Conscious Cat

September 20, 2011 61 Comments

NVR Miss: the perfect litter box

Posted by Ingrid

NVR Miss litter box

When I adopted Ruby in April, I didn’t realize that I would be embarking on the search for the perfect litter box. Ruby is a vertical pee-er. I had never had one of those. My regular litter box wasn’t going to work.

She doesn’t spray. Spraying is usually done by male cats. When a cat sprays, he stands up, typically makes a treading motion with his back feet, quivers his tail and sprays urine onto a vertical surface such as a wall. Spraying is a marking behavior.

Ruby starts out squatting and peeing horizontally, but slowly and gradually raises her rear end throughout the duration of her peeing. A normal size litter box wasn’t high enough to contain the urine. And so the search for the perfect litter box began.

I don’t like covered boxes. Most cats don’t like them either. They don’t like not being able to see while they’re doing their business. If covered boxes aren’t scooped immediately after the cat deposits something in them, the stench becomes concentrated inside the box (think of a covered litter box as the feline equivalent to a Port-a-Potty). I also like to be able to see what my cats are doing when they’re using the box. Some health problems first manifest through unusual behavior in the litter box, such as straining.

Several friends suggested that I get a large Rubbermaid storage container with high sides and cut an opening on one side that’s low enough so the cats can get in. This can work well, but it also looks pretty ugly. While my litter boxes aren’t the center of my decor, they are in pretty visible spots (I don’t believe in hiding them in a dark corner), so I wanted something that was at least somewhat pleasing to the eye.

There are a few larger, uncovered boxes with high sides on the market. I found two high-sided open pans that worked 75% of the time: the PetMate Jumbo High Back Litter Pan, and the SmartCat Ultimate Litterbox. But the other 25% of the time, I dealt with cleaning up urine that had spilled over the edges of the box. Both of my litter boxes sit on carpet, so this was not fun. Thankfully, the Anti-Icky Poo enzyme based cleaner I’ve been using for years completely eliminates urine stains and odors, even on (white!) carpet. For extra insurance, I put a Drymate Litter Mat underneath the boxes. Now all I had to do when we had spillage was throw the mat in the washer, but I was still nervous about some urine leaking through the mat onto the carpet.

I was resigned to using this set up. Then I saw the NVR Miss™ at the National Capital Cat Show this past weekend. The company kindly gave me a box to test.

This box is everything a litter box should be. It’s roomy. It has a strategically positioned cat-friendly entrance that makes it easy even for senior cats to get in and out of the box. The clever design (a slight protrusion across from the entrance) provides a cue for cats to align themselves lengthwise, so you won’t have to worry about urine going outside the box at the low entrance. The sides are high enough even for Miss Ruby and her vertical peeing gyrations.

While I was more concerned about urine spillage, another nice benefit of the high sides is that it also keeps litter contained inside the box. Ruby and Allegra are litter kickers and they both get pretty energetic when it comes to covering what they produce. This box has kept that issue to a minimum. Another plus is that the smooth finish allows litter clumps to easily release from the box’s walls – something that has not been the case with all the other boxes, where parts of the clumps would stick to the box’s sides and then break into small pieces.

The NVR Miss™ was developed when the company owners noticed that Cougar, their senior male cat, started going into the litter box, forgetting to squat and peeing over the rim. You can read the full story of how the box came to be on the NVR Miss™ website.

Both Ruby and Allegra took to the box immediately. We have two boxes in the house, and since the NVR Miss™ has been one of the choices, they’ve used it almost exclusively.

I only have one complaint about the box, and it’s a minor one: I’d like to see it in a couple of different color choices. The neutral, taupe color will blend in with most decors, but it’s just not a color I am drawn to. I’d prefer a light blue, or even just an off-white “no color” color. But living with taupe is a small price to pay for not having to clean up urine spills any longer!

February 2013 update: The NVR Miss™ now also comes in white.

