Litter box accessories. They can make or break your litter box experience.
Let’s face it. Cleaning your cat’s litter box is no one’s favorite chore. But I’m going to say it right now. NO CAT LIKES A DIRTY LITTER BOX. Furthermore, NOT SCOOPING THE BOX IS LIKE NOT FLUSHING YOUR TOILET. Gross! That’s right. No excuses. Cats need and deserve a well-maintained litter box in order to meet their environmental needs. They are extremely clean creatures. Think about all the grooming they do! So…having the right litter box accessories helps YOU with a chore that you may not love!
Having a dirty litter box is the #1 cause of “house-soiling,” a term we use when a cat is not using their litter box and going elsewhere in the home. Sometimes we also call it “inappropriate urination.” But really, it’s inappropriate for us humans but it is quite appropriate for the cat because they are simply trying to find a clean place to go if a dirty box is the cause. (Note – if your cat is going outside of the litter box, have her examined by a veterinarian as there could also be a medical cause). Scooping daily is a must, as well as emptying and washing the box every one to two weeks. See my litter box guidelines for more info.
Repeat after me: “I will scoop my cat’s litter box AT LEAST once a day if not MORE!”
On CatVetLife you will not find me recommending products to “cover up” or “hide” odor. Remember, we are cat advocates and are constantly asking “Is it good for your cat?” If the box smells…scoop it, change it, or wash it! Plain and simple. But there are also products that can help us have an easier time in that department. Enter litter box accessories.
In this article, I will discuss MY favorite litter box accessories. There are many others out there (let me know in the comments!). From odor control solutions to tracking mats to litter box enclosures, we’ll discuss. Discover how these accessories can enhance your cat’s comfort and convenience while keeping your home cleaner and more odor-free. Let’s dive in!
*FTC Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links, I will get a small commission at NO additional cost to you. I only recommend products that I believe in! I am an affiliate for both Amazon and other online retailers. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Litter Box Accessories: The Basics – You Need a Good Scoop
Lots of choices of litter box scoops out there. Do we really care? Yes, and here’s why! Having quality “accessories” like good scoops only makes your job easier which, in turn, makes you less reluctant to scoop the box. And that’s a good thing. No one enjoys the chore of scooping litter, but with the right scoop, the task becomes quick and efficient. A well-designed litter scoop allows you to easily sift through the litter, separating the clumps from the clean litter while leaving behind any waste.
I have TWO litter box scoops for my largest box in the garage. I have this pretty plain Fast Sifting Scoop for my initial clean. It really sifts through the 3-4” of litter easily. If there are any tiny pieces left that fell through the metal, I’ll go back with this Non-Stick Aluminum–Plated Scoop. I store all my scoops in this really sturdy CatGuru scoop holder. I prefer metal scoops over plastic ones because plastic is a) less sturdy and b) can absorb odors. The durability and sturdiness of a quality scoop ensure that it can withstand repetitive use without bending or breaking.
My cats also get to go outside in our fenced backyard (more on that in another post). My durable metal scoops are perfect for scooping in the exact location up against the fence where Biscuit likes to go. Yes, I have to scoop my yard too…
Litter Box Accessories: Where To Put the Poop?
Why would anyone use something other than a free plastic grocery bag? That’s what we use for the dog, right? Because the plastic grocery bags always have tiny holes in them that will make you very unhappy when you scoop the litter in and it starts coming out the holes! Ask me how I know.
I use the Pet N Pet unscented bags (remember, unscented is important for cats) with easy tie handles. They are big enough for my scoops to fit in, but small enough that I don’t feel like I’m wasting a huge bag. One cool feature is that they contain 38% cornstarch-biobased materials. These things never leak.
Odor Control Solutions: No Poo-Pourri for Cats
When it comes to maintaining a pleasant environment for both you AND your cat, odor control is key. Nobody wants their home to smell like cats (or dogs or ferrets or any other animal, for that matter) which is why investing in effective, easy-to-use, odor control solutions is a must. Say goodbye to unpleasant smells and hello to a fresh-smelling home with the right accessories.
One of the most popular odor control solutions is the use of odor-absorbing litter. These specially designed litters are formulated to neutralize and trap odors, preventing them from permeating your living space. With options available for both clumping and non-clumping litter, you can choose the one that suits your cat’s preferences while also keeping the smell at bay.
BoxiePro Deep Clean Probiotic Clumping Clay Cat Litter is my favorite litter and what I use throughout my home. It contains probiotics that target waste, deep cleaning your litter on a microscopic level 24/7. By the way, this litter clumps faster than anything I’ve seen. By the time your kitty leaves the box, you could scoop (and if you see them go, you should scoop!).
