10 Best Cat Litter Boxes In 2021 – We Tried Them All

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Our Review Process

Our reviews are based on extensive research and, when possible, hands-on testing. Each time you make a purchase through one of our independently-chosen links, we’ll receive a percentage of the proceeds. Read more about how we’re supported here.

After hours of research and testing over 25 litter boxes with my cats, I’ve chosen iPrimio’s XL Ultimate Stainless Steel Litter Box as the best cat litter box on the market. This litter box stands out from the competition with long-lasting steel construction, smooth walls that make cleaning easy, and a spacious, open design that cats feel comfortable using.

But this litter box isn’t perfect for every cat.

Because each cat and household will have a slightly different set of needs, we’ve included a total of 10 top recommendations, each addressing different needs. You’ll find litter boxes that excel in scatter control, easy cleaning, and aesthetics. You’ll see top-rated litter boxes for senior cats, kittens, and cats who live with dogs. Across all types, sizes, and competencies, all of these boxes meet our quality criteria and performed well in our in-home tests.

In addition to learning about our top picks, you’ll learn what cats need in a litter box, get an introduction to the different types of litter boxes available on the market today, and discover the best type of litter box for your unique situation.

At a Glance: 10 Best Cat Litter Boxes

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In the comparison table below, we’ve highlighted some of the most important features of each product. You’ll find more detailed information about each product later in the article.

Overall Best
10.0
Picked by 120 people today!

iPrimio Ultimate Stainless Steel Litter Box

  • Durable stainless-steel construction
  • Doesn’t absorb odor like some materials do
  • Generously sized with fairly high sides
Best Budget
9.8
Picked by 90 people today!

Frisco High Sided Litter Box

  • Large litter bed, plenty of interior space
  • High sides help contain litter scatter
  • Affordably priced under $20
Best Automatic Litter Box
9.7
Picked by 34 people today!

Litter-Robot III Connect

  • Can be used with any clumping clay cat litter
  • Robust and highly durable design
  • Controls litter scatter fairly well
Premium Pick
9.5
Picked by 85 people today!

Tuft + Paw Cove Litter Box

  • Compact, streamlined design
  • Available 8-inch partition for privacy and scatter control
  • Integrated scoop, dustpan, and hand brush
Best Covered
9.4
Picked by 77 people today!

Petphabet Jumbo Covered Litter Box

  • Transparent hood allows cat to see out
  • No door or flap, doesn’t lock in odor
  • Available in a wide range of bright colors
Best Top Entry
9.3
Picked by 67 people today!

Modkat Top Entry Litter Box

  • Easy-to-remove reusable liner
  • Dog-proof design (works for small & medium dogs)
  • Controls urine spray and litter scatter very well
Best for People Who Hate Scooping
9.2
Picked by 52 people today!

Kitty Sift Disposable Sifting Litter Box

  • Made with patented scoop-free technology
  • Plastic-free, made from 100% recycled cardboard
  • Reduces bacteria growth and ammonia odor
Best for Pine Cat Litter
9.1
Picked by 59 people today!

Arm & Hammer Large Sifting Litter Pan

  • Three-level sifting design for easy cleaning
  • Durable plastic construction with reinforced bottoms
  • Microban coating for antimicrobial protection
Best for Kittens and Geriatric Cats
9.0
Picked by 21 people today!

Lucky Champ Cat Litter Pan

  • Wide, sturdy base for stability
  • High back contains mess pretty well
  • Low front improves accessibility
Best for Small Apartments
9.0
Picked by 31 people today!

Good Pet Stuff Hidden Litter Litter Box

  • Large-capacity litter box great for multiple cats
  • Comes with a dust filter built into the litter box
  • Large planter conceals the litter box in plain sight

Top Picks Explained

Why You Should Trust Us?

Over the last three years, we’ve spent a lot of time figuring out what it takes to make a great litter box.

We’ve researched the types of litter boxes available, read hundreds of customer reviews, and performed real-world tests on over a dozen top boxes. We spent over 40 hours testing these litter boxes’ sturdiness, cat-friendliness, and ability to prevent sticking and scatter.

Based on this extensive research and hands-on testing, we’ve selected the following 10 cat litter boxes as the best you can buy.

