I feel like top entry litter boxes are not as popular as they should be. I’m not going to lie, the reason is probably that once people get used to their litter box, they think, “Hey what’s the point in trying something new, what I have works.”
I’d probably fit into that bracket myself if I’m honest. The opportunity that led me to try a top-entry litter box came after we made a cross-continental move from Canada to the UK. I ended up initially buying a litter box that I hated, just so I had something to use besides my obviously temporary Sturdibox that I brought with me from Canada, and while looking for a replacement for this unfortunate first litter box, I thought I’d try my hand at a top-entry option. I was already going to buy a new litter box, so why not! I’m so glad this chain of events unravelled the way it did, because quite honestly, I couldn’t be happier with my decision, and I think I’m hooked for good. Too many benefits no to be!
There was really only one reason behind me looking into top-entry cat litter boxes before I bought one. I was hoping there’d be less clean up/less stray litter. Some other benefits, I would have really appreciated if I’d actually thought about them at all (benefits #8 & 9). Honestly though, the benefits that stand out to me as the biggest now are ones I never would have known about unless I’d actually bought a top-entry cat litter box (benefits #3 & #5 for instance). Like I said, I’m really glad I gave them a try, and I doubt I’ll ever go back to using anything else.
The Many Benefits of Top Entry Litter Boxes
1. Top entry litter boxes are a lot less messy since there’s much less stray litter.
Stray litter is one of the things that drove me absolutely nuts about nearly all my litter boxes in the past. Between myself, my mother, and my brother, we’ve tried out a lot of “regular” side-entry litter boxes. Some were good, some were okay, and some were absolutely terrible with the amount of litter they let out. My worst experience was with this Kerbyl litter box I grabbed here in the UK. It was so bad, and while it looked okay, it just was not at all ideal when it came to mess and clean up reduction.
Now, with a top-entry litter box, it’s hard for me to go back. I still do have to clean up sometimes, as my cat is a bit nuts and will at times jump over the lid of the litter box like he’s some sort of ninja. For most, I’d say stray away litter clean up will be basically null with a switch to a top-entry litter box. With those with crazy cats like mine, mess will be greatly reduced, even though it’s not completely gone.
2. If kitty covers up well after every bathroom use, litter should be less smelly than most litter boxes since there is more litter to cover up with.
Yes, covered litter boxes are great with smell reduction, but even though the top on top-entry litter boxes are pretty much completely open, they’re also pretty darn good with smell reduction. More litter means there’s more there for your cat can use to cover his or her “business” up, and this usually results in a lot less smell. It’s certainly not stinky as one might expect – unless you have a cat that doesn’t cover up at all (like mine sometimes). But then you’ll easily know when the litter box has been used, signaling you it’s time for a clean up.
For minimized smells I’d recommend using a better cat litter, if changing is at all something you’d consider. I used to use Blue Buffalo Naturally Fresh back in Canada, the multi-cat option, but since I moved to the UK and Blue products are not easily available here, I had to switch. I now use World’s Best Cat Litter (reviewed here), which I find is a little less ideal when it comes to tracking, but much better at reducing pee smells specifically. Both are excellent products, though.
3. Since you can put more litter in the litter box, if you forget to clean, kitty will find it easier to find a spot to go in.
To those of you who have cleaning routines, this probably has never been an issue, but I’ve at times forgotten to clean on a day that Avery’s visits to the little kitty room have been more frequent than most. I feel so guilty, even though it isn’t really an issue, as if I’ve forgotten to clean and see him going in, I’ll usually do it for him right before he goes in, and he’ll politely wait for me to tidy up before going.
I’m home most of the time since I work from home, and I always do my best to make sure he has no issues with the litter, but still, it gives me peace of mind knowing that he can go 3-4 times in our current top-entry litter box (the Modko Modkat) without any issues whatsoever. I try to clean it out every 2 uses (especially if one is a #2!), and always clean before going out, but sometimes you just forget, and I think it’s nice to have peace of mind just in case it’s one of those days!
4. Since you can put more litter in the litter box, you don’t have to clean as often as regular litter boxes..
Same principle here, really: more cat litter means less frequent cleaning if that’s the kind of thing you’re after.
I have the type of cat who’s pretty irregular when it comes to his bathroom uses. He used to be nearly regular when we fed him once a day, but now we’re using this technique for feeding and spacing out food throughout the day depending on when we want to treat him, and so I never really know when he’ll go. This means that I usually end up waiting until he has a #2 to clean up the litter. Sometimes this will be after he’s peed once, other times, three times. Either way, since this litter box can handle so much, I’m not worried about less frequent cleaning, as I would be with previous litter boxes.
5. More litter in the litter box also means that scratching noises will be minimized.
I don’t know if your cat goes crazy with the digging in his/her litter box, but I know mine does! Avery’s a savage once he’s in the loo, and it used to be so noisy it was impossible to sleep through. Now? Not so bad actually! Nice considering we live in a studio flat and his litter box is in the same room we sleep in.
6. Top entry litter boxes are, in my opinion, a lot easier to clean than side-entry litter boxes.
The Modko Modkat is a dream to clean; honestly so easy, but I still think even with another top-entry litter box, it’s an easier chore to do than side-entry litter boxes, especially those that are really a pain to take the lids off of. Seriously so easy to just tilt the lid up and go in with a scooper to clean with the Modkat. I’d imagine it’s also super easy to take the lid off one of the cheaper top-entry litter boxes, do your cleaning thing and get out, but definitely it has to be easier than the whole side-dance thing you have to do with a side-entry litter box without an easily removable lid.
