Many friendly arguments have been had over a glass of wine or two debating if cats are better than dogs.
Cat owners often use the fact that cats are smart enough to do their business in a litter tray as one of their main points in these debates. It’s a darn good point in our opinion, no one wants to be picking up poop.
However, what us cat people are less likely to mention is the horror of finding disgusting litter scattered randomly throughout the house. Whenever we spot a stray piece a little voice in the back of our minds is hoping that it’s clean. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t.
Cat litter mats are a low tech yet reasonably effective solution to keeping the litter confined to the immediate vicinity of the litter tray. They’re not particularly innovative, but they get the job done.
Today we are going to take a look at cat litter mats to see what they are, what makes them good and we’re going to discuss what you should be looking out for in a good product. We’re going to conclude with several product recommendations that we think represent the best litter tray mats on the market in 2020.
Let’s get started.
How Do Cat Litter Mats Work?
As we mentioned in our introduction, cat litter mats are not particularly clever inventions. They’re literally designed to trap litter that your cat brings out of their litter tray accidentally on their feet.
This is done a variety of different ways with the various different materials that are on offer, but the principle is the same. All they need to do is scrape, brush, or grab the litter off of your cat’s feet as it leaves the tray.
Loop Style Mats
Loop style mats are one of the cheapest and most common variations of cat litter mats on the market. They are made from synthetic loop fibers that compress slightly underneath the weight of your kitty. With each step they take their feet will very slightly sink into the mat below the surface level of the loops. The loops that are not compressed (but are adjacent to the feet) will naturally slightly overlap on to your kitty’s foot and hopefully, they will trap the litter.
Spreading mats are probably the most “hi-tech” solution that has ever been invented in the world of kitty litter mats. They are usually covered in holes that are slightly smaller than the size of a cat’s paw which creates an uneven surface for your kitty to walk on. This means that with each step your cat’s paws will spread out slightly as they adjust to the uneven surface. As the vast majority of litter that is brought out from a litter tray is lodged in-between the gaps in your cat’s paws it removes it before it has the chance to be spread around the house.
Honeycomb / Ridged
Honeycomb or ridged litter mats are also one of the most common kinds of litter mat on the market. The entire mat will be covered in raised bumps or ridges that are designed to slightly scrape against your cat’s feet as it walks on the mat (and it’ll spread their paws out at the same time) to remove litter.
The interesting thing about some of the better honeycomb mats on the market is that they are often dual layered. The top ridged layer will have small holes covering its entire surface. This allows any litter that is caught by the mat to fall through into a bottom section. This stops the litter being dragged around the next time your cat walks on the mat and keeps it securely out of the way until you come to empty it.
What To Look Out For In A Good Cat Litter Mat
Despite them being a reasonably obvious and low tech solution, there are still a few things you should be looking out for in any good mat.
Ease Of Cleaning
Hopefully, your litter mat will be able to do its job properly and remove at least most of the litter that is attached to your cat’s feet when it leaves the litter box. This means that you’re going to have to clean the mat reasonably regularly. Take a look at any mat you’re considering buying to see what the cleaning process is going to be like.
Some of the best systems have two layers with a smooth bottom layer that allows you to simply slide the litter out. Some loop system mats will require a good shake or a spray with a hose to remove the litter. Some lower quality mats will even require you to get your hands dirty and pick it out. This is obviously not something you want to be doing if at all possible – so do your research.
Almost all kitty litter mats are going to be waterproof, but it’s not impossible to find products on the market that are not. Double check that any product you’re considering is waterproof to ensure that any moisture is well contained.
When it comes to litter mats bigger is better. But obviously, you don’t want them to be the focal point of the room either. Ensure that you get the biggest mat you can that’s not going to look out of place in your home. The more steps your kitty takes on the mat, the more chance you’ve got of it catching the litter on their paws.
Checking that you’re getting a product that has a good amount of grip on the bottom is also highly important to prevent accidents. This is especially true if you’re planning on placing the actual litter box on the mat. A slip or a trip could send the trapped litter (and the litter in the litter box) scattering all over your home – which is going to make for a less than enjoyable cleanup job, to say the least.
Overall Best Cat Litter Mat
We’ve painstakingly searched high and low to try and find just about every single cat litter mat on the market for this review section. We’ve looked at and assessed countless different products from different brands to bring you the recommendations we’ve made today.
This product from Petlinks is in our opinion the best cat litter mat on the market in 2020.
It’s a spreading mat that uses a special patented design to effortlessly remove a huge amount of the litter that’s tangled up in your cat’s feet with every single step they take. It’s one of the most effective products on the market in terms of litter capture capability.
No litter mat in the world can catch every single piece of litter, but this product is going to do a darn good job of trying.
The mat is covered with little holes that are slightly bigger than your cat’s paws (so they’re not going to get stuck in them). The holes lead down into a recessed section that has been designed to store litter until you need to clean the mat. There’s very little chance of litter resurfacing accidentally once it’s been caught.
Cleaning the mat is super easy, all you need to do is pick it up and slightly start folding it in the middle. Once a curve is formed you can aim it at the litter tray (or the bin) and simply tip all of the litter out with no shaking or hosing down required.
