Best Cat Litter Tray
We are asked from time to time what the best cat litter tray is. While there are many variables that can go into determining the best cat litter tray, it is important to first describe what exactly a cat litter tray is and how it differentiates from a cat litter box.
There are actually multiple types of products that can be considered cat litter trays. This overlap can sometimes be a source of confusion for people as they may be looking for a particular product and, after searching, all they find are listings of a totally different type of product.
To help with the confusion, we will break down the different types of cat litter trays below. But first, here are a few of our top choices for cat litter trays for those who want to skip the content and simply see the results.
|Product||Type||Cost (Amazon)||Material||Our Full Review|
|Cat’s Pride KatKit Disposable Tray||Disposable||$$$||Plastic||Link|
|Nature’s Miracle Self-Cleaning Litter Box Waste Receptacles||Automatic Litter Box||$||Plastic||Link|
|Kitty Lounge Disposable Litter Tray||Disposable||$||Plastic||Link|
|Littermaid Self-Cleaning Litter Box Trays||Automatic Litter Box||$||Plastic||Link|
|Kitty’s WonderBox Disposable Litter Box||Disposable||$$||Paper||Link|
|ScoopFree Litter Box Refills||Automatic Litter Box||$$$$$||Plastic||Link|
What is a Cat Litter Tray?
There are quite a few different types of cat litter trays but it is important to first identify what exactly a cat litter tray even is. To add further confusion, some people also refer to cat litter boxes as cat litter trays (similar to how some people will call it “soda” while others will call it “Coke”).
For the sake of simplicity, we are going to focus on our (and what most people) consider a cat litter tray, which is something inherently different than a cat litter box. A cat litter box is a permanent (or at least semi-permanent) structure that is intended to be used many times before being disposed of. It will typically be made of thick plastic, have high walls, and be more expensive. Nearly everybody who owns a cat is familiar with a cat litter box so further explanation really isn’t necessary.
A cat litter tray, on the other hand, is traditionally going to be a smaller, shorter, and more lightweight container that isn’t designed for long-term use. Cat litter trays are most popular with automatic or self-cleaning litter boxes but there are also self-standing examples that are great for traveling. After the tray is exhausted from cat waste, you will simply remove the tray and throw it in the trash.
Cat Litter Tray vs Cat Litter Box
We outlined the general idea of a cat litter tray and cat litter box above. However, let’s discuss the specific pros and cons of each to help you make the best decision to meet your needs.
A cat litter box has plenty of great benefits. First, it is a long-term investment and you will get potentially hundreds of uses out of it before you have to worry about replacing it. Second, it will be much more structurally sound and be better prepared to handle the load that your cat will put on it, particularly in multi-cat households. Finally, there are many different sizes, shapes, and color options on the market so you will have a much easier time finding a specific product that meets your needs.
However, cat litter boxes aren’t without their cons as well. Being a semi-permanent structure, you will be forced to have to properly dispose of the cat waste and keep things clean. In a larger litter box, this can be a rather laborious process. Also, being made of thicker material, cat litter boxes will be much heavier and bulkier than a simple tray. Finally, the asking price will be higher initially.
As for cat litter trays, their main benefit comes with their ease of use. Rather than having to clean the tray once it is spent, you simply remove it from the automatic litter box or just throw it away if it is a standalone example. This makes cat litter trays great for traveling or when you have your cat staying at a friend or family member’s house and don’t want to deal with transporting a whole litter box or buying one just for a few days visit. They are also much cheaper than a traditional litter box.
That being said, cat litter trays do come with some issues as well. Being smaller, they won’t hold nearly the volume of litter. This means that they will be exhausted much sooner and, in the case of multi-cat households, they might not be able to handle the high load of cats using them. Also, the walls and general structure are much smaller and weaker so standalone examples are more likely to disperse cat litter granules to the surrounding floor. Finally, while they are cheaper initially, you will be required to purchase additional units much more frequently so the prices can add up over time.
What are the Different Types of Cat Litter Trays?
While cat litter trays may come in different shapes and sizes, they really boil down to two unique types: trays for automatic litter boxes and standalone trays.
Cat Litter Trays for Automatic Litter Boxes
Automatic litter boxes are becoming increasingly popular. Their simple approach and reduced stress on cat owners make them a great purchase and we are seeing more and more households change from a traditional cat litter box to an automatic litter box.
One of the key components of an automatic cat litter box is the cat litter tray insert. The insert can look vastly different from brand to brand but they all essentially serve the same purpose. Also, you won’t have a lot of flexibility in product variety as most brands will make a single cat litter tray or cat litter cartridge for their specific self-cleaning litter box.
