If you’ve ever googled ‘modern litter tray’, or similar, you would’ve encountered the Modkat – and then probably run screaming from the price tag. But, fear not, for I am the bearer of glad tidings: the Modkat is currently available in the UK from Zooplus at the reduced price of £89.00 ( it’s usually on sale at £109.00). And if you sign up for the Zooplus newsletter you can grab yourself an additional 5% discount. I did contact Zooplus to ask how long they’ll be running the £89.00 special offer for, and they said ‘We are regrettably unable to predict the precise date when the offer on Modkat Cat Litter Box ends.’ So your guess is as good as mine! [Nb: if you happen to be reading this post after the £89.00 offer expires, keep an eye on the Zooplus site, as they regularly reduce the Modkat to £99.00 and seem to run the £89.00 offer two or three times a year.]
The Modkat is available in 6 different colours – those pictured above, plus a rose pink, if you like to keep things girly. It measures a generous L40cm x W40cm x H38cm.
The Modkat is by New York-based design company, Modko. Cat owner, and Modko co-founder, Rich Williams wanted a litter tray which would blend seamlessly into his small Brooklyn apartment, rather than shriek ‘Look at me! I’m where the cat craps!’ every time someone walked into the room. Rich launched into an extensive, but ultimately fruitless, search for the object of his desire. Luckily, Rich’s wife decided to intervene by stating the obvious: ‘You’re a designer, why don’t you just design one!’ So, thanks largely to Mrs Williams, the Modkat went into production and has since won several prestigious design awards.
That’s all very nice; but why on earth would anyone want to pay the best part of 90 quid for a litter tray? Well, speaking as someone who did just that a few months ago, let me attempt to explain why…
The Modkat’s sleek, contemporary good looks are such that there’s no need to try and hide it away out of sight as you would a more traditional litter tray. In fact it bears absolutely no resemblance to most people’s idea of a litter tray. The usual response to mine – which is out in the open for all to see in my kitchen – is ‘What’s that?’, followed swiftly by ‘Ooh! I want one!’ if the enquiry came from a cat owner.
However the Modkat isn’t just a pretty face: it’s been very cleverly designed to minimise the amount of cat litter which finds its way out of the tray and onto your floor. The ‘rooftop entry’ lid means the deep base remains fully enclosed, thereby preventing any over-enthusiastic diggers from throwing litter all over the surrounding area. But that’s not all – the Modkat also eliminates virtually all those annoying granules which stick to your cat’s paws and then get walked around the floor. Here’s how: because the base of the Modkat is so deep, most of the excess litter will just drop from your cat’s paws as he/she leaps out of the tray, and the remainder is then walked off on the lid – which also functions as a litter mat. The lid is hinged, and as it swivels open it dumps the trapped litter back into the tray.
Ingenious, no? And it really works: I use Ökoplus, a clumping wood-based cat litter, which is eco-friendly, economical and highly effective, but is also a notorious ‘tracker’ that gets walked some distance from the tray itself. I can honestly say that since my cats began using the Modkat the amount of litter I find on the floor in my kitchen has reduced by at least 90%.
The tray itself is very easy to keep clean. The litter scoop provided has a curved front edge which matches the contours of the Modkat – so no poking around trying to winkle soiled litter out of awkward corners. Plus when not in use it clips neatly to the side of the tray. I also like how the lid swivels open, as it’s a very convenient way to access the litter when I want to scoop out soiled clumps – far quicker than unclipping and removing the lid of a conventional hooded litter tray. The lid can also be removed completely when you need to wash the tray.
Which brings me to the only aspect of the Modkat that in my opinion isn’t faultless in its design: the liner. The liner is made from blue tarpaulin, and has a band around the top which holds it in place, so it is actually very simple to insert and remove. My main issue with it is this: I have a cat who likes to remain standing while she has a wee (as do a lot of other cats), and the liner just isn’t tall enough to be able to deal with this – urine runs between the liner and the wall of the tray and gets trapped there, which quickly becomes very smelly. The other problem I have is an aesthetic one: the bright blue liner is visible through the entrance hole in the lid and detracts from the whole contemporary chic thing that the Modkat has going on. I’ve resolved these problems by choosing not to use the liner. As I mentioned earlier, I use a wood-based litter, which is very soft, so there’s no risk of the Modkat incurring scratches from abrasive granules. I think the liner would only be necessary if you use one of the clay-based litters, as these would cause quite severe scratching.
As you’d expect from the price tag, the Modkat is robustly made from quality materials, and provided you take reasonable care of it, should remain in good condition for many years. The base of the Modkat is constructed from rigid plastic with a high-gloss finish, which could possibly shatter if dropped or if it received a very sharp knock. (And no, I’m afraid I’m not going to experiment on mine for the sake of this review!) For this reason I would recommend keeping it out of the way of young children who may accidentally kick balls, crash trikes into it etc.
Now for the deal breaker. What do the HQ Cats think of the Modkat? Well, I’m pleased to report that it gets a universal paws up. (Which came as an immense relief after spending £89 on one!) I’ve had my particular Modkat for around 10 months now, and all 7 cats residing here are happy to use it. I should add that I have 5 other litter trays dotted around the flat, but the cats are just as happy to use the Modkat as the other conventionally designed trays. In fact Eric, who is a very large cat, actually prefers it as there’s enough room inside for him to turn round a few times before he gets down to business.
I wouldn’t recommend a Modkat for kittens under the age of 4 months, very elderly cats, or cats with mobility problems – a cat needs to be able to comfortably jump to a height of around 38cm in order to get in and out of the base tray.
You should also bear in mind that some cats will adapt to the ‘rooftop access’ of the Modkat more quickly than others. In order to help your cat make the transition from conventional tray to the Modkat I would recommend intially placing the Modkat, without the lid on, next to your cat’s existing tray for a few days, and then once your cat begins to use the Modkat you can remove the old tray and replace it with the Modkat. When your cat seems comfortable jumping in and out of the Modkat you can try it with the lid on, but be prepared to remove it again if your cat seems unsure. I left the lid off mine for 2 weeks before my cats were comfortable enough with the concept to give it a go, but I did find that as soon as each cat had accessed the tray through the hole in the lid once, they were perfectly happy to continue doing so.
So there you have it. Yes, the Modkat is very pricey, but what you get for your money is a multi-award winning piece of modern design in the form of an extremely cool and superbly functional litter tray. And if, like me, cats will always be a part of your life, then I really do think that it’s a worthwhile investment. In fact I like mine so much that I intend to get another one. And the next time somebody says to me ‘You paid how much for a litter tray?!’ I shall make them read this blog post!
If you’re pondering over purchasing your own Modkat, take a look at this video, as viewing it in action will probably help you come to a decision.