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How To Reduce Cat Litter Tracking

How To Reduce Cat Litter Tracking

Part of having a cat in the family is having to clean the litter box and unfortunately, it might entail dealing with trails of litter along the floor, on the carpet, and even on the furniture.  Chances are that most of us have had to grab the broom and sweep up clumps of cat litter throughout the home, and at one time or another, have wondered the best was to stop tracking.  The good news is that there are several ways to limit cat litter tracking in your home, and this article provides a few suggestions.

Ways To Reduce Cat Litter Tracking

Below are listed nine ways to limit cat litter tracking, and you can try just one, or a combination of these suggestions.  It may take a bit of experimenting in finding which solution is best for you, but it can be worth it.

Use a different kind of cat litter

One of the main causes of litter tracking is traditional clay litters.  These are the most readily available and economical of commercial cat litters, however, clay litters also are the most notorious for getting stuck to your cat’s paws.  You can first try purchasing a different kind of litter apart from clay litter, such as low tracking cat litter, pine, corn, wheat, wood pellets, paper, or other kinds of natural litters.  There are a variety of products available, and it may be worth it to experiment with different brands.

Use a cat litter mat

Another solution to reduce tracking is to use a cat litter mat or rug.  Most mats are made of silicone rubber, which is waterproof and traps litter scatters that fall from your cat’s paws after using the litter box.  Litter mats and rugs are sort of like a doormat for your cat, where the tiny woven fibers are designed to trap the tracked litter particles, which will stop litter tracking.  Litter mats and rugs can be purchased, or you can try making your own by using a piece of carpet remnant, or a deep-pile bath mat or small rug. If you end up using this method, remember that you need to clean the mat as well, or the litter area can get pretty stinky!

Put the litter box in a tub

Relocating the cat litter box to a bathtub is also an option to limit litter tracking.  Although this may not be an option for some owners, or cats with mobility issues, placing your cat’s litter box in a tub can help limit litter tracking around the house, and keeps it contained in the tub.  This may entail frequent sweeping and cleaning of the tub, but it can help prevent litter from tracking.

Use litter box furniture

Using litter box furniture can also help, and these come in a variety of forms including benches or decorative side tables.  Cat furniture litter boxes can be quite decorative, and can easily fit with your home décor.  These choices can also help reduce litter tracking as the litter boxes in these products are self-contained.  If you decide on this approach, letting your cat adjust to the furniture litter box and its location is important, as well as placing it in a quiet area with limited traffic.

Use a larger container or a bigger litter box

Using a larger litter box or a larger container can also help.  Oftentimes larger cats may not have enough room in the litter box to do their business or turn around, and this can cause a build-up of litter messes outside of the litter box.  Owners can also consider using litter boxes with higher walls to keep litter material inside the litter box.

Get a new litter box

Another tip is to try different litter boxes.  As mentioned above, owners can try a larger litter box, a litter box with higher sides, a covered litter box, a top entry litter box, or an automatic self-cleaning litter box.  There are a wide variety of boxes available, from rectangular and dome-shaped, to covered, semi-covered, and even litter boxes with steps.  If you have a few extra dollars, it may be worth experimenting with a couple of different kinds of boxes and see which one works the best.

Remove excess hair from your cat’s paws

If you have an exceptionally “hairy” cat or a domestic long-haired cat, chances are that they have quite a bit of fur between their footpads.  Groomers can easily trim the hair between the pads to reduce litter getting caught in those areas, or you can try trimming at home.  However, it is important to avoid accidentally cutting or clipping the skin of your cat on their paw pads.  If you would like to try this approach, it may be best to schedule an appointment with a groomer or your veterinarian. Here is a video to introduce you to what needs to be done to trim the hair on your cat’s paws. If litter gets stuck in your cat’s paws, see our article on how to wash it off.

Clean the litter box more frequently

Although this may seem obvious, cleaning the litter box may help reduce tracking as well.  Sometimes litter that gets trapped in your cat’s paws is moist and sticky, especially after your cat has urinated in the box.  Cleaning the litter more often and ensuring that it is free of “deposits” may help.  Also, if you have multiple cats and only one litter box, some cats will avoid the litter box completely and do their “business” outside of the litter box, making for a smelly and messy cleanup.   

Change the location of the litter box

cat looking up while sitting in litter box

Sometimes changing the location of the litter box can help.  For example, placing it in a laundry room or garage, far from the kitchen, bedroom, or living room areas.  Placing the box in a carpet-free room may also help, like a workroom or storage room.  This can make for faster cleaning without having to vacuum. If you plan on moving the litter box, here is our advice for that.


It can be annoying to sit on the couch and realize that your sitting in scattered cat litter.  It can also be a nuisance to see trails of litter tracked about your floors and carpets as well.  However, cat owners have several options to reduce cat litter tracking outside the box, and although it may take a bit of research and experimenting, there are several ways to tackle this problem.  If you are a pet owner and are tired of litter tracks throughout your home and on your furniture, there is hope and chances are one of the suggestions listed above can solve your problem.