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November 11, 2018 |5 min read |Veterinarian Reviewed

Why is My Cat Kicking Litter Everywhere? Causes & Solutions

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You've just cleaned the litter box for your kitty. It's all fresh and free of the litter box smell, and if you've got a quality crystal based cat litter, you shouldn't need to clean it fully for several weeks. Your feline friend cat decides they need to use it right now, of course. They daintily do their business and... oh no! They're kicking like mad, your cat makes a mess in the litter box, sending kitty litter flying all over the floor. All your hard work is ruined and you see kitty litter scattered everywhere. Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this struggle. Many cat owners face the challenge of cat litter tracking. So, why does your cat do this, and what can you do to tackle this issue?

Why is my cat kicking their fresh litter everywhere?

When your kitten kicks their cat litter around, they are following their natural instincts. Cats have an inherent need to cover their waste using cat litter dust. This behavior stems from their cleanliness and their primal instinct to mark their territory with the pheromones contained in their feces and urine.

If you have ever questioned, “ how territorial are cats?”, the answer is - very territorial. In the wild, smaller cats would bury their feces to indicate that they acknowledged the dominance of larger predators. When your kitten is trying to bury their poop, they are saying, "You're the boss human, and I know it." So annoying as it may be as a cat owner , take it as a compliment!

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Does the type of litterbox make a difference?


It can. The type and size of the litter box can make a difference in minimizing litter tracking. If your cat’s litter box is too small, your kitty may be uncomfortable and turn around and around looking for a good spot to go in. A small litter box also means that when the cat does dig, there's nowhere for the kitty litter mess to go except on the floor , creating another litter box problem. It also helps if the litter box has high sides, as these will catch some of the cat litter that is thrown around.

One of many litter box cleaning hacks, is to get a larger litter box with a hood, which is like a separate room for your cat to go in. Whatever litter box type you use, always make sure to put in the right amount of cat litter. Too much, and you eliminate the benefits of a box with higher sides. Too little, and your cat doesn't have enough to absorb their urine or cover their litter mess (such as solids).

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What else can I do to keep the cat litter in the litterbox?

Remove solids with a litter scoop as soon as you see them, as cats will paw around the litter tray looking for a clean spot to use, which might mean additional digging and excess litter on the floor . For clay based litter or pine cat litter, you’ll also need to scoop the urine soaked litter out regularly. Cats might keep digging if they can smell their ‘business’ because they don’t feel they have hidden it enough. This is why it can be really helpful to buy a cat litter that fights odor. By using an odor free cat litter, you’re actually helping your cat mask the smell of their own waste, which reduces their instinct to keep burying it. Silica Gel based litter such as PrettyLitter can be beneficial with its low dust production and advanced odor control. 

Additional tips to minimize litter tracking:

  • Place a litter mat outside the litter box: a cat litter mat helps trap litter particles and prevents them from spreading throughout your home.
  • Opt for non-tracking cat litter: Look for cat litter specifically designed to reduce tracking. These litters are formulated to be less likely to stick to your cat’s paws.
  • Regularly clean litter mats: clean the litter mats regularly to prevent accumulated

Some large cats are just more into digging than others, but with our tips, you might be able to encourage them to keep from kicking litter all over your floor. Have you got a cat that digs and kicks cat litter? How do you deal with it? Let us know in the comments!




  1. PetMD. Why do Cats Kick Litter Everywhere.
  2. Pet Keen. Why is my Cat Kicking Litter Out of the Box?
  3. Vet Street. Why Does my Cat Kick Litter Out of Her Box.


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Christina Scamporrino is a lifelong animal lover and began working in the petcare space in 2019. Christina’s passion for the community of feline owners and enthusiasts have led her to designing premium packaging for PrettyLitter cat litter, PrettyPlease dry food, wet food, and treats, and a litter box designed to solve common litter box issues.

Outside of her professional work in the petcare space, Christina is a longtime kitten foster and has worked with several cat rescues throughout Southern California. When given the option, she favors orange cats, but loves all cats equally.


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Sara Ochoa

Sara Ochoa, DVM graduated from St. George's University Veterinary School in 2015. Since then, she has been at a small and exotic animal practice in Texas. In her free time, she loves making quilts and spending time with her husband Greg and their 4 fur kids. Two dogs, Ruby a schnoodle, and Bug a Japanese Chin, one cat named OJ and a leopard tortoise named Monkey.