From their mischievous whiskers to their adorable paws, cats challenge the age-old saying that dog is man’s true best friend.
Our feline friends quickly become parts of our family, and living alongside them can bring joy and satisfaction into daily life.
Unfortunately, pet ownership can’t always be sunshine and rainbows. Animals are, at the end of the day, still animals.
Cats, like other pets, are at times messy and skilled at dirtying newly clean surfaces.
Especially when it comes to litter boxes and their surrounding area, having a cat isn’t always clean or glamorous.
Thankfully, cat litter mats exist to make it simpler and easier to own and clean up after your feline friend.
Benefits of Utilizing a Cat Litter Mat
Litter mats are different than other mats because they’re specific to the needs of a cat owner (and the demands of a litter box).
Not all mats are created equal.
For example, the stylish wood-slatted mats you might find in a tatami room might fit the Japanese decor of your bathroom where you keep the litter box located, but it’s also going to turn your entire restroom into a smelly mess.
In short, not any mat can work as a cat litter mat.
Litter mats are specifically designed to minimize the mess made by cats, and investing in one is sure to pay off in the long run.
If you’re a cat owner, you surely already know that the litter box is a mess waiting to happen.
Even if you keep it scooped and change the litter frequently, somehow it will always manage to create a mess in the room where it’s located.
Especially if you have hardwood flooring, tile or linoleum, it’s hard to stop the scatter and spread of litter particles.
Of course, having carpet doesn’t solve these problems either.
If you’ve placed your litter box in a room with a rug or carpet, then litter and other disgusting debris can sink and nestle into the fibers of your carpet, making it nearly impossible to clean.
With the help of a litter mat, you can stop the spread of cat litter particles before it starts, and help to contain and minimize the overall mess.
Veteran cat owners know that litter is the dirty glitter of the pet care world – it gets everywhere and is incredibly easy to spread.
If you’re not careful, you’ll find it not just in your carpets, but in your clothing and furniture.
It has a frustrating ability to end up places it never should, like in the washing machine or even trapped underneath your chair glass mat.
While you probably love your feline friend, chances are you don’t love the idea of bits of fecal matter and urine finding their way into other parts of your home.
By stopping the spread of litter and making cleaning easier, a good litter mat also makes for a more hygienic home.
With their help, you don’t have to worry about whether or not unwanted germs and bacteria are finding their way into other rooms or corners of your house.
Less mess means less time spent cleaning. Like professional stall mats designed for horses, litter mats are designed with ease of cleaning in mind.
They can either be shaken out or hosed off and are much easier to clean than the tile or carpet.
Especially if you find yourself sweeping up stray litter particles on mopping up liquid spills on the daily, a litter mat is going to cut your cleanup to a fraction of the time.
This leaves more time for the important stuff, like cuddles and playing, which your cat will surely appreciate.
Cat Litter Mats by Materials
The most important element of a cat litter mat is perhaps that it must be water-repellant.
What material the mat is made out of is also a determiner of how often you will need to clean it, and what method you’ll use to do so.
Ideally, you want to select a mat material that’s easy to clean and doesn’t hold odor.
Because mats are designed with odor reduction in mind, plastic bases are a common choice for cat mat material.
Polyvinyl chloride (frequently referred to as PVC) is a vinyl-based material.
Because it’s a heavier material, it’s ideal for cats who tend to be highly destructive.
If your feline friend has the habit of attacking the sofa, ripping place mats to shreds, or trying to topple and destroy the Christmas tree, then PVC might be your choice for a cat mat that’s going to take abuse.
While PVC is a heavier vinyl choice, there are many other vinyl material options on the market. These tend to be lighter weight, and are crack-resistant.
Vinyl options also tend to be quite affordable, making it a good option for cat owners on a budget or those who aren’t looking to invest big bucks for their litter mat.
Silicon is easy to clean and highly resistant to water.
For this reason, silicon mats are especially ideal for cats who have gastro issues and are prone to vomiting, diarrhea, or other wet messes.
