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10 Best Litter Boxes for Messy Cats in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Matt Jackson

Last Updated on June 21, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

10 Best Litter Boxes for Messy Cats in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

cat sitting in top entry litter box Cat litter can make a real mess. Sometimes, it’s the litter itself. Some types of litter, typically the light, loose stuff, get caught between a cat’s paws and then drop off when the cat walks across the floor leaving a trail of wood chips or recycled paper. Although they’ll deny it (they rarely admit to anything, after all), sometimes it’s down to the cats themselves.

They kick litter and its contents all over the ground, expecting you to clean up after them. To help reduce the mess, opt for cat litter boxes with high sides or that are completely covered, which will help prevent the litter from finding its way out of the confines of the tray.

Below, you can find reviews of 10 of the best litter boxes for messy cats, as well as a guide to effective litter box use and placement.

divider 3 pawsA Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Frisco High Sided Cat Litter Box Frisco High Sided Cat Litter Box
  • Decent price
  • Uncovered so easy to spot clean
  • High walls prevent some litter escaping
  • Best Value
    Second place
    IRIS USA Open Top Litter Box with Scatter Shield & Scoop IRIS USA Open Top Litter Box with Scatter Shield & Scoop
  • Cheap
  • Walls can be removed for cleaning
  • Walls provide privacy but still allow your cat to see out
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Yaheetech Litter Box Furniture Cat House Yaheetech Litter Box Furniture Cat House
  • Offers peace and solitude
  • More attractive than having a litter box on display
  • Completely covered so prevents most litter from escaping
  • Frisco Multi-Function Covered Cat Litter Box Frisco Multi-Function Covered Cat Litter Box
  • Can be used as a giant litter box
  • Covered box prevents a lot of debris
  • Includes a scoop and scoop holder
  • Van Ness Enclosed Cat Litter Pan Van Ness Enclosed Cat Litter Pan
  • Cheap
  • Covered design prevents most litter escaping
  • Covered design prevents most litter escaping
  • divider 2 cats

    The 10 Best Litter Boxes for Messy Cats

    1. Frisco High Sided Cat Litter Box – Best Overall

    Frisco High Sided Cat Litter Box

    Dimensions: 24 x 18 x 10 Inches
    Weight: 2.89 Pounds
    Material: Plastic

    Most of the mess caused around the cat litter box is made when your cat kicks and digs in an attempt to cover up their mess. If they kick too hard, litter ends up all over the floor. Equally, if the litter is light and the sides too short, litter finds its way onto the floor. A high-sided litter box helps eradicate some of the problem by providing a physical barrier.

    The Frisco High Sided Cat Litter Box is an extra-large litter box so your cat shouldn’t feel confined by the high walls, and the front of the tray is still shallow enough for them to easily get in and out. Unlike closed litter trays, which are difficult to spot clean quickly, this high-walled version still enables you to reach in and scoop without having to take the whole thing apart. The BPA-free plastic is easy to clean, using soapy water, and it is very reasonably priced, making it the best available litter box for messy cats.

    But, while the front wall needs to be low for cats to get in and out easily, it offers an avenue for litter to be kicked out.

    Pros
    • Decent price
    • High walls prevent some litter escaping
    • Uncovered so easy to spot clean
    Cons
    • Litter will still escape over the lower front wall

    2. IRIS USA Open Top Litter Box with Scatter Shield & Scoop – Best Value

    IRIS USA Open Top Litter Box with Scatter Shield & Scoop

    Dimensions: 19 x 15 x 11.75 Inches
    Weight: 1.96 Pounds
    Material: Plastic

    The IRIS USA Open Top Litter Box with Scatter Shield & Scoop has extra tall walls that slope slightly inwards. The tops of the walls are transparent which should help your cat feel less confined and the front of the tray, although still lowered, is high enough to prevent some debris from getting out.

    The high walls are clipped onto the main tray, which means you can remove this section for easier cleaning and to enable you to get in and give the corners a good scrub. The tray comes with a scoop and has molded feet that are designed to keep the litter tray in place even with the most fervent of litter diggers.

    The IRIS USA Open Top Litter Box is our choice as the best litter box for messy cats for the money because it is cheap and should provide a solution for most messy cats and their owners. However, while the highly polished plastic interior is supposed to be easier to clean, clumping and wet litter gathers in the corners and can be very difficult to remove. It’s also quite small and it won’t be suitable for large cats or even some medium cats.

