Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
How do I stop my cat, Lucky, from kicking his litter out of his litter box? It’s starting to wreck my floors and I really don’t want to have to pay for my floors to get fixed.
Thomas: Litter kicking is a natural part of litter box behavior, because it’s a part of burying our waste. However, when the kicking gets litter all over the floor, that can present a problem. But fear not: We have some tips for you!
Bella: First things first: one very common litter box mistake that people make is to get a litter box that’s too small. Your adult cat isn’t going to fit into the little box you got him when he was a kitten.
Tara: So, Les-Leigh, our first recommendation is that you get a larger and high-sided litter box. One such box is the Nature’s Miracle High-Sided Litter Box — we recommend this one because it’s the one we use, and Mama finds that it keeps the litter in because it’s big enough for us and the sides are almost a foot high.
Thomas: You can get this litter box online or through your local pet store.
Bella: Another option that a lot of people use is to turn a large storage tote into a litter box because that’s got really high sides! You can find instructions on how to make a litter box out of a storage tote here. (We’d recommend using a see-through tote and not putting a hood on top.)
Tara: Another thing you should do is get a litter mat or put down a good-size throw rug under the litter box to catch the litter particles.
Thomas: Mama and her sister have had good luck with simple IKEA Hampen throw rugs (which come in a variety of colors) when trying to keep litter off hardwood or linoleum floors.
Bella: But here in our new house where we have carpets everywhere, Mama has turned to the Blackhole Litter Mat, which is an awesome two-layer mat that sweeps litter off cats’ paws when they walk out of the box and keeps it in another layer that allows you to simply dump the litter into the garbage from time to time.
Tara: One other thing to check: Have you been putting too much or too little litter in your box? Cats prefer 2 to 3 inches of litter in their box.
Thomas: More than that depth is wasteful because the extra will get kicked out. But if your cat’s litter is too shallow, he’s going to have to kick it all over the place to find enough litter to adequately bury his waste.
Bella: You’ll also want to consider which litter you’re using. Some litters — clay ones, for example — are more abrasive than grain-based litters and could cause more damage to your floors.
Tara: Also, wood or paper pellets tend to go flying very easily. Cats prefer a sandy substrate rather than one with big lumps they have to walk on. Sandy litters also make it easier to bury waste.
Thomas: So, Les-Leigh, try getting a larger, high-sided litter box or making one from a storage container; use throw rugs or litter mats to keep the litter off the floor; and if you’re not using a sandy or fine-textured litter, try that, too.
Bella: Do you other readers have any tips about how Les-Leigh can keep her kitty from kicking litter all over the place? What’s worked for you?
Tara: Please share your experiences in the comments!