The 9 Best Litter Boxes For Messy Cats

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Written by Danielle Calma
The best litter boxes for messy cats feature covered or high-walled designs. In this image, there ar...
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Your cat can’t help it if they send litter flying, track it into your home, or miss the box when they use the bathroom — but fortunately, the right litter box can make a difference. Available in enclosed and open-style varieties, the best litter boxes for messy cats will help keep debris inside where it belongs (and off your floors). Choose a litter box size and design that suits your cat and your space.

What To Consider When Shopping For Litter Boxes For Messy Cats


Ideally, the size of your cat’s litter box will be 1.5 times their body length (measuring from their nose to the base of their tail) and as wide as they are long. An appropriately sized litter box will not only ensure there’s enough room for your cat to comfortably turn, stand, and squat without bumping into or hanging over the sides, but it can also help keep litter contained. The litter box should also, of course, fit in the space where you plan to store it.

Covered Vs. Open Litter Boxes

Hooded and top-entry litter boxes are typically better than open litter boxes at containing messes and the odors that accompany them. But not all cats will take well to a covered litter box. If your feline prefers an open litter box but constantly kicks up litter or urinates on or over the sides of the pan, consider opting for a litter box with high sides instead of one that’s fully enclosed.

Litter Box Entryway

If choosing an enclosed litter box, you should also consider whether your cat will tolerate a closed doorway. Some boxes feature lids with swinging doors, which can help keep litter from scattering and odors from wafting out (plus, they have the added benefit of looking tidier from the outside), but some cats may not take to them. Regardless, you’ll also want to ensure the box is easy for your specific cat to access. Not all manufacturers provide entryway specifications — but if you have an older or less mobile feline, a box with a low, front entryway could be easier for them to step into.

Other Features To Minimize Messes

Grooved surfaces can help capture excess litter from your cat’s paws and prevent tracking. And if you want to keep mess to a minimum and make cleaning out your cat’s litter box less of a chore, there are automatic litter boxes — some of which use crystal litter that’s less prone to tracking than traditional litter. (While you’re at it, check out this list of the best non-tracking cat litters to go with your cat’s new litter box.)

Shop The Best Litter Boxes For Messy Cats

In a hurry? Here are the best litter boxes for messy cats:

  1. The Fan-Favorite Top-Entry Litter Box: IRIS USA Cat Litter Box
  2. The Best Open Litter Box With High Sides: Van Ness Cat Litter Pan
  3. Writer’s Pick: This Cat Litter Box With An Adjustable Lid: Modkat Flip Litter Box
  4. The Best Basic Hooded Litter Box: Nature’s Miracle Hooded Flip Top Litter Box
  5. A Hooded Litter Box With A Swinging Door: Amazon Basics No-Mess Hooded Cat Litter Box
  6. The Best Covered Litter Box With Built-In Stairs: PetMate Booda Litter Box Dome
  7. An Open Litter Box With A Low Entryway: PetFusion BetterBox Litter Box
  8. The Best Automatic Litter Box: PetSafe ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Litter Box
  9. A Litter Box With A Hood That’s Designed For Corners: Van Ness Corner Enclosed Cat Pan

Below, find some of the best litter boxes for messy cats on Amazon — plus, a litter mat you can use alongside a box.

1. The Fan-Favorite Top-Entry Litter Box


  • 23,000+ 5-star ratings
  • Enclosed, top-entry design keeps messes to a minimum
  • Grooved lid assists in cleaning off cat paws


  • Small entryway

With over 23,000 5-star ratings, this top-entry litter box is beloved among cat owners — and it’s easy to see why. Not only does it feature an enclosed design to minimize mess, but it also has a grooved lid to reduce tracking after your cat hops out. The entryway measures 9 inches by 10.5 inches, which could be cramped for larger cats — but you can remove the lid when it comes time to clean. What’s more, it comes in an attractive style in two sizes (medium and large), a square option, and in four other colors.

One cat owner wrote: “My cat liked to shovel litter out of his front-entry box at 3 in the morning. This solved my problem! I was a little worried that it would take time for him to get used to it, but he started using it as soon as I got it set up. [...] It’s as easy to clean as a standard litter box. The top pops off without hassle for daily maintenance, and it’s pretty lightweight when you need to change out the litter. I do wish it had a handle or two, but that would probably drive up the cost a little.”

Litter box type: Covered with top entry | Size: 17.3 x 13.4 x 12.20 inches (length x width x height of medium size), 20.5 x 16.1 x 14.6 (length x width x height of large size, featured above)

2. The Best Open Litter Box With High Sides


  • Great for cats who don’t like hooded boxes
  • Inexpensive


  • Won’t contain odors as well as enclosed options

If your cat prefers an open-style litter box but constantly kicks out litter or overshoots when they pee, this budget-friendly Van Ness litter box could be a good option for your pet and your wallet. It has 10-inch-high sides, and Amazon shoppers have also reported that the front entryway is approximately 7 inches tall. The box is made of odor-resistant plastic, and some cat owners have mentioned its smooth interior makes scooping out waste a breeze.

