The best litter box for the large cat in your life.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find the right litter box for your plus-size pet. Sound easy? Ha! It's tougher than it looks!
Like their people, cats want to chill and relax when on the throne. For large cats such as the Maine Coon or the Norwegian Forest Cat, comfortable settings equal spacious litter boxes.
There's more to purchasing the right litter solution than just buying big litter boxes for big cats.
It's time to turn our attention to how to choose the best litter box for large cats. Why might your cat turn her nose up at what you bring home? And how can you make sure the kitty gets busy in the right space?
How to pick the best litter box for big cats.
When it comes to litter boxes, you're not just looking for size. You're on a mission in search of style. You basically have one shot — maybe two — at getting this right before your cat decides that your pillow makes the perfect potty.
Factors in choosing the right litter solution include simplicity, number, and size. Let's take a look at each of these:
Simplicity: Is this cat litter box easy to clean?
Cats are famously fastidious. According to Dr. Pamela Perry, animal behavior resident of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine, cats spend between 30% and 50% of their day grooming themselves.
After all that work, would you want to sink your pristine paws into a mucky litter box? Neither does your kitty. Cat lovers have to roll up their sleeves and do a little dirty work.
You may be a devoted cat caregiver, but you probably don't want to spend 30-50% of your day scouring a litter box. So pick a box that's easy to scrub spic-and-span.
Some cat owners go for a robotic, self-cleaning litter box. That's not a good choice. Loud, mechanical boxes can alarm cats. Really, can you blame them? Would you like to have a scraper appear out of the toilet just as you were getting up?
Besides, a robotic litter box doesn't really keep everything spotless for you. It just hides you'll have to deal with later.
Other cat lovers pick a flowery scented litter to overpower the smell of a traditional box. Another bad choice. With a sense of smell that's 40 times that of a human's, cats generally hate scented litter. In the end, you will too because your house will feature that distinctive aroma of stale potpourri mixed with fresh cat butt.
Best approach? Just scoop your litter box. If you pick the right scoop, it's easy.
Scoop daily, refill the litter every 2-3 days, and wash the box with soap and warm water once a week. Presto! Clean cat box; sweet-smelling house.
Number: How many cat litter boxes should I have?
One litter box for every cat plus one extra according to pet experts.
Expressed algebraically, that's…
# of cats + 1 = healthy, happy kitties
One cat? Two boxes. Two cats? Three boxes. Three cats? Bet you can guess by now… four boxes.
Also consider your home's design. If you have two floors, you need to make sure you have a box on each level. Make sure there's a box that's accessible 24 / 7 / 365.
Size: What size litter box does my cat need?
Your cat needs a box that extends 1.5 times the length of the animal from nose tip to tail tip. The box should be about as wide as your cat is long minus the tail. If you're having trouble measuring your cat accurately, then it's better to go too big than too small.
Yes, most cats enjoy the security they get from enclosed spaces — and there are sound evolutionary reasons for this — but they don't want to feel trapped or claustrophobic while using the restroom. A feeling we've all experienced…
When we first built the original Modkat, people (and cats) loved it! But large cats had some trouble turning around, so we constructed the Modkat XL, the largest top-entry box on the market. Its walls stretch up 17 inches, perfect for high pee-ers, and the box is 21 inches long.
Can I get a large cat litter box with a lid?
Lidded litter boxes spark controversy. Some cat lovers say their pets prefer the privacy of an enclosed facility. Others say the animals want to go out in the open.
Among the animals studied, 70% showed no preference between a covered box and an uncovered one. Another 15% liked going out in the open, and 15% ducked into the private stall whenever they could.
That means that a large cat litter box with a lid has an 85% probability of going over well with your cat. And it's 100% certain you'll like the odor-control benefits and sleek, elegant look a lidded box offers.
Why Won't My Cat Use the Litter Box?
"But," you say, "I bought a great box using all those decision factors, and my cat still won't use the litter box. Why not?"
This happens often. Every year, 6.5 million pet cats and dogs wind up in animal shelters. The number-one reason their owners place them there? Inappropriate elimination.
