How to Eliminate Cat Litter Tracking in Your Home

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Litter tracking is a common problem among cat owners that can be both frustrating and unsanitary. Understanding your cat’s behavior and the factors that contribute to litter tracking, such as litter selection, litter box placement, and maintenance, is essential in finding a solution. A litter mat, a lid on the litter box, and a designated scratching area can all help to keep litters in the box and out of your home. Additionally, using non-clumping litters, sifting litter box, and a grooming tool can also help to reduce tracking. With the right tools and a little patience, training your cat to use the litter box properly and controlling litter odor can be achieved through positive reinforcement. This article will explore these various factors in detail and provide tips on how to stop cat litter tracking.

Why cat litter tracking?

Tracking

Understanding the cause of litter tracking is the first step in finding a solution. Cats have a natural instinct to bury their waste, which is why they may kick or scatter litter outside of the box. However, there are several other factors that can contribute to litter tracking as well.

One of the main causes is the type of litter being used. Clumping litters, for example, may be more prone to tracking as they form clumps when wet. Alternatively, non-clumping litters may be less likely to track.

The size and location of the litter box can also play a role. A box that is too small for your cat may not provide enough room for them to move around and bury their waste, leading to tracking. Similarly, a box placed in a high-traffic area of your home may be more likely to track than one placed in a more secluded spot.

Proper maintenance of the litter box is also crucial in preventing tracking. A dirty or overflowing box can lead to your cat avoiding it altogether and finding other places to go, which can result in tracking.

How to stop cat litter tracking

Choosing the right type of litter

Choosing the right type of litter can make a big difference in reducing or preventing litter tracking. There are several types of litters available, each with their own pros and cons.

Non-clumping litters, such as clay or silica gel litters, are less likely to track as they do not form clumps when wet. They also tend to be more affordable and have lower dust levels compared to clumping litters. However, they may require more frequent cleaning and replacement.

Natural litters, such as those made from wood, paper or corn, are biodegradable and are more environmentally friendly. They also tend to have lower dust levels and are less likely to track. However, they may be more expensive and not as absorbent as traditional clay or silica gel litters.

It’s a good idea to experiment with different types of litters to find one that works best for you and your cat. Keep in mind that what works for one cat may not work for another, so it’s important to be patient and persistent in trying different options.

Litter odor control

Odor control also be an aspect of reducing litter tracking. A litter deodorizer or an odor-control litter can help to reduce the amount of tracking by controlling the odor of the litters. When the litters smell bad, cats may avoid using the litter box or may start using other areas of the house as a toilet. This can lead to tracking. By using a deodorizer or an odor-control litter, you can control the smell of the litters, which can encourage your cat to use the box more consistently and reduce the amount of tracking.

Non-clumping litters

Non-clumping

Non-clumping litters are one option that can help to reduce tracking. Unlike clumping litters, which form clumps when they come into contact with moisture, non-clumping litters do not form clumps and are less likely to stick to your cat’s paws. This means that there is less litter to be kicked out of the box and tracked around your home.

Another option is to use litters made from natural materials, such as corn, wheat, or pine. These types of litters are also less likely to track and can be more environmentally friendly. Some of them also have natural odor control properties.

Some cats may be picky about the type of litter they use, so you may need to experiment with different types to find one that your cat is comfortable with. Be sure to pay attention to your cat’s behavior and preferences when trying out new litters to find the one that works best for you.

Using a litter mat

How does litter mat work

Using a litter mat is an effective solution for preventing cat litter tracking. A litter mat is a mat that is placed outside of the litter box, typically in front of the box’s entrance. The mat is designed to catch any excess litters that may be kicked out of the box by your cat, preventing them from spreading throughout your home.

Litter mats come in a variety of materials, such as rubber, plastic or mesh, and can be found in different sizes and shapes to fit your space.

Choose a mat that is large enough to catch any litters your cat may kick out of the box, but not so large that it becomes a tripping hazard. It’s also recommended to place the mat in a spot where it’s easy to clean, such as a spot that’s easy to vacuum or sweep.

Regularly cleaning the mat is also important, as a dirty mat can discourage your cat from using it. You can use a vacuum cleaner or a damp cloth to clean it.

Placing a litter mat outside of the litter box can help to catch any excess litters and make it easier to clean up, preventing them from spreading throughout your home. This can help to keep your home cleaner, while also encouraging your cat to use the litter box properly.

Litter box lid or barrier

Top Entry Litter Box

Using a lid or small barrier around the litter box can also be an effective solution for preventing litter tracking. A lid on the litter box can help to contain any kicked-up litters, preventing them from spreading throughout your home. It also provides a sense of privacy and security for your cat and can help to reduce any unwanted odors.

Similarly, a small barrier placed around the litter box can also help to contain any kicked-up litters. This can be achieved by placing a small wall or partition around the litter box, which can help to contain any litters that may be kicked out of the box.

But not all cats prefer or feel comfortable using a litter box with a lid or barrier. Some cats may feel trapped or claustrophobic and may refuse to use the box.  Observe your cat’s behavior and make sure they are using the litter box comfortably before implementing a lid or barrier.

Make sure that the lid or barrier you choose is the right size for your cat and that it’s easy to clean. Lids and barriers can be found in a variety of materials, such as plastic or wood, and can be found in different sizes and styles to fit your space.

Keeping the litter box clean and well-maintained

Keeping the litter box clean and well-maintained is essential in preventing litter tracking. Regularly cleaning and replacing the litter can help to maintain a hygienic environment for your cat and reduce the amount of tracking.

Scoop the litter box daily, removing any waste and clumps to keep the box clean and reduce odors. It’s also a good idea to perform a deep cleaning of the box at least once a week, where you would remove all of the litter and wash the box with warm water and mild soap.

