Crazy Cat Ladies
March 16, 2007 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Has anyone found a cat litter box that successfully keeps the litter off the floor?

We have accidentally become crazy cat ladies, having taken in 7 cats. (They were too damn cute and no one else was going to take them! And they were being killed outside, and we're women and research shows that women love kittens!) One of them is helping me type this (she loves to sit on my hands when I type). Anyway, everything works great, but they kick a lot of litter out of the box and it makes the room it is in very dusty and bad for my asthma. Not allergic to the cats, just the dust. We had a small litter box with a door that helped a little, but has anyone used a really good litter box with a door that prevents 90% of the dust from reaching the outside? If you have any ideas, Precious, Angel, Crybaby, Montecore, Speckles, Spreckles, and Peanuts would appreciate it.
posted by joaniemcchicken to Pets & Animals (37 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Such a thing exists? Surely no litter tray/box is messy-cat-proof.

One of them is helping me type this

Your cats spelling is to be congratulated; my cat makes loads of typos (almost every letter!).
posted by Shave at 8:20 AM on March 16, 2007

It doesn't have a door, but it prevents litter tracking & litter dust to a great degree. Booda Clean Step Litterboxes. The stairs catch all the stray litter. The litter dust is confined to the inside of the box, since there are walls around the main litter compartment. My cats love it. I love it. It's a win-win!
posted by tastybrains at 8:21 AM on March 16, 2007

The recycled paper pellet type of litter is less dusty.
posted by Shave at 8:23 AM on March 16, 2007

Oh, on the dust note, I have been using crystal litter (a lot of brands make it - it's pure crystals, not clay litter with crystals in it). This creates no dust whatsoever and controls odor much better. My only caution is that despite it's claims of being good for up to a month, I change it at least every week.
posted by tastybrains at 8:26 AM on March 16, 2007

It's easy to keep the dust down, but you won't like it: Use something besides regular kitty litter. Like ripped up newspapers or something. I told you you wouldn't like it.

Since you already admit you are crazy, maybe you can train them to use the toilet. When we lived in an apartment we were so desperate to cut down on the smell, dust and tracking of particles that we actually bought a system but then never actually did it. It just seemed too crazy.
posted by DU at 8:27 AM on March 16, 2007

When I had my own furry little touch typist, we used a Roll Away litter box. It wasn't perfect but worked better than any of the other things I tried.

I would shop around though, as the price at the site I used for the link seems a bit high.
posted by JaredSeth at 8:31 AM on March 16, 2007

I haven't done this, but I've heard of people taking a medium sized Rubbermaid storage container and cutting a hole in the top. Then the exit to their litter box is on the top instead of the side like with traditional hooded cat boxes.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:33 AM on March 16, 2007

I think the real problem is your litter, not the box.

I have three of the little beasts. I moved into a new apartment a few months back and, like the lazy moron that I am, started changing the boxes inside (the ground floor patio made cat containment while doing it outside difficult.) This kicked up a helluva lot of dust. I also wasn't scooping as much as I should have, causing the cats to kick up even more dust whilst turd burying. I started having respiratory and dry-mouth problems in short order, even seeing a doctor because I couldn't put two and two together.

I switched to Nature’s Miracle litter and the problems went away within days (after a good vacuum and dusting.) I still keep a small box of clay litter (with a door flap) around for the one cat who doesn't like the hippy litter.

It's a bit more expensive and doesn't seem like all that much when you dump it in the box, but with dilligent turd scooping I can get three weeks out of a bag-and-a-half. Adjust your cat math accordinly, of course.
posted by Cyrano at 8:33 AM on March 16, 2007

The totally enclosed litter boxes do a good job at our place of keeping the litter contained when our tosser goes to town. However you still end up with litter on the floor because it tracks in their paws. We keep the vacuum at the ready next to the box used the most and just vacuum every time we scoop.
posted by Mitheral at 8:36 AM on March 16, 2007

Experimenting with different litters and boxes is a dangerous pursuit. Be prepared to find that they hate one box or litter. And by this I mean, prepare to find cat poo sitting right outside of the box.
posted by aburd at 8:47 AM on March 16, 2007

My cat tracks litter outside of her box, so I'm curious about solutions on that front, but I 2nd the notion that changing the type of litter might be the best solution for your breathing problems. I use World's Best Cat Litter, and I suggest it to everyone (clumping! flushable! made of corn!). Everyone who actually takes my suggestion ends up loving the litter.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 8:49 AM on March 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

just get a roomba and run it every morning. my girlfriend's 6 cats love to play with the buttons though so watch out, they might turn it off while playing with it.
posted by kneelconqueso at 8:51 AM on March 16, 2007

Yes. We had a very tall cat, and superior litterbox technology was needed. We used a big Rubbermaid plastic box, like MegoSteve said, but didn't have to cut anything -- we just took the lid off. It cut way down on the amount of dust, litter, and... ah... other materials that were being kicked to the floor.

