Top-entry cat litter boxes are one of the best solutions to litter tracking. With high sides and a mostly enclosed design, top-entry cat litter boxes require your cat to climb or jump to the top of the box to gain access.
A top-entry litter box isn’t suitable for all cats—elderly cats may struggle to enter and exit from the top, for example. They also can be a little more difficult to maintain, since you typically have to remove a lid in order to clean them. But the right top-entry cat litter box will have enough space for your cats to feel comfortable, provide easy access for you to clean, and successfully prevent the spread of cat litter outside of the box.
Our favorite top-entry litter box is the Clevercat Top-Entry Litter Box, which is roomy enough that most cats will adjust to the different layout, with a design that’s easy to clean and effective at preventing litter tracking. However, we also love several other litter boxes that might work even better for you and your cat.
Here are the best top-entry litter boxes.
Clevercat Top-Entry Litter Box
Large opening with smooth sides
Textured top captures any stray litter
Deep bowl can be tricky to scoop
The Clevercat Top-Entry Litter Box gets everything right. It’s a big 30-by-15-inch tub, which makes it suitable for a multiple-cat household. Plus with 20 inches of depth, the interior should be roomy enough that even reluctant cats can get used to using it. The 9-inch diameter opening is large enough for the vast majority of cats, but small enough to keep out mischievous dogs. The Clevercat also features a textured design on the top, which helps pick any little pieces of litter that still remain on your cat’s feet after leaping up and out of the box.
The Clevercat is made in the United States and backed by a one-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: $50
Dimensions: 20 x 15 x 30 inches | Opening: 9 inches
Petmate Top Entry Litter Box
Hinged lid makes cleaning easy
Low enough for cats who like to peep out
Hook for scoop
Made of 95% recycled materials
Gray colors looks a little like a garbage can
Textured top isn’t very effective at catching litter
A little short and narrow; likely inadequate for multi-cat households
The Petmate Top Entry Cat Litter Box has a wide top opening that will work for most cats. It also has thoughtful features like a hook for hanging your litter scoop and a hinged lid that you don’t have to completely lift off in order to clean the interior.
There are a few downsides, however, most notably the box’s relatively small dimensions. If you’re looking for a box that will fit in a tight space, the 20-by-15-inch footprint of the Petmate might be just the thing, but we wouldn’t recommend it for multi-cat households. The divots on top of the lid are less effective at catching litter than several of our other favorite boxes. Finally, while Petmate describes the color scheme as “brushed nickel” and “pearl white,” it looks a little trash-can-esque to our eyes.
But all of these are minor complaints, and the Petmate Top Entry Litter Box is an affordable way to find out whether or not your cats will adjust to a top-entry box.
Price at time of publish: $30
Dimensions: 20 x 15 x 15 inches
Best for Large Cats
IRIS Top Entry Cat Litter Box with Scoop
Comes in multiple sizes and colors
Top lid is easy to lift off
Ridged top does a good job catching extra litter
Clean, modern design
Made with recycled, BPA-free plastic
Large entrance opening
Round design makes scooping more labor intensive
Lid secures well, but can be tricky to reinsert at first
The Iris Top Entry Box has many of the same features as our other boxes but comes in a rounder shape, which some users find is easier for scooping litter as there are no corners for clumps to get stuck in. The deeply grooved lid is very good at catching excess litter. Unlike other boxes, which have lids that sit on top of the tub, the Iris litter box has a unique design that uses a notch in the back and two buttons in the front. This makes it easy to open, but it can be a little tricky to align the lid correctly when closing.
But one of the biggest advantages to the IRIS Top Entry is its large entrance size and generous spaciousness. While some top-entry litter boxes are best suited for small cats, even the big guys and gals can easily use the IRIS box. Its opening is a wide oval that’s 9 inches wide and 11 inches long.
The Iris Top Entry comes in a very pleasing modern design with multiple color options, including a striking orange. It’s also available in multiple sizes, though we have only tested the large size and recommend it for most households.
Price at time of publish: $40
Dimensions: 20 x 16 x 14.6 inches | Entrance Dimensions: 9 x 11 inches
Best High End
Modkat Litter Box, Top-Entry
Available in three colors: black, white, gray
Lid is on a swivel, so you don’t have to remove it to scoop
Lid is perforated with multiple holes, so stray litter falls back into the box
Comes with a scoop
While the lid can support 30 pounds, Modkat recommends its litter boxes for cats that are 12 pounds or under
Need to continually purchase liners
Included scoop is plastic and not all that beefy
The Modkat Litter Box won a Red Dog Design Award for its thoughtful top entry box design. Its square footprint makes it easy to fit into corners or other nooks. Its lid is a substantial improvement on other designs, first because it has a grid of holes in the lid, so that litter shaken off of your cat’s feet falls right back into the box. It also lets a little more light into the interior, which should be more welcoming for cats that might otherwise be hesitant to enter a top-entry box. The Modkat’s lid is also built on a swivel—instead of lifting the lid fully off the box, you simply swing it open, providing wide access to the inside of the box for scooping.
But the biggest difference between the Modkat and other litter boxes is likely to be its most controversial for potential buyers: it uses liners. Each reusable liner is made from durable tarpaulin and will last up to three months. They fit perfectly inside the box thanks to a tension band that holds the top of the liner rigidly open. While they certainly make cleaning easy—the inside is smooth enough to scoop, and full litter changes are as easy as dumping out a large bag—not everyone will want to spend approximately $40 a year on liners.
