The 7 Best Litter Boxes for Small Spaces

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My Maine Coon and I live in a “cozy” apartment downtown where space is always at a premium. When it comes to the best litter boxes for small spaces, my experience recommends the IRIS Top Entry Cat Litter Box.

Best Overall
IRIS Top Entry Cat Litter Box with Cat Litter Scoop
9.2
  • Modern space saving design and shape
  • BPA-free
  • Grooved system on the lid catches litter on paws
  • Included scooper and hook for easy storage.
  • Medium and Large sizes available

But not all cats – or owners – prefer a top entry litter box. So in this post we’ll cover other fantastic choices for different use cases and preferences, all with regard to a confined space. At the end is a buyer’s guide.

Photo via Catza.net

These are the products we review in this article (not all shown):

Catit Large Hooded Cat Litter Box, Gray, 50722,Large Box
BEST COVERED

Catit Large Hooded Cat Litter Box, Gray, 50722,Large Box

  • Type: Covered
  • Plastic Construction
  • 22.4"L x 18.3"H x 15.3"W
Petco So Phresh Corner Litter Box
BEST BUDGET

Petco So Phresh Corner Litter Box

  • Type: Open, Corner
  • Plastic Construction
  • 26.25"L x 21.5"W x 10"H
PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Hooded Litter Box
BEST AUTOMATIC

PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Hooded Litter Box

  • Type: Automatic
  • Plastic Construction
  • 20.38"L x 7.13"W x 28"H
Good Pet Stuff Hidden Litter Box
BEST HIDDEN

Good Pet Stuff Hidden Litter Box

  • Type: Hidden
  • Polypropylene Construction
  • 9" Diameter x 20"H (64" circumference)
Merry Pets Cat Washroom Night Stand
BEST ENCLOSURE

Merry Pets Cat Washroom Night Stand

  • Type: Furniture
  • MDF Fiberboard, Stainless Steel Construction
  • 20"L x 18"W x 25"H
Litter Genie Cat Litter Box
BEST NARROW

Litter Genie Cat Litter Box

  • Type: Open
  • Plastic Construction
  • 22.3"L x 16"W x 17.6"H

Overall Best Litter Box for Small Spaces

IRIS Top Entry Cat Litter Box with Cat Litter Scoop
9.2
  • Modern space saving design and shape
  • BPA-free
  • Grooved system on the lid catches litter on paws
  • Included scooper and hook for easy storage.
  • Medium and Large sizes available

The IRIS Top Entry Litter box is our overall best litter box for small spaces because of its combination of modern design and a fun silhouette, plus straight up utility. It even comes with a scoop.

The top entry design simply stops most pesky litter scatter, dust and odors from getting out of the litter box during normal use. And for the litter stuck on your cat’s paws, a grooved lid gently scrapes that off as they climb out.

If you’re a studio or one bedroom apartment, chances are high you’ll be placing the litter box somewhere visible. And with the IRIS Top Entry Litter Box, that’s totally fine.

It looks good and is available in multiple colors and 2 sizes (Medium and Large) to best fit your space.

A space-saving oval shape and lid look like a fancy gadget or office trash can. Some users say most people can’t tell it’s a litter box until they get up close. This speaks volumes about the odor control ability too.

The hole at the top is sufficient for all cat sizes; your cat should have no issues getting in (and out). Scooping from the top entry is a breeze too.

One note: If you have a senior cat or one with joint issues, this is not the best option as it requires jumping to get into the box.

Rating Breakdown:

  • Appropriate for Small Spaces: 9/10
  • Performance 8/10
  • Durability: 8/10
  • Price: 9/10
  • Overall Score: 8.5

What We Liked:

  • Modern space saving design and shape
  • BPA-free
  • Grooved system on the lid catches litter on paws
  • Included scooper and hook for easy access
  • Medium and Large sizes available

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Small surface area for cats to jump on
  • Some complaints of lid not being super secure

Best Covered Litter Box for Small Spaces

For cats who require privacy to go, or boys and girls who won’t use a top entry box, we recommend the Catit Hooded Litter pan in the regular (large) size, not jumbo. This thing is wonderful in its details.

