Your cat will develop and keep good cat litter box habits with the right cat litter box. Here are your choices for different cat litter boxes, and how you can determine which ones are right for your cat.
If you receive pet product catalogs, you'll see there are several different types of cat litter boxes you can choose for your cat. However, since "The Cat" is the boss, and you are the cat staffer who answers to The Cat, she'll tell you what she likes.
How does she do that? Usually in the most direct way that's guaranteed to get your attention - by not using the current cat litter box in your house! Since we don't speak meow, and cats can't talk, the process to discover what kitty likes can be determined by how she eliminates, how big or small she is, and whether or not she likes separate cat litter boxes for liquid and solid waste elimination.
Open cat litter boxes:
Also referred to as cat litter pans, these are the simplest and cheapest kind of cat litter box to use. Several factors may dictate if your cat prefers this type of box.
First, if your cat doesn't squat down very well and urinates almost standing up, the cat urine is probably going to end up anyplace but in the box. Many cats like to aim for the corner or the short walls of the open cat litter box as well, and this also decreases the chances of the cat urine being contained within the box.
But if your cat aims for the middle of the pan, and squats down low, then this is an excellent choice for her and you. But if she doesn't, here's an alternative open cat litter box solution -
High-sided, open-top cat litter boxes:
You can best find one of these by purchasing a plastic storage container bin with the removable lid. When you get this home, you won't use the lid to close off the top of the container box. Instead, you'll hack or cut out a U-shaped opening at one end of the storage container. Cut the U up high enough (4 - 5") to hold in the cat litter, but make it down low enough for the cat to enter and exit easily. You can often find these storage containers that are 14 - 15", which is usually high enough to contain the cat urine stream when kitty eliminates standing straight up.
Hooded, or enclosed cat litter boxes:
Many cats like privacy when they're eliminating. If this is your cat, a hooded cat litter box offers her the privacy she needs. In addition, if she also likes to urinate standing up, the top enclosure effectively captures the cat urine stream and contains it within the box. Nothing escapes...including the cat urine and feces smell.
Automatic, or mechanical cat litter boxes:
If your cat likes an open cat litter box, but you're not wild about checking the box hourly for her deposits, this is a great compromise for cat and owner alike. These are large, open, shallow cat litter boxes with a motor assembly that drags rakes, or tines across the cat litter field once kitty has exited the box, following her elimination act.
While some cats are scared off by the motor noise and action, others are fascinated by watching the rakes move across the litter field. If your cat is brave and curious, this box offers a wonderful two for one: a great cat litter box, and entertainment for your cat as she watches the motor in action.
How do you figure out if she'll use the cat litter box you've chosen?
Simple - you do a comparison test. Put down two boxes for her to use, side by side. One cat litter box can be an open pan, and the other can be either the high sided box, an enclosed cat litter box, or the automatic cat litter box.
Use the same type cat litter brand for both boxes. Leave them out for at least two days. Compare the amount of deposits left in one cat litter vs. the other. She'll indicate to you which one she prefers. At the end of your test, the one with the most deposits wins!
If you don't want to keep the rejected cat litter box, donate it to your local feline rescue organization. They can always use donations of cat litter boxes for their foster kitties awaiting adoption.
Some other considerations to look for:
Many cats like to use one box for liquid waste, while they use another for solid deposits. So even if you only have one cat, it's concievable you'll end up with more than one cat litter box.
If your cat is very large, you'll have to go with bigger cat litter boxes. This might mean you'll end up using storage containers in lieu of regular cat litter boxes.
If your large cat would like to use an enclosed cat litter box, the lid that comes with the storage container can be pressed into action to act as the enclosure, or the hood.
So, if you're considering a switch to a different cat litter box, these choices and test methods are the most efficient ways to keep your cat in good litter box habits.