Litterbox foils cats' ardent attempts to kick litter out of the box

201203051548I was getting tired of our 3 cats kicking litter all over the place. I bought this Clevercat litter box and it has significantly reduced the amount of litter they enjoy spreading around. It's basically a storage bin with a hole in the top for the cat to jump in and out of. My cats had no problem figuring out how to use it. (That's where the "clever" part of the name of the product comes into play. The "cat" part refers to the fact that it's for cats).

Mike Ramberg saw this photo on my G+ feed and pointed out a bonus feature of the litterbox: "We had one of those. Often they'd be using it with their head sticking out of the hole. Looked like they were piloting a spacecraft."

Clevercat litter box


  1. We have this in our three-kitty household.  We generally like it quite a bit — it’s good at limiting the amount of litter that they track around.  One minus is that it’s on the cozy side, particularly for our larger (14-pound) cat.

    We also have a CatGenie, the automatic, self-washing litter box.  We generally like this too, although it’s prone to the occasional mechanical breakdown.  (Plus it’s admittedly expensive.) 

  2. Had one of these for years but rarely see them around.  A design beautiful for its simplicity and effectiveness.

  3. I just bought one of these for my litter-flinging kitten! It works like a charm. 

  4. The Omega Paw self-cleaning box works surprisingly well.  No machinery, just a clever screening system. Roll it over, tap bottom, roll it back, empty bin. And unlike the fancier versions, it doesn’t scare timid cats and rarely breaks.  (The one potentially fragile piece is the clips that hold the top,  and if you write to the company they’ll happily send replacements. They’re Canadian; they understand customer service.)

    It doesn’t address the scattering problem,  admittedly. I’ve solved that by keeping a push-broom and dustpan near the box and making that part of the cleaning ritual; adds a grand total of 30 seconds.

    1. Sounds like the Omega Paw box is something that would work for us.
      My kitty is definitely skittish, so noise/machinery is out of the question.
      As for being a Canadian company…well, that’s just a bonus for me.
      I will be checking this out…thanks!
      The dust pan & brush…mine, as well, is positioned right next to the litter box…does the trick nicely.

    2. ( And to make it explicit: I have no connection with Omega Paw other than as a user; this is an entirely unsolicited and unrewarded endorsement.)

  5. Say, that looks like one of those impossible-to-remove labels that companies seem to love affixing to their containers of late.

    1. They’re not “impossible” to remove.  Just use a blow dryer to warm and soften the adhesive before you even TRY to remove it.  Keep the dryer handy and keep the label quite warm as you gently peel it up.  My company manufactures stuff, and occasionally the wrong label gets on something, often a large batch of somethings.  In the plant they keep heat guns for this purpose–to warm up labels and remove them when someone has a brain fart.

      1. You remind me of the person on a support line I talked to about the impossibility of opening blister packaging. They told me, “just get some scissors,” nevermind that that’s what was in the package I was trying to open. “Step 1: get a hairdryer.”

        There’s no reason to affix thin paper to plastic with maple syrup, and it’s hostile to customers.

  6. Hmm, it’s tempting, since litter-flinging is certainly a problem in our household… unfortunately, our litter-flinger is so derpy and uncoordinated that I’m having trouble imagining her getting in and out of the box pictured.

    For those that have one, do you think a shallower version with a (much) bigger opening in the lid would work? Could probably make one…

    1. No.  The hole size, and the fact that you place it toward the wall, is intended to force the cat to step on the lid, which is textured to open the space between paw pads and release trapped litter so they don’t track it.  The height is so they can get fully inside.

  7. About the pic: bad move to keep the food right there beside the box (would you like the dining room table set up beside your toilet?) — too many pet people  make this mistake.

          1.  Ooh I don’t know about that.

            Our dog can be incredibly disgusting and incredibly picky all at the same time.

            He’ll happily munch on poop in a field but he isn’t a happy chappy if there’s a spec of something in his water bowl.

            Mostly he’s disgusting though.

    1. I guess I assumed everyone kept food and water dishes in the kitchen and litterboxes in the bathroom.  Isn’t that the case?