    Pros
    • Walls can be removed for cleaning
    • Walls provide privacy but still allow your cat to see out
    • Cheap
    Cons
    • Difficult to clean the corners
    • Small

    3. Yaheetech Litter Box Furniture Cat House – Premium Choice

    Yaheetech Litter Box Furniture Cat House

    Dimensions: 30 x 20 x 21 Inches
    Weight: 35 Pounds
    Material: Engineered Wood

    The Yaheetech Litter Box Furniture Cat House is not only a covered litter tray that should do away with the problem of stray litter, but it is also a piece of furniture. Made from durable fiberboard, the box includes a flap door for easy access to the internal space. Inside, there is room for a litter tray and additional room for your cat to relax in peace.

    The flat top of the box can also be used to hold ornaments, for even better decoration, or a cat bed to make a personalized space for your feline friends.

    The Litter Box Cat House is more attractive than a typical litter box and its design means it naturally helps prevent litter from being spread outside the box. But the internal space is quite limited so you will likely only fit a small litter tray inside, and having to take the tray out and the lid off to give it a thorough clean means more work is involved in clean up. And you will need to buy a litter tray to put in the box.

    Pros
    • More attractive than having a litter box on display
    • Completely covered so prevents most litter from escaping
    • Offers peace and solitude
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • More challenging to keep clean
    • No tray included

    4. Frisco Multi-Function Covered Cat Litter Box

    Frisco Multi-Function Covered Cat Litter Box

    Dimensions: 29.73 x 17.5 x 17.64 Inches
    Weight: 8.33 Pounds
    Material: Plastic

    Not all cats like covered litter trays. Being fully enclosed inside can make some cats feel too confined, and your cat doesn’t like the litter tray you’ve provided, it can lead to unwanted peeing and pooping away from the designated area. But, the closed roof provides an even greater barrier to prevent litter from being kicked out while your cat is covering up.

    The Frisco Multi-Function Covered Cat Litter Box has a detachable lid and a large internal area. You can buy a box complete with a litter tray designed for the space, or you can even fill the box itself with litter. The detachable lid makes it fairly easy to get in and clean although it does mean leaning over the litter to clean up. The box includes a scoop and there’s even a handy little side pocket to hold the scoop when it’s not in use.

    The multi-function litter box is a little pricey and it can be difficult to clean out properly, but it does a good job of preventing litter from being scattered around the room.

    Pros
    • Includes a scoop and scoop holder
    • Can be used as a giant litter box
    • Covered box prevents a lot of debris
    Cons
    • Difficult to clean
    • A little pricey

    5. Van Ness Enclosed Cat Litter Pan

    Van Ness Enclosed Cat Litter Pan

    Dimensions: 21.5 x 17.75 x 18 Inches
    Weight: N/A
    Material: Plastic

    The Van Ness Enclosed Cat Litter Pan is a covered plastic cat litter pan. It is a good size, features a swing door that offers privacy and helps prevent litter from escaping, and the top section unclips from the bottom for cleaning. Its polished plastic finish means that litter should be easy to remove, even when wet and used. The tray is very reasonably priced and a generous size.

    However, the door isn’t attached very well, and it is prone to breaking off, especially if you have a particularly heavy-handed cat, cats who like to stand tall while they’re peeing and might find it a struggle to fit adequately within the container while doing their business.

    Pros
    • Cheap
    • Polished surface is easy to clean
    • Covered design prevents most litter escaping
    Cons
    • Not ideal for standing box users
    • Door is quite flimsily attached

    6. Catit AiRSiFT Litter Pan

    Catit AiRSiFT Litter Pan

    Dimensions: 22.4 x 18.3 x 19.7 Inches
    Weight: N/A
    Material: Plastic

    The Catit AiRSiFT Litter Pan is a covered plastic litter box with a detachable lid and a swing door. The door not only helps prevent litter from getting out but also odors, while the detachable lid is designed to make it easier to clean the pan. The tray also includes a bag anchor which further helps with easy cleaning and there’s a carbon filter on the top of the box to further reduce the stink that can emanate from litter boxes.

    The addition of the carbon filter does mean that the litter box is quite expensive, and it also means there is an ongoing cost associated with buying replacement filters, but it is a sizable tray that does a decent job of keeping litter inside.

    Pros
    • Door, lid, and filter help prevent odors
    • Door and lid prevent litter from getting kicked out
    • Lid can be detached for easy cleaning
    Cons
    • Quite expensive
    • Replacement carbon filters add to the ongoing cost

    7. Richell PAW TRAX High Wall Cat Litter Box

    Richell PAW TRAX High Wall Cat Litter Box

    Dimensions: 27 x 18 x 12.5 Inches
    Weight: N/A
    Material: Plastic

    The Richell PAW TRAX High Wall Cat Litter Box is a high-walled litter box with rounded edges that prevent sticky litter from sticking in the corners. The walls are higher than with a lot of other litter boxes but there is a dropped wall for the cat to get in and out of.

