How much litter

How much litter to put in the litter box

Cats can be very demanding when it comes to litter. Some get used to a specific type, others don’t like it wet.

But most typically, it is the amount of litter in the box that matters. Putting too much or too little of it can cause problems regardless of the type and cost of the litter itself.

Short answer 

You should put about 3 to 4 inches of litter in the box. Such an amount is enough for a cat to dig and cover. Also, watch your cat’s habits as you might need to adjust the level if your cat doesn’t like it.

A clean litter box, clean coat of your cat and no tracking are the signs that you put an optimal amount of litter into the litter box.


Things to consider

Use several litter boxes for a multi-cat household 

With several cats living together, it is important to have the right number of litter boxes.

Usually, vets recommend having two litter boxes for each cat as some felines prefer to urinate and defecate in separate places. With several cats, it can be difficult, so the preferable number is the amount of cats +1. For example, if there are 2 cats, put 3 boxes for them.

It is also advisable to spread the boxes around the place as cats see two boxes standing near each other as one. Put them in peaceful and comfortable places: an upstairs hallway is okay while a dark and cold garage or a noisy room isn’t the right place. Also, electronic flaps can be used to give your cats even more privacy.

Many litter boxes have marks 

Some manufacturers put special marks to indicate the perfect level of litter. This way, you will always know how much litter to put in the litter box. Still, your cat might have its own preferences and want more or less than that.

Automatic litter boxes also have a set amount of litter. For example, Litter-Robot is a self-cleaning litter box with a mark corresponding to about 8 to 9 pounds of litter. It is easy to use and helps reduce litter usage by up to 50%.

The amount depends on the type of litter

Usually, with non-clumping litter, it is enough to put 2 to 3 inches of it into the box. With clumping litter, you need about 3 to 4 inches. Take a look at the recommendations on the pack to find out how much litter to use.

For example, you should put 2-3 inches of Yesterday’s News litter and 3-4 inches of CatSpot litter.

Long-haired breeds prefer less litter 

According to studies of cat behavior, long-haired cats like to use less litter. It is also advisable to use low-dust litter with bigger grains as it is less likely to get stuck in their coat. Also, it’s just common sense: you don’t want your cat to digest the litter while grooming herself.

Older cats prefer less litter and special boxes 

Using a regular litter box might be difficult for a senior cat. A box designed for handicapped cats is the easiest way to solve the problem. They are made for easy access to the litter spot as they do not have high boards. Also, you should put less litter into those boxes to make sure that your pet can move with ease.

It depends on the size of a cat 

Small cats and kittens do not need the same amount of litter as bigger cats do. While 2 inches is enough for a kitten, a large British Shorthair or a Maine Coon may need up to 5 inches of litter. The best way to figure out the right cat litter depth is to try different amounts and see which workes better.


Negative effects of using too much litter 

Using too much litter is likely to result in it being thrown out of the litter box and around the house. Even in a covered box, it will find its way out. A solution to this can be a good robot vacuum that will easily collect the litter grains (and cat hair!) from the floor.

Also, putting too much litter in the box is a big waste of it. Regular cleaning requires emptying the box completely, so using more litter than needed does not ease the cleaning process.


Negative effects of using not enough litter 

If you do not put enough litter in the box, it is likely to lead to litter box aversion. When there is too little litter, urine does not absorb well. This leads to dirty smells that prevent cats from further using the box. A hard to remove smell will also spread around the house and bring discomfort to people.

As a result, a cat will start looking for a different place instead of the box and can end up on a bedroom carpet. The reason for such behavior is that cats have the natural instinct to dig and cover in order to hide their elimination. Thus, a litter box must give this opportunity.


In a word

Knowing how much cat litter to use is important for the comfort and good behavior of your cat. If there are problems, do not hesitate to experiment with the amount of litter, the number of boxes, and their location. Once you’ve found the perfect combination, your cat will love using the box.

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