For more information about the NVR Miss™, and to order, please visit the NVR Miss™ website.

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61 Responses to “NVR Miss: the perfect litter box”

  1. Kent Butler says:

    Thanks, Ingrid! We just ordered 2 of them!

  2. Clea Simon says:

    This is GREAT to know about – thanks!! (Musetta is a vigorous kicker.)

  3. What great information Ingrid! Our cat Billy was having similar problems–always spraying over the edge of the box. The Pet Mate Jumbo works for him–but I like the look of this box. Although I have a feeling Billy would aim for the opening in the front. Thanks for the info on cleaning products!
    Deborah Julian
    http://www.DeborahJulian.etsy.com

  4. JaneA says:

    Great info, Ingrid! I’m going to add a link to this post to my most recent Paws and Effect post, in which we answered a letter from a person whose cat is a vertical pee-er, too.

    Not only that, but I’ve seen a couple of vertical pees in my own house and I finally caught the culprit … Dahlia! Think I’ll get a couple of those NVR Miss boxes for my house, too.

  5. Tamara says:

    Will be ordering one of these soon as I also have a vertical pee-er :) We have one with high sides and low opening, but this one looks even better, and it’s good to have a back up. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  6. This looks promising. It would be perfect in a see-through plastic.

  7. Ruth says:

    I’ve been using the plastic bins. Like you say, they work just fine, but aren’t very attractive. A color choice would be nice…lavender?

    Also, I have a kitty client (I’m a professional companion animal caregiver), a big Tabby. He is such a love, until he poos, over the side of the box, on to the floor. His litter box is a large, but standard type. His human uses the plastic liners and non-scoopable litter. (I really don’t like that set up, and have tried to encourage her to use scoopable litter without a liner)

    Do you know if the extra large plastic liners would work with this style of box?

    Thanks for the intro to this product.
    Ruth

    • Ingrid says:

      Lavender would be nice!

      The dimensions of the box are 21 inches long, 15 inches wide, 11 inches high (give or take a few fractions of an inch – these are my measurements). I don’t know how large the extra large plastic liners are, but this should help you figure out whether that would work for your client. I really hope you can convince her to skip the liner and change to scoopable litter!

  8. Terrie says:

    Thank you for posting this! One of my female cats is also a vertical pee-er; she does exactly what Ruby does! We have been using a large storage bin with a doorway cut into it, but it’s hard to clean with the indentations in the bottom of the box and it’s a hassle when we do a full soap and water clean on it. My only concern is that it looks a little small when a cat is inside. Do your cats like the box? I’ll have to give the NVR Miss a try!

    • Ingrid says:

      Terrie, I posted the dimensions of the box (as measured by me) in the comment above. It’s pretty good size. Ruby and Allegra are small cats at 8 and 9 pounds, and there’s plenty of extra space when they’re in it. They seem to prefer it to our other box (the PetMate Jumbo High Back).

  9. kathy2d2 says:

    Is there somewhere stateside I could buy one of these litter boxes? I just tried to order one from the company and since it’s coming from Canada the shipping alone is 21.00 (to South Carolona) and then 17.00 for the box, which makes it 38.00, too steep for me. If you know of a place in the US, please let me know.

    My 2 cats that don’t always pee (and sometimes poop) inside the box are both very large (18 & 19 pounds) I would hate to spend 38.00 and then have it be too small.

    I may try one of the other ones mentioned, since they are US companies.

  10. Esme says:

    Ingrid, you are the BEST. This is so timely-Ruby and Penelope need to just have a pee fest together. Can I tell you how tired I am of cleaning up pee. She so does the same as Ruby. I did not even know there was a name for this type of urination.

    • Ingrid says:

      I don’t know whether “vertical pee-er” is an official term, Esme – but it’s what they do! I’m sure this box will work for you. And I’m laughing at the thought of Ruby and Penelope having a pee fest!

  11. I bought 2 of these at the cat show, too and love them! Oh, the cats do, too. I had been using a similar open box made by Rubbermaid but they have been discontinued so I thought I would try these. And true to their advert, the litter clumps do not stick to the bottom or sides (I have one cat who likes to pee/spray), the clump just slides off the side! I recommend them wholeheartedly! Yeah, some nice colors would be great but the rubbermaid ones were gunmetal grey so for me htis is an improvement, hahameow!

    • Ingrid says:

      Isn’t this the best litter box, Teri? I can’t even decide what I like more, the fact that I don’t have to clean up urine outside the box anymore, or the fact that the clumps slide off the sides!

  12. lyn5 says:

    These look great. I ordered two. I have two vertical pee-ers. This box is almost 2 inches higher and the same length as the four Petco jumbos that my cats have used for three years. My problem is that my 19-year-old m.e. lou goes in the litter box but she pees with her butt hanging over the lower entry area. I have each box on a plastic rabbit cage tray with a washable incontinent pad as the tray liner. Thanks for the tip, Ingrid!

    • lyn5 says:

      Update: Within 12 hours of putting out the NVR Miss box, Lil Guy peed over the entrance and onto the washable pad. The search for the purr-fect, vertical-pee-er box continues. All four cats used it, and I think my smallest cat really likes it.

      • Ingrid says:

        Oh no! At least you had the washable pad underneath. At least the others are using it (and hopefully, using it properly :-))!

      • Ruth says:

        To lyn5 ~ Having had several senior cats and taking care of many senior cats, I’ve decided they pretty much can do whatever they do. It reduces everyone’s stress levels. No, it’s not optimal, but good your other kitties are more responsible in their use. e.m.lou at 19 gets my “it’s ok”. I use a tall rubbermaid storage box with an opening i’ve cut. In e.m.’s case that wouldn’t solve her problem since she goes outside of that area. They keep us hopping don’t they. Give that little girl a pat on the head from me.

        • lyn5 says:

          Ruth,
          m.e. lou gets hugs and kisses all the time! The last ones were on you! I am totally devoted to my old girl whom I love with all my heart. We’ve been blessed with her for 17 years; we were her third and last family!
          Ingrid,
          I think (and hope) Lil Guy’s first use of the NVR Miss was a fluke. Since then, he hasn’t had any problems. Lil Guy is a big boy. He weighs 16 pounds and is a large (not fat) cat. He was the runt of the litter.
          Have a great day!

  13. and I really like that we saved on shipping by getting them at the show! I have shipped numerous items to Canada and I don’t think it’s the fact that the rate is high because of where they come from, but due to their bulky size. I posted your post to The Cat Hospital’s page and maybe if enough clients want them, we can periodically order in bulk and save on shipping that way. I did notice on their website that since the cat show there are a number of local places carrying them now!

  14. Nan says:

    I wish I could buy these locally in USA or at least online from USA to save shipping as I would need at least two.

  15. Nan says:

    Someone mentioned maybe carrying them at a Cat Hospital for purchase to USA residents. Would like to know if that is now available. Thanks so much.

  16. Renee says:

    Love the boxes. They work great (except for my humongo-cats). Wish I’d picked up more than two!

  17. Many thanks Ingrid, for reviewing our NVR Miss Litterbox.

    It has been informative to read the comments and questions. We will try and answer them as best we can.

    To Kathy2d2 – I’m sure your cats will fit. The upper limit with regards to cat size/weight is between 20 to 25 lbs. Junior, our cat is over 20 lbs in the pictures on our site. Our friends have Maine Coons, that are just under 20 lbs and they use it comfortably.

    To Ruth – they are not intended to be used with liners. We don’t recommend using liners, but some people have our litterbox and use the extra large liners.

    To Nan – our site has a “stores” page that lists the clinics and pet supply stores that carry our litterbox. If you are in the Washington DC area, there is a clinic in Burke VA that has them.