A few of our favorite self-cleaning litter boxes that utilize cat litter trays are ScoopFree, Littermaid Self-Cleaning Litter Box, and Nature’s Miracle Self-Cleaning Litter Box. This article isn’t intended to review the specific automatic litter boxes so we will instead focus on the trays and cartridges that each uses. We will go over each in detail below.
ScoopFree Litter Box Refills
The ScoopFree Litter Box Refills are likely the most traditional litter trays in the sense of their shape and design and will resemble miniature litter boxes. They come pre-packaged with litter crystals (which we have discovered time and time again excel at handing cat waste odors). One tray is designed to last up to 30 days in a single-cat household. Just be careful with the installation and removal of the boxes as they are a bit flimsy and definitely not intended to be used without the ScoopFree system.
Littermaid Self-Cleaning Litter Box Trays
The Littermaid Self-Cleaning Litter Box Trays (or rather, litter box “receptacles”) are a bit different than what you might expect when you think of a tray. And, in fact, we almost decided not to include them in this listing. However, people do still oftentimes refer to them as trays so we decided to go ahead and throw them into the mix. These receptacles are made of semi-thick plastic and are designed to be a sort of collection bin for cat waste that is scooped into them from the automatic scooping process present in the Littermaid Self-Cleaning Litter Box. These trays are very easy to install and remove and their life will depend on how many cats are using the litter box. Just be sure to remove them before they become too full!
Nature’s Miracle Self-Cleaning Litter Box Waste Receptacles
The Nature’s Miracle Self-Cleaning Litter Box Waste Receptacles are very similar to those you will find in the Littermaid Self-Cleaning Litter Box. Both products work equally well and it will really come down to personal preference. Similar to Littermaid, these receptacles are made of relatively thick plastic and can handle a good amount of cat waste before replacing. That being said, you do seem to pay a bit of a premium for the Nature’s Miracle name.
Standalone/Disposable Cat Litter Trays
The other type of cat litter tray that we will go over is the standalone variety. These trays are designed to be used by themselves and aren’t part of a larger litter box system like we discussed above. The main benefit with these is that you simply toss away the tray once it is spent rather than dealing with cleaning the contents. They also typically are much more affordable than a traditional litter box. The negatives are that the walls typically aren’t as high (which makes them more prone to having litter tracked out of the box) and they also aren’t as strong/durable.
Within this type of litter tray, there are disposable trays that are made of plastic, metal, and even recycled paper! As you might expect, the plastic and metal examples are stronger but the recycled paper cat litter trays are more eco-friendly.
We will go over three of our favorite disposable cat litter trays below.
Cat’s Pride KatKit Disposable Tray
The Cat’s Pride KatKit Disposable Tray is one of the more popular plastic trays on the market. It is made of 100% recycled plastic soda bottles and comes in a lightweight and surprisingly tough package. You simply fill it up with your favorite cat litter and when the litter has run its course, simply toss out the entire package. Despite being made of thin plastic, the KatKit Disposable Tray is surprisingly resilient and can handle a good bit of weight without buckling. It is also one of the few disposable cat litter trays that we feel can handle multi-cat households. That being said, it is one of the more expensive options out there.
Kitty Lounge Disposable Litter Tray
The Kitty Lounge Disposable Litter Tray is also made of recycled plastic and is another product that tries to take advantage of the inherent benefits of plastic in its tray. The plastic used here is somewhat thinner than many other trays on the market and, as such, it will buckle a bit more. The walls are also a bit shorter so if you have a cat that is notorious for kicking around a lot of litter then you may find that some litter is kicked out of the box. However, the price point here is fantastic and you can buy a huge number of Kitty Lounge Disposable Litter Trays for a very reasonable price.
Kitty’s WonderBox Disposable Litter Box
The Kitty’s WonderBox Disposable Litter Box is called a litter box in its name but, as far as we are concerned, it can be grouped in with other disposable trays. The main difference with this product is that it is made of recycled paper as opposed to plastic or rubber. Alarms may be going off in your head when you hear “paper” in reference to a litter box! However, the plastic used here is plenty thick and you don’t have to worry about it getting soggy or tearing with regular use. While we don’t condone trying to use a paper-based litter box for long periods, you will have thrown away the box well before you have to worry about any sort of fluids leaking through the material. The other great benefits with the paper-based litter trays are that they are more environmentally friendly and they are also very reasonably priced.