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Hi, I love my cat.
I also hate cat litter.
Someone, please help me.
Now, that's a haiku every cat owner can relate to.
Thankfully, I solved this problem with the best litter box ever.
I adopted my cat, Ollie, in December. When he's not running around my apartment like a maniac, he's an adorable, cuddly ball of fur.
But there's one thing about him that drives me crazy: My kitten throws litter everywhere. In an attempt to cover his eliminations, Ollie likes to spray litter into every corner of the bathroom (where I keep the litter box).
On Facebook groups I consulted, experienced cat people call this "tracking." I call it my worst nightmare.
In a small apartment, this became so problematic that I bought a Black and Decker hand vacuum and used it every day. Sometimes, I vacuumed twice a day.
That's no way to live.
After a few months, I almost considered giving my kitten away. OK, maybe not, but I decided to look for a solution. And, I found it: the Iris top-entry cat litter box.
Iris Top-Entry Cat Litter Box, $15-$37, Amazon
The Iris litter box isn't the most popular litter box on Amazon. But, I did find it on the best-seller list and the reviews were overwhelmingly positive.
With low expectations, I reasoned: If $35 could save me from having to vacuum urine-soaked pellets from my bathroom floor even for just one day, it would be worth it.
Well, Ollie has been using the Iris for months, and he has never tracked out as much litter as he used to with the old litter box. Outside of my regular cleaning schedule, I never have to "emergency vacuum" the anymore.
Plus, my kitten loves to hang out on top of the thing while he watches me brush my teeth in the morning.
The high walls of the litter box keep most of the litter from spraying out as Ollie performs his usual acrobatics. Because he has to enter from the top and walk across some grooves to get off, any litter that would usually get caught in his paws falls off before he makes it to the ground.
It also comes in a cheaper (but not as nice-looking) version, which I've used in a pinch. It works pretty well too!
Basic Iris Top-Entry Litter Box, $25, Amazon
The peace of mind this thing gives me is priceless.
Goodbye, Black and Decker.
The best litter boxes, according to veterinarians
Ollie may love his top-entry litter box, but we also wanted to reach out to an expert to find a few other options and learn exactly what cat owners should be looking for. Dr. Carly Fox, a staff veterinarian at NYC's Animal Medical Center, shared her tips for picking a litter box as well as five great options to try out for yourself (spoiler: one of them may look familiar!).
- Cats prefer bigger litter boxes: The right litter box size with vary depending on the size of your cat. Fox said a cat's litter box should be as long as the cat from its head to the tip of its tail and as wide as its head to its butt (minus the tail).
- Always have multiple options for litter boxes: A good rule of thumb to have n-plus-one litter boxes in your home, meaning that if you have one cat you should ideally have two litter boxes and if you have two cats you should have three litter boxes.
- Consider wall height: If you have a small kitten or older cat with mobility issues, use a box with low sides, preferably two to three inches high.
- Keep it clean: Fox recommends scooping soiled litter daily and fully cleaning out the box at least once a week.
- Bottom line: Picking a litter box is all about what your cat likes and is used to, Fox told TODAY. If you start them on a certain type of litter box while they're young, they'll be more likely to adapt to whatever your preference is.
Check out Fox's picks for the best litter boxes to try now:
- 1. Iris Top-Entry Cat Litter Box, $15-$37, Amazon
Fox seconded our love of the Iris top-entry litter box because it looks sleek and keeps the area around the box cleaner than other models.
- 2. Van Ness Giant High Sided Cat Litter Box, $8, Walmart
This litter box boasts high sides and lots of space for cats to move around and do their business, Fox said.
- 3. Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Litter Pan, $30, Amazon
Similar to the top-entry litter box, this box stops cats from kicking litter around or missing the box. Depending on your cat's preference, it can be set up with or without a door.
- 4. Petmate Arm & Hammer Large Sifting Litter Pan, $17 (normally $30), Amazon
Also available at Walmart.
This box is the size and shape of a basic litter box with the added bonus of coming with a built in sifting pan, which takes the hard work out of scooping the box daily.
- 5. IRIS 41 Quart Clear Storage Box, $21, Amazon
Also available for $13 at Walmart.
Fox recommends this inexpensive and unconventional litter box for multiple cats because of the shape and size. Each cat can carve out its own area without having to share with brothers and sisters.