What about litter box deodorizers? Oh, remember when I said, “If the box smells…scoop it, change it, or wash it!” I do not recommend adding any type of deodorizer to your cat’s litter box to “cover up” odors. However, because my favorite brand is Boxiecat, I decided to try their BoxiePro Scoop & Spray Litter Extender. It’s scent free which is VERY important. Never add scented sprays to your cat’s box. This probiotic spray cleans and extends the life of your litter. It’s not trying to “cover” anything up! Because one of my litter boxes is in the bathroom, literally right next to the toilet, I tried it with that specific box. And guess what? I liked it! There was no scent but it seemed to “neutralize” the odor that occurs after you’ve stirred everything up.
In addition, sometimes we want the litter box “area” to smell fresher in general. I use Fresh Wave Odor Removing Gel. In fact, I have it in my Subscribe and Save on Amazon. I like both the lavender and original scents. These gel, plant-based fresheners have earned a Safer Choice label from the EPA. They’re non-toxic, non-GMO, and are great for neutralizing and absorbing odors. I like that they are not a liquid that can be knocked over by you know who. You can tell when the gel has evaporated and you’re ready for a new one. There is also a spray for those times when you need to remove odors in the air right now! I have the large 15 oz size in my garage and I place the smaller 7oz size in each of my two bathrooms.
What about the litter box air purifier? I can’t call this a favorite because I’ve never tried one, but I figured I should include it on the list. These compact devices work by continuously circulating and filtering the air in and around the litter box area. By trapping and neutralizing odor molecules, they are supposed to help keep your home smelling fresh and clean. With their quiet operation and low energy consumption, litter box air purifiers may be a hassle-free solution to banishing unpleasant smells. They would be great for kitchen odors as well. The Greentech Environmental Portable Air Purifier gets fantastic reviews and you can just plug it in! One more thing for me to start looking into…
Litter Box Accessories: The Litter Box Enclosure – Ooh, Fancy!
What about a litter box enclosure? Hmm, that’s a tricky one. I generally recommend against covering boxes. If you look up the benefits of a litter box enclosure online you’ll find something like this: “litter box covers can help contain the odors within.” Think about what that is saying. Contain the odor within and then have your cat go inside and be overwhelmed by odor?!? Who wants to use a port-a-potty? Trying to keep odor “in” is the last thing you want to do.
Many cats don’t like feeling trapped inside and some of the larger boxes are too big to be covered. However, some cats do like to be more private with their litter box habits. In addition, if you are following the 1 + 1 rule (1 box for every cat PLUS one), you may need to get creative with where your boxes are. Additionally, if you decide on a litter box enclosure you need to make extra sure that your box is super clean! Do not be susceptible to “out of sight, out of mind.”
There are SO many types of stylish and functional enclosures out there. Years ago I had two really ugly, green-carpeted, bench-style enclosures. But you know what? My cats loved them because they could sit on top! We’ve come a long way since then. I eventually graduated to this really pretty one with white bead board (it matched the bead board in our home).
You can now find enclosures that are actually beautiful pieces of furniture. Options come in various styles, sizes, and materials, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your home’s decor. From sleek, contemporary designs to traditional and rustic options, there’s something to match every taste and preference. Some furniture pieces even feature additional storage compartments or shelves, providing you with extra space to keep cat-related essentials like litter bags and scoops conveniently close by.
I love this litter box enclosure with a rustic finish and barn doors. It’s got a really nice look to it!
And this one has shelves on top. No one will know it’s hiding a litter box!
This similar vintage-inspired furniture piece is nice because of the shelving and the entryway where your cat can wipe or scratch the litter off her paws.
The litter box in my bathroom is not in an enclosure but it does have a top on it. My cats have multiple choices and this is just one of them. This Modkat Flip litter box fits perfectly next to the toilet and because it has a top, it’s visually more appealing. It also has ventilation holes in the back of the cover, so odors are not kept in. This is a great box because you can flip the top either halfway or all the way back for scooping or just to give your cat more open space.
With these odor control solutions at your disposal, you can say goodbye to unpleasant smells and hello to a more enjoyable cat bathroom experience. AND DON’T FORGET TO SCOOP!
Litter Box Accessories: Tracking Mats – Keep the Litter Off YOUR Feet Too!