#1 Overall Best: iPrimio Ultimate Stainless Steel Litter Box

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While the idea of a metal litter box may sound a little strange, I was impressed with the iPrimio Ultimate Stainless Steel Litter Box. Not only is it generously sized, but it is incredibly durable and easy to clean.

With its stainless-steel construction, this litter box doesn’t tend to absorb odor the way other materials can. It’s very easy to clean, though certain types of litter did stick to the pan a little bit. Compared to other litter box materials, however, the stainless steel stood up to scrubbing and deep cleaning well.

In terms of litter scatter, this litter box performed fairly well. While there’s nothing special about it that prevents litter scatter, it is a large litter box and has fairly high sides. This litter box is also very cat-friendly. With its spacious interior and open design, my cats really seemed to like this litter box.

What We Liked:

  • Durable stainless-steel construction
  • Doesn’t absorb odor like some materials do
  • Very easy to clean, stands up to deep cleaning
  • Generously sized with fairly high sides

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Somewhat pricey compared to plastic litter pans
  • Some types of litter may stick more than others

#2 Best Budget: Frisco High Sided Litter Box

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If you’re looking for a budget-friendly litter box, the Frisco High-Sided Litter Box is worth considering. Affordably priced under $20, this litter box is generously sized and fairly durable. The plastic materials didn’t feel quite as robust as some of the other litter boxes I’ve tried, but it was by no means flimsy.

In terms of cleaning, this litter box doesn’t tend to have issues with litter sticking to the plastic materials and the rounded interior edges keep litter from getting stuck in the corners.  I noticed some litter scatter around the front of the box because of the lowered entry, but it generally did a better job of containing litter than a traditional litter pan.

This litter box is one of the most cat-friendly models I’ve tried. Not only does it have a very large litter bed with plenty of space for your cat to move around, but your cat may appreciate the open design as well. This litter box comes in two colors and several different sizes.

What We Liked:

  • Large litter bed, plenty of interior space
  • High sides help contain litter scatter
  • Extremely cat-friendly
  • Affordably priced under $20

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Litter may scatter out of the lowered entry
  • Plastic materials could be sturdier

#3 Best Automatic Litter Box: Litter-Robot III With Connect

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When it comes to automatic litter boxes, the Litter-Robot is the best of the best. It may be one of the most expensive litter boxes on the market, but it’s loaded with features that make it worth every penny.

The Litter-Robot III is a well-designed, robust litter box that offers reliable performance and scoop-free convenience. This self-cleaning litter box takes a lot of hassle out of your daily routine – it takes care of sifting the litter for you, so you only have to empty the waste drawer when it becomes full. You will need to disassemble the unit for cleaning on occasion, but it’s easy enough to clean out with a hose.

In terms of scatter control, the Litter-Robot has several things going for it. In addition to being an enclosed litter box, it has a relatively small opening and an integrated litter mat.

What really makes the Litter-Robot III shine, however, is the Litter-Robot Connect App. Though this litter box is available in both a Wifi-enabled and standard model, the Connect app offers helpful insights into your cat’s litter box habits. It also notifies you when the waste drawer is full and walks you through troubleshooting common issues with the Litter-Robot.

What We Liked:

  • Can be used with any clumping clay cat litter
  • Robust and highly durable design
  • Controls litter scatter fairly well
  • Reliable, automatic self-cleaning performance

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Larger cats may find it too small and cramped
  • Very expensive, priced around $500

#4 Premium Pick: tuft + paw Cove Litter Box

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With its streamlined design and integrated scoop and dustpan, the Cove litter box from Tuft + Paw is my premium pick. Its compact enough for use in small spaces but spacious enough for your cat to use comfortably. Plus, you can purchase an optional 8-inch partition for added privacy and scatter control.

In addition to being attractively designed, the Cove litter box is durably constructed. The plastic materials feel extremely robust, and the base is nice and sturdy. It also features a matte finish that is unusual among litter boxes but gives it a modern look.

In terms of function, this litter box is easy to scoop and the included dustpan and hand brush are nice to have. I did notice a little bit of litter scatter when I wasn’t using the partition, but nothing excessive. The primary downside with this litter box is the price tag.

