By Wendy Young
Last Updated March 9, 2021

We love our cats – which is why cat owners know there is nothing more annoying than getting out of bed in the morning and standing in loose litter. That’s why we’ve got all the best tips and tricks to stop your cat from tracking and scattering their litter all over the house. Take a look!

As well as being inconvenient, loose cat litter can also be extremely unhygienic. After all, it is only too easy for used litter to get stuck inside your carpet, grinding in all that nasty bacteria. So, what are the best ways to stop seeing kitty litter everywhere? In this article, we’ll be discussing how to contain cat litter and how to stop litter tracking, as well as offering a plethora of litter tracking solutions. If you’ve got any questions at the end, we’ll be sure to answer those, too!

Adorable grey cat near litter box indoors. Pet care

How To Keep Cat Litter From Tracking

Seeing your cat’s litter around the house can be incredibly frustrating. Not to mention unhygienic and sometimes, painful. Rough litter is like stepping on a LEGO – ouch! The good news is that there are plenty of ways to keep cat litter where it’s supposed to be: in the litter box. Learning how to keep your cat’s potty area free of litter tracking couldn’t be easier! Let’s start with the krafty kitty.

Check out our guide on the best cat litter for kittens.

Trim the Hair Between Their Paw Pads

Long-haired cats should be regularly groomed. However, most owners will naturally forget about the fur between their cat’s paws, as it isn’t something you usually need to worry about. While most cats have very short fur between their paw pads, long-haired cats will often need to have the fur between their paws trimmed. This is especially true if you have indoor cats, as they are likely to use the litter box more frequently. You guessed it – the fur catches on litter and drags it out of the box and onto your floor. Once trimmed, though, this should no longer be an issue. The fur between your cat’s paws is also less likely to be naturally worn down through their exploration. Another good reason to trim it!

Litter Box Cat Litter Tracking Solutions

Some cats can be incredibly picky about which litter box they use. However, for kittens, and cats who are more laid-back, changing the litter box itself can be a huge benefit. These tips relate specifically to the cat litter box. If you’re happy with your current choice, then check out our location tips and further suggestions, below this section.

Use a Top Entry Litter Box

Top entry litter boxes are a great choice when it comes to stopping your cat’s litter from tracking across the floor. These kinds of boxes force your cat to lift their paws away from the floor in order to get in and out. This way, your cat isn’t jumping and pushing loose litter into their paws. It also gives litter the freedom to fall back into the box where it belongs!

These litter boxes also have the added benefit of keeping flicked litter from falling over the edges of the tray. We’re sure you’ve noticed, but cats do love to cover up their waste! That means kicking and flicking litter over it. Furthermore, less litter around the tray equals less tracked litter around the house. Be warned: some cats don’t like to use this litter box, as they may struggle to find the door, or feel anxious due to the change in the box itself.

Use A Covered Litter Box

A covered litter box is one of the best ways to keep litter from spilling over the sides of the box. Your cat will likely “clean” the area they just used, after all. Since cats like to cover their waste with litter when they’ve finished, using a cover over your tray stops any stray litter from being flicked over the edge and onto the floor. Great news for you!

Your cat may even prefer covered litter boxes, as they provide additional privacy. Again, be aware that some cats may not like these types of litter boxes. If you have a larger cat breed, then you may need to find a covered litter box with a large enough door at the front. Simply research and find what works best for your cat!

Use a Larger Litter Tray

Sometimes, resolving the tracking litter problem can be as simple as buying a larger litter tray. While this may seem less convenient for those in a small apartment, it can be worth the floor space to decrease the amount of litter tracking on the floor. A larger box allows more room for your cat to use their litter more comfortably. It also includes the added benefit of catching the litter your cat tries to flick.

Cat toilet blue and black and white kitten on the wooden floor.

Consider Litter Box Placement

Another great way to reduce litter tracking is to check if there is a better place to put your litter box. Some cats scratch more at their litter if they’re anxious. One way to reduce this anxiety is to place their litter box out of the way of general household traffic. Put the box somewhere that is quieter. Also, try to place it in a corner of the room, so that your cat doesn’t find themselves worrying about anyone sneaking up behind them. This simple trick can reduce the need to cover their box litter and keep their place clean.

Use Litter That Has Lower Levels of Tracking

One of the easiest solutions to stop your cat’s tracked litter is to change up the litter you use. A lightweight litter is more likely to track, as it’ll stick more easily to your cat’s paws. The best litter is one that has a less dusty makeup – for example, pine pellets or other natural litters. Use a litter that is less likely to stick to paw pads, due to its reduced surface area and grip. You’ll soon find that your cat litter stops tracking around the home!

