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Where To Put A Cat Litter Box In A Small Apartment

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If you’re like me, you love your cat! But, what if you’ve recently moved into a small apartment? You may not be sure of where the best place is for your feline friend’s litter box.

Believe me, I’ve been there. Apartments are often pretty small spaces, so litter box placement is really important.

You don’t want the cat litter smell in your new place. You don’t want the litter box to be a tripping hazard in a high traffic area either.

So, where is the ideal spot for your cat’s litter box?

Here are some places to put a cat’s litter box in a small apartment:

  • In a cabinet in the bathroom
  • By the toilet
  • Under the bathroom sink
  • In the laundry room
  • In an uncarpeted linen closet
  • Inside litter box furniture

Cat parents who still need more help with their litter box woes should keep reading.

In this article, I’ll discuss whether it’s a good idea to use a closet for litter box storage. I’ll also talk about whether it’s ever okay to put a litter box in the kitchen.

I’ve even got some tips for hiding the litter box and preventing smells! 

Is It Okay To Put A Litter Box In The Closet?

All right, so let’s begin by answering what I’m sure is one of your most burning questions about your cat’s litter box storage… Is a linen closet a good place for the box?

If you live on your own, you probably have the closet space. But the last thing you want is to trap unpleasant odors in the closet!

That could very well happen – especially if you live in a tiny apartment. If you really want to put the litter box in the closet, you should take off the closet door.

If that’s something you can’t do without upsetting your landlord, then skip the linen closet.

Your cat needs to have easy access into and out of whichever room houses their litter box. That’s not possible with a door.

Even if you can remove the linen closet door, if your closet is carpeted, then you can’t use it for your cat’s litter box either.

Carpeting and cat litter do not mix, especially if you have plush carpeting. The litter particles can get lost between the carpet fibers.

Walking into the closet would be a crunchy experience, and good luck fitting a vacuum into an apartment linen closet. 

Fine – so what about putting the litter pan in a spare room, storage room, or the guest room, if you have one?

Either room could make an ideal location for the litter box. As a general rule, cats like a private place in a low-traffic area when they do their “business”.

These rooms could be a good solution – a long as you follow the rules we just went over.

Don’t put the litter box in the closet for two reasons:

  • You want to wear clean clothes that aren’t covered in that fine layer of dust that the cat’s paws can kick up in litter.
  • You’d be back to trying to keep up with odor control in these smaller spaces.

Is It Okay To Put A Litter Box In A Kitchen?

Hmm, okay. What if the only spare closet you have in your small apartment is carpeted and it isn’t a great option to remove the linen closet door?

Your next thought is that the kitchen might be an ideal place for Fluffy’s new litter box. Is this the right move?

No, certainly not! Your kitchen is where you prepare food! Since your apartment is tiny, it’s likely you eat in the kitchen, as well.

Placing your cat’s litter box in your kitchen is extremely unsanitary, even if you use a covered litter box.

Sure, your feline friend may not track excess litter everywhere, but you’ll still have a full litter box sooner or later.

Cat feces and people food don’t mix. Keep them away from each other.

Your cat doesn’t want their litter box in the kitchen either, trust me. Just as it isn’t hygienic for a dirty litter box to be near your food, the same is true of your cat’s food.

If you keep your cat’s food dish in the kitchen, they won’t feel comfortable using the bathroom so close to their source of food. 

In addition, cats need a quiet place for their litter boxes. Kitchens are often anything but.

It’s also best if the litter box isn’t near a heat source and any kitchen is full of those.

The stove top, the oven, the microwave, and even the fridge and freezer give off heat.

An unhappy cat will begin to have litter box issues if they don’t like where you’ve put their litter box.  

Read our article, Is It Safe To Keep A Litter Box In Your Bedroom.

How To Hide A Litter Box In A Small Apartment

Okay, we’ve decided that the linen closet isn’t a great place and neither is the kitchen.

You’re beginning to run out of ideas for where the litter box can go. And also suitable places for it in your new apartment.

Is there an ideal litter box location anywhere? 

The key is not to hide your cat’s litter box to the point where even kitty can’t find it. It needs to be in plain sight of you cat.

Imagine if you had a toilet you used all the time and then suddenly someone hid it from you. It wouldn’t be fun!

If your cat doesn’t know where their litter box is, they’ll go to the bathroom wherever is most convenient, such as on your floor.

That said, you can choose less obvious spots for their litter box such as the following:

In A Bathroom Cabinet

The perfect spot may be in the bathroom. Most bathroom cabinets have enough room for a litter box.

Also, it’s a lot easier to detach a bathroom cabinet door than it is the door to a linen closet.

They’re usually deep enough that no one will notice the litter box is even in there, at first glance.

Besides, it’s impolite to root through your bathroom cabinets, so I’d hope the litter box would remain hidden without being obstructed to the cat.  

Under The Bathroom Sink

Depending on the layout of the bathroom in your apartment, you might have enough space to stash the litter box beneath the sink.

If yours is a pedestal sink, you might even be able to slip the box behind the sink. They don’t take up much floor space.

Sure, the litter box is more out in the open that way, but at least it’s not in the middle of your living room or bedroom. 

