When picking a litter box, it's easy to be influenced by choosing a box based on whether it will fit a space. However, matching the box's size to your cat's dimension is more important. A cat should not squeeze and contort itself whenever it needs to go to the bath.
The litter box type, shape, and size should always be chosen based on what would provide the most convenience, comfort, and safety for your cat. Too often, we do not give much thought to the cat's needs when purchasing the litter box. Owners also tend to choose too small boxes since it isn't something people are thrilled to show off. Consequently, a small box becomes a source of stress for cats, which is connected to their litter problems.
What Size is the Best for Your Cat?
As a rule of thumb, the litter box must be one-and-a-half times the size of your cat, from the tip of the nose up to the base of the tail. That gives the cat sufficient space to eliminate and cover the waste. The right-sized litter box will substantially increase your cat's level of comfort. For one, no body part should hang over the edge. Your cat should not feel discomfort inside the litter box as it can be highly stressful. Anxiety is the last thing you want your cat to feel when they do their thing inside the box. If a cat is uncomfortable inside the box, it might find another area to do its thing, and you won't like it.
How High the Box Sides Should Be?
The elevation of the box sides is also significant to consider. Here, your cat's personality and condition will partly determine the height they need.
For cats that are not "sprayers" or don't consistently kick litter out of their boxes, a box with a wall height of around 5-7 inches is fantastic (mainly if the box is large).
If you got a "sprayer," "kicker," or a cat with bad aim, you'd want the sides to be high enough to lessen the impact of their quirky behaviors. Additionally, you still need your cat to be able to easily get in and out of their boxes with ease. So look for boxes with three sides tall enough to act as a shield for pee, poop, or litter. Generally, wall heights of around 8- 12" are good, but that has a low entry point to make getting in and out very easy (this side ought to be about 5-6").
If you've got a cat with arthritis or other mobility issues, you'll need boxes with at least one incredibly low side. For many of these cats, an entry point of around 2.5-3.5" offers an excellent equilibrium of convenience while still having the ability to keep the litter in.
Covered and Open Litter Boxes
There's no telling which "camp" your feline will fall into. Some cats like an exposed box; others do not.
So feel free to give your feline an option of boxes to pick from. Be ready to adapt if your cat clearly prefers one type.
If you go to the "covered" camp, just make sure the opening isn't too tight, and be ready to switch to open boxes if your cat ever develops bronchial asthma or arthritis.
Stay Away from Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes
There are a lot of self-cleaning boxes on the market now, and it can be tempting to drop additional money for the benefit of a box you never have to scoop. But as troublesome or undesirable as you think it is to scoop litter boxes each day, your cat may be shocked by their automatic litter box and become terrified to utilize it.
Add in the reality that a lot of these self-cleaning boxes need unique (read: costly) litters; not to mention that the daily scooping of litter boxes gives you a chance to find any changes in your feline's pees and poos that might show a developing health concern (e.g., diabetic issues, kidney illness, irregular bowel movements, and even urinary obstruction).