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How Much Litter Should You Put in the Litter Box?

how much litter should you put in the litter box

You can get the best litter money can buy but if you put too much or too little in the box, it can create problems for your cat.

Too Much Litter

If you use too much litter it’ll end up getting kicked out over the box and you’ll end up with it getting tracked everywhere. Even if you have a covered litter box, if there’s just too much litter in there it’ll easily find its way onto your floor or carpet.

Using too much litter is also very wasteful because you’ll still have to completely empty the litter and scrub out the box on a regular basis. Filling the box with too much litter isn’t the easy way to get out of scooping or cleaning the litter.

Not Enough Litter

Not using enough litter is a litter box aversion problem just waiting to happen. An inadequate level of litter will create an odor problem as urine will have no place to be absorbed and will sit on the bottom of the litter box. If the box smells dirty, it will be far less inviting for your cat to want to go there to take care of personal business.

quote from Lore Haug



It’s a natural behavior for a cat to dig in a substrate, eliminate and then cover her elimination with more of the substrate. This is a survival instinct even the most pampered indoor cat retains. If there isn’t enough litter, the cat will have a difficult time finding a clean spot in the box and will be reluctant to attempt to cover. The last thing you want to do is create a stressful environment for the cat in the litter box. Don’t give her a reason to use your living room carpet instead.

How Much Litter to Use

A general guideline is to spread about a three or four inch layer of litter in the box. This gives your cat enough litter for digging and adequate covering afterward. Every cat is an individual so pay attention to your cat’s litter box habits to see whether you need to adjust that level up or down.


  1. Lately my cat’s litter box has smelled terrible. I clean it once a night, and I clean out the whole thing every week but nothing helps. I think I should use more litter, but I don’t want to use too much. What should I do?

  2. mrs. marty carver

    I have 3 cat children. I also have 5 litter boxes. My oldest cat about 12 years old is a main coon and is huge. He has urinated and done his do do’s outside the boxes for a long time. I spread a clean towel over the area he uses every day. He goes on this towel. In the last month, my youngest cat, a stray, has started doing the same thing. He idolizes the big cat and does everything he does. I am worn out with this and think my house may smell although I’m very careful and clean every spot I find. They are all 3 healthy. Please tell me what to do.

  3. I was just reading that some larger cats, especially males, may need a deeper, larger litter box to use so that they don’t go outside of it. They often like to stand up and pee, so they need more room (depth-wise) to do this. I’m not sure how big the current box you have is, but there is one on amazon that is “extra large” and only about $14.

  4. t I like several inches 6-8 inches and that keeps the smell fine. I clean them at least 2xs a day. And with that depth, I can go under the pee/poop and clean the whole clump with no sticking.
    I found if I loaded it fairly high (3-4 inches from top) he can relax his tail over the side. Otherwise he has elevator butt, and slow stands til he’s peeing out of the box.
    Before he showed me this, I had a huge 2 ft bin so he could elevator butt on the side. A smaller bin with HIGH litter now words better. (If it is too high, they all scratch over the sides, aargh)
    Remember, anything anyone tells you is only their experience. Every cat is different. And not every cat has a sensitive tail!

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