How To Keep Litter From Sticking To The Box?


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Cats are clean companions to have! They make sure to keep their fur clean with regular grooming and they hate dirt…especially in their litter box. While our kitties are masters at covering their toilet business, we’re left in charge of scooping it all out, but removing the sticky clumps can be tricky.

How to keep litter from sticking to the box?

Pick the right type of litter, a non-stick litterbox, and use litter liners to cover the bottom. Alternatively, coat the bottom with wax paste, or with anti-stick cooking spray and baking soda to prevent the litter from sticking to the box.

When it comes to litter boxes I have a few tips and tricks that can make scooping easier and your cat’s litter box non-sticky and stink-free, all you have to do is keep on reading!

How To Keep Litter From Sticking To The Box?

As much as I love my cats, being on “litter duty” isn’t necessarily my favorite part of being a cat parent. But whether I like it or not doesn’t really matter, because it has to be done, and it has to be done well. Of course, having a clean litter box, and a long-lasting litter is one thing, but keeping it from sticking to the sides of the box is a whole different realm of litter box science!

1.Use Anti-Stick Spray And Baking Soda

I think it’ll be interesting to start with some unconventional techniques, and one of them is the combination of anti-stick cooking spray and baking soda. It’s easy to put this technique to the test since most of us can find these two ingredients in our kitchen, so it won’t really cost anything to try it.

First, you want to start off with a clean and completely dry litter box. Once you have that ready, you can spray a light layer of the non-stick cooking spray inside the litter box. Next, you’ll need to add the baking soda, and then shake the box to spread it out as evenly as possible. Try to cover every surface that was sprayed, and if you have any excess baking soda, just shake it out, and when you’re done you can go ahead and add the litter.

These two simple ingredients work great together since they keep the litter from sticking to the litter box, and the baking soda also helps keep the odor at bay. It’s important to note that while cooking sprays can eliminate stickiness and make scooping easier, some of the brands might be unsafe for your kitty, or the cat might not like the smell. If you’re not sure about the spray you have at home you can try a litter-specific spray alternative instead.

As with most things, this method might not work for every parent and every kitty, and one major drawback is the longevity of this solution. Depending on your kitty’s usage, you will most likely need to redo this process every two to three days, if you don’t want the litter to start sticking to the box.

2.Use Wax Products

When it comes to these kinds of litter box techniques, a wax paste is another great alternative. It’s important to point out that no matter which wax product you might choose, you should make sure it’s non-toxic in order to keep your kitty healthy and safe!

As soon as you’ve found the perfect wax product for this job, ensure that the litter box is clean for a better application. Some waxes come in stick forms, while with other waxes you can use a cleaning cloth to distribute it.

You can begin by spreading a small drop of wax paste on the bottom. It’s important to keep the distribution even and in a thin layer. In my personal experience, a double coat works much better than just one. If you want to try two coats of wax paste, make sure the first layer is fully dried before applying the second, and that the second layer is also completely dried before adding the litter.

It might seem like a hassle, but a wax past coating will last you much longer and it should maintain this non-sticky property for at least two or three months. Since wax products are water repellent you will notice that scooping the litter should become much easier and the plastic of the litter box will stop absorbing the smell from the dirty litter.

3.Use Litter Box Liner

I understand that not every cat parent wants to spend any extra time around their kitty’s litter box, and the first two methods while effective can be somewhat time-consuming. So, another possible choice for busy owners could be litter liners.

Kitty liners are like short much wider trash bags that you place over the lip of the litter box and then you pour your cat’s litter into it. With this method, there’s no real way for the litter to stick to the box’s surface. They can also make the litter change much easier. When you notice a bad smell coming from the litter box you simply throw out the liner as you would with a trash bag along with all its contents, and then simply replace it with a new one.

Unfortunately, plastic liners will most likely not work for heavy-duty scratchers that can rip and tear the whole thing apart. The moment there’s a tear the litter can easily stick to that revealed plastic. Finding the right size of liners for your litter box can also turn into a journey of its own with a few trials and errors along the way.

Sift liners could be another alternative to regular plastic liners. The sift liners are filled with small holes and you usually place a few layers of them on the bottom like you would with a simple plastic liner. When it’s time to clean the litter box all you have to do is is raise the liner and let the clean litter trickle down on top of the next sift liner.

The holes are big enough for the litter to run through but small enough to keep the clumps and poop from making through. This way you don’t even need to scoop anything out, but simply place the sift liner in the trash.  You could also use a plastic liner at the very end for extra security. This way when you reach your last sift liner you can use the normal liner to throw out the whole litter and replace everything with a new batch of liners and litter.

