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How Do I Keep the Litter in the Box?

Q: Dear Nora,
My cat kicks litter all over the floor. I’ve heard that cats don’t like covered litter boxes, so I want to avoid them, but I’m running out of patience. Do I have other options? 

iamthegreatwent @ Instagram
iamthegreatwent @ Instagram

A: You’re right to steer clear of the average covered litter box. We’re wild at heart, and always assume that there’s someone waiting to pounce. So when it comes to litter boxes, we like to be able to see what’s around us and have multiple exits– especially if there are other animals living in the home.

There are litter boxes on the market that have tall sides. Boxes with high sides are great, as long as your cat isn’t a kitten or arthritic. This box is also great– it has the benefits of a covered litter box, but gives your cat the ability to see if anyone is lurking outside.

How Can I Reduce Litter Tracking?

Q: Dear Nora,
We use pine litter in our cat’s litter box and generally like it, except that we find it tracked all over our home! What can we do to minimize the mess? 

iamthegreatwent @ instagram
iamthegreatwent @ instagram

A: If you hate finding litter tracked throughout your home, pine is the worst choice of litter for you. Our little kitty feet can trap an amazing amount of litter and we can trap even more with fine-textured pine. There are some options though.

If you are set on pine, put a textured mat outside the litter box. The mat will release the litter (most of it, at least). Some cats hate the texture of mats though and will avoid the litter box if you use one, so have a mat-free box available while you’re introducing the mat, to make sure your cat won’t do her business elsewhere.

If your kitty has extra tufty toes like I do, it helps to trim the hair between them (only to be the length of the pad of her foot– don’t actually trim between her toes). If you don’t feel totally confident that you can trim the hair without cutting her pads (ouch!) take her to a groomer.

If you want to reduce tracking even more, consider using a litter that is made of larger granules. You can even switch to the pine pellets. The bigger granules are less likely to get stuck between toes and tracked throughout your home– especially combined with a mat outside the box.