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Best cat litter tray 2021: Find the perfect tray for your feline friend

Flora Baker
4 Oct 2021
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Make your cat happy with our pick of the best self-cleaning, top-entry, hooded and open cat litter trays

Choosing the best litter tray for your feline friend can be tricky. Many cats have their own preferences – and some are pickier than others – while particular behaviours should also be taken into account. If your cat is prone to kicking litter all over the place, they’ll do well with a high-sided or top entry tray, but anxious or nervous cats may prefer an open tray to a hooded one with a door flap.

It’s also worth considering where a litter box fits into your home. Closed trays are more suitable for apartments to better contain any odours, while aesthetically pleasing trays can blend into your home’s design. Even if you have outdoor space for a cat to roam in, they still need a litter tray indoors: it reduces stress and helps prevent accidents.

We’ve reviewed a number of different litter tray options for your cat, along with a quick guide that explains what to bear in mind when choosing your cat’s next litter tray.


Best cat litter trays: At a glance

  • Best cat litter tray on a budget: Felight | Buy now
  • Best hooded cat litter tray: CatIt | Buy now
  • Best high back cat litter tray: Cat Centre | Buy now
  • Best top entry cat litter tray: Iris USA | Buy now
  • Best luxury self-cleaning cat litter tray: PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra | Buy now
  • Best low entry litter tray for older cats: Savic Nestor | Buy now
  • Best portable cat litter tray: Petsfit | Buy now

How to choose the best litter tray for your cat

What type of cat litter tray should I buy?

The main things to consider are the size and entry method of a litter tray. Size-wise, the standard advice is that a tray should be one and a half times the length of a cat, from its nose to the tip of its tail. Choosing an entry method is a bit trickier, as it depends on both your cat’s preference and its toileting behaviour.

  • Open trays are the simplest and usually cheapest option. Little more than an open rectangular plastic box, the depth and height can nonetheless vary. Great for cats that don’t like being enclosed, or that simply enjoy a view!
  • Lidded/hooded trays are the most generic cat litter trays on the market. Those with a swinging door flap will keep most smells at bay from the wider area, and the hooded top helps to prevent accidental kicks of litter from spilling out. The majority of cats seem comfortable with these trays, too.
  • Top entry trays are growing in popularity, although they’re not the best choice for every cat. High enclosed walls mean no litter spills, but getting in and out of the open top can be tricky for elderly cats or those with joint issues.
  • Automatic self-cleaning trays are the priciest option thanks to their moving parts. If you’re away from home a lot these are a helpful and hygienic option, but be aware that the noises made by a self-cleaning tray can be scary for some cats.

How often should I change the litter, or the tray itself?

Most cats use their trays between three and five times each day, so general litter tray etiquette is to scoop waste from the litter daily, replace all the litter and wash out the tray weekly, and aim to replace the tray itself every year or so, to maintain a hygienic environment.

READ NEXT: Fill the tray with the best cat litter you can buy right now

Can my cats share a litter tray?

Although many cat owners have one tray shared between two cats, typical advice is to provide one tray per cat – in fact, it’s actually recommended to have one per cat ‘plus an additional tray extra’, to allow maximum comfort for your feline friends.

How much should I spend?

The cheapest cat litter trays can be as low as £5, while more expensive self-cleaning automated trays run into the hundreds. We’ve reviewed a range of prices here to help you make the best choice.

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The best cat litter trays to buy in 2021

1. Felight Cat Litter Tray: Best open cat litter tray

Price: £4.10 | Buy now on Amazon

If your cat isn’t keen on confined spaces and doesn’t make a habit of kicking up litter, then this Felight open tray is a classic, no-frills option. Made from heavy-duty plastic, it’s strong and sturdy so there’s no chance of it snapping when lifted, and there’s a fill line round the inside rim so that you don’t overfill it with litter. The inner base of the tray is more or less flat and has curved corners, making it really easy to clean. It’s relatively shallow at about 9cm high, meaning it’s only really suitable for a kitten or small cat.

Amazon seemingly doesn’t allow you to choose a colour, but there are a few shades on offer. None of them is particularly exciting, but do cats really mind the colour anyway?

Key specs – Dimensions: 41.2 x 31 x 9.5cm (LWH)

2. Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Pan: Best hooded cat litter tray for large cats

Price: £26 | Buy now from Amazon

We love this large hooded litter tray from Catit. The tall and wide door flap is made of clear perspex, which both blocks odours and helps to minimise litter tracking once your cat exits. There’s also a replaceable carbon filter that adds ventilation (and which some inquisitive kittens may try to pull out), and both the flap and filter section can be folded back and held securely, making scooping out clumped litter much easier.

The hooded section has a sturdy carrying handle at the top, and attaches to the base with sliding locks at each side, covering the edges to avoid any leaks. The base of the litter tray is approx 15cm at the front, deeper at the back, and requires a fair amount of litter to fill it. There’s plenty of height inside, which makes this a good choice for larger cats and those that enjoy digging.

