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Q: How do I prevent my cat from tracking litter everywhere?
I found litter everywhere. On my floor, couch, and even my bed! The litter box is not even in the same room or anywhere near.
First off, all litter tracks! Sorry for the honest answer (and welcome to the reality of cat ownership).
Your cat paws has small crevices in between the toes and foot pads that are perfect for litter to hide. The litter can also get stuck on the fur, especially if you have long hair cats or has long paw hair.
It is impossible to stop litter from tracking everywhere but you can control how far it spreads.
1. Litter Type
Some litters are better than others in tracking. The performance mainly depends on the shape, size, and weight.
In your quest to find litter with the best tracking record, consider avoiding the following:
- “Lightweight” litter: If it is light for you to carry, it is also light enough to get carried away by your cats. Some of the lightweight ones are also not strong enough to withstand normal pressure and therefore breaks down easily (i.e. dusty).
- Most eco-litter (paper-based, corn-based, etc.): It may not be obvious since the pellets are relatively large. However once they are spent, they break down to small light particles that loves to cling to the paws.
Some of the litter that we have tried and have the best tracking record includes:
- Arm and Hammer Clump and Seal: The sandy-texture gave us an initial impression that it would track far. However the combination of weight and size actually works well to keep it IN the box. Read about our experience here.
- Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats Crystal Litter: Crystal litters in general are larger and heavier than other types of litter and therefore tracks less. We favor this brand as it also does an excellent job at controlling odor.
2. Hair Cut
This advise is more applicable to shaggy (i.e. cats with long hair or long paw hair). The litter particles clings to the fur because of static or physically entangled into the hair.
To reduce the chance of it, consider cutting the tuff on the cat paw (be careful not to accidentally knick your cat’s paws). If your cat is the squirmy-type, I suggest doing this while they are asleep and cut a few at a time.
For cats with long hair, you can consider trimming the hair around the bum. Yes it can look a bit weird if you care about aesthetics but I think a bare bum is pretty dang cute!
Ask your vet for a trim on your next visit. Alternatively, you can consider buying a low noise trimmer and get someone to help you hold your cat. Remember not to trim too close to the surface near their parts. It just has to be short enough that when your cat squats, the hair is not moping the litter box.
3. Litter Mat
As Pokemon says, gotta catch them all! Before it travels too far.
Having a mat outside the litter box will help trap some of the litter stuck on the paws as they leave the box. Some things to consider:
- Go with the carpet or sisal material. Ideally it should be coarse enough but easy to vacuum.
- As an economical option, you can also use a shaggy bath mat. This is more hygienic as you can wash it. On the downside, the mat can easily get caught on their claws and displaced.
- Get a rug that is wide enough. Ideally something that requires half a dozen steps or so to cross.
- For best chance of catching most of the bits, you can lay out a carpet runner along its normal exit route.
- Avoid plastic mats with little nodes sticking out. Some cats seem to hate the feel or texture of it. Some would even go as far as avoiding it all together, which can lead to cats boycotting the litter box.
If space allows, consider containing the litter box in a box or tray.
Even if the litter gets kicked out of the box, it still remains contained instead of on the floor and ready to be stepped on by you.
A good (and cheap) container is a shoe mat. If they are not wide enough (such as in the picture below), you can tape two of them side-by-side and place the litter box above it.
Alternative is a kiddie plastic pool. The sides are low enough for cats to step in and out of and wide enough to give the litter a chance to dislodge from their paws as they walk across.
5. Clean Up
To keep the house from feeling like walking along a sandy beach, sweep or vacuum the area regularly.
Maybe I am a terrible sweeper but I seem to always miss one or two (or a million) granules. I have given up on sweeping and bought myself a Shark cordless vacuum. Lightweight and easy to maneuver, it is a perfect companion for my litter box. Not having to carry heavy vacuum up and down my stairs is awesome! Best part, it has similar performance to Dyson but at much cheaper price.