The 8 Best Cat Litter Boxes of 2021

Keep your home clean and your cat happy

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown
"It's so durable, this stainless steel litter box may never need to be replaced."
"For the cat that doesn't mind an enclosed box, this one has a handle for easy cleaning and a carbon filter for odors."
"This sturdy, inexpensive box has high sides and a back and a non-stick surface."
"This box made from recyclable paper will break down more quickly in a landfill."
"There’s no need to stash the litter box when it looks this good."
"Top entry allows privacy and less chance of mess."
"This low pan is ideal for senior, arthritic cats so they don’t have to hop into a larger box."
"Jumbo pan with a handy side storage compartment to keep your scoop."

Cat owners know that their pets can be persnickety about many things. They can have quirky drinking habits, might not like to be hugged, and can be very particular about their litter and litter boxes. They may not like the dust, fragrances, or feel of certain litter and some won’t do their business if a litter box has a lid, isn’t clean, or is in a busy (or too remote) location.

When looking for eco-friendly cat boxes, we keep our cats' best interests the top priority. We also look for durable designs, sustainable or recycled materials, and features that make life a little easier for humans. However, just like people, what makes one cat happy may not work for a different one.

Here are the best litter box options you can suggest to your cat.

Best Overall: iPrimio Ultimate Stainless Steel Cat XL Litter Box

iPrimio Ultimate Stainless Steel Cat XL Litter Box

Stainless steel is a great environmentally smart choice. It’s durable, so it may never need to be replaced. Plus, it doesn’t absorb smells and it’s very easy to clean. We chose an open design for our Best Overall, because many cats prefer not be enclosed while using the litter box.

The pan is extra-large: 23.5 inches long x 15.5 inches wide x 6 inches deep. It has smooth sides with no sharp edges and rubber feet on the bottom to keep it from sliding around.

Best Covered: Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Litter Pan

Jumbo Hooded Cat Pan

Less mess is a big advantage of enclosed litter boxes. For a feline that doesn't mind an enclosed box, this jumbo covered litter box is an ideal place for a bathroom break. Made out of BPA-free plastic, it has a handle on the hood for easy cleaning, a built-in anchor to keep a litter bag in place, and a carbon filter that helps remove any odor. There’s a clear flap door that allows your cat easy entry, or it can be easily taken off if turns out your cat doesn’t like it.

The box is available in warm gray or bright white. At 22.4 inches x 18.3 inches x 17 inches, it’s a good choice for bigger cats or for cats who just want more room.

Best Budget: Nature's Miracle Just For Cats Advanced High Sided Cat Litter Box

High Sided Cat Litter Box

For cats that don’t like being confined, this sturdy, inexpensive topless litter box is a simple solution. It has high sides and a back to keep most litter and from hitting the floor but an opening in front to make step-in access easy. A non-stick antimicrobial surface helps reduce buildup and litter caking.

It can be a good choice owners who have multiple cats and need to keep several boxes throughout the house. It has a spout in the front to pour out litter for quick cleaning, as well as built-in handles on the side for easy cleaning and carrying.

Best Biodegradable: Nature's Miracle Disposable Litter Box

Nature's Miracle Disposable Litter Box

Disposable pans aren’t really preferred by Treehugger. It’s a much more eco-friendly to use a litter box with longevity. But if you’re taking kitty on a trip and don’t want to lug a dirty pan home, or if you need a temporary box for moving or cleaning, then choose a biodegradable one.

This disposable box is made from recyclable paper so at least when you dispose of it, it will have a shorter life span in the landfill. It also has baking soda to help with the inevitable smell. But it’s not just a quick use-and-toss item. It can last for as long as four or five months if you clean it regularly.

Most Attractive: New Age Pet ecoFlex Litter Loo

New Age Pet ecoFLEX Habitat N’ Home Litter Loo

There’s no need to stash the litter box in the bathroom or tuck it out of sight in the laundry room when it looks this good. If space is an issue or if you’re just looking for a nicer look, this handsome “litter loo” doubles as a small table. You can place it next to the couch or as a nightstand in your bedroom, as long as you clean it regularly.

The stand is made out of a product called ECOFLEX, a blend of recycled polymers and reclaimed wood fiber byproducts. It can easily be wiped clean and the company says it will never warp, crack, or split.

Best for Messy Cats: IRIS Top Entry Cat Litter Box with Scoop

 IRIS Top Entry Cat Litter Box with Cat Litter Scoop

This top-entry litter box lets your cat drop down into the enclosure for a private potty break. In addition to a little quiet alone time, the box keeps litter from flying everywhere. Grooves on the top help brush litter off your cat’s feet when they depart, keeping your floors clean. The top-entry also keeps out nosy dogs, and even chunky cats can be comfortable in this box.

If your cat has never used a box like this, it's a good idea to put it in the same spot as your old litter box and filling it with some used litter. Try placing it without the top at first until they figure it out.

Best for Senior Cats: KittyGoHere Senior Cat Litter Box

KittyGoHere Senior Cat Litter Box

This shallow, low pan is targeted toward senior or arthritic cats so they don’t have to hop into a larger box or through a tall opening. It’s a large pan with a low entry in front so it’s easy for less agile cats to make it inside. It’s also simple for young kittens who might have difficulty clambering over high walls.

You could consider putting puppy training pads underneath this style of pan (you can buy the washable, reusable kind), if you’re worried about litter or spray making it out of the box. The tradeoff for your cat’s comfort is well worth it.

Best for Multiple Cats: Petmate Giant Litter Pan for Cat

Petmate Giant Litter Pan for Cat

The general rule is one litter box per cat, plus one more, according to the Humane Society of the United States. That way, no one has to wait their turn because the box is occupied. It’s also a good idea to make sure there’s at least one jumbo box. We like this one from Petmate. It’s an impressive 35 inches x 20 inches x 10 inches, and holds up to 30 pounds of litter.

The box also has a handy side storage compartment where you can keep your litter scoop. You might be concerned that cats will also go in the compartment, but the majority of cats prefer an absorbent material like litter.

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the iPrimio Ultimate Stainless Steel Cat XL Litter Box (view at Amazon) because it’s so durable, it might be the only litter box you’ll ever need to buy. If you prefer a covered box, the Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Litter Pan (view at Amazon) is a great solution.

FAQs

What’s the most sustainable kitty litter?

Cat litter itself can have a huge impact on the environment. Many clumping litters are made from clay. About 60 percent of the litter sold now in the United States is clumping, which is easier to clean, but all that clay typically gets scooped into plastic bags and sits in a landfill.

Flushable litter is often marketed as a more environmentally friendly alternative. But pet waste can clog pipes, contaminate drinking water, and harm the environment. Cat waste can contain the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which can cause the disease toxoplasmosis in humans with compromised immune systems.

Better litter options included those made out of recycled newspaper, sawdust, or wood shavings. They degrade more easily in a landfill or you can set up a separate compost bin (away from your compost that will ever be used on food) in your yard.

Are self-cleaning cat boxes sustainable?

In our research, we didn’t find any self-cleaning cat boxes that are compatible with biodegradable litter. We think low-tech cat boxes are more sustainable, because they don’t require energy or batteries, and are less likely to break or malfunction. 

Why Trust Treehugger

The proud mom of a rescue dog and a stepmom to all the neighbors’ cats, Mary Jo DiLonardo covers pets and many other subjects for Treehugger. For more than 25 years, Mary Jo has covered a wide range of topics focused on nature, pets, health, science, and anything that helps make the world a better place. She has spent six years with Treehugger, formerly under the Mother Nature Network brand.