Some cats get really vigorous when they kick the litter around, and if you have one of these cats, you already know it gets messy. While we love our furry friends, messy or not, it’s never a fun clean up.
Luckily, the best top entry cat litter box can make a huge difference for you, and your cat.
What is a Top Entry Litter Box?
It’s a long name, but it describes these litter boxes perfectly: they’re simply litter boxes that your cat enter from the top.
Just like some washing machines are top entry, and others are side entry, litter boxes can be made either way. Instead of having an entry hole in the front of the box, there’s an entrance hole on top.
They’re taller than front entry litter boxes, not as wide, and usually have a slotted top.
Why Use a Top Entry Litter Box?
The main reason people choose to use a top entry litter box is to reduce mess. Of course, there are other benefits that make them an attractive choice, especially if you want to make your life a little easier.
Along with reducing the amount of litter than ends up scattered all over your floor, it also keeps more litter inside the box. As obvious as it sounds, the benefit is a long term bonus, because you also end up saving money on cat litter.
Top entry litter boxes also reduce that litter box smell, that other boxes do little to contain.
You can forget about using a drab litter mat, since very little litter ends up scattered. Not only that, they look better overall, and losing the mat is a nice bonus.
These litter boxes don’t take up as much space as your typical litter box. In short, they’re much more visually pleasing.
It’s easy to move these litter boxes when needed, but it also keeps other pets out of your cat’s mess. Dogs often get into the litter box, and kids are often tempted too, so it’s a way to reduce some stress on your part.
Tips for Using a Top Entry Litter Box
Just like when you train your cat to use a litter box in the beginning, you’ll need to help a bit with a new one. If you’re training your cat to use a top entry litter box, here are some tips to help you get started:
Let your cat investigate the new litter box. They’ll want to sniff around it, make sure it isn’t suspicious, and more or less figure out what it’s about.
Try not to make it a big deal, since your cat takes their cues from how you act.
When you fill the new litter box, use some of the (scooped) litter from the old box. This allows your cat to be more at ease, since they’ll recognize their scent there.
Of course, it’s just as important to keep the new top entry litter box in the same place the old litter box was. This helps reduce any confusion about where your kitty should be doing his business.
If you leave the old litter box out, while training your cat for a new litter box, chances are they’ll use the old one. It’s just an issue of familiarity, so it’s better to take the old box out of the picture completely.
If your cat refuses to use the top entry litter box, you’ll need to make some concessions so they can adjust. The best way to do this? Take the top off, and let your cat use it like that for a while.
Yes, you’ll have a little mess, but you can put the lid back on once they’re comfortable using it.
Important Considerations for Buying
First, make sure a top entry litter box is suitable for your cat. Most cats easily use these without any issues, but some cats are better off with a regular litter box.
If your cat is older, has arthritis, or other mobility issues, a litter box with low sides is the best, and easiest for them to use.
After ensuring that your furry friend doesn’t have health problems that will make it difficult to jump up, size is the most important factor. While these litter boxes aren’t as wide, they should still be at least as wide as the length of your cat from nose to tail (without tail extended).
The length should equal at least as long as your cat is from nose to tail when they’re stretched out.
The Best Top Entry Cat Litter Boxes
Best Budget Friendly Option:
In general, top entry litter boxes are affordable, but they can still vary widely in price. Of course, the concern is always that if you’re looking at a lower price tag, you’re also looking at lower quality.
We wanted to find an affordable top entry litter box that’s still good quality.
This Petmate creation does everything we needed a litter box to do: keeps mess inside the box, prevents litter on the cat’s paws from getting on the floor, and keeps any other curious pets out of the kitty litter.
While it doesn’t scream ‘fancy!,’ it’s functional and it’s pretty big too. We found that even our larger cats had enough room, and it’s nice to have a space to hang the scoop when you’re done cleaning.
- Very affordable, but still good quality
- Big enough for most cats to comfortably use
- Textured top helps get litter off paws
- Built in scoop hook is convenient
- It has a really basic (less attractive) design
We were impressed by how much easier it was to get our cat to use this litter box. We’re tacking that up to the versatile design that allows you to switch between top or front entry.
It’s much less work when you can use the same litter box, but change the way your cat enters it, trust us!
