Having a cat can bring a lot of joy and companionship. And, unlike dogs, most cats take care of their business indoors in a litter box, saving you from multiple trips outside each day. However, cat litter can be messy. For cat owners, hearing or feeling the crunch of litter underfoot can be a daily annoyance, especially when it’s time to clean it up.
The best cat litter mat traps litter scatter, contains messes, and protects your flooring. It should be easy to clean and feel comfortable under your cat’s paws. A stylish look is a plus, especially when used with a litter box kept in a living space. This guide will explain several of the most important factors to consider when choosing the best cat litter mat for you and your feline friend and delve into some of the top-rated products on the market. Keep reading to learn more about protecting your floors from litter messes.
- BEST OVERALL: Pawkin Cat Litter Mat
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Petlinks Purr-FECT Paws Cat Litter Mat
- BEST LITTER TRAPPER: BlackHole Litter Mat
- BEST WATERPROOF: PetFusion ToughGrip X Large Waterproof Litter Mat
- BEST EXTRA-LARGE: Gorilla Grip Original Premium Durable Cat Litter Mat
- BEST FOR SENSITIVE PAWS: Vivaglory Cat Litter Mat
- BEST FOR MESSY CATS: iPrimio Large Cat Litter Trapper Mat
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Cat Litter Mat
Litter type, litter box design, and awareness of your cat’s habits can help reduce litter scatter before it hits the mat. A cat litter mat adds an additional layer of protection for your floors. Whether it has a textured, indented, or soft surface, the best cat litter mat offers a functional design made to catch stray litter.
The design of the mat and the materials with which it’s made are two main factors to consider when shopping for a cat litter mat; the ideal mat is durable and easy to clean to make dealing with messes a breeze. Keep in mind additional considerations as well, such as the type of litter and litter box you use, your cat’s age and hair length, and the intended location of the mat.
Common materials used to make a cat litter mat include plastic, rubber, silicone, foam, and cloth. In true cat form, some cats will be pickier about certain materials than others.
Hard materials like plastic, rubber, and silicone are waterproof. These options are ideal for catching litter messes because they are easy to vacuum, wipe, or scrub clean. Hard litter mats often also feature a textured or indented surface, like plastic meshing or honeycomb rubber matting. This textured surface helps trap all different types of litter.
Some cats dislike hard mats; the hard textured surface can be uncomfortable on sensitive paws. Cloth or foam options are softer and gentler on the paws, which is a must for pickier kitties. One drawback of soft surfaces is that they can absorb moisture and messes. While many soft mats are machine washable, some cat owners prefer not to toss them in the washer where they clean their clothing since some stuck-on litter (like clumping clay) can be hard to remove from fibers.
Litter Box Type
To reduce litter tracking, go to the source: the litter box itself. Litter box design can have a big impact on containing litter messes. Uncovered litter boxes are the most prone to messes, and low-sided litter boxes are usually the worst offenders. The low edge is easy for cats to overshoot, and they can also easily dig or flick litter out as well as track it out on their paws.
Covered and high-sided litter boxes help contain high squatters and avid diggers. Top entrance boxes tend to have the least amount of litter tracking. Most top entrance litter boxes have an upper platform onto which cats can jump. This platform usually provides a built-in litter mat that is textured to catch stray granules.
For neat-freak cats who love to dig, automatic litter boxes may limit excessive digging. Since these boxes automatically scoop after each visit, the litter will stay cleaner and may prompt neater cats to cut back on digging. Regardless of the litter box type, pairing it with a cat litter mat can help reduce messes.
Plenty of litter brands claim to be non-tracking, but very few live up to that promise. With so many ways for litter to escape the box, such as through a cat’s digging, sticking to fur, or being caught between toes, it’s important to manage expectations when using a non-tracking litter. No litter will be completely tracking-free, but some types are less prone to making messes.
Finer pieces of litter can become caught on a cat’s fur, especially around the paws. Small granules like clay litter and crystals can stick to fur and paw pads. Lightweight textures, like some corn and wheat litters, can easily hitch a ride on fur. All of these litter types can be more prone to tracking.
