The 5 Best Top Entry Litter Boxes

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No litter box is perfect when it comes to keeping litter where it belongs – in the box. High-sided litter boxes contain scatter better than most, but even they have their limitations. If you’re looking for a little box that really works to keep dirty litter (and odor) inside, consider a top entry cat litter box.

Top entry litter boxes are just what they sound like. They’re enclosed litter boxes with an opening in the top rather than the side of the litter box. Because they’re enclosed all the way around, these boxes tend to do a better job containing litter scatter, urine spray, and odor than conventional litter pans.

There’s no shortage of top entry litter boxes available on the market and many of them are very similar in design. I’ve done my best to select options that have at least one feature that sets them apart from other options.

At A Glance: 5 Best Top Entry 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 31 people today!

Petmate Top Entry Litter Box with Filter Lid

  • Hinged lid makes scooping and cleaning easy
  • Generously sized for smaller cats
  • Perforated lid doubles as a litter mat
Budget Pick
9.8
Picked by 31 people today!

IRIS Top Entry Cat Litter Box

  • Modestly priced around $25
  • Perforated lid functions as a litter mat
  • Sturdy lid attaches securely to the litter box
Premium Pick
9.5
Picked by 25 people today!

ModKat XL Litter Box

  • Versatile design allows for front and top entry
  • Comes with a liner that makes cleaning the box easy
  • Hinged lid for easy access during scooping
Best for Odor Control
9.4
Picked by 21 people today!

Frisco Top Entry Cat Litter Box

  • Does a good job containing litter scatter and odor
  • Textured lid helps catch litter from your cat’s paws
  • Lid flips up on two hinges for easy scooping access
Most Versatile
9.3
Picked by 18 people today!

Genenic Cat Litter Box with Lid

  • Pull-out drawer provides easy access to the litter bed
  • Perforated lid helps catch excess litter
  • Collapsible design may be perfect for travel

Why Should You 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 contain litter scatter and odor.

Based on this extensive research and hands-on testing, we’ve selected the 5 cat litter boxes described below as the best top entry litter boxes you can buy.

How We Picked

Modkat XL Litter Box

Modkat XL Litter Box

Over the past month, I’ve been testing more than a dozen different litter boxes with my three cats Bagel, Biscuit, and Munchkin. My cats have never been averse to using top entry boxes, so the testing process went pretty smoothly.

I narrowed down the options on the market to the five picks reviewed here based on a few criteria: size, materials, lid design, and price. Each of the options reviewed below has something unique about it which might make it more appealing to you and your cat than other top entry boxes.

The Best Top Entry Litter Boxes: Our Top 5 Picks

#1 Overall Best: Petmate Top Entry Litter Box With Filter Lid

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Product Info:

  • Dimensions: 20.3”x15”x15.2”
  • Price: $42.42
  • Work With: Any cat litter
  • Key Strengths: The textured, perforated lid doubles as a litter mat to keep excess litter inside the box.
  • Ideal For: Smaller cats who tend to scatter litter and/or spray urine.

This Petmate litter box is my top pick for top entry litter boxes because it is thoughtfully designed for function as well as convenience. It did a great job containing litter scatter and urine spray as well as litter box odor.

Though it’s pretty standard in design as far as top entry litter boxes go, the Petmate top entry litter box has a few tricks up its sleeve. First and foremost, the lid doubles as a litter mat to help catch litter before it can be scattered onto the floor. The lid is perforated and textured to achieve this purpose.

What I really appreciated about this litter box, however, was that the lid is hinged. This makes the process of scooping and cleaning the litter box much simpler because you don’t have to struggle to remove and replace the lid.

In terms of size, the Petmate top entry litter box was very roomy for my cats – all of whom weigh under 10 pounds. Being a little on the narrow side (only 15 inches wide), however, I can see how large cats may not find this litter box big enough.