    Shipping cost! We are implementing a more cost effective shipping method, by USPS Parcel Post. The price is about one half, but the length of time for delivery is longer.
    Please contact us for further details through our site.

    Color? What is important, is that the litterbox work, and during development litterboxes with no color were made. They look white. These were given away for evaluation, and we decided on a dark color, rather than a light color.

    I want to send a special thanks to Teri and Renee for getting our litterboxes at the National Capital Cat Show and your support and kind words on this forum.

    If there are further questions, please ask them here or use the contact page on our site.

    Thank you, Ingrid
    Roberta and Harold

  18. Candace says:

    Last night I watched my siamese-torti mix cat poo over the open side of the box. It was a homemade version of the NVR Miss, which I hope to replace with the real thing soon. Fortunately we’ve taken to putting pee pads under the opening, but I’m more than ready to try the NVR Miss to see if it can contain my furgirl’s ‘issues’!

  19. [...] details on why I love this box so much, please read my full review of the NVR Miss™ Litter Box. I haven’t found anything that’s as good as this box (other than ugly homemade [...]

  20. Linda says:

    That’s great but you can make your own with even larger dims for large cats for about half the cost out of a Rubbermaid storage container. That’s what I do….I gave up on regular litter boxes years ago.

  21. Ann Marie Stelma Graff says:

    Thanks…i need this.

  22. catherine turley says:

    yikes. shipping makes it way too expensive for me. i guess i’ll have to search out the others mentioned.

  23. Debbie says:

    ALWAYS looking for better ways to please my furry kids, and this box looks like something they would like! Between my own cats and my fosters, my litter boxes get a lot of use. I’m so happy to say that my kitties are all good (and forgiving) about using their boxes, but I don’t want to press my luck either, LOL. I’ve also thought about going the Rubbermade route. I not only need something to please the cats, but need to keep the dogs out too.

  24. aledra says:

    Now I understand..
    verticle pee-er
    makes sense…

  25. Linda says:

    This definitely looks promising. How much litter does it hold? I usually put 14 lbs of litter in my large, covered litter boxes. Will this box hold that much litter without spilling over the opening?

  26. Bryan says:

    “The dimensions of the box are 21 inches long, 15 inches wide, 11 inches high… ”

    Only 11″ high? I currently have a regular “Hi-back” litter pan that is 9-1/2″ high and Rooney still manages to get it over the top some days…. not really sure an extra inch and half will matter, especially with splatter.

    Any chance you might make a taller version? Say 13 or 14 inches? Otherwise it appears the Rubbermaid route may be the way I have to go.

    TY

    At least my bathroom is tile to make cleanup easy :)

    • Ingrid says:

      Bryan, oddly enough, that extra inch and a half made all the difference with my vertical pee’er. I had the same problem with the regular “high back” litter pans: most of the time, it stayed inside the box, but about once a week, it wouldn’t.

      • Holly says:

        Roberta and Harold…and Ingrid,
        Thanks so much for designing this box… and for bringing it to our attention. I was quite excited to begin with and my initial qualm was addressed by the design attempt to avoid the problem of peeing over the opening side. Would be interesting to see how my cats react to that. However, after finding out that it’s 11″ tall, I’m going to have to wait for the next version (maybe it’s out and I haven’t gotten that far yet…) which will hopefully be at least 12″. I know that is “just” an inch but those of us with these pee-challenged fur balls know just how important that can be… Personally I gave up on “commercial” boxes years ago. I have been using clear plastic storage bins- the type with the handles that click over the top- that I toss ;-) (never considered using it beneath to at least catch some litter!) and specifically one that is 12″ tall and somewhat long as my kitties claim different ends it seems, and I look for ones that have the bottom that is easy to scoop- only 4 slight indentations- 1 at each corner. These are easily cleaned with boiling water, and -with wheat or corn scoopable litter- it’s as good as it gets.

