It doesn’t matter if you are a new cat owner or an experienced cat owner, one piece of equipment that will be at the top of your list for your furry friend is a litter box. Just like cats, litter boxes come in many different shapes, styles, and sizes – and not all litter boxes are created equally. Some cats can be extremely purr-ticular with their litter boxes, and it may take some trial and error to find the exact one that you cat likes. Our Litter Boxes Pros and Cons guide will help you decide what is best for both your cat(s) and for your home.  

We would consider the litter box an essential necessity – but for new cat owners you might be a little intimidated with all the different types of boxes out there. This guide will hopefully help you figure out the perfect litter box for you, your cat, and your home!

Litter Boxes Pros and Cons | What works best for your cat?

Open Litter Boxes

Also commonly referred to as litter pans this style of litter box has a large and exposed litter pan without any kind of lid. The litter of your choice goes into the bottom of the pan and that’s pretty much it. Not a lot of razzle dazzle here, but for some cats it gets the job done.
There are also a lot of options in regards to variety with this style of litter box:

  • Corner litter boxes do exactly what they sound like, they are shaped to fit into a corner with a 90 degree angle – making it great for smaller areas.
  • Extra large litter boxes are a good option for your larger cats, and come in many sizes. The majority of these style boxes will be bigger in all dimensions (length, height, and width)
  • High Sided litter boxes are another option as well. With a wide entry and higher sides on the remaining 3 sides of the litter box, it’s also a great option. These can also be great for preventing excess litter from spilling out the sides when you cat is using it. This style is ideal for those cats that like to kick and flick litter around when they are doing their business – it will keep that excess litter in the litter box where it belongs and not on your floors.
pros and cons of open litter boxes

Disposable Litter Pans

This definition is exactly what it sounds like – it is a litter pan (typically without a lid) that is made out of a material that is intended to be thrown out after use. Some come in biodegradable material while others come in a sturdy plastic.

pros and cons of disposable litter pans

Covered Litter Boxes

Moving on to a very similar style litter box from our uncovered litter boxes, is the covered litter box. This one is exactly what it sounds like – a litter pan with a covered lid or dome. Covered litter boxes can sometimes have intricate designs in regards to domes, filters, and swinging doors, but others come with a simple opening for entry and exit at the front of the litter box. They come in many sizes and styles and are also typically readily available from most pet supplies stores.
These are ideal for cats who are more shy and prefer privacy when going to the bathroom. 

pros and cons of covered litter boxes

Top Entry Litter Boxes

Similar to the covered litter boxes, this style of litter box has a base, a lid and top piece, and the opening that the cat access the litter box is on top of the litter box. Compared to traditional covered litter boxes, this style is usually taller and completely enclosed.

pros and cons of top entry litter boxes

Sifting Litter Boxes

You may also see this style of litter box referred to as sifting pan litter boxes. These come with a removable grate at the bottom to give you a little extra help with cleaning. Once your cat has used the litter box, the removable grate simply lifts up and sifts the unused, non clumped litter up and out for easier cleaning. Shopping around you will see that this style comes in both closed and open style litter boxes to fit your exact needs.

pros and cons of sifting litter boxes

Self Cleaning Litter Boxes

Welcome to the life of easy cleaning with the self cleaning litter boxes. The basic component of the litter box is similar to other ones on this list (depending on the style you go with) but what makes these different is the motorized rake or tumble system that will automatically remove the used litter from the box on its own. Some even come with a sensor that will alert you when the dirty litter compartment is full so you are not letting dirty litter just sit around.

pros and cons of self cleaning litter boxes

Designer Litter Boxes

Yes this is a thing! These litter boxes are designed to look like an ordinary piece of furniture and can match any design aesthetic. They are essentially fancy litter boxes!

pros and cons of designer litter boxes

As you can tell, there are countless styles of litter boxes out there, and the one that works for you might not work for someone else. Take the time to research and try out a few different styles to see what works best for you, your cat, and your home. All cats are different, and what one of your cats may prefer, the other may hate. It’s worth the time and effort to find the one that is perfect for your cat. Think about their litter box like you would your own bathroom!

How Many Litter Boxes Should You Have?

We recommend the Cat + 1 rule. If you have one cat, you should have two litter boxes. Three cats? Four litter boxes. Essentially the formula boils down to having one more litter boxes than you have cats. Just about all other experts out there recommend the Cat + 1 rule as well.

Cats like to roam and they like options – having options for them to use the bathroom can keep them happy. If you have multiple cats, this can also keep them from not fighting when it’s time to use the bathroom.

What Size Do I Need?

Whichever style you decide to go with – make sure there is plenty of room for your cat to get in and out of comfortably, be able to squat down, and have some wiggle room. Cats don’t just jump in, do their business, and leave. They will sometimes clean themselves in their litter boxes, cover their bathroom, and even (as we like to call it) rearrange the litter within the box. Our litter boxes pros and cons guide should not be taken word for word. Please understand that all cats are different and have different personalities and may prefer different options.

Cats don’t like dirty litter, so when they are done some may need to take a few minutes and make sure their bathroom is covered, buried, and no longer smelling. Like everything else here, it all depends on your specific cat and their needs!


We know, we just threw a lot of information at you about the different kids of litter boxes – but don’t be overwhelmed! This Litter Boxes Pros and Cons guide is meant to help better prepare you to care for your cat. Do your research and prepare for some trial and error. If you have cats, you know each of them come with their own personality and needs. Take the time to figure out what is best for your cat! Litter boxes are an inevitable part of being a cat parent, it comes with the territory (pun intended).

Now that you’ve got your litter boxes under control, have you taken the time to learn about flea prevention?

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