What We Liked:

  • Hinged lid makes scooping and cleaning easy
  • Generously sized for smaller cats
  • Perforated lid doubles as a litter mat
  • Contains litter scatter and urine spray very well

What We Didn’t Like:

  • May not be big enough for large cats

#2 Budget Pick: Iris Top Entry Cat Litter Box

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Product Info:

  • Dimensions: 20.5”x14.75”x14.4”
  • Price: $25.99
  • Work With: Any cat litter
  • Key Strengths: Comes with a litter scoop and is designed to hold the lid out of the way during scooping.
  • Ideal For: Owners of small cats looking for an affordable top-entry option.

Just slightly smaller than the Petmate, the IRIS top entry litter box is a little cheaper as well. There are several models of IRIS litter box but the white box with the teal lid is the most modestly priced.

The IRIS top entry litter box is ovular in shape with a perforated lid and a round opening. It comes with a small litter scoop than hangs on a hook outside the litter box. It’s a little on the small side (which wasn’t a problem for my cats) and not quite as tall as some of the other models I’ve reviewed.

What I appreciate about the IRIS litter box is that the lid fits securely to the top. It doesn’t fall off when carrying the litter box around and it’s sturdy enough that it doesn’t wobble when my cat jumps up. There’s also a piece of plastic on the underside of the lid you can use to hang it off the side of the box when you’re scooping the litter box.

Aside from its size limitations, the most common negative comment customers have about the IRIS top entry litter box is the shape. Round sides are more difficult to scrape than square sides. The round shape also takes away some of the interior space afforded by a rectangular shape.

What We Liked:

  • Modestly priced around $25
  • Perforated lid functions as a litter mat
  • Sturdy lid attaches securely to the litter box
  • Comes with a small litter scoop

What We Didn’t Like:

  • May be too small for large cats
  • Rounded walls can be difficult to scrape

#3 Premium Pick: Modkat XL Litter Box

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Product Info:

  • Dimensions: 21”x16.5”x17”
  • Price: $179.95
  • Work With: Any cat litter
  • Key Strengths: Modular design incorporates both top- and front-entry options.
  • Ideal For: Cat owners looking for a litter box that adjusts to accommodate their cat’s changing needs and preferences.

The ModKat XL is very different from my first two picks. This litter box is square in shape and, as an upgrade to the original ModKat, offers both front and top entry. The front entry is ideal for kittens and older cats but having the option of top entry as well gives your cat the security of knowing he won’t get trapped in the litter box by another cat.

As soon as I unboxed the ModKat XL it was evident how much thought went into the design. The litter box itself is made from sturdy plastic materials and all of the parts are clearly labeled. This litter box comes with a liner for both the top entry-only configuration and the configuration that includes both. The instructions are easy to follow, and setup was incredibly simple.

The ModKat XL isn’t just a great litter box in concept – it works the way it’s intended. I thought it was generously sized for my small cats and I appreciated the extra features which make this litter box unique.

Like many top entry litter boxes, the ModKat XL has a perforated lid that doubles as a litter mat. When using the front entry, there’s a ridged step that helps secure the liner to the box which helps catch litter to some degree. I liked that half of the lid is hinged to make access easy for scooping and, with the removable liner, it’s quick and easy to empty and clean the litter box as well.

The primary downside of this litter box is the price. It’s also worth noting that you should expect some litter scatter when using the front entry configuration for this litter box.

What We Liked:

  • Versatile design allows for front and top entry
  • Comes with a liner that makes cleaning the box easy
  • Hinged lid for easy access during scooping
  • Sturdy design, doesn’t bend or bow under the weight of litter

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Pretty expensive, around $180
  • Front entry will allow for some litter scatter

#4 Best For Odor Control: Frisco Top Entry Cat Litter Box

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Product Info:

  • Dimensions: 23”x15”x15”
  • Price: $33.10
  • Work With: Any cat litter
  • Key Strengths: More spacious interior with a wider top opening than some litter boxes.
  • Ideal For: Medium-sized cats who tend to scatter litter and/or spray urine.

The Frisco top entry litter box is more similar to the first two picks on this list than the ModKat XL. It’s a standard tub-style litter box with a lid that has a hole in the top shaped almost like a half moon.

