How big should my cat’s litter box be?

by Michael
(London, UK)

"Ah, now that's my litter tray...where's my tape measure?" - Photo by sarahgb(theoriginal) (Flickr)

I have the answer (or supposed answer) to this question from a competitor's website and why not? I must admit that I hadn't given it a thought until I read about it. I just used to apply common sense principles.

But commonsense might not be accurate enough. That great euphemism, "inappropriate elimination" is the most common "problem" for us in cat caretaking so anything that helps to ensure that our cats use the litter is important for us and more importantly (for me) for the cat because this problem results in relinquishment and many times in death.

In short it is a matter of life and death.

I posted a short article about poor cat ownership causing this problem. In summary one thing we can do to prevent the problem is to keep the litter box clean. If the litter box is dirty, or if your cat dislikes the type of litter you're using, he or she may go outside the box.

Another factor is a litter box in a noisy or high-traffic (people traffic that is!) area.

If the box is too small, cats can seek other places to relieve themselves, which means outside the box and in an area that we find inappropriate.

Well, a very eminent veterinarian, Dr. Tony Buffington DVM, MS, PhD, Diplomate ACVN at Ohio State University, who has research interests that include lower urinary tract disorders of cats, has concluded that a litter box should be at least one and one-half times the length of our cat.

This, apparently is a problem as I am also reliably informed by Dr. Jon of petplace.com, that on this basis the majority of cat litter boxes are unsuitable (meaning too small)! He is, by the way, referring to the United States. I will also have to assume that the width must be a reasonable size (why is the width not referred to as well?).

Well, there it is. The next time we buy a litter box we should check the dimensions after we have measured our cat. I am, by the way, also going to make the assumption that the measurement of our cat is from the nose to the base of the tail unless someone tells me otherwise.

Michael Avatar

Selected assoicated pages:

Toilet Training For Cats

Litter Training

Link to original Flickr photo

Stopping The Inappropriate Elimination of Cats

How big should my cat's litter box be? to Cat Health Problems

Comments for
How big should my cat's litter box be?

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Apr 03, 2010 Litter trayes
by: Anonymous

Cats prefere to use the Deare's good loam if it is possible.It is unaturale to make them use man made substances but if you have to then they neede to be in a private place and kept extremely cleane.


Apr 03, 2010 To Christine
by: Michael

I am not sure that using the corner of a litter tray means that size is unimportant.

I think what the professor is saying is that if the tray is too small a percentage of cats won't use it.

The size is one factor in making the tray attractive to use amongst other factors such as position and cleanliness.

Michael Avatar


Apr 02, 2010 Size is of no importance.
by: By Christine .Poole u.k

It does not matter what size litter trays I buy for my cat, Sally Ann,she will only use one end of it, and then its right up in the corner. why she does not use the centre.I just don't know.I have tried all sizes and it is always the same.


Apr 02, 2010 Litter boxes
by: Ruth

Also,with more than one cat in the home you should have a litter box for each cat and a spare one too. Many times when people ask why one or more of their cats are messing on the floor it turns out they have to share one box.
Cats hate using dirty litter,it's like us using a toilet after someone who hasn't flushed it.
The wet and lumps should be removed from the litter as often as possible and at least once a week, more times preferably, the boxes should be totally emptied,thoroughly washed and dried and fresh litter put in.
It's amazing the number of people who call their cats 'dirty' and punish them,yet don't even provide the basic care of their litter boxes.
Cats are extremely clean given the chance !

Kattaddorra signature Ruth



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