One thing to note is that humid areas, like the bathroom, can make cat litter odor worse. Scoop the box daily to avoid this!

By The Toilet

If you don’t mind the possibility that you and kitty could use the bathroom at the same time, then you can always put their litter box by your commode.

Whenever you clean your toilet, you’ll be reminded to empty the cat’s litter box too. Now you can get both of those dirty jobs done together, which is convenient. 

In The Laundry Room

Some apartments have a separate, designated laundry room. If you’re fortunate enough to enjoy such a luxury, then you might as well make the most of it.

Like the bathroom cabinet, your visiting friends and family aren’t likely to pay too much attention to the contents of your laundry room.

If your laundry room has a door, make sure you keep it open so your cat can come and go as they please. 

Inside Of Litter Box Furniture

You might also be able to stash the litter box in a piece of furniture!

Unless you saw the cat go in or out, you might never know hidden cat litter boxes could be in someone’s side tables or an end table.

A litter box enclosure like this one is a great option for a studio apartment.

The PAWLAND Decorative Cat House / Litter Box Enclosure comes in brown or white. It can be used as a bedside table, an end table, or a small decorative cabinet. It has small air holes in the back panel.

Look for furniture like this that has a small rectangular space inside.

It needs to be a little bigger than the litter box itself. This way, the cat has the room to jump in and out and to turn around.

Will A Cat Stink Up An Apartment?

Cats make such good pets for apartment dwellers since they don’t require much space.

But being confined to such close quarters with a cat might make you worry about the potential smell. This concern is not unfounded in the least.

The less space you have in your apartment, the more concentrated odors will be. That goes for small homes and condos as well as apartments.

Your cat’s litter box is usually the biggest offender, but that’s not all that can smell.

Cats bathe themselves often. Whenever they lick themselves, cats transfer enzymes and bacteria-filled saliva all over their body.

Then they climb up on your furniture, sit on your couch, or curl up on your bed for a nap. This spreads odors throughout the apartment. 

Some people are even sensitive to the smell of cat food, especially wet cat food. Leaving the food out all day could make your stomach turn. 

How Do I Keep My Apartment From Smelling Like Cat?

Whether you have family coming in from out of town or neighbors stopping by, you don’t want everyone to smell your cat before they see them.

Here are some methods that will make your apartment smell like a clean place instead of an extra litter box.

Change Cat Litter Types And Scoop The Litter Box Often

If it’s your cat’s litter box that’s the driving force of the stench, you might want to switch from clay-based litter with sand to something else.

You can try silica gel litter, pine litter, or walnut shell litter, all of which are supposed to control odors especially well.

Your cat may need an adjustment period to a new type of litter, especially something so radically different as silica gel litter. I recommend phasing the new litter in over time.

The next time you scoop, add some new, different litter and mix it in.

Over time, you’ll have more of the new litter in the box. At that point, you can toss the remaining old litter the next time you dump the litter box.

Once you choose a less odorous type of cat litter, make sure you scoop the box regularly.

If you aren’t able to scoop daily, consider an automatic litter box, like the PetSafe Scoop Free Automatic Cat Litter Box.

Change the litter to fresh litter at least twice per month.

Some cat owners dump the litter every week, but this can get expensive. Only you can decide the right litter changing frequency for you.

Do be aware though that you can go nose blind to the stench of cat litter. It may not affect you nearly as much as it would your friends or family when they come over.

Ventilate Your Apartment

Even if you get your cat’s litter box odors under control, their bacterial saliva could create a musty stench that makes your apartment smell moldy.

Since you can’t stop your cat from cleaning themselves, be sure to provide as much ventilation throughout your apartment as you can.

Create a cross-breeze by opening opposite windows. Turn on a ceiling fan if you have one or more in your apartment. If not, use an oscillating fan.

In warmer weather, when humidity can worsen the odor, make sure you’re continuing to move the air. Running your air conditioner is probably not enough. 

Some cat owners have had luck with feeding their feline friend dental chews or snacks.

Others have tried using a water additive that decreases plaque and bacteria in the cat’s mouth for no more bad breath. 

Keep Wet Cat Food Out For A Limited Time 

What if your problem is the smell of your cat’s food? Well, you still have to feed them, but maybe don’t leave their food out all day.

Give your cat a limited window for eating wet food, such as 30 or 60 minutes. Then remove the food and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

You can serve your kitty for dinner what they didn’t eat for breakfast.

You should still keep dry food and water available for your cat all day, especially considering that dry cat food doesn’t really smell.

Taking away your cat’s wet food after a while is beneficial for several reasons.

You’re not throwing away crusted food that your cat didn’t bother to eat, as you can store the food for later. This saves you money since a can of cat food goes further.  

You also get to know your cat’s eating habits. Should they stop eating, you could guess right away that they might be sick or injured and then bring them to the vet.

You can also control your cat’s weight, as you’re ensuring they’re not idly munching on food.  

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best place to put your cat’s litter box in a small apartment is a big decision. You have to think of sanitation, quietness, and accessibility.

If your cat’s litter box still stinks even if it’s out of everyone’s main line of sight, then try a different type of litter.

You might also want to empty the contents of the box more often, even once a day.

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