It’s 100% waterproof which will be good news if your kitty is known to urinate outside of their litter box, and this also means it can be equally useful as a food and water bowl mat too. It’s available in medium, large, and extra large sizes and comes in a standard neutral grey color that’s going to seamlessly blend in with any room’s décor.
It’s one of the best litter mats on the market, and as it’s priced so reasonably (around $19) it’s not going to break the bank either. We recommend you look at the other products on this page, but this should be at the very top of your shortlist.
6 Other Mats we Highly Recommend
In this section, we’re going to discuss a few other products that we really liked the look of while researching this article. They are all technically runners-up, but they’re excellent products that beat off stiff competition to even be mentioned here today – they are all worthy of your consideration.
This litter mat from Fresh Step is one of the cutest products on the market. We instantly fell in love with the super adorable kitty face design. This is an exceptional product that will trap a huge amount of litter and stop it from spreading around your home.
It uses a loop-based system that we mentioned earlier. With every step the individual fibers of the mat will gently grasp any litter they come into contact with (and keep it buried in the mat until you decide to clean it). Cleaning this mat is a little more difficult than some of the other litter mats we’re going to talk about today (like all loop mats). This is because the loops hold on to the litter, and you’re going to need to give it a shake or a tap to make it completely clean.
It’s a wide mat that increases the amount of litter that can be potentially trapped, and anecdotally many cats seem to enjoy walking on it as it is (reasonably) soft. It’s completely waterproof to protect against any little accidents and it rolls up super easily too which is great if you need to travel with it.
All in all, this is a great loop style mat, and when you consider the fact that it’s super cheap too (around $8) it’s perfect for those of us who want to be free from litter while keeping to a budget.
This is a great two-layer litter mat made by iPrimio that focuses primarily on trapping litter instead of catching it. The entire surface of the mat is covered in holes that are large enough for individual pieces of litter to fall into. Once the litter goes into a hole it’s deposited in a bottom section where it stays completely out of sight until you come along and empty it.
Emptying it is extremely simple as the mat opens like a book. Inside you’ll find the litter, and as it is super smooth it will literally fall right out into the bin or the litter tray.
The only thing we’re not too keen on about this mat is the fact that it’s not really that good at actively removing litter from the feet. It’s a smooth surface without ridges, hooks, or bumps.
However, this does mean that it’s one of the most comfortable litter mats for cats to walk on. Some super fussy cats will not enjoy walking on some of the bumpier or more fibrous materials we’ve mentioned today. If that sounds like your kitty then this product is probably one you should consider – if not, pick a different one instead.
This is another budget option from Petmate that provides you with litter control without spending huge amounts of money. It’s another loop based mat which will attempt to grab the litter from your cat’s feet as they walk on it (and keep hold of it until you clean it).
Like all hook and loop mats cleaning this product can be a little more difficult than some more advanced mats (but you’re not going to have to get your hands dirty).
Actually cleaning the mat (instead of just removing the litter) however is super simple. It’s been designed to be washed with cold water and then left to air dry. This means you can take it out into the garden, blast it with the hosepipe, and leave it out to dry.
It’s available in a wide range of different colors, sizes, and shapes (rectangular and half circle). At around $11 it’s an absolute bargain that’s more than worthy of your consideration.
This is the most expensive litter mat on our list (and one of the most expensive on the market). However, in our opinion, it’s also one of the most effective, and you’re really getting your money’s worth here. If it was a little cheaper we would have probably picked it as our overall best pick.
It’s got a mesh based top layer that has many individual holes in a honeycomb style pattern that leads to a bottom storage section that will stop litter from being knocked around when your kitty returns to the tray. In-between the holes are slightly raised bumps which will encourage litter to be removed from the feet.
The best bit about this product is the cleaning mechanism. The entire mat is shaped like an envelope with an opening on one end. When you want to clean it out you simply squeeze the top end which opens it up, and then you pour the litter in the bin (or back in the tray).
It’s a great product, that works really well. But you’re going to really need to hate litter (or have deep pockets) to want to spend this much on a litter mat.
This is another loop based litter mat that is suitable for those on a budget. Again the fibers will grab the litter from your cat’s feet as they walk over it and they’ll keep it there ready for cleaning. It’s easy to clean, it’s waterproof, and it gets the job done without breaking the bank.
It’s available in a single size and has an adorable little cat motif on it too. The dark grey color is about as subtle as a litter mat can be, and if you want something that’s going to be as hidden as possible – it’s a great option.
This is a reasonably large cat litter mat that’s a more advanced kind of loop mat than most on the market. The fibers that make up the loops are thicker and more heavy duty than normal and the texture of the mat feels like grass underneath your kitty’s feet.
It’s around $19, which for a loop mat is reasonably expensive. If you want a really good loop mat this could be a good option, but otherwise, we’d probably recommend our overall top pick instead as it’s a similar price.
So there you have it, all you ever wanted to know about the world of cat litter tray mats.
We bet you had no idea that litter mats could be so interesting!
In all seriousness though, any of the products we have mentioned today are worthy of your consideration.
There’s a huge amount of gimmicky low-quality products on the market that don’t live up to expectations. Pick one from the list above and you’re going to have a litter-free home.