Litter consisting of smooth pellets is less likely to stick to a cat’s fur. Larger pellet litters like pine and paper pellets often have this smooth texture. Keep in mind, however, that materials like pine disintegrate into sawdust, so the dirty litter can still track. Paper litter pellets don’t clump or disintegrate, so they may be the closest non-tracking option. Since they are also hard to scoop, these pellets aren’t a very popular choice among cat owners.
Cat Age and Hair Length
Senior cats may face mobility, cognitive, and general preference changes that can contribute to litter box issues. To help with mobility issues, some senior cats prefer lower litter boxes that are easier to enter and exit. Litter can escape more easily from these lower boxes, so a larger litter mat is a logical choice.
Litter habit changes may cause some senior cats to overshoot the box or go nearby the box instead of inside it. Once health concerns are ruled out, using a waterproof litter mat is a good idea to help contain accidents.
Fur is the perfect litter trap, and cats with long fur also tend to have long paw hair. These long tufts of hair can catch litter. For cats with very long fur, litter can also catch a ride on the belly or tail. Consider a larger litter mat in these cases; the bigger surface area gives the mat more time to catch pesky pieces of litter.
As important as it is for your cat to like the litter mat, it also needs to fit in your space. Consider the size and layout of the room where the litter box is placed. If the litter box is in a living space, like the bathroom or living room, choose a size that doesn’t encroach into the walking area. A litter mat won’t be very helpful if humans step on it and track litter themselves. For the best floor protection, choose the largest mat that the space can accommodate, without being in the way of furniture or walking space.
Consider the flooring in the room where the litter box is located as well. Rooms with carpeted or easily damaged floors benefit from a waterproof litter mat. In rooms with easy-to-clean flooring, the mat material may be less of a concern. On hard floors, a slip-resistant bottom can help keep the litter mat in place.
For litter boxes in common living spaces, the litter mat’s style is an important factor to consider. Litter mats are available in a range of colors and designs, and while it is still a litter mat, it doesn’t have to be an eyesore. Balance function with style, especially in smaller spaces. Opt for small- or medium-size mats for high-traffic or smaller rooms.
It’s also essential to select a durable litter mat that holds up well to cleaning. Regardless of the color or style, if the mat starts looking dingy after you’ve cleaned it a few times, it will ruin the aesthetic.
Aesthetics may not be a concern for hidden litter boxes. In that case, choose the most affordable or functional option.
Our Top Picks
The best cat litter mat will vary from cat to cat, depending on habits or preferences. For this reason, the top picks include a range of materials and designs. Each pick on this list is effective for trapping a range of litter types. The litter mats are also all easy to clean, ensuring they contain litter and protect floors without any extra hassle.
Affordably priced, effective, and designed to blend unobtrusively into most decor, the Pawkin Cat Litter Mat will suit most households. The mat features Pawkin’s patented Litter Lock technology—the soft meshed surface is made up of skinny coils of densely packed, phthalate-free PVC. This design traps litter while being comfortable on sensitive paws. The litter mat is also water resistant and durable. It will hold up to frequent vacuuming and can be scrubbed with soapy water for a deeper clean.
Measuring 35 inches by 23 inches, the mat’s large size contains big messes. The simple design is less of an eyesore than some other litter mats, and the aesthetic is appealing: the dark gray color and inlay pattern make this litter mat look more like a doormat than a litter-catching contraption.
The Purr-FECT Paws Cat Litter Mat from Petlinks offers an indented surface with small pockets that collect stray litter. This patented design spreads cats’ paws with each step, forcing the litter to drop out of the paws and into the pockets. Made of soft rubber, the litter mat is waterproof and very flexible. The lightweight design makes it easy to pour excess litter back into the litter box.
This medium-size litter mat measures 23.25 inches by 14.9 inches to fit into smaller spaces. It is a basic gray color and has a rather utilitarian look. While it may not be the most stylish pick, this rubber mat is a functional option at an affordable price.