Cat Litter Tracking Outside The Box

Finding cat litter around the home can be an absolute nightmare, especially if it’s shortly after a cat clean-up. Unfortunately, daily cleaning of the litter box is part of the pet package. That being said, here are a few other tricks you can use to stop your cat from tracking litter outside of their box.

Buy a Cat Litter Mat

Mats are easily one of the best ways to help reduce the level of tracked litter around the house. The best part about the humble mat is just how many different types are available! We’ll discuss the pros and cons below (in our FAQs section), but the benefit to all litter mats is how they reduce the amount of tracked litter. Litter mats are also super easy to clean, as they can be moved easily.

Get Creative and Crafty

A great way to ensure litter stays in the box is to create litter box containment. Some people like to use a storage container. For example, a plastic storage container with a hole cut out at the front as a way for your cat to enter and exit. Other people use storage area around their kitchen, such as an unused cupboard, to place their litter box in. This means that clean up is as simple as using a damp cloth to sweep the base of the cupboard. Work with what’s best for your home. You’ll soon find a solution that works for the needs of you and your cat.

Cute British Shorthair kitten in litter box at home

FAQs:

Q. What are the different types of litter mats for pet litter boxes?

A: The simple litter mat can be an absolute lifesaver when it comes to reducing litter tracking. There are a lot of different choices out there, so be sure to get the right mat for your needs by checking out the benefits of each first. For example, rubber mats have the added benefit of being waterproof, which is great if you have an older cat who is prone to accidents. The waterproof mat is also great to keep in the kitchen, as it won’t get ruined from other kinds of spills.

Some cats really aren’t a fan of the rubber mat, though, so know that carpet options are also available. These mats are ideal for simply providing an additional level of protection around the floor. They’ll be sure to catch stray litter as your cat exits their box! Regardless of the material, each mat type comes with extra features. Things like trapping holes, grips, and all manner of sizes and shapes, to best suit your house.

Q. Do cats prefer closed or open litter boxes?

A: This comes down to the individual preferences of your feline. Some cats enjoy the extra privacy that comes with a closed box, while others might feel claustrophobic and would prefer an open litter box. For this reason, it can be worth purchasing a litter box that has the option of hooded accessories, so your cat can choose between either open or closed. You are also more likely to discover your cat’s preferences this way. Once you find what’s most comfortable for you both, then you’re sure to reduce cat litter from tracking.

Q: Do cats track germs from the litter box?

A: As clean as cats may be, there’s no way to stop gut germs! Sadly, when your cat uses their litter box, they’re likely to catch and drag a couple of those germs as they leave. This is especially true if they’re reentering a used box. All those germs will cling to those adorable, paw pads of theirs, before landing directly on your carpet or floor. Gross. That’s why it’s so important to keep on top of cleaning the area, as well as utilizing our above tips.

Q: Why do cats run after pooping?

A: The answer to this question is simple. Cats actually have a nerve located near their tail that causes them to feel a rush of endorphins that is only stimulated after pooping. (It’s also why your cat raises their rear when their owner strokes the base of their tail!). This rush of endorphins might lead to a sudden burst of energy – hence why cats run after pooping!

Q: Can you get sick from scooping cat litter?

A: While most people won’t get sick from scooping cat litter, there is harmful bacteria present in cat feces. These bacteria can cause toxoplasmosis in humans, so make sure you always wash your hands after scooping. Treat it as if you had just gone to the bathroom. Surely you would wash your hands then! Most people who contact this illness suffer from flu-like symptoms, like a rising temperature. However, pregnant women, young children, and those who are immunocompromised may experience serious side effects. These people should avoid changing litter whenever possible!

Sources:

  1. Steve Aiiken, Litterbox Problems in Multi-Cat Homes, The Cat Fanciers’ Association
  2. Cat Not Using Litter Box: Causes and Solutions, Best Friends Animal Society
  3. Why Isn’t My Cat Using Her Litter Box?, American Animal Hospital Association
A freelance writer and word nerd, Wendy is a content writer with a knack for getting into the nitty-gritty of pet ownership. For the past three years, she’s been researching and writing a huge range of different topics – but always comes back to her beloved pet articles. Lover of all things four-legged and owner of Harley, Pepper and Rush, Wendy is currently completing her MNSW at Edge Hill University.

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