That said -- with seven cats... well, good luck. Any possibility of getting them to take their business outside?
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:54 AM on March 16, 2007

I got so sick of vacuuming, sweeping, and shaking out litter every day (we were in a small apartment so the litter got EVERYWHERE including in the bed linens) that we bought a $25 paper shredder and we shred newspaper for their litterbox. You have to change it every day, but it's way less messy and it's free (we use the pennysavers and ad circulars tossed in our mailbox). We've been doing this for over three years now. It works great. My cats are older and the vet is surprised they don't mind it at all, but they don't - and kittens are more adaptable than older cats by far.
posted by Melinika at 8:56 AM on March 16, 2007

I use World's Best Cat Litter, and I suggest it to everyone (clumping! flushable! made of corn!). Everyone who actually takes my suggestion ends up loving the litter.

I hate to hijack, but how does this litter do on odor control? I've heard other people recommend this litter.
posted by tastybrains at 8:57 AM on March 16, 2007

Whatever litter and container solutions you decide upon, I've found that a bit of carpet in front of the litter box helps catch litter off my cat's paws before he can track the stuff all over my apartment. IIRC, the current bit of rug I've got in front of his litter box was meant to be a floor-mat for a car. I've also seen perfect-size samples (about 18"x30") at the local surplus-junk store. Carpet stores might also have samples. I just take it outside and shake it really well every week or so.
posted by vytae at 9:03 AM on March 16, 2007

Have you heard about cat box furniture?
posted by cda at 9:17 AM on March 16, 2007

A square of astroturf or a nubby boot mat in front if the box will help knock stray litter off their paws, and then prevent it from getting spread all over the place.
posted by sonofslim at 9:31 AM on March 16, 2007

I've had no luck with litter dust, especially as one of my kitties is a champ at the furious litter scratch. However, I've heard that rubber mats can help -- specifically, the kind of large mat that you might put under a washer (I am blanking on the term, but a call to your local DIY center may provide it).
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:40 AM on March 16, 2007

Clevercat. As already mentioned above: a top entry litter box works for my orange tabby. The lid is covered in small ridges to catch stray litter on exit. I've had my clevercat for almost 3 years. It works great.
posted by chase at 9:42 AM on March 16, 2007

I should buy stock in World's Best.
Here's a personal anecdote that illustrates the odor control:

We recently re-did our apartment to make room for baby (expected in May). My husband's desk/office set-up was moved into a small room that previously was just a sitting room and the home to the cat's litter box. One day, the cat HAD to go, and had to go with him in the room - a first. My husband said that the smell of her poo was overwhelming - this explains why she's so adamant about covering it up.

My point is this: the odor control on World's Best is so good, you don't even realize there's a litter box in the room unless a cat's laying a fresh one.
What does World's Best smell like? It smells like nothing. No perfume. It's not even there.
Of course, I only have one cat - I don't know how even their multi-cat formula will stand up to 7.

The particular reason I recommended it in this thread, for those who think I'm off-track, is that since it's made of corn instead of mined rock, or whatever regular litter is made of, I think it's safer/gentler in terms of inhalation, which is the OP's problem.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 9:48 AM on March 16, 2007

I demand pictures of the kitties before I will help you with this issue. :)
posted by etoile at 9:48 AM on March 16, 2007

World's Best Cat Litter is great at odor control. I love everything about it. Seriously.
posted by Mavri at 9:50 AM on March 16, 2007

We have a Cats Rule litterbox and mat. The traditional box is great because we have a 17 lb cat who digs to China and it's big and deep. The mat is great because it catches all of the clumping litter I was sick of stepping on in our master bathroom.

I am totally a fan. Plus, it's pink.
posted by wildeepdotorg at 10:23 AM on March 16, 2007

I'll second Nature's Miracle litter, which I believe is corn-based rather than clay.

For various reasons I recently had to move my cat's litter box into my bedroom, and shortly thereafter I switched to Nature's Miracle litter, in what turned out to be a successful attempt to keep both of us happy with the arrangement. My cat likes to keep his head outside of the litter box while he uses it, so I can't have a box with a door, but this litter does a great job of keeping the room both odor- and dust-free.
posted by not me at 10:39 AM on March 16, 2007

We covered a wood platform with some old carpeting and put the litter box on top of it. We have wooden floors, and I was surprised how much it cut down on the loose litter and dust. By placing it a little higher on the ground than the rest of the floor, they have to step on the carpet before and after they get in.

We used to have it covered too, but with two cats -- one of which liked to play around and scratch the sides -- it meant that sometimes kitties had to pee while somebody was playing.

You're lucky if your cats help you type. Our biggest trouble maker -- named Dusty, which is funny based on your question -- only likes to sit on the monitor, get her tail in my way so I can't read what I'm typing, and chase the cursor around the screen.