Covered boxes contain litter, odors, and dust even more than a top entry box, but a common negative criticism is that they hard to clean or scoop.

Often, you need to deal with needing to place the nasty down somewhere, or a flimsy hinge.

With the Catit Hooded Cat Litter Pan, the front entry retracts all the way on the roof and can stay there, in a solid piece for super easy access to the litter.

You can even leave the front door up if you have a younger cat or senior cat who can’t comfortably push the door. It’s perfectly fine to use this way as a partially covered box.

And speaking of details, this litter box is equipped with a replaceable carbon filter to stop odors from leaching out into your small space.

And to prevent anyone from accidentally dismantling the litter box, you can lock the bottom section to the top. All these contribute to why this model is one of the best litter boxes for small spaces.

Rating Breakdown:

  • Appropriate for Small Spaces: 9/10
  • Performance 8/10
  • Durability: 8/10
  • Price: 6/10
  • Overall Score: 7.75

What We Liked:

  • Stops litter spray, dust, and odors
  • Has a foldable, lifting lid that exposes the entirety of the box for easier cleaning
  • Carbon Filter eliminates odors even more
  • Regular or Jumbo size option

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Some complaints of the locking mechanism being weak

Budget Best Litter Box for Small Apartments

Petco So Phresh Corner Litter Box
7.75
  • Type: Open, Corner
  • Plastic Construction
  • 26.25"L x 21.5"W x 10"H

(November 2022 Update – Our previous top pick, the Petmate Corner Litter Box looks like it’s been discontinued. I’ve found a similar high performing box below.)

The Petco So Phresh Corner Litter Box is a unique and less expensive spin on the best litter box for small spaces. If are an owner that scoops after each time your cat goes, this is for you.

The best thing about it is the shape, which will confine to any corner that you place it in. And since it’s an open pan, your cat can freely enter and use the box with no issues. When you’re ready to clean it, just scoop. It’s totally open!

The low entrance works great for kittens and adult cats. That triangular shape is also actually not that much smaller than a traditional rectangle shaped box. Lots of users report even their large cats have no issues with the size and that it was bigger than expected.

And owners love those high sides that catch litter scatter (though not completely like an enclosed box).

You might find that the plastic could be a tad thicker, but it’s not to the point of cracking.

Rating Breakdown:

  • Appropriate for Small Spaces: 7/10
  • Performance 8/10
  • Durability: 7/10
  • Price: 9/10
  • Overall Score: 7.75

What We Liked:

  • The low cut entry is suitable for large, heavy cats that have problems picking up their legs
  • Its triangle shape is convenient for placing in discreet locations
  • Easy to pick up and clean; weighs only three pounds

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Thin plastic

Best Self Cleaning Space Saving Litter Box

PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Hooded Litter Box
5.5
  • Type: Automatic
  • Plastic Construction
  • 20.38"L x 7.13"W x 28"H

(November 2022 Update – The second generation PetSafe Scoop Free Ultra has been released, and the generation one has been discontinued. My review below still stands, but the biggest change is to the litter tray: from a reusable plastic one to disposable cardboard.

The reusable plastic tray is available for purchase separately, but it’s not cheap. Because of this, this litter box system is not such a great value for the money as before. It still performs, though.)

Any cat owner who knows about self-cleaning litter box has imagined life with it and potential conveniences. The market for self-cleaning litter robots has grown in response to this.

You can find, what looks like, luxury cement mixer-like contraptions, all the way to more affordable time travel pods.

Of all those, the most practical for small spaces is the PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra.

It just does what it promises quietly and with no fuss: a motion sensor detects when Fluffy has done his thing and (after a delay) calls on a rake to move the waste to a separate compartment.