My mom bought the Omega Self Cleaning Litter Box, and couldn’t deal with the “self cleaning” aspect (you’re supposed to roll it over over on its side and the used litter is supposed to go into the side for you to just pull out, but it doesn’t work out quite as ideally as it sounds). She can’t remove the lid easily, but since she didn’t like the self cleaning feature, manually scoops out the litter herself. Still uses it to this day, and oh my goodness is it painful to watch. I couldn’t handle doing something like that, and though most litter boxes are a lot easier to clean than her way of cleaning her litter box, I still prefer to make my life as easy as possible, and that for me now means a top-entry litter box always.
7. Let’s be honest, top entry litter boxes often look a lot better than other litter boxes.
I say often, because obviously some hidden litter boxes just look so gorgeous anyway that there’s no point in worrying about aesthetics. Though to be fair, I’d still say top entry litter boxes have the perfect combo of easy of cleaning + how pretty they look. To each his own, though, maybe you disagree!
8. They don’t need as much space as side-entry litter boxes do, since cats leave from the top instead of out of a hole in the side.
The space-conservation thing is a really big pro for me. It’s so much nicer to have everything compact when you live in a small apartment like do. If I had the space that I used to, I probably wouldn’t really care, but having a litter box like this in a small apartment really makes apartment life with a kitty easier.
9. Top-entry boxes are also visually space-conservative because you don’t have to pair them with cat litter mats beside them.
!!! One of the nicest things in my opinion. There are some okay looking cat litter mats out there that I really don’t mind staring at most of the time, but nothing beats not needing a cat mat in terms of space conservation. Again, something I probably wouldn’t care much about if I had a bigger place, but in a small apartment, every extra inch of visual space I can save I will be all the happier about.
10. They’re easy to move, since the litter is contained and stands no risk of falling out when carrying them.
This probably won’t be relevant to you at all, but I’ve moved a lot with my cat, and throwing a litter box in the back seat of a car is standard. What I usually have to do? Empty out the litter box, clean it, then take the litter separate from the box, or put the litter bag, closed up, in the litter box ready to pour in later. With a top-entry litter box: just clean up and throw the whole thing in the trunk or the back seat and who cares about the rest. That litter is staying put!
Even if you don’t move house much, though, this is a benefit in my opinion. Say you for some reason need kitty out of the bathroom where the litter box is – no problem, grab and move the litter box to another room. Like your cats to sleep in the same room as you at night, but like to have the door of your room closed? Move that box to your bedroom for the night and move it back for the morning. Easy as pie to do, especially with one of the cheaper top entry litter boxes like this one by Petmate or this one by Clevercat. They’re made quite durably after all, even though they’re relatively cheap for top entry boxes.
11. Top-entry litter boxes aren’t very hard for cats to get used to.
I thought it would be so much trouble for Avery to get used to a top-entry litter box. Honestly, all I had to do was get the old litter box out of the picture (something I was terrified to do) and he was fine. He hesitated, yes, but that doesn’t mean there was a problem, just that he preferred to use something he was already in the habit/used to using (which, let’s be honest, we as humans are like that, too). He’s a huge cat (sooo long!) and has never had a single issue with using the litter box. It was interesting to watch how quick and easy it was for him to adapt.
Worried about getting your cat to one of these? Check out this article on training your cat to use a top-entry litter box.
12. Top-entry litter boxes are not ultimately very expensive by comparison to “regular” side-entry litter boxes.
I seriously think low-price point top entry litter boxes are really reasonably priced. They’re basically the same price point (under $30) that most low-price point litter boxes are priced at. Combined with the other benefits, this makes trying a top entry litter box not a huge risk at all – for pretty high reward, in my opinion. Definitely a should-try item if you’re into making life with a cat a little better & easier (which I’m all for!).
*Bonus: Top-entry litter boxes are harder for other pets (like dogs!) to get into.
I don’t have this problem considering I only have one pet, my cat Avery, but if you happen to have a dog who gets into your cat litter boxes quite frequently and this drives you nuts, switching to top-entry litter boxes seems like an easy solution to that problem!
Which Top Entry Cat Litter Boxes to Consider
I’ve said it in articles before and I’ll say it again: if you’re looking for best value for your money and an introduction to top entry litter boxes that’s easy on both the eyes and the wallet, I’d 100% go for the Petmate Top Entry Litter Pan. I don’t think much comes close to beating this product in terms of value.
Of course you could always go straight for something you prefer more aesthetically instead of testing first (which is what I did), in which case you can join me on the dark side and buy what I think is the prettiest litter box of pretty much all the litter boxes I’ve yet to see, the Modko Modkat Top Entry Litter Box (you can check out my review of it here). I’ve been so happy with mine that I’d probably buy a second were I to get a second cat, even if it is (more than) a little on the expensive side.
What else? Well if you’re interested in a little more detail and reading my thoughts about a few more options, check out this post about the top entry litter boxes I considered before buying my own Modkat Top Entry Litter Box.
It’s safe to say I’d easily recommend buying top entry litter boxes considering how obsessed I am with the first one I bought. I think I’m pretty near done with side-entry litter boxes now. Even if I don’t buy a second Modkat with a second cat added to the family, I definitely think I’ll be sticking to top-entry litter boxes in general from now on. They really just are so much more in line with what I want out of a litter box (yes, I know, I sounded a bit crazy there).
What Do You Think About Top-Entry Litter Boxes?
Now I’m turning the conversation over to you. Have you ever tried a top-entry litter box? Ever thought about it?
Are there any benefits to having a top entry litter box that stood out to you as in line with what you wish your litter box did more of? I know for me, less mess was the selling point, but now that I’ve been using a top-entry litter box, other things stand out more as the biggest benefits, like more litter for Avery in case I forget to clean, and less scratching noises at night.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments!