British Shorthair cat inside Litter-Robot
Facebook Pinterest Twitter

Best Litter Box for Messy Cats

Est. read time: 10 min.

Tired of stepping into a room with litter strewn everywhere? Maybe you have an aging cat that needs a more accessible litter box, or recently added a feline to your pet household and seen an increase in mess. Or it could be that you’re just too busy to change the litter all the time! No matter your situation, the time to upgrade your litter box system is now.

The litter box is already a dirty setting, and when the litter box is made even messier by a rowdy or sloppy cat, the situation is far from pleasant. If you can sympathize, you’re probably wondering: What’s the best litter box for messy cats? Learn about the must-have features of a litter box and why Litter-Robot is the best choice for messy kitties.

Why is my cat kicking litter out of the box?

Cats kick litter out of their litter box for a few reasons:

  • Instincts: In the wild, cats bury their waste to help them avoid detection by predators or rivals. Even in domestic cats, this behavior is still deeply ingrained.
  • Territorial behavior: Cats may mark their territory by leaving their scent behind. This behavior is more common in unneutered males, but spayed and neutered cats can still exhibit it.
  • Comfort: Kicking litter may be your cat's way of making the litter box more comfortable. Your cat might find the texture of the litter uncomfortable. According to some studies, cats prefer clumping clay litter to pellets or granules.
  • Discomfort: If the litter box is dirty, too small, or placed in an undesirable location, cats may kick litter as a way of expressing displeasure or discomfort.
  • Habit: Once a cat starts kicking litter, it can become a habit that's difficult to break, even if the original reason for the behavior is no longer present.

How to keep my cat from kicking litter out of the box

Choose the right cat litter

Cat litter plays an important role in litter box behavior. According to some studies, cats prefer finer or clumping clay litter, to larger granules and pellet-type cat litter. Also, unscented litter may be more appealing to some cats. Our GreatLitter has one all-natural ingredient, sodium bentonite clay, which clumps quickly. The uniform granules pack together efficiently and hold tight, helping reduce litter tracked out of the box. 

Add appropriate litter levels

Too much litter can lead to more kicking, while too little litter may not provide enough coverage for your cat to bury their waste effectively. For cats that kick litter out of the box, you may want to add 3-4 inches of cat litter in the box instead of the 2-3 inches normally recommended.

Frequently clean the litter box

Cats are more likely to kick litter out of a dirty litter box. Scoop the litter box at least once a day and change the litter weekly depending on the number of cats you have. In that respect, a self-cleaning litter box comes in especially handy.

Get more than one litter box

Cats may kick litter out of the box if they feel it's too dirty or have to wait to use it. Having more litter boxes throughout your home ensures that there's always a clean and available option nearby, potentially reducing litter kicking. Additionally, providing more litter boxes reduces competition for access to the litter box if you have multiple cats.

Switch the litter box

Sometimes, it's just your litter box that's not right for your cat. It might be too small, too short, too narrow... Your cat may have specific preferences when it comes to this private moment. 

A larger litter box will provide more space for your cat to move around without kicking litter out. In fact, according to some studies, cats tend to prefer a larger litter box. Aim for a box that is at least one and a half times the length of your cat, allowing them plenty of room to turn around comfortably.

Covered litter boxes with a door or entrance can also help contain kicked litter. According to some studies, cats generally don't have issues with covered litter boxes so long as they are large enough.

The best mess-free litter box: 6 must-have features 

liter-robot ramp to reduce litter tracking

In general, the best litter box for messy cats is enclosed, self-cleaning while being easy to clean, and able to accommodate accessories that help further reduce the mess. Keep reading to learn what other features come in handy!

1. Covered or enclosed

Some cats like to fling litter around when they’re digging for a spot to do their business. Other cats feel the need to pee on the edge or sides of the litter box. Either way, a partially enclosed or covered litter box helps keep the mess contained. 

2. Self-cleaning

Sometimes a big mess presents a vicious cycle: As cats are generally fastidious, even the messy ones may refuse to use a litter box that is in dirty disarray. In a multi-cat household, territorial cats may refuse to use the litter box by holding it in (leading to a host of potential health problems) or even “using” your heirloom rug out of spite. Most pet parents aren’t sitting around to clean their cats’ litter boxes after every single use. With a self-cleaning litter box, scooping is no longer an issue.

3. Easy to clean

A technologically advanced pet appliance like a self-cleaning litter box is all well and good until you can’t give it an old-fashioned scrubbing. You’ll want a litter box that is designed not only with the cat in mind, but also designed to give the cat parent the best experience.

4. Stop litter tracking with accessories

For the really messy cat, the litter box sometimes needs a little help from its friends—also known as litter box accessories. Such applicably designed accessories might include a ramp or a fence. But for the most effective line of defense against those pesky bits of litter that make it out of even the best litter box, you’ll want a nonslip litter mat. If you have a higher budget, you might consider buying litter box furniture that keeps both the litter box and its mess fully contained (and out of sight)!

