(Last Updated On: May 3, 2020)

Every dedicated cat owner knows the sound of their four-legged friend using his or her litter box; scratch, scratch, scratch. They also know that shortly after the use of the litter box will be a litter box scooping session, which, quite frankly, is no one’s choice activity.

If you’re hoping to make the aforementioned schooping session a tad bit easier, you may want to consider investing in a self-scooping litter box for your pet. What is a self scooping litter box? Which are the best? How do you train your cat to use one? These are the questions I’m going to answer in the following article.

Check this out: Best Self-Cleaning Litter Box Guide

What Is A Sifting Cat Litter Box?

The sifting version of a cat litter box is designed to separate the soiled litter from that that is still clean. It usually works by coming in a few separate pieces that need to be assembled: one or two solid trays, and one sifting pan that is dotted with small holes. The solid tray is used on the bottom and the sifting pan is placed on top. When used, the clean litter falls through the holes while the solid litter remains in the pan, making it easy to discard.

Depending on the litter you use and its size, you might need to shake the pan -gently, might I add- to activate the sifting process. You’ll know you’re doing it right if you feel like you’ve been transported into the olden days and are panning for gold in the river. The clean litter that has been sifted and fallen into the bottom tray can then be put back into the sifting tray (after it has been emptied, of course). Read my post on all pine ones.

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Benefits Of A Sifting Litter Box

The main advantage of self-sifting litter boxes, which also happens to be the whole point of the litter box, is  that the dirty litter is easy to remove, while the clean litter is easy to save and reuse as to not waste perfectly good substrate.

Majority of cat owners use sifting litter boxes to save money on cat litter. This works well because less litter is needlessly thrown out during the process, as the litter is not hand scooped with the traditional scoop and bag method.

If you’re sensitive to scooping litter boxes, a sifting litter box might be your best option since these handy boxes are designed to allow the scooper to have minimal contact with soiled litter.

For some owners, these litter boxes are also handy when it comes to saving time. However, it really depends on you and your cat as individuals, as well as how many cats you have.

Disadvantages of Sifting Litter Boxes

All litter boxes, labeled “dust free” or not, are bound to release small amounts of litter and dust particles into the air. Sifting litter boxes, although labeled as dust free, are notorious for releasing dust into the air when the cat owner has to manually activate the sifting by shaking the pan back and forth. They are labeled as dust free because at the immediate time of use, no dust is released. If you, your cat, or a family member has respiratory problems, a sifting litter box might not be the ideal choice.

If you have more than one or two cats and/or your cats produce a lot of waste, a sifting litter box might end up being more time consuming than a traditional box. This is because you’ll have to sift the litter regularly, repeating the steps for a full change each time. These litter boxes are best for those with a small number of cats and who only have to change the litter box once or twice a week.


This being said, some multi-cat homes who invest in sifting litter boxes proudly report that they’re the best investment they have made in regards to cat care.

What You Need To Consider for Your Sifting Litter Box

Now that we’ve covered a few of the best and worst parts about having a sifting litter box, it’s time to go over the factors you should consider before making a purchase.

Ease Of Use and Cleaning/Maintenance

Even if you are the DIY/life hack master, you’re still going to be tasked with cleaning your cat’s litter box at some point. This being said, you’ll probably want to try and find a low maintenance litter box that is both easy to take apart and put back together and to clean. Along with this, you’ll want to look for one that can resist staining and that does not encourage soiled or wet litter to stick to it, both of which can make maintaining a clean litter box difficult.


Most models come in either large or extra large varieties. When deciding on a sifting litter box, be sure to buy one that is size appropriate for large or multiple cats.


When it comes to litter, clumping litter is pretty much the only option. Non-clumping litter will become soiled and, thanks to its non-clumping properties, allow both the clean and dirty litter to fall into the bottom tray. This defeats the entire purpose of a self-sifting litter box.

Clumping litter, however, is generally not recommended until a cat is 3 or 4 months old and, in addition, some cats are extremely picky and won’t take to clumping litter as easily.

The litter also needs to be small enough that it can fall through the holes in the sifting pan and should, if possible, be labeled dust free. Both of these things can limit your options.


While some cats are perfectly happy to do their business in an open-style litter box, many are not. If your cat prefers to be enclosed when in the litter box, invest in a sifting litter box with a hood. Not only are hoods more comfortable for some cats, but they’re also ideal if your cat has a tendency to dig and spray litter out of the litter box.

However, another thing to consider is that a hood is an extra piece. This means that it, like the rest of your litter box pieces, will need to be adjusted each time the box is cleaned.

Design and Aesthetic

Even though litter boxes aren’t your home’s focal point, they can still be stylish and meld with your personal style. Self sifting litter boxes, like every other type of litter box, come in a variety of styles and colors.

Odor Control

Regardless of which litter box you choose for your cat, you’re likely hoping that it will help contain any unpleasant odors. You’ll want to ensure that the litter box reduces the smell of ammonia, urine, and feces – especially if it is a traditional, un-hooded litter box. The litter you choose to use will affect the smell, too. 