These liners are great time savers especially for multi-cat households and they can be easy to use. Unfortunately, they can be an extra expense on your budget, and they might simply not work for your kitty or the size of the litter box you already own.

4.Choose The Right Litter

Now it’s time to go back to the basics, and by that I mean, see what kind of litter will be best at not sticking to the litter box. It’s only when you’ll find the right kind of litter that you’ll understand how easy litter box maintenance can be.

Just listen to Jackson Galaxy perfectly explain the importance of discovering the one brand that works for you and your cat!

I use clumping litter because for me it manages odors really well, and it makes scooping an easy and fast task. Now, don’t get me wrong, not all clumping litters are the same, and I went through many different brands to actually find the one that doesn’t stick to the bottom or to the sides of the litter box. The one I did settle on was the 25 pound

Of course, clumping litter might not work for everyone since it’s literally meant to go from liquid to sticky and then to a concrete ball. If you can’t find good clumping litter that doesn’t stick to the box then there are plenty of non-clumping kitty litter that can control odors just as well without the sticky factor.

It might take you some time to find the right litter formula, some of my friends mix and match litters to get the best of two worlds, and while it can be tricky you can make it work. I personally prefer clumping litter especially since I have two kitties ruling over me, but I know that if you ever have any odor issues with non-clumping litter then sprinkle some baking soda before you pour the cat litter in.

5.Choose A Non-Stick Litter Box

Another major factor to sticky litter that you need to consider is the litter box. I know your kitty’s toilet may look like a simple plastic box, with a roof or not, but the quality of this box plays a major role in keeping the cleaning process painless.

With time, especially cheap plastic litter boxes can wear and tear and your cat’s scratch marks create the perfect surface where the bad odor and litter can stick to. This kind of damage usually doesn’t happen overnight so changing the litter box at least once a year can help keep the bottom surface smooth.

A wise decision would be to invest in a high-quality scratch-resistant, non-stick litter box. The best and most hygienic option is a stainless steel litter box, specifically with a non-stick coating, similar to the frying pans we use. Not only will such litter box last much longer, and withstand any claw force, but most importantly the litter won’t have a way to stick to the surface.

It’s an affordable way of making sure the clumps don’t stick to the box, it’s easy to clean and you won’t need to wax or use any cooking spray or liners. And let’s not forget that stainless steel is often used because it doesn’t trap bacteria as plastic does, and of course it’s a one-time purchase!

6.Invest In An Automatic Litter Box

Now, while most of the above suggestions are wallet-friendly you could instead splurge some extra money on your kitty and get them an automatic litter box that can do the work for you and it won’t let the litter stick to it!

This innovative machinery will pretty much cover the whole litter cleaning process and save you a ton of time. I’ve heard great things about the This automatic litter box features a self-cleaning function that uses rotation to scoop itself. Your only job will be to clean the trash once a week by removing the dirty litter that has been collected for you. 

Remember that even if you’re comfortable with a luxurious self-cleaning litter box, your kitty mightn’t be. Some cats might get scared by the movement or sound, and you might need to train to use it for some time. There are those cats that will choose to do their job elsewhere instead of coming anywhere near this automaton. If you’re afraid that might happen to you, temporarily disabling the Automatic Cleaning feature from the very start can help them get used to the litter box first.

7.One Litter Box Per Cat, Plus One Extra Rule

This might not apply to those of you who have one kitty, but if you have more than one cat and only one box then this might be the reason the litter keeps sticking to the sides and turns your scooping experience into a nightmare.

Having only one litter box means that it’s going to end up full of clumps before you have the time to clean it and those clumps will inevitably get stuck to the litter box. According to The Human Society, you should have one litter box for every cat and one extra. This way the single litter box isn’t overused throughout the day.

Just imagine if both kitties happen to need to use the bathroom, that can create rivalry, and even lead to fights. You see, cats are territorial animals, and even if your kitties are bonded, they still should have some toilet privacy. One cat can easily disturb the other while they’re doing their business and distract them or scare them leading to a messy uncovered litter box.

So, having an appropriate number of litter boxes per kitty, preferably in different areas of the house, can greatly reduce sticky litter, and behavioral issues like elimination outside the box.

How To Keep Urine From Sticking and Stinking?

A litter box can easily turn into a mess, and urine is especially difficult to clean. Over time it can get very smelly, and increase the sticky factor, but this doesn’t mean that this has to be your cat’s litter box reality!

Use The Right Amount Of Litter

What you need to consider when your filling the litter box with clean litter is how much is the right amount. If you pour in too little then clumps from the urine will easily stick to the bottom, or to the sides, in some cases even after a single use.

