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Choosing A Litter Tray

Visit any pet store and you will see a vast array of litter trays. From the simple rectangular type (pictured left) to the elaborate. From personal experience, I have found the simpler the litter tray, the better.

The litter tray must be easy to get in and out of and be large enough for your cat to comfortably stand in. Litter trays should be made of strong and durable plastic. They will need to withstand contact with urine, feces, cat claws, hot water, and disinfectants.

How many litter trays do I need?

It is recommended that you have one litter tray per cat, plus one spare. But again, this comes down to space and personal preference. You should not have a number of cats sharing the same litter tray, though. That is a fast way to encourage bad habits developing. Nobody likes a dirty toilet, and that includes cats.

Plain litter tray:

cat litter tray

The cheapest type of litter tray. It is recommended you start out with this type of litter tray if you are bringing home a kitten (you can get small ones with lower sides), and see how you and your cat like it. Advantages are that this type of litter tray is cheap, readily available and easy to clean out.

Any type of cat litter can be used in these litter trays.

Plain litter tray with lip:

Litter tray

I like this style, they are still cheap to buy and easy to get in and out of, but the lip helps prevent litter being kicked out of the tray.

Any type of cat litter can be used in this type of litter tray.

Storage box:

Not a litter tray but I know of cat owners who use these in place of litter trays. They are cheap to buy, readily available and have high enough sides that once your cat has hopped in, there is little chance of litter being kicked out.

Some people choose to cut a hole in the lid, others just remove the lid entirely.

Any type of cat litter can be used.

Litter tray with dish:

Litter tray

Another inexpensive option. The litter goes into the top tray and when the cat goes to the toilet, the liquid flows down to the bottom tray. This can then be quickly hosed out on a daily basis, greatly reducing odours.

Generally, recycled wood pellets are used in this style of the litter tray.

Covered litter tray:

Hooded litter tray


The next step up is the covered litter tray. It is good for privacy (some cats prefer to go to the toilet without an audience, some don't care). Again, these litter trays are relatively inexpensive.

Any type of cat litter can be used in this type of litter tray.

Self-cleaning litter tray: Self cleaning litter tray


This is a relative newcomer to the market. The self-cleaning litter tray comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. A few minutes after your cat has used the litter tray, a rake moves along the cat litter removing the urine and feces into a tray. Obviously, despite the name, the tray does require the removal of urine and feces every few days but is a popular choice among cat owners.

These types of litter tray come with or without hoods, I have seen one with a counter so that you can keep tabs on how often your cat is using the litter tray.

Hidden litter trays:

This type of litter tray is built into furniture which also removes the unsightly look of a litter tray, but also provides your cat with some privacy when he's on the loo. They can be bought from specialist stores or custom made by a cabinet maker.

Also see:

Types of cat litter   Toilet training your cat