One of the top reasons that people surrender their cats is for not using the litterbox. Even after being checked by a vet to be sure that there’s no physical reason for not using the box, some cats don’t use their litterbox because they don’t like the box itself, often because it’s too small. Cats prefer a litter box at least 1.5 times the length of their body, and some cats don’t like having their tail touching the side of the box while they do their business.
A recent trip to a local big box pet store showed that the largest litterbox for sale there, advertised as sized extra large, measured 16.5″ wide x 22″ long. If you have a big kitty, this may not be big enough for him to feel comfortable. But what can you do about it if it’s the biggest cat box manufactured?
Think outside the box and use something that wasn’t manufactured to be a litterbox.
Mortar Mixing Tray
A typical 26 gallon concrete mixing tray or mixing tub is 36″ x 24″ with a depth of about 8,” but they come as large as 60″ x 36.” This width and depth increase may be enough to make your kitty more comfortable using the box. As a bonus, most concrete mixing trays have rounded corners at the bottom that make it easier for you to scoop the litter without things getting stuck in the corners. You can find them at your local home improvement store, and they are sold in different materials, some more durable than others.
Sweater/Blanket Storage Bin
Clear plastic sweater or blanket storage bins come in an amazing variety of sizes and shapes. Some are wide and low, intended for storing items under your bed. These long, somewhat narrow boxes may help you fit a larger litterbox into a smaller space like a hallway where you still need room to walk past. Tall-sided bins can make useful boxes for cats who don’t squat far enough when using the litterbox and end up going over the side. Make sure that if you choose a high-sided litterbox that your cat can comfortably get in and out. Small kittens and older, arthritic cats, may not be able to get in to take care of business if they have to make a jump every time.
At our house, we have both a regular litterbox and a clear plastic storage bin next to it.
Plastic Storage Tote
Similar to the clear storage bin, plastic storage totes come in a number of shapes and sizes. You can get totes so large that they are marketed to store artificial Christmas trees. Like some of the taller storage bins, be sure that your cat can easily exit and enter the tote after it contains litter to prevent their avoiding it, too. Your local home improvement store has shelves and shelves of bins in all kinds of sizes.
You can use the tote or bin as-is, or customize it further by cutting an entrance into it to create a lower step-in entry but high sides. this custom-converted storage tote was made for our friend Timmy and his roomates.
Hard plastic wading pools, intended for children to splash in during hot summer months, can offer big kitties lots of space. You can buy them at various big box stores and even some grocery stores during the spring and summer months, and they range in size from 36″ to 60″ across. Keep in mind that these can be hard to come by during the winter, and if you are worried you may need to discard your old pool and get another one, consider buying and storing an extra. Also, the plastic of these pools is unlikely stand up well if you try to relocate a full litter pool, so make sure you have a final location in mind before filling it with litter.
No matter what you choose, there are lots of options to make sure that your cat’s litterbox is big enough to keep him taking care of business in the right location!