Choosing a litter box for your new kitten requires more thought than you’d think.

How big? Litter boxes should be about 1 and 1/2 times the length of the full-grown cat. They need room to dig, turn around, eliminate and then cover it. If the litter box is too small, then you might see a cat with all four feet planted in the sand peeing over the side. This kitty thinks he’s being clean, but you won’t.

Covered? Better not, but I know there are other considerations here. Some cats will accept a covered litter box. And it might be better in your household, especially if you have to make sure a dog isn’t snacking from the litter box, or if you have multiple cats and some who might ambush someone using the box. Often, a hardware store storage tote with a hole cut into the side can work, it’s larger, and with clear sides, it can help cats to feel less confined than in a litter box.

How many? In general, you should have one litter box for each cat, plus one. This is to prevent the situation where a timid cat won’t go past a bully on the way to the bathroom. This is also why you should put the litter boxes in different areas of the house, out of sight from one another.

Next week, how to choose when you’re looking at a wall of litter choices. (Yes, most of the differences are meant to appeal to you, not your new kitty).