orange tabby cat using covered litter box
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Is a Covered Litter Box Better?

Est. read time: 11 min.

A question many pet parents ask is whether they should provide their feline family with a covered vs. uncovered litter box. You want the best for your furry companions, but it is also fair to want what is best for your home. 

A covered cat litter box provides cats with the privacy they need while also helping homes stay fresh and free of feline odors. But are covered litter boxes really a great way to stop litter box odors? 

Keep reading to find out how covered litter boxes work and how they can improve your cat's bathroom experience.

Do cats like covered litter boxes? What the research says

In 2012, researchers at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine decided to investigate the covered vs. uncovered litter box question. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery in April 2013. Twenty-eight cats with no history of litter box problems were studied over a two-week period. Each cat had access to both an open and a covered litter box. Researchers determined a cat's preference for one type of litter box over the other by measuring the amount of waste deposited in each box.

The study found that a whopping 70% showed no preference for one type of box over the other. Most cats were content to use both boxes equally. A minority of cats demonstrated a preference, but here's the interesting part: cats may prefer a covered litter box if it is larger. If you're curious, take a look at Dr. Virginie Villeneuve Beugnet and Frederic Beignet's analysis on litter box type preferences. 

Anecdotal evidence aside, research demonstrates that cats in general don't care whether their litter box is covered or uncovered.

The only thing that holds true for most cats is that they're more likely to consistently use a litter box that's clean. Studies demonstrate that cats prefer a clean litter box of ample size, with enough litter boxes for the number of cats in the household (generally, the number of cats plus one).

 In fact, according to Justine Lee, DVM, a clean litter box is essential to good cat health. 

Why consider a covered litter box?

A covered cat litter box is a simple concept. It is literally a litter box that has a cover over it, and that cover is often either a dome or a hood. Covered cat litter boxes allow cats to have privacy when nature calls. 

They are also a great solution to keep odors at bay. Depending on the problems that you want to address, covered cat litter boxes might work better for you than other litter box options. 

A common problem that pet parents face is when their cat doesn’t use the box as they should. This is usually not because of the differences between a covered litter box vs. uncovered litter box. Typically, the actual reason that cats do not use their litter box is that the litter box is not being cleaned frequently enough

If that is the reason why your cat is urinating where they shouldn’t, a self-cleaning litter box like Litter-Robot should be at the top of your list! 

Do covered litter boxes help with smell and tracking?

If you’re searching for a litter box that doesn’t smell, your best bet is a covered cat litter box that comes with a sealed drawer, carbon filter, or other odor-eliminating accessories. These components contain or even eliminate unpleasant odors to help keep your home smelling fresh.

Covered litter boxes can also help with litter tracking and residue, particularly if you use dusty cat litter. Instead of wafting up and out of the litter box, that cloud of dust stays contained. (Even better, go with a low-dust, low-tracking cat litter.) 

Are enclosed litter boxes bad for cats?

No, as long as the manufacturer has designed the enclosed litter box to be safe and accessible for cats. Some enclosed litter boxes may have poor ventilation, leading to damper litter and stronger odors inside the box. The best option is one that provides a consistently fresh bed of litter, such as an enclosed automatic litter box. 

4 reasons you need a covered cat litter box like Litter-Robot

tuxedo cat in covered litter box

Having a quality litter box is usually at the top of every pet parent’s list of supplies for their furry family member. As we explored above, covered litter boxes can help keep smells contained unlike uncovered litter boxes. 

However, not all covered cat litter boxes help pet parents the way that Litter-Robot does. Some require scooping while others are too small, but Litter-Robot is just right!

Here are the top four reasons why you need Litter-Robot.

Large litter box

Is your cat claustrophobic? Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but some cats do not like enclosed spaces. Litter-Robot is a semi-open globe that will contain odors while simultaneously helping your cat feel comfortable in an enclosed space. 

Safety features

Litter-Robot is a high-tech self-cleaning litter box. Minutes after your cat exits the globe, an automatic cleaning cycle occurs and the clumps are deposited into the waste drawer. Advanced safety technology ensures the globe will never spin while your cat is inside, or will stop spinning if the cat re-enters during the cleaning cycle. 

Use any clumping cat litter

Does your cat have a favorite brand or style of clumping cat litter? Almost all types of clumping cat litter can be used with Litter-Robot, which is great news because using litter your cat is already familiar with will help you ease their transition into the new box.

No weight limit

Larger cats don’t fit into smaller enclosed boxes, and Litter-Robot was designed with these bigger cats in mind. This all-inclusive cat litter box has no upper weight limits. Large cats can walk in, turn around, and get comfortable before they use the bathroom. The wider entryway in Litter-Robot 4 will also make cats of all sizes feel comfortable entering and exiting the litter box. 

Read more about why this self-cleaning litter box will change your life.

Covered litter box pros and cons 

Pros of covered cat litter boxes

There are numerous advantages of having a covered cat litter box like Litter-Robot. 

1. Odor control

First and foremost, Litter-Robot has superior odor control, meaning it can be placed anywhere in your home while significantly reducing unpleasant odors that permeate the rest of the room. 

