Litter box, litter pan — these two words are often used interchangeably, but the real difference between the
best cat litter pan and a box is that pans are lid-less.
When it comes to the type of container cats actually prefer, though, people are torn. Some say cats like enclosed, dark spaces to do their business. Others argue that the shadowy boxes are less feline friendly. In 2012, researchers at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine conducted a study and found that out of the 28 tested cats, 70 percent
literally had no preference. However, in terms of the best pans, there are a few necessary qualities that go without saying. You need it to be big enough for your cat. You need it to be sturdy. You might need it to be a little more advanced with high-tech features.
As with anything, choosing the right litter pan comes down to your budget and lifestyle. Thankfully, there are all sorts of pans out there, from biodegradable ones to self-cleaning ones. Based on all this, I've rounded up the five best options. Keep reading to shop them all, and if you need even more inspo, check out the
best cat litter boxes for odor control. 1 The Overall Best Cat Litter Pan Considering Functionality & Price
If you're looking for a simple-yet-quality cat litter pan,
SmartCat's corner option is a solid pick. Made with durable plastic, it has 9-inch sides, a triangular shape that'll slide into any corner, and a lowered dip at the front for easy entry. The inside measures 18 inches by 18 inches, and it features an interior line to measure litter refills. What cat owners say: "After adopting an elderly cat with arthritis, we had a lot of trouble trying to find the best litter pan solution. The dipped down front of this pan made it very easy for her to get in and out of the pan. The back is tall enough to catch kicked up litter too." 2 Also Great: A Large Litter Pan With A Convenient Non-Stick Surface
litter pan by PetFusion is another great option if you don't mind spending a bit more. It's a bit larger than the one above — 22.6 inches by 18 inches — and its 8-inch walls to prevent leaks and spills. Also made with durable plastic, the surface on this one has a nonstick coating to prevent soiled litter for sticking. Translation: It's even easier to clean. What cat owners say: "I totally love this litter box! It is big enough for my large cat and the walls have something on them where the pee does not stick. I would totally recommend this litter box." 3 A Pack Of Two Disposable Jumbo Litter Pans
At just $6 for a pack of two, these
disposable pans from Nature's Miracle provide an affordable alternative to plastic pans. Made from recyclable materials, they're strong enough to last up to four weeks and are particularly great for travel. They're lined with baking soda for odor control, and, like others on this list, have high, nearly-9-inch sides to prevent spills. Inside, they're plenty big at 21 x 15.25 x 7.75 inches. What cat owners say: "These are so easy and durable. We scoop/refresh them for about 2 weeks and the just throw them out. Better than scrubbing a permanent litter box." 4 A Self-Sifting Litter Pan That Cuts Down On Cleanup Time
When you first look at it,
this Petmate pan looks like your average litter pan. However, with three layers — two regular pans and one sifting pan — it doesn't require any scooping. Holes at the bottom automatically sift the litter, separating the messes for easy dumping. It's slightly smaller than other pans on this list with 7.86-inch walls, but it's relatively affordable considering its hands-free functionality. What cat owners say: "Anyone who thinks scooping litter is a pain, needs one of these. This pan has dramatically decreased the time it takes to change litter and also helps with cutting down on the waste of pricey litter." 5 A Splurge-Worthy Litter Pan With Self-Cleaning Features That Warrant Its Higher Price
self-flushing pan by CatGenie is the most feature-packed pan on this list, making it worth the splurge. Not only does this pan literally flush away waste with the push of a button, it also washes itself so that you're never interacting with waste. The pan measures 24.5 inches by 21 inches and has three modes: active, sleep, and delay. It even has a timer function, so you can set it to clean based on your cat's schedule. The downsides, however, are that it's far heavier than its basic counterparts at 26 pounds and requires a cold water hookup and electrical outlet. It comes with both a month's supply of washable granules (that replace traditional litter) as well as a cleaning solution cartridge. What cat owners say: "I've had my cat genie 1.5 years. It's nice not smelling the cat litter box anymore. I have 3 cats. They stay inside during the winter but go outside every day during good weather. I wish the machine was cheaper but I haven’t gone thru the bags and jugs of cat litter like I was before." Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.