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Where to Put the Cat Litter Box in a Small Apartment

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By Nicole Cosgrove

litter box in the bathroom small apartment

Your space is already limited and litter boxes tend to be unsightly and are accompanied by unpleasant smells. So, when you’re strapped for hidden locations, where do you put the cat litter box in a small apartment?

You want to know the ideal spot where that “treasure” box won’t overpower an area with its inevitable odor and your guests won’t be bothered by the sight.

So, should you hide it underneath a table? Or let it rest in the comfort room? Is the balcony a good place for the litter box to stay?

Read on to find the best locations so you can give that litter box its rightful place.

How many Litter Boxes do you need?

First up. How many litter boxes are you even going to have in your small apartment? There’s a general rule when it comes to litter boxes: one for each cat, plus one extra. So for one cat, that’s two litter boxes. For two cats, three boxes. And so on.

But why? Well, it’s recommended that you set up an alternative box for your cats to use in case their primary box is considered no longer clean. An already small apartment might feel even smaller because of the additional litter boxes.

litter box with scoop
Image credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Our solution? Dismiss the extra box and clean up more regularly. This means regular scooping, daily if that’s possible, and frequent litter changes – every two weeks at a minimum. Being in an apartment, you must be diligent about litter box maintenance.

Sounds like a tall order? Then opt for a self-cleaning litter box. If you think you can’t maintain a litter box manually, then get yourself an automatic one. It can clean itself right after each time your cat is done.

Where to Put the Cat Litter Box in a Small Apartment?

So, the next question (and in fact, the main question) is where. Where should you place that litter box? Here are a few criteria points that will influence location:

1. Where your kitty can always have access

cat in sand litter
Image Credit By: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

If you have a balcony, and this is the area you wish to use, you must consider that the door will likely remain closed for most of the day and all night. If you can install a cat door, this might be a viable option. Otherwise, the balcony is not ideal.
The same holds true if you’re putting the box inside the bathroom. What if someone’s using it, or the door was closed by accident? How will your cat gain access?
I know this is quite an obvious criterion, but accessibility can often be taken for granted if your place is too small and you tend to forget to think it through.
So, place the litter box somewhere your kitty can access at all times. If you choose an area such as the balcony or bathroom, move the litter box when the area will be inaccessible. Better yet, you might consider keeping that extra box in case he can’t access his primary box.

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2. Private

private litter box
Image Credit: winnond, Shutterstock

You’ll also want to respect your cat’s privacy. A hidden cat litter box is a feline’s haven — it could be behind a curtain, a dome, or a simple cover.

If you choose the bathroom, you could position the box right next to the toilet, between the toilet and the tub or in the space under the sink.

But privacy isn’t limited to the bathroom. If you have an extra guest room (which is a rarity for small apartments), you can place the litter box there. Your entryway, hallway, or closets could be dedicated spots for your cat’s private business.

3. Quiet, Calm, Low Traffic

In addition to wanting their business to be kept private, cats also want to conduct it as comfortably as they can.

This means your feline will not be disturbed by loud or sudden noises while he’s doing his thing. To help your kitty out, be sure to place his litter box somewhere calm and quiet.

Think of low-traffic areas in your apartment. A sideboard or a side table can be repurposed to store your kitty’s litter box along with his bags of extra litter. You can even craft a DIY litter box furniture.

When looking for ideal litter box locations, you should avoid the space around your kitty’s food and water bowls. Not only is it disgusting to place food bowls and a litter box side by side — it’ll also be disturbing for Tom to be peeing while Gigi is still eating just two steps away.

4. Highly ventilated areas

One of the worst problems you could face is the lingering litter box odors. If you’re currently struggling with this, then you should place the litter box where there’s plenty of ventilation. Probably the best spot to recommend is near a window that you can open regularly.

If you wish keep the litter box inside the bathroom, be sure that the bathroom itself has a working exhaust fan.

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5. Dry spot

cat looking at crystal in litter box eco friendly
Image credit: Axel Bueckert, Shutterstock

Although the bathroom might seem like the obvious choice, it does pose another issue. They’re often humid – and humidity is the enemy of most biodegradable and organic cat litters. Clumping litters can become one solid mass and biodegradable litters have the potential to attract and grow mold.