      I REFUSE to put the cat’s food in the dining room.  Even I only eat there on special occasions.  Who the F cares where the dining room table is?

      1.  Not everyone has giant bathrooms and extra rooms. My bathroom would have no space for a person if I kept a litter box there, and it is ultimately for people. If I didn’t eat at my dining table, I’d eat at my computer desk or on my couch, which are poor alternatives. So I use my dining table 99% of the time, instead of the 1% you use yours — hence, my cats eat near where I eat. I think they like it.

  8. My concern with these is the comfort for the cat.  I imagine it’s like having to stand at a urinal with a 5 foot ceiling. 

    I had an Omega-paw before, which was great for me- but similarly restrictive in space. The cat was having cleanliness issues.  Then I took the lid off, no more cleanliness issues. … and my cats are just average size.

  9. Yes! I love this box. Excellent Design detail: the lid doesn’t have a lip on it so it snaps shut, like a tupperware-type bin might*.  This keeps litter from flinging everywhere when you  go to remove the lid.

    * I might have tried to rig up my own after seeing it at Petsmart. Do Not Recommend.

  10. Jeez, I shouldn’t patented this!  My wife and I created one of these out of a rubbermaid tote like 10 years ago.

    The thing with all covered liter boxes is that you have to keep the box very very clean, or the cats wont want to go into it because the nasty funk ammonia gasses collect.

    1.  we have one of those too. we have a hard time keeping the liners in stock…. cats always find a way to tear through them.

    2. The Clevercat has solved that with the texture of the top and I, at least, have virtually no stray litter, though I have to say I like the look of the Modkat.  (It appears the company is Modko, the product is still ModKat.)  It’s VERY attractive.  Prettier than my Clevercat.  I would not use a “reusable” liner, though.  I line my Clevercat with oversized trash bags I cut down in length and throw away with the litter when I clean the box.  The less handling of the cat waste I can do, the better.  I would line the liner.

  11. “My concern with these is the comfort for the cat.  I imagine it’s like having to stand at a urinal with a 5 foot ceiling.”

    I’d imagine spending the afternoon sitting under a parked car or crammed into an Amazon shipping box would be like, well, sleeping under a car or in a cardboard box, but cats don’t typically seem bothered.

    1. I think the fact that they use it with their head sticking out of the hole might be an argument against that.

      1. I mean use a regular litter box and pay attention to the cats natural position- then you can tell me that this box allows for a natural position for the cat.  There’s no way.  Especially if you keep the 3-4 inches of litter in there that cats like. 

        1. Also- I sleep lying down wrapped up in blankets (in the Winter), but I don’t go to the bathroom that way.  AmIright?

          1. We actually have two cats who use our Clevercat and both of them stick their heads out of the hole while using it.  No problem whatsoever. 

  12. We have 2 cats and the Litter Robot is something I’d recommend. It also manages to use less litter It ain’t cheap, but given the fact we,don’t have to clean it out every day, is able to use standard plastic bags to ferry off waste, and uses standard litter, we have no complaints. It is also quite durable (4 years!).

    1. I don’t touch my Clevercat except once a month.  I use a litter that requires no scooping at all.  I can’t see how your Litter Robot tops that.  And I’ve had my Clevercat seven years.

  13. This is Schrödinger’s cat litterbox ! You now the cat is in, but you ignore if the poisonous substances have been released yet. Oh the uncertainty !

  14. One downside of these (we have 3 around the house) is that while a cat does its business its head pokes out whack-a-mole style beckoning toddlers. And until it’s done going even the shyest cat is highly vulnerable to vigorous head rubs from lil kids. One of our cats (the skittish one) now avoids these…

    1.  I’ve pondered that, but haven’t been convinced… among other things, there is the risk of guests trying to be polite and leave the lid down,  and it isn’t clear to me how well they’d generalize if you’re travelling with them.

      Probably depends on the cat. And I suppose one could remove the lid.

      Worth considering, I s’pose. For now, the Omega Paw is almost as easy for me.

