Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: February 7, 2023 by Crystal Uys


This post contains affiliate links*

When I adopted Ruby seven years ago, I didn’t realize that I would be embarking on the search for the perfect litter box. Ruby is a vertical pee-er. 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. The simple, regular size open litter boxes I had had in the past no longer worked. And so the search for a litter box high enough to contain her pee 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.

Of course, you can always get a large plastic 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.

NVR Miss™ Litter Box


Seven years ago, there weren’t a whole lot of high sided litter boxes on the market. When I saw NVR Miss™ at a cat show, the company kindly gave me a box to test – and the rest is history. I’ve been using this box ever since, and we’ve never had an accident again. Additional bonus: very little litter gets scattered outside the box. Available from NVR Miss™ for $20.95 plus shipping.

Since then, I’ve found a few additional high sided boxes. The NVR miss is 11.2 inches high, some of these are actually a little bit higher.

Catit High Sided Litter Box


Catit is a brand I’ve come to love and trust, and I was thrilled to see that they offer this litter pan. At 11.2 inches, it’s the same height as the NVR Miss™. The added rim acts as a shield to prevent spillage. Available from Amazon with free shipping on orders over $25.

Iris Open Top Litter Box


The Iris Open Top Litter Box comes in three different heights (11.6 inches, 15.05 inches and 15.75 inches) and features a removable shield. Available from Amazon with free shipping for some models.

Littermaid High Sided Litter Pan


At 11 inches high, the Littermaid litter box is slightly lower than the the others, but still a good option. Available from Amazon with free shipping on orders over $25.

Nature’s Miracle Corner Litter Box


The Nature’s Miracle Corner Litter Box is only 10 inches high, but the corner design may work well for some living spaces. Available from Amazon with free shipping on orders over $25.00.

*FTC Disclosure: The Conscious Cat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on Amazon and affiliated sites. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission. We only spread the word about products and services we’ve either used or would use ourselves.

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34 Comments on High Sided Litter Boxes Keep the Mess Inside

  1. I know this is older, but what is going on with NVR Miss ?? Totally bummed. They aren’t delivering to the US and the only place that DOES sell them here is charging $37 PLUS shipping !~! OVER $57 for ONE litter box No thanks…… I’ll go to Home Depot & get a storage bin & cut out my own hole…..

    • I’m sad to see this too, Gina. I think the high shipping costs are so high because the boxes are bulky, but I have to agree that $37 for shipping seems very high. You’ll find some alternatives for high sided boxes in my product guide:

      • Thanks for the link. I was considering the Frisco one and also Nature’s Miracle high sided on (you don’t have that one listed in your link).

        I do have 2 of these from Home Depot that I did cut out a side hole.

        I just wanted to try the NVR Miss also….with 5 cats I’m always on the lookout for the best box for them !

  2. Wow..I guess I got lucky and placed an order just in time, at least for now. I only ordered 3 of the white NVR Litter Boxes and received them about 1-1/2 to 2 weeks ago. Wanted to try them out and I love them and the cats are using them. I will have to order more once things are straightened out. They really do help the litter mess outside of the box. The only litter that comes out are “crumbs” when they exit. Oh..and the white really looks very nice!!!

    • NVR Miss is currently dealing with some customs issues (they’re shipping from Canada). They are working on getting this resolved as quickly as possible. Please keep checking back!

    • I know your post is from 4 years ago, but I just wanted to say that you are a great person with a big heart! Unfortunately, a lot of people would abandon a cat like that. I rescued a cat on the streets that was abandoned. When I brought him home I figured out why…he is a sprayer..a chronic sprayer. I did not abandon him, I just did my best to make it work. He’s still here 10 years later, but never overcame his spraying obsession.
      Anyway, keep doing what you are doing! The world needs more people like you! Your kitty is very lucky to have you.

  3. I have a female cat that pees very high most of the time, I think it’s a substitute for spraying outside because she used to guard her territory before she became unwell and had to be kept indoors except for supervised outings. I’ve used storage boxes as they are higher than any tray I’ve tried but she still can go over. I now have puppy pads everywhere. The problem with a low entrance which she needs is she walks in and pees facing the back! every time. Poops that way as well…. She is blind and deaf so it’s very hard to guide her without frightening her in the middle of her business. I’m doomed to puppy pads I think. There is a lot of peeing as she has kidney disease.

    • Awww so sorry to read about your cat bless her I have 2 rescue kittens it’s all new to me I have always had dogs was looking for a high sided tray came across the reviews it’s heart breaking when they get POORLY and I’ll all the best to u and your cat god bless xx

      • Sorry to read about your cat. I have an old girl who pees a lot too. And, because her hips are getting bad she doesn’t squat as low as she used to. She hits the edge of the box which is approximately 6 -7 inches high and the urine runs down and under the box. I am always mopping the bathroom floor and it is driving me up the wall. I tried the Iris high-sided box with the opening on the end and she walked in and peed right where the top joins at the opening!!!! On the floor again. And, the box seemed too small for her. She looked cramped. I was looking at the NVR Miss because the opening is on the side not the end and she does her business at the end of the box. Does anybody have any solutions to offer?

