Choosing the best litter tray for your feline friend can be tricky. Many cats will have their own preferences – and some are pickier than others – while particular behaviours should also be taken into account. If your cat is prone to kicking litter all over the place, they’ll do well with a high sided or top entry tray, but anxious or nervous cats may prefer an open tray to a hooded one with a door flap.
It’s also worth considering where a litter box fits into your home. Closed trays are more suitable for apartments to better contain any odours, while aesthetically pleasing trays can blend into your home’s design. Even if you have outdoor space for a cat to roam in, they still need a litter tray indoors: it reduces stress and helps prevent accidents.
We’ve reviewed a number of different litter tray options for your cat, along with a quick guide that explains what to bear in mind when choosing your cat’s next litter tray.
How to choose the best litter tray for your cat
What type of cat litter tray should I buy?
The main things to consider are the size and entry method of a litter tray. Size-wise, the standard advice is that a tray should be one and a half times the length of a cat, from its nose to the tip of its tail. Choosing an entry method is a bit trickier, as it depends on both your cat’s preference and their toileting behaviours.
- Open trays are the simplest and usually cheapest option. Little more than an open rectangular plastic box, the depth and height can nonetheless vary. Great for cats that don’t like being enclosed – or cats that simply enjoy a view!
- Lidded/hooded trays are the most generic cat litter trays on the market. Those with a swinging door flap will keep most smells at bay from the wider area, and the hooded top helps to prevent accidental kicks of litter from spilling out. The majority of cats seem comfortable with these trays too.
- Top entry trays are growing in popularity, although they’re not the best choice for every cat. High enclosed walls mean no litter spills, but getting in and out of the open top can be tricky for elderly cats or those with joint issues.
- Automatic self-cleaning trays are the priciest option thanks to their moving parts. If you’re away from home a lot these are a helpful and hygienic option, but be aware that the noises made by a self-cleaning tray can be scary for some cats.
How often should I change the litter, or the tray itself?
Most cats use their trays 3-5 times each day, so general litter tray etiquette is to scoop waste from the litter daily, replace all the litter and wash out the tray weekly, and aim to replace the tray itself every year or so, to maintain a hygienic environment.
READ NEXT: Fill the tray with the best cat litter you can buy right now
Can my cats share a litter tray?
Although many cat owners have one tray shared between two cats, typical advice is to provide one tray per cat – in fact, it’s actually recommended to have one per cat ‘plus an additional tray extra’, to allow maximum comfort for your feline friends.
How much should I spend?
The cheapest cat litter trays can be as low as £5, while more expensive self-cleaning automated trays run into the hundreds. We’ve reviewed a range of prices here to help you make the best choice.
READ NEXT: These are the most effective flea treatments for your cat
The best cat litter trays to buy in 2021
1. Felight Cat Litter Tray: Best open cat litter tray
Price: £4.10 | Buy now on Amazon
If your cat isn’t keen on confined spaces and doesn’t make a habit of kicking up litter, then this Felight open tray is a classic, no-frills option. Made from heavy-duty plastic, it’s strong and sturdy so there’s no chance of it snapping when lifted, and there’s a fill line round the inside rim so that you don’t overfill it with litter. The inner base of the tray is more or less flat and has curved corners, making it really easy to clean. It’s relatively shallow at about 9cm high, meaning it’s only really suitable for a kitten or small cat.
Amazon seemingly doesn’t allow you to choose a colour, but there are a few shades on offer. None of them are particularly exciting – but do cats really mind the colour anyway?
Key specs – Dimensions: L41.2 x W31 x H9.5cm
£4.10 Buy now
2. Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Pan: Best hooded cat litter tray for large cats
Price: £26 | Buy now from Amazon
We love this large hooded litter tray from Catit. The tall and wide door flap is made of clear perspex, which both blocks odours and helps to minimise litter tracking once your cat exits. There’s also a replaceable carbon filter that adds ventilation (and which some inquisitive kittens may try to pull out), and both the flap and filter section can be folded back and held securely, making scooping out clumped litter much easier.
The hooded section has a sturdy carrying handle at the top, and attaches to the base with sliding locks at each side, covering the edges to avoid any leaks. The base of the litter tray is approx 15cm at the front, deeper at the back, and requires a fair amount of litter to fill it. There’s plenty of height inside which makes this a good choice for larger cats and those that enjoy digging.
Key specs – Dimensions: L57 x W43 x H46cm
£25.99 Buy now
3. CatCentre Blue Luxury Large Cat Litter Tray: Best high sided open cat litter tray
Price: £15 | Buy now on Amazon