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We know that cats need more than one litter box but when you’re dealing with small spaces like an apartment or studio it can be difficult to figure out where to put them.
That can lead to some creative placements…and not all of them are good.
But what about taking advantage of a cat’s natural love of heights and placing a litter box in an elevated spot? We’ve talked before about elevating water and food bowls to keep them out of reach for pets so why not a litter box?
Can you put a litter box somewhere up high?
You can place a litter box in an elevated location as long as cats can easily reach it and the litter box is secure. Additionally, you wouldn’t want your cat’s only litter box to be elevated and instead, an elevated box should be one of at least two options for cats.
That’s the quick answer but let’s take a closer look at what you need to know when it comes to setting your cat up for success with an elevated litter box.
Why Place The Litter Box Somewhere High?
Let’s start by looking at why we’d want to elevate the litter box in the first place. Our goal here is to figure out if going for a higher spot really is the best solution before we start looking at how to pull this setup off.
To Prevent Pets and Children From Accessing The Litter Box
For whatever reason, some dogs just can’t seem to resist digging in the litter box for a “tasty” treat.
Yeah, I know. It’s pretty gross but it just part of having a mixed pet household.
Young children can also be a concern and while they’re not going to be nearly as motivated as a dog, you still want to make sure they don’t have access to a litter box.
Going for a higher spot can prevent access for both kids and pups but so can a lot of other options so before going for an elevated spot consider some of your other choices.
Designating a specific room as cat-only is a good starting point and many folks like to use a spare bathroom for the litter box.
There are several ways to pull this off but my go-to tool is the Door Buddy which keeps doors open just enough for cats to get through but still closed enough to keep kids and dogs out.
You can still easily open the door and it avoids having to install a cat door or anything else. You can check out the Door Buddy on Amazon by clicking here.
The Door Buddy can also help you appease your cat’s dislike of closed doors by giving them full access 24/7!
Because Of Limited Space
While cats can share litter boxes in a pinch, the best practice is to have one litter box for each cat plus one. So if you have two cats, you’ll need three litter boxes and so on.
But it’s not always easy to find enough spots in the house for all those litter boxes- at least not without just placing them right next to each other which isn’t ideal either. This is especially true if you’re living a smaller space like an apartment where finding the perfect litter box spot is even more difficult. Even more so if you want to avoid less desirable spots like the kitchen or bedroom.
In this case, going for a higher spot can make a lot of sense. After all, cats live in a world of vertical space just as much as they do horizontal so why not tap into it?
To Add Some Variety
Lastly, perhaps you have plenty of space but just want to add a little variety to your cat’s options. Again, going vertical isn’t a bad idea as long as it’s done safely!
What To Consider When Elevating Your Cat’s Litter Box
There’s more to setting your cat up for success with an elevated box than just dropping a box on a shelf and calling it a day.
Let’s look at how you can safely pull this off but keep in mind, that you’re responsible for keeping your cat safe and properly setting your cat’s litter box. We’re going to share some tips and suggestions but in no way are we responsible for anything that happens as a result of elevating your cat’s litter box.
With that out of the way, let’s get into it.
Secure The Litter Box
For some cats, the litter box experience is a very active one complete with plenty of scratching and even some post-poop zoomies. That means the first thing you’ll want to do is secure the litter box to whatever elevated surface you choose.
I know that my cat loves to launch herself out of the litter box and sprint up the stairs. She’s not having a painful stool, it’s just her style but that launch can shift the box back.
How you secure the box will depend on the location but for any sort of shelving or smooth surface, Command Strips are a great place to start. I suggest the velcro version so you can still easily remove the litter box for deep cleaning.
These Command Strips on Amazon are a good place to start for plastic litter boxes and four are designed to hold 12 pounds so most folks should be able to attach enough to keep the box secure.
That’s certainly not your only option for securing the litter box and if you’re crafty you could create a small wooden frame around the base of the box to lock it in. But if you’re good with your hands then the options are almost limitless.
The video below isn’t exactly an elevated litter box but it is an elevated entry to a litter box and should give you some inspiration:
Whatever you do, make sure the box is secure. You do not want the box to fall over while your feline friend is inside. Not only could that result in injury for your cat but it could also lead to litter box aversion. If the last time your cat used the litter box it came crashing down from the sky, they may decide that urinating somewhere else is a better option and that’s not good for anyone!
Make Sure There’s Room To Safely Land
Your cat shouldn’t have to jump into the litter box and they shouldn’t have to jump out of it directly to the floor either.
Instead, cats need some room to mosey into the litter box and room to exit while shaking off any extra litter. As a general guideline, make sure there’s enough free space in front of the box equal to the length of your cat. More is better but that’s the minimum you should look for.
If your elevated litter box location is on a smooth surface, like a finished wood shelf, consider helping your cat grip the surface and stick the landing by adding a litter mat. You’ll get the added benefit of collecting extra litter too. Just make sure you secure the litter mat as well.
As far as which litter mat to go with, the Gorilla Grip mat is a good place to start since these are specifically designed not to slip. So much so, that I also recommend them for folks that decide to place their cat’s litter box in the bathtub as a way to prevent cats from slipping. They also have more than 23,000 five-star reviews that you can see on Amazon and several size options so they’re pretty flexible.
Does Your Cat Want To Jump Up High?
Even though our cats love heights, not all of them want to jump up high for a bathroom break. Jackson Galaxy explains that each cat will have their own style which can include preferring to hang out on the floor. So while it’s convenient to elevate a litter box, make sure it fits your cat’s typical preferences.
Then there’s the issue of age and one study found that by age 12 almost 90% of cats had some sign of degenerative joint disease. That’s one reason why we usually recommend a specific type of cat tree for older cats but it should also be a consideration when it comes to elevating the litter box.
In other words, older cats may not want to jump up too high just to use the bathroom as a result of older, painful joints. A ramp or another route that gives them an easy path can help but for older cats, a litter box on the ground is probably the best option.
Don’t Go Too High
Even though you can place a litter box in a high-up location, you still don’t want to go for anything that’s too high. The higher up you got, the greater risk of a potential problem but there’s still no hard and fast rule of what’s too high.
The average cat tree is around 36 inches (91 cm) and that’s a good starting point in terms of elevation. That’s the same height as most counters too and it’s tall enough to be interesting to cats but out of reach for pets and small children.
Of course, you can go higher but just be reasonable and always think about the safety of your feline friend!
Make Sure Your Cat Has Litter Box Choices That Aren’t Elevated
Remember, our cats can be quite picky when it comes to how, when, and where they use the bathroom.
And if they aren’t happy with their choices, many cats won’t hesitate to use the bathroom where ever they think it’s most convenient- that could be in the bathroom sink, the nearest plastic bag, or anywhere else they think seems like a good option.
So instead of elevating everything all at once, add in an elevated option and see how your cat reacts. If your cat seems happy with the choice and the litter box gets plenty of use, feel free to add more!
Besides the risk of an accident, there’s no specific reason why you can’t elevate a litter box and put it somewhere high. After all, there’s no unspoken cat rule that says you have to place litter box on the floor and most cats will be happy to make the climb.
But cats also love routine and if one day all the litter boxes on the floor and the next they’re 6 inches from the ceiling then you could have a problem.
So go slow when it comes to elevating the litter box, make your cat has choices and always make the safety of your cat the number one concern.
What do you think? Are you going to try to elevate the litter box?