Anyone who has ever had a cat can attest, litter rarely ever stays in the litter box. It gets tracked everywhere around the house. It’s almost as if our cats use the box and then, just for fun, grab paw-fuls of litter and toss them out onto the floor! In fact, I’ve watched in awe as one of my beloved kitties gleefully kicked every last grain from the box! I know I’m not the only one who has this problem.
So what can you do to minimize trafficking by your cat? Here are five simple solutions that work to keep litter in the litter box – and out of the bed, off of the sofa, out of the living room rug…you get the idea…
1. Location, Location, Location
Where your box is located makes a big difference for your cat. Some cats prefer privacy, while others prefer to share their joy of a successful bowel movement with you. Know your cat’s potty personality and put the box in a location that will appeal to him.
That said, where the box is located also makes a big difference on how litter gets tracked out of the box. Put it as far away from your bedroom as you can, and you’re far less likely to find sand in your sheets when you crawl into bed at night. (Really, there’s not much worse than crawling into a bed full of cat litter, am I right?)
Remember to make any changes to litter box location gradually or you could be faced with a new problem. This includes moving it to a new spot in your house. If your furriest friend is especially sensitive to changes, you may have to move the box a few inches at a time until it reaches its new destination!
Also, when making any changes to your cat’s litter box, you might consider a litter attractant or Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract which is a dust-free, clumping cat litter invented by a veterinarian that contains a natural herb attractant to encourage your cat to use the box. I used it with my cats whenever we moved homes and when we switched from traditional to automatic litter boxes.
2. Size (and Shape) Matters…
Just as humans have different preferences when it comes to the potty, so do your cats. If you find that a lot of litter is ending up on the floor just outside the box, you may need to explore different sizes or differently shaped boxes.
Corner boxes are excellent for some cats. Most cats prefer to cover up their litter by kicking towards the corner, making this an excellent choice to keep litter off the floor. A hooded box will stop your overly-enthusiastic cat from flinging litter from the box during the big cover up. A top-entry box is an excellent solution to stop litter tracking, because most of the litter that comes out of the box attached to your kitty’s paws will fall off when they climb through the top of the box. However, some very young and senior cats may struggle with this type of box.
Automated boxes can also be a great choice for a cat who is obsessed with covering his litter, but maybe isn’t very good at it. These boxes help your cat stop obsessive “digging” behavior and the larger sizes help keep litter inside the box.
3. Litter Mats
By all means, use a litter mat! But know that not all litter mats are created equal. Invest in a mat designed to help keep litter contained. The mat should be large (or your cat will just jump over it, flinging litter in the process) and extend well around the litter box.
Remember your cat, with those delicate bean toes, may be averse to some litter mat material, so you may need to try more than one. We love the extra soft, plush chenille mats available from Dog Gone Smart. But some cats prefer the more sturdy Litter Trapper.
The best litter mats allow easy removal of litter once it’s gathered. Dual structure mats are even more efficient as they allow the litter to fall between two attached mats, which helps prevent tracking and allows for easy cleanup.
Even with a huge litter mat, somehow your cat will still manage to smuggle some sand away from the litter box! One of the best things I ever did to cut down on the litter tracking was to put down another plush mat in the hallway leading away from the litter boxes so the cats had to walk across another rug after they left the box. Try it!
4. Reconsider Your Litter
Clay litters are definitely the most popular cat litter. Economical, clumping, easy to use…and (unfortunately) the most easily tracked around the house. If litter is really driving you bonkers, consider switching to a silica gel or recycled paper litter. There are plenty of effective all-natural cat litters you can choose from as well, including pine, corn, wheat or even walnut shells. We used to use the Tidy Cats Breeze litter system until switching to automatic boxes and loved it, for one, because the litter absolutely does. not. track.
5. Make Cleanup Easy
So, maybe having litter flung out of the litter box is a fact of cat life. But, that still doesn’t mean it needs to be tracked all over the house! You scoop the boxes at least once a day (and if you have multiple cats, probably more than once) so incorporate a quick clean up into your daily routine. In other words, tackle the litter before it has a chance to get tracked.
Keep a great cordless vacuum, like a Dyson Stick or a Shark Navigator next to the litter box. Every time you scoop, do a quick pass with the vacuum, too. You’ll be surprised what a difference that makes in keeping tracked litter at bay. Just don’t run the vacuum if one of your little litter-tracking angels is actually using the litter box…we never want to scare a cat while they’re using the litter box. (That can create a problem a lot worse than litter on the floor!)
Living with cats is certainly rewarding, isn’t it? And if you take some of these tips to heart, you can focus on all the wonderful aspects of cat parenthood, and avoid the feeling of stepping on grains of litter with your bare feet!
Do you have any other anti-tracking tips to share? What has worked for you? What did you try that was a complete failure? Share with us!