    The tray is large enough for most cats and there is a textured step that is designed to help remove litter from your cat’s paws to further help prevent litter from getting outside the tray. There’s also a hook inside the tray so you can hang the included scoop for easy access and there’s a recessed handle for holding on to while cleaning the tray out.

    The tray is quite expensive, the scoop is a little small and the step is very easy to avoid if your cat doesn’t want to stand on it.

    Pros
    • Very high walls prevent litter getting kicked out
    • Includes a scoop
    • Rounded edges are easy to clean
    Cons
    • The step is easy to avoid
    • Scoop is too small

    8. Booda Dome Cleanstep Litter Box

    Booda Dome Cleanstep Litter Box

    Dimensions: 22.5 x 22.5 x 19 Inches
    Weight: N/A
    Material: Plastic

    The Booda Dome Cleanstep Litter Box is another that includes a carbon filter to help reduce smells, but it does mean you have to keep on top of buying and replacing the filters. The domed top provides peace for your cat while they do their business, while also preventing some of the stray litter from getting kicked out of the litter box.

    There’s also a handle for easier moving, although you should avoid carrying the box by the handle while it’s full of kitty litter or it could break.

    The door of the Booda Dome is low, which means that litter can get kicked out, and it also doesn’t help prevent litter from being tracked out of the litter box and onto the surrounding surfaces. But it is a decent price compared to similar covered models with carbon filters.

    Pros
    • Does a good job of preventing smells
    • Offers a place of solitude
    • Cheaper than other carbon-filtered trays
    Cons
    • Litter still gets out
    • Handle is a little flimsy

    9. iPrimio Stainless Steel Cat Litter Box

    iPrimio Stainless Steel Cat Litter Box

    Dimensions: 23.5 x 15.5 x 7.5 Inches
    Weight: 5.7 Pounds
    Material: Stainless Steel

    The iPrimio Stainless Steel Cat Litter Box is a cat litter with high sides and back. Rather than being made of plastic, the base of the iPrimio is made from stainless steel that is designed not to rust or deteriorate, although the high walls are made from plastic.

    The difference in materials means that the plastic lid doesn’t attach firmly, and it might get kicked off if you have an especially violent litter tray user. The shorter front entrance still provides an escape for litter, and the loose-fitting top is disappointing, especially considering the high price of the stainless-steel litter box, but the base is good quality and easy to clean and the sides prevent a lot of the litter from getting out.

    Pros
    • Stainless steel base is easy to clean
    • High sides and back prevent most litter from escaping
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Lid is loose-fitting

    10. IRIS USA Round Top Entry Cat Litter Box & Scoop

    IRIS USA Round Top Entry Cat Litter Box & Scoop

    Dimensions: 20.47 x 16.14 x 14.56 Inches
    Weight: 4.85 Pounds
    Material: Plastic

    The IRIS USA Round Top Entry Cat Litter Box & Scoop is a covered litter box that is rounded, rather than rectangular or having square edges. The rounded edges should make it easier to clean because damp litter can’t get stuck in corners, so you don’t need to poke around to get everything clear. The lid comes off, too, so you spot clean daily and get in to give a thorough clean each week.

    The lid doesn’t clip on but sits in position, and it doesn’t fit as neatly, so it can be a challenge to convince a cat to climb in the top hole of a litter tray, especially if they are used to a traditional tray design.

    Pros
    • Better looking than a standard tray
    • No square edges for damp litter to get caught in
    • Tall sides and lid mean less litter debris
    Cons
    • Lid doesn’t fit snugly
    • Not all cats like climbing into the top of a litter tray

    divider 3 paws

    Buyer’s Guide: How to Pick the Best Litter Boxes for Messy Cats

    Litter trays are an essential aspect of cat ownership, but they can also be one of the most challenging. Not only do you need to find trays that your cat will use, and that you’re happy to have in your house, but you need to get the right litter, keep them clean, and ensure you have enough trays in the right places.

    Because cats cover their mess when they’ve finished, it means that litter can get kicked and thrown out of the tray, leaving piles of sometimes dirty cat litter in the litter tray room. While some cats might leave the occasional piece of litter, others seem to completely excavate the chosen litter and place piles in spots around the house.

    Getting the right litter box can help eliminate some of this mess, although it won’t necessarily help with the trails left by tracked litter.

    Litter Tray Size

    Your cat needs to be able to get in a litter tray, turn around, and do its business. If the tray is too small, it won’t just be the litter that ends up on the surrounding floor. You can end up with urine and cat poop. It is generally recommended that the tray should be one and a half times the length of your cat from the tip of their nose to the base of the tail.

    cat sniffing the litter box
    Image Credit: Duet PandG, Shutterstock

    High Walls

    High walls can prevent a lot of litter from getting kicked out, although the walls will usually only be higher at the sides and the back of the tray, as there needs to be a shorter wall at the front so the cat can get in and out easily.