What We Liked:

  • Compact, streamlined design
  • Available 8-inch partition for privacy and scatter control
  • Integrated scoop, dustpan, and hand brush

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Somewhat expensive, priced upwards of $150
  • May not control scatter as well without the partition

#5 Best Covered: Petphabet Jumbo Covered Litter Box

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Covered litter boxes minimize the spread of litter box odor through your home and they may help contain urine spray and litter scatter better than open boxes. The Petphabet Jumbo Covered Litter Box checks all of these boxes but has a few unique features that make it my top choice time and again.

This covered litter box has a spacious interior, so most cats won’t feel cramped while using it. It also has a transparent hood, allowing you to monitor waste buildup and allowing your cat to observe the outside world. I particularly appreciate that it doesn’t have a door because doors and flaps tend to lock-in odor.

This covered litter box is available in a range of bright colors. Unfortunately, it’s a fairly expensive litter box, but it is durably constructed and easy to clean. As a covered litter box, it may feel a little small to larger cats, but small cats may not have this issue.

What We Liked:

  • Transparent hood allows cat to see out
  • No door or flap, doesn’t lock in odor
  • Available in a wide range of bright colors

What We Didn’t Like:

  • May feel a little cramped to larger cats
  • Fairly expensive compared to other models

#6 Best Top Entry: Modkat Top Entry Litter Box

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While top entry litter boxes like this one are often the most difficult for your cat to access, they’re a lifesaver for people dealing with coprophagic dogs – dogs who tend to eat out of the litter box.

The Modkat Top Entry Litter Box has a beautiful, highly functional design featuring an easy-to-remove reusable liner, locking swivel lid, and it comes with a litter scoop. The dog-proof design and on-trend design comes at a cost – you’ll pay over $80 for this popular litter box.

This top entry litter box does an excellent job of controlling litter scatter as well as urine spray. Plus, with the reusable liner, it is incredibly easy to clean. You don’t have to worry about litter sticking to the bottom or sides of the box – you simply lift the liner out of the box to empty it then rinse and reuse.

Available in three colors, the Modkat top entry litter box is on the smaller side. It measures 16-by-16 inches and stands 15 inches high, so Modkat recommends it for cats no larger than 12 pounds.

What We Liked:

  • Easy-to-remove reusable liner
  • Dog-proof design (works for small & medium dogs)
  • Controls urine spray and litter scatter very well
  • Comes with an ergonomic litter scoop

What We Didn’t Like:

  • May be too small for cats over 12 pounds
  • Older cats may have difficulty accessing the litter box

#7 Best for People Who Hate Scooping: Kitty Sift Disposable Sifting Litter Box

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For those who prefer to have as little contact with dirty litter as possible, the Kitty Sift Disposable Sifting Litter Box is an excellent option.

With its unique patented design, you can clean the litter box in 30 seconds or less. And so that you never have to deal with litter buildup over time, the litter box is disposable for maximum cleanliness long-term.

Like most sifting litter boxes, the Kitty Sift features a multi-level design. It consists of one solid litter box, three sifting liners, and a shield. To clean the litter box, you simply lift the top sifting liner to separate clumps and solid waste, dispose of the waste, then rotate the liner 180° and place it under the bottom sifting tray. While the longevity of the box will depend on your cat’s litter box habits, the Kitty Sift system should last for up to 4 weeks for one cat.

In addition to offering scoop-free convenience, the Kitty Sift is extremely eco-friendly. Made from FSC-Certified 100% recycled cardboard, this litter box offers a great alternative to plastic. As an added bonus, it is compostable and completely recyclable when clean and dry.

For a disposable litter box, the Kitty Sift is surprisingly durable. It is water-resistant and made from breathable materials that help keep to keep the litter dryer and the litter box fresher for longer. Plus, the shield helps contain urine spray and litter scatter better than a traditional open-style litter pan.

Overall, I was very impressed by the sifting performance, long-term cleanliness, and eco-friendly construction of this box.