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it’s a great looking litter box too. One of the things that really appealed to us (as the ones that have to clean the mess) is that it’s self-cleaning, and comes with a reusable liner.
As a bonus, we were delighted to see that the mats clean litter of dirty paws, whether they’re leaving out the top or the side. It’s definitely a more advanced top entry litter box, but it’s basically effortless to set up.
- Converts to either top or front entry
- Self cleaning, requires very little maintenance
- Includes reusable liner, large scoop, and swivel lid
- Does an excellent job preventing litter messes, almost none ends up on the floor
- Not as large as some litter boxes, not recommended for multiple cats
- Pricier than other litter boxes (to be expected with the tech and added features, though)
Best With Filtered Lid:
There are a lot of top entry litter boxes that have a textured top that helps keep litter from getting on the floor. Unfortunately, for most of those boxes you still have to clean the litter from the lid yourself.
That’s what really drew us in with this IRIS litter box, since it has a filtered lid.Rather than just getting the litter off your cat’s paws, it actually gets most of the litter back into the box.
Not only is it a long term budget saver, but it cuts down on cleaning time too. Even if the lid doesn’t impress you, the value it gives will. It’s one of the least costly options out there, and it’s sturdy enough for even the most ornery cats (although still nice and lightweight to make cleaning and moving it easier for you).
Another plus is that it comes in plenty of different colors, so you can match your room scheme, rather than settle for a garish litter box relegated to the eyesore corner.
- Nice, clean design with plenty of color options available
- The filtered lid is a huge time (and litter) saver
- Affordable, delivers high value
- Almost zero litter makes it out of the litter box
- Can be difficult to order in countries outside of the U.S.
Best for Big Cats:
There are a couple things that make this litter box unique. First, it’s one of the largest top entry litter boxes that we tried out. At 25 inches, you’ll have trouble finding many litter boxes that give your cat this much space.
Since cats need plenty of room to dig and move around, it can be tough to find a good fit for larger cats, which is where this one really stands out.
The size also makes it a nice option if you have multiple cats, and don’t want them running into each other’s mess when they use it.
Another thing that stood out to us was the lid. It’s removable, but the sides snap into place when you replace the lid. That makes it easier for you to scoop, and makes training your cat to use it easier, especially if they’re suspicious of a new type of litter box.
After your cat is comfortable with using it, go ahead and put the lid back on to enjoy a mess free area.
- Somewhat transparent lid makes it easy to see when it needs cleaning
- Removable lid is easier to train cats with
- Very large, ideal for big cats (like Maine Coons) or multiple cats
- Some cats dislike the transparent lid
You might have heard about this one before, and that’s because it’s quickly becoming one of the most popular top entry cat litter boxes out there.
It’s nothing extravagant or complicated, but it’s perfect for keeping cats (and you) happy without litter getting everywhere.
After using it, we quickly realized it has one of the most efficient, effective designs for a litter box. While it’s easy to clean, you won’t find yourself cleaning the floor around the litter box often, if ever.
Yes, it’s a simple design but the top is an ingenious solution. The top has a sort of zig zag pattern that our cats were happy to climb on (a bonus, since some filtered lids aren’t comfortable for cats to walk on).
We didn’t notice any smells around the litter box area, which was a nice surprise. Of course, the pattern on the lid does a great job of getting even the tiniest bits of litter back into the box, which was one of our biggest concerns.
- Sturdy, high quality construction makes it easy to clean
- Keeps litter and dust off surrounding surfaces
- Cats seemed more comfortable walking on the lid than with others
- Somewhat smaller than other litter boxes
Our Top Pick: The Best Top Entry Cat Litter Box
There are a lot of different things we looked at when deciding which of the best top entry cat litter boxes to include on our list: quality, litter containment, cat happiness, ease of use, and overall design.
Of course, we were happy with all the litter boxes on our list. And if our cats weren’t, we knew we couldn’t include it. That being said, we did have a favorite that really impressed us.
So, which was the best top entry cat litter box?
It has to be the Modcat XL litter box. First, it was really nice to have both front and top entry options. Training with a new litter box can be a pain, but this made the transition easy. It doesn’t get much easier than having a self cleaning litter box either!
We noticed hardly any litter on the floor around the litter box, and ended up ditching our old litter mat altogether. The bonus is that it comes with basically everything you need except the litter.