I'm planning to have a cat or even a pair. I really don't like the smell and look (and noises during "producing") of cat in the litter box and what it lefts behind.

So I have an idea to put the litter box on balcony and train the cat to use it. I live in area where in winter it happens to be down to -10°C occasionally. Normal temperature is around 0°C.

Is is possible (i.e. techn-ically because water freezes; and cat-ically because it can be not comfortable for the cat) to do that?

It may heavily depend on the instance of cat, though.

  • 28
    Pet ownership requires cleaning up after your pet. Even if you put it "on the balcony", you still have to clean it up, disregarding all other issues with this plan. If you can't handle a litter box, then don't get a cat and let someone who's willing to take care of it adopt the cat instead.
    – Allison C
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 19:51
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    If you put the box in the freezing cold, your cat will be much more likely to just not use it because who wants to freeze every time they use the bathroom? It's inconsiderate to your animals to expect them to work their basic needs around your own sensibilities. Either put up with the box inside your home, or don't adopt.
    – Kai
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 20:34
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    @Kai when I've had cats they've preferred to go outside in the freezing cold than use an indoor tray (that they're willing to use overnight or in the rain) so long as there's ground that isn't too frozen to dig in. We don't get much snow though.
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 16:55
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    1) I have 2 litter boxes in the open room with unscented litter and one cat. Everyone is surprised and comments how they can't even smell that there's a cat in the apartment. I also never hear the cat using it other than scratching the sand. 2) The rule of thumb is that you should have one litter box per cat, and then an extra one. Not all cats will share a box, and some tension between a pair can cause one to "litter block" more than just their box. Be sure that you actually want a real cat and not a just a stuffed animal.
    – coblr
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 21:25
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    If people can get used to the smell of farms and stables a litter box is nothing in comparison. Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 5:21

6 Answers 6


The short answer to this is yes, "technically" it's possible to put a litter box on a balcony in winter, but it's not at all realistic and will not work out in any way. You can, after all, put anything that physically fits on a balcony.

Addressing the issues in no particular order, we'll start with weather. The cat will need to access it, not only in the cold temperatures you're asking about, but in hot weather, humid weather, wet weather, windy weather, any conditions you may encounter. That doesn't mean the cat will want to access it, however. If it's raining, if the litter box is buried under several inches of snow, if it's overly windy or overly hot, you're far more likely to find the cat has availed itself of your laundry basket, rug, or bed instead of going out in lousy weather. Similarly, if it snows, the litter box is now buried. If it rains, the litter box is now either a waterlogged mess, one large clump, or some combination of both. Plus, with the open door, you're probably still going to be able to smell it.

You'll have safety concerns. Again, you're going to have to leave the door open; I expect you aren't living in a situation where a cat flap can be installed in the door, so the door itself needs to be left open, leaving you with an unsecured apartment. You'll also have a risk of the cat being injured, either by falling if the balcony is at a dangerous height, or by traffic below if it lands safely. Even if the cat departs the balcony for outside with no injury, it's very unlikely now that it will be capable of returning to it, and will be subject to all the risks of harm that affect any outdoor cat. (Additionally, you may be in violation of adoption contracts, depending on the terms set out by the rescue agency.)

You aren't avoiding anything; regardless of whether the cat uses the litter box or your pillow, you're still going to have to clean it up. An outdoor box is not going to magically clean itself, and with it being "out of sight and out of mind," it's likely to be much dirtier than a box kept inside and regularly cleaned; with frequent cleaning and a good quality litter, there's minimal odor associated with a properly tended litter box. If you dislike the idea of cleaning up a few clumps once a day so much that you're trying to find some way around it, either get a self-cleaning litter box, or get a fish.

Your neighbors will hate you. They'll also be able to smell it if they open their windows. Any time the wind kicks up, it'll blow dirty litter at them. If it rains hard enough to overflow the box, it'll ooze out onto both your balcony and anything that it can drip through to (and you are the one responsible for cleaning that mess, as well). If the cat kicks litter up, it'll land on the balcony below. You'll be forcing neighbors to deal with your mess.

