Bath mat + cat = don't like that
July 11, 2018 1:13 PM   Subscribe

The cat litter box is in the bathroom, which means the bath mat gets a bit gross. How to deal?

I have a bunch of washable bath mats (mostly Ikea Toftbo) that I swap out.

Because these mats come in contact with cat litter particles and the odd drop of cat pee, plus lots of wet human foot traffic, they're too gross to wash with clothing or bath towels. And I feel bad running one in a load by itself as it wastes water.

Currently I stuff the dirty mats in a plastic bag under the sink and wash a few of them together every month... but it seems gross to bag them up, too (damp, stinky, etc)

Any other solutions I'm not thinking of?
I can't believe I'm wasting a question on this
posted by pseudostrabismus to Pets & Animals (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How about reducing litter that escapes the box? Maybe top entry boxes? We have a very old cat, else we would try this.
posted by advicepig at 1:25 PM on July 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Pick them up after your shower & hang them over the shower rail to dry?
Buy a bunch of mats & put a new one down every day, get the toweling type & you can just wash them in with your clothes.
Do you have to have a bath mat?
posted by wwax at 1:25 PM on July 11, 2018 [12 favorites]

1 Only put bath mats on the floor when someone is actively showering/bathing, and hang them from a hook or towel bar to dry when not in use.

2. Get bathroom slippers (like, cheapo terry-cloth spa slippers, or flip-flops) for everyone to wear so that people don’t do all of their drip-drying onto the bath mat, and don’t have to walk on kitty-litter scatter in bare feet.
posted by oh yeah! at 1:30 PM on July 11, 2018 [10 favorites]

I don't have a cat, but my bathroom floor remains free of a bath mat until I shower. Before I shower, I take the bath mat off the side of the tub (it hangs out there between the shower curtain and its liner).

After I shower and dry off, I return the bath mat to the side of the tub.
posted by nathaole at 1:30 PM on July 11, 2018 [7 favorites]

In my last apartment, I did what others suggest and only put the bath mat down when I was using it, and used slippers in the restroom. Some things I looked at but did not try:

- Getting a top-entry or higher sided litterbox - my cat would never use a top entry litter box, and I couldn't find a high sided one small enough to fit in the bathroom
- Getting a roomba
posted by pazazygeek at 1:32 PM on July 11, 2018

Switching to a top-entry box and crystal litter reduced a lot of the tracking we had to deal with. Adding a [washable] rubber mat with a lip around the edge helped catch and contain additional stray litter as the cats exited.
posted by homesickness at 1:33 PM on July 11, 2018

We also have, alas, litter boxes in both our bathrooms. We had the same issue, so we do as others have suggested: hang or otherwise remove bath mats when not in use, and only put them on the floor when someone is actively bathing. Also, because have tiny bathrooms, we keep the liter boxes themselves inside the bathtubs, which does keep most of the loose litter in there as well. It is annoying to have to clean it all up and move the box each time you want to bathe, but we literally have nowhere else to put them, so.

Also, I bought very small dustpan/broom sets and hung them on the wall of each bathroom with command hooks, to make for easier clean-up.
posted by BlahLaLa at 1:34 PM on July 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

We lay the mat over the side of the tub after we shower because it grosses me out to be barefoot on it after our dog lays on it. You could try that.
posted by RichardHenryYarbo at 1:48 PM on July 11, 2018

As other folks say, we put it over the side of the tub when not in use. Our box isn’t in that room but the cat thinks the soft clawable bathroom surface is great to piss on, so we have an incentive to get it off the ground.
posted by tchemgrrl at 1:56 PM on July 11, 2018

The way we handle it is, as suggested by others, putting the bathmats down only when someone is bathing or showering. Also we keep a small broom-dustpan combo in the bathroom and use it regularly, particularly before putting down a bathmat.

Also, get a litter-trapping mat (here's one example) for under the litter box. It makes a huge difference.
posted by Lexica at 2:00 PM on July 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I hang up my bathmat, but also have mostly stopped using it in favor of a wooden bath mat that goes inside the shower. I have a flat stone floor in my shower, so you might not want to put it inside if you have a regular tub, but if it's outside on your floor, it might be high enough to avoid litter (or, easier to brush the litter off).
posted by pinochiette at 2:27 PM on July 11, 2018

If you use towels to dry off your naked body, and hang them in the bathroom, then they're just as bacteria-laden as the bathmat. Just wash the bathmat with the towels. Tumble dry high heat. If the bath linens go into the dryer wet, the steam from drying on high heat will take care of any bacteria. Cat, human, you name it.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 3:08 PM on July 11, 2018 [7 favorites]

