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.