Key specs – Dimensions: 57 x 43 x 46cm (LWH)

3. CatCentre Blue Luxury Large Cat Litter Tray: Best high-sided open cat litter tray

Price: £15 | Buy now on Amazon

Some cats have the habit of kicking and spraying half their litter out of the tray with every visit. This CatCentre tray directly combats this problem: it features high sided walls measuring over 20cm but still allows cats inside with a lowered step entry of 11.5cm. Being an open tray, it’s also a particularly good choice for nervous or elderly cats that have issues clambering through a swinging door.

Easy to clean, the tray has rounded corners to help prevent litter from sticking to the insides, and there are grooves in the bottom of the tray and on the outer sides to aid with lifting. The CatCentre tray comes in four pastel-style shades – blue, green, grey and pink – and the company also makes a variety of different-sized trays if you need a smaller option.

Key specs – Dimensions: 50 x 38.5 x 20.5cm (LWH)

4. Iris USA Top Entry Cat Litter Box: Best top entry litter tray

Price: £45 | Buy now on Amazon

Top entry litter boxes may appear a little odd to us, but most cats take to them easily, hopping down through the entrance then out again. If you live in a multi pet household (particularly with curious dogs) or have young children, a top entry litter box does a great job at keeping anyone but cats away.

The grooved lid of the Iris litter box helps to remove litter from your cat’s paws, and the entry hole is a substantial size at 26.5 x 23cm. To remove the lid for cleaning, just pop your thumbs into the little circles on either side and lever the lid upwards. The base has rubber feet to stop it from moving, and the tray itself can hold an impressive amount of litter – so if your cat struggles with jumping out, you’ll have to raise the litter level they jump from!

We’re particularly keen on the aesthetics of the Iris box, as it doesn’t really look like a litter tray at all. Because there’s no door flap there may be an issue with odour, although many customers say it stays relatively odour-free.

Key specs – Dimensions: 52.7 x 41 x 37.2cm (LWH)

5. PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box: Best self-cleaning litter tray

Price: £142 | Buy now from Pets At Home

The price tag on the ScoopFree litter tray is certainly hefty, but it also provides the holy grail for many cat owners: a “touch-free, worry-free litter system” that makes poop-scooping a thing of the past.

The ScoopFree litter tray consists of three main components. A disposable cardboard tray, which comes pre-loaded with litter made from blue silica gel crystals, is placed beneath the proper tray – kitted out with an automated rake, cleaning sensors and health counter – and a hooded roof is added on top. The whole thing plugs into a wall outlet via an included 180cm power cord. When your cat uses the tray, the crystals immediately soak up and dehydrate waste, and after a chosen amount of time (five, 10 or 20 minutes), the rake sweeps the clumped litter into a closed compartment that contains any unpleasant odours and also allows you to change it out easily.

There are some reported downsides to this tray: the silica crystals can be uncomfortable for some cats’ paws, the automated raking might sound scary to some cats, there’s no preventative measures to stop your cat tracking litter outside, and some customers say the rake doesn’t sweep nearly enough waste and leaves a rather nasty mess. That said, there are plenty of glowing reviews of the ScoopFree too, and it could be a perfect stop gap if you’re often away for a day or two.

Key specs – Dimensions: 70.2 x 40.6 x 48.6cm (LWH)

Buy now from Pets At Home


6. Savic Nestor Corner Litter Box: best corner litter box for nervous cats

Price: £22 | Buy now from Zooplus

If you’re wary about how much space your litter tray will take up, opting for the Savic Nestor triangular shaped tray is a great alternative to traditionally shaped rectangular boxes. This covered litter tray has a swing door made from transparent plastic and a low entry step at 23cm, but the feature we really love is the foldable front section. A bit of clever engineering means the swing door and the built-in carbon filter fold back and up, leaving the entryway clear for cautious kitties who may not trust the idea of a hooded litter tray. It also allows humans to clean out used litter through the doorway without dismantling the whole tray each time.

The Savic Nestor can be used with or without the hood of course, but when in use it clips securely onto the base and has a built-in handle for carrying. Best of all, the triangular shape means you can slot this litter tray neatly into any corner of your home – the ultimate space-saver.

Key Spec – Dimensions: 58.5 x 45.5 x 40cm (LWH)

Buy now from Zooplus


7. Petsfit Portable Foldable Cat Litter Box: best portable cat litter tray

Price: £29 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re travelling with your cat, be it road-tripping, driving long distances or relocating, you could either opt for a disposable one-use litter tray – or pack a portable tray for your trip.

Made from heavy-duty canvas fabric, the Petsfit Portable litter tray is strong enough to withstand a fair bit of scratching and digging, although if your cat is prone to deep digging then there’s a chance it might tear. The interior is covered with a waterproof liner, which makes it really easy to clean: simply pour out the used litter and then hand wash with soap and water. What’s most impressive is that this tray actually folds down to the size of an iPhone and stays firmly fastened with a popper closing. It could even be used as a cat bed – just clean it out thoroughly first!

Key Spec – Dimensions: 40cm x 30cm x 12cm, or 20 x 12.6 x 5cm when folded (LWH)

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