Looking for the best litter-tracking solutions
January 4, 2009 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Looking for the best kitty litter-tracking solutions.

My cat is a prodigious spreader of kitty litter. I tried to solve the problem by switching to a covered litter box and then getting a little plastic litter mat but it doesn't really do anything; I think the problem is that she tends to jump out of the box, which just sends litter everywhere--I guess my problem is really more litter flinging than litter tracking. I know that there are more-enclosed types of litterboxes I could try, but she's a bit of a fat cat so I'm worried that she wouldn't be able to use them. I saw this Paw-Path litter mat thing that seems like it might work, but I can't find any unbiased reviews (all the reviews are positive ones cherry-picked from their email) so I'm a bit skeptical--has anyone tried it? How do MeFites tackle litter tracking?
posted by phoenixy to Pets & Animals (18 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
i'd use carpet rather than a plastic mat. you could get a cheap one at Target or a carpet sample from a carpet store. they're easy to clean with a shake or a vacuum.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 11:40 AM on January 4, 2009

My cat would do his best to jump directly over that mat, as I'm sure many would. :)

I have found no solution besides keeping a DustBuster directly next to the box and using that for triage, and vacuuming daily. It sucks, but I love my little hairball.
posted by tristeza at 11:41 AM on January 4, 2009

Best answer: Seconding the vacuuming. I have a CleverCat on top of a large rubber litter mat, and it still doesn't cover the litter-flinging radius. I keep a mini dustpan and brush nearby for a quick sweep when I empty the litter boxes, and vacuum once a week or so.
posted by kiripin at 12:21 PM on January 4, 2009

My cat is a major litter flinger. I have a huge kitty and I was able to find an enclosed litter box that she fit into easily. I would definitely go that route.

Also, I bought a cheap bat math that I put the litter box half on, the rest poking out the front so she steps on that when she exits. It has helped a HUGE amount in terms of tracking.
posted by gwenlister at 12:33 PM on January 4, 2009

Seconding pine litter (I use Feline Pine; Trader Joe's makes their own version too). It doesn't seem to travel very far, and the bits of it that do go astray are small and soft -- like teeny bits of sawdust -- and unnoticeable. I use a covered litterbox with a dollar store rag rug as a litter mat, and as long as I sweep every day or two, things stay pretty tidy around the box.
posted by kitty teeth at 12:40 PM on January 4, 2009

I have a covered litter box that I point towards a wall, leaving a cat-sized gap for access, and then a scrap of carpet on the floor. It doesn't eliminate litter from escaping the box, but it keeps it confined to a pretty limited area, and stops me from stepping on litter when I walk into the bathroom.
posted by misterbrandt at 1:15 PM on January 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have a little woven sisal mat in front of the box that's supposed to be used as a scratching pad. It works pretty well to catch the bits of litter but I still have to sweep up around there a couple times a week. I like it better than carpet because it it's easier to clean, just flip it upside down to dump out the litter and then wipe with a sponge. I supposed you could do the same with something dense like a Flor tile but this works for me.
posted by cali at 1:20 PM on January 4, 2009

I use a Booda dome (my cat is 12 lbs and fit into it just fine) and position the opening towards a plush bathmat (just from Target but a really thick pile one). It catches most of it and the rest I just pick up using a dustbuster every few days. It doesn't usually travel farther than the bathmat though which is the major plus - I hate stepping on it in my very small bathroom!
posted by marylynn at 1:42 PM on January 4, 2009

Seconding the Booda Dome, but coupled with the 'Worlds Best Cat Litter'. No stink, and the stuff is virtually trackless except for some reside on the steps, so it is still being kept inside the box itself.

Kitty heaven, and the damn dog can't get into the cat box for her disgusting little 'snacks'.
posted by 543DoublePlay at 1:59 PM on January 4, 2009

I forgot. My #1 cat is almost 18lbs......
posted by 543DoublePlay at 2:01 PM on January 4, 2009

Can you relocate your litter box to someplace slightly enclosed? Our cat's litter box is under a 9' counter supported by three low file cabinets. The open space between the left and middle cabinets is for my knees, the space on the right is for the litter box. Most of the litter he flings is contained in there. If dry litter escapes, I use a broom to brush it back into the cubbyhole till it's vacuuming time.
posted by sevenstars at 2:23 PM on January 4, 2009

Thirding pine litter. It solved Sammy Katz' litter tracking problem completely, with no need for a covered box.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:36 PM on January 4, 2009

Best answer: Clevercat box plus World's Best Cat Litter took care of this for me.

Admittedly, it took two months of slowly training the cat to enter the Dark Toilet Box of Doom, during which time she weed on various items of my clothing whilst looking me pointedly in the eye. But now, I am victorious.
posted by lemuria at 5:38 PM on January 4, 2009

Best answer: I switched my cat to a Clevercat top-entry box and it cut the litter tracking down to almost completely zero. I don't even need a mat under the box now. My method of switching him was to have both litter boxes in the room for a week or so, with the top off the Clevercat box. When he didn't explore it on his own after a few days I dropped him in once, so he'd know there was litter in there. Then I just didn't scoop the old box. Once he started going in the new one I took the old one away.
posted by MsMolly at 6:52 PM on January 4, 2009

Response by poster: OK, looks like I'll have to try pine litter--I've been shying away from Clevercat because my cat is 17lbs and I'm worried she won't fit.
posted by phoenixy at 7:06 PM on January 4, 2009

Can your cat jump? I replaced both my litter boxes with plastic storage containers (decent sized ones, my cats are both around 15-16lbs.) and my litter problem is gone. The sides are high enough that when they jump in and out, flung litter stays within the confines of the container. They are also much cheaper than normal litter pans.
posted by Loto at 7:53 PM on January 4, 2009

I taped a little piece of white fabric over the doorway to my litterbox. I kind of pleated the fabric a couple times before I taped it on, so it hangs a little bunchy, like a curtain. I figured if it was slightly fuller it would do a better job of covering the opening to the cat box. And I used white fabric to allow light to still get into the box, as I assume the little furballs likes to see what they've done in there. It works great and it was free- the fabric I used was cut from an old sheet / painting dropcloth. If you try this, you might want to use rather a lot of tape- one of my cats likes to kind of paw at the curtain after he's gone, and it takes a solid application of duct tape to keep him from ripping it down.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:21 PM on January 4, 2009

Re: Pine litter - When I tried to change my cat's litter, she almost killed me in my sleep. She wouldn't touch the pine litter. Make sure when you buy the bag of litter that you talk to someone at the pet store and see if they will allow you to return the opened bag if your cat doesn't actually use it.
posted by kirstk at 5:09 PM on January 9, 2009

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