While cool, the standout feature that makes this one of the best litter box for small spaces (and small apartments) is the crystal litter used with this litter box. Instead of traditional clumping clay or other materials, the litter is made of silica gel particles.

Silica is a desiccant, or moisture removing agent, so this material as litter is a stroke of genius. Not only does it dehydrate waste material and remove the odor, it’s also completely dustless!

Odor and dust are two of the biggest concerns of a litter box in smaller spaces, and the PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra just crushes it here, which is why it’s my recommendation.

By the way, this model comes in two versions, we are talking about a hooded version here but it comes without a hood too.

Rating Breakdown:

  • Appropriate for Small Spaces: 7/10
  • Performance: 6/10
  • Durability: 6/10
  • Price: 3/10
  • Overall Score: 5.5

What We Liked:

  • Self cleaning
  • Dust Free
  • Dehydrating “crystal litter”
  • Easy to change litter
  • Hooded

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Price
  • Will your cat use it?

Hidden Best Litter Box for Small Apartments

Good Pet Stuff Hidden Litter Box
7.5
  • Type: Hidden
  • Polypropylene Construction
  • 9" Diameter x 20"H (64" circumference)

If you’re in space that just does not have a place for the litter box, even a covered one, go for the Good Pet Stuff Hidden Litter Box.

This is our best litter box for small spaces in this category because it’s large on the inside for litter, looks great, and fools a great number of people who don’t realize it’s a litter box. Plus it’s easy to clean, and has a filter for odors.

The Good Pet Stuff Litter Box is a potted plant with a big empty area underneath for litter. It includes an artificial plant and some moss too. Placed among real plants, you could probably tell it’s not live.

But on its own, it looks plenty good and inconspicuous.

Placed angled in a corner, the entry is not visible, and it’s hard to know you’re looking at a litter box! (A lot of users also spray paint the pot a color to match their decor, and it just looks fabulous.)

The entry is large enough to reach in and scoop, and this model also holds ~20 pounds of litter, as it’s so deep. Both score big on daily convenience.

If you ever want to change the litter completely, the top portion detaches from the bottom. From here, you can wipe down insides with bleach or Chlorox wipes.

FYI Scooping might be a bit tricky due to the shape, so consider using a small scooper that’s more maneuverable.

Rating Breakdown:

  • Appropriate for Small Spaces: 9/10
  • Performance: 8/10
  • Durability: 6/10
  • Price: 7/10
  • Overall Score: 7.5

What We Liked:

  • Looks great
  • Blends in well with other plants and furniture
  • Spacious inside, and holds lots of litter
  • Filter system
  • Easy to clean

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Some complaints that top and bottom portions are hard to assemble

Enclosed Best Litter Box for Small Spaces

Merry Pets Cat Washroom Night Stand
7.5
  • Type: Furniture
  • MDF Fiberboard, Stainless Steel Construction
  • 20"L x 18"W x 25"H

This next category is not a litter box per se, but rather a litter box enclosure. Some call this litter box furniture, since it often takes the form of a nightstand or side cabinet.

If your cat only uses an open top litter box, and you have a small space, you need to get an enclosure like this to hide it in plain view. The litter box enclosure I recommend is the Cat Washroom Night Stand, one of the best litter boxes for small apartments.

Why?

First, there are multiple colors to choose from. Unlike the Good Pet Stuff Hidden Litter Box, you won’t need to spray paint for this furniture to match your existing room.

Second, assembly is like IKEA furniture, and all parts feel sturdy. The top shelf is perfectly usable as storage.

Third, the cabinet itself is cute and features wainscoting paneling and stainless-steel hardware. All nice details for an important room!

