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June 19, 2022 |6 min read

How Much Litter Should You Put in the Litter Box?

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A lot of first-time cat parents struggle with how to choose cat litter and the right amount of litter to fill up their cat’s litter box. It can be a daunting task when you’re trying to figure out the right balance between too much and not enough litter. On one hand, too much litter in your cat’s litter box can cause overflow and spillage problems all over your bathroom floor. On the other hand, too little litter in the box can create smelly and messy poo problems when your cat isn’t able to dig enough litter to hide their solid waste. How can you, as the brilliant first-time cat parent you are, strike gold and find the correct balance between too much litter and not enough litter? Instead of digging around for answers, you’ve come to the right place!

While it can be easy to believe that the more litter you fill the litter box with, the better it is for your cat’s bathroom needs, that’s not always the case. If you end up filling your cat’s litter box willy-nilly and put too much clean litter in there, you can inadvertently create unforeseen litter problems. Our experts here at Pretty Litter have the scoop for you! No matter what type of cat litter you use, they recommend that 2 inches of new litter are enough to layer the bottom of your cat’s litter box. No more, no less. With only 2 inches of litter in the box, you won’t indirectly cause any overflow problems all over your bathroom floor while also providing your cat with just enough litter to hide their poop. 

What happens if you don’t fill it up with enough litter?

A litter box with less than 2 inches of litter layering the bottom of it can be the cause of many bathroom problems, not only for your cat or kitten but also for you. Cats love to dig. It’s embedded in their nature and DNA. So when they’re presented with not enough litter to dig up and hide their poop that can be a problem. The goal of filling up the litter box with the right amount of fresh litter is to provide enough litter to absorb all the liquids and odors that come in contact with it. If there’s too little litter in their litter box, then your cat may not feel comfortable using their litter box. They may decide to go elsewhere, such as on your carpet or under your bed, and neither of these is an ideal place for them to do their business. If they do feel comfortable enough to use their litter box while there’s not enough litter in it, then it's possible that after a few times of use the litter box can get flooded with cat urine that wasn’t properly absorbed by the litter, not to mention having an excess of poop that wasn’t properly covered up. And if there’s not enough litter to cover up their poop or absorb their pee, you can imagine how intense and overpowering the litter box odor will get after a few uses. Trust us, neither you nor your cat will want to deal with that odor so it’s best to fill up the litter box with more than an inch of litter.

What happens if you fill it up with too much litter?

A litter box with more than 2 inches of litter layering the bottom of it can also be the cause of many bathroom problems for you and your cat. There may not be an overpowering odor, but an excess of litter… everywhere. Imagine filling up the litter box to the brim, then your cat comes along and gets inside to take care of business. After the deed is done, your cat begins to dig, and since cats innately love to dig, they keep digging. Now, they’ve managed to cover up their poop and the litter has sufficiently absorbed their pee, but the constant digging of the surplus litter has caused a major spill out of the box! Now there’s litter all over your floor. What a mess! Now you have more to clean up than just their dirty litter box.

Also, excess litter mess aside, too much litter in the litter box can be hazardous to your cat. The rolling hills of litter dust in their litter box can make for the unstable ground to stand on. They could very well slip and fall while trying to do their business and hurt themselves or they may not even feel comfortable enough to get in. In that case, be prepared to find cat poop anywhere outside of the litter box.

Cats can be incredibly particular when it comes to using their litter box. So it’s essential to remember to not fill it up too much but to also fill it up just enough, and make sure to know when to change cat litter. This is why our experts at Pretty Litter highly recommend filling up their litter box with a 2-inch layer of litter for maximum comfort, cleanliness, and enjoyment.


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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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