        • SOLUTION for elevator peeing cats that hit the seam between top and bottom along the back ‘wall’: For our existing box I bought 1/8 yard of heavy duty clear vinyl at JoAnn Fabrics and cut a 19″ piece. Then, I used clear 3M packing tape and taped it to the top lid. It hangs down 1.5 inches below the seam. Pee hits the plastic and drains down. I keep TP squares nearby to wipe off the vinyl after lifting the lid. After 5 days I sponge bath it with soap & water. Additionally, I keep a plastic tray, from a wire dog kennel, beneath it.
          This saves carpeting and vinyl flooring. Am currently investigating Modkat Litter Tray. dimensions are: 20.25″ L x 14″ W x 9″ H or (15″ H) using the splash guard, which overlaps the seam.

  4. Looks like the NVR Miss litter box is a bit narrow which inhibits the movement inside the box for kitties. I like the design, but my cats like to walk around their boxes to check which spot to use. I’m not sure they’d like a box that requires them to only stand parallel to the entrance. Anybody have any issues with that?

    • Natures Miracle also has a high sided, hooded very large oval box. I have one of these in addition to the 2 corner boxes and the Litter Maid. The Natures Miracle boxes are palatial compared to most and provide lots of room for turning around, even for a Maine Coon

    • Hi Sheila, Yes, I had exactly that issue with it. I wished it was a bigger box, and that it had a bit lower entrance. My problem wasnt a vertical peeing cat it was that my stray rescue still has a tendency to dig to China and then some, creating a big mess all around the box.
      The big sides helped, but my oldest couldn’t get into them easily and would go right outside the box. Then he’d proceed to dig as if he was covering up his business.
      I ended up getting the littermaid high side. It also is high, but more generous in size. I love an even bigger interior though…
      For my oldest, I found a puppy litter box. Very generous in size, and very low entry.
      I have 3 Norwegian Forest cats (14 to 17lbs) and a Sokoke mix, 15lbs. They all require alot of space in their boxes. I’m lucky that they use any of the boxes (except for my oldest who uses only the puppy box) but I also know nothing stays the same. Every day something changes, multiply that by four ….

  5. I bought 3 of the Iris boxes. I have a stander and a sprayer. The box did not work for either of them as the urine ran down the shield and escaped through the join. They are also quite small and a large cat can’t fit inside and will end up peeing over the edge at the opening. Swapped these out for 2 of the Nature’s Miracle corner boxes and 1 Litter Maid. Both of these accommodate large cats, including my Maine Coon, and, with no joins between the box and the high sides, pee cannot escape, run down the sides, and pool under the box. Very interested in trying one of the NVR boxes. I like the side opening, rather than the end opening, which would make placement easier for me

  6. Hi Ingrid, I’ve been using NVR Miss litter boxes for years, probably since I read your initial review. In my opinion, they’re the best. I hadn’t looked at their website for several years… glad to see more colors and a lower price (I think?). I wanted to mention that the height of the Littermaid high-sided box is actually 11 inches; 16.8 inches is the width, unfortunately.

  7. You are the answer to my prayers. My oldest girl seems to have a problem sometimes with her back. So yes when she would have to pee it went over the top. I will be getting one.I like the one with the detachable top. So again THANK YOU !!!

  8. I actually purchased the iris open top litter box last month and the natures miracle covered cover box. They are both amazing. I went ahead and got the corner one with lid bc it was about the same price, and that one is huge inside! My cats love them both and I have much less litter tracking. Previously we had a litter maid and natures miracle auto matic litter boxes. Great when they were brand new but messy and so hard to keep clean!

    • Thanks for letting us know how the Iris and Nature’s Miracle boxes work for you, Jackie. Always good to get “real life” feedback!

  9. Thank you for showing all of us, “cat people”, these ideal high-sided litter pans. We’ve been using the Iris litter pans for a while now. I discovered it only by accident online as a sale item. Our cats aren’t large so the Iris pan works for everyone involved.

  10. My big guy likes to pee right at edge of box. The nicely priced Iris box really helps keep it all inside the box. I like the size, big but not too big

  11. Hi Ingrid:) Thank you for posting this review for the NVR Litter Boxes. Based on your review and the fact it works for Ruby, I plan on getting a few for my furry family. The choices of decent, high sided litter boxes are not really great. The NVR box is also “nice” looking as I don’t hide mine in a dark corner either. With this box maybe I will even be sweepiong up less litter “crumbs”! Thanks again!

  12. These are all great designs — for cats who don’t have arthritis. I have 2 or 3 of the samples shown, but had to get pee pads and a tray for one of my seniors a few years ago. Couldn’t figure out why she started peeing outside the box (on a couple of great, soft, somewhat expensive rugs 🙁 ), but a trip to the vet’s confirmed extensive arthritis & subluxation in one knee — which prevented her from climbing in and out of the boxes..

  13. Hi Ingrid,

    On the opposite end of needing a high sided box, having an older cat with even the slightest issue of raising their legs, climbing or even a sore bum after a bout of loose stools … Can create an issue when regular size boxes are still too high at the entry point.
    I actually found a perfect height litter box, nice wide size too for the more stately sized kid. But it’s a Puppy litter box!! Who knew? Found it at a regular per store.
    Works perfectly. My kid doesn’t need to avoid the box now when he’s not feeling well enough to climb. No more going right outside the box!
    Just thought that might be something your readers may find helpful.

    • That’s a great solution, Joyce. I’m working on an article about litter box options for arthritic cats and will include this recommendation!

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