What are the benefits of an enclosed litter box?

April 17, 2021 7 min read

Pic: @dreamgreendiy

Peek in on your cat while she's playing one day. Chances are, you'll find her curled up in a box, crouched under a sofa, or peering out from inside the tunnel where she lies in wait for an unsuspecting toy.

Cats just seem to love enclosed spaces. If you think about it, a kitty's propensity for tight quarters makes sense.

In the wild, cats are both predators and prey. They're biologically wired to seek out spaces where they can hide from their enemies. Your box or tunnel provides that sense of security for a pet cat — even though no lion or puma is bearing down on them in your living room.

Their love of tight spaces explains why many cats enjoy using enclosed boxes. Yes, we've heard the rumor about cats preferring open-top litter solutions. No, the data doesn't support that idea. The only definitive study on the topic says nearly all cats will use either open or closed top boxes with many preferring the enclosed space. 

A cat's only concern? Hygiene. Is it clean? And of course, are there enough boxes available — one per cat + 1 for the household?

True, some cats prefer to do their business right out in the open. We believe in supporting these guys, too. So we created the Modkat Tray. For everyone else, there's the covered-top option, which gives cats comfort and keeps litter and odors from spreading throughout the house.

Besides, just like most people, many cats prefer to do their business in private. And cat lovers almost always prefer that their feline friends eliminate out of sight.

By the way, if your cat has always used an open-top box, that doesn't mean she wouldn't feel more comfortable in an enclosed space. Let her try one. See what you discover.

An enclosed litter box offers many advantages for cats and their people alike. 

 

8 benefits of an enclosed litter box.

1. It’s a great way to conceal the mess: Enclosed litter boxes hide the mess that litter trays display so proudly. Just because you room with a cat doesn't mean your house should look like a barnyard. Both you and your cat love hygiene. Enclosed litter boxes are out of sight and out of mind, though. Thus, you need to maintain a calendar (and the discipline) to clean the litter box religiously. 

2. Prevents cats from litter tracking: Ever found yourself brushing pebbles off the bottoms of your bare feet? Or sweeping away litter from the floor at random times of the day? With an enclosed litter box you can save yourself the trouble.

Cats have a habit of digging through their litter before doing their thing — they can dig like it is nobody’s business. Often litter spills all over the place, making the whole room messy. Enclosed litter boxes keep the litter contained inside at all times. 

3. No smelly business: With an enclosed bathroom for your cat, you don’t need to worry about any unpleasant odors that might (will) come wafting out of the box. Enclosed spaces work wonders for containing the smell — better than any scent, candle, powder, or other witch's brew you can buy. 

If you scoop out the litter regularly, the box shouldn’t smell. Besides, you and your guests won't have to gaze into an open cat bathroom in the middle of the living room. A definite plus!

4. Acts as an accent: Your home deserves better than plastic trays, open boxes, or repurposed laundry baskets. We're not really into the litter-box-as-furniture trend that's taken over some corners of the cat-loving internet. Mainly, we like litter boxes that work for our pets. We don't want to make our kitties crawl in and out of wicker frames to pee. But a minimalist litter box can give your room an elegant look.  

5. Settles the dog-and-cat war: Dogs love eating cat nuggets. Is that gross? You bet. But that's life when you love both a cat and a dog. 

You could try dog-proofing the litter box with a baby gate, doorstop, or latch. These solutions often prove more troublesome for the humans in the house than they do for the dog, however. 

But you do need to solve the problem, and not just because of the ick factor. Dogs themselves can contract bacterial infections or intestinal worms from eating cat feces. Plus, ingesting too much litter can cause severe constipation for your beloved pup. So you want to stop your dog from eating cat poop as soon as you can. 

Lidded litter boxes provide a good option for pet lovers who want to shut down their dog's illicit snack bar for good.

6. Travel is easy: If you plan to vacation with your cat, you'll have a lot to take care of — water, food, toys, towels, and pet-friendly accommodations (psst: Amtrak welcomes pets.) With all that in mind, it is much easier for you and your cat to travel with an enclosed litter box. You minimize the chances of an unfortunate lspill in the car on a hot day. 