        So far my 2 girls who share the box are having no problems getting in and out-but I know a time may be coming soon as they’ll be 16 this Aug….how about a ramp that comes with to attach instead of the low cutout. Only one kitty is a “vertical pee-er” but I actually measured the other day to see just how high she got and it was just a hair over the 11″ mark. :-(
        SO, looks like I’m either going to have to do the design myself ;-) and maybe help my husband retire! haha OR more likely, will be using my clear high sided plastic bin with a homemade ramp sometime soon.
        I’ll keep checking but at the very least from reading so many comments that an ever larger version may be a popular choice!

        • Holly says:

          PS- Great to see that “Anti-Icky Poo” is now quite popular! It’s mentioned in this review and I even saw it on the shelf at my vet’s the other day!! I was ordering that by the case (literally) via internet quite a few years ago and though more effective as anything else on the market, nothing could help me at that point so the concrete was even treated, the carpet replaced, and that kitty is secluded and quite frankly happier now ;-)

        • Ingrid says:

          Holly, contact Harold at NVR Miss – he can send you an extension that will make the box taller.

  27. [...] thing you think about when you think holiday gifts, but in my opinion, the NVR Miss Litterbox is the most perfect litter box on the market, and the recipient will be forever grateful to you. This box is everything a litter [...]

  28. Kristin Augustine says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for this article! I just thought my female did this, and have never heard any other cat owners talk about “vertical pee-ing”! LOL I always referred to Tali’s “problem” as “spray-peeing,” but now I know it’s really not. I too have been searching for higher-backed litter boxes, but I”ve never found one that’s high enough (I actually have plastic container lid-covers propped sideways around the litter boxes, with a bit of litter in each, to catch the spray…looks ridiculous! I will definitely check out the NVR Miss website! Thank you!!!!

  29. Donna Lusthoff says:

    For those who think (or know) their cat can pee over the side of your box. I get some fairly rigid plastic sheets at Tapp Plastic. I measure the length from front to end and subtract ~1.5″ from the total length. I usually get (they cut to fit your requirements) them ~12-13″: high. Then you stand the sheet inside the box and lean it against the wall. This was thought up because I didn’t know about your product. I even had several cut and mailed to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. They were using rolled up towels on the floor to sop up the kitty pee.
    I am a little concerned about the length of the NVR Miss. I have a Norwegian Forest Cat who does not like to be squashed into the box, unless he decides to do as yours is made for and stand width wise. Time will tell but this is quite an exciting find! Thank you.
    Donna Lusthoff

    • Ingrid says:

      I hope the NVR Miss works for you, Donna. You can contact the manufacturer directly and ask whether it would be larg enough for your Norwegian Forest Cat – I believe it will be.

  30. Donna Lusthoff says:

    P.S. An earlier reply came from a Clea Simon. I don’t think you are aware she is an author who writes about kitties. One series is : A Theda Krakow Mystery. in her reply, she mentions “Musetta” who is the kitty in this series. The one I am reading now is titled: PROBABLE CLAWS!

  31. Sketchycat says:

    I just finished a custom box for my kitty (1 of 2) who was having this exact problem. I wish I had found this sooner! When my box needs replacing I will definitely give one of these a go!

  32. Anjali says:

    Love this review. We’ve been looking for a box just like this one… ordering now. We have a vertical pee-er, too!

  33. I would love this deep box for the two “diggers” in my family. I think they are trying to tunnel to China!

  34. Laurie says:

    So excited to see this post! I have been looking all over for a new box for my senior that basically now stands when she pees. She usually shoots over the rim – my saving grace has been wee wee pads for puppy training which do a great job of absorbing the urine so nothing gets on the carpet but who wants to clean those up 5x/day?! I can’t get all high sides as I am afraid she won’t be able to get in and out easily. This looks purrfect and to know it was made with her exact issue in mind. I sure hope she takes to it, I already changed her box and even her litter once to try and help the issue. It’s been a full day without any “accidents” with the new litter but I think I will get his one as back up. Thanks again for writing on this topic!

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