What We Liked:

  • Made with patented scoop-free technology
  • Plastic-free, made from 100% recycled cardboard
  • Reduces bacteria growth and ammonia odor
  • Contains urine spray and litter scatter fairly well
  • Extremely effective compared to other sifting litter boxes

What We Didn’t Like:

  • High humidity may weaken the cardboard materials
  • Some may not like using a disposable box

#8 Best for Pine Cat Litter: Arm & Hammer Large Sifting Litter Pan

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Sifting litter boxes free you from having to physically scoop the litter box yourself which no cat owner can complain about. Like most sifting litter boxes, the Arm & Hammer Large Sifting Litter Pan has a three-level design. A sifting tray is nested between two standard closed-bottom boxes.

All three litter pans feature a durable plastic construction with a reinforced bottom for added stability. The pans are treated with Microban for antimicrobial protection as well which may help control litter box odor by preventing the growth of bacteria. It also works very well with pine litter in particular.

When you’re ready to clean out the box, you lift out the top pan, pour the litter through the sifter, toss out the waste, and rotate the boxes. The process is simpler and quicker than the standard scoop and toss technique. It’s a functional halfway point between an automatic box and a traditional litter pan.

While this litter box has the benefit of being easy to sift and simple to clean, it doesn’t do much in the way of preventing litter scatter. It is, however, an affordable option and works well with most litter.

What We Liked:

  • Three-level sifting design for easy cleaning
  • Durable plastic construction with reinforced bottoms
  • Microban coating for antimicrobial protection
  • Works particularly well with pine litter

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Doesn’t do much to control scatter

#9 Best for Kittens and Geriatric Cats: Lucky Champ Cat Litter Pan

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The Lucky Champ cat litter pan has kitten-ready features that set it apart from the rest. It has a wide, sturdy base that won’t tip over in a room full of rowdy kittens, a high back to capture mess, and an exceptionally low front that’s accessible for tiny kittens, disabled cats, and seniors.

This is a well-built, well-designed litter box. It’s durably constructed to last a long time and it’s easy to scoop and clean. It measures 25-by-16.5-by 9 inches, making it a larger litter box, and it has rubberized grips on the side to provide sturdy handholds for moving and cleaning the box.

The downside with this litter box is its limited ability to control scatter. The low front that improves accessibility for kittens and geriatric cats also opens the door to litter scatter.

What We Liked:

  • Wide, sturdy base for stability
  • High back contains mess pretty well
  • Low front improves accessibility

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Doesn’t control scatter very well

#10 Best for Small Apartments: Good Pet Stuff Hidden Litter Litter Box

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If you live in a small apartment, floor space is at a premium and you don’t want to waste it with a smelly,
unsightly litter box. This hidden litter box from Good Pet Stuff is the perfect solution. Not only does it
hide your cat’s litter box in plain sight, but it doubles as home décor.

The Good Pet Stuff Hidden Litter Litter Box features a large-capacity litter box concealed inside a real
clay planter. Available in brown and gray, the planter measures 42 inches high – 55 inches with the
included plant – but only takes up about 20 square inches of floor space.

This litter box is durably constructed from polypropylene and comes equipped with a dust filter. All you
have to do is find the perfect place to put it, fill it with litter, and you’re ready to go. No one will know
the planter conceals a litter box, especially if you’re clever about how you postion it.

What We Liked:

  • Large-capacity litter box great for multiple cats
  • Comes with a dust filter built into the litter box
  • Large planter conceals the litter box in plain sight
  • Lightweight but durable polypropylene construction

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Must be completely disassembled for cleaning
  • Somewhat pricey compared to average litter pan

What Are The Qualities Of The Best Cat Litter Box?

cat litter space

The best cat litter boxes satisfy your cat’s needs in a variety of ways. Let’s take a closer look at what the best cat litter boxes do that mediocre ones don’t.

The best cat litter box gives your cat space.

Litter boxes are primarily designed with human comfort in mind. That means that they’re usually small and compact enough to fit in a small room.

As a result, the average litter box leaves your cat’s head and tail over the edge. Imagine how it feels to use a litter box with barely enough room to move around in and which forces you to step in your own waste. For a creature as hygiene-conscious as a cat, this is a foul situation.

