The 5 Best Sifting Cat Litter Boxes in 2021
We all love our cats and kittens, but there’s a massive chore which no one ever looks forward to: cleaning their litterbox. Fortunately, a good sifting litterbox can make life a lot easier for those of us who have cats in our lives. Finding the best, however, can be something of a chore.
If you’re looking for the best sifting litter box, you’re in the right place. Read on, and we’ll explore some of the options and how to make sure that you end up with the best for your home, rather than something which leaves you disappointed.
Our Top Pick
Table of Contents
Best Overall Sifting Litter Box
Van Ness CP5 Easy Clean
The Van Ness CP5 was our favorite of the different sifting litter boxes out there. It’s well-engineered for a wide variety of litters and even has a bit of a lip to cut down on kicked around litter.
It comes in a basic blue color configuration. It’s actually one of the better-looking boxes out there, in our opinion, which didn’t hurt when we were putting things together for this article.
Since the sifting tray has a lip and is easily removable, you can use it in a couple of ways. During testing, we found it best to only use one of the nesting trays and then pour the litter through the sifter again into the secondary tray.
The sifter is awesome if you use the right litter in the tray, but it can be a bit touchy if you’re not careful. We also found that things tend to clump along the sides, which can increase maintenance.
Best Hooded Sifting Litter Box
Van Ness Sifting Enclosed Cat Litter Pan
Quite similar to our favorite, this was our favorite of the various enclosed sifting boxes. It comes together and pulls apart quite easily, which makes sure that you’ll easily be able to sift through the litter.
As an added bonus, it’s entirely enclosed, keeping odors to a minimum outside. There are also two sizes available, so you can mix and match to ensure you’ve got the right amount of space for your felines.
It even has a zeolite air filter. The sifting tray is one of the best, Van Ness really seems to design them well, although it still has some problems with clumping along the edges. It’s also a bit pricey for a litterbox, most likely due to the extra engineering.
With the right litter, we found it amazingly efficient. It’s just one of the best around, especially if you’re looking for a fully enclosed model.
Best Full Sifting Litterbox Kit
Purina Tidy Cats Litter Box System
Look, we get it, getting the right litter for a sifting pan can be a pain. If you’re willing to pay a bit more upfront, however, you can get this complete kit, which will allow you to get started without having to do any more research.
We liked this kit. The pellets do a remarkable job at controlling odor while being engineered specifically for the sifting tray. They’re supposed to be replaced monthly.
There are also pads to catch urine, which falls through the cracks. It basically takes all of the responsibility off of the owner of the pan as long as you keep using their stuff.
The problem with this is the fact that… well, Purina is a pricey brand. It’s expensive but an excellent solution to the feline waste problem in your home and controls odors better than even some of the enclosed boxes which didn’t make our list.
Budget Sifting Cat Litter Box
Arm & Hammer Large Sifting Litter Pan
If you’re looking to save money and still end up with an awesome sifting litter box, then you’re looking right at the solution. There are a lot of budget pans out there, but this was the best of the best.
It has a well-designed tray, although it’s not really up to par with Van Ness. The plastic is treated with an antimicrobial solution, however, which helps with odor control despite the litter box being relatively open.
It’s high-sided, but we found it really didn’t prevent much spread from kicking cats. Still, you can’t have everything when it comes down to it, and you’ll get what you pay for.
Why Get a Sifting Litter Box?
Cleaning litter is a tiresome chore for most of us.
The usual fare is just a plastic box, often with a brand name price attached. You throw the litter in, your feline does their business in the box, and you have to use a scoop with holes to get it out.
It works, but it’s a pain for the pet owner since it requires a lot of time, and if you don’t keep it up, you’re left with a smelly mess of cat pee and stool.
Sifting litter boxes help to take the pain out of the process by using a sieve that lifts out of the box. This leaves behind the litter and removes solid waste and clumped litter through the whole box in one go.
We found that the best of them cut the amount of time required in half or more. Even the worst operated pretty well initially, although they had a tendency to fail more quickly and require more maintenance.
The truth is this: you’re missing out if you don’t have a sifting litter box.
This is especially true if you have multiple boxes since each sifting box will cut down on time, and it adds up quickly if you only invest in the best.
Which, of course, leads us trying to determine which is the best sifting litter box. Read on, and we’ll show you how to pick the right litter box for your home.
Are There Any Disadvantages to Using a Sifting Litter Box?
We don’t feel it’s much of a trade-off, but there’s one big drawback to sifting litter boxes: they require a bit of maintenance. Without it, you’ll be left with an ordinary box that may end up being harder to clean than the old-school ones.
They’re also not recommended for very young cats. In general, kittens under three or four months of age shouldn’t be using clumping cat litter. Clumping litter is basically the entire point of using a sifting box, so it’s not the right choice if you have younger cats only, although they can be a good option in a few months.
They’re naturally more expensive as well, but it really depends on how you value your own time in the end.
How to Choose a Sifting Litter Box
While they’re simple in theory, choosing a sifting litter box that will work in the long term requires attention to detail.
Mind you, you could just skip down to our guide below, but we feel it’s good to understand why we chose the boxes we did. In the long run, that’ll help out quite a bit, so check out what we feel are the most important qualities when trying to ease the burden of cat waste in the home.
Many sifting litter boxes come in different sizes. While it’s usually possible to match the old-fashioned box you’ve likely got in the home already, it’s important to consider.
Some cats don’t mind using the same box as the rest of the felines in the home. In that case, consider a larger box to keep down on maintenance since you’ll only have to service one box.
