6 Best Top Entry Litter Boxes: Reviews and Picks for 2023
A litter box is essential if you’re a cat parent, and it’s necessary to find one that your feline companion won’t mind using. Thankfully, you don’t have to settle for a plain litter pan. There are a variety of different designs out there on the market right now, including self-cleaning litter boxes and cat litter cabinets.
When shopping for a litter box, consider your kitty’s habits. Does she prefer to do her business in private? Is she a bit messy, perhaps scattering litter everywhere? Top entry litter boxes might help solve these problems.
Top Entry Cat Litter Boxes: Our Top Picks
- Overall Best Top Entry Litter Box: IRIS USA Top Entry Cat Litter Pan
- Best Top Entry Litter Box for Large Cats: ExquisiCat Top Entry Litter Pan With Door
- Best Top Entry Litter Box for Multiple Cats: Modkat XL Litter Box
- Best Self-Cleaning Top Entry Litter Box: PetSafe ScoopFree Second Generation Top Entry Covered Self Cleaning Cat Litter Box
- Best Value Top Entry Litter Box for Cats: Petmate Top Entry Litter Box
- Best Top Entry Litter Box Furniture: Rustic Cedar Top Entry Kitty Litter Cabinet
What Is a Top Entry Litter Box?
Unlike covered cat litter boxes that have an entrance on the side, top entry litter boxes are accessed from an opening in the lid. Your cat jumps onto the box to get into it, and jumps out once she’s done.
Fill the box with whichever litter your cat prefers and set the lid in place. You can also use top entry litter box liners to simplify things when you need to do a total litter change. Some boxes even come with reusable liners.
Benefits of a Top Entry Cat Litter Box
Rachel Geller, Ed.D. is a cat behaviorist and the founder and president of All Cats All the Time, Inc. She recommends top entry cat litter boxes because they can benefit both kitties and pet parents.
A Good Choice for Messy Cats
Although cats are known for being clean, they can be messy when they go into the litter box. “Some cats pee over the sides and others dig so ferociously that they send litter flying everywhere,” says Geller.
A top entrance box may help reduce tracking, especially if it’s designed to catch loose litter as a cat exits, and ensure everything stays inside the box where it belongs. “Top entry boxes are ideal for messy cats, cats who prefer to stand and pee, or cats who consistently miss the box. They also solve the problem of cats who inadvertently pee or poop over the edge,” Geller explains.
May Help Save Space
According to Geller, “If you live in a small home or apartment, a top entry box is the perfect solution when you don’t have a lot of extra space. Cats need to get to a traditional litter box from the side, so they need room all around the box, which takes up more space. Having a top entry box solves the problem by letting the cat get into her box from the top.”
Can Help Keep Kids and Pets Out
A litter box with top entry can also be useful in a household with kids and other pets, according to Geller. “If you have a dog or children, a top entry box prevents them from getting into the litter,” she explains. “Dogs like to dig in the litter and children may view it as a sandbox, and this can cause a big mess. With its taller design, even if a dog or toddler could get their head in the opening, they would not be able to reach the litter at the bottom.”
Might Help Reduce or Eliminate Litter Box Problems
Geller says that a top entry litter box may even help solve what can seem like irreparable litter box issues. “One of the main reasons cat owners surrender their cats is due to litter box problems. People dislike the look and smell of open boxes, and people don’t like having litter tracked throughout their home. I have gotten people to keep their cats in their homes by suggesting a top entry box,” she shares.
Of course, it’s important to note that if your kitty isn’t using the litter box like she should, it’s best to have her examined by a veterinarian to determine if a medical issue is to blame.
Our Selection Process
In addition to asking Geller for her recommendations and checking out reviews from other pet parents, we analyzed several factors to make our selections for the best top entry litter boxes, including:
Usability. As most pet parents can tell you, having a litter box that’s a pain to use or clean is a no-go. We took a look at the ease of use for each selection, calling out features that could make your cat’s life and your life simpler (and some that might make things more challenging).