General cat care wisdom says that cats should use litter boxes that are at least as wide as they are long from nose tip to the base of their tail. If your cat is 15” long from nose tip to the base of their tail, this formula dictates that your cat needs a litter box that’s at least 15” wide and 22.5” long.

The best cat litter boxes have high sides.

Small litter boxes struggle to keep litter where it belongs. A little tracking and scattering is inevitable, but low-sided litter boxes have more problems than most. Think about choosing a high-sided litter box made specifically with litter scattering in mind.

Remember that some cats, especially females, spray urine on the sides and over the edges of the litter box. If your litter box has low sides, it’s likely that the urine will go over the edge and onto the floor. High sides help to keep everything inside of the box.

The litter box must also be easy for your cat to access.

A running start shouldn’t be a part of your cat’s litter box entry approach. Kittens and senior cats are particularly prone to problems accessing a litter box with high sides, so choose boxes with a lowered entrance for easy access.

Every litter box needs to be cleaned at least once a day. The best litter boxes make the chore easier.

Choose litter boxes with smooth inner surfaces that make scooping simple. Avoid boxes with hard-to-clean designs including inside curves, ridges, and valleys. All of these features collect waste and make your job more challenging. Avoid litter boxes with square corners, as well – these are also difficult to clean out completely. Some litter boxes have non-stick and antimicrobial coatings, which help to manage odors.

Types of Litter Boxes

types of cat litter boxes

The litter box is a straightforward product – but that doesn’t mean you don’t have options. The litter box selection ranges from nondescript plastic pans to alien-looking automatic sifting machines. Let’s take a closer look.

Uncovered Cat Litter Boxes

Over the course of about 70 years of commercial litter box evolution, the litter box has seen a few technological advances, but the standard plastic litter pan still reigns supreme. Uncovered litter boxes are usually cheap and easy to find in stores.

This is the classic litter box. It’s just a pan that holds your cat’s litter. It’s easy to clean, easy to access, and a popular choice among all types of cat guardians. Cats naturally want to keep an eye out for threats while they use the litter box, and uncovered boxes make area surveillance easy.

Covered Cat Litter Boxes

Covered cat litter boxes capture the smell inside of a litter chamber, minimizing the amount of waste odor that spreads through your home. In addition to odor, covered litter boxes help to curb litter scattering. Because the hood disguises the functional part of the litter box, they’re popular among people who want to minimize the appearance of a litter box in their home.

Although human interests are the primary reason people opt for using a covered litter box, sometimes misconceptions about feline preferences also play a role in their use. It’s easy to assume that because people appreciate seclusion while using their bathrooms, cats want the same privacy. Being trapped in the litter box doesn’t make cats safe – it makes them vulnerable.

The covered cat litter box has also been criticized for encouraging laziness. Critics say they make cat guardians ignorant of waste accumulation. In addition to hiding the problem, covered litter boxes trap smells inside of a small space. It’s a situation sometimes compared to a public portable bathroom – an unclean stench chamber. For an animal with an acute sense of smell and a love of good hygiene, this could be intolerable.

All this being said, many cats happily use covered litter boxes throughout their lives. This study showed that cats demonstrated no preference for open or covered litter boxes.

If you clean out the box once a day or more, a covered cat litter box can be an aesthetically superior alternative to the traditional open litter tray.

Top Entry Cat Litter Boxes

Visually, top entry boxes are one of the most chic styles available. Instead of walking into the litter box from an entrance at the front or sides of the box, your cat drops down into the litter through an entrance hole on the top. This type of litter box is harder for cats to access, so it’s not a great choice for cats with mobility issues. It’s also speculated that this type of litter box may place undue stress on cats’ joints.

Automatic or Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Boxes

ideal cat litter box

Automatic or self-cleaning litter boxes are a good fit for people who hate the process of cleaning out the litter box manually. Typically, this type of litter box has a sensor that detects the presence of a cat. After your cat uses the litter box, a sifting or raking mechanism automatically separates clean from dirty litter. The waste then enters a storage drawer, where it remains until you’re ready to discard it.

Automatic litter boxes cost more than less advanced products, and they come with an increased risk of malfunctions, but they’re a good investment for someone with a busy schedule or a procrastination streak.

