Litter Boxes – Does Size Matter?

When it comes to litter boxes, one size does not fit all. It’s super important that your cat has enough room to do her business.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: thinking like a cat is key to making your furbaby happy and comfortable.

Tracie Hotchner, pet expert and author of The Cat Bible, says there are two important considerations when choosing the proper size box for your cat: height of the sides and length/width of the box.

Why is height important? Well, you want the sides to be low enough so the cat can hop into the box without much effort, but high enough to keep the litter from scattering when your cat covers and gets out of the box. For average cats, Tracie says six-inch sides are ideal. For kittens and seniors the sides should be lower.

Length and width are also important. Tracie recommends that the box be large enough so your cat can “eliminate in a couple of areas and still have a clean place to put her paws.” That’s great advice. Imagine having to smoosh yourself up to avoid stepping in your own business from a few hours before? Right, eww. You probably wouldn’t blame a cat in that situation for choosing somewhere else to go, would you? That’s exactly what we’re trying to avoid! So, as Tracie says, a good rule of thumb is at least 1-1/2 times your cat’s length and at least one-cat-length wide. That’s minimum. Bigger is better.

There are a variety of sizes of boxes out there. I use an under the bed storage box. Some use a baby swimming pool. What do you use?


  1. We have 8 cats, who are a variety of sizes and have a variety of preferences.

    For them, I have 3 small litter boxes–1 with one of those anti-tracking attachments (a thing that goes around the box to keep litter in. I have 1 covered box, medium sized, 2 large litter boxes, and 2 under-bed boxes. The only reason I have the 3 small ones is to maximize how many boxes we have, so everyone has a choice. 2 of them go inside a piece of furniture that we’ve converted into a litter-hiding piece.

    One of my elderly cats goes on puppy pads in the bathroom, because she seems to be unable to get into the boxes. She’s always had litter box issues, though, and I’ve never managed to get her completely trained. The puppy pads are a lifesaver, and I’m about to buy the materials to make some reusable ones.

    We have very few accident nowadays, thank goodness.

    • The one Carm is talking about is the larger one. I don’t care for it because it has ridges in the bottom. I really like the smooth bottom of the smaller box. The small box is quite large actually.

  2. We use the extra large size from the pet store on the first floor of our house- where the humans are… In the upstairs- spare bedroom- which is a loft here… we use a cement mixing pan 3 feet by 4 feet from LOWES- We have 6 large cats- 4 Maine Coons, 2 barn cat boys who are as big as the Maine Coons. This works perfectly for us. We use World’s Best Cat Litter.

  3. We have two kitties. The male likes to stand up and urinate like a lion, so I finally got a storage box and put in a plexiglass shield to keep everything in the box! I also put a small step stool next to the box so he can get in and out easily. The female (of course) is no problem! She is 8 pounds and he is part Maine Coon at 13 pounds.

  4. I have three kitties of varying sizes, 2 males and a female. Tigger, an orange Tabby, at 16.5 pounds is by far the biggest and Jenny, a Colorpoint-Maine Coon mix, is the smallest at 10 pounds. Romeo, a black-white, is long and skinny at 12 pounds. The Tidy Cat Breeze system works for all of them (3 boxes, of course). The pellets dry the solid waste out and the urine goes through to the pad under the grate, keeping the upper box dry. The kitties all really like these boxes. Sometime Tigger will stand up against the wall and pee as if he was at a urinal. Jenny will get in a hurry and sometimes doesn’t get far enough into the box so her bottom hangs over the lower front side; then we have an accident. I keep the boxes in the utility room (tile floor); and if I change the pads regularly (7-10 days) and scoop the waste into plastic bags for the trash, no one ever smells anything. I love this system but now have to order the pellets and pads from Amazon as no carries them in the stores.

    • Just last week or so, I saw bags of the pellets at my local PetSmart. I don’t know where you are, but I’m in Maryland.

      If you have a PS nearby and they don’t carry it, see if they can get it for you. I saw the pellets and, I believe, the pads there.

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