This litter box is a little bigger than the first two models on this list, though will still be more comfortable for small to medium-sized cats than for large cats. The lid snaps securely onto the top of the box and two hinges at the back enable you to flip the lid up for scooping and cleaning.

The biggest difference between this litter box and the Petmate top entry litter box is that the lid is not perforated. The lid is textured to help remove litter from your cat’s paws when he jumps out, but because there are no holes in the lid the litter gets trapped on the lid – this can make for a messy situation unless you’re careful when opening the lid.

While most customers seem pleased with the Frisco top entry litter box, there are a few negative comments about the lid. Some say that it’s a little wobbly and others had trouble with it staying snapped in place. It seems the hinges work better in theory than in practice.

What We Liked:

  • Does a good job containing litter scatter and odor
  • Textured lid helps catch litter from your cat’s paws
  • Lid flips up on two hinges for easy scooping access

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Lid isn’t perforated, litter tends to collect
  • Hinges on the lid could be designed better

#5 Most Versatile: Genenic Cat Litter Box With Lid

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Product Info:

  • Dimensions: 20”x16”x15”
  • Price: $53.99
  • Work With: Any cat litter
  • Key Strengths: Multiple entry/exit points with a slide-out drawer for easy scooping.
  • Ideal For: Smaller cats who appreciate the security of multiple entry and exits.

The Genenic litter box is similar to the ModKat XL. It’s a square litter box that allows both front and top entry configurations. What makes this litter box unique is its collapsible design and the pull-out drawer.

This litter box is square-shaped with a square opening in the perforated lid. It comes in three pieces, two of which are solid and the third is the collapsible middle which snaps into the bottom. It was a little tricky to get the pieces snapped together but, once I did, I felt like it was a pretty secure fit. The one shortcoming of this design is that there aren’t handles on the top of the box and the lid comes off fairly easily.

While the Genenic litter box is excellent in theory, there are a few areas in which the product doesn’t live up to its full potential. The front opening is plenty wide enough, but it’s designed to be shaped like a cat’s face which brings the top down by several inches, making it more of a challenge for large cats.

The pull-out drawer also creates some problems. I liked the idea of a pull-out drawer to make cleaning the litter box easier. Unfortunately, litter and urine tend to get stuck in the seams which makes a mess when you pull out the drawer. I did, however, appreciate the litter box’s collapsible design. I can see how it might be a good option for short-term use during travel.

What We Liked:

  • Front and top entry configurations
  • Pull-out drawer provides easy access to the litter bed
  • Perforated lid helps catch excess litter
  • Collapsible design may be perfect for travel

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Fairly expensive, around $55
  • Front entry may be too small
  • No handles for carrying

5 Features To Look For In A Top Entry Litter Box

Iris Top Entry Cat Litter Box

If you’re tired of sweeping up scattered litter or scrubbing urine off the wall behind the litter box, it may be time to upgrade to a top entry litter box. The Internet is full of DIY guides for making top entry boxes out of storage totes, but if you want something that’s specifically designed to solve the problem at hand, one of the products on this list might be the perfect pick.

Here are 5 things to consider when shopping for top entry litter boxes:

1. Is It Large Enough For Your Cat?

Size is an important factor no matter what kind of litter box you’re shopping for. If the litter box is too small, your cat may have a difficult time digging around to cover his waste, leaving you with litter scattered all over the floor outside the box. Specifically in the case of enclosed litter boxes like top entry boxes, a too-small box may also make your cat feel claustrophobic.

The general rule for litter box sizing is to measure your cat’s body from nose to the tip of his tail. Choose a litter box that is at least that long. The width of the litter box should be about equal to the length of your cat’s body without the tail. When it comes to enclosed litter boxes, bigger is usually better. Choosing a top entry litter box with a spacious interior will help your cat feel less cramped.

2. How Big Is The Entrance Hole?

Not only do you need to determine whether there’s enough space inside the litter box for your cat to comfortably use it, but it’s important to look at the size and shape of the entrance hole.

Some cats like to climb up onto the litter box before going inside while others jump straight through the hole. Your cat’s preferences may determine how large the entrance hole needs to be. Until you’ve learned your cat’s preferences, however, you may want to play it safe and go with a larger entrance hole.