Safety. Especially when it comes to kittens or senior cats, it’s important to consider safety features when purchasing a top entry litter box, so we made sure to note anything that could provide a safer experience for your feline friend.
Performance. Top entry or not, we all want a litter box that allows your cat to do her business without stinking up the whole house or causing a huge mess. With that in mind, we paid attention to how well each box helped control these issues.
Price. Finally, we know everyone has a different budget, which is why we provided picks at a variety of price points.
6 Best Top Entry Litter Boxes of 2023
When you’re ready to shop for a top entry litter box for your cat, there are plenty of options to suit your budget and preferences. Here are some of the best to help you get started.
Overall Best Top Entry Litter Box
Our Pick: IRIS USA Top Entry Cat Litter Pan
This top entry cat litter box has a grooved lid to help reduce tracking, and the opening is large enough to ensure kitties can jump in and out with ease. The rounded box also comes with non-skid rubber feet, as well as a matching litter scoop that can be hung on the side.
Geller points out that this product is available in multiple colors, which is a helpful perk. “In my work as a cat behaviorist, I find that many of the people who want a top entry box are living in a small space, and they are trying to make the litter box blend in, so having a choice of colors is nice,” she says.
- Large opening helps ensure cats will be able to use the box comfortably
- Grooved lid helps reduce tracking
- Litter scoop is included
- Available in a few colors
- Because litter collects in the grooves on the lid, you’ll need to clean it regularly
- Some pet parents still noticed some tracking
Best for Large Cats
Our Pick: ExquisiCat Top Entry Litter Pan with Door
Designed with a wide opening and roomy interior, this top entry litter box from ExquisiCat is a perfect pick for larger kitties. The high walls help keep litter contained, even with cats that like to dig and scratch, and the smooth base is great for leak prevention.
- Large top entry for bigger cats
- Spacious interior allows kitties to comfortably turn around
- High sides help keep litter in the box
- Some customers had issues with their cat peeing through the handle holes
Best Top Entry Litter Box for Multiple Cats
Our Pick: Modkat XL Litter Box
Other top entry litter boxes have only one opening, but this one lets your cat (or cats!) choose between top and front openings. This litter box may work well for multi-cat households, and it could be a good way to keep using the same box even when your kitty is older and can no longer jump in through the top. Its 3-position lid swivels open and has holes to help remove litter from your kitty’s paws, and the base is seamless to prevent leaks. Plus, it includes a reusable litter liner for easier cleaning.
- Large litter box can work well in multi-cat households
- Top and front entrances
- Ergonomic scoop and reusable liner are included
- Very high price point (though Modkat does offer more affordable boxes)
- Some pet parents said they did experience litter scattering
Best Self-Cleaning Top Entry Litter Box
Our Pick: PetSafe ScoopFree Second Generation Top Entry Covered Self Cleaning Cat Litter Box
Who says you can’t have a top entry litter box that’s also self-cleaning? This litter box from PetSafe gives you the best of both worlds. It has a rectangular base, and the top entry hood features high sides and small holes to help keep messes and litter contained. Plus, it automatically scoops waste after your kitty leaves the box, and you might not need to change the litter for weeks at a time.
- The top entry hood has holes that allow litter to fall off your cat’s paws on the way out of the box
- Designed to self-clean for weeks; uses a disposable tray for convenience
- Features a health counter to see how often your pet uses the box
- Only compatible with crystal litter, which can be limiting
- Has to be plugged in
- Very high price point
Best Value Top Entry Litter Box for Cats
Our Pick: Petmate Top Entry Litter Box
This budget-friendly option gives you all of the features you’d need from a top entry box without breaking the bank. The solid base has tall sides to prevent messes, and there is a hook to hang your litter scoop. The lid has a wide opening and is grated to help reduce tracking. Plus, it opens to the side for simple scooping.
Geller recommends this product, too, saying, “A nice touch is that this top entry box comes with handles, which make it easy to pick up the box.”
