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orange kitten in blue cat box

Q: I’m getting a kitten. What kind of litter box should I get?

 A: Making the right litter box choice is more than just appearance. It plays an important role in cat behavior and house-soiling prevention.

Size Matters

  • Choose a larger box. Cats prefer a spacious area for digging and covering.
  • Ensure the box can comfortably accommodate your cat’s size, ideally 1 1/2 times the length of the cat from nose to base of the tail.
  • Cats should be able to turn around in the box without touching the sides.

Litter Depth and Type:

  • Cats have a natural digging behavior.
  • Two to three inches of litter allows them to cover efficiently.
  • Non-scented, clay, clumping litter is often best.
  • Some cats may not like crystals, pellets, or wood shaving-type litter.

Types of Litter Boxes

  • Self-cleaning boxes can be convenient but might scare some cats.
  • Hooded boxes provide privacy, but make sure there is proper air circulation.
  • Open boxes are generally more accepted but provide less privacy.

Three different types of litter boxes

covered litter box

How Many Boxes?

  • Follow the golden rule: number of cats + 1.
  • In multi-cat households, put boxes in various locations to give options and to prevent territorial disputes.

Location is Key

  • Choose a quiet, low-traffic area.
  • Have a minimum of one box per level of the house.
  • Keep the box away from feeding zones.
  • Ensure easy access and escape routes.

a litterbox with access stairs


  • Traditional boxes require manual cleaning.
  • Choose a box that is easy to clean.
  • Daily scooping keeps the box fresh and encourages usage.
  • The box should be emptied and washed weekly with non-scented dish detergent.
  • Litter should be replaced as needed.
  • Avoid using litter box liners because some cats do not like the feel or smell.

Special Considerations

  • For cats that tend to kick litter out, use high-sided boxes and consider placing a litter-trapping mat under the box.
  • Elderly or arthritic cats might benefit from ramps or lower sides.
  • Some cats might be sensitive to certain box materials or odors.

Every cat is unique. It might take trial and error to find the perfect fit.