3. Are The Materials Sturdy Enough To Support Your Cat’s Weight?

A traditional litter pan can get away with being fairly flimsy, especially if your cat can just step over the walls to get in and out. With a top entry litter box, however, your cat is likely to step on the lid at some point. Look for a litter box made from sturdy materials that don’t bend or sag under your cat’s weight.

Take a look at the materials from which other parts of the litter box are made as well. If the litter box has handles that attach to the lid, make sure they’re sturdy as well. If your cat jumps onto the lid from a height, you want to make sure the sudden pressure won’t snap the handles.

4. Does It Help Catch Extra Litter?

By their nature, top entry litter boxes do a good job of containing litter scatter. Simply by digging around in the box, however, your cat is going to end up with some litter stuck to his paws. Because your cat has to climb or jump up out of a top entry box, some of that litter will fall off on its own. Many top entry litter boxes also design the lid to double as a litter mat. Look for a lid that is perforated or textured to help catch extra litter before your cat hops back down to the floor.

5. Is It Worth The Cost?

You can buy a conventional litter pan for under $10 but, as any wise cat owner knows, you get what you pay for. Top entry litter boxes tend to be pricier than traditional options. If you’re going to be spending more, you want to be sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

When comparing prices for top entry litter boxes, compare the size, materials, and design. It may be worth paying a few extra dollars for a jumbo-sized litter box if your cat weighs more than 10 pounds. You might even be able to find top entry litter boxes that come with accessories like a litter scoop.

Why Do Some Cats Not Like Top-Entry Litter Boxes?

While top-entry litter boxes can be a practical solution for small spaces and messy cats, they aren’t without their disadvantages. In fact, there are a few factors which make top-entry boxes less cat-friendly than traditional open-style litter pans.

Top-entry litter boxes are essentially enclosed litter boxes with the entry on the top instead of the side, so both styles have the same issues when it comes to security. Cats feel vulnerable when they’re in the litter box, especially when there is only one point of entry and exit. When the entry/exit is on top of the litter box, it’s even easier for your cat to get trapped inside by a dog or another cat.

Enclosed litter boxes do a decent job of preventing litter box odor from proliferating around the house, but that means most of it stays in the litter box where your cat has to deal with it. Some cats have very sensitive noses and will refuse to use a top-entry box for this reason.

Accessibility can also be an issue with top-entry litter boxes. Healthy cats and older kittens generally have no trouble getting into and out of a top-entry litter box, but it can be tricky for geriatric cats and cats with mobility issues. Even if they’re able to step down into the litter box from above, the task of jumping back out may be difficult or even painful. If your cat can’t comfortably use the litter box, he may avoid it entirely.

Every cat has their own preferences and it’s important to take them into account when choosing a litter box. If for some reason your cat simply won’t use a top-entry litter box, don’t waste a lot of time on training – choose something more cat-friendly that your cat will actually use.

Not sure whether a top entry litter box is the right solution for your household? Don’t worry – there are plenty more options out there and we’ve tested many of them ourselves?

Check out our guide to the top 11 litter boxes on the market here:

The 11 Best Cat Litter Boxes in 2022 – We Tried Them All

Frequently Asked Questions

Are top entry litter boxes good for kittens?

It depends on the kitten. Kittens are curious by nature, and many have no trouble at all figuring out top entry litter boxes. The primary concern is whether the kitten’s size will prevent it from being able to jump up to enter the box. Some boxes like the ModKat XL and the Genenic litter box are convertible, enabling you to start out with a front entry and then add or swap out for the top entry option once your kitten gets a little bigger.

Are top entry litter boxes good for small spaces?

Top entry litter boxes can be a good option for apartments and other small living spaces because they do a good job of containing litter, urine spray, and odor. Because they’re enclosed, they’re also less of an eyesore than an open litter box – especially in common spaces like the living room.

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About Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and is the published author of several self-help books and nutrition guides. Also an avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate’s love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. Kate is also a blogger for a number of organic and natural food companies as well as a columnist for several pet magazines.

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