Recently, a reader e-mailed to ask a question no one had ever asked me before. The question was, how did I handle/cope with having a litter box in the house? What a great question!
Back In The Day:
When we bought this house 20 years ago, one of the things I liked most was it had a basement with an unfinished section, perfect for hiding the litter box. My last house didn’t have a basement and we spent a lot of time maneuvering around the litter box in our bathroom.
So, right after we moved in, I had a kitty door installed in the door at the top of the basement stairs and a kitty door installed into the door that led into the unfinished part of the basement. We had three kitties when we moved here, a mama kitty and her two sons. They lived to be 16, 17, and 18 years old, and their litter boxes were always in the basement. So, when I adopted Max about 10 years ago, I placed his litter box in the basement, too. I’ve always been fortunate to have kitties who were great about using their litter boxes and didn’t have accidents in other areas of the house.
A year or so ago, I noticed Max seemed to be losing some weight and was acting anxious a lot. Sometimes when I stood up to leave the room, he would run over and kind of bite my pants leg, or my ankle if I was wearing shorts. I’d never had a cat do anything like that and it was totally NOT like him.
I googled his behavior and found it could be a sign of hyperthyroidism. I immediately took him to the vet, they did blood work, and it turned out he did have hyperthyroidism. Now he takes medicine once a day and his behavior and thyroid levels are back to normal. No more anxious kitty when I start to leave the room.
During the blood work process, we discovered Max was having some kidney issues, so I moved his litter box from the basement to the bathroom upstairs. I was afraid he was not going often enough because I so rarely saw him going downstairs once I began paying more attention after the blood work. I’m not crazy about having the litter box upstairs because litter sometimes gets tracked into other rooms. When it was in the basement, litter rarely made it up the basement stairs to the main level or second story, another great reason for putting it in the basement. But, Max’s health is way more important than dealing with a little litter from time to time.
Max’s Litter Box:
I placed Max’s litter box inside a closet in the Master bath. I just leave the door cracked for access. Having it upstairs works well for him since he and I spend a good bit of the day upstairs in the office. I feel like he isn’t “holding it” all day now, which I became suspicious he was doing before.
Personally, I prefer the litter box as far away from the daily living spaces as possible…unfinished basements are perfect for that. Then you don’t have to deal with the sights, sounds or odors. If a home doesn’t have a basement, normally the next best place is a bathroom, laundry room or mud room. I don’t recommend having it in a carpeted area just in case an accident might happen outside the box.
I’ve been in homes where folks have placed the litter box in the bathtub of a little-used bathroom. That helps a bit with keeping the litter corralled. Max is too old now for jumping over into tubs, but that might be a good spot if you have a bathroom that’s never used and have younger cats who can still jump nice and high.
On Home Tours:
I’ve been on home tours where during the process of a renovation/addition to the home, the homeowners actually created a special place for the litter box, sometimes making use of what would have been dead space in a wall. They had a special entry created just for the kitty to go in and out. I’ve even seen a litter box hidden away inside the bottom of a window seat with access for kitty, of course.
What’s out there to buy, these days?
I decided to do a little research to see if there was anything being made/sold to help deal with the litter box dilemma. I was so surprised by all the “furniture” solutions I found, so I thought I’d share them with you in case you have a kitty and are looking for answers for coping with the litter box.
Check out this amazing kitty box at Ikea Hackers. It looks just like a nice entry bench. The box is hidden behind the door and the entrance is inside where you see the kitty.
This one at Target is one of my favorites. I like the bead board look, although the reviews were not so great. Apparently, it works just fine if you use a litter box that has a lid, thus ensuring your cat doesn’t miss the box.
This one from The Refined Feline is a pretty sleek solution.
There’s this one from Pet’s Best Products. So many clever ways to hide the litter box! 🙂
Here’s another really cute bench-style solution from the Designer Catbox. This would be great in a back entry/mudroom, wouldn’t it?
Judy, thanks for reminding me about the robotic litter boxes that will actually “scoop” your kitties litter box for you. It’s my understanding these do a pretty good job, although they do have to be replaced eventually. Do you have one of these and if so, does it work well?
Here’s another intriguing robotic litter solution from Liter-Robot.
If you have kitties who live indoors full time, I’d love to know your secrets for coping with the litter box. Do you have a favorite kitty litter? Please share any tricks or solutions you’ve found for hiding the necessary, but not-so-appealing litter box.