Rarely is this a behavioral problem, though. Most cats prefer to use a litter box over the floor, bedding, or laundry. Cats avoid the litter box for one of several reasons:
Injury or illness. Before you do anything else, take your cat to the vet. Eliminating outside the litter box may be a sign of a urinary tract infection, kidney stones, or feline interstitial cystitis. Small amounts of urine, blood in the urine, or straining to go to the bathroom can indicate one of these diseases. Call your cat-friendly vet ASAP.
Size of the litter box. The ASPCA recommends buying the largest litter box you can. It's better to offer a cat a box that's "too big" than to expect him to do business in a facility that's too cramped.
Location of the litter box. Some cats freak out at the thought of using the litter box because they've been frightened in the past. Cats generally don't like it when you put their bathroom in a noisy laundry room, dank basement, dark corner, or high-traffic area. Large closets, guest rooms, or quiet corners of living rooms or bedrooms often work well.
Cleanliness of the litter box. Cats generally hate dirty litter boxes. Even one clump of urine or one old piece of can leave cats unwilling to step into the box. So scoop out the deposits as soon as your cat makes bank or at least once a day.
Conflict with other pets in the home. Keep an eye out for feline bullying. Larger or more aggressive cats sometimes guard the litter box. Dogs can be a problem, too, because they love the taste of fresh cat droppings. A lidded box can help keep the canine family members from turning the cat's bathroom into a buffet.
Inability to use the litter box. If your cat is a baby, has a mobility impairment, or is an older animal, then she may find some litter boxes difficult to use. We built the Modkat Litter Tray, an open-air bathroom that's 20.3 inches long, especially for cats that can't use our top-entry boxes.
Stress. Cats feel and react to stress. Boredom, noise, and competition are the three most common feline stressors. You can help eliminate your cat's stress by making sure your pets have enough toys, get adequate play time, and enjoy a quiet space for relaxing.
What should I do if my cat is eliminating outside the box?
What if your cat has already gotten into the habit of doing his business outside the office, so to speak?
Make sure the box is easy to access. If your cat has to go to a dark, damp, or noisy place to do business, he may eliminate elsewhere. Laundry rooms usually aren't good choices because the machines make noise. Basements can be too dark and frightening.
Move the food and water dishes away from the litter box. Cats don't like to eliminate near the chow line. In the wild, it would be unhealthy, and cats' instincts haven't evolved past that.
Check that the box is squeaky clean. Some cats won't step into their bathroom if they see even one clump.
Try a different style box. If you picked an uncovered box, try a covered one.
Scrub your floor. If your cat uses a spot outside the litter box, scour it clean so your pets won't smell the odor of urine and think that the carpet is the right place to go.
Always check with the vet first, though. Nearly always, inappropriate elimination is a sign of a bladder infection.
Do Cats Like Large Litter Boxes?
The best cat litter box for large cats is the one they'll use, and that's probably the largest box they can find.
Now, a "large box" means one that's long enough and wide enough to feel comfortable as well as high enough to keep your floors from getting sprinkled. Some cats are high-pee-ers. They'll send a stream over the wall and onto the surrounding areas if you aren't careful.
Then, we have diggers — those cats that like to dig enthusiastically into the litter. If you love one of these guys, make sure that their box stays full (but not too full) of fresh pellets. But you also need a box with high enough walls to keep the litter inside.
If your wall is between 5 and 12 inches high, you're probably good. Our Modkat boxes run a little higher because we want to add margin for your cat. But remember that a kitten or mobility impaired cat will need a ramp or other easy entrance for a high box.
Cats like a clean box. In fact, many of them also seem to take a particular interest in watching us clean out their bathrooms. Perhaps they're making sure we wash our hands between cleaning their toilets and preparing their meals.
In some ways, large cats just want what all cats want — a clean litter box with enough space to turn around and easy access to the entrance/exit. As our cats' caregivers, we need to do our part by making sure our plus-size friends have the boxes they need to stay happy and healthy.
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