These mishaps, which can otherwise create a smelly, disgusting disaster zone, become easy cleanups when they’re caught by a silicone cat mat.
These mats are easily rinsed by a hose and are usually cleaned using water and sometimes soap.
The drawback of silicon mats is that they’re usually smooth and untextured.
This surface robs wet messes of their drama but also makes it harder to catch dry litter particles.
For that reason, a silicon mat may not be ideal for cats who are prone to kicking litter or digging in their box.
Regardless of what type of material you chose for your mat, whether it be silicon, PVC, another type of vinyl, or another material entirely, be sure that the mat is safe for your cat.
Always be cautious to look for BPA and phthalates, as any products containing these can be harmful to pets and the environment alike.
These days, more and more animal products are boasting BPA free labels.
If possible, stick with these products to be certain that you’re not purchasing a litter mat that will hurt or injure your feline friend and worsen their health in any way.
Types by Design
Outside of material, the design of the mat is the next biggest determining factor.
From coil-surfaced mats that trap litter like magnets, to flat designs that stand up to liquid spills, there’s a lot of variations in type when it comes to selecting a product.
Designed with the comfort of your cat’s paws in mind, coil mats are soft and cushy to touch.
Like professional playground mats, these mats tend to be easy on the feet.
They also hold dry cat litter particles particularly well. The coil design traps bits of litter to prevent them from scattering further.
The only downside to this design is that it makes liquid spills harder to clean because the liquid mess can sink in past the coils and be impossible to wipe away without the help of a hose.
Flat mats are perhaps easiest to clean, but may not be as good at stopping the spread of litter.
A lot of litter spread comes from your cats paws. When he/she exits the litter box, some litter particles are still clinging inevitably to the bottom of the paws.
Coil mats and mats with textured surfaces can sometimes work to remove these clinging pieces, but flat mats do nothing to scrape them off.
They are ideal, however, for especially wet messes. Additionally, flat mats are some of the easiest to clean.
The dual layer could be considered, on some level, the hybrid child of flat and coil mats.
They usually consist of two parts: a top, textured portion, and a lower chamber.
The top aims to scrape and remove litter from your kitty’s paws, trapping it out of view in the lower chamber.
In short, they act a bit like doormats for dirty kitty paws by collecting the litter trapped at the bottom of the paws after box use.
These mats are brilliantly designed but can be uncomfortable on tender paws.
These dual-layered mats are easier to clean than coil mats and tend to collect the dry particles that flat mats often miss.
What to Consider When Buying The Best Cat Litter Mat
Now that you know what the common material options and design types are, it’s time to think about your specific needs for a cat litter mat.
Here are some determining factors that might help you make the decision.
Mats come in all shapes and sizes. How big of a mat you select should depend on a couple of things: how many cats do you have? How big is your litter box? How many litter boxes do you have?
And how messy are your cat(s)? Some felines are neat and tidy when they use their boxes.
They tip-toe in, do the dirty work, politing give each paw a shake and jump out.
Others are a little more destructive: they kick, dramatically dig, or even try to tip over the box.
For the cats falling a little on the wilder side, you might consider a larger mat.
Additionally, if you have an extra large box (or have two boxes for two cats) then you’ll want to purchase a mat big enough to accommodate both boxes and any potential messes.
Appearance isn’t everything, but when it comes to an item that’s going to exist in your home, you probably want to consider it.
You’ll want to think of the decor of your house and the location of the mat. A cat litter box can already make a corner an eyesore.
If you’ve placed your cat box in a room that’s frequently trafficked or in the main area, you’ll want color and design that minimizes the eyesore.
Thankfully, there are many stylized designs with eye catching patterns for this reason.
If your cat box is hidden in a garage or laundry room, you may be less concerned about the color, design and overall appearance.
Considering the aforementioned designs and materials, how important is the mat’s effectiveness?
Remember, the better that a mat traps litter, the harder it usually is to clean.
Prioritize how effective you need the mat to be, and realistically how often you’ll be able to clean it.