God I hate my bf for making me a crazy cat guy sometimes.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:46 AM on March 16, 2007

I almost picked up one of the Clever Cat boxes listed above for around $30. Instead, I did as also mentioned above: got a big Rubbermaid container for $8 and cut a large hole in the top. There's no litter kicked out ever, and the boys track much less as well.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 11:04 AM on March 16, 2007

We bought a Clever Cat last week. Mostly to keep the dog from snooping around the litter box. Once we got it home and the cats took to it, the "Hey, next time I bet we can get a big rubbermaid container..." brainstorm hit me.
posted by jerseygirl at 11:17 AM on March 16, 2007

My only qualm with the top-entry boxes are if your cat ever gets an injury ... my cat had a fractured hip at one point and is now kind of arthritic, so I know in my case, jumping up & down would be extra stress on his bad leg. The box I noted above is easy for the cats to enter & exit with the same benefit of not allowing litter tracking or dust-flying.
posted by tastybrains at 12:14 PM on March 16, 2007

I'll second the enclosed box and a non-clay-based litter. A couple of them have been mentioned here; I use (well, okay, my cat uses) Feline Pine. My wife, who has a scent detector any good bloodhound would envy, can't detect any cat odor, so it's gotta be good.
posted by bryon at 1:45 PM on March 16, 2007

I'm a World's Best Cat Litter user, as well. It's great stuff and even though she knocks it on the floor it's way less dusty and easier to deal with.
posted by jdl at 3:06 PM on March 16, 2007

We have the same Booda Clean Step litter box that tastybrains recommended. With the top on, it cut down on the tracked litter by probably about half. However, our massive 20 lb Maine Coon mix was afraid of the dark and/or the enclosed space, so we had to take the filter out before he would use it at all, and he eventually got too fat for it and wouldn't use it at all. Since we've taken the top off it, there's more kicked-out and tracked litter around than before, but there's still less around that one than around our other box, which is a simple domed box with the lid off.
posted by FlyingMonkey at 4:06 PM on March 16, 2007

The recycled paper pellet type of litter is less dusty.

One of mine hated that kind so much he kicked out little piles of it -- very neat little piles, mind -- and pissed and shat on these little out-of-the-box piles.

An only slightly inconsiderate form of protest, we thought.

The 'crystals' didn't get kicked out or otherwise tracked around much at all, though.
posted by kmennie at 4:12 PM on March 16, 2007

So many covered box options I didn't know existed! I had a cat pass away in the spring who was VERY picky about his litter and box, so I could never try those. Now I have a nutty almost 1-year-old who loves to dig like crazy, so I am now inspired to get a covered box.

And for etoile, though I didn't post the original question, here are some adorable kitten pix.
posted by FlyByDay at 7:41 PM on March 16, 2007

If you really want to keep the place clean and fresh, toss the little suckers outside. That's what my family did when I was growing up. We'd keep an eye on the kittens, and if one looked like s/he was going to pee or take a dump, it was us kids' duty to pick that animal up and toss it outside. Eventually they all learned. I never had a cat box til I got to college.

I haven't done this, but I've heard of people taking a medium sized Rubbermaid storage container and cutting a hole in the top. Then the exit to their litter box is on the top instead of the side like with traditional hooded cat boxes.

That's kind of what I did when I had seven cats (now down to three through old age attrition). The bottom was 10 inches high by 18" deep and 30" long. The top was the same perimiter but 20" tall. I cut a hole in that 'top' (actually its side) and had THE giganto cat box.

The problem with cutting the hole in the top, btw, is going to be horrendous amonia odor. It won't hurt to get some marine carbon and amonia sucker-uppers to add to the mix. Baking soda is good to mix in, too.

Later, we got the multi cat automagic catbox cleaner-itselfer, wich actually put more dust on the floor, due to gaps in the design.

Experimenting with different litters and boxes is a dangerous pursuit. Be prepared to find that they hate one box or litter. And by this I mean, prepare to find cat poo sitting right outside of the box.

Or your shoes, or anything you might have laid on the floor that smells like you...

I have not found any reliable way to keep kitty litter dust off the floor except to put newspapers down and gather them up when cleaning the box. Now that I'm down to three cats I get the completely disposable litter boxes and change out the whole thing once per week. $3.79 is not too high a price to pay, IMHO, especially with kidlets around.
posted by lysdexic at 8:39 PM on March 16, 2007

I plan to ask my husband to make me something like this...
posted by sLevi at 9:40 PM on March 16, 2007

A note: I tried World's Best cat litter because of all the recommendations in this thread, and I have to say I'm exceedingly disappointed. It works well for urine smells, and doesn't glue to the sides of the litter box like the Tidy Cat did, but it's completely useless against our cats' poo stink.
posted by dmo at 8:50 AM on April 10, 2007

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