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Which Litter Box Is Best – UnCovered Or Covered Litter Boxes?

Which is the best type of litter box? Uncovered or covered litter boxes? There are pros and cons for both types of boxes.

One size doesn’t fit all. Sometimes it is trial and error.

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Things To Know About Uncovered Litter Boxes

uncovered or covered litter boxes
This is an uncovered litter box. It is too small for the cat!

1. If your cat flings litter around but you are not keen on a covered box, look for a box with high sides.

Some boxes have very high sides such as this one. This box is moulded in one piece so there is no join. Good news for owners of high pee-ers. No join means no leaking.

Richell PAW TRAX High Wall Cat Litter Box, High Sides Cat Litter Pan, Brown.

Some uncovered boxes have a shield that is attached to the box to provide height at the sides without covering the top. Note: if your cat is a high pee-er check to see if there is a join and where the join is located.

Be aware that boxes with high sides may not be suitable for kittens or senior cats if the front opening is too high for easy entry and exit. You may need a box with high sides and a low entry point, like this extremely popular box.

Nature's Miracle High-Sided Litter Box, 23 x 18.5 x 11 inches

2. A crawling baby may decide to explore an uncovered litter box. This is a no no and this could be a good time to transition to a closed litter box. Making the litter box inaccessible to the baby is another option.

A Door Buddy is a brilliant little device to keep the baby and the litter box separated. It keeps the baby out of the litter box whilst still allowing the cat full access. Best of all, no tools are needed for installation.

Door Buddy Adjustable Door Strap and Latch - Grey. Dog Proof Litter Box The Easy Way. No Need for Pet Gates or Interior Cat Door. Use This to Keep Dog Out of Litter Box and Cat Feeder.

It’s hard, no actually impossible, to be everywhere at once when baby is on the move.

baby and kitten
Keep a baby on the crawl away from an uncovered litter box!

3. It is easier to scoop an uncovered box. The entire box and its contents are visible. This makes it more likely to be scooped regularly. Just a quick glance at an uncovered litter box and it will be obvious if the box needs scooping.

4. Cats like to be able to take off in a hurry, which is a good reason for using an uncovered box. The cat can see who or what is entering their litterbox stratosphere and take off if they need to.

Click here to see more Uncovered Cat Litter Boxes with reviews!

Things To Know About Covered Litter Boxes

  a covered litter box
A typical example of a covered litter box!

1. Some cats fling litter around so if the mess from litter is a problem, a covered box could be an option. Litter will always escape however a covered box will help to keep the litter contained.

The litter box shown above is a covered litter box with a front opening. Another type of litter box that is covered litter box that has a top opening rather than a front opening. These litter boxes are also designed to help stop litter tracking.

IRIS 589630 Top Entry Cat Litter Box with Cat Litter Scoop, Large, Gray/White

2. The upper half of covered boxes unclip (see photo above). The top can be removed for easy cleaning, however this can be a hindrance for some people.

Not all enclosed boxes have to have the top removed for everyday cleaning.
Several manufacturers of closed litter boxes have addressed this issue.

  1. Nature’s Miracle litter box has a flip top opening that increases the size of the opening to make scooping easier.

  2. The Catit Hooded Cat Litter Pan has a door/flap at the front where the cat enters that can also be flipped open, and it stays in place making it easy to scoop particularly when using a clumping type of litter.

3. Covered boxes often have a filter giving ongoing odor control. However being enclosed also means that the odor can get trapped in the box.

As cats have a keen sense of smell this can be off putting for the cat unless the box is scooped regularly. Scooping at least once a day and preferably more often is recommended.

Out of sight often means out of mind and an enclosed litter box may not be scooped as often as it should be, because it is not obvious to the eye that it needs scooping.

4. Aesthetically covered boxes look better as the litter itself is not on view.

This may be relevant if your living space is small. If your cat is happy with a covered litter box, there are some fantastic covered litter box options that fit with home decor.

Some litter boxes fit inside these larger purpose made for cat litter boxes which look more like pieces of furniture.

New Age Pet ecoFLEX Habitat N’ Home Litter Loo, espresso, standard

6.If you decide on a covered box, make sure that it is large enough so that the cat doesn’t feel trapped and can easily turn around.

7. There is not as not as much air circulation in an enclosed box, so it takes longer for the litter to dry.

8. The dust from some litters can cause problems for asthmatic cats in an enclosed box. Choose a dust free litter if you think this will be the case.

Click here to see more Covered Cat Litter Boxes with reviews!


“Infographic Design By – Is That Your Cat” Is That Your Cat

Secondhand Litter Boxes

You may be able to pick up a litter box at a yard sale for pennies. Before your kitty uses the box, give it a thorough wash, then disinfect and finally rinse thoroughly.

Rinsing thoroughly is essential because the smell of artificial scents used in cleaning products can definitely deter a cat from using a box. Keep rinsing even when you think you have finished rinsing.
(Note: The same applies to food bowls – rinse and rinse again.)

Making Your own Uncovered Or Covered Litter Boxes

You do not necessarily need to purchase a purpose made litter box.

Think about whether you want uncovered or covered litter box as this will impact on the choice that you make regarding the height of the containers you choose.

A plastic container that suits all the size requirements for your cat is okay to use. Regarding size, think one and a half times as long as your cat, approximately for the length of the box.

Cut a doorway in the longer side of the plastic container. The reason for the door being cut in the long side of the box is because as the cat enters, it is forced to turn around to accommodate its body length and this means pee cannot accidentally fly out of the opening. Yep, we have to outsmart the cat.

Make sure the opening is cut a little higher than the litter level. Obvious point I know, but we all suffer from brain fade sometimes.

Final Thoughts

Now you have the information you need to make a decision about a covered box or an uncovered box. Here is a broad selection to browse.

Here are some links to reviews and information about litter boxes that you may find helpful.

Reviews and information about covered litter boxes.

Reviews and information about uncovered litter boxes.

If your cat is very large there is information here about how to choose the best litter box for large cats.

This articles discusses the best covered boxes for large cats and this article discusses the best open top litter boxes for large cats.

covered and open top litter boxes
I’m quite liking the cover for the box that looks like a piece of furniture. Very cool!

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