No one likes to feel those tiny, annoying pieces of litter under their bare feet. Am I right? Some litters track worse than others. I have always LOVED Okocat Longhaired Clumping Litter because even if a few pieces were tracked, they were very large and could easily be seen and picked up. Okocat produces great litter in a wide variety of styles. Unfortunately, Sioux told me he didn’t care for it, which is when we switched to Boxiecat and haven’t looked back! I would use it again in a heartbeat though! Remember, you have to ask your cat what he likes!
On to tracking mats, which are the perfect solution for keeping your floors tidy and free of stray litter. These mats are designed to trap litter particles as your cat exits the litter box, preventing them from being spread throughout your home. The litter mat may seem like a simple addition to your cat’s litter box setup, but its impact should not be underestimated. Made from durable materials, tracking mats feature textured surfaces that effectively capture and hold onto loose litter. Simply place the mat in front of the litter box, and as your cat steps out, the mat will gently remove clinging litter from her paws.
I use two different types of tracking mats. I have the Original Gorilla Grip mat underneath my ModKat box in the bathroom and just inside the cat door that leads to my enclosed garage litterbox area. It’s grippy, like the name says, i.e. it stays in place really well. Would you believe this mat comes in seven sizes and thirteen colors? I prefer gray.
I also have the Cat Guru super soft litter mats next to my garage litter boxes. They are amazing for catching litter and are machine washable. They are available in three sizes and four colors. I have two sets so that I can have a clean set while the other set is being washed.
Litter Box Accessories: You Still Have to Clean the Mat
The washable mats can obviously be washed. The Gorilla Mat can be picked up and shaken back into the box. But then you’ll want to vacuum any little pieces still stuck in the mat, plus anything surrounding the area that the match didn’t catch. I love this beyond by BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Handheld Vacuum for Pets.
Once you charge it, it holds the charge for a long time. I store mine in the bathroom closet and use it multiple times a day (any time I see litter on the mat!). It has a low and high setting, empties without you having to touch the messy stuff inside, and has an extendable neck in case you need to get in a hard-to-reach area. The vacuum comes with multiple accessories that I never use because it’s so good as-is. Plus it’s purple. So there’s that.
Litter Box Liners: Just Say No (With an Exception…)
What are litter box liners? They are basically plastic bags that line the box, then when you are really to change the litter you remove the liner filled with used litter and dispose of it. Sounds great, right? No more scraping or scrubbing the box, trying to remove dried-on messes! Not so fast! Is it good for your cat? Cats generally do not like plastic liners. Think about it, they are scratching in the litter to cover what they’ve left behind. They do not like scraping into plastic! In addition, they can tear into the plastic and defeat the purpose of the liner if there is now a hole in it.
“My” only exception to this rule is the liner that comes with the Modkat litter boxes as it is a thick tarp-like liner that is rip-resistant. It does make it easy on cleaning day (i.e. empty and clean, not just scoop) because you can lift the liner out, put another in, fill with litter then go about emptying and cleaning the first liner. The liners should still be replaced regularly (I replace them monthly). This is my Modkat!
I don’t recommend the cheap, plastic litter box liners. Let’s move on.
Finally – A Cat Door To My Enclosed Litter Box Area in the Garage
I have multiple litter boxes in my home, both inside (in the bathroom) and in a purpose-built enclosure in the garage. It would be lovely if I didn’t have to have a box in the house, but the cats said “no” to that idea. However, having a litter box in the garage works well for us. We had this PetSafe NEVER RUST Wall Entry Pet Door installed in the wall with access right into the enclosure. We used to have a Litter Robot in this space, but ultimately replaced it with a very, very large regular litter box. It took a little getting used to for the cats (starting with the door OFF, then working up to having the swinging plastic piece ON). It comes with a plastic piece that you can slide in to prevent them from coming through if you are in the garage cleaning the area and have the enclosure door open.
A word about litter boxes in the garage. It can work for some cats, but not all. Even if the boxes are in an enclosure (tons of ideas on Pinterest), some may be really scared of the noises! From the garage door opening to the cars pulling in to the washer and dryer running, it may not be the most serene bathroom experience. My cats, however, love the enclosure. When they hear the garage door open they come out into the area and sit right up against the wire as my truck pulls in. They even go out there and hang out when it’s ridiculously hot in there! So, consider your cats’ personalities when deciding where to put their litter boxes.
There you have it. We discussed quality litter box scoops, tracking mats, collection bags, odor control solutions, litter box enclosures, my favorite vacuum, and finally my garage litter box setup. Remember, there are many options out there and you have to find what works best for YOUR cats. Have a favorite litter box accessory? Comment below! I’m always looking for new ideas!