Replace the litter on a regular basis, as old litters can become compacted and less effective at trapping waste and odors. The frequency of replacement will depend on the type of litter you’re using and the number of cats in your household.

Another important aspect of litter box maintenance is controlling odors. You can do this by using odor control products or by using litters with odor control properties.

Keep the litter box in a quiet, accessible location where your cat feels comfortable using it. Avoid placing the box in areas with high traffic or loud noises, as this can make your cat less likely to use the box.

By keeping the litter box clean and well-maintained, you can help to reduce tracking and maintain a hygienic environment for your cat, which is more likely to encourage your cat to use the box properly.

Litter training

Litter training is an important aspect of preventing litter tracking. By consistently using positive reinforcement and providing your cat with a designated scratching area, you can help to train them to use the litter box properly and reduce the amount of tracking.

When do Kittens start litter training

Positive reinforcement is a powerful training tool that can be used to encourage your cat to use the litter box properly. This can be done by providing your cat with a treat or praise when they use the box correctly, and redirecting them to the box when they make a mistake.

Providing your cat with a designated scratching area is also needed in litter training. Cats have a natural urge to scratch, so providing them with a scratching post or other designated area can help to redirect their scratching behavior away from furniture and other household items. This can help to reduce tracking by keeping your cat’s claws trimmed and less likely to kick up litters.

Litter training play a role in reducing tracking. Consistently using positive reinforcement, such as praising your cat or offering a treat when they use the litter box correctly, can help to train them to use the box properly and reduce tracking. Providing your cat with a designated scratching area, such as a scratching post or mat, can also help to train them to use the litter box properly and reduce tracking. This can prevent them from scratching other areas of your home and reduce the amount of litters that are tracked.

You should introduce them to the litter box at an early age, while they are still kittens, so they can learn to use it correctly. Also, providing enough litter boxes, one per cat plus one extra, and placing them in different locations of the house can also help to reduce the chance of tracking. Make sure that the litter box is the right size and shape for your cat. Cats prefer litter boxes that are large enough for them to comfortably move around in and that have low sides, so they can easily get in and out.

Scratching area

Providing your cat with a designated scratching area will help to encourage them to use the scratching area instead of the litters box, reducing the amount of tracking. Cats have a natural urge to scratch, and if they don’t have a designated area to do so, they may start scratching the litters box or other areas of your home. By providing them with a scratching area, such as a scratching post or mat, you can redirect their scratching behavior to a specific area and reduce the amount of tracking.

Scratching

But, you should know different cats have different preferences for scratching surfaces, some like vertical surfaces like a scratching post, others like horizontal surfaces like a mat. Therefore, you may need to provide a variety of scratching surfaces to find the one that your cat prefers. And placing the scratching area close to the litter box can also help to encourage your cat to use the scratching area instead of the litters box, which can further reduce the amount of tracking.

Using a sifting litter box

sifting litter box

Using a sifting litter box is another solution that can help to reduce the amount of tracking. These types of litter boxes have a removable sifting tray that allows for easy removal of waste and clumps without having to scoop the entire box. This can help to reduce the amount of tracking by making it easier to remove waste and clumps that can be kicked up by your cat.

Sifting litter boxes typically have a bottom tray that holds the litter and a removable sifting tray that sits on top. When you need to remove waste and clumps, you simply lift the sifting tray and the waste falls through the holes into a separate tray or container. This makes it easy to remove the waste without having to scoop the entire box, which can help to reduce the amount of tracking.

In addition, some sifting litter boxes come with a grooving tool. This tool can be used to rake through the litters, helping to break up clumps and make it easier to remove waste.

Sifting litter boxes do require more maintenance than traditional litter boxes, as the sifting tray will need to be cleaned and the litters will need to be replaced more often. However, the added maintenance can be well worth it if you are looking to reduce the amount of tracking.

Grooming tool

Grooming

Grooming tool is an important aspect of preventing litter tracking. Using a cat-specific grooming tool to remove any excess litters from your cat’s paws before they leave the box can also help to reduce tracking. This can be done by using a small brush or a rubber grooming tool to gently wipe or brush your cat’s paws as they leave the litter box.

A grooming tool can be used to remove any excess litters that may be stuck to your cat’s paws, preventing them from tracking the litters throughout your home. This is especially important when using a clumping litter that tends to stick to the cat’s paws.

But not all cats will tolerate having their paws touched or brushed, so introduce the grooming tool gradually and be patient with your cat. Start by allowing your cat to sniff the tool, then gently touch their paws with it, and finally brushing their paws.

Make sure that the grooming tool you are using is cat-specific, as some tools can be too harsh or may cause irritation. Look for tools that are made from soft, flexible materials, and that are designed for use on cats.

Litter box placement

Litter box placement is important when trying to minimize litter tracking. Placing the litter box in a low-traffic area of your home can help to reduce the amount of litters that are kicked up and tracked throughout your home. Avoiding high-traffic areas, such as near doorways or in the middle of a room, can also help to reduce the chances of litters being tracked. Additionally, placing the litter box in a quiet and private area can help to make your cat feel more comfortable when using it. This can encourage them to use the box more consistently and reduce the amount of tracking.

Conclusion

Litter tracking is a common problem among cat owners, but it can be prevented with the right solutions. Understanding the cause of litter tracking, such as cat behavior and litter selection, is the first step in finding the right solution. Implementing a combination of these solutions can help to effectively reduce the amount of litter tracking and make it more hygienic and comfortable for both you and your cat.

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Alix Wilson

Alix Wilson is Veterinarian at Center for Avian & Exotic Medicine. She has always had a passion and love for animals. She attended Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine for her undergraduate degree. Alix graduated from Ross in 2005. Follow me on: Linkedin

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