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How Deep Should Cat Litter Be? 3 Easy Tips for a Happy Cat

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

cat litter mat_Kokorina Mariia_Shutterstock

If you’re like many cat owners, you may be wondering how deep cat litter should be. You may be constantly overestimating or underestimating how much litter you should add to your cat’s litter box, and that’s no fun.

We’ve put together the following tips to follow that will help you put the right amount of litter in your litter box so both you and your kitty are happy.

Three Things to Keep in Mind When Adding Litter to a Litter Box

Ginger-cat-in-a-litter-boxLightspruch, Shutterstock_
Image Credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock
Three main things will determine the depth of your cat litter and they are:
  • The number of cats you have
  • The type of litter you’re using
  • How often you plan on cleaning the litter

Litter Depth Depends on How Many Cats Are Using It

Cat litter box_MelodicinD, Shutterstock
Image Credit: MelodicinD, Shutterstock

If you have more than one cat, the litter needs to be deeper than it would be if you were an owner of a single cat. As a general rule, cat litter should be 3 inches deep for a single cat to use. This depth will prevent the urine from going too deep which can cause the litter to clump and stick to the bottom of the litter box. It’s not pleasant spending time scraping at clumps of litter that are stuck to the bottom of a litter box!

If you have more than one cat using the same box, add a few more inches of litter to accommodate all that urine and fecal matter. It’s not necessary to put more than 5 or 6 inches of litter in a single box for two or three cats.

Use a Litter That Clumps

smelly dirty cat litter box_Ninotee, Shutterstock
Image Credit: Ninotee, Shutterstock

Instead of using the cheapest cat litter you can find, spend a couple of more dollars on a clumping type of litter. Clumping litter requires less maintenance and lasts longer than regular litter.

Clumping litter binds to the urine, preventing it from soaking and spreading in the litter box. It will also bind to the poop your cat deposits in the box so the untouched litter isn’t affected by your cat’s excrement.

Clumping Litter Doesn’t Need Changing Often

If you’ve been using regular litter, you know it needs to be changed every few days due to the smell. Not only does used litter smell, but it also becomes ineffective at soaking up moisture.

If you were to switch over the clumping litter, you wouldn’t have to change litter any more than once every 2 or 3 weeks. You can continue scooping the clumped urine and poop out daily, but there’s no need to change the litter once or twice a week as you may be doing now.

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Signs You’re Not Using Enough Litter or Are Using Too Much

cat litter box_Nadya Buyanowa, Shutterstock
Image Credit: Nadya Buyanowa, Shutterstock

If you’re still unsure if you’re using the right amount of litter, keep an eye on your cat’s behavior. They’ll tell you if they’re not happy with the litter.

You may be using too much litter if:
  • Your cat can’t walk freely in the litter
  • Your cat only goes part of the way in the box
  • Your cat spreads litter all over outside the box
You may be using too little litter if:
  • Your cat scratches at the sides of the litter box
  • Your cat isn’t burying their poop
  • Your litter box smells bad all the time

Final Takeaway

Your cat will tell you if they’re not happy with their litter box. Your kitty cat’s litter box comfort level is partially determined by how deep the litter is. Just remember to put about 3 inches of litter in the litter box for a single cat and add a few inches for several cats. Just don’t go overboard and add too much litter. Use your common sense and watch for signs coming from your feline companion!

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Featured Image Credit: Kokorina Mariia, Shutterstock

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