In my 5 years of being a cat dad, I’ve had too many experiences with litter being tracked all over the house. As much as I love my cats, what I love more is sleeping in a litter-free bed each night. This used to feel unobtainable, especially because we have two little rascals that love running around the apartment.
Sometimes it feels like my cats are plotting against me and trying to make the apartment as messy as they can make it. This is especially true of Kalista who will rip up cardboard boxes or even little bits of paper whenever she’s bored and doesn’t want to play with her toys. The most annoying little habit she’s picked up is running to our bed immediately after using the litterbox to clean herself. Can’t she see that there are other comfy spots she can use to clean herself? What a little nut!
So as many pet parents have, we’ve turned to things like top entry litter boxes and litter mats to reduce the amount of tracking.
THE BIGGER THE MAT, THE BETTER!
In general, it’s a good idea to grab a large litter mat since cats are known for being jumpers, especially when it comes to litterboxes.
Many cats seem to get a burst of energy as soon as they’ve done their business and I like to joke with my partner that it’s because they feel so much lighter.
The majority of litter mats don’t work for pet parents, because they are too small. On a similar point, many litter mats slide away when cats jump onto them making them virtually useless.
Currently, the cat who I’m babysitting has 2 litter mats in front of the same litter box that are fairly small. Every time I go to check on him to clean after him his litter mats are halfway across the room. That being said, any litter that the litter mats did catch is often spilled onto the floor from the rambunctious sliding they experienced.
Sometimes Kalista, who is extremely high energy, will get the zoomies and will dart across the apartment terrorizing any of the litter mats she sees. It was cute at first, but truthfully all it made us do was buy larger litter mats so they could be tucked in under the litterbox.
While having a large litter mat is a great start, to ensure that it doesn’t get pulled out from under the litterbox you have to make sure that the litterbox is heavy enough so your cats can’t pull the mat from right under it. Having at least an inch of litter in your litterbox should be adequate to make sure that the litterbox doesn’t move when your cats are running around. Note that this will depend on your cat breed as larger breeds such as Mainecoons will be able to move heavier objects.
*~-~* PETS OVERLOAD FAMILY FAVOURITE *~-~*
This is by far my favourite basic litter mat. It sizes in at 35″ x 23″ (or even larger at 47″ x 35″) and can easily be placed under a litterbox.
Similar to the majority of litter mats, this litter mat is made out of a mesh to help trap litter inside. Although I will have to admit that sometimes litter that doesn’t fall into the mesh pods gets spread onto the floor, it is fairly minimal.
The Gorilla Grip mat is also durable very. We’ve been using ours for 3 years now and it doesn’t really show any signs of use. Though this is true, any Gorilla Grip mat is actually under a 10-year warranty, so if you have cats that love to sink their nails into everything this may be the mat for you.
The Gorilla Grip mat claims to be one of the softer litter mats, which I personally can’t confirm or deny. While it is true that a cat’s paws are sensitive, neither of my cats seem to mind the surfaces they walk on (when it comes to litter mats). That being said, some cats have been known to avoid walking on certain surfaces, especially mats, they are too prickly or troublesome.
I would say that this litter mat is moderately easy to clean. But truthfully, that’s what lets you know that you have a good mat. Litter doesn’t scatter all over the place when the mat is shaken, and although frustrating at some points, not all of the litter will fall out of the fibres.
We always have to take a vacuum to the mat to ensure that it is fully clean.
In my opinion, the extra-large mat should be big enough, though the jumbo looks terrific for larger litter boxes, extremely troublesome kitties or multiple litterboxes in the same area.
The Pawkin Cat Litter Mat is extremely similar to the litter mat above, although it has a different pattern than the Gorilla. Though this is true, I haven’t noticed a difference between the mats.
I guess there is one difference between them, and it’s the fact that there is less indentation on this mat compared to the Gorilla mat. Though this is true, it doesn’t really make a difference in the way that the product works.
To me, I would make the choice solely on your preference of style.
To be honest, this is my favourite design of all of the litter mats. Thing is, I don’t mean because of how well it works, but for how adorable it is.