Rating Breakdown:

  • Appropriate for Small Spaces: 10/10
  • Performance: 9/10
  • Durability: 5/10
  • Price: 6/10
  • Overall Score: 7.5

What We Liked:

  • Design
  • Straightforward assembly
  • Parts and hardware don’t feel cheap
  • The opening is wide and cats of all sizes will have no problem getting in and out

What We Didn’t Like:

  • The fiberboard base has no water resistance, may absorb liquids if not protected

My Narrow Litter Box Recommendation

Litter Genie Cat Litter Box
7.25
  • Innovative Litter Box
  • Designed With High Walls
  • Flexible & Compact Size
  • Easy To Use
  • Pet Parent Must Have

If you’ve only got a small space to fit a litter box, check out the unique Litter Genie Cat Litter Box. It’s constructed of a flexible plastic that is able to slide into narrow areas in your small space.

High sides prevent litter spray, and there are even super practical handles, that be folded together to make cleaning the box a snap.

Reviewer loved how they could bend the material and fit the box in tight areas (there are not corners). At the same time, this narrow cat litter box is deep enough even for large 15lb cats.

Rating Breakdown:

  • Appropriate for Small Spaces: 9/10
  • Performance: 8/10
  • Durability: 5/10
  • Price: 7/10
  • Overall Score: 7.25

Best Small Litter Box

Van Ness Pets Extra Small Open Cat Litter Box
8.25
  • Ideal for kittens who benefit from easy entry and exit
  • High polished finish that is odor and stain resistant
  • Easy to clean

If you’re looking for the best small litter box, full stop, then you can’t go wrong with the Van Ness Open Small Litter Box. At just 14.38 x 10.75 x 4 inches, this is the perfect size litter box for a kitten.

Purchasers praised its size (small, but not too small), the depth, and how easy to clean it is. Overall, it’s great value for money. The Van Ness model works well with pellet litter, too, and did not soak through the plastic.

Rating Breakdown:

  • Appropriate for Small Spaces: 10/10
  • Performance: 8/10
  • Durability: 5/10
  • Price: 10/10
  • Overall Score: 8.25

How to Choose the Best Cat Litter Box for Small Spaces?

As you look for the best litter box for small spaces for your cat, these are the key points that you should focus your attention on when shopping.

Getting this right makes the experience much more pleasant. Because then the litter box will fit your space, be tidy and easy to clean, and be tucked away yet available to your cat!

Size and Shape

For starters, a lot of litter boxes are simply too big in dimensions, and may demand too much floor space in a small room. Others may not fit in a desired location because the space is awkward or tucked away.

If you anticipate placing your litter box in such a location, make sure that you know the exact dimensions of the box and your space.

Litter and Odor Control

In a smaller space, containing litter spray, dust and odors is even more important than usual. You never want your living space to stink or have litter scatter your floors. And litter dust is irritating and toxic if inhaled for long periods of time.

This is why our list contains so many top entry, covered, or hidden litter box options. They fare better in this regard compared to a generic open-top model. Some even have features for this problem.

Ease of Cleaning

There are two kinds of cat parents: the one that scoops after each time Fluffy goes, and the once-a-day scooper. I am the first one (if I’m available), and cast no disparaging looks on the other.

Whichever you are, choose a box with easy access to do scooping and maintenance. Open pan litter boxes are the simplest and have the edge here.

With top entry and covered boxes, often you’ll find flip lids, and removable hoods. But don’t let these distract you from regular cleaning. Not seeing the litter and waste is not an excuse to scoop less!

Aesthetics

The best litter box for small spaces should be cute, or at least presentable. Not an eyesore, because you might be setting it up in the thick of your living area.

This is all subjective, with some people not minding a clean-and-neat open pan set up. Others would rather not look at litter in the open, and go with a litter box enclosure or hidden litter box.

And the middle of the road types would find a covered or top entry box most suitable.