5. Clay-clumping cat litter

A high-quality, clay-clumping cat litter is not only the type of litter that most cats prefer to use, it also helps reduce litter tracking out of the box due to its quick-clumping abilities and tight-packing granules.

6. In-home trial and warranty

If you’re going to invest in a superior litter box system, you’ll want to feel confident about the purchase. That means knowing you can return if it doesn’t work out with an in-home trial. And in the likely scenario that the new litter box is a success in your pet household, you should have a warranty in place for any potential repairs. 

Litter-Robot: The best litter box for messy cats

cat using Litter-Robot 4 Clean Bundle

Litter-Robot checks all the boxes for really messy cats, multiple cats, and anyone who hates scooping. (Who doesn’t?) This top-rated automatic litter box for cats is partially enclosed, self-cleaning, and has a number of optional accessories to help further reduce a messy litter situation.

After your cat does their business in the partially enclosed globe, Litter-Robot counts down before performing an automatic clean cycle. The patented sifting process removes your cat’s waste, depositing the clumps into a drawer below.

Special anti-mess features

Litter-Robot is not just an enclosed litter box with a fancy look; numerous functions can help reduce or even eliminate mess.

  • Self-cleaning: We've already established that frequent cleaning of the litter box is necessary to reduce your cat's need to kick litter out of the box. With Litter-Robot, the highest-rated self-cleaning litter box, a new cleaning cycle starts after each use, meaning your cat gets a fresh bed of litter every time.
  • Litter-trapping step, ramp, and LitterTrap® Mat: Catch the litter tracked from your cat’s paws with the Litter-Robot's textured ramp and step, or go heavy-duty with a Litter Trap® Mat.
  • Included Litter-Robot fence: The Litter-Robot Fence snaps on to the entrance of Litter-Robot and acts as a barrier to contain kicked-up litter. The fence comes standard on Litter-Robot 4 and can be purchased for Litter-Robot 3.

As the best litter box for cats with messy habits, Litter-Robot is also easy to clean. The base, globe, bonnet, drawer, and bezel (in the case of Litter-Robot 4) was constructed with easy upkeep in mind. Whether it’s spot-cleaning or deep-cleaning, the simple modular design allows you to readily access and service your automatic litter box.


Litter-Robot isn’t only useful if you have a messy cat. There are other benefits to this smart, self-cleaning litter box.

You can use the app to get notifications whenever the waste drawer is full, ensuring your cat won’t go long without a clean bed of litter. This is especially handy in homes with multiple cats that may be territorial about the litter box. You can also monitor your cat’s litter box habits through the app.

Finally, say your cat is messy and stinky—Litter-Robot can help with that, too! Because the waste is quickly sifted into a sealed drawer below the unit, litter box odors in your home can be greatly reduced—or even eliminated if using OdorTrap®.

What to do if your cat keeps kicking the litter out of the box

LitterTrap mat trapping litter out of the box

You've tried everything. Cleaning the litter box every day, trying different types of litter, but your cat still kicks the litter out of the box. Sometimes, there's not much you can do about it and this behavior is too deeply ingrained in your cat's mind. In that case, you may still be able to mitigate the damage to your home with these tactics:

Add a litter mat

Place a litter mat outside the litter box to catch any litter that your cat kicks out. Mats with textured surfaces like LitterTrap® Mat are particularly effective at capturing litter particles. Regularly clean or shake out the mat to remove trapped litter.

Try the Litter-Robot 4 Shield

Designed specifically for messier cats that love to kick and dig in their litter, the Litter-Robot 4 Shield adds a protective layer to keep the mess contained. Plus, your cat will enjoy a little extra privacy while using the bathroom. (Not available for Litter-Robot 3.)

messy cat using Litter-Robot 4 with shield

Use hidden litter box furniture

Not only can you hide the litter box behind a stylish piece of modern furniture, you can reduce litter tracking out of the box by keeping it, well, contained. Check out the Coastal Credenza and Storage Cabinet. (Both are available as Litter-Robot bundles, as well.)

Reduce litter tracking with fast-clumping litter

Fast-clumping litter can help reduce litter tracking, as it forms solid clumps quickly when in contact with moisture, trapping waste and preventing it from sticking to your cat's paws. Look for fast-clumping litter options that produce minimal dust. Sun-dried litter is typically best to reduce litter dust.

By sun-drying the clay, preserving its soft texture, then screening it for ideal particle size, our clumping cat litter helps eliminate that nasty cloud of dust normally associated with filling the litter box and sticking to cats’ paws. This all-natural cat litter is harvested in the USA.


Maine Coon cat standing on beige ramp in front of beige Litter-Robot 3 Connect - what's the best litter box for messy cats?