Cats can be good small-space pets. They curl up into tiny balls while napping and their beds look like charming throw pillows. Anyone with a cat who needs to make the most of their space will be pleased to know there are also small litter boxes that get the job done just as well as the big guys. At their best, large litter boxes take up more room and at their worst can be bulky eyesores that stink up a major hang-out space. A small litter box could totally change the way you live with your cat. A good litter box, no matter the size, will have an easy entry spot, have enough room for your cat to actually go to the bathroom and be able to accommodate the litter your cat loves best.
How big should a litter box be?
Small litter boxes work best for kittens and small cat breeds. Some adult cats may do just fine with tiny litter boxes. For the most part, your cat should be able to stand on all four legs in the box and turn around comfortably. Preventive Vet says a general rule of thumb is the box should be at least as long as the cat, from the tip of their nose to the tip of their fully extended tail, and as wide as their body from the nose to the tail base. Litter boxes should also be at the very least three inches deep, and preferably five to eight inches deep. This allows for enough litter so they feel comfortable doing their business (one to two inches) without pellets spilling over.
Senior cats or those with arthritis may begin urinating outside their litter boxes if the entrance is too high or cumbersome to get through. Smaller litter boxes—or lower entries—may be ideal for these types of cats.
Every cat is unique and may have different tastes, so adjust according to their response to the box. Some large cats might enjoy a more compact space while some smaller cats might want a wide-open, giant box to themselves. In the end, you’ve got to put your cat’s needs first.
Best Overall Small Litter Box
Size: 19.68” L x 15.51” W x 10.63” H
The reviews for this box are raving. Many users found the Iris Shielded Litter Pan not only kept their cats from tracking out a ton of litter but was small enough to fit in a variety of spaces while accommodating adult cats. Aesthetically speaking, we don’t mind the shiny black color! It’s much more modern than a lot of plastic boxes out there. Several happy customers also noted the lid overlaps on the interior and exterior of the box to prevent leaks, which is ideal for cats who don’t squat low when they pee.
Best Covered Small Litter Box
Size: 16.5” x 20.5” x 16.75”
Cats who love hooded litter boxes and people who like less odor should try this box. There are two components: pee pads and pellet litter. Pee pads soak up urine that drains through the litter; replace these weekly. The litter is dust free and designed to let liquid move through it; replace this monthly. The result is lower odor and less mess. The hood can slide back if your kittens seem too scrunched inside, too. One potential problem? Getting your cat used to a new type of litter specific to this box. Follow Tidy Cat’s instructions on the best way to do this.
Best Disposable Small Litter Box
Size: 17” L x 13.5” W x 4” H
We love a disposable litter box for road trips, short vacations and training periods (aka, if you move into a new home or get a new kitten). Kitty’s WonderBox made a compact, disposable option to use for up to one month. The company says the thick, 100% biodegradable recycled paper materials will not tear if your cat is a digger. One user also noted they used this box while treating their cat for an infection, a process that required constantly changing out used boxes for fresh ones.
Best Design of a Small Litter Box
Size: 17.9” H x 23.7” W x 15.1” D
Figuring out a small space is like a game of design Tetris. When you need to fit a litter box into your stylish pad without taking up a quarter of the room, try this enclosed litter box by makesure. We’re very into the oval, mod shape and bold color. Easily clean the box by pulling out the litter drawer. The entry step is also manufactured specifically to ease litter out of your cat’s paws before they exit.
Best for Very Messy Cats
Size: 18” W x 18” L x 16.5” H
The Booda Dome keeps litter contained, so if your cat is a very messy digger or loves to kick litter around, this could be a game-changer. Petmate’s round design means no tricky corners while cleaning (the walls are also said to be non-stick, which means clumps won’t end up all over the ceiling of this thing). Finally, there’s a charcoal filter with a vent to help decrease odors.
Best Corner Small Litter Box
Size: 18.25” W x 18.5” D x 11” H
Talk about a space saver! Plopping a litter box in the corner is a great way to sneak a box into a location your cat loves or make use of an awkward area in your cat room. High sides keep litter inside and a lower entry point makes it easier for kittens to climb in. Easy to clean and cost-effective!
Best Top Entry
Size: 20.47” x 16.14” x 14.56”
The Iris Top Entry Litter Box has long been a cat family favorite. Not only is it large enough for comfy bathroom business and small enough for a cramped space, but it’s also incredibly easy to clean (removing the top is a cinch). If your cat is a fan of top-entry boxes, this is a must-try.
Best Travel Small Litter Box
Size: 15” L x 11” W x 5” H
Unlike some travel litter boxes that have soft edges all the way around, this one expands to a full box with sturdier edges. When not in use, it collapses and snaps for easy storing. If you know you’re going on a trip, investing in the matching travel set is a great investment. One word of advice from someone who has used this portable litter box on several trips? Bring a tiny dustpan. The five-inch-tall sides keep in the clumps, but if your cat kicks at all, there’s bound to be some litter to sweep.
Best Litter Box Furniture for Small Spaces
Size: 19.1” x 20.9” x 20.3”
If you’re in the market for a piece of furniture that doubles as a litter box enclosure, this side table by Unipaws is ideal. It comes in white or gray and has ventilation in the back to help air out the small space inside. It even comes with a cat litter mat to trap litter as your cat exits. The entrance is 9.7” H x 9.7” W, accommodating most adult cats. You do need to purchase an actual litter box to put into the enclosure.
Best Open Small Litter Box
Size: 15.6” L x 11” W x 7.2” H
We can’t ignore how enamored we are with the millennial pink hue on this litter box! Open litter boxes are great for cats wary of enclosed spaces or who like to move around a bit more while getting comfortable enough to do their business. Sfozstra says this box is built with a three-layer leak-proof design, which prevents litter and liquid from seeping out where the bottom bin meets the top rim (which can be removed if your cat isn’t into it).