Types of Cat Litter Boxes for Small Spaces

(Photo via Catza.net) Get the right type of litter box for this guy

Here are the main types of litter boxes and how they stack up in small spaces:

Open Pan Litter Box

  • The standard box
  • Depending on the model, an open pan may or may not include a lower section in front for cats to enter and exit
  • An open pan forces you be on-the-ball with maintenance, a positive for small apartments
  • No barrier for litter scatter and dust, except the box’s walls.

Top Entry Litter Box

  • A natural option for small areas
  • Great for minimizing odor and litter spray since they’re entirely enclosed on all sides, save for the top
  • A small opening allows for cats to jump inside when they’re ready to go, then climb out when finished. It might take a bit longer for some cats to transition to these – or it may not
  • Better models have friction on the lid to dislodge litter stuck to kitty’s paws, and prevents it from reaching your floor

Small Litter Box with a Lid

  • Almost resembles a mini kennel
  • An opening will be directly in the front to access the litter area
  • Holds in odor well and contain litter, but could take a bit longer to clean up, because you clean the lid too
  • Better models can be opened from the top, allowing you to reach inside to thoroughly clean

Hidden or Enclosed Litter Boxes

  • Takes the shape of a normal object but with a hollowed inside
  • Cute way to store your little box in an area that’s very small, such as a studio apartment
  • Selling point is how it blends with other items in your residence
  • Some of them are made well enough to fool guests into thinking that it’s not a litter box at all
  • May spend more time cleaning it than other litter boxes since you won’t want odor seeping into your lounging area

Automatic Litter Box

  • Robot magic with a mechanism that transfers waste into a separate area at the push of a button or at intervals after it detects usage
  • For people that are tired of manually having to scoop up waste by hand – so pretty much everybody
  • Waste can sit for awhile before the machine does its thing
  • Should be easy to swap litter – if it all works
  • Most expensive option

Where Do You Put a Litter Box in a Small Apartment?

Finding any space in a tiny apartment can be challenging, and it can be doubly hard when considering where to keep your cat’s litter box. With space at a premium, locations may be limited.

Yet, it has to be functional. Kitty must be able to easy get to their litter tray, in an area they occupy normally, and it has to be quiet and low traffic enough to do their business peacefully.

The best places to put a litter box in a small apartment include closets, the laundry room, the bathroom, or right in plain view in your living room or bedroom.

BTW: There will be litter scatter and other stuff, no matter what type of box you use, so stick with a hard surface unless you like vacuuming regularly.

Laundry Room

First off is a laundry room or laundry area. If you have this, it can be an excellent place to keep a litter box in. A laundry room might be a nice spot for your cat to get some privacy. Its peaceful and usually has low foot traffic.

The one thing to watch out for is the noise of the dryer or washer which might frighten a nervous cat, if a wash or dry cycle starts or stops.

With regard to sanitation, it should not be an issue if you do not store your clothing in the laundry room for an extended period and clean the litter box daily.

Linen Closet

If you have a spare uncarpeted linen closet, it can be useful place for a litter box. Linen closets are dry, accessible, and private for the cat. Just keep the litter box on the floor of the closet.

Keep in mind you are sacrificing closet space here, as ideally there should be no clothes or actual linens in here with the litter box – that litter dust is no joke.

Ensure that the door can’t move in a way that leaves your car trapped within the closet if you are away.

Utility Closet

With this solution, you do not waste any space in your small apartment and still have a magnificent location for the cat litter box. Just slide the litter box into the floor of the utility closet.

Then you can remove the utility closet door or install a cat-friendly door to give Fluffy easy access.

Ensure that the closet has no items that can be ruined in close proximity to the litter box. Ideally, there should be nothing else in there.

Bathroom

Next to the toilet: If your litter box fits in between the sink and toilet, it can be a very practical place.

Under the sink: You can also consider putting the litter box under the sink and remove the doors. People often use this area for random cleaning materials or junk, so it’s very efficient.

If you go this route, keep in mind now that the bathroom door must be open or have special access all of the time.

