As a cat owner, I am sure you are thankful that the cats can be pretty easily trained to use the litter box with clumping litter. Unlike dogs, cats have a natural instinct when it comes to potty habits and burying the excrements into the litter box, and they are usually pretty clean pets.
However, when it comes to the area around the litter box, that’s where the tidiness problems start and where best cat litter mat jumps in.
What is a cat litter mat and why should I get one?
There is a decent amount of cat litter brands and manufacturers on the market, but among others, there is one thing that every cat litter has in common: it gets sticky and messy.
No matter what texture or sort you use. no matter what type of litter scoop do you use, there will always be a tiny amount of the litter stuck on your cat’s claws.
Not to mention the amount of the litter that your cat will toss out the litter box in the process of burying the poop, or just jumping in and out of the box. The result will always be the same: lots and lots of litter around the box and then around your house floors.
That’s where the cat litter mat comes in, to save the day. You see, all that litter scattered around the house isn’t just messy or annoying, but quite unhygienic. The used cat litter contains all the odors of the litter box, and possibly all the bacterias, too.
The cat litter mat is a practical solution for the problem of scattering the litter. Just place it under the litter box, or on the one end of it, depending on the size of the box and your cat’s habits of making the mess.
The litter mat will drastically reduce the amount of litter that gets stuck on your cat’s paws or gets launched from the litter box. How is that possible, you ask? We’ll explain it to you.
How does a kitten litter mat work
The best comparison that we could use is the doormat. The cat litter mat works on the same principle, by retaining the sand from your cat’s paws and fur on the mat surface, rather than allowing the cat to disperse it around the house.
This is a great, simple solution for that specific problem and will become one of your favorite pieces of cat equipment. In the end, it’s a whole lot easier to clean the mat, than the whole house floors, right?
Types of cat litter mats
All the types of cat litter mats can be essentially divided into two groups, with their advantages and disadvantages.
Grabbing litter mat type
It is a traditional type of mat, who hasn’t had any drastic changes in its modus operandi for years. It consists of many tangled and twisted fibers, that lock on the litter disposed on it, or catch it when your puss jumps on the mat.
The biggest advantage of this type of mats is also their biggest disadvantage. They are designed to catch and retain the litter, but they do such a good job retaining it, that sometimes it can be a problem to clean them.
Trapping litter mat type
Trapping mats work differently. The usual design is double-layered, where the upper part is filled with various sized and shaped holes, that help to remove the litter from your cat’s fur and paws.
The litter then falls through the holes, in the lower part, that is used for storing the litter. This ability makes the trapping mats super easy to clean, although they can be less effective than traditional grabbing type mats.
How to choose the best cat litter mat
That’s why we are here for you. With our expertise and research, we gathered all the information you need in this detailed guide.
Scatter control for a litter box
And that’s why you are using a litter mat, not an old t-shirt. The good cat litter mat will catch a high percentage of the litter, whether you use grabbing or trapping type.
Unfortunately, no litter mat can guarantee you that it will retain all the litter, but the amount of the retained litter should be satisfying.
Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) is a polymer that is commonly used in making pool noodles, flip-flops, beach sandals, flutterboards and of course, cat litter mats.
EVA has a list of good abilities, and one of them is good containing of the odors. PVC-made cat litters are not that efficient with odor-fighting like the ones that are specialized in odor control, so choose EVA or some similar rubberized material.
Water-resistant and moisture
The cat litter mat doesn’t have to be completely waterproof, and there are small chances that any of them are. But it needs to be completely water-resistant, to save your floors from mess and flood.
Wooden floors can get pretty stinky, and sometimes even start to rot if your litter mat doesn’t have any sort of protection.
Size and shape
The bigger is better. Given the fact that the litter mat’s purpose is to catch any excess litter and retain it in its surface, the bigger surface means more success.
If your cat can easily jump over it, the mat isn’t big enough. Of course, we are not saying that you should cover all the floors of your house with the cat litter mats.
