Best Litter Box For Older Cats: Things To Consider When Choosing a Toilet For an Elderly Feline

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best litter box for older cats

If you’ve just adopted an elderly feline, you may be looking for the best litter box for older cats. Older cats come with their own set of challenges.

Litter box mishaps can be challenging for any cat owner, and they can strike at any age. However, bathroom issues tend to be more common in older cats due to age, disease, and physical changes.

It can be difficult for elderly cats to use a standard litter box, which is why it’s important to have the right bathroom setup for your pet. Read on to learn more about how to choose the best litter box for older cats to keep your four-legged friend safe and comfortable.

Best Litter Box For Older Cats: Buyers Guide

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The best litter box for older cats is easy to access as many elderly felines suffer from arthritis.

If you plan on buying a litter box for an elderly cat, there are several things to consider before heading to the pet store. 


Some of the best litter box features for elderly cats include:

  • High sides to prevent accidents
  • Privacy for shy or bullies cats
  • An easily accessible entrance and exit
  • Safe, non-toxic materials


Some common problems to watch out for in litter boxes for older cats include:

  • Weak, flimsy plastic
  • Toxic or irritating materials
  • Small or awkward openings
  • Stairs, ramps, or other challenging access points

Types of Litter Boxes

There are several styles of litter boxes to choose from, some of which work better for elderly cats than others.

Open Litter Box

Most traditional litter boxes are a simple open-box design. They consist of a large, uncovered pan that often boasts a cutout for easy entry. Some models have high walls for your cat’s security and your floor’s safety. You can add litter directly to the pan with an open box or use a liner for easy cleaning. 

Open litter boxes can make a good choice for older cats with mobility issues. There’s no door or hood to obstruct access to the litter pan, and the entry space is large enough to accommodate any cat. If your cat has issues flinging litter or urinating over the edge of its box, you may want to look for high-walled options. 


  • Easily accessible for mobility impaired cats
  • High-walled litter boxes prevent bathroom mishaps
  • You can find a box to fit any space for easy access 


  • Cats may still get litter and waste on the floor, especially with low-walled pans
  • No security for shy or nervous cats
  • No odor protection

Covered Litter Box

Covered litter boxes are another popular choice for both young and older cats alike. In addition to a litter pan, this type of box has a security hood to make your cat feel safer when going about its business. Some covered litter boxes even include a door to create a fully enclosed space for shy kitties. 

Covered litter boxes can make a good choice for older cats as long as they accommodate mobility issues. The entry space should be large enough for your cat to fit through comfortably. You may want to opt for a model without a door to make access easier for mobility or vision-impaired pets. 


  • Offers privacy for shy kitties, especially in multi-cat settings
  • Blocks unpleasant odors
  • Available with or without a door


  • Pricier than open litter box options
  • They can be tough to clean
  • Large and bulky, making it hard to find the right fit


Bigger is usually better for older cats when it comes to amenities like the litter box. Elderly cats are more likely to have limited mobility, so it’s important to allow plenty of space for entry and exit. A larger pan area also means less chance of accidents that could ruin your floor or nearby furniture.


You can find litter boxes at a variety of price points to suit any budget, from affordable open-pan options to pricier self-cleaning models. The cost will usually depend on factors such as construction materials and design. Boxes made of plastic are usually the cheapest option, while those made of materials such as metal or carbon fiber are more expensive. Extra parts such as a hood or self-cleaning mechanisms will also increase the cost.

Type of Litter You’re Using

Older cats can be more sensitive to their environment, including the type of litter you use in their box. Cats with sensitive paws may avoid litter with hard or sharp pieces, leading to accidents outside the box. Fortunately, there are specialty litters you can find for cats with sensitive paws. 

Older cats may also have allergies or sensitivities to dust from clay litters. Silica litters can be a good alternative that works with most litter boxes and produce less irritating dust. If your cat is sensitive to scents, avoid perfumed litters and instead opt for unscented options.

Health Problems

Certain health problems are common in older cats and can affect the way they use the bathroom. It’s important to be aware of your cat’s changing needs as it ages and choose an appropriate litter box. Common causes of bathroom issues include:

  • Arthritis: If it hurts your cat to access the litter box, they may not use it. You should buy a box with an open, accessible front and place it somewhere your cat can reach. Avoid any models that require climbing or jumping to enter. 
  • Diabetes: This condition can make it difficult for cats to use the litter box. Be sure to find something easily accessible and place it in a safe, calming location. A covered litter box may be a good choice.
  • Cognitive issues: Like us, cats can experience cognitive decline with age. It’s important to make the litter box easy to find. Open pan boxes often work well, as they are highly visible and easily accessible. 

Cleaning Tips

Cleaning your cat’s litter box daily can help to keep both you and your pet happy and healthy. There are plenty of good ways to make emptying the litter box quick and easy:

  • Use a litter pan liner for one-step elimination
  • Try clumping litter to make scooping easier
  • Scrub the box between changes to prevent odor buildup
  • Sprinkle baking soda in the pan to absorb smells

If you don’t have the time (or the stomach) to clean your cat’s litter each day, you may want to consider self-cleaning options. However, keep in mind that most are covered and may be a challenge for mobility-impaired cats. 


Using the litter box can become more of a challenge for your cat as it ages. Fortunately, there are plenty of different options to choose from, making it easy to find the best litter box for older cats.

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