What to Consider when Selecting a Cat Litter Box

There’s something in cats’ DNA that is so instinctual that mother cats rarely need to teach their kittens how to use a litter box.  So as humans it is important to know what to consider when selecting a cat litter box.

By Thor, guest cat blogger

Cats are amazing creatures that’s why you love us so much.  No one is perfect though.  We may practically toilet train ourselves, but you humans are stuck with the dilemma of where to put our toilet.  So I’m here to offer some feline advice.

What to look for in a Litter Box

Take it from me when I say there are a few things you need to consider for my toilet space.  If not done right, you may cause me to find my own location to eliminate.

Depending on the cat, here’s what we need.

Size:

As a general rule of thumb, the litter box should be at least one and a half times the length of the cat. Most humans pick a litter box that is too small, causing us to step in our waste.  Remember, the bigger the box, the more inviting it will be for us to use.

Conventional litter boxes are not your only choice.  I know some clowder cats whose human used a 30-gallon tote.  They like to stand and pee so the tall smooth sides work great for them (and their human).

Door:

Jumping into a box is easy but trying to get traction in the sand to jump out really puts stress on our hind legs.  Conventional litter boxes are usually 8” off the ground so they aren’t a problem but if you plan to use a storage tote, use a utility knife and cut a 9” x 9” door on one side of the tote about 8” off the floor.

Amount of litter:

Most cats won’t use litter that’s more than about two inches deep. More is not better.  Our noses are pretty sensitive so we appreciate a clean litter box.  To keep us happy and purring, consider keeping the same level of cat litter in the box but remove any clumps and be sure to add fresh litter daily.

Just make sure the litter has a granular consistency.  We like it easy when burying our waste.

Number of boxes:

We’re pretty private individuals when it comes to eliminating.  Many of us will not use a litter box if it has been used by another cat.  Some of us like to urinate in one litter box and defecate in another.  And if there’s a dominant cat in the household, they may guard “their” litter box forcing a more passive cat to seek another bathroom.

Jackson Galaxy, cat behaviorist and star of Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell, recommends “one litter box per cat, plus one extra,”

Covered or not covered:

I prefer covered but according to a study by the Veterinary Medicine School of Ross University, 70% of the study cats had no specific preference. Unlike humans’ common beliefs of open vs enclosed, we cats don’t care whether our litter box is open or covered.

Where to put the Litter Box

Another biggie in my book is where the litter box is located.  Cats, like humans, don’t want their bathroom next to their food.

And don’t put the litter boxes all in the same place.  When you have to go, you have to go.  Running down two flights of stairs to a litterbox in the basement just isn’t what I call convenient.

We like our privacy.  Place the littler boxes in quiet, low traffic areas.  And please don’t hide the litter box in the laundry room.  The noise from the washer and dryer are disturbing and can lead us to an aversion to litter boxes.

How to Hide the Litter Box

I understand it isn’t pleasant looking at our waste so finding a way to hide our elimination areas may be necessary.  It will prevent unwanted odor and mess around the house, but why I like the litterbox hidden is that it provides a private place to do my business.

I checked the internet and found a lot of solutions and ideas from changing over an IKEA wicker basket to purchasing a piece of furniture.  It just depends on your budget and how crafty you are.

There are all sorts of cat litter box furniture, from lightweight, easy-to-move enclosures to solid benches and credenzas. Your living space and your kitty’s litter box habits will help determine what kind of piece would work best—the good news is most of them are sturdy and easily washable.  The bad news is some are cheaply made but expensive.

My human is crafty but doesn’t have a lot of time to create something for my sister, Waffles, and me.  She did her research though and came up with a very sturdy, quality, solid wood cat enclosure that even has a drawer to stow our cat things in.

Pinnacle Wooden Cat Furniture:

And that’s when she met Jonas Zook Jr, owner of Pinnacle Woodcraft.  He agreed to have her try out one of his creations and write about it.  And she accepted the offer.

She used his website, https://pinnaclewoodcraft.com, to select the type of wood, brown maple or oak, then one of 16 stain colors, and whether she wanted a drawer or not.  Waffles and I have loads of toys so we put in our vote for her to order the drawer ($20 more).

Cost

The cabinet itself costs $291.35 which is comparable to the pressed wood versions on several sites, but unlike those, it is solid wood and is sturdy enough for my human to sit on it.  And shipping is FREE!

Assembly

The cabinet arrived in parts but was easily assembled with a Phillips head screwdriver and power drill by one human.  The company even sends a bit to screw in the square-tipped screws.

It took my human about 40 minutes to put together and she only screwed up a couple of times.  I tried to help her with the instructions but the directions didn’t say what screw to use and were a little confusing to follow.  Each panel was labeled with a black marker to help line things up though and everything was predrilled and lined up perfectly, but my human made the mistake of putting the back on upside-down.  Unlike IKEA made furniture, she was able to correct the mistake and the cabinet still looks great.

This unit is solid wood and heavy so plan to build it where you want it to end up in your home or you may need help moving it.

The drawer is super huge with plenty of room for all our stuff.

There is plenty of room for the litter box and it has a nice base.  My human added a drawer liner just because she likes to do a little extra.

Once my human put the litter in the pan, I was ready to use it.  And proceeded to do so.  She shut the cabinet door for privacy.  When I finished my business, I left via the roomy cat door.

Summary

Acme Canine doesn’t usually test products for animals other than dogs but they made the exception for Waffles and me.  (Pinnacle Woodcraft also makes some fine furniture for dogs as well so be sure to check them out.)

Pinnacle Woodcraft meets Acme Canine’s quality standards as well.  The company stands behind their products as well as describes them perfectly so you know what you are truly getting.  Their website is informative and easy to use. And you end up with a genius solution to hiding an eyesore.

Acme Canine gives Pinnacle Woodcraft 4 cat paws up and has added them to their Acme Approved products page.

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