Is an Outdoor Litter Box a Good Idea? Here’s What to Know

by balconyboss

If you’ve got an outdoor space like a balcony, an outdoor litter box can be a good alternative to a stinky indoor one. Of course, there are different considerations to putting a litter box outdoors.

So, that’s what we’ll cover in this article. Below, you’ll find all the important points about setting up an outdoor cat litter box along with a few outdoor litter box recommendations.

Can You Put a Litter Box Outside?

You can put a litter box outside, but you’ll need to think about how cat litter works. It absorbs moisture, so you’ll obviously want to put it in a covered area or buy a litter box with a roof.

This is what it ultimately comes down to. All types of cat litter are designed to be absorbent, so an outdoor litter box should be protected from the rain. Depending on the humidity levels, you might notice more clumping than if you kept it indoors.

Advantages of an Outdoor Cat Litter Box

The benefits of having an outdoor cat litter box should be obvious. Primarily, it means not having it indoors because, as any cat owner will know, they can be smelly. While it doesn’t mean you can clean it less often, it at least means you can put it somewhere out of the way.

However, if your cat is used to going potty indoors, you’ll need to make the move gradually. It should also be familiar with the outdoor area, as it’d be very stressful to introduce both the outdoors and a new litter tray at the same time.

Setting Up Your Outdoor Litter Box

So, the first step is to prep your outdoor area. If you haven’t done so already, make sure your balcony is cat-proof. You might also want to make it more cat-friendly to entice your kitty out there, but that’s not a necessity.

Next is choosing the litter box itself.

Choosing an Outdoor Litter Box

Picking the best outdoor cat litter box will depend on the space in which you’re setting it up. For example, if you’ve got an enclosed balcony or covered porch, any old litter tray will be fine. You just need to make sure rain can’t reach it too easily.

But if your outdoor space is uncovered, you’ll want some kind of enclosed litter box. There are a couple of ways you can go about this:

  • Buy a hooded litter box (like this one). As the name suggests, it’s simply a litter box with a lid.
  • Buy a litter box enclosure (like this one). It sits over an existing litter tray, which could make the transition much easier.

Alternatively, you could go for something completely different, such as this hidden litter box. Hidden is perhaps the wrong word, as it’s disguised to look like a plant pot, but there’s still a big hole for the cat in the front. Either way, it’s just the right level of kitsch.

Litter Box Considerations

There are a few important things to consider when picking the right outdoor litter box:

  • Always use plastic. It prevents anything from soaking into the tray, which can make it smell.
  • Any enclosed boxes should have a lid that’s easy to remove. After all, you’ll need to do this every time you’re cleaning it out.
  • Conventional litter is fine in a covered box. For uncovered boxes, try using peat moss or sand, which you can buy in large quantities at hardware stores.

Jazzing Up the Litter Box

A cat that’s familiar with using a litter box should have little trouble transitioning to using it outdoors. To do this, move its old box a few inches each day. Eventually, you’ll want to have both boxes next to each other, and then you’ll need to shut off the old one.

Once your cat is happy using the outdoor litter box, consider making it a more enjoyable experience. Hide it among some potted plants to give your pet a bit more privacy. Alternatively, you could set up a lattice around the box and grow a plant up. Either way, make sure the box is still accessible for cleaning.

Clean as you normally would if it were indoors. In the summer, you’ll probably want to clean it more if it gets warm. Also, be mindful of your cat using it in the winter. Most cats won’t go outside if it’s raining or snowing (particularly if they’re housecats). You’ll likely need to set up some kind of shelter in wetter months.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now know everything to go and pick an outdoor litter box. It’s not a difficult decision, you just need to ensure your cat is comfortable and familiar with the space first.