    2. Why would you need to send a cat to a cattery or kennel?  I just leave mine with plenty of food and water and a friend stops by every few days to make sure she’s okay and refill food and water if needed. 

    3. That’s great. Until your cat gets old and doddery. The last year or two before my old cat, Juni, died, he would have never been able to use the toilet. He could barely get over the lip into the normal cat box. Poor old Juni.

    1. Pet pearls will get rid of the ammonia odor, but not the poo smell. Get the round ones if your cat has fluffy toes; the rough ones stick to their feet.

  15. This’ll teach my cat not to pee outside the box! Aside from that, wonder if those sifter bags will work with this.. I don’t see why not, we’ve been through so many bloody cat boxs.. Also, any experience with the cat genie thingy? I’ve seen them in person but the whole fact it needs to flush scares me a leedle, we only have a floor drain.

    1.  Cats and engineers/scientists/writers/creative types are a known association. Many arguments have been advanced for why, but I don’t think anyone has clearly established cause and effect.

  16. Looks like a great idea for most.  Litter-flinging is a big problem in my house but, unfortunately, this isn’t for me.  My two cats both turned 21 years old last month and they’d never make the jump, in or out.  I could add stairs (like I have next to the couch where they sleep) but that wouldn’t help them get out.

    Funny – back in their prime when they could have used this, they didn’t do the litter-flinging thing.  It’s only started as they’ve gotten old.  So, as a poster above has said, there’s a hand broom and small dustpan next to the litterbox and their use is just part of cleaning ritual.  So is the small, extra container of litter than I keep handy to soak up all the times they figure it’s OK to urinate pretty much anywhere as long as they make it to the laundry room.

    1. This clashes with women’s everlasting struggle to train men to close the toilet lid, though. 

        1.  I always close the lid because I’m a bastard. My theory: if I have to lift the toilet seat so do you.

          Women want equality, right?

  17. When we were looking for a new litter box for our cat (who also had a habit of flinging litter) we researched these things (they’ve been around for a few years now) and discovered that many cats simply refuse to use them.

    We ended up simply ended up getting a 71qt. Rubbermaid storage container down at our local big-box. It was less than half the price and the high walls stop the litter from leaving the box. And kitty doesn’t have to deal with climbing in and out of a porthole.

    1. Same here. Larger, higher wall, no flinging.  Only the dry stuff that sometimes sticks to their paws.

      1. This even solves the stuff sticking to paws.   The surface, which they are forced to step on if you place it correctly, is textured to open the paws and allow the  dry stuff stuck in paws to fall out into the lid.

        I suppose some cats may not use it.  Some won’t use covered litter boxes either, due to their very sensitive sense of smell.  Mine chose it over her old box, consistently, during the transition period and seems to love it.  As to expense, I paid ~$15 seven years ago for mine.  I don’t consider ~$2/year expensive.

  18. I once bought a cabinet to go under my bathroom sink- it turned out to be much too small. I didn’t feel like taking it back to the store so I put the litterbox inside and the cats climb in through the hole on top where the sink would have sat. When I need to clean the thing out I just open the cabinet doors.

    1.  I’ve seen a variant of that (a cabinet to isolate the litterbox) used to help keep dogs away from cat litter. (Cat food has a significant amount of protein left in it even after that cat is done with it, and some dogs will happily scavenge.)  None of the other solutions we’ve discussed really address that issue of mixed households.

      “All relationships are mixed relationships.” — Fred Small

  19. I have been using one of these for seven years.  This is absolutely the BEST litterbox I have ever used.  I also use Citra-Max Fresh litter (my cat loves it but YMMV, some people’s cats hate the stuff) which requires no daily scooping at all–the poop is dessicated by the citrus oils apparently.  The combination results in a smell-free, neat and tidy, virtually no effort catbox.  Awesome!

  20. I put a shit load of “shag” rugs around the litter boxes. We tried these, but I am afraid the concentrated dust isn’t good for their lungs.

  21. My gf bought a “modkat” – basically it’s just like this but colorful, for hipsters. It’s probably more expensive but it rocks. No litter, barely any smell unless it’s full.

    Our roommate who poops in a box seems to enjoy it as well.