The Modkat Litter Box is available in three colors: white, gray, and black. There’s also an XL version of the Modkat Litter Box, which includes both top and front entry configurations—the perfect solution if you’re not certain whether or not your cat will adapt to top entry use.
Price at time of publish: $100
Dimensions: 6 x 16 x 15 inches | Entry Dimensions: 8.75 inches | Colors: White, gray, black
Best Litter Box Furniture
Omlet Maya Cat Litter Box Furniture
Durable, reusable liner
Folding scoop included
Smell-absorbing carbon filter included
Neutral design can work anywhere
Hinged top that’s easy to spot clean
Effective grid platform for catching litter on paws
Liner can get crinkly, leaving nooks and crannies for waste to hide
Cats may have trouble adjusting to elevated entrance
Very expensive for a cat litter box, even with all the included extras
The folding scoop is a cool design, but chances are good you’ll want a beefier scoop for day-to-day use
Omlet’s cat litter boxes are designed to look like furniture items and can be configured in multiple ways, from a basic “Top Entry Jump On” to a larger version with enclosed storage. While the simplest top-entry option is good, we don’t see substantial advantages to purchasing it over one of the other top-entry litter boxes on this list, especially since it still looks like a litter box, albeit a well-designed one. If you’re looking for a litter box that will be as unobtrusive as possible, the sweet spot is probably the “Jump In” configuration, which combines the strengths of an enclosed litter box cabinet and a top entry box.
The “Jump In” version of the Maya Cat Litter Box looks like a modern toiletries cabinet or bathroom trash can holder. While there’s a top entry box inside, your cat initially enters through an entry hole high up on the front face of the piece of furniture. This lands them on top of the litter box enclosed in the bottom half of the cabinet. This jump-through entry hole can be left open, or sealed off with a flap door, available in either clear, pink or blue colors.
The litter box itself is one of Omlet’s most unique innovations, since it’s more like a soft-sided cooler than a rigid tub. The top entry lid on top has a hinge that makes for easy access to the litter compartment, but it’s also easy to take out the entire liner for scooping or a more thorough cleaning. While effectively nonstick, it’s still a little harder to scoop out than a rigid tub, since litter clumps can get trapped in wrinkled corners—but the Maya liner is surprisingly seam-free and usefully rigid enough for cleaning access and most other uses.
Price at time of publish: $242 (Jump-In)
Dimensions: 18 x 20 x 16 inches (Top Entry Jump On), 16 x 20 x 33 inches (Jump In), 16 x 20 x 37 inches (Jump In With Storage) | Entry Dimensions: 9 inches | Entry Flap Colors: Clear, blue, pink
Our favorite top entry litter box for most cats is the Clevercat Top-Entry, which offers a useful lid and deep tub, plus it’s easy to scoop and keep clean. If you have multiple cats or a particularly large furball, check out the IRIS USA Top Entry Cat Litter Box instead, which has one of the largest entrance holes we’ve ever seen on a top entry litter box.
What to Look for in a Top-Entry Litter Box
Cats have individual preferences regarding their litter box. Some cats love top-entry boxes, which provide them privacy and allow them to pop their heads out the top opening to survey their surroundings. Other cats may refuse to use the top entrance at all.
One indicator of how your cats will accept a top-entry box is how they’ve adapted to previous changes to their bathroom—different types of litter, new boxes, different litter box locations. Did they adjust quickly? If so, they will likely adapt to a new top-entry box. Cats that enjoy boxes and other hiding behaviors may also be quick to adapt.
Old Cats, Large Cats, and Kittens
Your cat’s physical condition is also important to consider. While the vast majority of cats are capable of the small jumps needed to access a top entry box, older cats with arthritis or other health issues may not be able to make the transition.
While one of our large tester cats—Wally—loves his IRIS USA Top Entry Cat Litter Box, some top-entry boxes recommend use for small and medium-sized cats. We have tried to include the width of the top entrance opening wherever that information is available.
Kittens are also likely to require a front entrance litter box for the first few months of their lives, until they are dexterous enough to make the leap to a top entry.
Because top-entry cat litter boxes are designed deep, you’re going to want a beefy scoop. Our favorite is the DurAnimals DuraScoop, but we have several other recommendations. You might also want to consider a long-handled model, since a top-entry box takes a little more reaching.
How do you train a cat to use a top entry litter box?
The key is to change as little as possible when introducing a new litter box. Make sure to use familiar litter, and place the box in the same spot as your old box. You can even transfer some old litter into the new box, so that their smells are already in place. After that, your cats should be able to explore their new box all by themselves. Most will figure out what to do.
If you’re still having trouble getting them to use the new top entry box, start by placing them directly on the lid a few times. They may jump off, but they’ll also begin to familiarize themselves with the new platform. You can also remove the lid for a few days and place it next to the litter box, so they can explore it while it’s on the floor and also have a more open litter container to leap into.
Can kittens use top entry litter boxes?
Most kittens who are older than a few months will have no problem using a top-entry litter box. The biggest indicator is how developed their jumping ability has become. If they are regularly able to jump and chase ribbon toys, then they’re probably more than capable of handling a top-entry box.
Why Trust The Spruce Pets?
This article was written by Ellie Welles, a product reviewer for The Spruce Pets. Welles is the proud mother of four cats, and is dedicated to finding the best of everything for her felines. She owns a top-entry litter box and compiled insights from several other owners with firsthand experiences using many of the products on this list.