It’s a design that to me is very homely. If I had a playroom for my cats where there needed to be multiple litterboxes I would absolutely place this mat. Does anyone else feel that way?
This mat features fairly large crevices for litter to fall into. Due to how large the litter mat is, this shouldn’t hinder the user’s experience. It comes in at a whopping 47″ x 36″. Depedant on how big your litterbox is, you may be able to even squeeze three in, though honestly, we would only be able to squeeze two maximum due to how large one of our litter boxes is.
It has a non-slip material on the bottom of the mat, though due to the size and weight of the mat it shouldn’t slip anywhere, especially if your litterboxes have a good amount of litter in them.
-~*~- THE NEXT ON OUR LIST TO TRY -~*~-
By far this is the most interesting mat I’ve ever seen. Although I haven’t tried it yet, I love the fact that it’s extremely simple to use and will ensure that you don’t waste litter.
The Pieviev Cat Litter Mat has honeycombs made from a rubber material that allows all tracked litter to drop into a cloth compartment. Though the bottom element is made from cloth, it is waterproof and is 100% washable.
Even if you don’t want to reuse the litter that was tracked, you can easily vacuum it or shake it out.
This litter mat comes in at an average 30″ x 24″ making it difficult for a cat to get across it without touching it.
Other perks about this litter mat include the fact that it is BPA free as well as Phthalate free. It is also extremely soft on paws and shouldn’t cause any discomfort for cats.
I’ll be honest in saying that I really don’t know how I feel about this mat, and similar to the mat above… it’s because of the pattern.
This mat features the largest crevices for litter to fall into. Although this is true, they’ve done a good job of making sure that none of these crevices have open spaces, making sure that litter gets sealed into the carpet.
Truthfully, it’s probably a blessing that the mat is designed this way because it will make it easier to shake out or vacuum. It will all just depend on whether or not your cat scrapes their paws on the mat after using their litterbox.
This mat is smaller than the rest sizing in at 30″ x 18″. This makes it fairly manageable for a large litter box and should still be big enough for your cat to avoid.
At the end of the day, this litter mat is fairly low on my list.
This is by far one of the easiest litter mats to clean, so there should be no complaints on that end.
What I love about this litter mat are its simplicity and size. Sizing in at 30″ x 23″ which is a bit smaller than the Gorilla Grip extra-large, this litter mat should be able to catch anything that your cat’s drop.
This mat comes in an even larger size, spanning at 38″ x 26″ making it impossible for your cat to jump across it! Similar to the Gorilla mat, I feel like this size is unnecessary unless you have a really troubled kitty or are planning on placing two litterboxes right by each other.
Although it doesn’t look like there is much to this litter mat, the ridges do a pretty awesome job removing litter from a cat’s paws. It also ensures that litter doesn’t slip out of the mat due to the rim on it. This feature makes this litter mat extremely appealing as this means there’s virtually no way for the litter to spread past the mat itself.
Due to the size of this mat and the slip resistance on the bottom of this mat, it doesn’t tend to shake all over the place. Though even if this were to happen, no litter would get out of the mat as it the mat has edges.
WHY I PREFER TOP-ENTRY LITTER BOXES TO LITTER MATS
As mentioned, we are huge fans of top-entry litterboxes. Obviously, similar to litter mats, some top-entry litter-boxes will work better than others.
The main reason top-entry litterboxes tend to be more beneficial than litter mats is due to the fact that a cat must jump onto the area where litter falls to leave the litterbox (especially if the litterbox is tucked into a corner.
Usually, the jump will cause extra litter to fall from the paws when the cat lands. Not only that but dependant on how large the holes are on the litterbox, they may scrape the litter right out of your cat’s paws, similar to a mat.
You can often tell what litterbox our cats are using, even when the lights are off because you can hear the litter drop right back into the box when the cats use the top-entry.
Would I say that this method is 100% sol? No, but I will say that it is much more effective than any standard size litter mat that I’ve ever used. It fairs into comparison to using an extra-large litter mat, while also keeping scents and foul smells in the litterbox.
Top-entry litterboxes also ensure that your cat never kicks litter out of the box or doesn’t mistakingly poop outside of the pan, which Beau has actually done a couple of times. They are truthfully where I think the future of litterboxes is, just because they are the solution to multiple problems without having to buy too many accessories.