Sure, a cat litter mat doesn’t need to be as soft and cushy as the mats on this list of best artificial grass mats, but comfortability is still something to consider.
A surface design that is severely uncomfortable on your cat’s paws is going to discourage use of the litter box and might entice your feline friends to stop using the box altogether.
Let’s face it, you really don’t want your kitty to start leaving you gross, unwanted surprises for you in corners and under beds.
As a good rule of thumb, the thicker the mat the more comfortable it is.
You’ll need a mat that holds up to abuse of claws. How rough are your cats in daily items?
Is your feline the type who attacks the armchair without warning, or a docile kitty who would never dream of destroying the litter box and cat mat?
Remember to consider PVC for the ruffians, and for especially aggressive cats, you might consider investing in safe and durable dog flooring in parts of your home, which helps minimize damage caused by pets
How To Use and Where to Place a Cat Litter Mat
Using a litter mat is simple and straightforward. Simply asses your cats, their litter box, and your litter box needs.
Also, consider your cleaning regimen and what kind of design you’d like.
Then, select a mat. Simply place the mat underneath the cat box, so that any litter which the cat drags or kicks out of the box is caught by the mat.
Then, periodically clean the mat using the aforementioned cleaning techniques.
In short, using a litter mat is incredibly easy, and can drastically simplify your pet care and house cleaning routine.
How To Clean a Cat Litter Mat
Depending on what type of mat you’ve purchased, you’ll probably choose to clean it in one of three ways (or using a combination of them).
Here’s a couple common methods to help keep your mat and home clean.
If you’ve purchased a mat that is coiled or textured in a way that aims to trap litter, then your best bet to clean dry messes is through the good-old-fashioned way: shaking it off.
First, gather the mat carefully, making sure to not tip or bend it and spill any litter particles nestled in the coils.
Without making any sudden movements or turning the mat upside down, take it outside.
Turning it vertical, shake the mat out, causing the litter to break free of the coils.
Sometimes, beating the matt or turning it upside down may be necessary to shake free the peskier bits.
Vacuuming is the quick and easy fix for cleaning smooth-surfaced or coiled mats.
It doesn’t require going outside, breaking out a hose, or getting wet, and it can happen along with your regular house cleaning regimen.
The only downfall of vacuuming is that when it comes to coiled mats, vacuums may struggle to collect all remaining dirt and litter.
Additionally, vacuums and shaking alike are useless in removing grime caused by wet spills and other soggy, caked-on messes.
Rinsing is an especially important cleaning method for mats that are flat or have curved lips to catch wet messes.
If your cat is prone to vomiting or discharges you’ll want to be sure to rinse the mat with water when you clean it.
In some cases, you may even want to apply an animal-friendly soap to the surface of the mat and gently massage it in before spraying it clean.
While you rely on a high-quality cat litter to reduce uncleanliness and mask the odor, seasoned cat owner know that the problem with litter is that it doesn’t always stay in the box.
Thankfully, cat litter mats exist to stop the spread of litter particles and keep your home clean and tidy – even if your cat isn’t.
When it comes down to it, a good cat litter mat can mean the difference between a quick and easy cleanup, or a certified disaster zone.
Especially when cat litter is pesky, tiny, and has a knack for scattering itself all over your linoleum or carpet, a great litter mat can save your flooring and your sanity.
To pick one, you just need to consider your own needs. What is your cat like? What is your litter box like? What is the space like where you keep it?
Then, consider the material and design types outlined above.
Thinking about what you’re after in conjunction with what’s available, you’ll be able to select a cat litter mat that simplifies your life and keeps your house cleaner and happier.
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Photos from: Olga_968 / depositphotos.com, ysbrand / depositphotos.com,
- Benefits of Utilizing a Cat Litter Mat
- Cat Litter Mats by Materials
- Types by Design
- What to Consider When Buying The Best Cat Litter Mat
- How To Use and Where to Place a Cat Litter Mat
- How To Clean a Cat Litter Mat