. [The enclosed shape is great because] our cats love to play in their box, insist on peeing on the side walls and dig all the way to the bottom. I can barely tell that the litter box has aged at all, and I have no doubt it will last decades at this point.”We were skeptical of the pricey liner system that Modkat uses, because it seemed like an unnecessary cost that might cause more problems than it solves. But San Diego Cat Café owner Wang said the liner scooped easily during his testing, and when we emptied it out, not much stuck to it. A Wirecutter staff member who has used the Modkat for years said that even though the company recommends replacing the liners every three months (or a $4 cardboard liner monthly), their liners showed no signs of wear after more than six months of use and the occasional quick wipe-down when changing litter. The liners are custom-fitted and hang easily on the box, with grommets that hook at each top corner, so there’s very little fuss involved in putting one in or changing it out. Some Amazon reviewers have used the Modkat without the liner, but the box’s large size and sharp angles make it hard to empty and clean.Like our other picks, the Modkat Flip has high, seamless sides, which can help prevent messes if your cat wants to run an archaeological dig in their litter box, and it can contain the pee of any cat who aims a bit high. But we noticed at the cat café that a lot of litter tracked out through the opening, despite its being about an inch higher than that of our top pick. Plan to pair this one with a litter mat to keep the mess down.

Honorable mention: A storage bin

If your cat is resistant to using the litter boxes you’ve tried, and you’ve ruled out any medical causes with your vet, the best litter box may not be a litter box at all. Quagliozzi told us his favorite litter boxes are actually storage bins, due to their size. Underbed storage containers offer a huge area for big or picky cats, and you can modify a standard bin to get many of the same benefits while still keeping things tidy.The storage-bin method is great for cats, but has its drawbacks for humans. Many storage bins have ridges and divots at the bottom that can be hard to scoop. Underbed storage bins can have sides that are too low, and taller bins can be difficult to smoothly cut down to size. Plus, they’re not the best-looking option for anyone who keeps a litter box in their living room or other public area. Still, a storage bin is a good, cheap option to try if you have a cat who has litter box problems, because the extra space means they have more room to move around. Large boxes also trap less smell. Finally, if your feline friend is big enough to be confused with one of their big-cat cousins (video), this may be the best way for you to give them a box that’s large enough.Though there are loads of tutorials online for how to turn a taller bin into a litter box, keep in mind what’s best for your cat. Cut the opening so it’s tall enough to keep plenty of fresh litter inside with a couple inches of space, but also low enough that your cat can get in and out easily. And though cats can go anywhere they can fit their heads, you should make the opening wide enough that it’s comfortable and not a tight squeeze. (Don’t forget to sand down the opening so it doesn’t hurt your cat.) Finally, if at all possible, avoid the temptation to turn your bin into a top-entry box, often done by cutting a hole in the lid. Some cats will tolerate this (and, yes, a few will even like it), but our cat expert Quagliozzi told us that when cats are given a choice, he’s never seen one choose a top-entry box over an open or front-entry model.

Open boxes

We liked the Petmate Open Litter Pan because it’s bigger than our Nature’s Miracle pick, but the entryway is a little taller, so it’s harder for cats to get into, and it has a few grooves in the pan that make it harder to clean.

Enclosed boxes

The locking mechanism on the Catit Litter Box Jumbo lid doesn’t work, and the cat-door flap is sticky and requires a fair amount of pressure to move, which could deter cats from using the box.The Petmate Top Entry is basically a big storage container with a hole cut in the top, but the lid doesn’t stay secure, and its tiny air holes and grooves are troublesome to clean. And the high sides along all four walls don’t offer easy access for scooping and cleaning, so the process is messier than with our picks.

Open boxes

We decided not to test the Modkat Litter Tray, released in November 2017. It has high sides like our favorite litter boxes, but not enough other compelling features for us to recommend it, since it is about four times the price of our main pick. The step is about an inch higher than on the Nature’s Miracle High Sided Litter Box, and the pee shield is a second piece that introduces a seam that could potentially leak. We also don’t like the design as much as those of Modkat’s other boxes—one of the main reasons to spend the extra money on this brand’s offerings.

Sifting boxes

Sifting litter boxes have a built-in plastic mesh tray to catch clumps and waste, ideally meaning that you don’t need a separate litter scoop at all. We tried two different sifting boxes, the Luuup and the So Phresh Sifting Cat Litter Box. Both boxes were just okay to use, and ultimately the clever designs didn’t really make litter duty any more convenient.The Luuup uses three interlocking trays, each with a grate at the bottom, stacked on one another. Lift the top tray, sift the contents so the clean litter falls below, dump the resulting waste, then put the empty tray at the bottom of the stack. Repeat as needed. It’s a neat idea, but in practice, the sifted tray with waste is problematic. This box is too big to be able to cleanly dump out litter in a small garbage can, in a Litter Genie Plus Cat Litter Disposal System, or even in a round kitchen can. And when we tried the latter, it meant carrying the tray into the next room. Even with most of the litter sifted, little bits fell through the cracks. The only way to cleanly dispose of the tray’s contents would be to have a large garbage can stationed next to the litter boxes or to use a garbage bag each time. The former seems uncommon for most households, and the latter doesn’t seem any more convenient than scooping. Luuup also recommends using only certain brands of litter, because some types don’t clump hard enough to sift well. Even though we used the recommended Tidy Cats litter, we found that waste residue stuck to the tray after it was emptied. If it wasn’t wiped away, it just mashed against the underside of the next tray as we rotated through the system.The So Phresh Sifting Cat Litter Box is a slightly different design. It has a single sifting tray that you keep sandwiched between two solid trays. When the litter in the solid tray on top is soiled, you dump it into the sifting tray, and let the clean litter fall through. At this point, you have three trays spread out. The just-emptied one (which may need to be wiped out), the sifting tray full of waste and clumps that need to be disposed of, and the solid tray with the clean-ish litter. Just like with the Luuup, with the So Phresh, cleanly disposing of the waste from a large tray means needing to have a large garbage can or fresh garbage bag nearby. Though the grates stayed marginally cleaner in the So Phresh box—waste clumps sit on the sifting tray for only minutes, instead of all day (or days), as is the case with the Luuup—it still didn’t seem very convenient. Keeping a small garbage can or Litter Genie next to a standard box is faster, less complicated, and often less messy.