If you need a more spacious open-top litter box for an extra-large cat or multiple cats, check out this Petmate Giant option, which measures about 4 inches longer and 1 inch wider than the Van Ness litter box.

One cat owner wrote: “My cats recently decided to start sticking their rear ends over the edge of the litter box. Cue big smell and mess! I got this for the high sides, and now no more problems with rear ends hanging over the edge! It has also somewhat reduced the amount of litter escaping the box. Very happy I bought this.”

Litter box type: Open top with front entry | Size: 21.3 x 17.1 x 9.3 inches (length x width x height)

3. Writer’s Pick: This Cat Litter Box With An Adjustable Lid


  • Unique lid design can accommodate cats’ preferences
  • Comes with a scooper


  • On the pricey side

If your cat is anything like mine, they will send litter flying when they use the box. To address the problem of incessant litter kick-up, the Modkat Flip Litter Box has been a lifesaver. It’s enclosed to keep litter inside where it belongs while providing my cat privacy as he conducts his business. The entryway is under 7 inches high, and the interior is spacious enough for my cat to comfortably turn, stand, and squat.

The litter box isn’t an eyesore, and the option to put the lid back and out of the way makes clean-up easy, too. As a plus, the litter box comes with one of Modkat’s reusable tarp liners. Per the manufacturer, the liner should be replaced every three months — while I like using it to keep things extra sanitary, some reviewers have reported the box is just as easy to clean without it.

One cat owner wrote: “Our cat Bella Tuna Todd is a sprayer, but (thankfully) only in her litter boxes. We've used a variety of high-walled litter boxes and none of them were high enough for her reach, so there was many a mess to be cleaned. However, this box has saved our floors and we cannot be more grateful for it.”

Litter box type: Covered with front entry | Size: 20.5 x 15.5 x 16.8 inches (length x width x height)

4. The Best Basic Hooded Litter Box


  • Features a charcoal filter to offset odors
  • The front of the lid flips up for easier scooping


  • Litter can still be kicked out the doorway

This hooded litter box is enclosed on all sides and comes with a replaceable charcoal filter to help neutralize smells as they arise. The interior has a nonstick surface and the front of the hood flips up to make it easy to scoop waste or change the litter. The whole lid can be removed as well. Its entry point measures about 7.2 inches high.

One cat owner wrote: “Our new 4-year-old rehomed cat was urinating over the edge of the litter box we purchased. We thought the sides were high enough and she had plenty of room to maneuver but we had daily cleanup to do. [...] Nature’s Miracle, the folks [who] make the best urine odor destroyer spray, make this large litter box with a domed cover that is easy to put on and take off. There is so much room inside and privacy for the cat that she took to it immediately. Best of all, there is no more pee outside of the litter box!”

Litter box type: Covered with front entry | Size: 25.3 x 18.8 x 16.5 inches (length x width x height)

5. A Hooded Litter Box With A Swinging Door


  • Offers shy cats lots of privacy
  • Fully enclosed design traps messes and odors


  • Some cats won’t love the swinging door

This hooded litter box with a swinging door is ideal for cats that prefer more privacy — plus, it can cut down on how much cleanup you have to do. The enclosed litter box offers little escape for litter kick-up or urine overspray, and while the swinging door also helps keep mess and accompanying odors contained, it provides easy access for your cat. As a plus, it also uses a replaceable carbon filter — while filters directly from Amazon Basics aren’t available, you could try these charcoal filters, which can easily be cut down to size. If your cat isn’t keen on the swinging door, you can remove it — and you can remove the top half of the litter box when you need to clean the box, too. The entryway height is not specified by the manufacturer, but one reviewer estimated it to be 7 inches tall.

One cat owner wrote: “It’s very spacious inside with a lot of room for my cat to do her business in private (she likes her privacy and no awkward stares). She’s a big kicker and it sounds like she’s kicking it everywhere but no messes! She still manages to leave a litter trail after jumping out but that’s no problem with the litter box itself.”

Litter box type: Covered with front entry via swinging door | Size: 23.7 x 17.3 x 16.9 inches (length x width x height)

6. The Best Covered Litter Box With Built-In Stairs


  • Spacious design suits larger cats
  • Grooved stairs prevent litter tracking


  • Shape and grooves could make it harder to clean

With over 10,000 positive Amazon reviews just for this particular brushed-nickel version of the PetMate litter box, this is a popular option among cat owners for its innovative construction. (It can also be purchased in pearl white and titanium hues.) It features stairs with grooves to catch excess litter from your cat’s paws as they make their way out — and reviewers have confirmed that it really does trap litter. Plus, according to multiple reviewers, the stairs are ideal for their senior cats, including one who wrote, “The ramp access to the litter box is so smart, especially for my senior cat who has a hard time getting around.”

The top half of the litter box is easily removable when it comes time to clean, and the nonstick interior makes scooping waste practically effortless. The litter box also comes with a replaceable carbon filter to neutralize smells as they arise.