My Review: Best Sifting Litter Box Brands

Ferplast Birba Cat Litter Tray

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A great option for cat owners looking for a sturdy open-lid sifting litter box, this box might just be the one. Despite its open top, the litter tray maintains its litter contents thanks to its high plastic walls. This Ferplast litter box includes a unique feature: a built in measurement system that tells users how much litter to use in order to avoid wasting.


  • Durable side locks to hold tray and any added liners in place
  • Made of sturdy, easy-to-clean plastic
  • Good for use with various litter brands
  • Great when used with a litter mat


  • Lacks in odor control
  • Open air design that does not appeal to all cats
  • Small, easily clogged holes

Van Ness Sifting Enclosed Cat Litter Pan

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Enclosed and available in two sizes, this handy self-sifting litter pan is ideal for the accommodation of even the largest cats. The enclosed design works with the box’s unique air filtration system to reduce and eliminate urine and feces odor, and the 100% US FDA approved plastic is composed of both recycled and new materials that are safe and easy to clean with soap and hot water.


  • Enclosed for cats who like privacy
  • Provides good odor control
  • Spacious enough for large cats and homes with multiple animals
  • Boasts stain resistance


  • Requires occasional deep clean in order to clean the internal air filter

So Phresh Sifting Cat Litter Box

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Staying fresh has never been easier than with this So Phresh litter box. Self-sifting and featuring an easy-to-use build, the litter box is both user and cat friendly. The litter box is compatible with most types of clumping litter but is reported to occasionally gather a urine buildup.


  • Compatible with most types of litter
  • Built in, 3-step  sifter and separator
  • Raised edges to reduce spillage


  • Not hooded
  • Not ideal for use with old litter
  • May need an additional liner

Van Ness CP5 Sifting Cat Pan/Litter Box with Frame

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Boasting a simple but attractive design and high walls that aid in keeping excess litter inside of the litter box, this Van Ness self-sifting litter box is both practical and visually appealing. Thanks to this, many happy customers report saving money after investing in this litter box as well as having the freedom to choose nearly any kind of litter they want.



  • Works with a variety of litter brands
  • Made of stain resistant plastic material and features high sides
  • Made in America


  • No hood
  • Requires regular cleaning to avoid clogging

Hometec Lift n’ Sift Cat Litter Box Easy Cleaning Tray System

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Incredibly versatile and durable, this 4-piece self-sifting litter box is a good choice for all cat-friendly homes. It boasts the ability to be used with a variety of litter, however, some customers warn about the holes being too big. This could have to do with the type of litter used.


  • Affordable for all households
  • Saves the user time and money


  • Occasional reports of plastic cracking
  • Urine escapes through holes

Pet Mate 42036 Arm & Hammer Large Sifting Litter Pan

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This large sifting pan by Arm & Hammer could be your cat’s new best friend. It features unique antimicrobial cleaning properties that reduces smell and germ growth, as well as high walls that keep litter from being tracked outside of the box. It’s highly effective and does its job well, offering your cat comfort at the same time.


  • Effectively separates urine and feces
  • Box is both bacteria and stain resistant


  • On the smaller side, may not be large enough for big cats
  • No hood

What Kind Of Litter Boxes Are There?

In addition to self-sifting, there are a number of other styles of litter boxes. Here’s a breakdown.

kitty toilet and mat

  • Automatic litter boxes: a highly technological type of litter box. Fitted with motorized and automatic systems that dump the soiled litter into a container. Said container can then be easily removed and dumped. This type of litter box is generally only compatible with certain types of litter and can be noisy.


  • Traditional litter pans: a basic design that serves to only keep the litter and waste in one spot. They can come with or without hoods and are available in different sizes. They’re safe for use with nearly any litter and require manual scooping using a scoop.


Being in tune with your cat’s mannerisms and personality will help you decide which litter box to get. Knowing your own tolerance for soiled litter and litter box scooping is helpful, as well. You can also read about all pine boxes.

How To Teach Your Kitty To Use A Sifting Litter Box

Using a self-sifting litter box will take your cat time to adjust to. While she is adjusting, be prepared to clean up the occasional accident. To help her master the new litter box, here are a few self-sifting litter box training tips.

cat at the window

  • Supervise and show the cat how to use it. Although you might want to avoid placing your cat in the litter box, show her the entrance and demonstrate digging. If your cat is tolerant, consider moving her paws in the litter to help her get a feel for it.


  • Direct her to the box. When you think it’s time for a bathroom break, try directing your cat to the box. Try taking your cat there after a meal and when she wakes up.

Many owners favor self-sifting litter boxes. When purchasing one, be mindful of your cat’s temperament, size, and needs, as well as your own litter tolerance and the respiratory health of those in your household.


If you have read this far then it’s safe to say you are probably considering a self sifting litter box. Buying a sifting box will not only save you time and money but will also help to minimize and even take away most odors, and make clean up easier.

I hope this article has helped you on your journey to purchasing the right one for you and your little feline friend so that it will make your life easier and your kitty more comfortable when going to the toilet.