2. Aesthetics

A covered litter box is also aesthetically pleasing and helps make your home look and feel cleaner. That’s especially true of Litter-Robot and its sleek, modern look.

3. Cleanliness & reduced litter tracking

A covered cat litter box can help prevent litter from being kicked or scattered outside the box, keeping the surrounding area cleaner.

Plus, Litter-Robot not only covers the waste left behind in the globe, it also cycles the waste out for you, so there’s no scooping involved. Talk about a win-win. 

4. Privacy

Covered litter boxes provide cats with a sense of privacy while they do their business. Some cats prefer a secluded space to feel secure and comfortable.

5. Dog-proof

Yet another perk is the fact that Litter-Robot does a great job at keeping dogs out of the litter box. If you are having a hard time with your dog trying to sneak a cat poop snack, the covered cat litter box will help rectify that!

Cons of a covered cat litter box

1. Acclimating your cat

The biggest disadvantage of a covered cat litter box is that it might take a while to acclimate cats that prefer open spaces. However, if your cat fits that description, you can start by adding a piece of cat furniture to your home to help them get comfortable with a semi-enclosed space before you introduce them to Litter-Robot. 

2. Size and accessibility

Some covered litter boxes can be too small for larger cats or those that prefer more space. Look for a covered cat litter box that has a wider opening and your cat will be more likely to use it.

3. Ventilation issues

The enclosed design of typical covered litter boxes may lead to poor ventilation inside, potentially causing the litter to stay damp longer, which could be unpleasant for the cat.

Luckily, that’s not an issue with Litter-Robot since the dirty litter clumps are automatically disposed of, leaving a clean litter bed every time. 

How to transition your cat to a covered litter box

If your feline friend is accustomed to an open litter box, you simply need to acclimate your cat to a covered cat litter box. Cats are curious by nature, and most cats will adjust to new boxes without any problems. Following these tried and true tips for helping your cat transition will make their new litter box less intimidating. 

Start by giving your cat plenty of time to investigate their new litter box. When you’re ready to introduce them to the litter box, you can use treats or catnip to encourage them to enter the enclosure. Be sure to place the new covered litter box in the same room as the existing uncovered litter box when making the initial introduction, too. 

Over time, you will want to make the old box less attractive by allowing waste to accumulate in the old box. Cats like a clean place to go, so letting the old box get a little dirty will deter them from using that box anymore! 

Slow and steady wins the race, so be patient as you help your cat acclimate to their new covered cat litter box. 

Where should I keep my cat’s litter box in the house?

The location of your cat’s litter box will depend on many factors. First of all, consider the accessibility for your cat:

  • Are they able to easily get in and out of the litter box without having to jump over hurdles? 
  • Is the room you’ve put it in accessible to your cat at all hours of the day? 

If not, you will likely notice that your cat has accidents throughout the house because they can’t get into the room with their litter box whenever they need it.

Also, make sure you consider your cat's preferences. If you find that your cat prefers to use their litter box in quieter areas like the bedroom or bathroom instead of other areas in the house, place their litter box in the part of the house where they are most comfortable.

The great news is that with Litter-Robot 4’s odor-neutralizing technology, you can put the litter box anywhere in the house. If you don’t want to have the litter box visible, there are various cat furniture options that conceal the litter box while keeping your cat's preference the top priority. 

How often should you clean out your litter box?

You should clean your litter box as often as your cat needs you to, but what does that mean? The answer relies on numerous factors, one of which is the number of cats that utilize the box. 

Depending on how many felines live in your home, you could end up scooping the cat box multiple times per day. In single-cat homes, you really only need to scoop the litter box once per day—but more cats means more time spent scooping every day. 

However, with Litter-Robot you won’t have to scoop litter ever again. Instead, the automatic litter box collects the deposits for you. 

All you have to do is empty the waste drawer when it’s full. The smart litter box will even notify you through the Whisker app when the drawer is ready to be emptied. It doesn’t get much easier than that! 

Cleaning your cat's litter box does not just involve removing waste, though. You will also want to ensure that you use cleaning supplies like all-natural, pet-safe wipes on a monthly basis to keep your cat’s litter box at peak freshness. 

You should also replace the clumping cat litter and OdorTrap® Packs on a regular basis. Many find that they need to replace litter every two to four weeks, but this can vary depending on the number of cats that frequent the box. Embrace convenience by subscribing to must-have cat products.

Selecting the best covered litter box

Litter-Robot is the smartest litter box on the market. It’s perfect for pet parents who are looking to keep their home free of odors, the cleanup process easy, and their cats happy. 

You won’t have to waste time cleaning the litter yourself, and you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that your cat is secure thanks to the tech-savvy safety features. When you’re ready to experience game-changing automated products from Whisker, consider the Litter-Robot 4 Connected Home Bundle. This bundle includes Litter-Robot 4 as well as Feeder-Robot, which will automate your cat’s feeding schedule, keeping them full and happy!


Orange cat inside Litter-Robot 3 Connect with white-grey cat watching - is a covered cat litter box better?