Thinking “Inside” The Box…Which Litter box Is Right For Your Cat?

 By Kim Butler and her cat….

“Hey folks, Stinky Cat here: The Tidy Cat Whisperer (TCW) is exhausted from scooping and is taking a nap right now, so I’m going to write this blog post for her. I know the topic very well since I’m the one who uses the stinkin’ thing. I just wish people would ask us cats first before they start messing with our stuff.  I mean, let’s get real: I’m the cat and I’m the one who has to sit in it, so in the future could ya just ask us for OUR opinion first before you design these things?”

In a previous post, TCW mentioned the fact that there are more litter box designs now than Imelda Marcos had shoes (or was it Michelle Obama’s sleeveless dresses? Whatever). Anyway, let’s start at the beginning. Litter boxes have come a long way in the past 50-60 years. Back in the “day” (circa 1930-1940 era), many cats were indoor/outdoor cats, and simply did their “business” outside. Along the way, some kind soul thought that providing a container for cats to relieve themselves indoors was a great idea-especially when living in Minnesota where the temperature is below freezing more often than not. Many of these containers were homemade, certainly not fancy, and filled with sand or ash from recently burnt wood so that cats could “cover up the evidence,” as is their natural instinct. Cleaning a litter box filled with sand or ash however was quite a messy adventure, and as a result not many cats were strictly indoor cats-until the advent of “kitty litter” in 1947.

With the invention of “kitty litter,” cats moved indoors and their popularity soared. And, as a result, a whole new opportunity opened up for entrepreneurs: the design and manufacturing of litter boxes. Nowadays, it’s just not enough to present your cat with a plastic rectangular tray filled with litter-no sirree, we now have an entire section of the store devoted to nothing but litter boxes. It’s like ordering take out from a Chinese restaurant: there are just too many items to pick from. Well, TCW has done some of the legwork for you, and once she wakes up-ooh, well there she is, “well Good Morning Tidy Cat Whisperer, do you have any words of wisdom on litter box choices for us? While you were napping I took the liberty of filling the masses in on the history of the litter box as we know it….”

“Thanks, Stinky Cat I think I can take it from here.”

 Yes, we have an enormous selection of boxes in so many shapes and sizes. Some boxes look like furniture. Some look like plastic igloos (“Nanook of the Litter Scoop”). Some boxes look like a Rube Goldberg invention with so many twists and turns you wonder how the cat will ever extricate itself. I do have a few I can recommend, having personal experience with them.  The most important factor is: if the cat is happy and is using it. All the other factors (is the owner happy) are secondary.

The most basic litterbox may be the one my cats are the most happiest with. It is made by Rubbermaid, is not covered, and has a high back and sidewalls to keep litter from flying everywhere. And it’s inexpensive, at around $17. My 3-legged cat especially loves it, as it has a scooped out entry way making it easy for her to get in and out of. I have six of these currently in use. They are easy to clean and manage and worth every penny.

I have also tried the “Booda Clean-Step” (The one that looks like the Igloo). At $34, it’s getting up there in price. While the concept is nice (keeping the litter from being tracked/kicked all over), the reality is that it is difficult to clean and manage, especially the “stairway”.  The lid is especially hard to clean, and when the urine gets in the crevices, it will smell no matter what you clean it with. Unless you like to work extra hard, I would stay away from this one.

The other litter box that gets the most use in my house is the Clevercat. I have a couple of cats that like to get in the litter box, then not bother to turn around and urinate towards the back of the box like normal cats do-they prefer to urinate towards the front of the box-which means it sprays out of the box.  With The Clevercat, it’s a top entry box-they climb on top of it then climb down into the box where they can do their business in total privacy-and WITH NO MESS. It’s easy to clean-and the lid doubles as a mat! Everyone in my house loves it-my 17-year-old cat uses it, even my three-legged cat uses it with no trouble at all. It’s around $34, which is up there-but trust me, if your guys like to make a mess, it’s well worth it. I have four of these.

Of all the litter boxes I have tried, the two I most recommend are the Rubbermaid and the Clevercat. In my book, everything else would be a waste of money. And that’s it from The Tidy Cat Whisperer. Happy Scooping!

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Filed under Pet Tips, Pet Tips - Cats

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