Pros: Reduces mess dramatically; heavy-duty liners; makes the whole process easier
Cons: One of our cats just couldn’t handle the lid–but then he couldn’t understand “normal” boxes either
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
First published 6/1/2005
Clevercat Innovations has come up with a nifty new sort of litterbox: a top-entry litterbox. It’s a tall rectangle shape with a lid that has a hole at one end through which the cat can enter and exit. The heavy-duty liners reach all the way up the tall sides and are clamped down by the lid. There’s a built-in tracking mat on the lid that traps excess litter, further reducing mess.
We bought the Clevercat box for a very specific reason. One of our cats has some odd ideas about litterbox use. He seems to believe that the more litter he can see in front of him, the better his odds of hitting the target. In practice this means he tends to back up so far that he, umm, goes over the side of the box. Sure, we could use a standard box with a lid, but I’d rather put newspapers on the floor and clean up the mess that way than have to wash down the side of a lid every time he eliminated in the box. So we thought, great–if the walls are tall enough that backing up just means he backs up against them, and there’s a liner there, there shouldn’t be anywhere for his mess to go but where it’s supposed to!
You place the litterbox, put a liner in it, fill it with two to three inches of litter, leave the lid off and put your cat inside. You aren’t supposed to put the lid on it until your cat has successfully used the box himself two or three times. The problem we had was that the cats were nervous about jumping in and out over the tall wall, so they didn’t want to just use it as-is. They’d use it if we put them into it, but wouldn’t get in it themselves. We put the lid on, which solved the problem with one of the two cats–she jumped up (after we showed her) and was happy to go in and out exactly as the box was designed for.
Of course it’s our other cat, the one who couldn’t understand litterboxes in the first place, who had problems again. He bumped his head on the underside of the lid and then refused to go back in at all. We had almost despaired of being able to use the litterbox when we had an idea.
We ditched the lid, and used boxes to build a small set of steps up to the top of the litterbox. Bingo! Problem solved. Now they both use it perfectly. The mess is solved, our cat is much less stressed out by using the litterbox, they seem to like the extra privacy the tall sides afford, and the liners are in fact heavy-duty enough that we find there’s a lot less to clean up when we replace litter and liner once a week (they don’t scratch through it at all, which was never the case before). I have a feeling most cats would be happy to use the lid as designed just as one of our cats did, and for the rest you can always build the stairs solution–I still find this to be a far superior design to the traditional litterbox.