I don’t have an outdoor cat, but I get a lot of neighbourhood cats coming by to visit my garden, and they leave one heck of a lot of “presents” amongst my plants. They also do a lot of their business in fresh soil, which isn’t so bad. Heck, sometimes we even find surprises in the gravel we’ve laid down as grass replacement to help conserve water. There’s no guessing where you’ll uncover a little bit of kitty business next in our yard.
All this to say, even though I don’t have an outdoor cat myself, I can really wrap my head around why an outdoor cat pet parent would want a waterproof, weatherproof litter box to place outside for their little furries. Even if you already have a cat flap in the front door and a litter box indoors for when an outdoor cat comes in for a cuddle or two, or to sleep the night, for all those hours spent outside in your garden, I completely see the value in an outdoor litter box for cats.
Picture from post The Story of The Three Musketeer Persian Cats (& an Imposter)
Before having moved to this house, I distinctly remember spending quite a lot of days scooping litter as an indoor pet parent, daydreaming (mistakenly) about what I thought would be the benefits of having an outdoor cat. I’d never have to scoop a box again! Yeah, the grass is always greener. Absolutely realize the error of my thinking now. Having so many feline visitors in my front and back yards means I appreciate having only a few dedicated spots to look for and regularly dig litter out of. I appreciate that poop didn’t end up everywhere in my garden back in Canada when we had an indoor-only cat, and not all that many strays/feral cats in the neighbourhood to spread their supply of “fertilizer” around.
Another thing I now look back and appreciate? That flowers stayed in the ground and weren’t torn up from their roots by kitties covering up their loos. It’s frustrating even for me to see a plant or two this way once in a blue moon, and I don’t even have my own cats in the garden. These unfortunate plant casualties are really infrequent, as the stray, feral, and neighbour-owned kitties graciously spread the load of where they leave their “loads” by visiting different houses each day. I can’t imagine having multiple outdoor cats myself, all nearly exclusively using my property for the most part as a free-range litter box 24/7. That’s a lot of little loos! And a lot of torn up recently-planted flowers.
Sadly, while I understand the huge appeal of something like a waterproof outdoor litter box, there don’t seem to be many product-creators and pet companies out there who also do. I can’t seem to find a single litter box that’s actually made ready to stick outside, so I had to be a little creative in trying to come up with solutions that were viable for those of you itching to try a fix.
If you’ve got a waterproof patio, or some other sort of waterproof cat-accessible area in your garden, you should be able to place a somewhat heavy duty litter box under there with success. If you’ve not got anything of the sort, you’ll have to be a bit more creative.
Most of the no-DIY solutions I’ve managed to come up with have to do with combining a outdoor pet house with a litter box. Basically, those that are weatherproof, big enough to fit a litter box inside, and which come with lift-up lids to make access easy seem to me to be the best bet, if I had to come up with an idea for someone as DIY-challenged as myself.
But if you’re a bit of a handy-person, or know a handy-man or handy-woman who can lend a hand, you have a few different options on your hands, which typically include converting weatherproof outdoor storage boxes into hidden litter boxes by adding a little door for cats to enter. If you’ve got a shed, you can also cut out a cat door and use it to house both a litter box, and maybe even a cat tree or a pet bed or two as well. All depends on what you’ve got to work with, or what’s easy for you to get a hold of/place in your garden.
You may also find my article on the best multi-cat litter boxes out there right now helpful if you’re not sure which litter box to place inside the waterproof “shell” (i.e. the shed, pet house, storage container, or whatever else you may choose to use). My list of the best litter boxes for multiple cat households includes a lot of the biggest options out there, divided by section, which includes covered litter boxes, litter pans, and even top entry litter boxes, which can hold quite a lot of litter.
I personally believe pet cats would use an outdoor litter box if they were provided with one. I don’t think it’d be too hard to train them to use them, seeing as how it’s got to be more comfortable to use a litter box than it is to use some grass or to have to dig around for spots to go every single time. I think feral cats may use an outdoor litter box, if they trust the property and if it’s placed in a secluded, quiet area they’re known to frequent, but I think it’d be a bit more difficult to get them to come over and use it.
Let me know if you’ve ever given an outdoor litter box a shot, what it’s made out of, where it’s placed, and if you’ve ever had problems getting a cat to use it. Also would love to know what type of litter box in particular you use, as well as litter you’d recommend for keeping outside. I know my clay litter (World’s Best Cat Litter, I am so in love with it – for indoor use of course!) probably wouldn’t be a good fit, as my guess is humidity might cause issues with the litter beginning to mold. I’m guessing standard clay litter would be just fine, however.
Love to hear any and all advice you may have on this topic down below in the comments – your genius idea and your valuable experiences will definitely come in handy with other pet parents in the same spot. Let’s jump into the ideas.
Outdoor Cat Litter Box Ideas: Some That Require DIY, Some That Don’t
Pairing the Petsfit Dog House with an XL litter box or something like a couple medium sized litter pans is, in my opinion, the easiest way to get a single outdoor litter box that’s large enough to house toilet facilities for multiple cats. It has a top that lifts up, making access easier for grabbing the litter boxes out for cleaning.
In my opinion, it would do well to be paired with a quality sifting litter box like the Pet Mat Arm & Hammer Large Sifting Litter Pan for ease of cleaning. I would think you may also be able to comfortably fit two of those in, which would be perfect for multiple cats.
