Updated November 2021
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Buying guide for best hooded cat litter pans

Cat parents know the joy of coming home to their furry friends after a hard day’s work. They know the comfort in hearing a joyful purr while their kitty curls up on their lap for an afternoon snooze. They also know the hassle and frustration of a poorly designed cat litter pan.

If you hate the mess and odors a simple, shallow pan often comes with, you might opt for one with a hood, or cover. The main advantage of a hooded cat litter pan over one without a hood is immense. A hooded cover on a cat litter pan keeps odors from spreading through a whole room or area. A filter absorbs trapped odors and helps keep your home from smelling like a litter box.

Hooded litter pans also help prevent your cat from making too much of a mess. Despite the enclosed construction, hooded models usually open up completely to help make cleanup easy. A hooded pan is best suited for cats who enjoy digging and scattering litter, and since they are typically larger than standard litter boxes, they’re a good choice for homes with multiple cats. Certain kitties may prefer hooded boxes because of the added privacy they provide.

For these and a host of other reasons, a hooded cat litter pan might be a good purchase for you. Keep reading to learn more.

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Keeping your hooded litter pan in a quiet area of your home will make your cat more likely to use it.

Key considerations

There are a number of factors to consider before you even start looking at hooded cat litter pans: size of the pan that best accommodates your cat(s), how much odor control you want or need for your litter pan, and how your fur baby likes to enter their litter box.

Litter pan size

Size matters, both in terms of getting a box that accommodates your cat(s) and also the size of the space you have in your home to keep it. The smallest hooded cat litter pans are roughly 24 inches by 20 inches. They get much larger than that as well, but you will also want to consider the footprint that the litter pan will take up in your home.

One advantage to a larger pan is that it may make it more difficult for your cat to spill litter onto the floor than it would be in a smaller one. Larger boxes are often wise for multiple cat households, too. The drawback of a large box is that it takes up a lot of space, and most bulky litter pans are not exactly beautiful pieces of furniture you’ll want on full display.

Open or closed design

While most hooded cat litter pans have an entry that remains open at all times, some have a small flap or door that closes behind the cat once they’ve entered. An advantage to a closed design is that it may keep odor and bits of litter trapped inside, although some cats are uncomfortable being trapped inside and may resist the use of the box.

Clear or dark hood design

You can choose from either a clear hood design or a solid color design that doesn’t allow viewing. Some people like a clear hood because it’s easy to see when the litter needs changing, while others prefer to keep the litter out of view. Cats, as always, also have an opinion, and some like the added privacy of an opaque hood, while others like to keep a watch out.

Pan and hood shape

While it seems like a simple pet product, there are now a number of different designs for hooded cat litter pans. You may want to choose an igloo shaped pan because it fits with the look of the room, or you may want a classic rectangular shape because you find it easier to clean. Shape isn’t a critical consideration, but since you will be looking at it often, it’s wise to buy a litter pan that isn’t an eyesore to you.

Entry point

Although most hooded cat litter pans are front or side entry, there are an increasing number that now come with a top entry. Top entry litter pans are perfect for cats who like to dig into their litter, kicking it outside the box. In a front or side entry pan this can lead to spilling of the litter all over the floor. A top entry pan prevents litter from flying out because the cat enters and exits through the roof. Some cats simply won’t use top entry, though, especially seniors and those with limited mobility.

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For your safety
When cleaning out your litter pan, do a quick visual check of your cat’s feces for any signs of illness, such as discolored urine or specks of blood.


Privacy flap

As mentioned above, some hooded cat litter pans have a privacy flap that closes behind the cat once inside the pan. This feature is perfect for anyone who wants to keep the cat’s litter and waste out of sight. It also goes far on most models to keep the scent of the litter trapped inside of the pan. Most privacy flaps are removable, so if your cat ends up not liking it, you can just take it off the hood of your pan.

Filtered hood

Many hooded cat litter pans have filters that fit into the hood of the pan. These filters help disperse the scent of cat urine, feces, as well as any scent in the little and some of the dust particles. A filter hood can help you avoid being that person whose house smells like a cat den. Filters are generally inexpensive and should last for at least a couple weeks per use — usually closer to a month — before they get dirty and need to be replaced.

Disguised wood finish

Some hooded cat litter pans now have a wood finish that makes them look more like an end table than a litter pan. If you want to keep your cat litter out of sight, then consider getting one of these litter pans with the added feature of a disguised wood finish. They’re a little on the expensive side, but well worth it for the image conscious cat lover. They also work well in small spaces, where storing your cat’s litter pan out of sight is not possible.

Hooded cat litter pans prices

Inexpensive: In the $10 to $35 price range, you will find the most basic hooded cat litter boxes on the market. These will mostly be made of plastic, and have very few extra features.

Mid-range: Between $35 and $70 are the mid-range hooded litter pans. These have a few more features than the inexpensive models, such as top entry. Their construction will also be more solid, with materials like thick plastic that resists soaking up stains, odors, and cracking over time.

Expensive: If you spend between $70 and $100 you’ll be able to get a top of the line hooded cat litter pan. This is the category where you’ll find the most decorative and aesthetically pleasing litter pans such as those with a disguised wood finish. These should last for years with little sign of wear and tear.


  • To avoid bad odors, try to clean your hooded cat litter box every day. If you don’t, scents can linger for long after you finally do clean the box. Cheaper plastics may also absorb some odors if left too long.

  • Test out different litters to see what you like best. Some people are more sensitive to certain smells and dust particles, and you don’t want anything that will be irritating to anyone in your home.

  • Change out your cat litter every one to two weeks, as it will start to smell if you don’t, no matter how much you scoop.

  • Wash the inside of your litter pan every time you change out the litter. Doing so will help keep the pan smelling fresh and free from bacteria.

  • If you opt for a budget plastic pan, get a new pan every year in order to maintain a clean environment for your cat.

  • Unscented litter is less likely to irritate you and your cat’s respiratory systems. Simply adding a little baking soda to the litter or leaving an open box nearby can help lessen odors.

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Place the litter box far away from the cat’s food and water dishes. They do not like to defecate near their food source.


Q. How often do I need to clean out the litter in my pan?

A. To avoid unpleasant odors, you should clean out urine and feces from your cat litter pan every day.

Q. Can’t I just get an open top litter pan? Does it make a difference to have a hood?

A. You are welcome to buy a litter pan without a hood, however, hoodless litter pans do not keep odors and pieces of litter at bay the same way that hooded ones do.

Q. How many litter pans do I need if I have multiple cats?

A. The general rule is that you should have at least one litter pan for every two cats, but some territorial cats prefer their own pan.

Q. If I have an outdoor cat, do I still need a litter pan?

A. Yes. Even if you have an outdoor cat, they will likely still spend time inside with you. When that happens, you want to make sure they have somewhere indoors to relieve themselves.

Q. Is it difficult to teach a cat to use the litter box?

A. No. All you need to do is pick your cat up, put them inside the litter box or pan, and most cats will start relieving themselves in the litter almost immediately. It also helps to give them a treat the first few times they use their litter pan correctly.

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