On the other hand, smaller boxes are cheaper, and in some multi-cat households, there’s a box for every cat. In that case, go with boxes that match the current size for the best results.
Some cats prefer privacy when they’re doing their business. In that case, look for a sifting litter box which has an enclosure of some sort. They only take a couple of extra seconds to remove, and your feline friend will be quite happy with them.
Hoods are also helpful for cats who like to kick litter out of the box since the litter will be contained. Depending on the angle, it may not contain all of it, but it can definitely cut down on the extra cleanup time a cat can cause while digging or kicking in the litter.
Ease of Maintenance
This is where many sifting litter boxes fall short.
How easy the sieve is to clean will make an enormous difference in the utility of the box over time.
It can be hard to determine based just on looks, so make sure that you read the reviews before you invest in an expensive box. One which is impossible to clean thoroughly without breaking out a pressure washer isn’t going to save you any time.
Larger holes tended to do better in our testing and also allowed for a wider variety of litters.
Colors and Style
Let’s face it, if the best litter box on the market is horrendously ugly… no one is going to end up buying it.
Something which you don’t mind having around the house is a good idea. Something that you actually like is an even better one.
And… for many people, this will end up being the deciding factor. Just don’t let it override horrendous reviews and hard maintenance, or you’ll end up regretting the purchase even if it does look stylish in the corner of the living room.
Some people prefer auto-sifting litter boxes. They’re expensive and, in our opinion, a bit dicey to pick up.
The biggest problem with them is that the noise they generate often scares off cats who… will then refuse to use said litter box.
The other problem, apart from the expense, is that cheaper models tend to have a ton of problems. Sometimes they’ll work fine in the beginning, in other cases they’re just bad products.
We strongly recommend sticking to a regular sifting litter box unless you’re willing to shell out a few hundred dollars.
Training Your Cat to Use the Sifting Litter Box
Your cat should be able to use a sifting box just like any other litter box. You’ll likely run into problems with noisy electric boxes if you don’t follow our advice on that one, however.
Most cats will naturally use whichever box happens to be around. They bury their poop and urinate in sand-like materials. It’s just kind of part of the whole “cat” mindset. Not all cats immediately catch on, however.
If your cat isn’t already trained to use a box, you can get them to catch on easily with the following tips:
- Pick a bigger litter box than you think you’ll need. Larger boxes make for a happier cat bathroom experience
- Keep the box accessible but a good distance from their food and water. This makes the cat more likely to use it and keeps them from spreading tainted litter into their water
- A quiet area is best, especially for cats, which are a bit shy.
If your cat is regularly going to the bathroom outside of their box despite following the above, then consult with a veterinarian. Cats aren’t acting out when they go to the bathroom in the open… it’s usually indicative of a serious medical problem.
Picking the Right Cat Litter for a Sifting Box
Finding the right litter for your cat’s new sifting litter box is extremely important. Without having the right stuff, you may as well go back to an old-school box.
What you’re looking for is a clumping litter. Not all of them will do, however. Specifically, you need a litter that will easily flow through the sifter and clumps every time. The entire idea of a sifting box is to keep down on the amount of work you have to do after all.
Of course, we have a favorite.
Coming in at a moderate price, Dr. Elsey’s was perfect for the litter boxes, which we tested for this buyer’s guide.
The granule size is perfect for the majority of boxes, and we found that the clumping action was superior to just about everything out there.
It’s also relatively dust-free. We think 99.9%, which they boast, is a bit of an exaggeration, but it was easily the least messy of those we tried.
In short… invest in a bag of this stuff alongside your box. It’s perfect for sifting litter boxes, and we found that it outperformed the competition in testing.
Sifting Litter Box Maintenance
With the right cat litter, you’ll be in good hands with a sifting litter box, but you still need to do a bit of maintenance. Keep in mind that the litter used will largely determine how often you need to maintain the box.
For the most part, all you’ll need to do is spray out the sifter. We found a garden hose to be just the thing, although you may want to do it over a garbage can to keep cat litter and small amounts of waste from going all over the yard.
At least once a month, it’s a good idea to replace the litter entirely. When you do so, spray out the bottom box under the sifter as well. Most of the better boxes are antimicrobial, and a simple hosing down will do it, so don’t sweat having to scrub the whole thing.
Sifting Cat Litter Box FAQ
We did our best to make the whole process simple, but there are still bound to be some questions out there. Read on and leave us a line if you have a question that this guide didn’t answer.
Help! How can I cut down on dust when using my sifter?
The ideal solution is to get a litter that produces less dust. Experimenting with litters is part of the process if you’re not going to use Dr. Elsey’s. Just remember to stick with litters and not go with pellets unless the box is specifically designed for it.
How can I keep litter from clumping on the sides of my sifting litter box?
You really can’t. It just depends on where your cat decides to urinate in the end, and if they’re spraying down the side of the box, then you’re not going to be able to avoid this problem. Keep a scoop or spatula around to poke at it if it’s becoming a serious problem.
How can I keep clumps from sitting in the sifter?
Experiment with litter. In all honesty, that’s the solution to basically every problem that you might encounter with a sifting litter box. It’s all about the litter in the end.
My cat won’t use their new box, what can I do?
While a rare problem, it does occur. Your best bet is to use a cat attracting litter, which will help your cat be more comfortable with going in the box. Dr. Elsey’s offers a variety specifically designed for this.
How often should I maintain my sifting litter box?
Just keep an eye on the sifter, particularly if you’re using it every day. When it begins to clog then, you’ll want to take it outside and shoot it with the hose. At least once a month, change out all of the litter and clean the bottom pan as well.