Pick the one that can adapt to your space, doesn’t take too much room, and its shape is appropriate to the shape of your cat’s litter box and space used.
You need a mat that is easy to clean and maintain. If you don’t clean it regularly, it will become moldy, stinky, and your cat will not use it. Dirty mat means dirty cat, and cats like to be clean and groomed a lot, especially when you use the best cat brush.
Choose the litter mat that will be easy to clean, and you will have more time to spoil your pet with the snacks and pampering.
Material comfort and safety
The litter mat must be comfortable for your cat. If the surface is too hard or has sharp edges, your furball will simply choose not to use the mat. Cats have soft and sensitive paws, so pick the material that will give them the most pleasant feeling.
Bisphenol A, also known as BPA, is a chemical used for producing some sorts of plastic, epoxy resins and a variety of plastic products, including the litter mats.
There are lots of controversies about the usage of BPA, as some researchers claim that it can be dangerous to pets, pet owners and nature itself. If you want to be safe (better than sorry), there is a variety of other pet-friendly materials you can use: silicone, EVA, microfiber and PVC.
The litter mats tend to get slippery, especially if you place them on the bathroom or kitchen tile floor. Add some liquid to that, and you have a landmine.
Stepping on a slippery litter mat can cause you some really serious injuries to you and your cat if you are not careful. Besides that, who wants to chase the soiled mat around the house?
All the good products should come with the rubber grip on the base, to prevent slipping around the house and keep the litter mat on one place.
Your cat sees the objects surrounding her as her personal scratching post, and the litter mat won’t be an exception. And if your pet is a passionate chewer, your mat will be put to some serious challenges.
Lightly based designs will not withstand it, so always choose a durable and a bit heavier mat, as a guarantee it will not be destroyed by your cat’s misuse. PVC litter mats are a great choice if your cat is a Hulk trapped in a miniature furry body because they are the most durable kind.
Colour and design
Oh, here is where you can get creative, or confirm your boringness. You can always pick a classic, rug shaped mat, get yourself a black squared one, or go wild and pick one with vivid tropical colors shaped like a giant paw, or anything else you like.
The market is crowded with various designs, so pick yourself the one that will suit you the most, and blend in with the design of the house.
Cat’s comfort and personal choices
And here’s the tricky part, your cat’s weird behavior. Of course, you went for the smooth design, chose the most comfortable material that exists. You personally checked it, and it was comfy and reliable.
Your cat should feel like she is walking through the clouds and should be thankful for the rest of all her nine lives…but she doesn’t feel like it. Yeah, cats can sometimes do that.
Ok, they do that a lot. If you fulfilled all the demands that the great cat litter mat should have, and your cat refuses to use it, admit your defeat and get her some other, similar type of the mat. The only useful mat is the one that your cat actually uses.
Is It Better To Buy More Expensive Kitty Litter Trapping Mat?
You adopted your cat because you love her and want to take care of her. That includes all the aspects of her life, including safety, health and comforts.
Through our detailed research, we confirmed the fact that most of you heard already: the best brands are the best for a reason because they simply offer the high-quality products, superior design and focused on the safety and well-being of your pet.
Of course, that kind of product will always cost a bit more but will last longer, have some additional features and be completely safe to use. There is no sense of trying to save a few nickels by buying the unchecked product.
They don’t last long and present a hazard for you and your pet, and, in the long run, they will cost you more.
How and where to properly place a cat litter mat in your home
If you have a closed litter box with one entrance, the choice is quite easy. But if your litter box is standard, opened one, you need to check your cat’s habits.
As we mentioned before, the bigger mat is always better, so if you can place a large mat under your cat’s litter box, that would solve the problem.
However, if you don’t have an extra room or just don’t want to cover the floor with the gigantic mat, you should place the litter mat on your cat’s exiting point.
Find a side of the litter box that your cat uses the most frequently when getting out, and place the litter mat there, to ensure that the biggest litter quantity will get caught in the mat.
How to control and put an end to a cat litter tracking?
