Unless you’re willing to shell out a couple hundred bucks for a self-cleaning litter box, you’re going to have to do some scooping as a cat owner.
While scooping might not be a chore you can avoid entirely, you don’t necessarily need to spend time elbows deep in an empty litter box with a scrub brush. Don’t get me wrong – cleaning the litter box is important, but there’s another option: replacing it entirely.
Disposable litter boxes provide a convenient alternative to cleaning the litter box week after week while still providing your cat with a clean, comfortable place to do his business.
In this guide we’ll explore the pros and cons of disposable litter boxes. We’ll talk about the important features to look for when shopping for these litter boxes and introduce you to our top 5 picks.
At a Glance: 5 Best Disposable Litter Boxes To Buy
Want a quick look at the products reviewed in this article? In the comparison table below, we’ve highlighted some of the most important features of each product. You’ll find more detailed information about each product later in the article.
What Are the Qualities of the Best Disposable Litter Box?
A great litter box offers strong odor control and protection from litter scatter and urine spray. It’s easy to scoop and appropriately sized for your cat’s comfort.
So, what makes a disposable litter box different? And are they worth it?
Disposable litter boxes are designed for temporary use – generally up to four weeks. When it’s reached the end of its lifespan, you can simply compost or recycle it instead of scrubbing it clean.
These litter boxes are typically designed for function rather than form, so they may not look as attractive as a traditional cat litter pan. What they lack in aesthetics, however, they make up for in convenience. If a litter box gets the job done and makes your life easier in the process, it might be worth it.
If you’re considering making the switch to disposable litter boxes, there are a few things to look for. Here are the five criteria I used to determine my top picks.
The Best Disposable Litter Box Is Made From Biodegradable or Recycled Materials
Most of the traditional litter pans you find on the market are made from plastic. It’s an affordable, lightweight material that resists moisture which makes it the perfect container for cat litter.
Disposable litter boxes are typically made from biodegradable and compostable (landfill-friendly) materials. Cardboard and recycled paper are some of the most common materials used to make these litter boxes.
Before recycling or composting a disposable litter box, it should be emptied of all litter and clumps.
The Best Disposable Litter Box Prevents Leaks, Scatter, and Spray
While cardboard and paper aren’t nearly as moisture resistant as plastic, many disposable cat boxes are thick enough to contain liquid or have a leak-proof coating.
Leakage isn’t the only mess you should be concerned about, however. Some cats like to dig around in the litter box before they do their business, kicking litter all over the floor. Others tend to spray the sides of the litter box when they urinate.
Disposable litter boxes come in a variety of sizes, so choose one that’s appropriately sized for your cat and his toilet habits.
A larger, deeper litter box will typically be more effective in containing litter scatter. To contain urine spray, choose a disposable box with higher sides.
The Best Disposable Litter Box Works With All Types of Cat Litter
Every cat owner has their own preferences for the best cat litter.
Clay cat litter is the most popular option for its affordability and clumping convenience. Cat owners on a budget often opt for non-clumping litter but, if you’re willing to spend a bit more, there are alternatives like crystal cat litter cat litter made from natural, biodegradable, or recycled materials.
The good news is most disposable cat litter boxes work for any type of cat litter. The type of cat litter you choose may affect how often you need to scoop or how long the box will last, but the choice is yours.
Some disposable litter boxes even come with cat litter. Just be sure the included cat litter is one that is cat-friendly.
The Best Disposable Litter Box Is Easy to Scoop
Disposable litter boxes are great because you don’t have to clean them for reuse. That doesn’t free you from scooping duty, however.
Frequent scooping not only keeps the litter box clean and comfortable for your cat, but it helps prevent odor. It’s best to scoop at least once daily, but you can never really do it too often.
When shopping for disposable litter boxes, the size and shape of the box will be the factors that influence scoop-ability. If the box is too small, a large litter scoop might be tricky to use. Rounded corners can trap damp litter, especially if you’re using a non-clumping variety.
Some disposable litter boxes have a coating on the inside which not only protects against leaks, but helps prevent litter from sticking.
The Best Disposable Litter Box Is Economically Priced
Convenience is one of the primary benefits of disposable litter boxes over traditional litter pans. You get to save yourself the hassle of scooping, but you’re going to pay a premium for it. While disposable litter boxes don’t have to be pricey, it’s a recurring expense you’ll have to work into your budget.
Prices run the gambit from the ultra-affordable Kitty’s Wonderbox disposable litter box, sold in a 3-count for under $10, to the $40 Kitty Sift sifting litter box set. Consider how many litter trays you’ll get with each option and how long they’re going to last to determine the best value.
Here are a few other factors to consider when shopping for disposable litter boxes:
- Size – A large litter box is going to be more cat-friendly than a small one. The bigger and deeper the litter box, the better it will be at containing scatter and you’ll be able to pour a thicker layer of litter for your cat to dig around in.
- Portability – Traveling with cats can be tricky but disposable litter boxes offer portable convenience. Look for a disposable litter box that folds down for transport or has handles so you can move it easily.
- Height – A shallow litter box won’t contain scatter or urine spray very effectively, but if the walls are too high it might not be practical for kittens or older cats. Some boxes have dropped entries with higher walls to provide the best of both worlds.
- Odor Control – Because the whole point is to avoid deep-cleaning the litter box, you want it to do a good job containing odor on its own. Moisture-resistant coatings help keep urine from soaking into the material and may help prevent odor from lingering as well.
Looking for a more traditional, reusable litter box? Check out our top picks for the 10 best litter boxes in this in-depth round-up.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are disposable litter boxes worth it?
It depends on your priorities. If you’re traveling, a disposable litter box is a great option because you can pick one up at your destination and toss it before you head home. They work well for people who don’t want to perform the necessary in-depth cleaning of a litter box.
They’re also a good solution if you find that ammonia odor tends to leech into the plastic of your standard litter box, creating a permanent odor you can’t get out. It’ll cost more to keep replacing your cat litter pan, but the convenience may outweigh the cost for some cat owners.
How long do disposable litter boxes last?
Most disposable litter boxes are designed to last for up to four weeks, but their longevity depends on several factors. Sturdy litter boxes made from compressed fibers tend to last longer than cardboard, as do cat boxes with moisture-resistant linings.
Regardless which type you choose, a disposable litter box will generally last longer in a single-cat household than a home with multiple cats.
What type of litter should you use with disposable litter boxes?
Disposable litter boxes are generally designed to accommodate all types of cat litter. A disposable sifting litter box works best with clumping cat litter while a litter box with a leak-proof lining is recommended for non-clumping litter.
Crystal cat litter is a good option for disposable boxes because it is highly absorbent and may help prevent moisture from soaking into the bottom of the box.