    Lids

    Alternatively, a covered litter tray is another option. The lid typically attaches to the base so it can be removed, making it possible to reach in and scoop or clean the tray more easily. Some lids clip in place, which means they are more secure, while others sit in place or are pushed into position.

    Some cats will appreciate a covered litter tray because it offers more privacy, while others might prefer to be able to see what is going on around them while they’re doing their business.

    Doors

    Covered litter trays might include doors. The door can prevent even more litter from getting out, and it should prevent your cat from hovering and still managing to pee over the lowered entry wall. Most cats will learn to use a door, but some may find it initially off-putting to push through the door to get in and out of the litter box.

    cat litter box with door
    Image Credit: Magnetic Mcc, Shutterstock

    Carbon Filters

    Litter trays smell. Even with regular spot cleaning and routine cleaning, there will be times when smells ruminate from the litter. Carbon filters can remove some of this odor and they are usually located at the top of covered litter trays. The smells rise and pass through the carbon. Some of the smell may still escape through the door, but the carbon filter should get rid of most of the odor.

    However, you will need to buy replacement filters which adds to the monthly cost of keeping a cat.

    Combating tough cat litter smells is an ongoing battle for pet parents but luckily, there are products out there designed to help! Two products that significantly reduce odors are the Hepper Litter Additive and the Hepper Enzyme Spray. Find out which is better suit to your needs with our breakdown of each product below. 

    Hepper Enzyme Spray - New Label Hepper Litter additive
    Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Cat Litter Deodorizer Powder
    Eliminates smells
    Eliminates smells:
    Eliminates smells:
    Removes stains
    Removes stains:
    Removes stains:
    Unscented
    Unscented:
    Unscented:
    Light fresh scent
    Light fresh scent:
    Light fresh scent:
    Works on multiple surfaces
    Works on multiple surfaces:
    Works on multiple surfaces:
    Neutralizes odor within cat litter
    Neutralizes odor within cat litter:
    Neutralizes odor within cat litter:

    At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

    Accessories

    Some litter trays include accessories, with the most common being a scoop. Scoops are relatively inexpensive, so don’t choose a litter tray just because it includes one but remember you will need one for daily scooping.

    divider 2 cats

    Getting Your Cat Used to a New Litter Tray

    If you get a new litter tray that is identical or similar to your last one, your cat should take to it quite quickly, but swapping from a standard shallow tray to a top entry covered tray or to a high-walled litter tray can prove more challenging.

    When you swap to the new tray, add some of the used litter from the old tray to the new one. When you see your cat using the new tray, praise them and give them a treat when they’re finished and get out. Also put the litter tray in the same position as the old one, even if you intend to move it once your cat gets used to the new item.

    How Many Litter Trays Do You Need?

    It is recommended that cat owners have one litter tray per cat, plus one extra. This means if you have one cat, you should have two trays. If you have three cats, you should have four litter trays. Some owners manage with fewer litter trays, but having this amount reduces the risk of unwanted littering and prevents your cat from getting anxious and stressed about its littering opportunities.

    cat sitting on top of several litter boxes looking at another cat leaving toilet through flap
    Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

    Where Should You Place Litter Trays?

    Cats prefer privacy when they do their business, so you should avoid high-traffic rooms like living rooms. Even the bathroom might prove too busy, although this is a popular spot because of the intended purpose of the room and because the floor is easy to clean.

    If your cat doesn’t seem to like the spot you choose, try moving it, but do so gradually rather than moving it straight to the other side of the house.

    How Can You Stop Cats Treading Litter Around the House?

    Some litter trays include textured steps that can help remove the litter before your cat gets out of the litter box. Alternatively, you can put a textured mat outside the litter tray. You can also try different types of litter.

    Lighter, small litter pieces are more likely to get caught in between paws and pads so recycled paper and light wood chips are likely to track.

    divider 1 paws

    Conclusion

    Litter trays are unpleasant, but they are necessary, and if you have a cat that likes to bury its business, you will know the pain of having piles of litter mounting up next to the litter box.

    The reviews above include 10 of the best litter boxes for messy cats, including the Frisco High Sided Cat Litter Box which, despite having a low front wall for easy access, does a good job of preventing litter escape. The IRIS USA Open Top Litter Box with Scatter Shield & Scoop has high walls and is inexpensive, but it can be tricky to clean the insides thoroughly.

    Also see:


    Featured Image Credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock

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