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Just call him a litter bug
December 26, 2013 7:28 PM   Subscribe

My cat tracks litter all over the house and my husband is Over It. Please help me keep both men in my life happy!

I prefer to use pine litter, but we are finding little bits of sawdusty piney bits all over the house, and my husband can't stand it any more. Mr Cat has a high-sided covered box and a mat that's supposed to catch all the bits off his feet before he leaves the area (but the trail of bits up the stairs shows that I fell for some marketing on this product). The last time I tried a traditional clay litter, it smelled like we were trying to hide a litter box by perfuming it (this is a major reason I prefer the pine - no smell!) and he tracked it around as well, so I don't want to just randomly try bags off the shelf. I'm also open to other products that will prevent the tracking like different styles of box, mats that work, little pixies that zap his feet, whatever.

MeFites: Give me your odorless, trackless litter solutions! (I have read the previous questions, but they are a few years old and tracking is mentioned as a problem for everything that's recommended to solve the problems those posters asked. I'm hoping a tracking focused question might get me some better answers.)
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty to Pets & Animals (23 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
You could try teaching the cat to use the toilet. Not all cats take to it, but if you can swing it, you can do away with litter entirely.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:35 PM on December 26, 2013

It's mildly disgusting but an old rug/series of old rugs works okay here. They are hard-wearing things that go in the washing machine regularly.

Scented clay litter is horrid. There's unscented. Arm & Hammer has been worth paying for (but be sure to get one of the fragrance free varieties).

How much time and money do you have to throw at this, as cat litter box furniture is a thing now, and it seems building a cat its own bathroom would contain things well?
posted by kmennie at 7:39 PM on December 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

We use pine litter - one box inside of a much bigger box - that has tracking down to a minimum. I bet if we added a few mats around the base of the bigger outer box, it might do the trick 100%.

I can't think of anything that doesn't track, but putting the litter box inside of a much larger box (we use the bottom of a clear plastic storage box) very much helps.
posted by jbenben at 7:41 PM on December 26, 2013

The Breeze litter system is track-less and doesn't stink if you do a daily poop scoop. The pee pads are changed about twice a week.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 7:42 PM on December 26, 2013

That pine stuff just gets everywhere, which is why I had to stop using it. I don't like the perfumed clay stuff either. I've found that walnut based cat litters from Blue are great, and there's a pellet version or a clumping version. They also don't add any fragrance. The pellets don't track and the clumping stuff tracks just a little, usually right outside the box.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 7:43 PM on December 26, 2013

I have a thick rug in front of the litter box and it catches everything.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:50 PM on December 26, 2013

We use this smart scoop mat.

We tried many different mats over the years and this is the only one that has worked. It's also pretty easy to vacuum clean every week.

We also use the pine litter, the saw dusty stuff not the pellets.
posted by sadtomato at 8:04 PM on December 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I use World's Best Cat Litter, which works very well in terms of odor control as far as I am concerned (the litter box is in my bedroom and my cat refuses to bury her poop, so I think I'm pretty demanding) and might track less than the pine-shavings litter you're using now. She has a similar litter box to the one you describe and the litter mostly seems to stay in the box.

There's definitely a little bit of litter on the bathroom floor, but it doesn't seem to make it out into the bedroom proper. I just vacuum it up with a dust buster thingie every few days; it takes about a minute. If you needed to be pickier you could leave the dust buster nearby and vacuum whenever you scoop, at very little cost in terms of extra effort. If your cat is somehow unusually bad about tracking litter, you could lay down a few carpet samples (available for next to nothing at your local Home Depot, Lowes, or carpet warehouse) along the path that she uses to exit the litter box area. That would probably solve the problem.
posted by Scientist at 8:23 PM on December 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

We use the cheap (?) bulk clumping litter from Petco. We take our buckets back and refill them at the big trough. The stuff does not have a perfume smell (I hate perfume smells), it clumps very well, and I haven't noticed excessive tracking.

That being said, we still sweep the whole house regularly. At least once a week, often twice. If your husband is really picky about floor cleanliness, maybe he should be vacuuming or sweeping two or even three times a week. It's just part of having pets.

Remember switching litters can be confusing for cats, and can sometimes cause the start of catbox-related problems. Maybe you don't want to change anything if your adorable friend is using the box responsibly now. Sawdust vacuums a lot better than urine does.
posted by fritley at 8:32 PM on December 26, 2013

Automatic Self Cleaning Robot Litter Box
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:50 PM on December 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Silica litter (the white sparkly kind, which I call Kitty Glitter), doesn't track all over the house. It's a bit more expensive, but it works- absorbent and controls the smell pretty well.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 10:53 PM on December 26, 2013

Um, this may seem utterly obvious but... how does your cat exit the litter box?

Because Mr. Cat is adorable, but if he's like my cat, he is a bit devious. My cat leaps out of the box. If you put anything near it, he will jump over it and/or piss on it. Rather finicky about the loo as he ages, this one.

