Whether it’s an apartment, a small house, or a shared living space, your home should be just as comfortable for your cat as it is for you. With limited space to work with, however, you may find yourself choosing furniture, decorations, and cat essentials based on their size.
As you’re shopping for the best litter box to suit your small space, keep your cat’s needs in mind. Our top pick is the tuft + paw Cove litter box because it really delivers on both form and function without taking up unnecessary space.
At a Glance: 7 Best Cat Litter Boxes for Small Spaces
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.
Why Should You Trust Us?
Over the last three years, we’ve spent a lot of time figuring out what it takes to make a great litter box.
We’ve researched the types of litter boxes available, read hundreds of customer reviews, and performed real-world tests on over a dozen top boxes. We spent over 40 hours testing these litter boxes’ sturdiness, cat-friendliness, and appropriateness for smaller living spaces.
Based on this extensive research and hands-on testing, we’ve selected the 7 cat litter boxes described below as the best you can buy for small apartments.
How We Picked
After thoroughly researching the topic of litter boxes for small apartments, I narrowed down the options for my top 7 picks based on the following criteria:
- Compact but large enough for the average cat
- High sides to contain scatter and urine spray
- Easy to scoop and clean
- Quality materials and durability
- Added benefits like odor control and storage
I tested most of these litter boxes with my three cats, Bagel, Biscuit, and Munchkin. For some of the picks on this list, I relied on the in-depth testing and video reviews made by our Head of Content, Mallory Crusta.
All three of my cats weigh less than 10 pounds which gives me greater flexibility in terms of litter box sizing. If you have a large cat, some of the picks on this list simply might not be big enough.
The Best Litter Boxes for Small Apartments: Our Top 7 Picks
4 Qualities of a Good Litter Box for Small Living Spaces
It’s difficult to say that any litter box is truly the “best” because every cat and every situation is different. If you live in an apartment or have limited space in your home, some of the picks from our Best Cat Litter Boxes roundup simply may not work for you.
The best litter boxes for small spaces have the following things in common:
- They are compact and don’t take up a significant amount of floor space.
- They give your cat space to turn around and dig in the litter.
- They have high sides to contain litter scatter and urine spray.
- They offer additional benefits such as storage for maximum value.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these four qualities so you can better understand how we came to our top 7 picks reviewed above.
1. The Best Litter Box for Small Apartments Is Compact and Doesn’t Take up a Lot of Floor Space.
Floor space is at a premium in small apartments, so you can’t just buy new furniture (or litter boxes) without considering the dimensions and how much space you have available. Look for a litter box that doesn’t take up an excessive amount of floor space but still meets your cat’s needs.
If you’re squeezing the litter box in between pieces of furniture, the traditional rectangular litter pan design might be best. You can find corner boxes, but these tend to limit the amount of space your cat actually has inside the box. To maximize open corner space, consider a square litter box – something like the ModKat XL reviewed above is ideal for this purpose.
2. The Best Litter Boxes for Small Spaces Still Give Your Cat Enough Room To Do His Business.
Don’t just buy the smallest litter box you can find. If you do, you’ll end up with litter scattered all over the place, urine sprayed outside the box, and a very frustrated cat. Your cat may even get frustrated enough to stop using the litter box entirely.
When shopping for litter boxes for small spaces, look for something compact but make sure it’s still appropriately sized for your specific cat. The litter box should be at least as long as your cat from nose to tail (with his tail extended) and as wide as your cat’s body is long.
A litter box too small won’t give your cat room to turn around or dig to cover his waste. Small litter boxes also tend to fill up faster, so you may find yourself scooping the box more often than you like.
3. The Best Litter Box for Apartments Have High Sides To Contain Messy Litter Box Behavior.
With a small litter box, the risk for litter scatter is fairly high – especially with larger cats and enthusiastic diggers. One of the simplest ways to mitigate messy litter box behavior is to choose a box with high sides. High-sided litter boxes are particularly beneficial for households with female cats who tend to spray urine. Urine spray will hit the high sides of the box and trickle down into the litter instead of ending up on the wall behind the box or on the floor.
When shopping for high-sided litter boxes, be sure to check the height of the entry to the box. Most high-sided boxes have a lowered entry for easy access which, unfortunately, leaves some room for litter scatter. If you have a kitten or an older cat who struggles to climb into the litter box, a high-sided litter box might not be a practical choice unless the entry is less than 5 inches off the ground.
4. The Best Litter Boxes for Small Homes Do Double Duty as Storage or Shelving.
While it’s important to consider your cat’s needs first and foremost when shopping for a litter box, it’s a bonus when the product you choose can benefit you as well. If you’re working with limited living space, look for a litter box that has integrated storage for the litter scoop or, better yet, one that doubles as a side table or shelving unit.
If you’re considering a litter box that doubles as a piece of furniture, carefully consider the materials from which the unit is made. If you’re putting the litter box inside an enclosed space, check to see whether it’s leak-proof. Even if it is, you may want to line the interior to keep urine spray from soaking into the wood and ruining it.
Still not sold on any of the litter boxes from the list above? Check out some of our other favorite litter boxes on the market in our in-depth guide here:
Frequently Asked Questions
Do cats prefer covered or uncovered litter boxes?
Generally speaking, cat behaviorists and veterinarians recommend uncovered litter boxes over their covered counterparts. While covered boxes may help contain odor in a smaller living space, the odor can become concentrated in the litter box and create an unpleasant environment for your cat. It’s also possible that you may not clean the litter box as often simply because you aren’t affronted by the sight and smell of your cat’s waste on a daily basis.
There’s also the issue of privacy versus vulnerability. While we humans like to do our business behind the security of a closed bathroom door, cats feel vulnerable when they’re in an enclosed space with limited visibility. An open litter box enables them to see what’s going on around them while they’re already in a vulnerable position.
Are automatic litter boxes good for small spaces?
Most cat owners love the idea of eliminating the hassle of litter box maintenance, but automatic, self-cleaning litter boxes are pricey. There’s another problem, too – they tend to be pretty big. The Litter Robot 4, for example, has a 27x22x29.5-inch footprint and a price tag around $650.
If you’re considering an automatic litter box, be sure to check the dimensions before you buy, but don’t assume smaller is better. The dimensions listed typically refer to the entire unit – the size of the litter bed itself could be much smaller and may not be adequate for your cat.
Think about all the pros and cons of an automatic litter box before you open your wallet and commit more of your valuable floor space to one of these units.