Why Does My Cat Make Such A Mess With Litter?

cats tracking litter
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Does your cat love to excessively cover his waste after he uses the litter box? If so, then you probably have the same problem as me – a messy area around the litter box.

We can all agree that cleaning up litter every time after your cat uses it is not a fun job. In addition to that mess, they also tend to do litter tracking, which means more cleaning on your part too.

cats tracking litter

It can be frustrating. However, I do hope you don’t vent out your frustrations on your cat because this is their normal behavior. However, as cat owners, we can find ways to help them control their mess. Finding the best litter boxes for messy cats is one way.

But before that, let’s try understanding why your cat makes such a mess with litter.

Reasons Why Your Cat Makes Such A Mess With Litter

It’s Normal Behavior

They are cats! And believe it or not, this is their normal behavior.

No matter how tidy and neat your cat is, there is a high chance that they will create a mess after using the litter box. You see, domestic cats originated from wild cats, and it’s instincts to cover their waste. They usually dig, eliminate, and dig again to cover it.

This can also represent a marking type of behavior. It is natural for a cat to do final kicking after she covered her litter. However if she starts doing this excessively she may be wanting to cover the area with her scent by getting rid of the smelly litter out of the box.

Your Cat’s Age

Take into mind the age of your cat too.

As kittens, they can be very playful, hence the excessive kicking. They might find digging fun, and this type of enjoyment can cause a lot of mess. On the other hand, old cats can develop arthritis. And if this happens, kicking might be painful for them, which can minimize the mess.

Litter Box Problems

There might also be cases that the main problem is the litter box, and you may want to consider changing it.

Below are some factors that you may want to study.

Is your litter box big enough?

The litter box should have a generous space to accommodate your cat. This is to ensure that she can easily and comfortably move around it to do some digging. If the litter box is too small, it is natural for some litter to end up outside the box when your cat does some digging.

Are the sides high enough?

If you’re already aware of your cat’s spraying problems, then you should choose a box with high sides. It’s even better if you choose an enclosed one.

Even if you have a big enough box, it would be useless to keep the litter inside if the sides aren’t high. It might be fine if you have kittens, but for adult cats, it’s just impossible. So, choose a litter box with high sides. This way, even if your cat excessively kicks the litter, you can assure that it stays in the litter box. Hence, lesser cleaning duties for you.

Litter Level

How much litter you’re putting inside the box can also be the reason. So make sure that you don’t put in too much litter, or too little litter.

Even if you have a high-sided litter box, it wouldn’t matter if you put in too much litter. I recommend that the litter level should be at least 2-4 inches to give your cat enough litter to dig.

Also, make sure that you also don’t put in too little litter. If there’s not enough litter, your cat will also kick litter out of the box, searching for that digging spot.

Unclean Litter

The most important thing you should consider is the cleanliness of your litter. Cats are very tidy, and they would hate stepping on dirty litter. If the litter box is full of soiled litter, she will dig her way excessively, searching for a clean spot while throwing out soiled litter outside the box.

How to Control Cat Litter Tracking and Scattering

We all know that cat tracks litter everywhere, and though this behavior is normal, it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it.

Here is a cool video that solves this problem:

I know the frustration of feeling those bits of litter from the floor when you’re walking barefoot. And of course, not to mention that you’d have to follow up with a broom or vacuum cleaner every time.

Here are a few things you can do to control litter tracking and scattering:

Make sure Litter stays Clean

As mentioned above, dirty litter is one of the reasons why cats create mess every after they use the litter box. This is because they try their hardest trying to find a clean area to dig, eliminate, and cover. The more they dig, the more likely it is for litter to scatter outside the litter box.

I recommend that you scoop litter daily, at least once or twice a day. If you can scoop out litter every time to maintain the cleanliness, then don’t be afraid to do so. Also, getting a stainless steel litter pan is helpful.

This will not only be beneficial to you but also for your cat. It also eliminates any future problems, such as your cat finding an alternative spot to eliminate.

Change your Litter

There are types of cat litter that may easily stick to your cat’s paws, thus causing litter tracks. So, if you think you have that kind of litter, try to consider changing it. But, make sure that what you choose is also up to your cat’s liking.

Consider Changing the Litter Box

As I’ve mentioned above, the litter box might be the culprit of your problem. So, if you think it is, then don’t hesitate to buy a new one. Choose one that has high sides or enclosed, and has big enough space for your cat.

Just changing the litter box your cat is currently using can do wonders. There are litter boxes that come with features that clean up cat paws too. You may also want to look that up.

Place a Mat

Having a mat (plastic or silicone) outside your cat’s litter box is another way to prevent unwanted tracking. You can train your cat to clean their paws with the use of the mat after they used the toilet.


Those are the reasons why your cat creates a mess with litter. At the same time, I’ve also discussed how you can deal with the problem.

Now, the methods above are not foolproofed. But, it will help minimize your problem. It will still be best to invest in an excellent working hand vacuum to remove little bits of litter track just in case.

Also, creativity can go a long way. And if you have a budget, some cat owners invest in litter box furniture too. You may also want to look into it.

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