As your cat ages, it’s not unusual for their habits to change, especially as they get into their more senior years. This could happen for a variety of medical or behavioral reasons, or seemingly for no reason at all! There is no denying that most cats fall under the category of being “highly sensitive” creatures. If your cat is a bit picky when it comes to things like food and water, loud noises, textures, etc., you can probably expect them to become even more particular as they get older.
I find that many behavioral issues are avoidable by simply paying attention to the particularities and subtle cues that your cat shows you throughout their life. However, at some point, you’ll probably encounter behavior changes that will make you scratch your head…or want to pull your hair out in frustration!
Even if your cat has used the litter box faithfully, it is still possible that they will need a litter box upgrade or adjustment in their more senior years. Cats can encounter a variety of medical issues as they get older, which can have a direct effect on their litter box habits. Some of the more common medical problems in geriatric cats that can lead to house soiling and other litter box troubles are diabetes, arthritis, and cognitive decline. You should always consult your veterinarian with any concerns before making any assumptions about the conditions your cat is facing!
Whatever the reason, behavioral or medical, these are some of the most common troubles with the litter box that many senior cats can develop:
- Urinating outside of the litter box
- Excessive or frequent urination
- Difficulty getting in and out of the box
- Forgetting where the litter box is located
- Not making it to the litter box on time
- Not covering poop/urine in box
- Sensitivity to cat litter scent or texture
- Sensitivity to litter box style
- Sensitivity to litter box location
These are some of the most common issues people have with their older cats that I’ve come across, but there are certainly many more reasons why you may need to upgrade the litter box for your elderly cat. Even if your kitty is young and using the litter box perfectly, it can still be a good idea to know what litter box options are out there that will be more comfortable for your cat to use later in life.
After trial-and-error with my own senior kitties, along with extensive research, these are the best litter boxes for senior cats that I’ve come across:
Kitty Go Here Litter Box
Best Low-Sided Litter Box for All Senior Cats, Especially Cats With Joint Pain and ArthritisBuy On Amazon
- Almost all cats will use this box
- Low, wide entrance
- Open feel can be less intimidating
- Large sizes means cats don’t have to squeeze in
- Low sides can lead to more litter outside the box
- Difficult to scoop due to low sides
There are not many litter boxes on the market specifically designed for geriatric cats but the Kitty Go Here box is exactly that. Unless you’re building one yourself, this is one of the easiest to use litter boxes for all cats—but is specially designed for those at later stages in life.
It has an exceptionally wide and low opening, which makes it easy for most kittens and arthritic cats to step into. It is also extra-large in comparison to the traditional-sized litter box, making it easy to spot and providing plenty of room to move around in. Additionally, most cats find it to be much less intimidating due to the open feel.
The main downside to this litter box is that things can get a bit messy. The low sides make it easy to kick litter out, and any cat that urinates too close to the edge risks making a mess over the side. But if it’s helped to keep your cat from finding a new toilet area or has made the overall experience more comfortable, then I’d say it’s definitely worth it!
Lucky Champ Litter Box
Best For Diabetic Cats and Cats Who Urinate A Lot
Buy On Chewy
- Low entry of 3.5 inches
- High back to prevent litter escape when cats dig and kick
- Non-stick material which makes it easy to clean
- May be too small for bigger kitties
- Can be an issue if cat faces back to pee
The Lucky Champ litter box is a well-built box, designed specifically with geriatric cats in mind. It has a low entry point of 3.5 inches so that your cat doesn’t have to jump in the box and can easily see inside. The rest of the box has higher sides that help to keep litter in, but not too high in case your cat decides to jump out from a different side.
The main downside that I’ve found with this litter box is that it is just a bit too small for some cats—especially if your cat needs extra room due to stiff joints (or simply because they’re a large cat!)
The inside is a bit confined to move around in, and the orientation of the entrance can be hazardous for the “lazy” cat who barely steps inside before “letting things go”. So, if your cat faces the back of the box to take care of business, there is a risk that their pee or poop might not make it inside the box.
But overall, the high sides make it a great litter box for cats that urinating a lot and frequently digging around. I wasn’t able to find this box on Amazon but you can see it on Chewy by clicking here.