One cat owner wrote: “I tried everything to prevent my cat from getting litter all over the floor. Changing litter type didn’t help. He would jump over any mats I put down. And he still managed to get it everywhere using the bin system with a top entry. This was the only method I’ve used that actually decreased tracking. It also has helped with odor control and is aesthetically pleasing as you can’t see the litter or poop inside. The only con is that it is much wider than a regular litter box, so you need to have a good space for it. If you have that then I would recommend this litter box.”

Litter box type: Covered with front entry via stairs | Size: 22.5 x 22.5 x 19 inches (length x width x height)

7. An Open Litter Box With A Low Entryway


  • 5-inch entryway makes it better for older or less mobile cats
  • High sides prevent litter scatter and mess


  • Nonstick surface might not last

If you have an older or less mobile cat that is prone to making messes, consider this PetFusion litter box. It has a low entryway of 5 inches, so cats can more comfortably get in and out, but the other three walls have higher sides to contain litter and urine. The interior is treated with a nonstick coating to prevent the litter from sticking to the surface, but some shoppers have claimed the coating can wear off over time.

One cat owner wrote: “Great litter box! Perfect low entry for my senior Calico cat and spacious enough for my larger tuxedo cat. Also high sides seem to keep litter contained much more than other litter boxes. Litter doesn’t stick and is very easy to clean.”

Litter box type: Open-top with front entry | Size: 22.6 x 18.1 x 8.1 (length x width x height)

8. The Best Automatic Litter Box


  • Helps with daily maintenance and uses odor-absorbing crystal pellets which are less prone to tracking
  • Comes in covered and open-top versions


  • Expensive up front and requires disposable liner trays

There are two features that make the PetSafe automatic litter box less messy. First, it cleans itself — built-in sensors detect when your cat exits the box, and the automatic rake system scoops waste into a separate compartment so you don’t have to clear it out every time they use the bathroom. Secondly, it uses pre-filled trays of low-tracking, low-dust crystal litter made from absorbent silica gel. One reviewer wrote that it’s “a lot less mess than normal kitty litter boxes!” Just keep in mind that you’ll have to replace the crystal litter trays every 30 days at minimum — and at about $70 for a pack of three, it is pricier than the other litter box solutions here. But if convenience is what you’re after, it’ll be worth the convenience.

Choose from the hooded design (featured above), which has a 6.3-inch entryway, as well as top-entry and open box options.

One cat owner wrote: “Exactly what I was looking for! This fits perfectly in the corner of our small laundry room at our apartment. It’s a great size for our cat (he’s 1). Also noticed less mess with the raised entry as compared to other square boxes.”

Litter box type: Covered automatic with front entry (top entry and open-top also available) | Size: 27.5 x 19 x 15.8 inches (length x width x height)

9. A Litter Box With A Hood That’s Designed For Corners


  • Ideal for maximizing space in a corner
  • 20-inch height gives taller cats more space to move


  • Interior corners may be harder to clean than a rectangular box

If you don’t have a ton of space for a litter box, this option can be tucked in a corner and out of the way. The box has a hooded design and features a replaceable air filter to help keep strong odors at bay. The lid features a swinging door, but many reviewers have opted to remove it due to it not fitting properly. You can easily remove the hood when you want to change the litter or scoop out waste — however, some reviewers have reported that the box’s rounded corners make it quite challenging. According to Amazon reviewers, the entryway is roughly 8 to 9 inches tall, which might not be ideal for older or less mobile cats.

One cat owner wrote: “My cat LOVES to scratch and dig in litter. I had an open pan and would get mounds of litter flung everywhere before. With the unique shape of this closed lid box, he has way more room [and] the pan is much deeper which he loves, and he can dig away and scratch the sides and it’s all contained so no mess! The first day I left the door off to make sure he would use it since he is 4 years old already. The next day, I attached the swinging door. At first it was not freely swinging, so I took some scissors and trimmed it a little bit around one edge and voila, an easy swinging door! It sits so nicely in a corner and isn’t an eyesore. Me and my cat are both very happy!”

Litter box type: Covered with front entry | Size: 21 x 19 x 20 inches (length x width x height)

Also Consider: A Litter Mat To Prevent Tracking

If you want an extra preventative measure to keep litter off the floor, snag this cat litter mat from Gorilla Grip, which has amassed a 4.5-star overall rating after more than 40,000 reviews. The surface has a textured surface to catch litter particles as your cat steps on the mat. It’s also easy to clean — the manufacturer recommends just doing a pass with a vacuum or shaking it out. In the event of a wet or sticky mess, multiple reviewers have successfully run it through the washing machine, too. The litter mat comes in seven sizes, three shapes, and 19 colors, so you’re guaranteed to find one that’s suitable for your cat’s litter box and the amount of mess they make.

One cat owner wrote: “I like that the litter that travels out to my floor is a quarter of what I used to deal with, now it is caught on the litter trap mat. Easy to clean [with] vacuum or sweep off the litter left.”

Sizes: Small (24 x 17 inches) — Jumbo (47 x 35 inches)

About The Recommender

Danielle Calma is a commerce writer for Bustle, where she researches and recommends the best products for shoppers. She has covered pet-focused topics for Bustle and Elite Daily. She also draws from her experience as a cat mom, and she currently shares a home with a cat named Doctor Fluffy Pants.