Change the litter type (or at least try)
If your current type of litter gets everywhere, it’s time to change it. Usually, the types of the litter with the bigger granules, or pellet types, have a less amount of tracking and sticking to your cat’s fur.
However, not every cat will accept the litter change peacefully, as cats prefer the finer texture litter. Tricky, huh?
Get yourself a litter box with high walls, or a closed type
This solution works like a charm, as it physically prevents the litter from getting outside of the box. However, this doesn’t work with bigger specimens of the cat, or the anxious kind, that will not use the litter box where they feel trapped.
Use more litter boxes
Quite unpractical, yet effective solution if you have space and finances. This is a lifesaver for a multiple cat household because all the cats should have their own litter box.
When using the one box, the cats can get into a catfight (pun intended) and that means tons of litter everywhere.
Of course, if your cats get along, use the best litter for multiple cats, and the problem will be solved. Make love not war, and get every cat its own litterbox.
Easy on the litter
As shocking as it may seem, bigger isn’t always better. Most of the cat owners don’t pay attention to the amount of the litter they put in the litter box, and generously fill it up.
Of course, that makes the litter easier for the cat to kick out of the box, and it can get stuck to the fur much quicker. The recommended amount of the litter in the litter box is somewhere between two and four inches, give or take.
How to clean and maintain a kitty litter mat
With a good product, the maintaining part is quite simple. With the bad one, it can be a nightmare. We trust you that you made the right choice so these are the steps for cleaning and maintaining the good litter mat.
Exterminating the stuck litter
The grabbing type of mats will be slightly harder to clean, but vacuuming it will do the trick. If you live in a house, you can always take the mat in your backyard and shake it vigorously until all the litter falls off.
However, you won’t be able to to that in the balcony of your skyscraper apartment. Trapping type is much easier to clean because it has a separate compartment for the litter, and you can just pour the litter from it.
Cleaning the cat litter box mat
However, if some of your cat’s excrement get stuck on the mat, you will need to use a mild unscented soap or a detergent and a garden hose or a tap.
Remember never to use any stronger chemicals for the cleaning, as they might damage the mat, and their stronger scent can repel your cat from using the mat. Beware, because cat’s excrement might contain harmful bacterias and parasites, and never let them get into contact with food.
Drying the mat
After you have washed the litter mat thoroughly, you need to dry it well. If you don’t, it can get moldy pretty quickly.
If you use corn type litter, and if it gets moldy, there is a risk of growing the deadly aflatoxin mold. Dry it on an airflow, never on the direct sunlight or with a drier, because it might damage the mat.
Does and Donts to do with a cat litter mat
- get to know your cat’s habits so you can make the right choice
- know that the long-haired cats will have a ton of the litter in their coat
- pick the litter that reduces the tracking, like excellent low dust cat litter
- be careful on unchecked manufacturers
- provide your pet with the best product on the market
- get yourself a homemade solution, those aren’t safe for your cat
- yell at your pet because she had an “accident”
- try to force the use of the mat, if your cat refuses it. Rather consult your vet for advice
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a litter mat safe for my cat?
Of course, it is. The pet equipment industry is an evergrowing branch of the business, and maximum efforts are being placed to ensure the safety of the pets. Of course, we are talking about the leading brands and trusted manufacturers, that can offer you a true guarantee.
Is a cat litter mat immune to cat scratching?
There isn’t anything in this wide world that is immune to cat scratching. Cats are natural-born predators who use their claws for a variety of things, from removing excess energy to marking their territory.
Your cat litter mat will get his fair share of clawing but pick a good, quality PVC mat, and you will reduce the amount of the damage made by your little Wolverine.
So there you have it, a complete and detailed guide on choosing the right cat litter mat. I know we gained your trust and curiosity so feel free to contact us with your comments, and suggestions or questions in the comments below.
Photos from: cynoclub / depositphotos.com.
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Big pet lover and a dog training and behavior expert who loves to share his knowledge and experience. Happy owner of two amazing dogs Labrador Bela and Jack Russell Terrier Piksi and one cuddly cat Tom.
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