By increasing the amount of litter your kitty will have more room to dig through and bury their business. Basically, the clumps won’t reach the bottom of the box if there’s enough litter, and those extra dry particles around will function as a sponge, drying up any excess moisture.

Of course overdoing it can also have an unwanted result, for example, your kitty might start digging to reach the bottom and scatter the whole litter outside. The amount you’ll want to use also depends on your litter box, and of course the type of litter you’re using.

I always go for more, because I’ve noticed that the deeper the litter is the less the urine sticks to the bottom or to the sides and the excess litter acts like a barrier. I’d suggest you start with 3-4 inches of litter and see how that suits your kitty and how much it eliminates the stickiness and stinkiness. I personally fill my litter box with 5-6 inches of litter because I use covered litter boxes and both of my cats love to dig deep.

Keep Up With the Litter Box Hygiene

This might seem like common sense to some, but I also understand that many of us get wrapped up in our work and litter box cleaning can take the back sit from time to time. But it’s important to stay on top of your cat’s litter box, ensuring that your kitties won’t start looking for other places to use as their restroom.

It’s always best to start with a schedule that suits you. I usually scoop my cats’ litter boxes in the morning, preferably before I start any kind of work, and before I go to bed. These frequent trips might seem like a chore, but at this point for me, it’s a habit, like brushing my teeth. Even research suggests that regular removal of cat litter box eliminations promotes proper litter box use!

Cleaning out the whole litterbox and replacing the old litter with a new one should be something that happens at least once a week or a month, depending on your day-to-day scooping and the litter brand instructions.

Remember to also be careful when you’re scooping. To avoid any litter falling apart make sure to dig carefully around the clump and if it’s stuck to the sides try scrapping it carefully of the walls before picking it up. You might also want to try using a ceramic or metal litter scoop because the waste won’t stick to them, they’re much easier to clean and there won’t be any bacterial build-up with time.

The longer you let your cat’s waste sit in the litter box, the harder it will be to scoop it out. The lingering smell will also affect your kitty’s toilet use and they might develop bad litter box behaviors like choosing to eliminate elsewhere, or scratching the litter box excessively.

How To Keep Cat Litter From Sticking to Paws?

Keeping a house clean takes time and effort so when your kitty walks around the house with litter stuck to their paws, you know that those pebbles will end up everywhere, even on yourself. This can be a rare accident, or it could be a regular occurrence, but either way, there are ways of stopping the litter from sticking to your kitty’s paws and reduce any form of litter tracking which happens when litter gets kicked out of the box.

Getting into the habit of scooping the litter daily, and making sure that the old litter is replaced by fresh as often as possible should help, but depending on your kitty’s fur you might need to look into a special litter. Long-haired kitties will most likely benefit from a litter with fine grains that hat will have a hard time sticking to your cat’s paws and the tufts of hair they have there.

Clumping litter can get sticky so for some kitties a non-clumping litter will be more effective. You can also look for alternatives to clay litter like wood pellet cat litter, which is easier on the environment, usually more cost-effective, smells better, and most importantly it doesn’t stick to paws and it doesn’t track!

A closed litter box can obstruct movement and your cat can easily end up stepping onto a fresh wet and sticky clump of urine. Instead, you could go for an open litter box with high sides which your kitty can use to lift their upper body and avoid touching most of the litter around them. Of course, this option might not work with senior cats, and if your old kitty gets sticky litter on their paw then it might be a sign that you need to upgrade to a litter box designed for older cats instead.

If you want to reduce any litter falling out when they’re coming out of the litter box then you could buy a double layer litter mat. You can of course try any type of litter mat you want; I personally think that this double layer is the real deal when it comes to trapping any track litter. It’s easy to clean in between the layers and you can always dump the trapped litter back into the litter box so it doesn’t go to waste!

I also suggest that you check your kitty’s paws from time to time and use a dump cloth to wipe any litter. Accidents can happen no matter how careful we are and how great our cat’s litter conditions are. If you keep finding small pebbles around the litterbox get your hands on a hand vacuum to make litter cleaning a less time-consuming chore!

Closing Thoughts

If you’ve come this far then your training is over and you’re ready to keep the litter from sticking to the box, and to your cat’s paws. And if you still feel a bit icky, then remember that being a responsible cat parent also means being responsible for their litter box, and while it is a chore it’s definitely something that your kitty will appreciate.

Now tell us, have you found another effective way of preventing sticky litter, and what litter or litter box has worked for you?

Marina Titova

Marina was cat-struck 8 years ago. It was early autumn when Dante, her grey cat, found her and adopted her. They’ve been inseparable ever since. Dante has been a great cat-teacher and BetterWithCats.net seemed like the perfect place to share his cat-knowledge.

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