Petmate Booda Dome Clean-Step Cat Litter Box
Best for Senior Cats With Stinky Stool or Messy Litter Box HabitsBuy On Amazon
- Covered so it can keep more smells in
- Ramp entry is great for arthritic cats
- Steps help prevent litter from falling out
- Larger than traditional covered boxes
- Relatively dog proof
- Works well with pan liners
- May be too small for larger kitties
- Can be intimidating for some cats
The Booda litter box is another litter box that works particularly well for cats who have difficulty with mobility. It has a ramp entry to the box, allowing geriatric cats with stiff and painful joints to enter with little difficulty. Additionally, having a cover can help with odor control and allowing for some privacy—even if it’s for your sake!
The Booda Step Covered Box is unique in that it’s the only litter box that works like a traditionally covered litterbox, but with a built-in ramp. However, it does have some downsides.
The inside is not particularly large, so it can be difficult for larger cats to move around. This can sometimes lead to kitties getting lazy about going in all the way—which may end up in urine going on the ramp instead of in the box. Additionally, the top doesn’t have a snug fit. If you have a rambunctious household the top can be knocked off rather easily if bumped into.
Overall this litter box works great for small cats with stiff and painful joints while helping to contain stinky odors and flying cat litter. You can click here to find the latest price on Amazon.
Litter Maid Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box
Best for Senior Kitties That Need A Spotless Litter Box!Buy On Amazon
- Self-cleaning saves time and keeps the litter box spotless
- Ramp for easy access
- Not very mobile
- Complex assembly
- Requires maintenance/part replacement
Like the Booda, this LitterMaid litterbox has a ramp that can be helpful for cats with arthritis and joint pain. If you and your cat are already accustomed to automatic litter boxes, then this is an excellent upgrade. The added ramp helps encourage geriatric cats with achy joints to continue to use the box with ease, into their senior years.
Additionally, being a self-cleaning litter box means your cat will never have to deal with a dirty box–even if you’re not at home! (Not to mention, your litter-box duty will require minimal effort since it does the scooping for you!)
Although this box is easy to maintain and provides ease of access, it definitely isn’t for everyone. Just the sound and movement that comes from being a self-cleaning box can be enough of a deterrent for some cats that they will avoid using it entirely. Additionally, the interior space is rather small, making it rather difficult for larger or particularly stiff cats to move around and fit in.
Many people have been frustrated by additional issues that arise with having an electronic and more complicated box. However–I was able to find this excellent customer review that helped to eliminate as many user-error issues as possible—as well as some excellent tips and tricks!
Tidy Cats Breeze System Litter Box
Great for Diabetic Cats That Urinate A Lot
Buy On Amazon
- Lightweight litter that lasts longer
- No dust, great for allergies
- Minimal litter scattering
- Minimizes urine smell with special system
- Low maintenance
- Scooping poo can be difficult (use doggy bag)
- Can be smelly if poop isn’t bagged right away
This Tidy Cats Breeze System litter box is one of my all-time favorites. This litter box is built using durable plastic and is easy to assemble and maintain. What makes the Tidy Cats litter box unique is that it’s designed for the use of pellet cat litter. While many folks may already be familiar with the pros and cons of wood pellet litter, the Breeze system uses Zeolite pellets which is a little different.
With the Tidy Cats litter box, urine will flow through the pellets into a catch-tray that is lined with a pee pad.
There are several downsides that do come with this type of litter box and cat litter, especially depending on your cat. If your cat needs to poop, it can be a challenge to scoop out and sift. However, I’ve found that using a doggy poo-bag is quick and easy and helps the pellets to last longer.
The zeolite pellets are certainly not for all cats, and some may find them too uncomfortable to use. My cat was rather confused about using the Tidy Cats box for the first day. However, I simply scooped a small poop from her other box and put it in the Tidy box—and she’s been using it ever since.
You can see the latest price on Amazon and learn more about the shifter works by clicking here.
Pet Fusion Litter Box
Best for Larger Senior CatsBuy On Amazon
- Antimicrobial non-stick coating
- Durable plastic with a curved design for easy cleaning
- Extra-large size
- High sides-helps keep litter in
- Great for cat litters that are harder to clean
- The entrance could be lower but should work out if you’ve got a larger cat
Although it may not look like anything special, the Pet Fusion box is actually an exceptional litter box and cat owner favorite. In this case, it is definitely the little things that make all the difference, and in the end, it is a great win-win for both cats and their human.
