When coming to a question, what size litter box does your cat need, most sources come up with statements, like: “it depends on your cat’s preferences”, “it depends on your cat’s size”, “the larger, the better” and similar. While we can agree, it depends on many things, there actually is one method that helps to determine the necessary size of the litter box you should get for your cat.
It’s still only a general rule, but in most cases fine choice would be a box, that is at least 1.5 times long as the cat is (without counting the tail) and at least the same width that the cat’s length is.
This space provides freedom of movement in the box, it allows the cat to dig the litter comfortably in several locations, not just in the center of the box, and it allows the cat to turn around inside the box.
Did this surprise you? Imagine, for larger Maine Coones it means the litter box must be 36 inches (0.9 meters) long. WOW, that is a lot. But okay, now, a bit realistic picture.
An average cat is 18 inches (0.45 meters) long, it means, your box must be 1.5 times 18, that is 27 inches or approximately 68 cm long and 18 inches wide.
We checked at a pet store. Most litter boxes were close to 20 inches in length. Guess what, it’s not enough. And even a one box that wore a slogan “mega” was just 24 inches long, it is still not enough, but, might be good enough for most cats.
So, what’s the solution? Well, we loved how Pam Johnson-Bennett, a certified pet behavior consultant and an award winning cat book author, recommends getting a large, plastic storage container and making a litter box out of it, by cutting one of the edges lower.
This gives, first, a large litter box which is comfortable for your cat, second, higher edges of the container will actually help to contain the litter inside the box.
Do cats really need that large box?
Now, many of you may already grump your faces in disbelief, do cats really need that large box. Why would pet stores still sell litter boxes that are too small?
Well, we are not litter box manufacturers and are poor at marketing, so, we don’t know. Maybe, it’s easier to sell smaller box, rather that one that takes up half of the living room, maybe they’re just not that well educated, maybe it’s something else or combination of many, we don’t know. The important thing, they are too small for most cats.
Do we hear, “But many cats still use them!“. Yes, that is true. But if your only alternative was a small WC seat, would you still use it? We bet you did! It, probably would take much more before you’d choose to urinate on the carpet in your living room. While this is a bit inaccurate comparison, you got the point.
Cats can tolerate a lot of discomfort, wrong location, wrong substrate, inadequate cleaning, box too small… Most cats would still use the box, because they are trained to do so. But, when it all adds up, problems occur, and it’s really hard to find the reason why, because it’s everything.
And, even if problems do not occur, having an uncomfortable and inadequately sized litter box for your cat, can cause a significant stress in him, which can lead to other behavior problems easily.
Now, just think about it. Do you want your cat to feel comfortable? Then get a bigger box. Your cat will be thankful. If you think it’s not possible to find a spot for such a large sized litter box, get as large as you can find a place for. It’s not the end of the world, it is just one thing the cat might not like about the litter box. Don’t make those too many, and your cat will have a happy life.
This article is a part of series about cat litter boxes.