7. Keep it in: Enclosed litter boxes help high-pee-ing cats not spray the walls of your house or bathroom while taking a leak. They also help keep the litter inside the box. No smells, no pebbles, no messy floor to mop. 

8. Preserve your cat's dignity: Shy, quiet, reserved cats — the kinds that live in libraries and bookstores — will likely love the privacy of an enclosed space. That said, nobody likes to feel boxed in completely. Having an enclosed cat litter cabinet means a space where a cat can retreat in peace. But they can also see out through the opening, hear people or other animals, and not feel trapped. 

Cats, like the rest of us, need a good place to go when they have to go. By "good place," we mean a space that works for both you and your cat — safe, clean, and attractive.

 

How to set up a litter box your cat will love.

So whatever box you choose...

Don’t make it stuffy. Give your feline friends enough space to breathe. If a cat has to navigate a maze of furniture, wet towels, old newspapers, and other detritus, he may decide it's not worth the trouble. And just go on your bedspread or your couch.

Also, keep your cat's box in an accessible-but-private space. Not the laundry room (too noisy), not the basement (too creepy), and not your kids' bedroom (too much can go wrong.) The bathroom, living room, or spare bedroom will probably work great. A large closet may also be a good fit.

And there's the litter question: What litter option works best for you and your cat? Most people choose clumping clay, which cats generally like. But be aware that manufacturers strip mine two million tons of clay every year just to make litter. More environmentally friendly options include walnut shells, grass seed, corn, and wheat. Experiment to find the litter that keeps both your cat and our planet healthy and happy.

Whatever litter you choose, though, it won't clean itself. And remember that hygiene determines whether your cat uses his box or your comforter to do his business. A simple, homemade check-off sheet can keep you on track with daily scooping, weekly washing, and regular litter top offs. 

Invest in a strong, well-constructed litter scoop to help you keep things tidy. We offer an edge-matched scoop with an ergonomic handle that hangs on the side of our Modkat boxes. You can find other options online. Be sure to go for something sturdy, easy, and accessible.

In general, cats like boxes better than just about anything, including open spaces in your house. As long as a box is clean, your cat will probably use it. Unexpected elimination problems are often a sign of a dirty litter box (oops, forgot to clean!) or a health issue. Your cat may have a UTI, blockage, or other concern. If the box is okay, call your cat-friendly vet for an appointment today.

 

FAQs About Enclosed Litter Boxes

Do cats like enclosed litter boxes?

This question sparks a lot of debate among cat lovers. Veterinary researchers from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine decided to settle the question once and for all. 

The team studied 28 cats aged three months to 15 years over two weeks. Using a variety of controls, they determined that 70% of the cats showed no preference between covered and uncovered boxes. About 15% preferred open-top options and another 15% ducked into the closed top ones whenever they could. 

Cats avoided dirty litter boxes of both styles. 

 

Are covered cat litter boxes better than open-top ones?

The best cat litter box is the one your cat will use. 

In general, cats want clean, accessible boxes and don't care about the tops. People prefer closed boxes because they help contain litter, control odors, and keep unsightly things out of sight. 

Since cats have different preferences, we created the Modkat Tray for open-air pee-ers and the Modkat, Modkat XL, and Flip for more reserved cats.

 

Will a covered box work for my Maine Coon or other large cat?

Big cats need big boxes. When we first fashioned the Modkat, our larger cat customers didn't fit in. So we made the Modkat XL for these guys. At 21-inches long, this box fits nearly any feline smaller than a bobcat.

 

Doesn't it smell inside a covered litter box?

It smells inside any litter box that hasn't been cleaned. It doesn't smell (much) inside any box that has been cleaned. As long as you scoop daily, wash weekly, and refill the box with litter when it needs a top up, your covered cat box won't stink.

 

What is the best covered cat litter box?

At Modkat, we offer four litter options. The Modkat XL fits big cats. The original Modkat works best for most house cats. The Flip helps senior cats and kittens get in and out of the box without difficulty. And the Tray works best for our friends who enjoy an open-air experience. 

The best covered cat box is the one your cat uses and that looks great in your home. Fill it with fresh, environmentally responsible litter; clean it regularly; and settle back to enjoy your time with your cat. 

 

Shop the Modkat litter boxes and accessories to freshen up your cat litter area today!



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