In Plain View

For those who don’t mind looking at it, why not just keep the litter box in plain view in a quiet corner of the living room or bedroom? Your cat is most comfortable there, and is certainly familiar with it.

It’s a simple idea that doesn’t require explanation. If guests spot a cat in your apartment, they will know you must have a litter box.

In short, just select an appealing litter box (and keep it clean by scooping and sweeping/vacuuming) so no one is troubled by smells or litter scatter.

Disguised in Plain View

Hiding your cat litter box in plain sight is the coolest and most enjoyable alternative. With this option you are utilizing a hidden litter box or litter box furniture that encloses the box,

No one will even know that mid century modern end table actually hides a litter box.

Or that the potted plant in the corner is a complete litter box system. In a modest flat, it appears attractive and unassuming.

Feel free to DIY a solution too – if you are the handy type with wood-working.


What is the Best Litter Box for Odor Control?

The best litter box for odor control comes in a few forms. You can choose either a top entry litter box, a hooded or covered litter box, as well a hidden or enclosed litter box.

I recommend one of my top picks above, the IRIS Top Entry Cat Litter Box, if you go the enclosed route.

My MVP for a hooded box is the normal sized Catit Hooded Cat Litter Pan (not the jumbo!).

For an enclosed option, I like the Good Pet Stuff Hidden Litter Box!


Need the Best Self Cleaning Litter Box?

Go with the PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Automatic Self Cleaning Hooded Litter Box as the best self cleaning litter box. I talk about it above, and with over 10,000 satisfied cat owners and their cats, it’s worth a try!


Looking for the Best Litter Box for Messy Cats?

I recommend the Catit Hooded Cat Litter Pan as the best litter box for messy cats. Truthfully, any enclosed or top entry model will work to contain litter spray and messes. Anything but an open litter pan!

A covered litter box’s main benefit for messy cats is their simplicity. It’s the most like an open pan, just with a door.

A messy cat might accidentally knock over a top entry box or plain not deal with the more “exotic” options like the automatic or hidden litter box.


Interested in the Best Litter Box for Large Cats?

For owners of large cats like Maine Coons, Siberians, Ragdolls, Norwegian Forest Cats, or just a plain old big moggy, the Petmate Giant Litter Pan with Microban is for you!

It’s so big a child can sleep in it (while brand new!). It’s a match for any large cat and their business. It fights odors as it’s treated with Microban, and had handy cubbies for storing supplies – bags and scoop.

This item is sold out often, so look for its little sibling, the Petmate Giant, as an alternative. This one isn’t Microban-coated and lacks cubbies, but keeps the giant size and quality construction.

See my full post on the best litter boxes for large cats.


Want the Best Cat Litter for Odor Control?

I totally get why you’d be interested in this for small spaces. I have two picks as the best cat litter for odor control.

For a great overall experience, Boxiecat Premium Clumping Cat Litter prevents ammonia smells very well. And it does this without any scent of of its own.

On top of that of that, its slightly heavier granules make it dust free and won’t have your cat tracking it all over the house.

A more mainstream choice is Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Platinum Cat Litter that uses odor eliminators and baking soda to fight smells. Once the litter detects moisture, it forms a tight seal around liquid and solids, locking in odors.


Frequently Asked Questions

How can I hide my litter box in a small apartment?

To hide a litter box in small apartments, choose a hidden litter box. Those are boxes that blend in with your existing furniture.

The Good Stuff litter box mentioned above is a great choice. Or you can place the litter box in an enclosure, which looks like a normal piece of furniture.

What is the best litter box to control odor?

There are many types of litter boxes that fight odor. Top entry or enclosed litter boxes fight odors with a barrier.

The PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra automatic litter box uses silica crystals as litter, which drys out waste material and eliminates odors that way.

Some models like the Catit Hooded Litter Box and Good Pet Stuff Hidden Litter Box use a charcoal filter to control odors.

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From Our #1 Ranked Online Pet Store

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