If you want to adopt a pet, that means accepting all parts of adopting that pet, including dealing with proper disposal of its waste. If you're unwilling to responsibly clean up after your pet, then you absolutely should not adopt a pet at all; if you express your disgust with cleaning up after it to a rescue, it's likely they won't approve you for adoption, as you would be giving a red flag that you would not be a responsible pet owner.

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    Not only will the cat have to go out in the weather to use the box...the human will have to go out in the weather to clean the box, which will be much more unpleasant than cleaning the box in the nice, dry, warm area. Commented Nov 7, 2019 at 12:21

It is not fair to the cat to demand it does his/her pooping/peeing outside in the cold.

What are you going to do if the cat refuses to go outside for its pooping/peeing and does this inside your house; cats can be a lot more stubborn than you can ever imagine.

Cats and all other pets come as a complete package so you will have to take both the good and the bad part of it. If you cannot take it, you do not get a pet; it is as simple as that.

I am sorry; all this might sound hard, but it is true.

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    Many cats pee and poop outside all year round; it is, after all, their natural state. Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 14:57
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    my point is to not force the cat to do something it might not want,i have had cats for over 50years,some of them did pee/poop outside and others did it in the litterbox inside,the one i have now do both. Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 18:42

In your case, this is a terrible idea.

I have two cats, and the litter box is on my balcony, with a window I always leave open for them. However, I'm in South Africa and the temperature never drops that low, so I also leave the balcony door open when I am home. It also never snows here. It does rain though, which necessitates moving the litter off the balcony. When cat litter gets wet, it's like an aromatic amplifier for the urine, and you'll be amazed how far that smell travels.

Cats can be messy, and will kick up some small amount of litter regularly, which must be swept up. Apart from that, the litter must be cleaned regularly and changed every few days. Cats dislike dirty litter, and that's without even considering sub-zero temperatures. Your idea won't work because your cat will in all likelihood refuse to use the litter box, as others have pointed out.


To add on to what Allison C said, putting litter in weather is a horrible idea; I've experienced it, it's not very enjoyable at all.

Litter can be a simple thing as long as you plan to deal with it efficiently and sufficiently enough.

Firstly: Find a location that isn't directly exposed to the weather, or isn't in your house. (In our home, our cats go outside to "do business," but we have emergency litter boxes in the garage.)

Secondly: Find a scented litter that clumps, i.e., find one that promises to cover the smell, or at least remove it, and also clumps the fluids and things into rocky material that's easy to clean and remove quickly and easily.

Many of today's cheaper litters do come complete with scented clumping types, so finding some shouldn't be a problem. However, if you continue to have a smell problem (if you do even get cats), find a plug-in deodorizer, which can lightly remove the smell over time.

Thirdly: Get the right cleaning tools and bags for the jobs, and also, if you have the time, build a slide holder for your litter, so it doesn't sit on the ground, and you can hide it away.

Recommendations: Buy in bulk: google search

And also, here's the one that we use: (We usually buy bulk from Purina) chewy.com

From that link, we buy the 20lb kitty litter, but if you plan on having it for a long time, like over winter and spring, get a 35lb or 40lb, which should last you about 5-9 months, depending on how much you have to fill and replace.


All of the dangers Allison C mentioned are true (plus the fact that leaving your balcony door open is likely to make your home much colder in the winter).

But there are other options that might help address your concerns about the litterbox: litterbox cabinets.

I personally have had mixed success with small-ish cabinets (the cabinets need to be pretty tall and spacious inside for my cats to use them consistently, otherwise they seek out other options), but people that I know have had good results with even smaller cabinets for this purpose.

They keep the litterbox and cat waste out of sight, and also can do a lot to control sound and odor.


As others have said, don't do this. But to solve the XY problem, which is dealing with the smell and look of cat litter, don't get the disgusting clumping/clay/fine-particulate stuff. Get "crystal" (silica gel) cat litter. It's just a dessicant, absorbing urine and rapidly dessicating feces. It's odorless, and mostly mess-free, unless your cat decides to kick some of it out of the box onto the floor, in which case it's unpleasant to step on with bare feet.

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