Enclosed boxes

We like that the Petphabet Cat Poopie Box has a clear plastic hood, because most cats are more comfortable if they can see their surroundings when doing their business. But the whole hood needs to be removed to comfortably scoop and clean the box, and this takes more time and space than with boxes that have a flip top. The rounded footprint means there’s less internal space and that it is harder to scoop (compounded with extra internal ridges). The plastic was flimsy overall, including the flap locks that keep the two pieces mated together.The AmazonBasics No-Mess Hooded Cat Litter Box (currently unavailable) is notably more affordable than our enclosed box pick, but we think there are enough problems with the design that it’s not the right pick for most people. The biggest drawback is that it looks harder to clean out than the Catit Litter Box Jumbo, primarily due to the plastic indentation at the back of the box, which owners have called out as a place urine-soaked litter can get caked and hard to scoop. Cleaning out litter boxes is no fun, and anything that makes that even harder is a major flaw. Also, the AmazonBasics box has an oval rather than a rectangular footprint—which means it takes up as much space as the Catit Litter Box Jumbo, but has less usable internal space. Plus the AmazonBasics box has a smaller doorway for the cat to get in and out of.The Nature’s Miracle Advanced Hooded Corner Litter Box is too huge for most people and most spaces. We love big boxes, and big boxes are great for large cats. But for a big box, the corner design just eats up space in a room, so you’ll be tempted to hide it somewhere way out of reach, which isn’t ideal for your cat. Keep in mind that since this box doesn’t have an access flap, many people will find that it’s easiest to remove the entire (giant) hood to have clear access to scoop and clean the inside.The Modkat Top-Entry Litter Box was its first design, introduced before the flip-top version that we recommend. The top-entry version is well designed and well made: The top pivots in the middle so any tracked litter falls back inside, and the plastic is thicker and easier to clean than that of any other box we tried. But this is a box made for people, not for cats. All 12 cats who had the chance to try the stylish top entry ignored it in favor of traditional boxes. At 16 inches square, it’s also one of the smallest boxes we tried, and it leaves just one position—head up near the hole—for cats to comfortably stink up the room.

6 Best Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes of 2021

Shop these scoop-free solutions to cleaning your cat‘s litter box.Having a feline companion can be a truly wonderful experience. Cats are truly the best pets – cuddly, affectionate, goofy, and mysterious. Whether they are large breeds or small, their antics will soon have you giggling (or cursing!). But as wonderful as these fur babies can be, cleaning your cat‘s litter box is never a fun task. And leaving it unattended is unhealthy for your kitty – and for yourself.Thankfully, in this age of technology, there are now litter boxes that offer high tech solutions to handling this unpleasant chore.To find the best self-cleaning litter boxes, we ran tests in our Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab for setup, easy clean-up and clump removal. In our pet-free Lab, we simulated a cat using the litter box with water and a small weight to trigger the sensor – outside the Lab, we monitored cats using the litter box in their own home. We also interviewed cat owners who currently use self-cleaning litter boxes, researched their favorites, and cross-checked online reviews of the most popular choices. Here are the self-cleaning litter boxes that the Good Housekeeping Institute recommends:

The best litter pan

Simplicity and spaciousness are the first two factors Quagliozzi and Sung look for in a litter box. “Most of the traditional litter boxes offered are [too] small,” Sung said. A litter box should be at least 1.5 times the length of a cat. SmartCat’s Ultimate Litter Box is among the largest of the litter boxes we tested at 25 inches y 18.5 inches.At approximately 1.5 times the length of an 17-inch cat, there is plenty of room for them to comfortably stretch out and cover waste. Even better, this pan has relatively high, ramped sides to decrease litter scatter.SmartCat’s litter box is made from durable plastic resin that is easy to clean and has an oversized rim for convenient lifting. At $20, this litter box is priced right, too, but it’s only available in one color: bright blue.

Our methodology

We identified the best litter boxes available at major retailers based on criteria established by our experts. Each box was put to use for a minimum of one month, undergoing the following tests during that period. Unless a litter box required a specific litter to operate effectively, all litter boxes were filled with our favorite budget litter, Dr. Elsey’s Ultra Multi-Strength Cat Litter.

What if my cat stops urinating?

Cats are highly susceptible to FLUTD, a range of conditions that affect the bladder, urinary tract and/or urethra. Male cats, in particular, are commonly afflicted with urinary stones or crystals which block urine from being expelled from the body. And when a cat can’t urinate, the toxins that build up can be deadly. A vet has just 24 to 48 hours to remove a blockage and save their life. If a vet is unable to identify FLUTD or other medical problems, a cat who refuses to urinate is likely doing so out of anxiety. To get to the root of the problem, seek out a behaviorist who can help identify and overcome a cat‘s triggers.