  22. I have this exact box, we’ve been using it for several years.  I’m still unhappy with the amount of litter that gets tracked out and want to build a larger box to contain it which forces the cat to walk a path on astroturf.  I’d also like to vent it to an apartment window.  But my wife won’t let me, alas.  

    1. That’s the biggest problem for me – some litter always sticks on their feet and gets tracked around. I just vacuum frequently and try not to think about it.( I never wanted these cats in the first place although now I’m fond of them. Various assholes abandoned them when they moved out of the neighborhood. And now I’m their slave. End of whine)

  23. Just ordered one. My big boy is so long and tall that even in a jumbo box, if he doesn’t turn around once he’s inside, he just pees straight out the door, all over the floor.

  24. After seeing one of these, we figured it was a great idea and then made our own out of a rubbermaid tub we had just sitting around, plus some Drimmel tool love. Our homemade version works great; the cats took right to it and we’ve got far less scattered litter.

  25. Please tell me my favorite Maker didn’t spend $35 on something that could be made at home with a $5 Rubbermaid tub and a utility knife. Cause that’s where ours came from. :)

    1. That’s what I did. A transparent bin worked best and at 7$, it can’t be beat. I even put little holes for the litter to fall back into the box.
      Of course if you want the fancy pants version:

      However, none of this will work if you have a cat that refuses to go into a covered box because the other cat attacks her whenever she jumps out. If that’s the case, you’re SOL. fml

      1. Ours works great for two of our cats. The third is too big and his head sticks out, so he prefers another covered box we have that’s a bit roomier.  We just have to be careful since our dogs love to eat what they leave behind. Haha.

        I’m just surprised to see Mr. Frauenfelder endorsing such a simply made thing … Heh. I love that on the Amazon page someone has a picture of it next to their homemade one. Awesome. 

    2. I’ve made 3 of these so far.  Made the first one a couple of years ago, and gave it away to a friend.
      I’m surprised that the manufacturer doesn’t just sell a lid that would fit on a popular tub.

  26. I’ve been waiting for someone to invent a device that turns newspaper into litter pellets. 

  27. I made a space saving version of this. Living in a TINY apartment in SF, our cat would track litter INTO the bed.

    It was a simple plywood box, about 8 inches wider than the litter box. I divided it into two compartments. The box is in one compartment,  and the other compartment is a little ‘hallway’ about 8″ wide. As the cat gets out of the litter box, he has to turn a corner and walk down the ‘hallway’ lined with astroturf. At the end of the hallway is an exit. The hinged lid made for easy cleaning. The whole thing measured about 24″ x 30″ x 20″. So really the only way it saved space was because I hung it out my double hung window, like an AC unit, and I cleaned it from the back porch/back door.

  28. We thought about buying one of those after we got a new kitten who loved to fling litter and poo all around the house, but instead used a RubberMaid container I had sitting around the house and cut a cat-sized hole in the top and voila – no more poo flinging and the litter flinging was significantly reduced..

  29. Our cat can’t seem to figure out how to cover her business up with litter in this box; she scratches the lid for 3-4 minutes then walks away. But yeah, no kicking of litter all over…

  30. I’m glad I had a basement when I had cats because the both of them were litter flingers.  They enjoyed the privacy and all I did was sweep it up.

  31. I thought the Clever Kitty box was a great idea, but one of my cats could never figure it out, and the other will only use it once or twice a week. Efforts to have it be the cats’ only option were disastrous.  The only thing my cats will tolerate is the large size of a standard box with no lid, cleaned at least once a day. I wish there were a better solution, but my cats know what they like and refuse to change.

  32. “(That’s where the “clever” part of the name of the product comes into play. The “cat” part refers to the fact that it’s for cats).”

    Hee.. I did ‘lol’ at that.

  33. Heather C – I’m right there with you. I have two cats (brothers) one is LARGE the other is normal sized. The large one refuses to go down in the hole. They only way he will use this box is without the lid. This makes me wish I had simple purchased a cheap storage container rather than spending the $32 on this litter box. Sigh. I had high hopes (no pun intended). 

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