Does your cat always leave a trail of litter on the floor? It can be frustrating to constantly clean up after them. But have no fear, we’re here to help! In this article, we’ll explore why cats kick litter and provide you with expert tips to prevent this messy behavior.
Understanding Cat Behavior
Cats are fascinating creatures. They possess both predatory skills and the instincts of prey animals. This unique combination influences their behavior, including the tendency to kick litter. You see, when cats dig and cover their waste in the litter tray, it’s an instinctual response to protect themselves from potential predators. By hiding their presence, cats reduce the risk of attracting unwanted attention.
Additionally, covering waste helps cats avoid parasites and serves as a form of communication with other cats in the area. The scent left behind in the litter can convey valuable information about a cat’s presence, potential mates, or even territorial boundaries.
What Can You Do About It?
Now that we understand why cats kick litter, let’s explore some practical solutions to keep the litter in the tray, where it belongs.
1. Litter Hygiene (You, Not Them)
Imagine dipping your hands into a dirty sink full of leftover food. Your cat feels the same way about stepping into a dirty litter box. To encourage your feline friend to use the tray properly, it’s crucial to ensure it is clean and inviting.
The solution is simple: clean the litter tray regularly. Remove solid waste promptly, ideally as it happens or at least once a day. Additionally, change the litter every few days or before it becomes overly soaked. This practice will make the litter tray more appealing to your cat and reduce the likelihood of them kicking litter onto the floor.
2. Don’t Overfill the Litter Box
More is not always better, especially when it comes to filling the litter tray. Cats with health issues or limited mobility may struggle to balance on an unstable mound of litter. Additionally, excessive litter in the tray can lead to more litter on the floor because cats feel the need to dig deeper to find a stable surface.
The solution is to fill the tray with an appropriate amount of litter, around 2-4cm (1-2 inches) deep. This depth provides enough material for your cat to dig comfortably without creating a mess.
3. Consider Litter Box Number and Choice
The general guideline is to provide one litter tray per cat, plus an additional one for the household. These trays should be strategically placed in safe and accessible areas. If your cat frequently kicks litter, it may be worth investing in a larger litter box. Some cats prefer covered boxes, but others may feel confined inside them while trying to do their business.
Look for litter trays with higher sides or an additional edge that hangs over to prevent litter from flying out. If you can’t find a suitable option, get creative and make your own using a plastic washing tub. To determine your cat’s preference, try placing two different types of litter boxes side by side and see which one they use more frequently.
4. Contain the Mess with Mats
If none of the above solutions work, it’s possible that your cat simply enjoys kicking up litter. To minimize the mess, you can place mats around the litter box or in the doorway of the room where the tray is located. These mats help collect the litter as your cat walks over them, keeping the scattered mess contained to a smaller area and preventing it from being tracked into other rooms.
Remember, if your cat continues to avoid the litter box or displays unusual toileting behavior, it’s essential to consult your veterinarian. Behavioral or medical issues may be at play, and a professional can provide the necessary guidance and support.
Now that you’re armed with these expert tips, you can keep your cat’s litter in the tray and enjoy a cleaner and more hygienic living space. Happy cat, happy home!