Sifting Cat Litter Boxes

Sifting litter boxes are the less technologically advanced cousin of the automatic litter box. Although they don’t do all of the cleaning for you, sifting litter boxes eliminate the need to scoop out the box – they essentially scoop themselves.

These litter boxes work best with clumping litter, since this type separates into dirty clumps and clean granules. They’re also the best choice for people using pine pellet litter, which breaks down to sawdust after it comes into contact with moisture. The sifter separates the used dust from the fresh pellets, extending the life of the litter.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best cat litter box for odor control?

If your cat’s litter box has an odor problem, look at yourself first. Ensure that you’ve been cleaning out the box at least once a day. If a diligent cleaning routine leaves the litter box still smelling foul, choosing a new litter box could help.

Some litter boxes have non-stick and antimicrobial coatings that help to minimize the amount of waste that sticks to its inside surfaces. These coatings also help to minimize the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Others feature carbon filters that capture odors before they can enter the room.

Do cats prefer open or closed litter boxes?

Every cat has their own unique preferences in terms of litter boxes, but there are some benefits to choosing an enclosed versus an open litter box.
Enclosed litter boxes provide a higher degree of privacy with the added benefit of containing odor and litter scatter better than an open box. The downside is some cats may find an enclosed box too cramped. Large breeds in particular may be more comfortable in an open litter box.
Though there are pros and cons for each option, limited research suggests most cats don’t really have a preference when it comes to open or closed litter boxes. Researchers at the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine completed a study in 2012 which revealed that 70% of cats showed no preference for one kind of litter box over the other.

What’s the best cat litter box for large cats?

If you own a super-sized Maine Coon or massive Chausie, it can be a struggle to find an adequate litter box. Litter boxes are usually undersized for average cats, and the search is even more challenging for a large cat.

Covered litter boxes are out of the question for large cats. While even small uncovered litter boxes allow your cat to extend their head and tail over the edges, a covered litter box has restrictive side walls that make your cat feel cramped. Look for big, sturdy uncovered boxes.

Because huge litter boxes are rare, many large cat guardians choose to make their own litter boxes or use plastic storage containers instead.

What’s the best litter box for multiple cats?

In a multiple cat home, the litter box has to handle increased box activity while also facilitating healthy relationships.

The standard recommendation is that you install as many litter boxes as you have cats, plus one. One cat needs two litter boxes and twelve cats need thirteen. In addition to accommodating your multiple cats with numerous litter boxes, choose sizable boxes that can handle heavy use. A big cat family creates plenty of waste, and it takes large litter boxes to handle that.

Remember that multiple cat households have a uniquely feline social hierarchy. As a central part of daily life, the litter box can get involved in territorial spats and social dominance games. A dominant cat may block a submissive family member inside of the litter box, forcing them to stand in their own waste. This is a frightening and humiliating experience and can send the conflict on a downward spiral.

For this reason, avoid placing your litter box in a corner and don’t use covered boxes in a multiple cat home.

What’s the best cat litter box to keep dogs out?

Some dogs love eating smelly little cat treats from the litter box.

This is at once disgusting to watch, unsanitary, and potentially dangerous. Choosing the right box can prevent your dog from invading the litter box. Several designs can help to keep your dog out of the litter box. One is a top entry box, which keeps small dogs from accessing the waste area. Other boxes have both an inner and outer entry, preventing larger dogs from probing into the box.

If you don’t want to give your cat a covered litter box, there are other options for keeping your dog out. If your cat is agile and comfortable jumping, take advantage of their vertical mobility and put the litter box on a counter or large shelf that your dog can’t access.

What’s the best cat litter box for small apartments?

Having a small home doesn’t mean you need to cut back on litter box space. Instead of saving space by choosing a small box, choose one that can multitask.

Litter box furniture enclosures double as storage areas and shelving, allowing you to maximize your space. Because these pieces make functional decorative accents, they have more placement options than the average litter box.

While it’s usually a good idea to place your litter box in the bathroom, laundry room, or other discreet area, multifunctional boxes can go almost anywhere. Regardless of how limited your space is, try to place the litter box in a low-traffic area where your cat will have a stress-free elimination experience.