5 Tips for Controlling Tracking and Spreading Cat Litter

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Do you have cat litter that doesn’t scatter? How do you keep litter off the floor? Do you have a litter tray that doesn’t scatter? Solving the Cat Litter Scattering Problem

Cat litter scattering is one of the most common complaints we receive from cat owners. No matter where you place the litter box, litter will end up everywhere: on the floor, in your shoes, on the bed, etc! It is not uncommon to have to brush sand off the soles of their feet before putting on socks.


Litter buildup is caused by sand sticking to the cat’s feet and hair after using the litter tray. Many cats also like to “dig” in the litter box, kicking sand all over the floor. They then walk around in this sand and carry it to every corner of the house.

So is there a cat litter that doesn’t leave a mark? How do you keep cat litter off the floor? Is there really such a thing as a litter box that doesn’t leave marks? With these tips, you can reduce the amount of cat litter footprints left throughout your living space.

1. Is there cat litter that does not leave marks? Review the type of cat litter you are using.

When it comes to cat litter tracking, think about the type of litter you’re using. Photography ©AH86 | Thinkstock.

Are there types of cat litter that do not leave footprints? Some types of cat litter tend to leave marks. In my (unscientific) experience, light cat litter is more likely to leave marks than heavy cat litter. Also, newspaper pellets do not seem to leave marks at all. That said, we don’t usually have much say in which type of litter our cats prefer, so there are a few things that might be helpful to them no matter which type of litter you use.

2. How do I keep litter off the floor? Use a broom and vacuum frequently.

This may be self-explanatory, but keeping the litter from getting scattered around the litter box will help keep litter tracking down. Sweeping several times a day will reduce the problem. I keep a broom and dustpan next to the trash can and a vacuum cleaner on a nearby chest of drawers. One woman told me that a non-electric drum vacuum cleaner also works well.

3. Do you have a trash can that does not leave marks? Keep the toilet tray closed.

If you have a spare bathroom, a bathtub or shower is a good place to put the litter tray. If your cat is older, arthritic, or a kitten, a bathtub may not be a good choice, but for other cats, a bathtub is definitely worth a try.

You might also consider investing in a plastic kiddie pool. If you place a litter tray in the pool (not filled with water, of course, haha), the cat can kick the litter box as much as it likes, and the litter is trapped inside the pool. Theoretically, by the time the cat jumps out of the pool, most of the litter should already have fallen off his feet.

Another way to reduce litter is to use a large storage tub with high sides and a doorway on one side. Be sure to sand the edges of the hole so that the baby doesn’t cut himself getting in and out. Place the litter tray inside the storage tub so that the cat has to take a few steps to the floor after using the litter tray.

Placing a tray under the litter tray also helps. I use a large plastic washing machine tray under the litter tray.

For a more stylish look, consider “cat furniture” like the Kattbank bench. This is a decorative bench with a litter box and a plastic divider to hold the litter so the cat has to go through the plastic divider to get off the bench.

4. Do you have a litter tray that cannot be cleaned? Rethink your trash cans.

A high-sided litter box might help control cat litter tracking. Photography ©JoSchw10 | Thinkstock.

A raised litter box like the “Miss NVR” can go a long way toward solving the problem of litter (and cats peeing indiscriminately). If you do it yourself, you can use the aforementioned deep, tall plastic storage box and pour the litter directly into it to make a toilet.

A top-entry litter box can help eliminate splatter and tracking problems. The cat can kick the litter up and pop it out the top, hopefully leaving most of the litter in the box.

5. How can I prevent sand from falling on the floor? Use a rug or mat to keep litter from flying around.

There are many rugs and mats available to catch the litter that sticks to your cat’s feet when it gets out of the litter tray. Choose from grooved rubber mats, sisal hemp rugs, and many others. Even plain carpets or carpet scraps can be effective in trapping sand. Soft, dark-colored bath mats are also effective.

When choosing the size of the mat or rug, consider allowing the cat to “walk on the red carpet” after using the litter box. Spread the carpet about three feet outward from the toilet so that the sand has enough time to fall off the cat’s claws.

Any of these suggestions will help reduce the amount of litter that gets scattered or left in the house. But just like scooping the litter box or getting up early in the morning, tracking small amounts of litter is a part of life for cat owners. But isn’t it worth it?

Tell me, what are your tips for controlling cat litter? What kind of cat litter do you use? What kind of litter tray do you use?

By Caroline Golon

Thumbnail:  Photography by Africa Studio / Shutterstock. 

This piece was originally published in 2018. 

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