The BlackHole Litter Mat boasts a dual-layer design that essentially forms a tube that traps and hides stray litter. The top layer has a honeycomb pattern, each shape with a rounded top. This rounded surface forces pieces of litter to fall into the holes in the pattern rather than sitting on top. This top layer is made of EVA foam that is soft on cats’ paws and also dries quickly when it needs to be washed.
The bottom layer of the litter mat is a solid waterproof piece. To empty litter, simply separate the layers, tip the mat, and the litter will slide out across the smooth base layer. For bigger messes, the mat can be cleaned with soap and water. This mat measures 30 inches by 23 inches and comes in a neutral beige color, although other solid colors are available.
If litter box accidents are a frequent occurrence, the PetFusion ToughGrip cat litter mat is a top pick. This large, FDA-grade silicone mat is durable, flexible, and completely waterproof. A raised outer lip helps to contain liquids when accidents happen.
While litter mats with mesh textures and deep pockets are ideal for trapping litter, they can be tough to clean when liquid messes are involved. This litter mat instead features a flat surface with gentle raised grooves. The grooves help spread cats’ paws as they walk across it, releasing trapped litter. However, the grooves are shallow enough that they are easy to wipe clean and won’t hold liquids. Measuring 30 inches by 23 inches, this litter mat is gray in color and also provides anti-slip backing to keep it in place.
An extra-large litter mat is ideal for placing under several litter boxes or for cats who are prolific diggers. The jumbo Gorilla Grip Original cat litter mat measures 47 inches by 35 inches, offering plenty of coverage. The slip-resistant backing keeps the mat in place.
This oversize litter mat boasts a dense mesh surface with deep coils to trap litter, while also feeling pleasantly padded under cats’ paws. The diamond inlay pattern helps to shake loose litter and also gives the mat some style. Like other plastic mats, cleaning is simple with a shake, a scrub with soap and water, or a vacuum. This particular mat comes in a hunter green color, but a range of other solid colors are also available.
Some picky cats dislike the feeling of plastic or rubber mats, especially those mats that force their paws to open. The cat litter mat from Vivaglory is like a mini shag rug for cats. This soft mat is made of microfiber and has thousands of plush fibers to gently remove litter from sensitive paws.
To prevent the mat from sliding, it features a nonslip backing. The backing is also waterproof to prevent accidents from soaking through the mat. When it’s time for a cleaning, just toss this machine-washable mat into the washing machine.
Measuring 31 inches by 20 inches, this medium-size mat comes in a deep brown color, but a handful of other colors are also available.
Accident-prone cats may need a little extra help to contain messes. The iPrimio Large Cat Litter Trapper Mat can fit standard puppy pads between its dual layers. For cats that sometimes miss the litter box, adding a puppy pad to the litter mat helps soak up liquids and is easily disposed of in the event of accidents.
Even without a puppy pad, this dual-layer litter mat is a functional pick. It features a honeycomb upper layer with extra-large holes that allow all types of litter to fall through. The bottom layer is coated with a waterproof plastic film to protect flooring. For easy cleanup, three edges of the litter mat are not sealed. This allows the dual layers to completely separate, opening up like a book for a thorough cleaning. The larger 30-inch-by-23-inch size also accommodates the tendency for messes.
FAQs About Cat Litter Mats
Dealing with litter scatter is an unavoidable part of cat ownership. A cat litter mat is an effective and affordable solution to keeping litter messes in check. Still looking for the best litter mat for you and your feline? Check out these frequently asked questions.
Q. What is the purpose of the holes in the litter mat?
When a cat steps over the holes, they force its paws to spread, releasing any pieces of litter trapped inside the paws.
Q. Is a cat litter mat immune to cat scratching?
Most cat owners will attest to the fact that no surface is immune to cat scratching. If your cat has a habit of scratching the litter mat, try placing a scratching post nearby to redirect its attention to a more appropriate scratching surface.
Q. How should I place my cat litter mat?
For cats who are eager diggers, center the mat under the litter box so each edge has mat coverage. You can leave more mat space at the exit for cats to walk over as they leave the litter box. If digging is not a concern, place the mat at the exit of the litter box for cats to walk over as they leave.