My Cat’s Not Covering and Keeps Missing the Litter Box—Could Size Be the Issue?

Reader’s Question:

Hey there! My 2-year-old Siberian cat, Odin, is a hefty 15-pounder who's taken to scratching the wall by his litter box instead of covering his waste, often making a mess. This nightly ritual is costing me sleep. The litter box is 20 inches long and 15 inches wide. I'm concerned it's too small for him. Any size upgrade suggestions for a better fit and more restful nights?

Jonathan M., Rochester, New York

You're not alone in wondering if your cat's litter box is more of a squeeze than a sanctuary. Odin's antics—scratching walls and the occasional mess outside the box—are classic signs that it might be time for an upgrade.

The right-sized litter box is crucial for your cat's comfort and can prevent the issues Odin seems to be facing.

Litter Box Solutions for Larger Cats

Cats are fastidious creatures who value their bathroom space.

Unusual behaviors such as relentless scratching at the box's exterior, making a mess outside, or even avoiding the litter box altogether often signal discomfort.

These signs—including not covering feces and a hasty exit, could point to an issue with the litter box's size.

For a hefty 2-year-old like Odin, the standard litter box dimensions described could indeed be too snug.

A space too confined can lead to stress, and a stressed cat might seek out other places—like that cozy rug you love—for relief.

Ensuring your cat can enter, turn around, and exit the box with ease is key to maintaining both their comfort and your shared environment.

Sizing It Right

The general rule of thumb is that a litter box should be roughly one and a half bigger than your cat from nose to tail when extended and just as wide as your cat is long, excluding the tail.

It may seem like a lot, but for your cat’s comfort, upgrading to a larger size is essential.

Considering most domestic cats measure around 18-20 inches (nose to base of tail), large cats would benefit from a litter box that's approximately 28 to 35 inches in length.

Is Your Cat's Litter Box Too Small?

Choosing the Purrfect Throne

When shopping for a larger litter box, keep in mind the height of the sides, whether it's covered, and the ease of entry.

Large cats often need more than what the average litter box offers. A box with high sides and a low entry point could be ideal, providing the space they need without making accessibility an issue.

We did our research, compared sizes, and checked reviews, so you don’t have to.

Our aim is to provide a starting point in your search for the ideal litter box for your large cat, so browse the following options.

Option #1: Eiiel Extra Large Cat Litter Box

For the Odin-sized feline who needs room to roam, the Eiiel Extra Large Cat Litter Box is a great option.

Measuring 30.7"L x 18.9"W x 7.9"H, it gives big cats or those with feline siblings ample space to handle their business.

Pet owners love its foldable design as it saves space when not in use, and the high-quality, odorless ABS material ensures a durable and health-conscious choice.

See the Eiiel Extra Large Cat Litter Box on Amazon

Option #2: Amazon Basics No-Mess Hooded Corner

If your cat prefers more privacy, the Amazon Basics No-Mess Hooded Corner litter box is a great choice.

This 26-inch litter box easily fits into corners to save space and gives your cat a private place to go. The hood helps keep litter inside and prevents leaks, and there’s a charcoal filter to keep odors in check.

Learn more about this No-Mess Hooded Litter Box on Amazon

Option #3: Richell PAW TRAX High Wall Cat Litter Box

The Richell PAW TRAX High Wall Cat Litter Box has an anti-tracking grate attachment that keeps granules off your floor and away from your cat’s paws.

Made for big cats up to 17.6 lbs, it's a quality-made American product that ensures cleanliness and ease for a multi-cat home.

Check out the Richell PAW TRAX High Wall Cat Litter Box on Amazon

Option #4: Smart Paws Cat Litter Box

The Smart Paws Cat Litter Box also offers high walls to contain litter and minimize mess. The sturdy, BPA-free PP material is both durable and safe for your cat’s daily digs.

With an open design for easy observation and cleaning and a lowered front for simple entry, this litter box measures a grand 25.2"L x 16.5"W x 13"H, ensuring your cat has ample room to do his business.

See why cat owners love the Smart Paws Cat Litter Box on Amazon

Option #5: Petmate Cat Litter Box

The Petmate Cat Litter Box is a favorite for its low cost and toughness, so you can easily get more than one without spending a lot.

It can hold a lot of litter—up to 30 lbs—so it doesn't need to be cleaned out too often, and it's designed to keep the litter inside to help keep the floor clean.

Explore the Petmate Cat Litter Box on Amazon

For more recommendations, read our article on Extra Large Litter Boxes That Can Fit Your Large Cat.

Is Your Cat's Litter Box Too Small?

DIY Covered Litter Box From A Storage Bin

If finding the perfect litter box becomes challenging, creating your own from a large storage bin can be a practical and cost-effective solution.

A caveat for many is they aren’t as easy to clean because of nooks and crannies in the design.

If you’d like to try this DIY option, you’ll need a large storage container with a lid.

  1. Draw a semi-circle shape on the side of the storage container. Depending on your cat's size, you’ll determine how high or low and how large the opening will be.
  2. For the next step, it’s important to note that you’ll need to use a sharp knife. Therefore, an adult or adult supervision is required.
  3. Following the semi-circle outline cut into the storage bin with care. Once the entrance is formed, smooth any rough edges to prevent any harm to your cat.
  4. Line the bottom of the bin with a garbage bag before adding litter. This step is optional but can save time during maintenance.
  5. Fill the storage container with cat litter and put on the lid. That’s it!

The Importance Of The Right-Sized Litter Box

The right-sized litter box is crucial for your cat's happiness and hygiene. Your cat’s weird behavior is a plea for a more spacious spot to take care of business.

By providing a larger litter box, you're not just solving the immediate issue but also promoting his well-being and your uninterrupted sleep.

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Is Your Cat's Litter Box Too Small?