He has a high sided box* and mats down near it and yet, litter tracks through the room the box is in. (Not the whole apartment, though -- we just use unscented Tidy Cat for multi-cat households, and it doesn't track too far... although you sometimes can't miss a freshly dropped poo , it's not a stanky cat house. Most people don't realise we even have a cat [and a dog]).

I have accepted that I have to sweep often.

*actually my cat has the Clevercat but he refused to use it when it had the lid on it, which might cut down on litter tracking but since he wouldn't even get inside of the damn thing I gave up.
posted by sm1tten at 11:07 PM on December 26, 2013

Wife is allergic to cats but I've always wanted to teach a cat to use the toilet, just like Charles Mingus.
posted by JV at 11:10 PM on December 26, 2013

I also use the silica litter--it still gets tracked a bit in the bathroom, but it's pretty well contained to that room, and just a half-dozen or so "rocks" a time, so clean-up is pretty simple. I think the larger size of the rock/pellet things prevents them from getting stuck to or between cat toes (and/or the cats are in a bigger hurry to shed them). Also because of the bigger size, the tracked silica litter is much easier to see and thus sweep up. It's also the only litter that has kept our non-ventilated bathroom smelling like nothing--not scented cat litter, not damp corn or pine (which I just eventually started to associate with the idea of cat waste anyway), but nothing.

The walnut litter mentioned above was pretty good at odor control, I'd say second to the silica gel, but it is dark, dark brown and parts are finely-enough ground to look like powder, and even though it wasn't tracked that much, what was tracked was really unpleasant-looking (a brown sediment right next to the litter box with brown flecks leading away from it, ugh) and it could adhere to the floor quickly requiring more than just a quick sweep to get up.

So many words on cat litter! I, too, am still looking for the perfect product.
posted by tyrantkitty at 11:12 PM on December 26, 2013

On askme i learned about Precious Cat litter. It is THE BEST. There is some tracking but omg so much less. I have two cats.

They have the type of litter box that's the storage tub with the hole in the top.

I even got my friend who has cats to try this litter and she loves it.

I order stuff from I think your first order might have free shipping? Otherwise you can get it at PetSmart.

Also this stuff controls odor like you wouldn't believe and clumps super amazingly well. Totally worth every penny.
posted by sio42 at 2:35 AM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I tried teaching our (male) cats to use the toilet, because they kept peeing out through the door opening of the high-sided or lidded boxes we used, and refused to go into the jumping-through-the-top one. They used the toilet. Standing up. Urine sprayed all over the back of the toilet, the bathroom walls, the tub/shower, and one of them enterprisingly managed to hit the mirror. So be prepared, if you try that as an option, as I note you have MR. Cat. All my friends with toilet-using kitties have females.

Our boys now use a higher-sided box sitting on the bathroom floors and keep wipes handy. For litter tracking, we use a dust pan and whisk broom. Tiny bathrooms, and we don't like stepping on the litter mats ourselves. (Kitties think the soft ones are a great alternative spot to pee).We'll be replacing our litter-dust stained bedroom carpet with something sturdier, and investing in a robot vacuum for the messy trail.
posted by theplotchickens at 5:40 AM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

What breed of cat do you have? We've got a Maine Coon at home, and he tracks litter everywhere thanks to his hairy paws. We have to trim the fur between his toes ever so often because when we don't, any litter we use gets tracked all over the house.

If yours has hairy paws and has a habit of jumping and sprinting out of the litter box like ours, it won't matter what kind of litter you use. Could be that you need to do something with the cat instead!
posted by Old Man McKay at 6:31 AM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

Thanks for the suggestions - quick answers to a few questions.

We have a toddler so the floors are cleaned daily/every other day and toilet lids must stay down so no training Mr Cat to pee like a person. I scoop the box every other day and dustbuster the area around it about as frequently, but I think the part that's grossing my husband out is finding bits of sawdust on our bed. (In other words, the tracking is far more of a problem than the mess around the box.) Mr Cat is just a standard American shorthair mix, he doesn't have hairy paws, extra toes or anything else.

We'll try one of these bigger pellet litters first and see if that solves the problem.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:41 AM on December 27, 2013

I always recommend the Tidy Cats Breeze system.

I find that it's inexpensive to use, we rarely smell kitty smells and it's super simple to keep clean. Pee sieves through the pellets and onto a pee pad, which traps the liquid and smell. Poop sits on top of the pellets, and gets scooped into a Litter Locker.

We bought this Catbox Credenza and I have no litter worries.

There's very little tracking, but the pellets do occasionally get on the floor. Just sweep them up.

No fuss, muss or bother. And the cats really like it!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:58 AM on December 27, 2013

I have litter box trained rabbits and a roomba. We're all very happy with the situation. Except for Cooper. He's terrified of the roomba, but it's adorable to see him run from it, so who cares?
posted by domo at 9:43 AM on December 27, 2013

The Booda Dome solved a similar problem with my last cat. The ramp made a pretty big difference.
posted by Kreiger at 11:21 AM on December 27, 2013

Booda Dome + silica litter + rug outside the exit ramp + occasional dust busting should do the trick.
posted by mgar at 12:52 PM on December 27, 2013

I hate to be That Person, but you shouldn't flush cat feces.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 4:06 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

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