Seeking holy grail of cat litter catchment
December 18, 2016 9:30 PM   Subscribe

My cats are excellent at tracking cat litter everywhere. I wish to contain it. What is the absolute best cat litter mat available?

I have two cats, Castor and Pollux, who use a Litter Robot 3. They jump up into the robot and back out when they're done, carrying with them a little bit of cat litter each time.

This litter then spreads across the tile and hardwood floor to cover an area 6-10 feet in diameter around the litter box itself. I can't walk near the box without shoes and I'd like a litter mat that will catch this before it scatters.

Any recommendations for a cat litter mat that is fairly large to cover their jump (or that I can use multiple mats) and will catch/contain this scatter?

I've also considered getting the LR3 ladder, but I am really not sure they'd use that instead of continuing to jump.
posted by bookdragoness to Pets & Animals (16 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I had a lot of success with carpet samples - if it's a wide area you need to cover, perhaps a few carpet samples or one large one?
posted by Toddles at 9:33 PM on December 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have two bathmats that the cats like the feel of that trap litter. The ikea toftbo and a restoration hardware reversible mat.

Whatever you get I'd get something that the cats like or don't mind the feel of so that they don't try to jump over it.
posted by oneear at 10:15 PM on December 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

The webbing kind (looks like a bunch of rubber squiggles) is the only litter mat that's been able to contain the Crystal Pebbles of Doom that my cat tracks all over. They're like stepping on Legos, so I tried a lot of mats before settling on a design like this one and it's worked great! Every so often I shake it out and it's shocking to see the mountains of litter come out of it. That one I linked isn't the one I have (I think I got mine from a local pet store) but it's the same design. Writing from mobile so I didn't search out one that's extra large.

Also, this is the only mat my cat hasn't peed on, so there's that!

On preview: you actually want the cats to jump after leaving the litter box so they open their paws and drop the litter. (I probably read this tip here on the green years ago.) so it's not a bad thing to put something right out of the box they don't like (some people build a little wall that they have to jump over) and have a mat a little ways out to catch it.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 10:20 PM on December 18, 2016 [6 favorites]

Hadn't thought of carpet samples -- but, yes, carpet. Old rugs. Shake out/vacuum as needed; replace with more old/cheap rugs -- don't overlook the children's section... (Washable is also obviously a plus.) Those are nice cat names.
posted by kmennie at 10:48 PM on December 18, 2016

I've been using this one lately and thus far have been happy with it. I like that I can pick it up, roll it into a funnel shape and pour scattered litter right back into the LR. I usually vacuum over it on the bare floor setting (beater brush would be too harsh) and it hoses off easily when the cats think out of the box.
posted by jamaro at 11:13 PM on December 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

I catsit for lots of people and have searched for an answer to this question. I haven't seen anything work well, other than pine litter. Bear in mind that cats may not like a drastic transition from one type of clay litter to pine right away.
posted by girl Mark at 12:06 AM on December 19, 2016

My former cat would jump over any mat (I think it feels weird on their paws so they avoid it) but I managed to decrease the litter trail a lot by putting the box in a corner with the opening facing the corner. It makes it very difficult to leap out of it with full feline enthusiasm, so they have to either leap around a corner (they will), or actually step onto the mat. Either way, the litter won't get as far from the box.
posted by easternblot at 2:29 AM on December 19, 2016 [11 favorites]

An ordinary toweling bathmat works well for us.
posted by flabdablet at 4:44 AM on December 19, 2016

easternblot you're a genius and I'm just off to rearrange my bathroom
posted by pompomtom at 5:11 AM on December 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

It makes it very difficult to leap out of it with full feline enthusiasm, so they have to either leap around a corner (they will), or actually step onto the mat. Either way, the litter won't get as far from the box.

I'm impressed by your ingenuity. I'm also surprised they haven't gone to Plan C and simply stopped using the inconveniently-placed box altogether, because cats.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:26 AM on December 19, 2016 [4 favorites]

Thanks for the recommendations! The two that the thorn bushes have roses and jamaro linked look really good.

As a note, with this robot I can use any kind of clumping litter, so switching to pine (which I've used before in non-robotic boxes and the cats were fine with) or crystal or others is not an option.
posted by bookdragoness at 5:55 AM on December 19, 2016

I also have the iPrimio one that jamara linked to, and it generally works pretty great. It's very easy to clean too.
posted by ashirys at 6:15 AM on December 19, 2016

I can use any kind of clumping litter, so switching to pine ... is not an option

Clumping litter based on wood pulp exists, and does a much better job of neutralizing ammonia stench than pure clay litters. Less unkind to bare people-feet as well, and easily trapped in a toweling mat.
posted by flabdablet at 7:37 AM on December 19, 2016

I have the litter box set down in a big rubbermaid bin. Then she has to leap out of that when she's done and the litter stays in the bin. It also helps when you clean the litter box and get litter everywhere (if you do that like I do). Then you can just take the bin outside and dump out the little bit that gets in there.
posted by dawkins_7 at 7:53 AM on December 19, 2016

One of the great things about putting a litter box in a basement is the amount of litter that's shed as the cat flexes her paws climbing back up the stairs. When I had to move to an apartment, I made a wall of small boxes as a low obstacle to the litter box so my cat would at least flex her paws enough to shed some litter. It made a noticeable difference.
posted by klarck at 10:31 AM on December 19, 2016

I've been using the two linked above for about a month now and they've been working great! The iPrimio one in particular is extremely easy to use and clean.

The cats have vomited on the Caldwell one a couple of times and it's somewhat difficult to clean for the same reason it's great at catching litter. In the spring, I'll take it out and hose it down.
posted by bookdragoness at 12:44 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

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