Updated December 21, 2021
Let’s face it. Most cat litter boxes are ugly. Large plastic bins filled with sand and rocks, they not only take up space in your home but can also make your chic design aesthetic decidedly less cool. Open litter boxes can also look messy or smell bad, which definitely doesn’t help matters.
Or maybe you live in a tiny Manhattan apartment and actually don’t have space for both a nightstand and a litter box. So what gives?
You can make sure your cat has a comfortable place to do their business without giving up space or style by purchasing a cat litter box enclosure or pet house that doubles furniture or art.
Having a litter box doesn’t mean you have to forgo fancy design pieces for your home decor — you may just be able to combine then.
Take Ivy Kenton, a Manhattan resident and proud owner of cuddly Burmese beauty Mink. She shares her two-bedroom apartment with a roommate and out of respect, chooses to keep Mink’s litter box in her bedroom.
“I wanted something that would hide the litter completely and fit into my room as more of a decor piece,” Ivy told betterpet. And after researching modern litter boxes, she finally found the perfect one: a Japanese cat igloo.
At first, one might think…a cat igloo? But really, this designer catbox is genius. After all, the igloo completely hides the litter and makes a design statement, and Mink seems to love it. And, Ivy gets to wake up every day and look at her Japanese igloo art sculpture instead of a stinky plastic box full of sand.
According to interior designer and home stylist Kara Haren of Along Came Lennox, Ivy’s got the right idea. “I highly recommend that my clients look at their pet necessities such as litter box furniture as part of their home look and try to incorporate them aesthetically into the cohesiveness of their home. We want our spaces to be something we feel happy in and proud of,” she said.
Claire Reuschel has lived in a two-bedroom condo for 10 years, sharing the space with her husband, 6-month-year-old and her dramatic black cat Rosie who loves to be carried (but only by Claire).
Rosie’s litter box remained in a closet in their second bedroom/home office for a number of years. But when Claire got pregnant, they thought it best to move the litter box to the living room since the baby would soon occupy that spare room.
According to design expert Kara, functional pieces work best for those who need to maximize space. “I love cat litter box options that come built into a bench or have a tabletop option. You can place a plant or some decor on top, or use in another needed functional way,” Kara advised.
Claire, who has an eye for design but also wanted to maximize space and disguise the box opted for a functional yet stylish litter box enclosure. After a month of searching, Claire and her husband finally found something that worked. “We use a cabinet with sliding doors that we found on Wayfair. The cabinet, which is made of dark faux wood with lighter faux wood slat sliding doors sits in a dark corner of our living room and contains Rosie’s litter box, extra litter, scoop and air freshner,” she explained.
The black-and-brown cabinet fits in seamlessly with the living room’s main decor, which features industrial aspects, including two black leather and chrome lounge chairs and stained wood and pipe bookshelves Claire made herself. “We use the top of the cabinet as a display area and have hung shelves above it to hold office supplies, files and a printer. It looks purposeful,” Claire told betterpet.
Here are some ideas for design or space-saving litter box enclosures:
👉 Cats often prefer quiet, out-of-the-way places to use their litter boxes.
This is why the bathroom or laundry room (if you have one), or even a quiet corner of your living room may be best for your litter box furniture. If the box is in a high traffic area, it may cause anxiety, which can lead to accidents.
Ivy told betterpet that Mink loves using his igloo cat litter box. “I’d like to think animals value their privacy when doing their business; this one is nice because you can’t see your cat when they go inside.”
So even if you do have to put your cat litter box in a busier space, like a living room or bedroom, consider one that’s covered or closed to give your cat privacy — just make sure it’s always accessible to your cat. If the box has doors, make sure they always remain open.
Claire’s cat Rosie adapted fairly well to the new litter box cabinet enclosure, but “I still catch her every once and a while looking in the closet in the former spare bedroom for her old box,” Claire said.
👉 If your cat refuses to use the new box, try moving it to a new spot in the house, especially one where your cat feels most comfortable.
Design expert Kara offers up some key tips for choosing litter box furniture:
“Start by looking at your space, and consider all “excess space” options — ideally away from walkways, or large conversation spots. Then, measure that nook/corner, and start exploring options online,” she said.
Keeping with your general design aesthetic is important. (If you have no idea what that is, this quiz can help.) Kara suggested a process of questions and answers about your design preferences: “Do you have a mid-century modern style going on? Look for a stylish option with thin legs and clean lines. Or, is your style more traditional farmhouse? Look for a stylish option with gentle distressing and warm woods. Stick to the general color scheme and wood choices that you already have in your home.”
But styling your pet accessories goes beyond just litter box enclosures. “I always encourage my clients to find beautiful cat dishes, placemats and cat beds (I love this ombre cave bed). Try to think about all these items as decor for your home, instead of only being practical and necessary,” Kara added.
In Ivy’s case, she already knew she loved “simplicity with some funky shapes mixed in,” and that she wanted Mink’s litter box to match her style. The igloo hidden litter box was the ideal choice for her Manhattan bedroom.
Claire’s situation also fit the bill. She wanted a practical box that vibed with her living room’s industrial design aesthetic for Rosie, and the faux-wood cabinet hidden in a dark corner of her space proved to be perfect.
You should also consider your cat’s adaptability and versatility. If your cat has been using a litter box in the bathroom for 10 years, get one that fits best in the bathroom.
Cat litter box enclosures range from budget to luxury, just like any other piece of furniture. If you feel strongly about finding the right enclosure or are planning to stay in the same space for a while, it may be worth spending a little more on a piece you love.
In Ivy’s case, she spent $150 on Mink’s igloo cat house, but felt it was well worth it. She loves it — and so do her guests. Friends often ask her where her cat’s litter box is, and are pleasantly surprised when she points to the igloo.
A note about house plant litter box enclosures from Dr. Erica Irish, DVM
“I had to leave the fake leaves off my houseplant litter box because one of my cats, Darby, eats fake plants. And I had to leave the decorative mesh off of the top because one of my other cats, Finn, loves eating anything stringy. This can lead to an intestinal obstruction so my “house plant” litter box looks quite naked!”
👉 Make sure you select a box that’s simple to open so you can easily access the litter for cleaning.
If you’d like to make the switch to a design or furniture litter box, here are some of our favorite options to consider. From side tables to benches to igloos and house plants, pick which one fits your space, design scheme — and your cat — best.
Do cats like litter box enclosures?
Just like humans, cats prefer quiet, out-of-the-way places to do their business. For litter box enclosures, letting your cat adjust to the box and its placement may be more important than the box itself. Just make sure to put the litter box enclosure in a space that has less traffic, but is still accessible for your cat.
Where should I keep my cat’s litter box in the house?
Cats prefer to do their business in quiet, out-of-the-way places, like a bathroom or laundry room. If you have to put the box in a bedroom or living room, just make sure it’s in a quiet corner. If the box is put in a high traffic area, it could give your cat anxiety and lead to accidents.
How can I hide my cat litter box?
You can hide a cat litter box by putting it in a quiet, less busy area of your home so it’s out of the way (just make sure your cat can find it). Disguise the box by using a litter box enclosure that doubles as a bench, cabinet, or tabletop.
Is it bad to have a litter box in your bedroom?
If you’re sensitive to smell, the bedroom may not be the best spot for your litter box. If you have no other choice, use a covered litter box to mask the smell. Alternate spots for your litter box are the bathroom or the laundry room.
How often should you change cat litter?
You should change cat litter frequently. Ideally, scoop the box daily and clean the box once a week with pet-safe products. However, this does depend on the type of litter. Clay litter should be changed more frequently than clumping litter.