I have a great bathmat from bed bath and beyond, it's thick and easily washes clean. I also have a small bathroom with a litter box, and we put down a litter mat, have a dome lid litter box (with filter), and twist the entrance so it's partially facing the wall. This last bit is the magical part -- cats will often just jump past the litter mat if they can, flinging litter every which way as they go. By preventing the flying escape route, the cat must delicately step onto the litter mat with all four paws, drastically reducing rogue litter particles and resulting in a much cleaner floor overall.
posted by DoubleLune at 3:32 PM on July 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

I transitioned my cat to using pee pads a few years ago, which she adapted to really easily. I line a tray with inexpensive Amazon Basics pee pads, totally avoiding the litter tracking problem. It's been a while, so I can't remember exactly to compare, but I think it's less smelly as well.
posted by sk932 at 3:41 PM on July 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

I use differently colored towels as bath mats, which works better than one might expect. Cheaper, throw ‘em in with the rest of the towels when it’s time to wash, not as traumatic if they get wrecked. Throw in a scoop of Oxyclean when you wash and whatever crud is in there won’t stand a chance.
posted by Autumnheart at 3:46 PM on July 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

Yep, bathmat over the edge of the bathtub, litterbox turned so cats can't leap over the rubber litter-catcher mat. If they do track litter out, I sweep the area in front of the tub before I put the mat down, so I don't get litter on the bottom.
posted by velvet_n_purrs at 6:33 PM on July 11, 2018

Haven't taken the leap yet but I've been eyeing these diatomaceous earth bathmats which I hear are popular in Japan. Sort of like wooden bathmats but faster-absorbing with no chance of mildew or other grossness.
posted by acidic at 9:43 PM on July 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Is it possible to train kitty to use the toilet?
posted by brujita at 9:45 PM on July 11, 2018

I also just wash my bath mats with the towels, after shaking off the worst of the litter into the bath. I wash them all on hot, with a scoop of oxyclean, which I'm confident is be enough to take care of any cat related hygiene issues. It also works best with 100% cotton mats with no backing. (Oh in fact, we have that exact same ikea one and it's fab, we're gonna go buy some more).
posted by stillnocturnal at 5:30 AM on July 12, 2018

We use the solution pinochiette suggests - wooden bathmat outside of tub. It works well; the trade-off for not getting litter on your feet is that you need a little more elbow grease to clean under it where the litter has fallen then been dripped on post showers, but not to an unreasonable extent.
posted by solotoro at 5:30 AM on July 12, 2018

I use multiple mats for this reason. Once a few get dirty I wash them all together.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 6:13 AM on July 12, 2018

I have a three pronged approach with the whole kitty litter in the bathroom situation. And after much trial and error, I have finally found a solution that has virtually eliminated the kitty litter mess.

First, I place the kitty litter entrance/exit so that the cat is forced to jump a certain way.

Second, I have one of those kitty litter catcher mats underneath a simple copy box lid (you know those lids that sit on top of those boxes of copy paper? I slit one of the narrow sides down and slide it underneath the kitty litter entrance. So when the cat jumps out, the bulk of the kitty litter on his paws falls into the lid and the mat underneath it.

Third, I place yet another of the kitty litter mats on the path out the bathroom door. It finally leads to my bathmat, the ever popular Ikea Toftbo you already have. By the time the cat gets to the idea met, very little kitty litter gets to it.

Once a week, when I do my major kitty litter clean up, I drag over my tall kitchen garbage can and shake out the copy box lid and all the different mats into the garbage can. So much less of a mess.

I just throw the Ikea Toftbo mat in with the rest of my dirty clothes maybe every two weeks or so. Easy peasy.
posted by HeyAllie at 8:18 AM on July 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

The endless litter grossness in the bathroom was one of the reasons I switched to a breeze box. That, and a bunch of folks on askmefi spoke highly of it.

I am not wild about the plastic lined pee pads, but I throw out so much less litter that I feel like it balances out. The breeze litter is heavy for its size, and isn't broken down by the cat pee, so the few hits that they kick out of the box stay intact and can easily be picked up/swept away. Although they hurt like crazy to step on with bare feet!

I do get the generic breeze pads and litter on amazon, they seem to work just as well.

Hopefully I'm not coming across as a shill here.. It's just been such a nice change after years of gross floors.
posted by Orrorin at 11:53 AM on July 13, 2018

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