Keeping an animal around the house is lovely. It has to be, right, otherwise why would we have gone to the trouble of domesticating them in the first place? And sure enough, there’s plenty of plus points. There’s the affection, the company, the playing… the list goes on. But even the most committed pet lover would agree that in amongst the benefits, there’s a couple of niggling little nuisances. Nuisances we could all do without. Take cat litter. It’s useful, it’s necessary, it has a purpose… when it’s in the box. When it’s out of the box and scattered across your bedsheets (or even worse, your kitchen surfaces), it’s not. It’s annoying… in some cases, it’s downright unsanitary. But what can you do? Unless you train your cat to do their business the same place you do yours, it’s just something to grin and bear, right? Wrong. If you prefer your litter to stay in the litter tray, there’s plenty you can do to keep it there. Without further ado, here’s how to keep cat litter from tracking.
Get a Hooded Litter Box
If you want to cut back on cat litter tracking, you might need to consider a new box. If the sides of the one you have now are too shallow, your cat won’t have too much trouble flinging the litter out. If you want to beat them at their own game, invest in a hooded box. Or, even better, do as petsafe.net suggests and opt for one with both a hood and a door flap. As well as being super effective at keeping litter where it belongs, a lidded box will do wonders at trapping in any undesirable odors. On the flip side, not all cats will tolerate them – if your cat objects, look for a tray with the highest sides you can find.
Use a Different Type of Cat Litter
Unless you use shredded sheets of newspaper as litter, you’re going to struggle to find a type that doesn’t track to at least some extent. But some types do have a tendency to track more than most. In catster.com’s opinion, litter made from heavyweight materials like wood or newspaper pellets track less than lighter ones. Try changing your usual type for another – you might be surprised at the difference it makes.
Get a Litter Mat
According to catingtonpost.com, one of the best things you can do to reduce tracking is to invest in a litter mat. Just make sure it’s a good one. A small one made from a flimsy material is unlikely to do anything other than waste your money. The mat needs to be large enough to extend all around the perimeters of the litter box (if it’s too small, your cat will simply jump over it), and made of a material that your cat doesn’t object to – some prefer soft, velvety materials, while others prefer a sturdier option. Although you can use a regular mat, your best chances of success lie with a purpose-designed litter mat. As well as being large enough for the intended purpose, specially-made litter mats (especially those with a dual structure) are constructed in such a way as to trap litter and facilitate easy cleanup.
And Then Another Mat
One litter mat is good. Two are even better. Although actually, the 2nd mat doesn’t need to be a ‘litter mat’, per se – not a purpose-built one, in any case, despite the fact its function will be much the same. While the litter mat you use directly next to the tray should do a great job of catching the worst of the litter rainfall, there’s still a good chance your cat will end up carrying enough litter on their paws to transfer to the rest of the house. Laying a length of carpet (look for one about three feet long) leading away from the first mat will help catch those last remaining pieces of debris before they get anywhere else.
Trim Your Cat’s Toe Hair
This method only really applies to long-haired cats, but as they tend to be the worst offenders when it comes to litter tracking, it’s worth a mention anyway. Recommended by catthink.com, the process really is as simple as it sounds. Once your cat is in a quiet, relaxed mood (we appreciate this may take a while for some cats, if they ever get there at all), simply hold one of their legs gently and use a pair of scissors to very carefully trim the long fur around their toes, stopping at the level of their paw pads. If you’re worried about going anywhere near your cat with a sharp instrument, it may be worth getting them professionally groomed instead.
Use Less Litter
It may seem obvious, but sometimes, the reason for excess litter around the house comes down to excess litter in the tray. Some people like to empty almost an entire bag of litter into a tray at a time. But really, there’s no need. 2- 3 inches is plenty enough for your cat.
Scoop, Scoop, Scoop
As you may have guessed from all the personal grooming they do, cats like things to be ship-shape and shiny at all times. If their litter tray is dirty, they’ll try their best to find a clean spot to use – which means lots of digging, lots of kicking, and lots of litter over your nice clean floor. Give them (and yourself) a helping hand by scooping the litter regularly. As soon as they poop, it’s time to scoop. Be sure to give the entire litter a refresh as often as needed, as well – just how often will depend on your cat and the type of litter you use.
Give Each Cat Their Own Tray
If you have more than one cat, make sure you have more than one litter box. The more cats that share a tray, the dirtier that tray is going to get… and as we’ve already seen, a dirty tray combined with a scrupulous cat means only one thing – tracked litter. Although the extra trays may seem like extra money and extra space, they’ll soon pay for themselves in less vacuuming and less nasty surprise on your bedsheets.