What to put down on hardwood floors in new "litterbox room"
March 28, 2018 4:48 PM   Subscribe

I am soon going to be sharing my home with cat. He is a litter-kicker. I am converting my broom closet to his "bathroom" (litter box room?) but the room has hardwood floors and I'd like to cover them with something that won't get kicked around, that will protect my floors. Ideas?

Basically the above, but here's some more info:

The broom closet is a deep closet, and currently has no door. I'm planning to install a bifold door with the bottom cut out, so it's just bifold from about 18" off the ground to the top. That way I can walk in, but he has some privacy. The floor is nice hardwood, and I'm trying to figure out the best way to cover it so that litter isn't tracked into the rest of the house and also doesn't damage the hardwood floors at all. I'm also concerned about vindictive pee in the beginning, since he is moving to my house from another house and cats are not known to be great at transitions.

Things I have considered: FLOR tiles (but could absorb pee and smells?), some sort of removable Contact paper (could damage the floor?), rug (could get kicked around, would prefer something that is adhered or shaped to the floor, would also hold onto smells). Linoleum stick-on tiles? Some sort of space age material I don't know about?

Do they make rolls of uncut litter mat, so I could cut that to size? Are those waterproof or water-resistant? Ideas and links to products very welcome.
posted by juniperesque to Pets & Animals (14 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
We did the same thing with a closet. We went to a hardware store that sold thick plastic sheeting (think doormat-thick) by the foot and had a piece cut to fit the closet floor. It works pretty well, although if you don't clean up stray pee there is the danger of it making its way to the edge and getting under the sheet.
posted by goatdog at 4:51 PM on March 28, 2018

In wintery places, they sell molded rubber car mats with a lip that can hold up to a gallon of liquid (melted snow and all that). They are heavy, waterproof, maybe 1.5x2 feet in size, and have good friction with the ground.
posted by Maxwell_Smart at 4:52 PM on March 28, 2018 [5 favorites]

Go to Home Depot. Go to the back of the store, where the giant rolls of carpet are. Near there, they will have smaller rolls of various plastic runners, 3 feet wide or so. You want the black one with the ridges. It costs maybe $2.99 per foot. It stands up to a LOT of scratching, and the ridges keep most of the kicked litter in place.
posted by shiny blue object at 4:58 PM on March 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

There are also plenty of litterboxes that minimize this. Covered is a start, and some people swear by a top entry one.
posted by lumpenprole at 5:06 PM on March 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

Also came in to ask if you had considered a top entry. We've been using a pair of them for about two years now and they cut way down on litter on the floor. A casual google turned up this link comparing a bunch.
posted by kovacs at 5:09 PM on March 28, 2018

We have had good experiences with litter boxes with very high sides, like this one. Doesn't solve the problem completely, but at least can help keep any expelled litter in one direction instead of all four sides.
posted by BlahLaLa at 5:10 PM on March 28, 2018

Yes to the high-sided litterbox (we've used a big one with a full cover for years; they're about $20), and yes to some form of litter-catching pad outside it. We've previously had a couple bought online (about $20 each), but cheap carpet cut to size at Home Depot would totally work.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 5:22 PM on March 28, 2018

Can’t link right now, but I bought a “Caldwell’s Extra Large, Tidy and Dust Free, Kitty Cat Litter Mat and Clumping Litter Trap” (35.5 X 24 Inches) on Amazon—they may make larger sizes, or you could buy a couple. I have it in front of our litter box and it has drastically reduced the amount of litter that gets tracked/kicked around.
posted by bookmammal at 5:29 PM on March 28, 2018

Ikea (or similar) bathmats or doormats with grippy bottoms. Easy to wash and cheap to replace.
posted by nkknkk at 6:28 PM on March 28, 2018

I have a combination of this litter mat and this tray. The mat is water (and pee) resistant, but if your cat pees on it, you've got to replace it. My cat prefers a box without a lid, so I still find litter tracks all over my apartment, but I continue to fight.

You can reduce litter tracking more if you switch to a pellet-style litter.
posted by gladly at 6:54 PM on March 28, 2018

There are also plenty of litterboxes that minimize this. Covered is a start, and some people swear by a top entry one.

We reduced the litter tracking problem to much much closer to zero with a top-entry litter box, which in our case is just a regular litterbox inside a large plastic tub with a (plate diameter > cat girth) size hole x-acto knifed out of the top. It's not pretty, but has been extremely effective. The tub is on top of a synthetic Ikea Toftbo bathmat which is basically the exact same thing as some litter mats they sell in pet stores, but 1/2 the price.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 6:55 PM on March 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

I have a similar closet set-up for my cat, and in addition to a random cheap textured doormat that I picked up at one of the box stores in front of the (covered) box, putting a carpet runner in the hallway just outside the closet really helped catch any other last bits of litter.
posted by TwoStride at 8:00 PM on March 28, 2018

Vinyl flooring was our answer, e.g. https://www.diy.com/departments/flooring-tiling/flooring-underlay/vinyl-flooring/DIY566438.cat (sorry, UK link for illustrative purposes). Easy to cut to size and you can lay it wall to wall, or even with a bit of a rim around the sides, so there are no seams for leaks.

Even with the best litter tray, we've found you need to handle the possibility of accidents.
posted by matsho at 5:43 AM on March 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

My rabbits are messy like that; I was living in a nice 1950s era house with lovely original hardwood floors when I found these. Super easy to clean; in and out with no damage to the floors, cheap, and they come in a variety of sizes.
posted by chatelaine at 9:48 AM on March 29, 2018

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