Editor’s note: Have you seen the new Catster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting area of your vet’s office? This article appeared in our March/April. 2017 issue. Click here to subscribe to Catster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home.
Of all the home design elements we cat owners must address, litter boxes are the most challenging. You have to balance both functional and aesthetic considerations when planning your litter box area, but I’m here to tell you that it can be done in a way that pleases both you and your cat.
First, consider the comfort of your cat, or you could face the dreaded “litter box issues.” These functional bases must be covered:
1. Appropriate number of litter boxes. You’ll need one for each cat plus one extra. And remember: Two litter boxes next to each other count as one.
2. Litter box placement. Put litter boxes in areas that are easily accessible for your cat but away from heavy traffic. Also, eliminate any dead ends where your cat could get trapped by another pet.
3. Litter box size. This is incredibly important. There must be enough room inside or around the box for your cat to easily stand and turn around.
Once you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to move on to style. This is
where your preferences overlap with those of your cat. The style should accommodate your aesthetic sensibility, but also work for your feline family members. Here are some different types of litter boxes to consider.
Covered litter boxes can help reduce the amount of litter that’s tracked outside the box as well as odors, and there are lots of stylish options. Your cat needs to be comfortable using a covered litter box. Otherwise, don’t get one.
The basic open litter box is always a good choice because it’s easy for all cats to use. Choose an open litter box with tall sides to keep litter from being kicked over the edge (unless you have a senior cat).
Some covered litter boxes have the entrance on top. This is a great solution for homes with dogs or small children, as it keeps them both out of the box but gives cats access. (If you have
a senior cat with arthritis, this won’t be the best choice.)
There are lots of options for stylish furniture that hides the litter box while integrating seamlessly into your décor. These cabinets usually have an opening for the cat to enter through and a removable top or doors that open to allow for easy scooping and cleaning. Bonus if the design has a place to hang the scoop and store extra supplies!
If you’re handy, you might be able to convert an existing cabinet into an attractive litter box hider. It’s easy to cut an opening in a freestanding piece of furniture or even a built-in cabinet. But before cutting up your furniture or cabinets, ensure there will be plenty of room inside for kitty to feel comfortable.
For the ultimate convenience, consider an automatic self-cleaning litter box that does the scooping for you; all you have to do is empty the waste receptacle periodically.
About the author: Kate Benjamin is the founder of the popular cat style blog Hauspanther.com. She specializes in helping people live stylishly with cats. You may have seen her on Jackson Galaxy’s show My Cat From Hell. Make sure to check out Kate and Jackson’s books Catification: Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (and You!) and Catify to Satisfy: Simple Solutions for Creating a Cat-friendly Home.