It's never fun to watch your pet get old, but recognizing that they'll develop special needs as they age is part of being a devoted pet parent. While raising a cat through its elder years can be one of life's more rewarding experiences, elimination problems, like peeing outside the litter box, are common for cats as they get older. If this has become an issue for your favorite furry companion, consider investing in one of the best litter boxes for older cats, which were designed to make them feel more comfortable as they go about their business.
There are a few reasons why elderly cats might be having trouble using an
ordinary litter box, so you should always consult with a veterinarian before making any changes in your home. Arthritis, which can cause painful joints and make getting in and out of the box difficult, is common for cats. Another cause of litter box issues in aging cats is cognitive decline, which can make them confused about where the litter box is located in your home.
Regardless of what's causing your senior cat's litter box problems, these are the best litter boxes for older cats on Amazon that are highly rated and pet owner-approved.
1 Best Overall: This Box That's Low To The Ground & Won't Strain Joints
When it comes to caring for older cats, this
litter box is a total lifesaver. Its open design allows you to monitor your pet and keep an eye on their daily elimination habits, which becomes more important as they age. Designed to be low to the ground, so it's easier for cats to step in without putting extra stress on their little bones, the KittyGoHere senior cat litter box is also surprisingly roomy, meaning you could actually use this for multiple pets if need be. What fans say: “I have a 16 year old cat that I could not figure out why she [was] using the restroom right outside the litter box. Her whole life, I never had an issue with this. I was talking to my mom about this and she reminded me that Kitty is getting old and with her arthritis may not be able to get into regular litter boxes anymore. I wasn't sure about it because she is still able to jump up on lower items, but I went online and found this and it was a miracle; she is now going in the litter box again.” 2 Best For Cats That Spray: This High-Sided Box That Keeps Litter Contained
In addition to having accidents outside a litter box due to mobility issues or dementia, cats may sometimes pee outside the box because they just happen to spray high. It can be frustrating, but one of the big advantages to using this
high-sided litter box from PetFusion is that urine and litter will stay inside where they belong. Made with a nonstick antimicrobial coating that helps keep bacteria and odors from forming, this box has a semi-low entryway, which means older cats can enter and exit without too much added discomfort. It has a near-perfect rating, too, with even a veterinarian (and parent of nine cats) giving it five stars. What fans say: “I wanted something that was high on the sides to prevent litter from going everywhere, but low enough in the front that my senior kitty can get in and out. Oh, and also something that was big enough for an adult cat to actually get around in (most other boxes I found were super small). This box fits the bill!” 3 Best Covered Box: This Domed Litter Box With Built-In Stairs
covered litter box for a senior cat gives them a bit more privacy as they go about their business, and it may help to contain the mess, too, especially if your cat loves to kick. However, the downside with most covered boxes is that they often aren't as low to the ground as other designs are. This domed model from Booda is the exception, though. It comes with steps, which are grooved and help gently wipe cats' paws as they exit, so floors stay litter-free. These steps also solve mobility-related issues for older cats since they won't have to jump up or in to use it. It also comes with a charcoal filter that helps absorb unwanted odors. What fans say: “We realized my overweight, senior cat was having difficulty stepping into the regular litter box. The gradual ramp on this dome make it extremely easy for him to get in and out. No more accidents outside the box!” 4 Best For Tight Spaces: This Corner Litter Box That Saves So Much Room
Need to find a box for your cat that's low enough to the ground so that they can slip in comfortably but compact enough so it can fit into a corner or similarly cramped space? If so, this
corner litter box is a must-have, as it comes with high sides to prevent litter kick-out, plus a low-entry bottom so arthritic and elderly cats can still navigate it with ease. The roomy, durable box is built for long-term use and fits into virtually any corner, so it's ideal for apartments or shared living situations. What fans say: “I love this litter box. [It] scoops very well the litter comes right out[,] no sticking to the bottom! It’s a nice size. My cats are old and they have no problem getting in and out. I would highly recommend it.” 5 Editor’s Pick: A Self-Cleaning Litter Box
Not a fan of scooping litter every day? Bustle editor
Cristina Sanza favors this automatic litter box for her 15-year-old cat with arthritis. Her cat is able to step in and out of the box easily, and it comes with absorbent crystal litter that helps control odor. The crystal litter is also low-tracking and 99% dust-free, so it helps prevent litter messes around the house. You’ll need to change out the litter every few weeks, or more often if your cat uses the box frequently. This box comes with a disposable litter tray, but you can opt for a reusable one if you prefer (sold separately). What fans say: “I own 2 older cats including one that is a poop-making machine necessitating twice-daily box cleaning. Not any more! I've had this in use for a week and so far no odor unless it was just used, very little litter tracking, and both cats adapted to it easily.” 6 Best Litter Box System: This Option With Waste-Filtering Pellets & Absorbent Pads
If your cat creates messes with clumping litter, the
Tidy Cats Breeze litter box system is a great alternative. The system uses filtering pellets that make waste easy to scoop, while urine is absorbed by pads in a tray below the pellets. The pads control urine odor for up to seven days for one cat, and the pellets will need to be replaced about once a month. This system also offers an easy way to collect a urine sample before vet visits, since you can temporarily place non-absorbent material in the pull-out tray. Each order comes with a litter scoop, one bag of pellets, and four pads. What fans say: “We have a geriatric cat who was refusing to use the old-school litter box [...] He started using the Breeze box the minute we put it down, and has used it every time since. The pads really do last a whole week, and there's NO pee small whatsoever, even at the end of the week.” 7 Most Stylish: This High-Sided Box That Helps Prevent Messes
Not only does this
stylish litter box come in four colors — white, brown (featured), salmon pink, and white with lavender accents — but it also has high sides and a grate step that help prevent litter messes around the house. Meanwhile, the low front entry allows older cats to step in and out easily. Plus, it comes with an attachable litter scoop and features a recessed handle so it’s easy to move as needed. What fans say: “This works perfect for our elderly kitty, it has currently prevented 2 wks of accidents! So happy!” 8 Best Sifting Litter Box: This Easy-To-Use Nesting System
Some cat owners find this
sifting litter pan is easier than scooping, and it has a lower front that works well for senior cats. The litter box features two nesting pans and a sifting screen. When it’s time to clean the box, just lift the sifting screen so that unused litter falls into the pan and only the clumps remain. Once you’ve tossed the clumps, place the sifting screen and litter in the empty pan, restack, and you’re good to go. What fans say: “[...] My senior cat had a hard time to go in a litter box but this one is designed low, so easy to get in. Sifting is easier than scoping to clean up. Price is unbeatable as well [...].” 9 Best For Travel: These Disposable Litter Boxes Made From Recycled Paper
When you and your cat are away from home, these
disposable litter boxes make cleanup hassle-free. Sold in packs of one, three, and six, the boxes are made from recycled paper and low on all sides, so they’re convenient for you and easy for older cats to use. When it’s time to change the litter, you can simply toss the entire box and replace it with a fresh one. What fans say: “We moved (2 day 14 hour drive, NC to MS) and used these with a 13 year old diabetic 12 pound cat. She had no problem using this size in the travel tube in our car. She did not "miss" so medium sized worked.”
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This article was originally published on
Jan. 6, 2019