Check out our favourite top-entry litterboxes here.
THE LITTER YOU USE MATTERS
Over the years we’ve tried a number of litters and can easily and confidently say that different types of litter track more than others.
There are some litters that make tracking seem completely unavoidable, while other litters seem to do a better job of staying in the litterbox or not getting stuck on a cat’s paws.
Litters that are non-clumping or litters made of paper tend to reduce the amount of tracking as the materials that are used for the litter don’t get stuck in a cat’s paws.
Now, this isn’t always true, as I learned with PrettyLitter which is made from silica. Due to the fact that the silica is so fine, compared to some litters which use full crystals of silica, lots get stuck in a cat’s paws. Even with a large litter mat, we found that PrettyLitter tracked all the way to our bed, while the litterbox was on the opposite side of the apartment.
In my opinion, the best litter on the market currently for tracking is World’s Best Cat Litter (Multi-Cat). While this litter still tracks a tiny bit when it’s used in a standard litterbox, the area around our top-entry litterbox only needs to be cleaned about once a week, if not even less.
Truthfully, this is the best matchup that we’ve come across so far.
AVOID ALL CRESCENT LITTER MATS
If you’re having difficulty with tracking, I highly suggest staying away from any crescent-shaped litter mats or mats with rounded edges. I know that there are some really cute litter mats like this paw litter mat, but they don’t tend to work as well as the regular styled mat.
If you are going to get a funky shaped litter mat, try to find one that is fairly large so you are least have that bonus.
It would also be wise to make sure that any crevices in your litter mat don’t have openings. That way you can make sure that the litter doesn’t scatter around if your cat was to bump into or run across the litter mat.
Another on my top list of cool litterboxes I just never realized existed is the Petmate Clean Step Litter Dome. The only reason I became aware of this product is that I’m currently catsitting a cat who has one!
I will say, he uses Tidy Cats LightWeight which is an extremely messy litter, so the litter still tracks, but you’d be surprised how much litter it actually stops Stevie from tracking.
Now, to be honest, it might just be the way that Stevie kicks in the litterbox because I’ve never actually been able to see him use the litterbox, but after a day’s use, there are at least two stairs full of litter.
If you’re not going to try a top-entry litterbox I would recommend checking out one of these bad boys! They’re really nifty.
WHY WOULDN’T I JUST USE A CARPET?
Unfortunately, carpets are completely unsanitary to use as litter mats as they absorb liquids like urine and may collect traces of fecal matter.
Although I have to admit, it’s really nice to be able to able to quickly vacuum up stray litter from a carpet, it’s much more important to have a healthy cat.
If you insist on using a regular carpet for litter make sure that you have some cat safe cleaners on hand. I would advise washing/cleaning the carpet weekly by giving it a deep scrub to ensure that no bacteria grows.
Again, I would stay away from regular carpets, just because they are not easy to clean. Standard litter mats are usually easy to wash with some soap and water.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS 100% NO TRACKING
I hate to break it to you, but having 0 traces of tracking is nearly impossible, if not impossible. The reason being? Your cat’s paws have a depth to them and litter will always get stuck in an area that doesn’t touch a litter mat or lid on a top entry litterbox.
Though this is true, there are some variations or products that will work much better dependant on what kind of cats you have and their behaviour habits.
Although tracked litter is one of the most annoying parts of having a cat, it is preventable.
Tracking can be avoided with a mixture of using a top-entry litterbox, using a quality litter and can be maintained by using a large litter mat. Which products you’re going to have to choose may vary from cat to cat, dependant on how they enter and exit said litterbox. That being mentioned, although I’m a huge fan of top-entry litterboxes, they are not suitable for cats with arthritis and some other long-term conditions to do with muscle or joint pain.
While you can completely avoid tracking by getting a huge litter mat, large litter mats don’t always fit in small spaces. This far in the game, it seems like pet companies are working towards creating products that solve multiple issues rather than having the pet owner buy multiple accessories to support the first.
So pet parents, I’m curious, what’s your litterbox set up? Do you use a litter mat? Which ones have you tried? Let me know in the comments below!