- Hinged lid for scooping and cleaning
- Built-in handles make it easier to lift and move the box
- Designed to be spacious enough for cats to comfortably turn around while inside
- Great price point
- Litter scoop not included
- Some customers had issues with the lid coming off when it wasn’t supposed to
Best Top Entry Litter Box Furniture
Our Pick: Rustic Cedar Top Entry Kitty Litter Cabinet
If your home decor style verges on rustic or farmhouse, this is a great option if you want to hide your kitty’s litter box. Built out of solid cedar wood, this cabinet features a carpeted top that helps to grab litter when your cat exits to reduce tracking. Your cat will have plenty of privacy when doing her business, and you won’t have to worry about trying to hide an unsightly litter box. Plus cedar naturally absorbs odors, keeping your home smelling fresh!
- Keeps litter out of sight and provides your pet with privacy
- Lots of different stain finish options available
- Features an anti-tracking platform with carpeting
- Lid lifts easily for cleaning
- The rustic design may not fit everyone’s decor
- Highest price point on the list
Top Entry Cat Litter Box Buying Guide
When shopping for a top entry litter box for your cat, try to keep the following in mind:
Durability. You want your cat’s litter box to last a long time, and when it comes to a top entry box, you also want to ensure it will be stable. “If the box is wobbly or the sides or top of the box move when the cat gets on top of it, the cat won’t feel safe and will avoid the box in the future,” says Geller.
Size. “That box you bought when your cat was a kitten may not work anymore now that your cat is fully grown,” Geller explains. “This goes for the size of the opening, too. Take into consideration the size of your cat.” In addition, if you have more than one cat, a larger box may be necessary.
Your cat’s age and agility. A covered box with a side entrance is a better option for older kitties and those who might have trouble jumping onto a top entry box. “Senior cats, arthritic cats, overweight cats, kittens – these are examples of cats who may need a box with a low entryway in front,” states Geller.
Top Entry Litter Box FAQs
Do cats like top entry litter boxes?
There are many types of litter boxes because different cats will have varying preferences. Some might favor open boxes they can access from all sides, while others might want the privacy of a covered cat litter box with an entrance at the top.
“Some cats feel vulnerable in their litter boxes and they want a clear visual field when they are in the box, which a top entry box does not provide. If you have a bustling household with children and other cats/pets, then your cat may feel less secure in a top entry box and would prefer an open box,” says Geller.
It may take some time to figure out what your cat wants. For example, you might try setting up multiple types of boxes to see which one your pet uses the most.
Are top opening litter boxes bad for some cats?
There are some instances in which a top entry box wouldn’t be the right choice. Think about your pet’s physical condition, age, and weight. “A top entry litter box may not work for cats who are older, arthritic, or overweight,” warns Geller. “Kittens may find a top entry box to be difficult to jump up to.”
How should I transition my cat to a top entrance litter box?
The key is to transition slowly to help ensure your cat will use the box and there won’t be any accidents. “In general, you never want to go from zero to 60 with cats. Change needs to occur gradually and incrementally,” says Geller.
If your cat has never used a top entry box, you might try putting her on the lid to let her see the way in. Don’t force your cat into the box; instead, let her get accustomed to jumping onto it to access the opening. Just be patient, as this could be a big change for your pet, and it may take time for her to adjust.
How can I train my cat to use a top entry litter box?
When training your cat to use a new litter box, Geller recommends placing it near the old one. “Keep the old box where it is for your cat’s feeling of safety and security, and place the new top entry box in the same location. Keep using the same litter and use the same location for both boxes.”
Next, use scent to draw your kitty to the new box. “I recommend putting a small bit of your cat’s soiled litter from the old box into the new top entry box so that your cat recognizes her scents. In addition, take a sock and gently rub your cat’s face and chin on it, and then use the sock to rub the outside of the new top entry box. This will help her feel like she has already marked this new box as hers,” says Geller.
Finally, don’t rush to get rid of the old box. “Slowly move the old box away from the location, just a few inches a day,” Geller advises. “Once your cat is consistently using the top entry box, you can remove the old one.”