The inside is roomier than the average litter box, making it easier for larger geriatric cats to move around and dig. The entrance is the typical five inches tall and provides a wider opening than most others. The curved lip does a good job at keeping pee inside the box, and it has high sides that will help prevent litter from escaping but is low enough for your cat to easily see inside. One of the best qualities that the Pet Fusion litter box is known for is being fairly easy to clean.
Many of the non-stick coated litter boxes will still have those days where things still just…. stick. Fortunately, the smooth curves and extra slick plastic design make even the clay litter that can traditionally stick to the sides slide right out. You also don’t have to deal with getting chunks stuck in nooks and crannies, which is a big deal.
If your geriatric cat’s litter box tends to be particularly unpleasant due to issues with things like diarrhea or excessive urination (and you are using clay litter), the Pet Fusion box can make messes quite a bit easier to deal with. The biggest downside is that the entrance could be lower, especially for older cats with arthritis or achy joints. However, as with most other litter boxes, you can always add a ramp to make it easier for your cat to get in and out.
You can see the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Nature’s Miracle High-Sided Litter Box
Best for Geriatric Cats With Arthritis
Buy On Amazon
- Great low entrance
- Extra high sides
- Antimicrobial non-stick plastic
- Entrance is a bit narrow
- Can be a bit cramped still for extra-large cats
Nature’s Miracle has an excellent open-style litter box for senior cats–which you can get in both the traditional rectangular shape and the more triangular one that will fit in corners. Similar to the Pet Fusion litter box, this features high sides with a lower cut-out entrance so that your older cat doesn’t have to jump to get in. The entrance is not extra wide, but still wide enough for the average cat to easily step in and out of.
It has extra-high sides to prevent litter from flying out (about 11 inches), and a decent curved lip around the edges to prevent drips. In all, the design is relatively simple but easy to use and is on the lower price spectrum. This can be a great option in terms of affordability if you need to purchase more than one litter box. (You should always have at least one more box than you have cats!) This is a good idea if your cat has dementia and forgets where the litter box is located, or if your cat has trouble making it to the box on time.
An additional less noticeable feature that this box has rounded corners on the inside. This is a huge plus when it comes to cleaning, as it tends to be much easier to scoop around the curves and there are far less clumps getting stuck in the corners. This also allows for a quick and easy wipe-down, if needed.
You can see today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Van Ness Sifting Cat Pan with Frame
Best Sifting Litter Box for Older Cats
Buy On Amazon
- Non-stain durable plastic
- Low maintenance–No scooping, just sift and dump
- Great for wood pellet litters
- Quick and easy to clean
- User error can create a mess
Almost anyone who has used a sifting-style litter box would probably agree that they are one of the best cat accessories and litter boxes out there. I would recommend investing in a sifting litter pan to just about any cat owner–even if you already have plans to use another litter box! This brilliant set-up allows you to sift the entire contents of the litter box in one go. It only takes a few seconds to sift the finer particles through, allowing you to dispose of the waste all at once rather than one scoop at a time. To be honest, rather than using the Sifting Cat Pan as one of my regular litter boxes, I keep one in my home to help with cleaning the other litter boxes. This was an amazing find when I was struggling to keep my senior cat’s litter box consistently clean, by making the whole process faster, easier, and much more pleasant. Additionally, it works well for most varieties of cat litter, including sifting out the saw-dust from wood-pellet litter.
That being said, it is also wonderful for senior cats due to the lower sides all around, allowing them to easily get in and out. What I like in particular about the Van Ness Sifting Pan for older cats, is that it comes with a detachable splash frame. This makes it a bit more versatile for senior cats who can really kick up the cat litter. The shield adds some extra inches to keep cat litter in while maintaining a lower front for easy access. Although the litter pan is not extra-large, cat’s can still move around it fairly easily due to its open design.
You can see it on Amazon by clicking here.
While there are an endless amount of litter box options out there to choose from, these are some favorite litter boxes that both myself and other senior cat owners have found work well to address troubles with the litter box. Upgrading to different litter boxes for your older cat can help to address particular geriatric issues, but don’t be discouraged if you need to do some extra trouble-shooting on the side.
As your cat gets older, it’s possible for your cat to develop certain preferences for things such as cat litter texture, litter box location, and style, as well as levels of cleanliness. You can help to keep potential aversions to the litter box at bay, by paying attention to your cat’s litter box preferences throughout their life. For example, if you notice your cat using one litter box more than another, take into consideration its size, style, location, etc.
I hope these battle-tested suggestions can help get you started to finding the perfect litterbox for your older cat!