Buying a litterbox may not seem like an immensely complex decision, but it does help to keep a few things in mind when purchasing one. Ideally you will find a litterbox which suits both your needs and the needs of your pet. If you shop around, you may also be able to get a better price on a litterbox, especially if you are willing to do some hunting at pet stores once you find a model that you like.
The first thing to think about when you are buying a litterbox is, of course, what kind of pet the litterbox is for. Litterboxes can be used by small dogs, hedgehogs, and an assortment of other animals in addition to cats. Some animals may have special needs, such as a litterbox with a ramp or low lip so that they can easily climb inside. If your animal has recently gone through surgery, you may want to ask your veterinarian about litterbox recommendations, as your veterinarian may prefer one type or another for recovering pets.
You should also think about the size of your pet and available space when buying a litterbox. A smaller pet, obviously, needs a smaller litterbox, and you may be able to tuck it away into a corner of your house. Larger pets, on the other hand, require more space, or they may become stressed about the litterbox, in which case they may start urinating in other parts of the house. If you have a particularly large cat or you are purchasing a litterbox for a dog, be prepared to set aside substantial space for a litterbox.
There are two basic litterbox styles. Closed litterboxes have a snap on lid. In theory, these litterboxes tend to produce less odor, since the box is covered. A closed litterbox may also include a filter and a flap door so that the litterbox will be sealed when not in use. An open litterbox, on the other hand, has no lid, but it is easier for pets to get used to. Nervous animals may prefer using an open litterbox because they won't feel trapped while they use it. However, odor tends to be a bigger problem with open litterboxes.
If you feel that an open litterbox is best for your pet, you may want to think about an electric litterbox. These litterboxes rake the box after your animal has used it, pulling waste into a reservoir which you can line with a plastic bag. Electronic litterboxes are easy to clean up, and they tend to be low on odor, although they can be expensive. They may also require a special brand of litter; some types of litter will clump and damage the rake. Ask about special requirements when you are buying a litterbox with electronic components.
When you are buying a litterbox, you should also think about how you will introduce your pet to it. If you are bringing a new pet home, you will want to find out what kind of litter was used at your pet's previous home, so that you can use it in the new litterbox. You can always change the litter later if you prefer a different style, but it's important for the animal to have a familiar space to use as a bathroom. If you are introducing a new litterbox to your pet, you should keep your eye on your pet for a few days to make sure that he or she uses the box comfortably.