Is your cat a litter bug?

We put our cat’s litter boxes in laundry rooms, spare bathrooms, maybe an unused closet or enclosed back porch but wherever we put them the same problem exists — scattered litter.

Cats cover their business, some more enthusiastically than others, and often spray the litter outside the box.

There are some simple solutions to curtailing the problem. Note, I don’t claim we can eliminate the littered covered floor completely.

My cats have always enjoyed covered cat boxes. This style offers them some privacy and helps a bit in keeping the litter in the box. But litter comes out when the cat jumps out.

My daughter’s cat, Robby, is a broadcasting litter scatterer. Living in an apartment the locations are limited for the cat’s box. It’s in the one and only bathroom and Robby likes to kick out his litter. She has put rugs in front of the box, put boxes in front of boxes and changed litter, but Robby continue to spread the litter all over the floor.

Litter boxes don't have to be fancy. A plastic tub inside a cardboard box with an astro turf type rug can help reduce the amount of litter on the floor.
Litter boxes don’t have to be fancy. A plastic tub inside a cardboard box with an astro turf type rug can help reduce the amount of litter on the floor.

Everyone seems to have a different way to control this. The only guaranteed way is having a broom and dustpan handy. If you have a cat you will be sweeping.

Keep the litter clean. If the cat has to move around the litter to find a clean spot to go she will kick out litter.

Put the box inside a high side cardboard box. This allows the cat to spread the litter but it will be primarily contained in the cardboard box. But then you have to empty that box as well.

Another tip is to take a covered plastic storage bin and cut a large hole in the lid. put a litter box inside, snap the lid closed and the cat has to jump out of the hole in the top.

Making it too hard on your cat may result in them finding a secluded corner or your closet to do their business.

There are cat litter boxes that reportedly “clean themselves.” Folks that have tried these tell me the motor on the mechanism that “rakes” the litter drives the cat away.

What type of litter do you use? I keep to basic clay litter. There is a bit of dust when initially poured into the litter box but the cat seems to be happy with this. There is also clumping litter and litter with absorbing crystals. Not as big a fan of these. You really don’ t want a litter that covers the smell so well that you don’t clean the box regularly. Litter boxes need to be sifted out at least every other day depending on your cat.

If you change litter type, do so gradually by mixing the old litter with the new 75 percent old and 25 percent new the first week, 50/50 the second week, 25 old/75 percent new the third week until finally 100 percent the new litter. Most cats are not fond of change and litter is a very personal thing for most of them. Ease them into the new litter.

There are a few reasons a cat may stop using the litter box:

1. New litter has been introduced and he doesn’t like it

2. The litter in the box is dirty

3. The cat has a urinary issue. If you have not changed litter and keep the box clean, please take your cat to the vet. Animals can’t tell us when they are hurting so they will change their habits, like going outside the box.

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