If the bathroom is truly your only option, you might think about opting for a dehumidifier to eliminate your humidity issues. If not, you will find the search for the perfect spot must continue!

You’ll find some great suggestions below.

Ideal spots where you can keep a litter box in the small apartments

Now let’s see where you can actually place the litter box for small spaces.

1. Hidden in plain sight

Good Pet Stuff Company Hidden Cat Litter Box

You might have a few options in mind already which may include the bathroom, the balcony, the guest room, the living room, or the kitchen, maybe

Wherever you choose to set up your hidden box, you will need to consider if you can repurpose existing furniture (an end table or hutch) or purchase a disguisable box (potted plant or bench).

So if you’re up for the challenge, go for a creative DIY litter box furniture project or grab for yourself a premade hidden box, like the Good Pet Stuff Company Hidden Litter Box. It looks pretty and unsuspecting in a small apartment. When guests come over, they might not even realize what it is!

2. Pretty in plain sight

cat outside of the liter box
Image Credit: Jennifer McCallum, Shutterstock

If you don’t want to hide it, then just make it visually appealing.

It’s a simple principle and doesn’t have to be extravagant. Your guests will know that you must keep a litter box if they’ve noticed a cat in your apartment.

In short, choose an attractive litter box (and ensure to keep it clean!) so your guests won’t be bothered looking at it.

The nice-looking IRIS Top Entry Cat Litter Box is a great option. Top-entry boxes such as this small litter box won’t require a large mat as much as a side-entry box would. So, it’s not only charming but space-saving as well.

3. In the bathroom

cat in bathroom litterbox
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

While we may have conflicting arguments about whether the bathroom is a good place or not, we do believe this is an ideal location. If you are able to keep the room free of humidity and can ensure your cat will always have access, this might just be our winning recommendation!

There’s a lot to be celebrated when placing the litter box inside the bathroom:

  • There’s only one smelly place in all of your apartment space
  • If litter particles are tracked out of the box, they’d be on the bathroom floor, not on your carpet or whole apartment
  • The bathroom floor is an easy to clean surface
  • The bathroom offers the best location for privacy
  • It’s a “comfort” room – it’s calm and quiet, there’s less traffic. Your cat will love that piece of peace.

Choose a narrow and small litter box so you have the option of testing out a few spots in the bathroom in hopes to save some space. You could try the Litter Genie Cat Litter Box as its flexibility allows it to fit nicely in tighter areas.

4. In an always-accessible utility closet

cat door from closet
Image By: Chamrasamee, Shutterstock

You could also make use of a utility closet. Not the one with your clothes, or any fabric for that matter, since they may hold on to that undesirable litter odor. Pick a closet for miscellaneous stuff such as shoes or storage.

Also, make sure your cat has unlimited access to that utility closet. You can ensure this by adding an interior cat door. The Purrfect Portal is one great example; install it and your feline will have no problems entering or exiting.

Placing the litter box inside an always-accessible utility closet is probably the easiest (and can be the cheapest) solution you can take. This way, you’re adding no other space-consuming piece in your small apartment. You’re just allocating a utility space that’s already there and then giving the ‘key’ for your cat to enter in anytime.


Surely by now, you have a fairly good idea of which spot in your apartment would be the ideal location for your cat’s litter box. In summary, you’ll want to consider the following things:

  • Make the litter box accessible. Always.
  • If it’s open and a little unsightly, keep it hidden. If it’s exposed, keep it attractive.
  • Respect your kitty’s privacy.
  • Keep the spot calm and quiet.
  • Optimize the ventilation in that location.
  • Dehumidify, when possible.
  • Keep the litter box away from food and water bowls.
  • And finally, save your space by keeping the litter box narrow or small.

The most important points when questioning where to keep the litter box inside a small apartment will be dependent on your individual setup and available spots – so happy rearranging, repurposing, or redecorating!

Feature Image Credit: Seregraff, Shutterstock

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