Excellent alternatives to the Petsfit Dog House include:
- Trixie Pet Products Dog Club House
- Best Choice Products Wooden Weather Resistant Dog House Cabin Shelter w/ Lift-Up Roof
- Ware Manufacturing Ware Premium Plus Dog Houses
If you have only one outdoor cat to help out in the loo department, have a place in mind that’s pretty sheltered from the weather already, and you’d like add a wee bit of protection from the rain, but aren’t too worried about a little rain getting in here and there, you may want to opt for something smaller to house a where a small outdoor pet house like this one should do the trick. Something like the medium Petmate Litter Pan should fit properly inside this one, though if you go the route of buying a small pet house like this to hold an outdoor litter box in, you may want to buy the pet house first so you can measure the inside and make sure whatever litter box you buy will actually fit properly inside of it.
Another option you may want to check out if you like this idea? The Trixie Cat Homes and Eclosures Cat Home.
If you’re able to have one small litter box outdoors because you have a single cat, but would also like that cat to be able to use the cat house as a cat house, you may want to grab a cat house that’s two levels, and have the small litter box on the top. Like the other outdoor pet houses, this Petsfit 2-Story Weatherproof Shelter has a roof that folds up. Please note, however, that if you’d like to use it to stick the litter box in the top compartment as I’ve suggested you’ll probably be covering the hole that allows a cat to go from one floor to the next, as the inside is a lot tighter than it looks. There is an entry door on the top, and a separate one on the bottom, however, so if that’s okay with you, it should do pretty nicely.
An alternative to the Petsfit 2-Story Outdoor Cat Condo that looks great to me: the Aivituvin Wooden Indoor/Outdoor Dog/Cat House.
I’m absolutely abysmal at DIY. I can’t even determine what’s easy to DIY and what’s difficult to do, so I had to ask my husband if plastic resin was easy to cut into just to be sure. He said yes, so here come a slew of suggestions related to that. Need a cat door? Plenty of cat flaps out there will do the trick, this soft one from Perfect Pet being just one of many options. I love the idea of hiding away a litter box, or even two, in one of these! I think I’ve seen a few pictures of people making weatherproof cat homes out of these in the reviews on Amazon before, so why not a litter box instead?
Another option: turning an all weather outdoor garden bench that’s got storage underneath into a spacious cat litter box by cutting an opening for a cat door into the bottom. Just like the deck storage containers, these things open up and out for you to easily have access to what’s inside. So they’d do the trick, but with the added perk of being a nice spot for you to watch your outdoor cats have fun chasing grasshoppers in your garden.
Don’t like to take up all that much space? Prefer to have something a bit more low key to hide your cats’ litter box outdoors in? These smaller deck storage boxes should do the trick if you’re handy at DIY, and to top it all off, they’re really a lot cheaper and more affordable than most outdoor pet houses on the market. They’re probably a lot more waterproof and weatherproof as well, especially if you pair them with a cat flap for a door instead of simply an open hole.
Another option you may want to consider: the Keter Cube Wood-Look 55 Gallon All-Weather Garden Patio Storage Table or Bench.
If you’ve got a few cats, and you’d like to shelter, keep warm and comfortable, feed, provide litter boxes, maybe even throw a water resistant cat tree like the Kitty City Claw Mega Kit in to boot for entertainment when it’s too cold out; a shed may do the trick better for you than anything else. You can add a little cat door on the already-existing human door to allow kitties access without having to leave the shed door open, and have a proper covered litter box or even a deep top entry litter box like the IRIS top entry box inside to boot.
Have issues with raccoons stealing your outdoor cat’s food? This may provide a great solution: just integrate a microchip cat flap like this one by SureFlap into the side of the shed rather than the front door, and your cats are the only ones who will have access to the space.
Already have an infrequently used shed in your yard? Maybe it’s high time you moved all the tools you have to the garden and transformed it into an outdoor kitty paradise.
There are absolutely going to be people who have completely covered, waterproof and weatherproof decks outside who just want a litter box to throw in, and for those people, I’d think something as heavy duty and wind-resistant as the New Age Pet ecoFlex litter loo would do the trick. Since it’s a hidden litter box that looks like an end table, it also shouldn’t look too out of place with your outdoor deck furniture – a pretty sweet perk if you ask me.
I have no idea if using the Kitty Tube Outdoor Cat House as a litter box by directly placing litter inside it would be a good idea. I don’t know if it’d make a lot of mess, I know that sometimes water leaks into it, so you’d definitely have to keep it in a covered place, free from precipitation, but if you did, my thought is it might make a viable option for a weather-resistant litter box that’s pretty massive and thus would work for multiple cats. Absolutely out of left field with this idea, and again, really not sure if it would work well as a makeshift litter box. To my knowledge, no one has actually tried to use it as such. Just thought I’d throw it in the list since it did cross my mind as a potential.
Your Thoughts on Outdoor Litter Boxes?
Have you ever wanted to keep a litter box for kitties outside? Did you want one for your own outdoor cats, for the strays/feral cats in the neighbourhood? Did you ever buy one?
Ever thought of a way you could hack it, even though there aren’t many (if any) ready-made litter boxes for outdoors out there? Ever try out one of your ideas? How did it go?
Any advice for pet parents hoping to have a litter box outside? Any considerations I haven’t thought to go over?
Love to hear any and all thoughts you have in the comments down below!